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by ARLnow.com Sponsor — April 25, 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: How is the Arlington real estate market looking so far this year?

Answer: Through observations in my business, conversations with colleagues and conversations with providers like lenders, title companies, inspectors and contractors, almost everybody saw a spike in business this winter, a usually slow period. After a few years of relatively flat growth in Arlington residential real estate (most of the price growth we saw in the county from 2014-2016 was attributed to tear-downs and some localized development), I think we’re finally going to see some real market-wide appreciation in 2017.

Below, I’ve compiled a series of key metrics that all support this claim. The data is broken down by housing type – detached, townhouse, and condo – and is presented by Quarter (calendar), mostly in Year Over Year changes.

Increased YoY average sold price shows mostly consistent growth over the last few quarters and a clear increase over Q1 2016.

A large increase in new pending contract in Q1 proves a substantial increase in buyer activity. Increased demand means price appreciation.

Homes in Q1 sold for .5-1 percent more relative to their original asking price, another indicator of high demand.

Homes in Q1 2017 sold much faster than they did in Q1 2016, coming close to the expected market pace during spring markets (Q2).

The housing supply has decreased by about one-third over the last two years, meaning the market is shifting further in favor of sellers.

If you’re a homeowner interested in taking advantage of a favorable market or a buyer wondering how to succeed in a competitive market, don’t hesitate to reach out to set-up a meeting. You can reach me directly at [email protected] or (703) 539-2529.

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 — April 24, 2017 at 12:15 pm 0

Startup Monday header

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

With the growth of electric vehicles nationwide, one Arlington startup is looking to solve what could be a common problem: the need for extra electricity when not near a charging station.

Electric Feel works on the same principle as a portable battery bank that can charge a cell phone. Its energy storage device holds about 5 kilowatts of power, which translates to about 25 miles per charge for an electric vehicle.

Company founder Farah Brunache has been designing her storage device for over a year, and said she was inspired by driving an electric car herself but not using her apartment complex’s charging facilities every night.

“That’s when I realized I needed to look hard at when I was able to reach my destination that following day, and that’s when I thought of the concept of doing a partial charge, which is basically what my device does,” she said. “I essentially started the business to fill in the gap of needing to partially charge your vehicle.”

Currently, the storage device Brunache is designing weighs around 20 pounds, which she said “sounds super heavy.” She said the design is still in the early stages so she used standard batteries, but in the future hopes to cut the device’s weight in half to 10 pounds or less.

“I like to tell people it’s similar to how people carry their bikes to work,” Brunache said. “You’ll ride with it, and it’s not heavy then, and then when you’re going to transition into a building or lock it up, then yes you have to lift it. It is weighty but manageable.”

Right now, Brunache said her goal is to start shipping the product at the end of this year or the beginning of next to begin beta testing. Those interested in helping test the device — and Brunache said there has been a lot of interest — can sign up online. The process of working out how to manufacture the product is ongoing.

“It’s still being tested, and I’m speaking to these different manufacturers to get a better understanding of what a minimum order would need to be,” Brunache said. “Right now, I’m working on starting beta testing, getting feedback and working on final design changes. Throughout that process, I’ll gather a list of individuals interested in testing, so then it can help set expectations of manufacturing.”

Given the growth of electric vehicle use both in Arlington and nationwide, and the additions of charging stations at apartment buildings, parking garages and stores, Brunache said her device can help fill a growing need.

“One of the things is electric vehicles, the way that we as drivers use them, we always need electricity, just like in life, kind of like how we always need water,” she said. “It’s a resource we’re constantly needing. I definitely see this as something that will be loved by the masses, especially as more electric vehicles get on the road.”

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — April 22, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment. Got a question? Email us at [email protected]!

It’s Earth Day and this marks our 40th post on ARLnow.  The Rethink Energy Program is Arlington County’s energy management program. Saving energy means saving money.

We offer a number of program and resources to help you save energy and money:

Arlingtonians continue to lead on actions that leave a lighter footprint on our plant and your wallet. Please stop by and see us at the Home Show & Garden Expo with your energy questions or email us at [email protected].

Happy Earth Day!

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — April 21, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

Weekend Wine and Beer Guide logo

Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). It is written by Garrett Cruce, a Cicerone Program Certified Beer Server.

Three notches, like small slashes, mark both an historic road running east/west through Central Virginia and an accomplished Charlottesville brewery. Three Notch’d Brewing Company takes its name and its trademark from the road of the same name. But it also takes its inspiration from it and its historical surroundings, naming most of its beers after places, events and artifacts of the local past.

Opened in 2013, this relatively young Virginia brewery has already managed to “make its mark.” With three locations from Charlottesville to Richmond and a national award — Hydraulion Red won the bronze in the Irish-Style Red Ale category at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival — Three Notch’d appears to be striking the balance between growth and relevance well.

RVA Collab House is their most recent location to open and is located in the historic district of Scott’s Addition in Richmond. In addition to a taproom, Three Notch’d installed a 3.5-barrel brew system that they use to collaborate with breweries, local businesses and other organizations.

Between their core beers, which are solid entries in their respective style; their seasonal releases that show up on Instagram and Untappd; and their small-batch collaborations Three Notch’d can appeal to both the casual beer drinker and the beer geek alike.

On Friday, April 28, Three Notch’d will be releasing some new beers and taking over the taps at Dominion Wine & Beer from 5-8 p.m. In addition to six-packs of Hydraulion Red Ale, 40 Mile IPA, The Ghost Pale Ale, G IV IPA and Minute Man IPA, the following beers will be on tap:

  • Hydraulion Red Ale
  • Brew Betties — a Maibock
  • Peach Ghost — Ghost Pale Ale brewed with peaches
  • Minute Man IPA
  • G IV IPA
  • Sticky Wicket Dank IPA

Below are my thoughts on three of the releases available from Three Notch’d.

Three Notch’d Brewing Company Declaration of Hops Series G IV IPA (7.5% ABV)

The historical reference here is one that strikes close to home for the brewery — it’s named after the founder’s father, George Henry Kastendike IV or Big G4. The brewers claim that this bold West Coast IPA is reminiscent of the way Big G4 lived. What a life!

Inhaling the aroma, I get peach nectar and citrus zest with just a hint of pine. The flavor is equally bold — bolder — with grapefruit tang and bitterness, a combination of the pith and flesh. It starts out sweet, but quickly turns bitter and dry. The slight dankness suggested by the hint of pine in the aroma peeks through mid-sip, but doesn’t linger or overpower. The current trend may be toward cloudy New England IPAs, but this fruit-forward beer stands along side the trendy ones in flavor.

Three Notch’d Brewing Company Minute Man IPA (7.0% ABV)

The can’s art evokes both Minute Maid orange juice and the historical volunteer-based militia Minutemen. Orange juice is the main thing here. I detected orange juice concentrate, Nilla wafer and pine resin in the aroma. Not bitter at all — the 20 IBUs tell you that — the sip is sweet and dank with a juicy finish.

I was surprised that the orange didn’t dominate the flavor in the same way that it did the aroma, but I think that’s for the better. So many fruit-forward IPAs focus solely on citrus flavors, but I appreciate how this one had the extra dimension of pine. The sweetness makes is tasty without becoming cloying.

Three Notch’d Brewing Company Hydraulion Red Ale (5.3% ABV) (originally posted 2/20/2015)

Named after the only fire engine that the University of Virginia’s first fire department owned, Hydraulion is a tribute to Three Notch’d Brewing’s hometown. It’s also like a bit of history itself. Eschewing the hoppy ambers and reds of today, Three Notch’d has made a malt-balanced red ale, truly in the Irish tradition.

The addition of the English Golding hops, rather than an American variety means that the hops will be more subtle. Though this beer does not lack hop bitterness altogether, it is definitely not pronounced. What you get, instead, is a tasty malty brew that is pleasantly offset by a slight hop bitterness around the edges. You can’t go wrong with this 2014 Great American Beer Festival Bronze medal winner for Irish-style ales.

Come down to Dominion Wine & Beer to check out Three Notch’d next Friday. Cheers!

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — April 21, 2017 at 10:30 am 0

Healthy Paws

Editor’s Note: Healthy Paws is a column sponsored and written by the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, a full-service, general practice veterinary clinic. The clinic is located 3000 10th Street N., Suite B. and can be reached at 703-997-9776.

As anyone who loves a cat knows, cats are interesting creatures. It is easy to fall in the trap of thinking if your home is comfortable and happy for you, it will be perfect for your animals. But cats are not tiny humans — or dogs — and have their own set of unique set of preferences and needs.

Safe Spaces

Cats value their personal space. They need enclosed and secluded locations to allow them the opportunity to withdrawal and ability to control their surroundings.

A cardboard box placed on its side is a perfect place to hide (or perch). Flip the lid up inside the box so the top is clear for sitting. Another great safe place is a cat carrier. If you leave your cat’s carrier out at all times and make it somewhere your cat is happy, it becomes a safe space at home as well as a portable safe space. Think of your cat’s carrier as a tool of security and comfort, rather than a tool primarily for transportation.

The more cats in your household, the more safe spaces you will need in your home. A good goal is the number of cats in the house plus one. So if there are two cats, you’ll need a minimum of three different good hiding spots. Also consider any health issues your cats may have when choosing locations. For example, a geriatric cat probably has some arthritis and will need locations with floor access, whereas a kitten will enjoy higher perches. Finally, think about your cat’s outside environment, if they do venture outdoors, and make sure hiding options are provided there as well.

Resources

Aim to provide multiple, separated key environmental resources of: 1) food/water 2) bathroom 3) scratching posts. Provide a minimum of two of each resource (two water bowls, etc) and spread everything out. Even the food and water bowl should be separated from each other across multiple rooms for maximal feline comfort. Some cats want to cuddle with their housemates, but sometimes when we provide the option to spread out, we find that the cats end up resting separately. They didn’t actually want to sleep together – there was just nowhere else to go.

Play and Predatory Opportunities

Cats require opportunities to hunt and play. Putting food down twice a day does not allow cats to exercise their predatory instincts and leads to begging, obesity, stress and anxiety. In the wild, cats hunt 10-20 times each day. This is an entire topic unto itself, so hop over to our last post for suggestions of fun and easy ways we can use food to give our cats a chance to engage in these normal behaviors.

Human-Cat Interaction

This one is simple. Provide positive, consistent and predictable human-cat social interaction. Do not force your cat to play with you, and allow it space to retreat. If you need to train your cat, use positive methods rather than punishment, so no shaking a can of pennies to scare your cat off the counter. It’s nearly impossible for humans to be 100 percent consistent with punishments, as sometimes you’re not home or are otherwise occupied when your cat jumps up on the counter, so we can appear unpredictable and therefore scary to our cats.

Smell

Provide an environment that respects the importance of a cat’s sense of smell. When it’s time to launder a cat’s bedding, don’t wash everything at the same time. Leave a few things out of the wash until the washed load is back in the home and smelling “normal” again to your cat. If you wash everything at the same time, all her beds/toys will be foreign to her, which can be very unsettling for cats.

The smell of their housemates is also very important for cats. If one leaves and comes back smelling different it can cause discord in the household. To minimize this, arrange vet trips for all cats at the same time. Use a pheromone diffuser (such as Feliway) upon return. If you have to take just one cat, take some care reintroducing that cat to the house. Separate the recently out-of-the-house cat from the others until all is calm.

Establish a “common scent profile” to get everyone smelling the same and minimize signals that the cat who was gone is now an outsider. To establish a common scent profile, use a cloth to rub down the cat who was out of the house, then take that fabric and rub down a housemate, continue with the same fabric for each cat in the house and end by re-rubbing the cat who was out of the house. More information about successful transportation can be found here.

If we can meet as many of these needs as possible, we can maximum the healthy and well being of our feline companions.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — April 21, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

Just Listed banner

Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

It’s been a lackluster week for inventory and homes sales in Arlington. We are in the peak of the spring market, and only 75 new listings went up for sale and only 64 contracts were ratified. Some 27 of those sold this week lasted less than a week on the market. Stories of multiple contracts continue.

For all homes sold this week, the average days on market dropped to just 30, the lowest level so far this year. Arlington reflects the national market with low inventory everywhere. A Freddie Mac report this week expects to see fewer sales in 2017 just because of low inventory.

The reasons for low inventory include people not willing to sell because they are afraid they can’t find a replacement home; they can’t replace the mortgage on the next purchase with the same low rate they currently have; and builders are not delivering enough supply to keep up with demand.

For Arlington, pricing also tells a compelling story. The higher end market of homes priced above $1.5m has slowed, with average DOM of 100. But the sweet spot for pricing seems to be $500k – $999k where DOM is lowest at just 31. That number climbs to 46 for homes sold $1,000,000-$1,499,900.

Mortgage rates dropped again this week by about six basis points. The 30-yr fixed rate ended this week at about 4.16%.

Click to see all the fresh new inventory in MRIS and call Team Cathell (703-975-2500) when you find a home you like.

by ARLnow.com — April 19, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Harper, a Redskins and Nationals fan who loves Shirlington. Here is what her owner, Jamie, had to say about her:

Harper is a 2.5 year old toy poodle. My husband and I got her last Christmas and she turned out to be the only gift that mattered. Every day since she has brightened our lives and those around us with her playful and sweet nature. She has a lot of energy and is always eager to play fetch, go for a swim, take a romp in the snow or play with other dogs. However, when she’s ready to settle down, she enjoys belly rubs and snuggles.

She is definitely a dog of the community. As a big DC sports fan, she tolerates wearing Redskins and Nats jerseys on game days. On nice days, she loves to walk around the Shirlington Village (so many other dogs and kids for her entertainment!). She also loves trips to the dog park and though she may be small, she runs circles around the other dogs there. We’re so glad we “rescued” her from Maryland and made her a Virginian. Harper is loving life in Arlington (and so are her parents!).

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 ARLnow.com Sponsor — April 19, 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.

Before we get rolling on our weekly real estate insight… man, it’s another exciting time to be a D.C. sports fan. Our team is sending all of the good vibes possible to the Caps and Wizards in the coming days. (And most immediately, the Caps. They really need to pull out the W tonight!)

Having access to a number of pro sports teams in D.C. is just one of the perks of living in Arlington County. A ball (or puck) game is always just a stone’s throw away (not to mention a Ravens or O’s game just up the road in Baltimore, too).

Additionally, you don’t even have to leave Arlington’s friendly confines for world-class restaurants, shopping, entertainment and much, much more. We simply have it all.

When you’re ready to make the ultimate investment in this wonderful community, through homeownership, give me a shout. We’ll ensure you GET MORE out of your transaction so you can ultimately enjoy even more that Arlington County has to offer.

As of April 18 there are 214 detached homes, 36 townhouses and 222 condos for sale throughout Arlington County. In total, 30 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.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — April 18, 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: What is the likelihood that a lender will approve a loan for ~$500,000 for a first time buyer putting 10% down in a condo building that is approaching or over 50 percent units being rented out?

Answer: This question gives me another opportunity to bring in an industry expert: loan officer Jake Ryon of First Home Mortgage (NMLS #993471). Below, Jake debunks the common myth about rental ratios in condo buildings and introduces the factors that actually impact condo loans most frequently.

MYTH: Buyers Can’t Qualify For Condo Loans If More Than 50 percent of Units Are Rented

One of the most common myths that exists in the industry is that buyers cannot get a loan if more than 50 percent of units are being rented out in a condo building.

TRUTH: Most Homeowners Can Qualify For Condo Loans Regardless Of Rental Ratio

The percentage of units rented in a condo building (aka investor ratio or owner occupancy ratio) has no impact on loans for borrowers that are purchasing or refinancing their primary residence or second home.  If the borrow is an investor seeking a conventional loan, the building must have at least 50 percent of the units occupied by owners (not rented).  FHA’s requirement is the same but does not apply to second homes.  While condo associations may elect to self-impose a rental cap, as it stands now with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, it currently doesn’t impact borrowers who are purchasing or refinancing their primary residence or second home.

What Does Impact Loans On Condo Buildings?

  1. Commercial/Non-Residential Square Footage: Currently, Fannie and Freddie cap the total commercial/non-residential square footage in a building at 25 percent of the total space, up from 20 percent a few years ago.  Your lender may be able to obtain a project waiver directly from Fannie Mae if the commercial/non-residential square footage exceeds the 25 percent cap.  I was recently able to obtain a waiver for a five unit project that has 38 percent commercial space (in D.C.) because we were able to show it was common in the area, didn’t impact marketability and were able to provide several comps with similar square footage of commercial/non-residential space.
  2. Single Entity Ownership: The maximum number of units owned by one entity can’t exceed 10 percent of the units in the project per Fannie and Freddie guidelines.  If it is a 2-4 unit project (rare in Arlington, very common in DC), no entity can own more than one unit.  Both Fannie and Freddie do allow one entity to own two units in a project with 5-20 units.  A project waiver may be possible from Fannie Mae if a single entity owns greater than 10 percent.
  3. Delinquency: Fannie and Freddie do not allow more than 15 percent of the units in the Association to be > 60 days delinquent on the payment of their monthly assessments for the project to be warrantable (approved for loans).  A project waiver may be possible with Fannie Mae if the delinquency rate is slightly higher than 15 percent.
  4. Budget: Fannie and Freddie require the Association’s current year adopted budget to include a minimum of 10 percent of the annual monthly assessments to go towards the reserve fund.  If the budget does not document the required 10 percent, a current reserve study that supports the Association’s current level of contribution may be acceptable.

If you have any questions about condo warrantability or anything else loan-related, Jake Ryon can be reached at [email protected]202-448-0873 or online. He is located at 1015 15th Street NW Suite #375 Washington DC 20005.

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 ARLnow.com Sponsor — April 17, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark & Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

We all know your pets seem to understand what it means when a suitcase comes out of the closet. Dogs especially, want to be part of the family and I won’t plan vacations unless my dog can come along.

If your pup isn’t joining the family vacation, you’ll most likely take him for a boarding stay. Here are a few things you can do to ensure your dog’s ready for his next boarding stay.

Boarding Facilities

Before your dog’s stay, visit the facility and ask for a tour. Ask how many staff members will be on-site during your pup’s stay. You want to make sure there are at least 2-3 supervisors in the facility caring for the dogs. Is it a daycare environment during the day? If not, how often do they go out for exercise and for how long?

Another important detail is inquiring into what cleaning supplies, such as disinfectant, they use. Are they pet safe? We use Simple Green disinfectant, an all-natural, animal friendly cleaning product.

Observe how well the boarding facility is organized. Does it look like personal items such as beds, blankets and leashes are clearly marked and feeding instructions obvious? Are employees engaging and affectionate with other dogs? Ask the facility if they provide any social media check ins. Bark + Boarding posts photos and videos twice a day on Facebook so that clients can check in and see their dog while they’re away.

If your dog suffers from crate anxiety, see if they offer an alternative to crating. At Bark + Boarding, we’ve built smaller rooms called “zones” for dogs with crate anxiety.

Trial Run

We recommend doing a trial run before a lengthy stay, especially if your pup is new to the environment. Book a one-night stay and ask the staff to take notes on your dog’s behavior, getting the report when picking up. Because we’re also a daycare facility and your dog will be in daycare during their stay, you should bring her in for a few days of playtime before boarding. This helps your dog to associate the facility with fun and minimizes any feelings of abandonment when they stay the night.

Arrival Day

Bring your dog on the first day of boarding as early as possible. You want to give your pup plenty of time to play before they’re crated or put in the zone for the night. By allowing for extra playtime, your pup will be tuckered out and ready for a good night’s sleep. Arriving close to bedtime can stress your dog out and they won’t get a chance to blow off some of that steam. We feel so strongly about this that we ask clients to drop off your dog before 4 p.m.

What to Bring

You should bring your dog’s usual food. Other boarding facilities may provide food, but we think it’s important to keep your dog on his normal diet with the same feeding schedule as if they’re home. Some dogs find boarding stressful and if not eating their normal diet, it can result in an upset stomach.

Bring along an item from home, such as a small bed, blanket or towel and ask the staff to put it in the crate at night. Smelling a familiar scent from home can be a soothing reminder for your pup. If your dog needs medication, make sure the staff understands the dosage instructions and provide pill pockets or peanut butter if this is how medication is administered at home.

The best way to determine if your dog is happy with your choice of boarding facility is to pay attention to their reaction when you pull up to the front door of the business. If they’re excited, you’ve found a winner. Travel safe!

by Chris Teale — April 17, 2017 at 12:30 pm 0

Startup Monday header

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

A county startup was one of just six companies selected last week for a business accelerator focused on helping cities be smarter and more livable.

Arlington-based Greater Places will participate in the Smart City Works Infrastructure Actuator, the first in the Greater Washington area, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) announced on Friday.

The accelerator focuses on growing young companies that help make cities smarter, more livable and more resilient. This program, operated in conjunction with the Center for Innovative Technology, is anticipated to help drive innovation in infrastructure while fostering economic development.

Also in the program are McLean- and San Jose, Calif.-based UnomicEdge; Integrated Health Solutions of D.C.; Infraccess of New York; Chicago-based Capital Construction Solutions and PlanIT Impact of Kansas City, Mo.

Greater Places provides urban design solutions including models of transit-oriented development, and it is already looking ahead to the growth of driverless vehicles. It comprises a soon-to-be-launched mobile app as well as the website, which have evolved from it previously being published as a physical textbook, and is based at startup incubator 1776.

Founder Lisa Nisenson previously helped create “Cards Against Urbanity,” a parody of the irreverent card game “Cards Against Humanity” to get players thinking about urban planning while poking fun at the cities they live in.

The incubator program consists of an intense 90-day business boot camp where startups are mentored in creating a sustainable and successful business, with a focus on identifying pilot opportunities, testing and marketing opportunities.

Smart City Works brings together subject-matter experts, industry leaders and investors to help launch, build, and grow successful startups.

Nisenson said in an interview that one-on-one mentorship is one of the most helpful aspects of the program.

The one-on-one attention that everyone’s getting is so completely essential,” Nisenson said. “There’s other types of incubators, and a lot of times you don’t get that one-on-one, it’s just, ‘Here’s the business model canvas, here’s the PowerPoint, check it out.’ In this case, they can go straight into your data and tell you what to modify and look at customer segments. It’s that attention to really honing in.”

The spring program ends on June 28 with a Demo Day, where companies will have the opportunity to pitch and demonstrate their technology to an audience of external mentors, investors and stakeholders.

“This first-in-the-nation business accelerator affirms Virginia’s role as a leader in creating livable, resilient communities,” said McAuliffe in a statement. “It will harness our region’s valuable assets and will attract technology companies from across the globe to the commonwealth. The actuator will allow us to bring cutting-edge technology to market, deploying these innovations in smart communities across Virginia and making us a national model for smart cities.”

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — April 15, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

Arlington’s Home Show and Garden Expo will return this month on April 22. It’s a convenient way to learn about remodeling, greening, and improving your home.

One of the most popular features of every Home Show are the free classes and workshops offered to visitors. This year the Home Show and Garden Expo falls on Earth Day.  The Main Stage will feature talks about:

The Future of Personal Energy Use           11:30 a.m.

Arlington’s Solar Co-op                                  3:00 p.m.

Green Home Choice Awards                        3:45 p.m.

Attend the Expo and free events at the Main Stage.  We’ll be giving away free LED bulbs to attendees of the sessions noted above.  While you are at the Expo, look for the Rethink Energy booth.  We’ll have info on LED lighting, home energy rebates and more.  Stop by with your energy questions.  We’d love to help you save energy and money.

The Expo is being held from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, April 22, at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 2nd Street S.).

A full list of classes and workshops is available online.

 

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — April 14, 2017 at 12:30 pm 0

Flying Colors column banner

Flying Colors is a sponsored column on the hobby of backyard bird feeding written by Michael Zuiker, owner of the Wild Birds Unlimited store at the Lee Harrison Shopping Center. Visit the store at 2437 N. Harrison Street or call 703-241-3988.

Who wouldn’t like a healthy meal full of protein? Well maybe you wouldn’t if the meal were live mealworms. But if you are a wild bird surviving in the wilds of Arlington, then you certainly would.

Everyone who enjoys the hobby of backyard bird feeding knows about the different choices of bird foods to offer their backyard visitors. In many yards you will see different feeders offering seed, nuts and suet. But many people are missing out on attracting a much greater variety of birds by not offering bugs, specifically, mealworms.

Mealworms, whether they are alive or dried, offer a tremendous source of protein and fat. During the nesting season, most birds need the protein as they build nests, breed, and raise the chicks in the nests until they fledge. I am sure you are probably saying, “Let them eat all the mosquitos in my yard!” Well, some birds will and do.

But a juicy mealworm is a better meal for the adult and baby birds than a tiny mosquito. It would be like comparing going to dinner at Ruth Chris’ to 7-Eleven. At least, that is what the birds told me.

Here is the great thing about offering a feeder filled with dried and live mealworms. During the migration season of the songbirds, which is occurring now, you have the opportunity to try and attract 20-30 different species of birds that do not eat seeds. For the next two months, warblers, thrushes, vireos, flycatchers and other birds will be migrating through our yards and parks. When they travel, they use up a lot of energy.

So a quick and easy rest stop at a new restaurant will be very attractive to them. Mealworms are the larvae of the non-flying beetles. When offering them in feeders, they mimic natural insects. This is just too good to pass up for birds.

Offering this as an add on to their other bird foods, give the birds a good source of fat and protein. Live mealworms provide approximately 22 percent fat and 18 percent protein. Dried mealworms provide the birds 32 percent fat and 49 percent protein. Whereas live mealworms are more attractive to the birds than the dried mealworms, the dried mealworms are easily added to other foods for the birds to eat. Most insect eating migratory birds readily eat this live treat.

When feeding live mealworms, you will need to use a feeder with slippery sides. There are many styles made of wood, plastic, metal and glass. The slippery sides prevent them from climbing out. In my yard, I will put out 50 or so at a time. This feeder is close to my sliding glass doors in my back office and offers me a great view of the birds. The smaller bird feeders help to prevent the bigger birds, like the European Starlings, from dominating the feeders.

Mealworms typically come in containers of 500 worms. They can be kept in your refrigerator for up to a couple of months. Even if your significant other sleepwalks and raids the refrigerator for a midnight snack and grabs a handful, they will be fine. Some cultures eat mealworms regularly as a snack.

Feeding mealworms is part of the “new school” of bird feeding. When you stop in, we will help you understand this new way of feeding to see how you can incorporate “mealworms” in your bird feeding stations. We carry a variety of glass feeders and trays to get you started. Live and dry mealworms work well in these feeders.

Don’t miss out on this great chance to feed this unique food to the breeding and migratory birds.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — April 14, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

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Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

Buyers outpaced sellers this week in Arlington as 86 homes went under contract while only 80 homes went on the market.  This makes Arlington’s already low inventory even worse and puts ever more pressure on buyers competing on fresh new inventory. Of those homes sold this week, nearly half (41) were snatched up within a week of hitting the market.  Buyers are often bidding against 5-6 other offers. This sellers’ market has seen the “days on market” drop this week to only 29.

Buyers got a little relief this week as interest rates dropped about six basis points. The 30-year fixed rate is now at about 4.2 percent.

Can you answer this question: How could Arlington’s average home prices last year remain flat when inventory levels never rose above 2.5 months, and interest rates were relatively stable throughout the year? Traditional wisdom says home values rise during a sellers’ market. So what happened last year?

On a happy note, Bob Hope’s spectacularly designed “spaceship home” sold this week in Palm Springs for $13 million. The 23,000 square foot home is as unique as Bob Hope himself.

Click to see all the fresh new inventory in MRIS and call Team Cathell (703-975-2500) when you find a home you like.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — April 13, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

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This biweekly column is sponsored by the Arlington Office of Emergency Management.

If the answer to that question is never or, that you never knew how, you’re in luck! April 9-15, 2017 is National Public Safety Telecommunicators’ Week, and the perfect time to show appreciation for 9-1-1 Call Takers and Dispatchers everywhere.

The idea for this week-long event was started in 1981 as a local event in Costa County, Va. President George H.W. Bush signed a proclamation in March 1992 inviting all Americans to observe this week so everyone could be made aware of their hard work and dedication to their communities.

What About A 9-1-1 Dispatcher Am I Celebrating, You Ask?

The first voice you hear when you call 9-1-1 is that of a call taker with their calm and reassuring voice. They are highly trained professionals who work with police, fire and medical personnel to get you the help you need. A 9-1-1 dispatcher is available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, always ready to handle your call for assistance. In some instances, they can even make the difference between life and death.

Why Do They Have To Ask So Many Questions? Why Don’t They Just Send Me Someone?

Well let’s clear some things up. Emergency 9-1-1 Call/Takers/Dispatchers are trained to prioritize incoming calls: they’re gathering pertinent information from you to make sure the police, fire and/or medical personnel are equipped and prepared to respond before they get to you. They also need certain information to keep not only you as safe as possible, but also to keep the police and fire units safe. This can sometimes mean a lot of questions.

Actually, while they are gathering information from you, the call has already been entered for dispatch, and often, the police and/or fire personnel are already on the way. So, if you’re worried that their questions are causing a delay, don’t be. It is just providing you with the best service possible.

Oh, I Get Why We Should Honor Dispatchers Now! What Kind Of Activities Go On At Arlington’s Emergency Communication Center During This Week Of Celebration?

The week is an opportunity to shine a light on the phenomenally difficult, and often emotionally demanding work, that our 9-1-1 Call Takers/Dispatchers do to keep our community and responders safe. It also gives us a chance to thank them for their long work hours, sacrificed time away from their families (especially during holidays), and their commitment to public safety.

Annual recognition includes: Supervisor of the Year, Trainer of the Year, Teamwork Award, ECC Award of Excellence, Best Leader and Motivator, as well as a Hall of Fame, honoring 9-1-1 dispatchers with 15+ years of service in Arlington County.

How Can I Show Appreciation To My Arlington County 9-1-1 Emergency Dispatcher This Week?

The best way is to write a letter to Jack Brown, Director of the Arlington County Office of Emergency Management, and if you should ever have to call for assistance, a thank you is always appreciated because when you call, they answer.

Saving lives is what dispatchers do!

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