Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

HQ2 Business Boom Strains County — “A full year after Amazon.com Inc. announced that it would set up shop in Arlington, there’s little doubt the company has drawn the sort of surge in business and development interest that local leaders promised as they pursued HQ2 — but all of that activity has also put a strain on the local government as it prepares for the tech giant’s arrival.” [Washington Business Journal]

Tour of Amazon’s Temporary Crystal City Office — “Amazon almost has 200 employees working in leased space in @ArlingtonVA, with more on the way.” [WJLA, Twitter]

‘National Landing’ Name Falls Flat — “It’s been one year since the HQ2 announcement, and with it the coordinated airdrop of the name, ‘National Landing,’ on an unsuspecting and bewildered population… So has National Landing stuck? Not really, at least among the common people, according to the folks I interviewed.” [Washington Business Journal]

Amazon Adjacent Real Estate Skyrockets — “The median home price in the 22202 ZIP code, which encompasses all of HQ2, was $815,000 in October. That’s about a 51% year-to-date increase or a $275,000 difference, according to data provided by MarketStats by ShowingTime, based on listing activity from Bright MLS.” [Washington Business Journal, WTOP]

Housing Affordability Increasing? — “With mortgage rates at a three-year low and a healthy job market, housing affordability rose to its highest level in three years in the third quarter of 2019… for the Washington area, high incomes helped to offset the pricey cost of housing, with the resulting regional opportunity index higher than the national average.” [InsideNova]

County Pleased With Water Main Break Response — “How well did Arlington County in Virginia think it handled the water main break that triggered a boil water advisory for more than 100,000 customers in the county and parts of Northwest D.C.? Pretty well, it seems.” [WTOP]

New American Legion Bridge Coming — “Commuters heading to and from Maryland on the Beltway may see some relief from the constant traffic woes. The governors of Virginia and Maryland announced an agreement Tuesday morning that would see the construction of a new American Legion Bridge.” [Tysons Reporter]

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A woman was robbed by two people on Columbia Pike near the Pentagon on Monday evening.

The robbery happened just before 5:30 p.m. on Veterans Day, at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Joyce Street. Police say a patrol officer was flagged down by the victim, who reported being robbed by a pair of suspects, one of whom was armed with a gun.

“The victim was walking in the area when she was approached her from behind by two suspects,” according to an ACPD crime report. “The female suspect demanded her belongings and cell phone, while the male suspect brandished a firearm. The suspects fled the area with the victim’s belongings prior to police arrival and the victim ran to seek assistance. The victim was not injured.”

“Suspect One is described as a white female, with a skinny build, brown hair, wearing a pink shirt, a dark colored vest and dark pants,” the crime report continues. “Suspect Two is described as a heavy set white male, wearing a black vest, white shirt, white hat and jeans. The investigation is ongoing.”

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The Virginia Dept. of Transportation is studying possible upgrades to Route 50 between Glebe Road and Fillmore Street.

The 0.7 mile stretch, which is notably crash prone and difficult for drivers making left turns and pedestrians trying to cross the street, is a candidate for what VDOT has dubbed “Strategically Targeted Affordable Roadway Solutions.” Possible upgrades range from new turn lanes to pedestrian enhancements to — perhaps — even roundabouts.

VDOT is holding a public information session about the possible changes on Thursday (Nov. 14) from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Thomas Jefferson Middle School (125 S. Old Glebe Road).

More from VDOT:

The concepts being studied will be based on public input and may include improving turn lanes, traffic signal timing and operations, and access management for properties and streets along the corridor. Other concepts being studied may also include pedestrian, bicycle and transit enhancements, turn restrictions and “Innovative Intersections” such as roundabouts and interchanges. Stop by between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. to view displays and learn more about the project. A presentation will begin at 7 p.m. Project staff will be available to answer your questions.

“This stretch of Route 50 has long backups and delays during weekday peak commute times and several high crash locations due to the high number of access and conflict points,” VDOT said on a webpage for the study. “Route 50 averages 62,000 vehicles per day within the study limits.”

An online survey for the project asks, among other things, which multimodal facilities are needed along the Route 50 corridor. The multiple-choice options include sidewalks, crosswalks, pedestrian signals, shared-use bicycle lanes, bus shelters and a park and ride lot.

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Arlington Public Schools is conducting a survey about its upcoming 2020-2021 school year calendar, and a pre-Labor Day start date is on the table.

The Virginia General Assembly earlier this year voted to do away with a rule — dubbed the Kings Dominion law and supported by tourism boosters — that restricted school systems from starting classes before Labor Day.

Now, APS is asking parents, staff, students and community members about three new potential school calendars for next year, two of which are before Labor Day. All three options, below, include a 10 day winter break and a 5 day spring break.

  • Option 1: Aug. 27-June 17
  • Option 2: Sept. 8-June 25
  • Option 3: Aug. 25-June 15 (similar to Fairfax County)

More from an APS email to parents:

APS is in the early process of preparing the draft for the 2020-21 school year calendar. The Virginia Legislature recently gave control of calendars back to school divisions which means that school divisions could start before Labor Day. APS invites families and staff to provide input on whether to start school before or after Labor Day. There are three draft versions of a calendar available to review, two of which begin school prior to Labor Day. The online calendar survey is available through Nov. 22 and responses will help inform the final recommendation that will be presented for the School Board’s approval in January 2020.

File photo

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The popular Best of Nextdoor Twitter account, which highlights “quality neighborhood drama” on the hyperlocal social networking site, has taken aim at the Taco Bell on Lee Highway.

Last night the account posted a screenshot of a post by a High View Park resident who says she was reprimanded by the owner of the recently-renovated Taco Bell at 4923 Lee Highway for taking “15-20 sauce packets” for a take-out meal for her family.

“Suddenly a man sitting and eating yells at me to leave sauces for other customers and that I’ve taken too much,” she writes. “He yells and says he’s the owner and that I have too many sauces. “It tell him it’s not like I’m stealing I just bought a bunch of food!”

“Neighbors beware, don’t take too many sauces or you will be yelled at and berated at Taco Bell,” she concludes.

Comments on the post show split reactions.

“No offense but 20 sauce packets is taking more than your fair share,” said a Leeway Overlee resident.

“What’s the proper fair share, according to the taco sauce police?” retorted a Waycroft-Woodlawn resident.

As of this morning, the Best of Nextdoor post about the Taco Bell had more than 1,800 likes and 100 replies, ranging from “you need all that sauce so you don’t have to actually taste the Taco Bell” to “if you’re going to grab 20 individual hot sauce packets, maybe just bring your own bottle of hot sauce.”

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Morning Notes

VHC to Take More Trauma Patients — “Virginia Hospital Center is preparing to become a trauma center. The Arlington hospital, now amid a major campus expansion, is taking steps to secure Level 2 trauma designation — meaning it could handle more serious cases like head injuries and complex fractures with a devoted response team, led by an in-house general surgeon.” [Washington Business Journal]

APS May Be Rethinking School Swap — “As the potentially contentious redistricting of elementary-school boundaries begins to take shape, Arlington school leaders may be tiptoeing away just slightly from somewhat radical suggestions they offered just weeks ago.” [InsideNova]

AWLA Rescues Kitten Near Pentagon –“We received a call about a car parked near the Pentagon, with a note under the windshield stating that there was a kitten up inside the engine. Using a mix of patience and really yummy cat food, our officers were able to safely remove the kitten and bring her back to the shelter.” [Facebook]

Arlington-Made App Highlighted by Apple — “In honor of Veterans Day, Arlington, Virginia-based Sandboxx, creator of a platform that keeps military families connected, is being featured in Apple’s app store as its App of the Day.” [Technically DC]

Arlington Co. Makes Best-for-Vets List — Ballston-based contractor CACI is on a new list of the Best Companies for Veterans. [Tysons Reporter, Monster]

Sullivan Selected as Caucus Chair — “Virginia Democrats on Saturday chose Eileen Filler-Corn to become speaker of the House of Delegates, a pick that managed to be both historic and conventional for a party that flipped both chambers of the General Assembly in elections Tuesday… Del. Charniele L. Herring (Alexandria) will be the new majority leader, becoming the first woman and the first African American to serve in that post. Del. Richard C. ‘Rip’ Sullivan Jr… will be caucus chairman.” [Washington Post, Blue Virginia]

First Flakes Today? — Some light “conversational” snow may fall today as a cold front passes through. Meanwhile, NBC 4’s Doug Kammerer expects this winter to be colder and snowier than usual. [Capital Weather Gang, NBC 4]

New Korean Chicken Eatery Near Fairlington — “Korean chicken restaurant Choong Man Chicken is coming to… Shoppes at Summit Centre (4700 King Street).” [ALXnow]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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A Maryland man awaiting trial in the murder of Ballston resident John Giandoni has died in jail.

Jitesh Patel, 43, “was found unconscious in his cell at the Arlington County Detention Facility” early Monday, the county said in a press release late Monday afternoon. “Arlington County Sheriff’s Office Deputies and Nurses began immediate resuscitation efforts after finding Mr. Patel, before Fire Department rescue units arrived.”

Patel was pronounced dead by paramedics just after 6 a.m.

Patel has been in jail since July 26, 2018. In a preliminary court hearing, prosecutors said that Patel brutally killed Giandoni, his lover’s ex-boyfriend, after laying in wait in Giandoni’s townhouse.

Giandoni was found dead on March 16 after being strangled, shot and stabbed.

The full press release about Patel’s death is below.

Jitesh Patel, 43, died in the early hours of November 11, after he was found unconscious in his cell at the Arlington County Detention Facility.

Arlington County Sheriff’s Office Deputies and Nurses began immediate resuscitation efforts after finding Mr. Patel, before Fire Department rescue units arrived. He was pronounced dead by Medic 110 at 0605 hours at the scene.

Mr. Patel had been incarcerated since July 26, 2018 awaiting trial after being charged with Homicide.

His family was informed of his death this afternoon.

Cause of death will be determined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Following standard procedure, the death is being investigated by the Arlington County Police Department. Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact Detective S. King of the Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703.228.4243 or at [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 1.866.411.TIPS (8477).

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Arlington County Police are looking for a man who allegedly stole money from a tip jar and then bit a would-be Good Samaritan who tried to stop him.

The incident happened this past Thursday at Commonwealth Joe Coffee Roasters in Pentagon City, according to scanner traffic at the time.

“At approximately 1:47 p.m. on November 7, police were dispatched to the report of a fight,” an ACPD crime report says. “Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect entered a business in the 500 block of 12th Street S. and stole money from a tip jar before fleeing the scene on foot.”

The suspect was “tackled” by a bystander after running out of the business, according to police radio traffic, but after a brief struggle was able to get free and flee the scene.

More from the crime report: “Two employees of the business began following the suspect and called for help. Two bystanders caught up to the suspect and became engaged in a struggle with him. The suspect bit one of the bystanders, broke free and fled on foot prior to police arrival. The bystander sustained minor injuries.”

Because the bite reportedly drew blood, the suspect is now wanted on a charge of malicious wounding.

“The suspect is described as a black male, 25-29 years old, with facial hair and dreadlocks, wearing a gray sweatshirt with a black hood, gray sweatpants and red headphones,” the crime report said. “The investigation is ongoing.”

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Morning Notes

It’s Veterans Day — “Arlington County Government offices, courts, libraries & facilities will be closed Mon., Nov. 11, 2019, on Veterans Day.” Also, ARLnow will be on a limited publishing schedule. [Arlington County]

Fracture in Ranks of Arlington Dems — “Longtime Democratic volunteer John Richardson removed his name from the roster of ‘poll greeters,’ bemoaning party ‘orthodoxy.’ After last May’s divisive primary for commonwealth’s attorney, Richardson went public with criticisms of the successful outside-funded Parisa Deghani-Tafti campaign against incumbent Theo Stamos. That led party officials, he said, to ‘disinvite’ him from being a greeter.” [Falls Church News-Press]

County Releases Flood History Map — “Working toward a more Flood Resilient Arlington, the County continues to add to its array of stormwater management resources for the public. Challenges and the Path Forward, a just-published, visually rich Story Map, illustrates how Arlington’s peak 20th century development took place amid few standards for stormwater — and the ramifications for today’s more frequent, intense rain storms lasting very short periods of time.” [Arlington County]

Nearby: Skyline Complex Acquired — “A New York-based commercial real estate firm has acquired the aging Skyline office complex in Baileys Crossroads for about $215 million with plans to revitalize the 1970s-era property Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE: VNO) relinquished ownership of nearly three years ago.” [Washington Business Journal]

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Update at 12:15 p.m. — N. Glebe Road has reopened but crews will need to return for follow up work “in a few days,” the county says. Photos posted earlier today show the sinkhole fixed and the roadway re-paved.

Update at 10:15 a.m. — The boil water advisory that much of Arlington has been under over the past couple of days is now lifted. Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services made the announcement Sunday morning.

Arlington County issued the following press release Sunday morning:

Arlington County has lifted the Boil Water Advisory.

Following the large water transmission main break on Nov. 8 at Glebe Road and Chain Bridge Road, residents and businesses in Arlington can resume using tap water for all purposes.

Water customers are advised to run their taps for a few minutes to release any air and sediment that may have accumulated following the break. Emptying and cleaning automatic ice makers and water chillers is also encouraged.

A series of rigorous tests have determined that the system is safe following the significant water main break early Friday, Nov. 8, that caused pressure drops in several locations across the County. Because of significant pressure loss before the 36-inch transmission line was bypassed, Arlington issued a Boil Water Advisory for affected areas of the County as a safety measure.

Tests identified no potentially threatening bacteria in the system as a result of the break, and samples met Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. The County consulted with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to ensure the water system is safe for public use.

Arlington County appreciates the patience and understanding of its residents, businesses and their customers as staff followed procedures that place public health and safety as the highest priority.

The incident also affected portions of the Arlington-linked DC Water system, which has also been deemed safe following tests.

The section of North Glebe Road damaged by the break near Chain Bridge is expected to reopen to traffic Sunday afternoon. Because of the complexity of the break, permanent repairs and restoration will continue later this week, depending on the weather.

Earlier: A large portion of Arlington County remains under a boil water advisory, as crews make progress with repairs following a large water main break near Chain Bridge.

The boil water advisory is in effect until at least Sunday, Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services said Saturday morning.

N. Glebe Road, meanwhile, is still closed, but expected to open by Sunday evening — a shorter closure than the initial worst case scenario of extending into next week.

Among other neighborhoods, the boil water advisory is in effect along the Orange Line corridor from Rosslyn to Ballston. That has prompted changes at local stores and restaurants, from soda machines shut off to bottled water used to wash hands in bathrooms.

The CVS in Courthouse, meanwhile, ran out of most packs of bottled water on Saturday, the Washington Post reported, and Starbucks stores up and down Wilson Blvd are not serving hot coffee — leading some customers to get “a little nasty,” a manager told the Post.

More via social media:

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A long, three-day Veterans Day weekend is here, as is a three-day stretch of dry and warming weather, ahead of the next blast of cold and precipitation.

(Sorry, Arlington snow lovers, Tuesday probably isn’t it, after all.)

It’s been an eventful week in Arlington, punctuated by this morning’s major water main break near Chain Bridge. A boil water advisory remains in effect for a large portion of the county.

Here are the most-read articles on ARLnow this week:

  1. Arlington Man Causes a Stir As Max Scherzer Doppelganger
  2. Chain Bridge, Schools Closed Due to Large Water Main Break
  3. Clarendon Sports Bar Offers to Refund All Checks If Nats Go Back-to-Back
  4. Reintroduction of Popeyes Chicken Sandwich Ties Up Route 7 Traffic
  5. Op-ed: Arlington is Nonbinary
  6. Parisa Dehghani-Tafti Elected Prosecutor as All Incumbents Win Down the Ballot
  7. I-395 HOV Lanes Becoming Toll Lanes in Two Weeks
  8. Police Investigating Armed Robbery at Pentagon City Mall Parking Garage
  9. Taco Rock Now Open in Rosslyn

Feel free to discuss these stories or any other topics of local interest in the comments. ARLnow will be back with a limited publishing schedule on Monday. Have a nice weekend!

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