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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com August 7, 2012 at 8:45 am 3,432 44 Comments

Challenges for Crystal City — Vornado Realty Trust, which owns half of the commercial real estate, is struggling to fill 2.4 million square feet of office space in Northern Virginia being vacated by government agencies, largely as a result of the military’s Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission. [Washington Post]

Romney Office Opens in Arlington — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s “Virginia Victory Office” — in Virginia Square — held a grand opening ceremony over the weekend. The special guest for the event was Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R). [Sun Gazette]

Financing Secured for Pike Development — The Penrose Group, a Vienna-based developer, has raised $92 million to finance construction of “Pike 3400,” a 257-unit apartment building planned for the former Rosenthal dealership site at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road. [Washington Business Journal]

Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann

  • CrystalMikey

    Of course Vornado is having trouble…we all saw that coming.

    • they should just raze half the place and build an amusement park or something.

      • Clarendon
        • o wow, i had no idea that ever existed. very cool!

          • WeiQiang

            You see how that Wiki entry refers to a “trolley park”? I think someone is making a subversive attempt to introduce the idea that the Columbia Pk streetcar should have an amusement park at the end of the line in FFXCo. Streetcar = FUN !

          • LOL

          • nom de guerre

            After all, Bailey’s Crossroads was home to the family that eventually operated the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. The descendants of the original “carnies” subsequently moved to Arlington.

          • DCBuff

            Yes, they are now the clowns on the County Board.

          • DarkHeart

            Now that the Trolley is inevitable, can we get Nora Dunn and Jan Hooks for the opening ceremony?

          • 5555624

            Remember, the streetcar is a “destination”! On weekends, residents of north Arlington will flock to Columbia Pike to ride it!

            Wei, people will come Wei. They’ll come to the Pike for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll park on side streets not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at trolley stops as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won’t mind if you look around, hop aboard. It’s only $5 per person. They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they’ll walk down the aisle; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the windows, where they sat when they were children and cheered. And they’ll watch the traffic and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Wei. The one constant through all the years, Wei, has been public transportation. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But streetcars have marked the time. The Pike, the trolley: it’s a part of our past, Wei. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come Wei. People will most definitely come.

      • WeiQiang

        … we have Clarendon on Friday nights for amusement.

        • South Awwlington


    • Arlingtonian

      Vornado richly deserves to lose its shirt on the vacancies in Crystal City that the BRAC caused.

      President Carter’s Executive Order 12072, which is still in effect, requires that federal space in urban areas serve to strengthen the nation’s cities and make them attractive places to live and work. The Executive Order requires all federal agencies in urban areas to give first consideration to locating their facilities in centralized business areas in central cities. Federal courts have affirmed this Executive Order in several precedent setting cases.

      When the BRAC announced its intention to move military facilities from Crystal City to the exurbs, Vornado should have immediately sued the feds to prevent the relocations. That would have stopped the BRAC.

      When Congress approved the BRAC, it was too late. Laws take precedence over executtive orders. However, Vornado had a window of opportunity for about half a year before Congress acted. Vornado fumbled the ball, and did not sue.

      Vornado is now experiencing the consequences of its failure to take appropriate action at the appropriate time.

  • CrystalMikey

    BTW, love the eyes

  • DarkHeart

    Lots of big open spaces would be great for local artists if some sort of tax break could be worked out. All the good weird that used to be Clarendon could relo!

    • Swag

      There’s actually a decent market for studio rentals in this area, but frankly most artists wouldn’t be interested in space in some big office building.

      • DarkHeart

        Space is space. Seems pretty similar to some industrial repurp atelier in NYC.

        • ArlingTony

          Call up the Corcoran and tell them they have a big vacant building just waiting for them to move their school into. Extra space in the building can be rented out to artists. If they weren’t tearing it down I’d say the Artomatic building.

          Also get a good coffee shop or bar to move into the area where people can hang out that doesn’t cater to popped collars and brown sandals types or tourists.

  • JnA

    Open space? Open space in Crystal City will be plazas surrounded by retail and restaurants. And open space around secure buildings will be off limits unless you work in the building.


    I wonder why all these new developments are all apartments instead of a mix of apartments and condos.

    • Swag

      More money in apartments I’d imagine, especially since these ‘Pike 3400’ ones are sure to be in the 2k+ range for a 1br.

    • EFC Observer

      Appreciably easier for a developer to finance a rental building these days, as compared to a condo project.

      • NPGMBR

        I was under the impression that many sellable units would be preferable by the County as compared to a rental property because the sale of the units would generate more tax revenue as compared to a single owner.

        • South Awwlington

          Arlington as a whole, would benefit from increased property ownership rather than one big dormitory.

          • Josh S

            What is the percentage of owner-occupied units in Arlington? How does this compare to other jurisdictions?

    • Tabby_TwoTone

      I thought that the Halstead was supposed to be condos, but then the bubble burst. That’s why the quality of fit outs is higher than in other buildings.

      • NPGMBR

        Originally, the Halstead and Sienna Park were going to be Condos. But as you said when the economy tanked those plans were changed.

        Personally, I’d like to be a condo unit along the Pike but I don’t want to buy in an older building where the building fees would be higer. Now we have all these new buildings in the works and they are all apartments.

  • OldYeller

    Scott Walker was in town *last* weekend? Excuse me while I phone Lincoln and tell him to stay home tonight.

  • Justin

    Hopefully sequestration goes through and more people pack up their bags and rents will drop accordingly.

    • drax

      And you will lose your job and get kicked out of your apartment for failure to pay the rent.

  • YTK

    TOO MANY APARTMENT BUILDINGS ALREADY!! You want residential units? Refurb those Crystal City buildings! Give us a PARK where Rosentahl used to be– altho they will probably have to detoxify the area where the body shop was located– ever smell their paint fumes being vented into the atmosphere every week???

    • JnA

      Recreation area will be on the roof of the buildings that replace Rosenthal.

  • Dr_Klahn

    Is that one of those trash cans where the eyes are actually little solar panels so it can automatically compact the trash, sort the recycling, and calculate the carbon offset from each batch?

  • nom de guerre

    One the eyes is the solar panel you described and the other is a video camera.

    • Alf

      How do you know it’s not an alien that’s just trying to look inconspicuous before the invasion starts?

  • UptonHiller

    And of course, one day after the Post decides (totally randomly I am sure) to write that nice feel-good piece about poor struggling Vornado, the other shoe drops today: “New York’s Vornado Realty Trust, which disclosed Monday that earnings from its Northern Virginia office portfolio fell by $22.1 million for the first six months of the year compared to the first six months of 2011 due to rising vacancies in the region.”

    • Elmer

      More reason why the county board had better get those cash contibution promises from their favored developers upfront in actual cash and not in the form of a contract which can be wiped out in bankruptcy.

    • Mc

      I read the post article on Monday and they noted that vacancies are putting pressure on Verando. It’s exactly that pressure that’s encouraging them to take extra efforts to make Crystal City more interesting and live able. Provided they can maintain access to funding, their short term challenge will transform into Arlington’s long term benefit.

  • Mary-Austin

    Romney is really opening an office in VA Square?
    Lemme guess he is going to reach out to the bro community as someone they can hope to be like one day.

    • Elmer

      Mary-Austin, With the black unemployment higher than that of any other minority, Mr. Romney could hardly do worse than the incumbent, bro.

      • Mary-Austin

        The article says the office if located in VA Square. Obviously I’m not talking about the black community.
        I am talking about the Bros/Brahs/Trevs etc.
        I haven’t heard a single thing Romney will do that will reduce unemployment…especially for African Americans.
        My guess is he will continue with his tax cuts for billionaires stuff because thats what the duders in VA Sq think they’re going to be one day.

      • WeiQiang

        Why would black unemployment be of any greater interest, in terms of governance, than the unemployment situation writ large?

        And if you think that the disparity of wage growth between those whose productivity actually generates goods and services and those who are the ‘rentiers’ is large now, it will be worse under a trickle-down administration. Never challenge worse … there’s plenty of worse available for all working Americans.

        • Regis

          Ask Jessie Jackson.

    • DCBuff

      Are you talking “bros” or “brahs” because there are mighty few bros in VASQ but many a brahs.


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