Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com December 6, 2010 at 6:15 am 2,050 13 Comments

Most Elaborate Christmas Display in Arlington? — Blue Virginia has a video of what may be the most elaborate Christmas display in Arlington. It’s located on North Quebec Street, between Lee Highway and 17th Street, in Cherrydale. Let us know if you’ve seen anything better.

Pentagon Row Sold — The collection of stores and apartments known as Pentagon Row has been sold for a relatively low $14.9 million. Vornado Realty Trust sold the complex to Federal Realty Investment Trust, which also owns the Shirlington Village shopping center. More from the Washington Business Journal.

Boy Scouts Collect Nearly 55,000 Pounds of Food — The Arlington Boy Scouts collected a whopping 54,791 pounds of non-perishable food donations through its annual Scouting for Food Drive. More from the Sun Gazette.

Travolta Drops by Falls ChurchPulp Fiction star John Travola skipped the dinner at the Kennedy Center Honors last night, opting instead to dine at the Peking Gourmet Inn in Falls Church. Local celebrity photographer Mark Wilkins was there to capture the scene.

Flickr pool photo by Team Rank

  • That’s amazing how Vornado was forced to sell Pentagon Row to Federal Realty … and at a great bargain at that.

    • CrystalMikey

      They seem to be selling off a lot lately. Too include some properties in Crystal City.

    • Let’s Be Free

      It’s the land that was in play, not the apartments/retail which would probably go for $200 million on up.

      The Cafritz and Tompkins families (through limited partnerships) owned the land where Pentagon Row was built for decades, as far back as the mid-fifties (along with River House and other properties in the immediate area). As long as I can remember, prior to the development of Pentagon row, the underlying land was a vacant lot.

      I would surmise that the developers of Pentagon Row, or their predecessors had negotiated a ground lease, option to buy (or first option to purchase) agreement with the Cafritz/Tompkins partnership many years before Pentagon Row was actually built, at terms that now appear very favorable to the developers. The sale (I bet they tried to couch the sale in terms that made it appear to be something other than a sale or created some sort of dummy subsidiary that maintained ownership) of the underying property to Vornado was apparently a manuever in the Tompkins’ (whose heirs apparently wanted to cash out) strategy to avoid the terms of the original lease/option to buy agreement, a maneuver that didn’t work.

      • cj

        To add to your recap: the Tompkins group also sold Vornado their interests in other Pentagon City properties such as those between Fern and Eads between Army-Navy and 15th Street. Vornado then somehow reached a settlement with the notoriously litigious Cafritz camp and bought their half of the properties as well. Since then, Vornado has been realigning its holdings. One result is that Federal Realty now owns both the Pentagon Row development and its land.

        • Let’s Be Free

          I bet after consolidation FRT is eyeing going up 15-20 stories in luxury/upscale towers built on top of the Pentagon Row surface parking. That would no doubt be approved because in Arlington County after making a few concessions for show the only rule that applies is what the developers want, the developers get.

  • Rover

    I didn’t realize there was an airfield next to the Paking Gourmet.


  • Rover


    • mehoo


  • Check your math

    The Pentagon Row transaction reporting is completely mischaracterized. I recommend checking out what happened and adding in thoughts on “land” vs “improvements”.

  • OddNumber

    I start avoiding North Quebec Street this time of year because in my opinion it is a safety hazard. On a narrow street with no side walks you end up with pedestrians and motorists staring at a crazy display instead of watching out for each other. I have personally almost been hit many times because cars drift into the other lane while staring out their window. Perhaps the county could limit street parking for a few months on this street before someone gets injured.

  • Eh?

    Yeah, that place goes crazy with decorations. I think they’ve been doing that for 20 years or so.

  • Captain Obvious

    Pentagon Row was a forced sale for an artificially below-market rate: http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/blog/2010/12/vornado-sells-pentagon-row.html

  • Lit up

    Check out the 4200 block of S. 36th Street, 22206 (Fairlington). This ‘light artist’ has been in the national news off and on for years. See if you can figure out this year’s theme!


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