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Arlington Developers to Address the State of the Arlington Market on March 8

What is the future of retail in Arlington?

The county has seen dozens of restaurants close their doors in recent years, but major redevelopments along the corridor could breathe new life into its struggling dining scene. Bisnow’s Future of Arlington County will explore the issue further.

Since Regency Centers acquired Market Common Clarendon in spring 2016, two of the restaurants in the development have closed. Regency Centers is working to re-lease the retail center as the REIT prepares to launch a $50M-plus redevelopment of the property. They are being very selective with restaurant operators, and limiting the second-level space to non-food users, such as fitness studio Barre3.

Beyond Market Common, at least 10 other Clarendon restaurants have closed since 2016. Restaurateur Scott Parker, who co-owns Clarendon’s Don Tito and The G.O.A.T, said he has been surprised to see the string of recent closings. But Parker said he still has a strong outlook on Clarendon’s future, given its nightlife atmosphere and popularity with millennials.

Ballston has also experienced a large string of restaurant closings over the last two years. However, Forest City is preparing to deliver its $330M overhaul of the Ballston Common Mall, rebranding it as Ballston Quarter.

The development will feature four experiential retail concepts, including a Punch Bowl Social, live-action entertainment venue 5 Wits and recreational culinary school Cookology. Forest City Senior Vice President Will Voegele believes bringing all of these concepts together will create a regional destination that will benefit the entire Ballston neighborhood.

“I truly believe in a couple years, Ballston is going to be maybe the hotspot of the Orange Line,” said Parker. “I do deeply believe it’s going to be [the] next big thing. I think they’re going to knock it out of the park and I think people are going to be blown away by how busy Ballston gets and the type of hub it becomes in the next couple years.”

Will these redevelopments save Arlington’s retail? Find out at Bisnow’s Future of Arlington County on March 8!

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Crime Report: Man Frustrated by Drive-Thru ATM Wait Draws Gun

A dispute over a drive-thru ATM led a man in a Mercedes to draw a gun and make threats, police say.

The incident happened Monday afternoon, on the 3100 block of Columbia Pike, according to this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report.

A SunTrust bank is located on that block of the Pike.

Police say that the suspect “became verbally irate” while waiting in line to use the ATM. More from the crime report:

BRANDISHING, 2018-02260160, 3100 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 2:10 p.m. on February 26, police were dispatched to the report of a brandishing of a firearm. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was using the drive thru ATM when another vehicle pulled up behind him. The driver of the approaching vehicle became verbally irate, threatened the victim and allegedly brandished a firearm. The suspect is described as a black male, bald, approximately 25-30 years old, wearing glasses and a black shirt, driving a black Mercedes. The investigation is ongoing.

The rest of this past week’s crime report highlights, after the jump.

Photo via Google Maps

ROBBERY (late), 2018-02270237, 3800 block of 7th Street N. At approximately 5:57 p.m. on February 27, police were dispatched to the late report of a robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 8:00 p.m. on February 26, the victim was walking in the area when she was approached from behind by two unknown suspects. The suspects assaulted the victim before cutting her purse strap and fleeing the area with her personal belongings. Suspect One is described as a black male, 24-28 years old, approximately 5’6″, wearing a dark sweater. Suspect Two is described as a black male, 24-28 years old, approximately 5’6″, wearing a plaid shirt and brown pants. The investigation is ongoing.

ROBBERY, 2018-02230050, 3200 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 6:01 a.m. on February 23, police were dispatched the report of a possible robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that between approximately 7:30 p.m. on February 22 and 6:00 a.m. on February 23, the victim’s personal belongings were taken from the victim’s coat pocket. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

BURGLARY, 2018-02220048, 2500 block of Franklin Road. At approximately 7:54 a.m. on February 22, police were dispatched to the late report of a burglary. Upon arrival, it was determined that an unknown suspect forced entry to a business and stole cash. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

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Arlington GOP Wants More Info About County’s Amazon HQ2 Bid

Arlington Republicans are calling for greater transparency with regards to the county’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters.

Jim Presswood, Chair of the Arlington GOP, issued a statement Wednesday calling for the county to release “the basic framework” of its offer, arguing that “backroom deals are not the Arlington Way.”

The full statement is below.

Arlington County needs to let its citizens know what kind of deal they are offering Amazon to lure the company’s new headquarters to our county. Its discussions with Amazon have been behind closed doors and without public input. While we appreciate Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol promising transparency, it’s time for the County to make public at least the basic framework of what it is offering. Backroom deals are not the Arlington Way.

While an Amazon headquarters would bring benefits to Arlington and the region, Arlington citizens deserve to know the cost before any deal is struck. Arlington is under great budgetary pressure from increasing school capacity needs and a broken Metro. The citizens are entitled to know if the County is offering subsidies that will ultimately result in a bill being handed to Arlington taxpayers. Creating an attractive environment for businesses and residents is a far more fair and fiscally sound approach to bring jobs to Arlington than offering sweetheart deals to specific firms.

Update at 7:40 p.m. — Katie Cristol has responded via Twitter.

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High Wind Watch Issued for Arlington, D.C. Region

Arlington County and the rest of the D.C. area is under a High Wind Watch from Thursday night to late Friday night.

Forecasters say damaging winds are likely on Friday and widespread power outages are possible. It may be “one of the strongest wind storms in at least three years,” according to the National Weather Service.

More from NWS:

…HIGH WIND WATCH IN EFFECT FROM LATE THURSDAY NIGHT THROUGH LATE FRIDAY NIGHT… THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A HIGH WIND WATCH, WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM LATE THURSDAY NIGHT THROUGH LATE FRIDAY NIGHT. * TIMING…OVERNIGHT THURSDAY THROUGH FRIDAY NIGHT. * WINDS…NORTHWEST 25 TO 40 MPH WITH THE POTENTIAL FOR GUSTS AROUND 60 MPH. * IMPACTS…DAMAGING WINDS WILL BLOW DOWN TREES AND POWER LINES. WIDESPREAD POWER OUTAGES ARE POSSIBLE. TRAVEL WILL BE DIFFICULT, ESPECIALLY FOR HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A HIGH WIND WATCH MEANS THERE IS THE POTENTIAL FOR A HAZARDOUS HIGH WIND EVENT. SUSTAINED WINDS OF AT LEAST 40 MPH, OR GUSTS OF 58 MPH OR STRONGER MAY OCCUR. CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS. &&

Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak

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County Board Approves Additional Funds for N. Lynn Street Esplanade

The Arlington County Board approved $1.4 million in additional funding for the N. Lynn Street and Lee Highway esplanade and safety enhancement project.

The Virginia Department of Transportation came to county officials with a cost estimate significantly higher than the initial $7.95 million price tag, which was approved by the Board in December 2016.

The increase is due to lengthened construction time, increased materials and labor costs since the 2016 estimate and design changes relating to traffic plans, according to the county manager’s report. Initially, the call for construction bids in March 2017 only received one bidder, which was rejected “due to previous established restriction on the bidder by VDOT,” according to the manager’s recommendation.

The project will bring pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements, such as wider sidewalks and on-street bike lanes, as well as traffic management and street beautification to the N. Lynn Street and Custis Trail area. A public arts project, the long-delayed Corridor of Light project, will also be installed, but only at the four corners of the I-66 bridge.

Safety is a significant component of the project. The intersection of Lynn Street and Lee Highway, once dubbed the “Intersection of Doom,” has been the scene of numerous vehicle vs. pedestrian crashes over the past few years, though collisions are down since interim safety improvements have been installed

The Board unanimously approved the increase in budget at its Tuesday meeting. Project construction should wrap up by May 2020.

File photos

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County Board Approves $7.9 Million Loan for Queens Court Redevelopment in Rosslyn

The Arlington County Board on Tuesday unanimously approved a $7.9 million loan to redevelop Queens Court, an affordable housing building in North Rosslyn.

The Affordable Housing Investment Fund loan would help build 249 affordable units at what will be called Queens Court South, yielding “a net gain of 388 bedrooms over the existing 39-unit building,” according to a county press release.

The existing Queens Court structure, built in 1940, has studio and one bedroom apartments. Queens Court South will have those configurations as well as two and three bedroom units, with more room for families.

The project also dedicates 9,000 square feet for a northern leg of Rosslyn Highlands Park, with a planned playground and tot lot.

The redevelopment is part of a Western Rosslyn Area Plan adopted in 2015 that will add a new fire station and public secondary school. Current Queens Court households will be relocated, and the new building will be required to remain affordable for 75 years.

County Board Chair Katie Cristol said the Board was “delighted to help” the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing, which is redeveloping the property.

Here’s more from the press release regarding the project’s financing:

APAH will apply to the Virginia Housing and Development Authority for competitive 9 percent low income housing tax credits for Queen’s Court South, which will contain 90 affordable units. If APAH is awarded the 9 percent low income housing tax credits by VHDA, the Board is expected to consider a second AHIF request of up to $11.8 million for the remaining 159 units this fall. Although Queen’s Court North and South will be separated into two land condominiums for financing purposes, the development will be built in one phase, with all 249 units in one building.

After the Board approved its Site Plan in February 2017, APAH submitted an AHIF application for $24 million as part of the County’s Fiscal Year 2018 Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) process for affordable housing funding, to redevelop the property. Staff selected the Queen’s Court project to move forward with AHIF negotiations and the public process.

During the negotiation process, APAH reduced the AHIF request for the entire development by $4.3 million. The AHIF reduction was a result of APAH working with VHDA to increase the amount of certain VHDA low interest loans that are being layered with the VHDA senior loan. APAH also agreed to contribute another $2 million in equity to the development resulting from the transfer of the property into the tax credit partnership.

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Arts Focus: Arlington — Home for Art and Artists

This is a column written and sponsored by Arlington Arts / Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

From the sidewalk to a coffee shop art happens everywhere, as evidenced by the photo above. Called “…one of the best and most innovative projects in the region,” (Washington City Paper, “The Year In Galleries”, 2017), Arlington Arts’ Full Dome Projection Series of artist installations takes place in the David M. Brown Planetarium.

Two upcoming activities invite public input about where art lives, as well as where artists themselves reside.

The Arlington Cultural Facilities Task Force invites you to Visioning Arlington’s Cultural Spaces, a platform for you to explore and envision future cultural spaces in Arlington, from 1-2:30 p.m., this Saturday, March 3 at Kenmore Middle School.

The task force was created to develop a vision and priorities to inform County decision making about cultural facilities, and the public is invited to provide input to guide their work.

The conversation starts by hearing your thoughts on how you express your personal creativity, the events you attend and participate in (whether in Arlington or not), and what resonates with you. You’ll also brainstorm with your neighbors about the future of arts and culture in Arlington, and your vision for Arlington’s cultural facilities and spaces.

But what about space for artists themselves?

Arlington Arts and Artspace invite artists and creatives from throughout Maryland, The District and Virginia to an Arts Market Survey Launch Event and Reception on Thursday, March 22 from 6-8 p.m. Artists within a 50 mile radius of the County are asked to participate in the survey where they’ll identify their current and future needs.

Arlington Arts is collaborating with Artspace, the highly respected national arts-based non-profit based in Minneapolis, MN, to create affordable live and/or work spaces for artists in Arlington. Artspace has consulted with hundreds of cities across the country and completed successful projects in the region, including Washington D.C. and Mt. Rainier, MD, but this will be their first project in Virginia.

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The Children’s School May Move to Alpine Restaurant Site

A community meeting is being held tomorrow night to discuss a proposed development that would bring The Children’s School to the former Alpine Restaurant site on Lee Highway.

The Children’s School, a subsidized daycare center for Arlington County teachers, is planning to relocate as its long-time home — the Reed School building in Westover — is renovated and turned into a new elementary school.

A flyer for the meeting — to be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Lee Highway Alliance (4620 Lee Highway) — says a three-story building has been proposed for the Alpine site, which has sat largely unused for the past eight years.

“Two-hundred thirty-five children, aged 0-5, would be housed in a three story building that tapers at the rear towards the Glebewood townhouses, with rooftop play areas,” says the flyer. “Integration Station, which is a pre-school for kids with special needs, would also be part of the application (about 30% of 235 children).”

“Daycare would open at 6:45 a.m. and close by 5 p.m — not open on weekends,” the flyer continues. “The site is approximately 19,400 square feet. This is a by-right application under a use permit. The preliminary drawings illustrate an attractive, glass-paneled contemporary and playful design for the school.”

The site is owned by Arlington businessman Brian Normile, of BCN Homes and Liberty Tavern, and would be leased to The Children’s School, according to the flyer. The Children’s School would temporarily move to Ballston during the approval and construction process, it says.

The flyer lists “impacts to Glebewood Historic District,” green space and tree coverage, and parking — the plan calls for 40 mostly underground parking spaces plus drop-off spaces — as some of the issues for further community discussion.

Photo via Google Maps

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Arlington Pet of the Week: Gigi

Becky's Pet Care

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Gigi, a 3-year-old Bombay cat who enjoys wet food and strings of any kind.

Here is what her owner Alexandra had to say:

Gigi is a three-ish Bombay beauty who lives in Arlington, VA with her parents Frank and Alexandra. She has been a VA resident for longer than her parents and loves to show them how locals live. Gigi was adopted from Animal Welfare League of Arlington (AWLA) in September of 2016. Though barely older than a kitten herself, she had given birth to a litter of kittens prior to being adopted into the O’Donnell-Fee household. Still she has retained her kitten-like spirit and is conquering her remaining pregnancy fat by working out intensely at 3 a.m.

Gigi likes wet food in any fish flavor, strings of any kind, and her special chair in the living room. She does not like scratches on the butt or when new people neglect to greet her at the door. Her biggest dream is escaping down the hallway of the apartment floor she lives on, but she is afraid of the carpet. When she grows up, Gigi wants to be a celebrity chef mostly so she can sit around in the grocery bags.

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 of 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.

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Arlington Ranks No. 3 for Residents Born Out of State

It is true: the vast majority of Arlington residents moved here from somewhere else.

Arlington County is third in a list of places where most people were born out of state, bested only by two major retirement destinations.

A Bloomberg columnist posted the list, from U.S. Census data, yesterday.

Only 18.8 percent of Arlington’s residents were born in Virginia, according to the data. Among cities and places with more than 65,000 residents, Arlington is only outranked by Kissimmee, Florida, with 17.8 percent born in state, and The Villages, Florida, with 3 percent born in state.

Alexandria and Silver Spring were also near the top of the list, each with 20.2 percent of residents born in-state.

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Morning Notes

Major Orange and Silver Line Issues — Orange and Silver line Metro service has been restored but significant delays remain from an earlier disabled train at the Ballston station. [Washington Post, Twitter, Twitter]

Legislature Considering Expanding I-66 Tolls — Del. Tim Hugo (R), the state lawmaker who proposed a bill that would slash Arlington’s tax revenue from country clubs, is now also proposing legislation that would require I-66 to be tolled in both directions. “If you live in Arlington, D.C. or Maryland, and you are going to Tysons Corner or west, you pay no toll in the morning and you get a free ride home,” Hugo said. “We will even it out by getting some people in Arlington to pick up the freight.” [Washington Post]

County Board Members Lobby Against Country Club Bill — Both Libby Garvey (D) and John Vihstadt (I) were in Richmond yesterday to lobby against HB 1204, the bill that would provide a “windfall tax cut” for Arlington’s two country clubs. [Twitter]

Vegas Bunnies Arrive in Arlington — “Six furry, floppy-eared cottontails dubbed the ‘Las Vegas bunnies’ have arrived at an animal rescue center in Arlington after many others were poisoned in Nevada.” [Washington Post]

Arlington School Board Bill Passes — A state bill that would ensure that Arlington County has the legal standing to have an elected School Board, after questions arose about the School Board’s legality, has passed the state legislature and is now heading to Gov. Ralph Northam (D) for his signature. [InsideNova]

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Just Reduced Properties in Arlington

 

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.  

Sometimes we see real estate agents reducing properties by $1,000, $100 or… $1.

Why is this?

Generally, it’s all about marketing and search results. Say Bob the Buyer wants to spend no more than $400,000 for a condo. If a property is listed at $400,001, it will not show up in Bob the Buyer’s search of condos “$400,000 or less.” So, that buck really can make a difference in what people see.

On the flip side, as a buyer, it’s important to know what may be initially just outside of your price range. If you’re wiling to spend $400,000 on a home, are you willing to spend $400,001 on the home of your dreams? Probably so, thus you’ll want to search accordingly.

And just remember, buyers, that $400,001 listing price is just the beginning. You’re going to want a trusted team on your side to help you GET MORE out of your transaction… and ultimately the most bang for your buck. When that time comes, we’re ready for your call.

As of February 26 there are 153 detached homes, 23 townhouses and 177 condos for sale throughout Arlington County. In total, 16 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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BREAKING: Hazmat Situation at Marine Corps Headquarters

Update at 2:45 p.m. — The base’s public affairs office released the following statement Wednesday.

The Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Feb. 27 incident where 11 personnel began feeling ill after a letter was opened on the Marine Corps side of the base remains under investigation.

NCIS and the FBI are conducting the joint investigation.

The three Marines who were transported for additional medical evaluations were released from the hospital at approximately 10 p.m. last night.

This office will continue to provide updates as they become available.

Earlier: Firefighters, paramedics and law enforcement responded to Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Tuesday afternoon for a hazmat situation involving an unknown substance that was mailed to the base.

Firefighters were first called to Henderson Hall, the headquarters of the U.S. Marine Corps, just after 4:30 p.m. for a hazmat incident. Ft. Myer, Arlington County and Alexandria firefighters and hazmat units were dispatched to the scene, as was an “EMS task force” that is usually dispatched to mass casualty incidents.

Initial reports suggest that a certified letter was opened in one of the buildings and that it contained some sort of potentially hazardous substance, prompting an evacuation of the building and the deployment of an emergency decontamination station.

Eleven people were treated for symptoms and three were transported to the hospital in stable condition, according to the Arlington County Fire Department. Symptoms included a nose bleed and a burning sensation, according to initial reports.

A Marine Corps official released a statement saying that the victims were Marines.

“An envelope containing an unknown substance was received, today, aboard Joint Base Ft. Myer-Henderson Hall,” the statement said. “Personnel in the affected building took immediate preventative measures by evacuating the building. Base officials are coordinating with local hazmat teams and the FBI. Several Marines are receiving medical care as a result of this incident.”

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said via Twitter that he is “closely following the situation.”

With the help of the local hazmat teams “the building was screened and cleared, and the letter was removed,” the Marine Corps said late Tuesday. The FBI and Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) are now conducting a joint investigation.

National news media, including major television networks, gathered outside of the base in Arlington’s Foxcroft Heights neighborhood to report on the story. A press conference to be held outside the base was later cancelled. No reason was given for the cancellation.

During the incident police closed off the road near the entrance to Henderson Hall, at the intersection of S. Orme Street and Southgate Road.

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New Homes Under Construction Near Columbia Pike

A new residential development is under construction just south of Columbia Pike.

The development, first approved in 2009, is described as “a residential project for 36 condominium units within 12 townhouse structures.” It is currently under construction at 1100 S. Highland Street, behind the Audi dealership, and along what it planned as a future extension of 11th Street S.

The permit holder is listed as the Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC), which has offices at 901 S. Highland Street, about two blocks away from the construction site. Construction permits were first approved in late September last year.

ECDC did not immediately respond to requests for comment from ARLnow.

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Survey Says: Rosslyn Residents Want A New Grocery Store

(Updated at 4 p.m.) Rosslyn residents are a bit happier with the neighborhood than they were last year, but they’d still like a new grocery store.

The results from the Rosslyn Business Improvement District survey, conducted in December 2017, were released earlier this month and point to a growing desire for healthy food options.

“Better grocery stores came up as the top desire for residents and the second for those who live in, work in, and/or visit Rosslyn,” the report said.

Currently, an aging Safeway and a newer Target Express are the main grocery options.

However, Rosslyn residents might be getting a new grocery store at some point in the near future, noted a Rosslyn BID rep, if an approved Monday Properties development at 1401 Wilson Boulevard moves forward. Plans are currently is on hold and a grocery tenant has not been announced for the location.

The survey also found that neighborhood negativity was down slightly, but there were areas with room for improvement.

Fewer residents expressed negative feelings about shopping options — down from 64 percent to 58 percent. Agreement that longer hours would get people to spend more time in Rosslyn dropped by three percent to 52 percent. Just over half of respondents noted that longer or later restaurant or shopping hours of operation would encourage them to linger in Rosslyn.

Survey takers said healthier food and more sit-down restaurants would be a welcome addition.

“Whether with food or retail, the overall consensus is a strong desire for more and better options, with local options playing an underlying theme,” said the survey results. “For dining, the public is unsatisfied with the limited sit-down dining options and desires more diverse and full-service restaurants. Additionally, a desire for healthy food options (including vegan, vegetarian, and organic) emerged in both dining and grocery options.”

Overall satisfaction with Rosslyn as a place to work went up from 87 percent to 91 percent.

“We see an overwhelmingly positive shift in perception from 2016 to 2017,” said Maureen Goldman, Rosslyn BID marketing and communications director. She said she was pleasantly surprised by the survey results and that the company would be capitalizing on the sentiment shift to make Rosslyn more of a destination.

“Perception change is a long game, it isn’t something that happens overnight,” she said.

Respondents were able to write-in the first words that came to mind when thinking about Rosslyn. The BID didn’t provide exact word count figures, but the group created a word bubble visualizing the word size corresponding with the frequency of the response.

The largest word on the chart was “convenient,” followed by “accessible,” “corporate,” and “clean.” Fewer respondents appeared to use words like “walkable,” “nice,” “food,” or “beautiful” to identify Rosslyn.

“Boring” was no longer within the top ten words used to describe the neighborhood.

Photo via Google Maps

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