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by Chris Teale May 16, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

The Arlington County Board will consider a plan to make a stretch of Williamsburg Blvd a so-called “Green Street” at its meeting Saturday.

The section of Williamsburg Blvd, between 33rd Road N. and 35th Street N., would have new trees added as well as two 1,000-square-foot rain gardens in the median. The project is intended to improve local water quality and address permit requirements as part of the county’s Green Streets project for stormwater management.

County staff estimated that installing the trees and rain gardens will treat runoff from 2.2 acres of impervious surfaces that do not allow rainwater to soak in. That water then runs off into the Little Pimmit Run watershed, which leads to the Chesapeake Bay, with Arlington under instructions along with other jurisdictions to reduce pollution in the bay.

If the County Board approves the plan, a contract worth an initial $1.23 million would be awarded, with $246,000 in contingency.

County staff recommends approval of the project, which is being coordinated with the second phase of improvements to Old Dominion Drive. Construction is set to start in June or July.

by Chris Teale May 16, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Just months after Sehkraft Brewing closed in Clarendon, its successor is preparing to make its mark.

According to license applications filed with Virginia ABC, The Board Room will look to continue Sehkraft’s in-house brewing in its former space at 925 N. Garfield Street. The old restaurant had a 10-barrel system for making its own beer. A permit application indicates that The Board Room hopes to brew up to 500 barrels per year.

Mark Handwerger, owner of The Board Room’s parent company Bedrock Bars, confirmed in an email that the bar will look to continue the in-house brewing program, but there is “nothing concrete” regarding operations or if they will partner with anyone.

The Board Room, which has another location currently open in Dupont Circle, combines an extensive drinks menu with board games, available for rent for a flat fee of $2.

The bar has applied for a liquor license and intends to seat more than 150 people. Sehkraft had seating for 210, including 66 on two outdoor patios. Handwerger said the adjoining butcher shop will be transformed into “Ms. Peacock’s Champagne Lounge.”

Demolition on the inside should begin soon based on building permits filed with the county. Handwerger said he hopes to open before Labor Day.

by ARLnow.com May 16, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

A small two-story building that’s now in the shadow of a much larger development in Courthouse has been placed on the market.

The owner of SuperStar Tickets and its building at 2305 Wilson Blvd says he is searching for a buyer, with the help of a real estate firm, but will only sell for the right price.

Omar Sider said he’s seeking an above-market price for the building, which he thinks could be attractive to investors given its proximity to the Courthouse Metro station and the new development at 2311 Wilson Blvd, which will house the headquarters of local tech firm Opower.

Sider’s building was grouped into the site plan for its larger neighbor and designated as a “stand alone retail pavilion.” Sider says he’s grandfathered in to keeping the building as-is, housing SuperStar Tickets’ offices, but he could also opt to build a new 6,400 square foot building with additional underground space and a connection to the parking garage of 2311 Wilson.

The latter is what any potential purchaser would likely intend to do. Because of the small size of the lot, a tall building is not possible.

“It’s a diamond in the rough,” Sider said of his property. “I don’t really want to sell it.”

Sider purchased the building in 2010 for $1.2 million and refused to sell it to the developer of 2311 Wilson, who he said made an offer only slightly above its market value. At least one anonymous tipster who reached out to ARLnow.com didn’t think holding on to the building was a good idea.

“They could have sold out at any time and made big bucks, but they refused,” said the tipster.

Sider, an Arlington native, said he thinks Courthouse will continue to be an attractive neighborhood, with more development and changes in the works. He said he is content to keep the building in his family “forever” if need be.

Should the building sell, he hopes to move SuperStar Tickets to another office in Arlington. Even if it doesn’t sell, the business is growing and may eventually require a bigger space, according to Sider.

by Chris Teale May 16, 2017 at 1:25 pm 0

Target will be opening a new 41,500-square-foot store in Ballston, at the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Glebe Road, the company announced this afternoon.

The new store will be located on the first floor of the 12-story mixed-use development at 750 N. Glebe Road being constructed by Saul Centers, Inc. The development is three blocks from the Ballston Metro station, on the site of a former Mazda dealership.

Customers will be able to buy groceries, clothing and accessories, technology, beauty and home products, and toys and baby care items. There will also be a CVS Pharmacy inside the store.

The new Target will allow guests to order online and pick up products within one hour. It is projected to open in 2021.

“Target’s small-format store near Saul Centers’ mixed-use project at Wilson and Glebe will offer a convenient, one-stop shop for the surrounding neighborhoods,” said Mark Schindele, senior vice president of properties at Target, in a statement. “Local guests as well as visitors to the community will enjoy an easy and inspiring experience, featuring a grocery assortment, exclusive apparel brands, a location to pick up online orders and the convenience of 40 dedicated parking spaces.”

Target officials said small-format stores, geared to dense urban and suburban neighborhoods and college campuses, are a priority. The retailer plans to operate more than 130 small-format stores by the end of 2019; it has an existing small-format store in Rosslyn, which opened in 2015.

“I’m delighted to welcome Target’s expansion into the Ballston area of Arlington,” said Del. Patrick Hope (D) in a statement. “Target has broken the mold with its retail stores specifically tailored to the uniqueness of the neighborhood. The addition of more grocery options and a quick pick-up services is the right fit for the Ballston neighborhood and I can’t wait for their grand opening.”

Image via Target

by ARLnow.com Sponsor May 16, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

Ask Eli banner

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: We want to upgrade our home with ‘smart’ technology but aren’t sure if it makes sense since we plan to sell our home in about a year. We’d feel better about doing so if it will increase the value of our home. Will these updates get us a higher price when it’s time to sell?

Answer: I see hundreds of homes each year and I’ve noticed only a slight increase in Arlington owners and renters using smart home devices. While supply is low for homes equipped with automated technology, evidence and buyer feedback points to increased interest in these homes and a slight bump in sale price, too.

What makes a home smart?

A smart home integrates three or more Internet of Things devices to solve daily tasks through automation, often working interdependently to complete them without human assistance. These devices are usually wirelessly connected to automate, control and monitor home functions like adjusting the temperature, grilling food, warming a mattress, dimming and turning off lights, checking on a video feed of your sleeping baby and feeding your pet.

Are buyers interested in smart technology in the home?

A recent Gartner survey of consumers in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia shows 10 percent of households take advantage of connected home solutions. Reasons for the lower adoption are varied: the perceived pain of the tech learning curve, the steady influx of new devices, and IoT privacy and security concerns.

In the US, adoption rates are higher:

By far the most popular devices are home security alarm systems, which have nearly double the adoption rates (18 percent) of newer connected home solutions, like home monitoring (11 percent), home automation or energy management (9 percent)… adoption rates were 5 to 6 percent higher in the U.S., where smart home devices were mostly first marketed.

You might think that smart homes are primarily valued by Millennials, but researchers are finding that home automation broadly appeals to Millennials, Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers, with Gen Xers spending the most money.

Will A Smart Home Technology Investment Pay Off When It’s Time to Sell?

I have a similar answer to this question as I do with a number of other home improvement projects. Yes, a smart home investment is likely to improve value, but it’s unlikely to return you 100 percent or more of your investment. Your decision to purchase smart home technology should factor both a bump in resale value and the personal value it brings to your family while you live there.

The type of smart home technology you choose will matter too. Selecting popular products like lights, thermostats, door lock, security systems, and cameras can be highlighted during showings and are generally pretty easy to control, which result in positive buyer reactions. However, I’ve visited a few homes with complex designs and unusual products, which ended up deterring my clients because of the presumed headache and cost of maintaining the system.

Thinking about renting out your property?

Renters are very interested in smart homes and I think this is one of the best ways for home-owners to compete for renters with higher end rental apartments. Millennial renters who live in multi-family dwellings were surveyed last fall about housing preferences. Eighty-six percent would pay more for a “smart” rental.  Sixty-five percent of Baby Boomers in the same survey indicated they would do the same. Furthermore, it was revealed that Millennial renters would pay about 20 percent more for smart home features; and 44 percent would trade a parking space to live in a “high-tech” apartment.

Has Smart Home Technology Influenced Your Purchase?

I’d like to hear from readers who have either been drawn to or turned away from a home with a smart technology package. If you’ve been a buyer in recent years and smart technology was a factor in your decision, I’d like to hear about it in the comments!

If you’re interested in seeing a smart home in action, I recently took a tour of the Alarm.com demonstration house in Falls Church, just off W. Broad Street. Send me an email if you’re interested in seeing the home and I can put you in touch with somebody from the team.

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at http://www.RealtyDCMetro.com.  

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

by Chris Teale May 16, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

The county’s newest farmers market is set to open tomorrow afternoon in Rosslyn’s Central Place plaza.

Approved by the County Board last month, the market at 1800 N. Lynn Street will run each Wednesday evening from 4-8 p.m. until November.

Nonprofit FRESHFARM will operate the market in partnership with the Rosslyn Business Improvement District. The pair anticipate having up to 10 vendors during its first year.

Vendors already confirmed for the market are Atwater’s, selling breads, pastries, baked goods and soups; Black Rock Orchard selling tree fruit, heirloom tomatoes, specialty vegetables and preserves; local pickles, pickled beets and sauerkraut vendor D.C. Dills; fresh meat and produce vendor Hillside Meadow Farm; and Loblolly Organic Farm selling cut flowers, wreaths, fruit and vegetables.

The Rosslyn market becomes the ninth in the county, with FRESHFARM already operating the markets in Ballston and Crystal City.

“Community spaces, like the Central Place Plaza, are all about bringing together people,” said Mary-Claire Burick, Rosslyn BID president, in a statement last month. “So it’s fitting that one of the first events in the plaza is a farmers market, where Rosslyn residents and workers can meet and enjoy some of the incredible fruits and vegetables our region has to offer.”

Image via Rosslyn BID

by ARLnow.com May 16, 2017 at 10:10 am 0

(Updated on 5/17/17) A brush fire that burned for an hour yesterday between the Four Mile Run Drive access road and the W&OD Trail left a large, scorched scar on the hillside.

A passerby photographed the scene yesterday evening and said “you can still smell” the smoke and fire, which was caused by a downed power line.

At least one vehicle appeared to be damaged during the incident.

Photos courtesy @bobco85

by ARLnow.com May 16, 2017 at 9:20 am 0

Field Lighting Recommendation Pushed to September — A long-delayed decision on whether to add lights to the athletic fields next to Williamsburg Middle School is getting delayed again: county staff says it will not have a recommendation for the County Board until September. A community work group that spent three years tackling the subject was unable to come to a consensus in its 89-page report. [InsideNova]

VDOT-Maintained Neighborhood Streets Crumbling — VDOT is trying to catch up on its paving of secondary (neighborhood) streets, but in places like Fairfax County many such roads are crumbling. Arlington County paves its own local roads rather than relying on VDOT, though the agency is still responsible for maintaining highways and some primary routes in the county. [WTOP]

School Board to Give Land to County — Despite the current school capacity crunch, the Arlington School Board is expected to deed 4.75 acres of land next to Taylor Elementary School to the county government, which will use it to expand Zachary Taylor Park. The land has been deemed too steep and unsuitable for building new facilities. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak

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