69°Overcast

by ARLnow.com March 1, 2017 at 5:45 pm 0

Update at 5:45 p.m. — A Wind Advisory has been issued for Arlington and the region. From the National Weather Service:

… WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM THIS EVENING TO 10 AM EST THURSDAY… THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WIND ADVISORY, WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM THIS EVENING TO 10 AM EST THURSDAY. * TIMING… LATE THIS EVENING THROUGH MID-MORNING THURSDAY. * WINDS… WEST TO NORTHWEST 20 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS AROUND 50 TO 55 MPH. * IMPACTS… STRONG WINDS MAY BLOW DOWN LIMBS, TREES, AND POWER LINES. SCATTERED POWER OUTAGES ARE POSSIBLE. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A WIND ADVISORY MEANS THAT WIND GUSTS OF 50 TO 55 MPH ARE EXPECTED. WINDS THIS STRONG CAN MAKE DRIVING DIFFICULT, ESPECIALLY FOR HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES. &&

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by ARLnow.com March 1, 2017 at 5:20 pm 0

Pete's New Haven Apizza in Clarendon

Pete’s New Haven Apizza is preparing to downsize its space in Clarendon, and Dunkin’ Donuts is considering filling it.

Multiple sources tell ARLnow.com that Dunkin’ reps have taken a close look at the space at the corner of Clarendon Blvd and N. Garfield Street. A leasing chart for the building, however, still lists the space as unfilled.

There are existing Dunkin’ Donuts locations in Ballston and Courthouse but not in Clarendon.

Permits have been issued to alter the existing Pete’s dining room and kitchen, reducing the overall size of the restaurant. Co-owner Joel Mehr says the pizzeria remain open during the process.

“We plan to stay open during construction,” he said. “We may have to close for a lunch here and there.”

by ARLnow.com Sponsor March 1, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

Dan Lesniak Orange Line Living founder Dan Lesniak is pleased to announce his new book, written to help agents grow their real estate businesses in innovative and competitive ways.

The new book, The HyperLocal, HyperFast Real Estate Agent, tells how Lesniak, an Arlington-based real estate agent in the D.C. area, started his career and rose to become one of the top agents in one of the most competitive real estate markets in the country, all in his freshman year.

All proceeds from the book’s purchase from March 1-8 will benefit The Folded Flag Foundation.

Lesniak started in real estate in 2012 after a successful career as a Naval Submarine Officer and a Defense Contractor.  In his first year, he closed over $22 million in sales, a feat matched by only a small fraction of agents, regardless of experience.

“Whether you are a new agent looking to start your career, an experienced agent looking for more growth, or a top agent looking to break into a new market, this book will give you plenty of strategies for how to compress time, quickly grow your business and provide more value to your clients,” says Lesniak.

HLHF Cover - frontThe release of The HyperLocal, HyperFast Real Estate Agent is timely. With recent events in the United States bringing uncertainty to many areas, Lesniak looks to show agents that they can use these strategies regardless of the state of the market.

“There is no greater opportunity right now in the real estate industry than there is in the expansion market,” says Noah Ostroff, CEO of Global Living and a top-selling Keller Williams agent.  “This will require you to grow in your existing market and know how to expand in new ones. This book is a great example of how to rapidly expand in any market and is a must read for expansion team leaders.”

For more information about Dan Lesniak and The HyperLocal, HyperFast Real Estate Agent, visit www.hyperlocalhyperfast.com.

To purchase the book on Kindle and support the spouses and children of the U.S. military, click here.

The preceding post was written and sponsored by Orange Line Living.

by Chris Teale March 1, 2017 at 3:40 pm 0

(Updated 4:55 p.m.) A plan to redevelop a Ballston church and preserve its historic graveyard got the go-ahead Tuesday night from the Arlington County Board.

The board unanimously agreed to revamp the Central United Methodist Church at 4201 N. Fairfax Drive to be an eight-story apartment building and two levels of underground parking.

Also on the site is the Robert Ball Sr. Family Burial Ground, which has now been designated as a local historic district. The first burial on the site took place in 1854, then was deeded to the church in 1906.

Given the site’s history, there had been concerns previously that construction on the site would disturb some of the remains of those buried in the cemetery.

Residents urged the developer behind the project not to move the graveyard last October. Members of the Ball family previously said that, although they did not want to prevent the redevelopment of the church, they wanted the church to honor its century-old commitment to preserve the graveyard.

Attorney Tad Lunger, representing the project’s nonprofit developer, said crews will investigate thoroughly where remains might lie.

Lunger also said an archaeological team has been on staff since the beginning of the project, and that they will be on site alongside county staffers and representatives of the Ball family if any remains or other objects are found.

Lunger said any remains discovered will be exhumed, sent to Towson University for biological analysis, then re-interred. He said that process would help clear up the “unknown history of this site.”

The first two floors of the building will include a daycare facility for 100 children and a church to seat 200 people.

On the upper floors, 119 apartments will be built, of which 48 will be designated as affordable units for 60 years. The affordable units will be financed by a $3.1 million loan from the Affordable Housing Investment Fund, while the project will apply for low-income housing tax credits from the Virginia Housing Development Authority.

“I applaud the leadership and membership of this church for bringing forward this creative project that addresses, on one site, many needs of our Ballston neighborhood,” said county board chairman Jay Fisette. “While preserving an important historic site for Arlington, we will simultaneously provide new, affordable housing, church space and child care services for years to come.”

Before the board’s unanimous approval, members and local residents alike raised concerns about the parking available at the site. A total of 128 spaces will be provided across the two levels of underground parking, with 119 for the residential units and nine for the church and daycare.

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by ARLnow.com Sponsor March 1, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

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This biweekly sponsored column is written by the experts at Gordon James Realty, a local property management firm that specializes in residential real estate, commercial real estate and homeowner associations. Please submit any questions in the comments section or via email.

Investing in the D.C. area is always a sure bet. The combination of the country’s most stable economy, transient population and most desired places to be makes it easy to find tenant for your property.

Arlington is a stone’s throw from the District. It boasts a thriving nightlife, lush parks and trails, and great public transportation. People who work in D.C. prefer the lower rents and (somewhat) quieter streets.

Smart investors looking for rental properties that are easy to keep occupied should look into buying property in this area.

While the pros are many, there is a downside. Let’s take a look at why you should and maybe you shouldn’t invest in an Arlington rental property.

Arlington Pros:

Location, Location, Location

The most northern reaches of Arlington allow you to walk to D.C. by crossing one of the many bridges that connect the two. In addition to its proximity to D.C., Arlington is easily accessible via a variety of interstates and major roadways.

Less Expensive Than The City

While Arlington is not cheap, it still beats living in the city. Houses are readily available with off-street parking, both of which are almost impossible to find in the city. A variety of small restaurants allow for frugal dining, while plenty of public parks are available to enjoy for free.

Recreational Activities for Tenants

Clarendon is a millennial hotspot and is teeming with bars, ethnic restaurants, shopping and plenty of things to do. Restaurants, bars and even grocery stores are open late, catering to late night lifestyles. But it’s not just about the nightlife. Tenants will find plenty to satisfy every desire, from clubbing to bike riding to boating.

Superb Public Transportation

In addition to a vast Metrobus system, underground trains provide easy access from as far as Reston to parts of Maryland. During the week, commuter rails travel from Fredericksburg and Baltimore.

Arlington Cons:

Hard to Get Short-Term Return on Investment

If you’re buying a rental property now, even with minimal work it’s likely you’re not going to rent for higher than your mortgage. Investing in rental properties are a long-term wealth building strategy. Rents are high in the area, but probably won’t be high enough to cover your initial investment for some time.

Difficult to Afford

High rents are great for landlords, but terrible for tenants. Even with a well-maintained property in a desirable neighborhood, it may take a lot of due diligence to find the right tenants. It’s not unusual for renters to hold multiple jobs in order to make ends meet.

High Maintenance Costs

If you can’t do the work yourself, you’ll find repairs to be costly. Expect to dish out more money than other areas for contractors and maintenance work.

Multiple Tenant Situations

Are you ready to rent rooms instead of houses? Because rents are so high, you will likely have several tenants renting individual rooms in shared living situations. Even if you advertise an entire house for rent, be prepared to take multiple applications for one group of people.

Short-Term Renters Are Common

Because many workers work on contracts, it’s common for tenants to need less than a year on their lease. Contracts can end without notice, so don’t be surprised if your six-month tenant has to leave a couple of months later.

If you’re looking for a long-term investment in a stable economy, Arlington rental properties are a good option. Though it may take some time to really start making money, if you are flexible enough to accommodate multiple tenants, you’ll find Arlington to be a great place to buy and rent properties.

by Tim Regan March 1, 2017 at 1:40 pm 0

Martin-Christopher-Allen mugshot(Updated at 2 p.m.) Arlington County Police have arrested a man suspected of robbing a bank in Ballston last month.

Someone dressed in a winter coat and sunglasses walked into the Navy Federal Credit Union at 875 N. Randolph Street on Feb. 10 and passed a note to a teller before running off with an “undisclosed amount of cash,” police said.

ACPD — with the help of the FBI, the Alexandria Police Department, Falls Church City Police Department, Fairfax City Police Department, Fairfax County Police Department and the Prince William County Police Department — arrested 32-year-old Christopher Alan Martin in connection with the robbery yesterday around 5 p.m.

Authorities believe Martin may have also robbed a Navy Federal in Potomac Yard and then dumped some of the loot on S. Glebe Road in Arlington the same week. Alexandria police have not yet charged Martin with a crime, however.

From an ACPD press release:

The Arlington County Police Department has arrested and charged a suspect for his involvement in a bank robbery at the Navy Federal Credit Union located at 875 N. Randolph Street. Christopher Alan Martin, 32, of No Fixed Address was arrested at approximately 5:02 p.m. on February 28, 2017 as he returned to a residence in the 700 block of S. Monroe Street.

Martin has been charged with bank robbery and is being held on no bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.

On Friday, February 10, 2017, at approximately 11:40 a.m., a male subject entered the Navy Federal Credit Union located at 875 N. Randolph Street in Arlington, Virginia and passed the teller a note, demanding money. The suspect fled the scene on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. The suspect did not imply or display a weapon.

The suspect was apprehended with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Alexandria Police Department, Falls Church City Police Department, Fairfax City Police Department, Fairfax County Police Department and the Prince William County Police Department.

by ARLnow.com March 1, 2017 at 12:30 pm 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Lilly, a Wheaten terrier who loves playing in the water. Here is what Lilly’s owners had to say about her:

My husband, James, and I always had dogs growing up, so we expected that in the future we would have one of our own. When our name came up on a waiting list for a Wheaten terrier, we made the 5 hour drive to Holly Springs, NC to pick her up.

Her name is Lilly and she is now 8 months old. She lives in the Courthouse neighborhood of Arlington. We soon realized that even though we had dogs growing up, most of the care had fallen on our parents, so we are learning along with Lily. We learned that she loves her food but has to be carefully watched or she will supplement her diet with cigarette butts she finds outside of Four Courts. We learned that she is a casual walker who likes to stop after a few steps. She can be encouraged with chicken bits to move along. We learned that she is happiest when she is snuggled up against us and we’ve learned that dirty laundry is one of her favorite playthings. She loves the dog park, especially jumping in the pools and the water fountain.

It’s only been 6 months, but we cant imagine a day without her and we will continue to love and learn more about her.

Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Please don’t send vertical photos, they don’t fit in our photo galleries!

Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks. Becky’s Pet Care is the winner six consecutive Angie’s List Super Service Awards, the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year and a proud supporter of the Arlington County Pawsitively Prepared Campaign.

Becky’s Pet Care provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in Arlington and all of Northern Virginia, as well as PetPrep training courses for Pet Care, CPR and emergency preparedness.

by Tim Regan March 1, 2017 at 11:35 am 0

Though Arlington County welcomes people of all legal statuses, it can’t protect them from federal immigration enforcement.

That’s the gist of what Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz said during a County Board meeting this week. Schwartz announced the launch of a new website aimed at answering many of the questions residents have had in the wake of recent uncertainty over immigration enforcement across the U.S.

The website, which is available in English and Spanish, includes a long list of frequently asked questions on immigration, public safety, education and community resources. County officials also launched an online resource for immigrants seeking assistance, legal aid and other services.

“I believe one of our primary responsibilities is to provide as much information and as much certainty to our residents in these very uncertain times, and we will continue to do so,” Schwartz said during the meeting.

First and foremost, the county seeks to answer several questions regarding its status as a “sanctuary jurisdiction,” Schwartz said.

“We have heard from many residents asking about our status as a sanctuary,” he said. “We have not used the term sanctuary or sanctuary city to define Arlington County. We believe that using that term could potentially mislead people into believing that Arlington County is able to shield them from immigration enforcement actions by the federal government.”

Schwartz said that the Arlington County Police Department will not act to enforce federal immigration law, and that the county doesn’t participate in a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) program that gives local and state governments the power to deputize police for immigration enforcement.

“I want to reinforce that ACPD will continue our long history of community policing, working closely with our residents to reduce and prevent crime and improve the quality of live of all Arlington’s residents, all of Arlington’s visitors and businesses, regardless of their immigration status,” Schwartz said. “These policies have been central to creating the safety and security we enjoy in Arlington.”

Though ACPD officers may accompany federal agents during arrests, their role will be to “maintain the safety and security of the public,” he said. ACPD also assists in executing federal criminal warrants, though ICE primarily conducts removals outside of the criminal judicial process.

“Any ACPD involvement in ICE actions is limited to those actions where a criminal warrant exists for the apprehension of a specific individual or individuals and there is a legitimate local public safety concern,” says the county website. “ACPD will cooperate to the fullest extent with any federal, state or local law enforcement agency, including ICE, requesting assistance with executing a criminal warrant within Arlington County.”

(Arlington County Police Chief Jay Farr also clarified the department’s role in a WERA interview last month.)

Additionally, Schwartz said he met with ICE officials based in the agency’s D.C. area field office, who told him they are “not doing wide immigration sweeps or immigration raids, but are focusing solely on targeted actions on specific individuals.”

Under existing ICE policy, enforcement is limited at churches, schools, medical facilities and other “sensitive” locations. Still, it would be an understatement to say Arlington residents are worried about the possibility of such actions, and with good reason. ICE agents have reportedly picked up undocumented immigrants at “sensitive” locations across the country, including at a church and homeless shelter in nearby Fairfax County.

“This is a difficult time that requires us to come together as a community to embrace our strengths of diversity and inclusion,” Schwartz said. “We ask that residents continue to work with each other to support our friends and neighbors.”

Locals who have questions or suggestions are encouraged to email the county at [email protected].

by ARLnow.com March 1, 2017 at 11:10 am 0

Washington Blvd just west of Westover (Photo via Google Maps)

A community meeting is scheduled for tonight (Wednesday) to discuss a road re-striping plan that would add bike lanes but remove some parking on the western portion of Washington Blvd in Arlington.

The meeting is set to take place at the Westover Branch Library (1644 N. McKinley Road) from 5-8 p.m.

“We invite community members to provide ideas and insights on how we achieve the maximum benefits for bicycle access and pedestrian safety, while minimizing potential impacts in the area,” says the meeting’s web page.

Among the changes being proposed:

  • “Create nearly a two-mile stretch of bike lanes from Sycamore St. to George Mason Dr.”
  • “Narrow unnecessary wide travel lanes to help calm traffic.”
  • “Install a dedicated left turn lane for westbound Washington Boulevard at N. Ohio Street to help reduce backups.”
  • “Sidewalks will be more comfortable for walking due to buffering provided by the new bike lanes.”

The restriping, as proposed, would add bike lanes in both directions to where they don’t already exist on Washington Blvd between Westover and East Falls Church, but at the expense of some on-street parking.

The project is being planned by Arlington County but will be performed and funded by VDOT, which maintains that stretch of Washington Blvd.

Photo via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com March 1, 2017 at 9:50 am 0

Train in Clarendon Metro station (Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin)

Sale of Reeves Farmhouse Moves Forward — From a press release following yesterday’s Arlington County Board meeting: “The Arlington County Manager today recommended that the County move forward with the sale of the historic Reeves farmhouse, and that the County not be a financial partner in the farmhouse’s restoration and reuse.” [Arlington County]

‘No Systemic Problem’ Led to High Water Bills — Arlington County says it has investigated resident complaints about unusually high water bills and found “no systemic problem.” Errors in billing or meter-reading were found in only five percent of complaints, the county said, adding that customer-side leaks and a hot and dry summer help to explain many of the remaining cases. [Arlington County]

Arlington Millennials Willing to Move — According to a new study, 77.5 percent of Millennials in Arlington say they would leave the region for the right job offer. That’s the highest response of any D.C. area jurisdiction surveyed. Millennials make up 35-40 percent of Arlington’s population, but real estate affordability remains a concern. Only 28 percent of Millennials in Arlington said they can afford to buy a home in the D.C. area. [Washington Business Journal]

Another Phone Scam Warning — Arlington residents are getting phone calls from scammers claiming to be Dominion Virginia Power technicians collecting unpaid electric bills. “In some cases, scammers have deliberately falsified the information transmitted to the victim’s Caller ID display to disguise their identity,” warns the Arlington County Police Department. [Arlington County]

Talk By Black Man Who Befriends KKK Members — Daryl Davis, a musician who befriends KKK members and convinces them to leave the organization, gave a talk in Arlington earlier this week. Of our current political climate, he said: “This is the best thing that has happened to this country because we have been so much in denial of racism in this country, xenophobia and all these kinds of things… Now we can no longer turn a blind eye to it.” [Fox 5]

Arlington’s ‘Cafe Urbanism’ — A new article in a publication written for state and local government officials asks poses the question: “Hip restaurants have helped revive cities. But is the boom fizzling out?” As a prime example, the article cites recent restaurant closures in Clarendon. [Governing]

Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin

by ARLnow.com March 1, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

APS Extended Day registration issue“Server issues” prevented parents from registering for the Arlington Public Schools Extended Day program last night.

Extended Day registration opens at midnight on March 1, meaning that those fighting for a spot in the popular program stayed up late trying to register — until APS finally notified parents that it was closing the registration indefinitely until the problems can be fixed.

The issues occurred less than 12 hours after the Arlington County website went down due to technical issues that affected numerous sites around the web on Tuesday. It was not immediately clear if the Extended Day glitch was related.

From a post on the APS Facebook page, published after 1 a.m.:

At this time we are aware of the server issues preventing families from registering for Extended Day services.

We are working to have the issues resolved as quickly as possible.

In order to allow all families the opportunity to register successfully, we temporarily suspended registration for Summer 2017 and School Year 2017-2018 until further notice.

We will provide an update tomorrow via APS School Talk and our website.

We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused.

Here’s what one self-described “angry parent” said about the snafu, in an email to ARLnow.com:

If you haven’t heard, APS’ early registration system broke down last night. Registration began at midnight. If you don’t get in, you don’t get a slot for your child/children in the fall.

Every year, at midnight on March 1, working parents are forced to take part in this cruel system that requires them to stay up til midnight and beyond.

I was up until 2 trying to get on before giving up. So I’m at work today with only 4 hours of sleep. (APS expects me to deliver my daughter to school on time the next day.)

APS sent out a notice at 1:30 a.m. saying they will have to do it all over again.

I hope this incident sheds light on an unnecessarily cruel system that forces parents, who obviously have jobs to go to or they wouldn’t need aftercare, to stay up half the night hitting refresh buttons to make sure they have affordable aftercare.

“Please open registration at a reasonable hour,” another parent said in response to the APS Facebook post.

by ARLnow.com March 1, 2017 at 8:25 am 0

(Updated at 9 a.m.) As feared, it was pouring rain during last night’s Clarendon Mardi Gras parade.

But the raindrops did not dampen the spirits of those in the parade, who made their way up Wilson Blvd to the delight of thin but enthusiastic crowds.

From a dancing monkey to a guy on a penny-farthing to a bunch of people pedaling on the Trolley Pub, the parade hearkened back to a bygone era when “Keep Clarendon Weird” was the neighborhood’s motto.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor March 1, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

Just Reduced banner

Each week, “Just Reduced” spotlights properties in Arlington County whose price have been cut over the previous week. The market summary is crafted by licensed broker Aaron Seekford of Arlington Realty, Inc. GET MORE out of your real estate investment with Aaron and his team by visiting www.arlingtonrealtyinc.com or calling 703-836-6116 today!

Please note: While Aaron Seekford provides this information for the community, he is not the listing agent of these homes.

Only 19 more days of winter.

That’s right – on March 20, spring officially begins and local home sellers will really start kicking it in to high gear. Warmer temps typically equate to more and more foot traffic in local homes as well as more listings.

So, what does this mean for you, the homebuyer? It means that things are about to get super-competitive. Other homebuyers will be bringing their A-games and their top offers.

You’re going to want someone on your side that you truly trust with your most important purchase and that will help you GET MORE out of your transaction.

As the temps – and local market – heat up, give my team and me a shout when you’re ready to spring forward.

As of February 27 there are 162 detached homes, 33 townhouses and 204 condos for sale throughout Arlington County. In total, 33 homes experienced a price reduction in the past week.

Here is this week’s selection of Just Reduced properties:

Please note that this is solely a selection of Just Reduced properties available in Arlington County. For a complete list of properties within your target budget and specifications, contact Aaron Seekford.

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