Arlington, VA

(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) A residential development in Clarendon originally approved in 2015 may be nearing fruition.

The Arlington County Board previously approved a 580-unit, mixed-use development project in western Clarendon in October 2015. Set to replace the former Red Top Cab headquarters and dispatch center, and a pair of small commercial buildings, the development has shown few signs of progress since then.

That may be about to change. The KinderCare daycare center, located in one of the buildings to be replaced in the first of two planned construction phases, informed parents last week that it would be closing in June.

“Today I have some sad news to share: our center will close on June 5,” the center’s director wrote in a Feb. 20 letter. “As some of you may know, our center has been on short term leases for the last few years due to a new development project awaiting approval with the city. We recently learned that the project is moving forward.”

The letter went on to suggest that no replacement is currently planned for the center.

“I know this news may be unexpected and difficult to hear… Please know that all of us at KinderCare will do everything we can to support you and your child and to make this transition as stress-free as possible,” the letter says. “Since 2017, we’ve been diligently exploring all additional options for centers in the area… we are continuing to seek out additional child care solutions for families in Arlington.”

Facing a relatively tight turnaround for finding new childcare arrangements, some parents are incensed.

“This is incredibly short notice in an area that commands 6 months+ of wait lists for daycare services,” one parent told ARLnow. “Our understanding is that the teachers and director were blindsided as well.”

KinderCare is planning a town hall meeting for parents Tuesday night. The company says it will assist the center’s staff in finding new positions, potentially at other KinderCare centers in the D.C. area.

There’s no word on when developer Shooshan might be kicking off construction on the project, the first phase of which will also replace the Red Top Cab dispatch center. A company representative did not respond to several emails from ARLnow.

Shooshan is currently wrapping up construction of 4040 Wilson Blvd, the tallest building in Ballston and future home of VIDA Fitness, The Salt Line restaurant and the corporate headquarters of AvalonBay.

A host of new development in Clarendon is on the way, prompting county planners to reexamine the circa-2006 plan for the neighborhood.

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A long-delayed development project in the Potomac Yard area is likely to go back before the Arlington County Board this year with some changes.

Developer Meridian is expected to seek a modification to the earlier plan to build four office buildings on the empty plot of land along Richmond Highway, south of Crystal City, known as Potomac Yard Land Bay C.

The site plan was originally approved in 2007, per our earlier reporting, to include four buildings over an underground parking garage. It includes more than 1 million square feet of office space, 41,000 square feet of retail space and a half-acre park known as North Plaza. The window to start work on the site, located near the Lidl headquarters, was extended by three years by the state legislature in 2017.

A county spokeswoman tells ARLnow that half of the planned complex may be switched from office to residential use, with an option to also build a hotel instead. The change was foreshadowed in a conceptual site plan submitted to Arlington’s planning department. (Such plans are submitted for feedback from county planners and precede formal site plan filings.)

“The conceptual site plan for Potomac Yard Land Bay C proposes to convert the approved office GFA to residential use, with an option for hotel use as well,” said Dept. of Community Planning, Housing & Development spokeswoman Gina Wimpey. “The conceptual site plan is still under staff review, and we don’t know if or went the application will file a preliminary site plan, which would be the next step after the conceptual site plan. The conceptual site plan covers only the eastern half of Land Bay C, not the western half.”

A planning division presentation to the County Board last week suggested that planners were expecting the new site plan to be filed in time for County Board approval by the end of the year.

Arlington is experiencing a development boom, particularly in and around Crystal City, in the wake of the Amazon HQ2 decision.

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The old warehouses that once stood along S. Eads Street, between 12th and 15th streets, are no more.

The buildings have been torn down over the course of the past month to make way for the first half of Amazon’s permanent HQ2, which is expected to open in 2023.

A Reddit user who lives near the site captured a unique, bird’s-eye view of the demolition, posting a minute-and-a-half video showing the warehouses being methodically leveled over time.

The video was shot on a GoPro in timelapse mode, the user said.

“Hopefully you signed like a 10 year price lock lease because your rent is probably going to skyrocket,” another user said in the comments.

Demolition for the Amazon invasion has started in Arlington – View from my apartment from nova

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Morning Notes

Dorsey Steps Down from Transportation Board — “The Arlington County Board forced member Christian Dorsey to step down from a second transit board Saturday over a campaign donation from Metro’s largest union, and he apologized for misleading statements he made last month suggesting that he had already returned the money. Dorsey (D), who was reelected to the board in November, said he has sent back the $10,000 donation to the Amalgamated Transit Union and agreed to resign from the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission.” [Washington Post]

Thousands Attend Buttigieg Rally — Nearly 10,000 people attended Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s campaign rally at Washington-Liberty High School yesterday afternoon. [Twitter, TwitterThe Pete Channel]

Klobuchar Had High Profile Local Landlord — “Chuck Todd — who helped moderate Wednesday night’s Democratic debate — is likely more familiar with one candidate than any other. He was Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s landlord, sources exclusively told Page Six. Klobuchar and her husband, lawyer John Bessler, rented a 3-bedroom home owned by Todd in Arlington, Virginia, sources said.” [Page Six]

Firm Floats Less Parking for HQ2-Adjacent Park — “The green space adjacent to the first pair of Amazon.com Inc. HQ2 towers could be so much grander if it weren’t for some redundant on-street parking. That is what New York-based James Corner Field Operations, the urban design and landscape architecture firm Amazon has enlisted to mold Metropolitan Park’s open space, said Thursday night during the first step of the park master planning process… the site has roughly 50 on-street parking spaces, but there is a significant number, about 350, of underused below-ground spaces.” [Washington Business Journal]

Iwo Jima Restoration Is Complete — “This Sunday, Feb. 23, marks 75 years since brave Marines raised the American flag over Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima. The U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, which depicts the historic moment, has been completely rehabilitated… The rehabilitation of the sculpture and surrounding parkland, the specially designed onsite exhibits and the new videos were made possible through a generous $5.37 million donation.” [Press Release]

Board Approves Child Care Funding, Park Contract — “The Arlington County Board today approved a contract with Crown Construction Service, Inc. to upgrade heavily-used Edison Park with new playgrounds and other amenities… [and] accepted a $200,000 donation to fund high-quality child care for low-income Arlington families, the first such donation to the Arlington Community Foundation’s  (ACF) Shared Prosperity initiative from a private corporation.” [Arlington County, Arlington County]

‘Ball Cap Bandit’ Sentenced — “An Arlington man was sentenced today to five years in prison for robbing two Falls Church pawn shops of nearly $800,000 in jewelry and watches. According to court documents, in July 2014, Budder Khan, 30, entered Route 50 Gold and Jewelry Exchange, forced the store’s employees to the ground using what appeared to be a real firearm, smashed the business’s glass display cases, and took jewelry and watches worth over $650,000.” [Press Release]

Flickr pool photo by Phil

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A carjacking suspect made a successful getaway in Pentagon City Friday night, even as Arlington County Police have stepped up patrols in the area after a series of carjackings and robberies.

Police say they were patrolling parking garages in the area of the Pentagon City mall when they were flagged down by a victim who was assaulted by a man with a gun. Shortly thereafter, just before 11 p.m., police received a report of an armed carjacking nearby.

The victim’s vehicle was located on Army Navy Drive and police attempted to pursue it, but the suspect fled at a high rate of speed across the 14th Street Bridge into D.C. and officers were not able to catch up, according to ACPD.

More from a police press release:

The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is investigating two armed robberies that occurred in Pentagon City Garages on the evening of February 21, 2020.

At approximately 10:25 p.m., an officer conducting proactive patrol inside a parking garage in the 1100 block of S. Hayes Street was flagged down for assistance by the victim. The victim stated he had been sitting inside his parked vehicle looking at his cell phone when he heard a knock at the window and observed an unknown male suspect brandishing a firearm. The victim exited the vehicle and was assaulted by the suspect. The victim screamed and the suspect fled the scene on foot. The victim was treated on scene by medics for minor injuries. A lookout was broadcast, and officers canvased the area for the suspect.

At approximately 10:50 p.m., while investigating the above-mentioned incident, police were dispatched to the report of a carjacking inside the garage in the 900 block of Army Navy Drive. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 10:34 p.m., the victim entered the garage, parked his vehicle and observed the suspect acting suspiciously. The victim left the area but immediately returned to check on his vehicle. Upon returning, the suspect confronted the victim, brandished a firearm and demanded the victim’s keys. The suspect fled the scene in a black Honda Civic with Virginia license plate UND4813.

Responding officers observed the suspect driving eastbound on Army Navy Drive. At the intersection of Army Navy Drive and Fern Street, the suspect ran a red light and fled the scene at a high rate of speed into the northbound lanes of I-395 HOV. The officers activated their emergency equipment and pursued the vehicle but were unable to maintain contact due to the extreme speed of the suspect vehicle. The suspect vehicle was last seen entering Washington D.C.

The suspect is described as a black male in his mid 20’s, approximately 6 feet tall, 165 – 175 pounds with short black hair and a light amount of facial hair. He was wearing a black jacket, dark jeans and dark sneakers at the time of the incident.

Police are investigating these incidents as a series with the earlier reported carjackings in the area. The series remains an active and ongoing criminal investigation with detectives continuing to follow-up on investigative leads. Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact Detective S. King of the Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4243 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at ‪1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

Safety Tips and Crime Prevention Measures

The department continues to deploy increased police resources, to include both visible and non-visible assets, in the Pentagon City area. As part of our investigative efforts into these incidents, detectives are working collaboratively with regional law enforcement partners to identify crime trends and apprehend suspect(s).

The department’s efforts to prevent crime in Arlington County are enhanced by the active involvement of the public. If you observe suspicious activity or are the victim of a crime, contact police immediately by calling the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222 or 911 in an emergency.

Police are reminding the public to follow these safety tips:

  • Exit your vehicle and continue to your destination promptly after parking
  • Park in well-lit, high traffic areas.
  • Be aware of your surroundings when entering and exiting your vehicle
  • Limit your use of devices that may distract you, such as cell phones and headphones
  • Don’t leave items unattended or visible in your vehicle

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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ARLnow Weekend Discussion

It’s been another week of weather ups and downs — and plenty of local news of note.

Here are the most-read stories of the past five days:

  1. Democratic Presidential Hopeful Pete Buttigieg Coming to Arlington
  2. Redevelopment Plan for Courthouse ‘Landmark Block’ Appears Ready to Move Forward
  3. With Lots of Redevelopment Coming, County Expected to Re-Examine Clarendon Plan
  4. New Home of H-B Woodlawn Closed After Sprinkler Mishap
  5. Construction Underway on New ‘World of Beer’ in Ballston
  6. Crash, Road Rage Incident Leads to Arrest of Alexandria Man
  7. New Streets Coming With New Marriott Redevelopment in Rosslyn
  8. Morning Notes (Feb. 18)
  9. East Falls Church Metro Parking to Close for Most of the Year

Expect news from this weekend’s Arlington County Board meeting, as well as even more development-related news, next week. In the meantime, feel free to discuss the articles above or any other topics of local interest in the comments.

Have a sunny weekend!

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The Arlington Career Center is poised to change from drab, squat and Brutalist to taller, glassier and more modern, if new concept designs are approved by the School Board next month.

The designs were revealed at a meeting of two Arlington Public Schools committees on Wednesday. Created by the design firm Stantec, the concept renderings show the new planned look of what’s being called the “Jewel of the Pike.”

The career and technical education facility along the Columbia Pike corridor is set to add 250 seats next year and 800 new high school seats by September 2015, as APS works to accommodate rising enrollment across the school system. The School Board is expected to vote on the concept designs in March and the overall plan for the $185 million project in June.

The concept slides suggest that about 167,000 square feet of the existing structure will remain, with an additional 204,000 square feet built around it.

The first phase of the project, a two story building immediately adjacent to the career center, will be built on top of what’s currently a playground along S. Highland Street. It will include sufficient space for auto tech and animal science programs, as well as TV production and other uses.

As we reported in September, the expanded center will include a full-sized gym, a performing arts center, a new cafeteria, a new common area, a parking garage, a pool, and a multi-use outdoor synthetic turf field.

Despite the additions, the Arlington Career Center will remain an option school and not a comprehensive high school, though the concept renderings include notations of places where the facility can be expanded in the future.

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Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieig is coming to Arlington this weekend, and might be bringing some traffic headaches along with him.

The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana will be holding a large, town hall-style event at the Washington-Liberty High School football stadium on Sunday from around 2:45-5 p.m.

Arlington County Police are warning of “large crowds and increased pedestrian and vehicular traffic in the area related to the event.” Police will be on hand to monitor traffic and potentially implement some road closures, the department said.

Parking is limited in the area, but a rideshare drop-off and pick-up done has been established across the street from the high school, at Quincy Park. The school is also within walking distance of the Ballston and Virginia Square Metro stations.

More from ACPD:

A public Town Hall event is being held at Washington-Liberty High School stadium, located at 1301 N. Stafford Street, on the afternoon of Sunday, February 23 from approximately 2:45 PM until 5:00 PM.

The public can anticipate large crowds and increased pedestrian and vehicular traffic in the area related to the event. The Arlington County Police Department will monitor traffic conditions and may implement road closures in the interest of public safety. Those traveling in the area should follow the direction of officers.

Getting to the Event

Parking in the area is extremely limited. Participants are encouraged to arrive using multi-modal and public transportation options to reduce vehicular congestion. The Ballston and Virginia Square metro stations, located on the orange and silver lines, are a short walk to the event location.

Motorists are advised that no event parking will be permitted at the North Quincy Street Development located at 1425 and 1435 N. Quincy Street.

Rideshare Pick-Up and Drop-Off Location

A designated rideshare pick-up and drop-off zone has been established at the Quincy Park parking lot located at 1021 N. Quincy Street. Rideshare vehicles will enter the lot in the 1000 block of N. Quincy Street and exit in the 3900 block of Washington Boulevard. Drivers are reminded that stopping or standing in travel lanes to discharge or pick-up passengers is strictly prohibited.

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An Arlington attorney who says he never plays the lottery has finally stepped forward to claim a $1 million lottery prize he won on New Year’s Day.

Daniel Schuman’s wife bought him the winning New Year’s Millionaire Raffle ticket from the 7-Eleven store at 4223 Fairfax Drive in Ballston. It was one of three $1 million tickets sold statewide.

“It was shocking,” Schuman said about realizing he won. He claimed his check on Feb. 20 but has “no immediate plans for the winnings,” according to the Virginia Lottery. The store received $10,000 for selling the winning ticket.

More from a lottery press release:

Daniel Schuman is not a lottery player. In fact, the Arlington man said he never plays. But as it turns out, his wife bought him a ticket for Virginia’s New Year’s Millionaire Raffle, and that ticket ended up winning $1 million.

“We saw that the number matched, and we checked again,” he told Virginia Lottery officials. “It was shocking. It’s like, this isn’t what we expected!”

The winning ticket was bought at the 7-Eleven at 4223 North Fairfax Drive in Arlington. That ticket, #149613, was one of three top prize winners in the New Year’s Day drawing.

On February 20, he went to the store to receive his check from the Virginia Lottery. The store received $10,000 for selling the winning ticket.

Mr. Schuman, who is an attorney, said he has no immediate plans for the winnings.

The other two top prize tickets in the January 1 drawing were bought in Portsmouth and Chesapeake. Five additional tickets won $100,000 each. Those tickets were bought in Arlington, Fredericksburg, Midlothian, Narrows and Winchester. An additional 500 tickets each won $500.

The Virginia Lottery is good fun for a great cause. Arlington received more than $4.8 million in Lottery funds for K-12 public education in Fiscal Year 2019. For more information and a complete list of Lottery funds distributed to Virginia school districts, visit the Virginia Lottery’s Giving Back page.

Photo via Virginia Lottery

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Long-time Columbia Pike dance venue The Salsa Room is moving.

The Latin nightclub and bar at 2619 Columbia Pike will host its last party in Arlington on Saturday, March 7. It is moving to the current Palladium space at 1524 Spring Hill Road in Tysons.

The grand opening in Tysons is set for March 25, according to a social media post.

The loss of The Salsa Room will mean less nighttime activity along the Pike’s main business district. It is also the second major dancing and nightlife venue to close in Arlington following the recent closure of the Clarendon Ballroom.

“After 20+ years in Arlington, and countless, amazing memories, TSR would like to thank all of the artist, dancers, instructors, DJs and you for supporting us,” The Salsa Room said.

View this post on Instagram

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT.• WE’RE MOVING After 20+ years in Arlington, and countless, amazing memories, TSR would like to thank all of the artist, dancers, instructors, Djs and you for supporting us. We invite you to join us March 4-7 for the closing parties. Our new home will be in Tysons Corner. (1524 Spring Hill Rd McLean ,VA) Grand Opening Weekend & Get Your 2020 VIP Card Night March 25 -29. Tickets will go on sale Friday Feb. 21 www.tsrtickets.com Visit our social media for more details. @salsaroom 2619 Columbia Pike Arlington, VA #thesalsaroom #salsaroom #salsa #bachata#salsadancing #sensualbachata #zouk #bachatadancing#tsr #salsaclasses #bachataclass #bachatasensual #tsr #bachatademo #bachatadance #tsrinterviews #tsrangels @salsaroom

A post shared by The-Salsa Room (@salsaroom) on

Image via Google Maps

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A pair of incidents at Arlington’s two shopping malls led to four arrests and charges against six people.

The first incident happened Wednesday afternoon at the Pentagon City mall. Around 3 p.m., according to Arlington County Police, two juvenile suspects shoplifted from a store and were soon thereafter located by officers at the Pentagon City Metro station. One of the suspects lashed out violently, spitting on and hitting officers, according to police.

More from an ACPD crime report:

ASSAULT ON LAW ENFORCEMENT, 2020-02190151, 1100 block of S. Hayes Street. At approximately 2:56 p.m. on February 19, police were dispatched to the report of shoplifting. Upon arrival, it was determined that suspects allegedly entered a business, stole items of value, and fled on foot. A lookout was broadcast and arriving officers located the juvenile suspects on the metro platform. One suspect actively resisted by pushing, elbowing and spitting on the two arresting officers. Once detained, she continued to resist and kicked two additional officers. Petitions for Assault and Battery on Police (x4) and Obstruction of Justice were sought for Suspect One. Petitions for Petit Larceny, Fugitive from Justice and Identity Theft were sought for Suspect Two.

Later Wednesday evening, four juvenile suspects allegedly shoplifted from a store at the Ballston Quarter mall. A security officer who tried to chase after and stop the group was pepper sprayed by one of the suspects, police say.

In coordination with Metro Transit Police, two suspects were later taken into custody at the Rosslyn Metro station.

From the crime report:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING BY CAUSTIC SUBSTANCE, 2020-02190225, 700 block of N. Glebe Road. At approximately 7:26 p.m. on February 19, police were dispatched to the report of an assault with injury. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was working as loss prevention for a business when he observed a group of juvenile suspects allegedly selecting and concealing merchandise. When he attempted to stop the group as they exited the business, they fled. The victim attempted to chase the suspects when one suspect allegedly dropped the merchandise he had, then pepper sprayed the victim. A lookout was broadcast and officers located and made contact with the suspects at the Rosslyn Metro Station and, with the assistance of Metro Transit Police, took them into custody without incident. Petitions were obtained for Suspect One for Malicious Wounding by Caustic Agent, Robbery, Grand Larceny and Possession of Burglarous Tools. Petitions for Conspiracy to Commit Felony and Grand Larceny were obtained for Suspect Two. Two additional suspects remain outstanding.

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