The north entrance to the station — the side that includes the skybridge escalator — will also be closed while WMATA starts Phase 1 of its renovation of the Rosslyn station.
“The bridges themselves are going to stay open, but the access to the escalator will be closed off,” said WMATA’s site supervisor, who declined to give his name.
One alternate way to reach the skybridges is via a staircase between N. Moore and Lynn Street, next to the new Rosslyn Metro elevator entrance.
The renovations are expected to take until April to complete. During that time the two up-and-down escalators will be replaced with staircase. Also, a connection to the new skyscraper next door, 1812 N. Moore Street, will be built, the official said.
The escalator removal is taking place despite earlier objections from the North Rosslyn Civic Association, which called the escalators “the only assistance provided to residents in negotiating the tremendous change in elevation between the center of Rosslyn and the adjacent community to the West.”
The removal of the escalators is necessary to make way for a new Arlington Commuter Store.
After Phase 1 is finished, the north side of the station will reopen and the south side will close for construction, the supervisor said. Phase 3 will be renovations to the N. Ft. Myer Drive entrance.
This weekend, the sidewalk that runs along the 1812 N. Moore project, north of the station, will reopen, and the temporary pedestrian walkway that juts into the street will close.
Arlington Public Schools is planning to sell the school and its grounds to developer Penzance, with the proceeds being used to help fund the school system’s ongoing expansion. The school would be torn down, as would the adjacent fire station. In turn, Penzance would construct a new mixed-use development with affordable housing, a new fire station and a 1.5 acre park.
The Wilson School was built in 1910 and is in need of extensive, costly renovations. School officials say its grounds are not big enough for the construction of a new elementary school.
Preservation Arlington argues that the Wilson School is “an important part of the character and urban fabric of Arlington” that provides a “sense of place to the community” and a “break from high density.” It wants to see the school retained and restored for continued educational use.
“Help us save the Wilson School from being turned into another high rise,” the petition page says. “Let’s take back our neighborhood.”
As of 8:00 a.m., the petition had collected 96 online signatures.
Photo courtesy Preservation Arlington
(Updated at 5:30 p.m.) Pier 1 Imports, a national home décor chain, is now open at its new Rosslyn location at 1717 Clarendon Blvd.
The store opened this morning, Monday, offering the first 200 customers through its doors a free Pier 1 Imports bag and backscratcher every day through Oct. 13.
The location is the only one in Arlington — there is one in Potomac Yard just on the other side of Four Mile Run. It has 11,000 square feet of retail space. The store is on the ground floor of the 1776 Wilson Blvd office building that opened last year.
The new entrance and elevators to the Rosslyn Metro Station are now open.
Across N. Moore Street from the main entrance, three high-speed, high-capacity elevators are ready to take on passengers. This morning, as a rainstorm rolled in, Arlington County Board Chairman Walter Tejada, County Board member and Metro Board member Mary Hynes, and Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) spoke at the project’s unveiling.
“What a wonderful improvement for the people who work here,” Hynes said. “It’s a big safety improvement, and it’s 20 seconds on the elevator compared to two and a half minutes on the escalator.”
Besides the elevators, the construction also includes a new station manager kiosk, new pay stations, an emergency stairwell and a connecting passageway. County officials say the changes will improve passenger flow. The county paid 42.2 percent of the project’s $49.9 million cost; the rest of the funding came from a mix of other governmental and private sources.
“It is a symbol of this community’s and our partners’ hard work, and another amenity for one of America’s preeminent places to live, visit and do business,” Tejada said.
The Rosslyn Metro Station serves almost 30,000 riders per day, according to WMATA, and ridership is expected to only increase when the Silver Line opens.
The project’s completion doesn’t mean the end of the daily construction activity Rosslyn residents and office dwellers have gotten used to. Construction will continue in the area around the Metro station as 1812 N. Moore Street, the new skyscraper being built adjacent to the Metro stop, nears completion.
The Arlington County Board is considering ways to update the Rosslyn Sector Plan, which determines the county’s policy in future development to the neighborhood. The Realize Rosslyn Community Workshop will run Saturday, Oct. 5, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., at the Artisphere Ballroom (1101 Wilson Blvd).
The formal presentation will begin at 9:00 a.m. with breakfast and lunch served. Those interested in attending can register online. There will also be an open house from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Rosslyn Business Improvement District office at 1911 N. Fort Myer Drive, LL-10.
From the county’s press release:
Arlington County is asking the public to weigh in on planning concepts that will transform Rosslyn’s future built environment, public spaces and transportation connections at a workshop on October 5.
“We want Arlingtonians to get involved in reinventing Rosslyn,” said Arlington County Board Chairman J. Walter Tejada. “This is an exciting opportunity to help us create a Rosslyn that is more vibrant and walkable, that has great public spaces and a better mix of homes and offices.”
Participants will be able to engage with project team members and neighbors on the emerging alternatives for the Rosslyn Sector Plan, and to review preliminary proposals and draft alternatives. The County is looking for guidance on:
- Key decisions to translate proposed design ideas into an action plan
- Bold and compelling options for the future of Rosslyn, such as:
- Potential shape of the skyline and preservation of key view corridors
- Possibilities for a new 18th Street corridor through Rosslyn’s core
- Transformation of Fort Myer Drive and Lynn Street
- New destinations for outdoor events, including a re-imagined Gateway Park and an Esplanade that will connect Rosslyn to the Potomac River
The eatery opened its doors at 6:00 a.m. Housed in the former Tivoli space, Panera Bread has an order counter facing the interior of the Metro mall and a sunny seating area that wraps around the restaurant.
Panera will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Sunday.
This is the second Panera location to open in Arlington this year; another opened in the Pentagon City mall food court in May.
Mary-Claire Burick, a Douglas Park resident, has been named to the top post that the BID. She will lead the BID during the pivotal “Realize Rosslyn” urban planning process, which will help to shape a long-term vision for the community.
Burick, 46, most recently ran a management consulting company. Before that, she spent 20 years managing operations at Rosslyn-based Allbritton Communications, which owns WJLA-TV (ABC 7), NewsChannel 8 and Politico.
Burick replaces Cecilia Cassidy, who retired as executive director earlier this summer after 21 years with the BID and its predecessor, Rosslyn Renaissance.
In a press release (published in full after the jump), the BID said Burick will lead the organization during “an important time in Rosslyn’s history.”
“We are very fortunate to have Mary-Claire Burick at the helm of the new Rosslyn,” said Peter N. Greenwald, president of the Rosslyn BID and senior advisor for Penzance Companies. “She is a strategic leader who knows how to engage key stakeholders in realizing a vision for change.”
Photo courtesy Rosslyn BID
What was supposed to be a community benefit from an apartment development in Rosslyn is instead a barely used empty space, and one local resident is pushing for that to change.
The “art atrium” on the ground floor of the Bennett Park Apartments at 1601 Clarendon Blvd is open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. every day, but its most common state is empty, with the lights turned off, and chairs stacked in the middle of the room.
This is the way the space — which has no art hanging on the wall, just eclectic lighting, a uniquely shaped brick column in the middle of the room and plants lining the walls — has been for six years since the building opened, says neighbor Soo Lee Davis.
“The last six years I’ve never seen the space used and the little bit of art that is in there is not well visited at all and it’s a complete waste of space,” Davis told ARLnow.com. “Right now, it’s just dead, 24/7 and in a prime location with tons of foot traffic and this area is in dire need of more options that are useful for the community.”
The space is part of the site plan agreement the developer, Washington Realty Investment Trust, reached with the county in 2002. In Arlington, developers often build specific “community benefits” into their projects in order to win support from neighbors and the County Board for taller building heights and other concessions. Department of Community Planning and Housing and Development spokeswoman Helen Duong said WRIT proposed the art atrium “from the beginning.”
“It was not requested by staff or the County Board, but we did provide for it in the site plan, so it is officially ‘required,’” Duong wrote in an email. “The developer did not receive density or any other value for it, as far as our planner can remember.”
Representatives at Bennett Park Apartments tout the atrium as an amenity for their residents to rent out for private parties, but, since the beginning of August, Property Manager Jared Bailey said he only knows of one such reservation, for later this month. According to the site plan, “the art atrium may be closed up to two times per month, for no more than one day at a time, for special events.” Other times, it’s intended for public use — for viewing art — despite the lack of actual art.
The atrium cost more than $300,000 to construct, but Davis is determined to see it transformed. The Radnor/Ft. Myer Heights Civic Association “doesn’t seem interested in taking up the issue,” Davis said, but she wants to find another avenue to turn the atrium into a use of greater benefit.
“Since it’s not being used as was intended for ‘community benefit,’ then I think it would make a great retail space, coffee shop or restaurant,” Davis said. “If the building owner would agree to contribute a portion of the rent that they charge toward some other county art endeavor (i.e. Artisphere in Rosslyn), then this could be a win/win situation.”
Update at 4:50 p.m.: Bailey “honestly doesn’t know how many people visit the space” on a regular basis, but he is working to “promote and utilize the space several times a month moving forward with different events for my residents.” He said the event later this month is a charity event, and is planning yoga and fitness classes in the future.
With Metro’s Silver Line soon to open, WMATA is considering eliminating a Metrobus route that stops in Rosslyn on the way to Dulles International Airport.
The agency held a public hearing this week on changes to dozens of bus routes, during which it presented three options for the future of the 5A route: eliminating it completely, only running it between Dulles and the Wiehle-Reston East Metro stop (the end of the Silver Line when it opens in early 2014), or only running it before and after Metrorail’s hours.
Rob Stern, an Arlington-based vacation planner, spoke out against the proposed changes to bus service at the public hearing Tuesday night.
“Metrobus 5A provides fast, affordable transportation for local residents, visitors, students, airport employees and commuters,” he said in an email. “Alternatives like the Washington Flyer and the Fairfax Connector would require a change and paying an additional fare, as well as taking more travel time. This is a burden for those with heavy baggage, and in bad weather. Taxi service from the airport can cost $60, 10 times more than the 5A’s $6 one-way fare.”
“The heavy use of both the Orange line and Silver line rail service at evening rush hour would make the rail option difficult for many travelers, as Dulles Airport’s peak travel time is in the evenings,” he continued. “As a travel agent I mentioned that many of my clients choose the airport to fly from based on ease of access, and while Washington National Airport has direct rail service, and BWI Airport has both Marc Train and Express Metro Bus Service, on the B30, this change would put Dulles Airport at a competitive disadvantage. ”
Those interested in giving input to WMATA’s community outreach can fill out a survey by Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 5:00 p.m. After the public comment period closes, the WMATA Board Customer Service and Operations Committee will consider the feedback and proposed changes at their meeting in November, according to WMATA spokeswoman Morgan Dye.
If any of the options are approved, they would go into affect soon after the Silver Line opens, which is expected January or early February 2014. Phase 2 of the Dulles Corridor Metro Rail Project, which will extend the Silver Line to the airport and beyond, is not expected to be completed until July 2018.
The changes to the 5A route were first proposed by the District Department of Transportation.
Two men tried to rob a fast food restaurant in Rosslyn last Thursday night.
According to police, the armed men demanded cash, but fled the scene after they were told that the restaurant had no money. From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
ATTEMPTED ROBBERY, 09/12/13, 1700 block of N. Lynn Street. At 10:46 pm on September 12, two subjects attempted to rob a fast food establishment at gunpoint after hours as employees were cleaning. The subjects fled the scene on foot when they were told there was no money. The suspects were described as black males, wearing all black clothing and masks.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Arlington to Update Streetcar Analysis — Arlington County has hired a consulting firm to update its analysis of the transit capacity needed for Columbia Pike and the potential return on investment of the county’s planned Columbia Pike streetcar system. The new analysis, which should be complete by December, will take into account changes in population and employment since the original analysis was done. [Arlington County]
Rosslyn Planning Halloween Film Fest — The Rosslyn Business Improvement District is planning a Halloween film festival on Saturday, Oct. 19. The festival will feature a kid-friendly Halloween film, followed by something more adult-oriented. The BID is asking the public to vote on which films they would like to see. [Survey Monkey]
Va. Senator Defeats Journalist in Spelling Bee – Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) was declared the victor in a journalists vs. lawmakers spelling bee at the National Press Club last night. Sen. Kaine won with the spelling of “nonpareil,” against runner-up Rebecca Sinderbrand, of Rosslyn-based Politico. [Twitter]
Preservation Arlington Lauds Residential Redevelopment — Preservation Arlington is lauding the redevelopment of a residential property on the western end of Washington Blvd in Arlington. About 10 years ago, the 1940s-era colonial-style home at 6315 Washington Blvd was renovated, preserving its unique architecture, while two new homes were built on the large tract of land. Thanks to “foresight and good planning,” the project prevented the stately home from becoming “just another in-fill development site.” [Preservation Arlington]
Pop artist Andy Warhol’s famed Silver Clouds exhibit opened at Artisphere with a celebratory bash Thursday night.
Attendees got to play with the floating, metallic balloons in Artisphere’s Terrace Gallery. There are more than 150 of the carefully maintained “clouds,” which are on loan from the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.
The exhibit will be on display and open to the public until Sunday Oct. 20, at 1101 Wilson Blvd.
Photos courtesy of Nick Khazal
Caffe Aficionado, at 1919 N. Lynn Street in Rosslyn, is making its final preparations to open “within a month,” says owner Adiam Berhane.
Caffe Aficionado will specialize in American gourmet coffee and tea with an Italian flair. Berhane, who spent part of her childhood in Italy, will be shipping in coffee from Handsome Coffee in Los Angeles, which she thinks is better than many of the coffee brands other specialty shops in the area offer.
Berhane will also offer frozen drinks and blended beverages, made with a “Stealth” blender that’s quieter than comparable blenders, allowing a more serene coffee shop experience.
“I used to like to collect purses and stuff,” she said. “Now that I own a coffee shop, I like to collect equipment.”
The final month of preparations will include finishing the interior and hiring and training a staff, Berhane said. The store has already received its occupancy permit.
Berhane says the cafe will be open from early morning until 4:00 p.m. on weekdays, and will be open on Saturdays as well. Caffe Aficionado will sell only drinks and pastries at first, but Berhane plans to add sandwiches to the menu shortly after opening.
Andy Warhol’s famous Silver Clouds exhibit is open starting tonight at Artisphere.
The cultural center, at 1101 Wilson Blvd, will be hosting the exhibit’s 150 inflated silver balloons — on loan from the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh — until Sunday, Oct. 20, and it will host a kickoff party for the event tonight (Thursday) from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Silver Clouds will be presented free to the public in Artisphere’s Terrace Gallery. The clouds, which are filled with a delicate balance of air and helium, are free for visitors to walk among and touch.
The exhibition will be complemented by a series of public programs, including a commissioned dance performance and interactive workshop by Dance Exchange. Spanish new media artist Sergio Albiac will also be creating a commissioned generative portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama inspired by Andy Warhol’s signature portraiture.
Photo courtesy of Brandon Pass and Artisphere
Ben’s Chili Bowl is hoping to become part of the Arlington community when it comes to Rosslyn early next year, co-owner Nizam Ali said.
Occupying Ray’s Hell Burger’s old space at 1725 Wilson Blvd is a chance to replace a valued piece of the community, Ali told ARLnow.com.
“Ray’s was there, and everyone really valued Ray’s,” he said. “It was a great place, I’m sorry to see it go. It was an opening, and it left kind of a void that people flock to that was local and very special. It seemed like a special attempt to go there.”
The Ali family, which has owned Ben’s at it’s original U Street NW location in D.C. since it opened in 1958, have only begun expanding in the last few years, with new spots in Nationals Park, FedEx Field and the restaurant Ben’s Next Door. The Rosslyn restaurant will be its first “brick and mortar” expansion, Ali said.
“I think in our expansion, there’s so much love for the original Ben’s for many reasons, we hope that that love will continue as we expand,” Ali said. Ben’s is also working to open another spot on H Street NE, but no other concrete expansion plans are in the mix. “These stores are part of testing the waters a little bit.”
The space will be about 1,700 square feet, smaller than the original Ben’s, but Ali said he wants people to walk in and feel like they’re in the same place. However, Rosslyn Chili Bowl customers can hold one thing over the patrons of the original: they can pay with credit cards, Ali said.
Ben’s had previously looked into moving to Clarendon, hearing that it was an ideal spot for its late-night crowd, but couldn’t make a location work. Ben’s in Rosslyn will be open well into the night anyway, Ali said. The U Street store is open until 4:00 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and until 2:00 a.m. Monday-Thursday.
“Our goal is to be available for folks late at night as it’s needed,” he said. “I think it would be good to stay open late as long as we’re not bothering anybody… We’re a family that’s invested in communities, we want to have a community feel. We know we’re entering into a community already, we’re kind of the outsiders coming in, it’s about being respectful.”
The Ali family signed the lease in late August. Nizam Ali said he’d like to be able to open at the beginning of the new year, and hopes to partner with Arlington County to make that a reality. However, he said early 2014 is a safer prediction for when the restaurant will open.
Photo via Facebook