Berkadia announced today the $19 million refinancing secured for Hilton Garden Inn, Crystal City, a full-service hotel in Crystal City, a neighborhood in Arlington, Virginia. Director Matthew Raptosh and Associate Director Connor Wimsatt of Berkadia’s Hotels and Hospitality specialty team secured the loan on behalf of Sound Hospitality. The deal closed on July 30.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has particularly affected the hospitality industry, leaving many owners struggling to secure the financing they need. Berkadia matched the borrower with a competitive, interest-only, non-recourse bridge loan just as they faced an upcoming maturity. Stonehill Strategic Capital provided the financing.
“During these times when we cannot be in person, we lean on our relationships most. Despite being remote and without being able to tour the site or meet with appraisers, we still quickly secured Sound Hospitality with the customized loan they were looking for through our hotel specialty group’s long-standing relationship with the lender,” said Raptosh. “Crystal City is a growing hotspot–including the new home of Amazon HQ2–and closing during this time demonstrates the strength of the asset and its owner in the local market.”
“The hotel had an in-place CMBS loan approaching maturity on July 30. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sound Hospitality had been working diligently to refinance this property. At that time, there were numerous options available in the Capital Markets through CMBS and with various banks. However, every potential candidate vanished at the onset of the crisis,” said Ben Castera, President of Sound Hospitality. “Berkadia presented the idea to search for alternative lending sources and offered to Sound Hospitality a list of solutions. After a close review, Stonehill emerged as the most attractive path, mostly due to their flexibility in offering future solutions for the property owners. The Berkadia team was amazingly open to evaluate and listen to the needs of the sponsorship, and they were able to work with Stonehill to build a financing structure that adapted to the hotel’s needs under the circumstances.”
Located at 2020 Richmond Highway, Hilton Garden Inn is near the planned corporate headquarters for Amazon HQ2 and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The hotel property features 248 guest rooms, four meeting rooms and 4,290 square feet of event space.
Berkadia, a joint venture of Berkshire Hathaway and Jefferies Financial Group, is a leader in the commercial real estate industry, offering a robust suite of services to our multifamily and commercial property clients. Through our integrated mortgage banking, investment sales and servicing platform, Berkadia delivers comprehensive real estate solutions for the entire life cycle of our clients’ assets.
On Friday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued its most recent guidance regarding international students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities for the Fall 2020 semester. Most notably, it clarifies that new foreign students will not be allowed to enter the country if their school is operating entirely online, with the recently-announced flexibility for international students only applying to those who were actively enrolled on March 9.
In light of this guidance that disrupts the academic plans of so many individuals both regionally and nationally, Marymount University has confirmed its ability to welcome additional international students during the upcoming fall semester and beyond. As stated in its “Saints Reunite” Guide to 2020-21 Reopening, Marymount continues to prepare for a complete re-entry of students, faculty and staff, and a return to on-site learning and living with new protocols that safeguard the health and safety of its campus community. This plan was approved by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) last week.
At other higher education institutions which have planned for a fully-online fall semester or a hybrid model that leans more towards virtual learning, international students who will be starting their college careers this academic year will not have an in-person, physical experience available to them. Marymount administrators are encouraging these affected institutions, especially in the greater Washington region and the Commonwealth of Virginia, to explore the possibility of having their new foreign student population begin their studies at Marymount’s campus.
“We have the available capacity for the fall semester, both in our classes and in our residence halls, to accommodate students affected by this recent guidance from ICE. We’re also able to incorporate any necessary measures to ensure smooth transitions to the students’ institutions of choice once these federal guidelines are no longer applicable to them,” said Dr. Irma Becerra, President of Marymount University. “Research shows that students who ‘stop-out’ have a greater possibility of dropping out, and we want to do our part to ensure that international students’ progress towards graduation is not stymied by this ruling.”
To help international students continue to make progress towards their degrees and maintain their F-1 status, Marymount has generous merit-based scholarships available at time of admission for both first-year and transfer students, and the University has also eliminated its application deadlines to offer a more streamlined process. International students, especially those who will be in their first year of higher education, can contact Ana David, Senior Associate Director of International Admissions, to learn more about how they can begin their collegiate studies at Marymount this fall.
Clarendon Presbyterian Church (CPC) thanks everyone who contributed to its Food and Toiletry Drive in July. The church collected 105 boxes and bags of donations for homeless shelters in Arlington – an estimated value of more than $5,200 in groceries and toiletries! The food donations support Bridges to Independence in Clarendon, a shelter and housing program for families with children. And the toiletries donations support Residential Program Center (RPC), a shelter on Columbia Pike for single adults. Please mark your calendars and plan to attend the next Drive-thru Collection on August 15, 2020 from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM. Clarendon Presbyterian Church is located at 1305 North Jackson Street, Arlington, VA 22201. No physical interaction. Masks required. Drop-off at curbside location outside church. Please send questions to [email protected] or (703) 527-9513. Thank you!
Richmond, VA – (July 23, 2020) – According to the June 2020 Home Sales Report released by Virginia REALTORS®, home sales in most regions of Virginia are rebounding, following spring’s slowdown due to COVID-19.
There were 13,176 home sales statewide in June 2020, up 0.5% from a year ago and up nearly 30% over May 2020 sales. The increase in closed sales in June reflects a return of home buyers to the market. An easing of stay-at-home restrictions in Virginia, growing acceptance of social distancing measures, and greater use of virtual tools has propelled the increase in market activity.
Record-low mortgage rates are also driving buyer activity. In the week ending July 4, 2020, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell to 3.07%. “Mortgage rates continue to be at historically low levels, and this is providing a major incentive for both refinancing and home purchases,” says Virginia REALTORS® Chief Economist, Lisa Sturtevant, PhD.
Another indicator of strong homebuyer demand is the steady rise of Virginia’s statewide median sales price, which was $318,000 in June, up nearly 2% over June 2019. The average close-to-list price ratio was 99.2 in June, indicating that sellers are getting very close to their asking price. In some local markets, particularly in Northern Virginia, sellers are often getting above asking price.
While buyers are returning to the market, there are not enough sellers to meet demand. Virginia’s inventory of homes available for sale has declined dramatically. At the end of June, there was a total of 23,558 active listings across Virginia, a decline of nearly 40% compared to the end of June 2019, or more than 15,000 fewer listings. A lack of available inventory continues to be a significant constraint on the market. In the weeks and months to come, sales might slow not because of slower demand, but due to a lack of inventory.
The Virginia Home Sales Report is published by Virginia REALTORS®. Click here to view the full June 2020 Home Sales Report. Current and past reports are available to members, media, and real estate-related industries through the organization’s website.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti is proud to announce the early rollout of one of a major initiative in restructuring the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney in furtherance of its mission to ensure both public safety and justice. The office will implement the vertical prosecution model in every case it handles.
Vertical prosecution, considered a best practice, requires that one prosecutor be assigned to each case from start to finish; it permits the assigned attorney to work early and closely with law enforcement, victims, witnesses, and defense attorneys.
For decades, the office operated under a model in which many cases were not assigned until three weeks before a hearing, and, as in an assembly line, cases were passed along from one attorney to the next at different stages of proceedings. This resulted in a costly, wasteful, and inefficient system requiring one or multiple continuances; forcing victims, witnesses, and police to make repeated trips to the Courthouse only to meet with, and tell their story to, a new prosecutor each time; and providing each new prosecutor with only a few weeks to prepare for those hearings.
The vertical model allows attorneys to work with law enforcement sooner and more consistently, speak and meet with victims and witnesses sooner, obtain and provide discovery sooner, develop a deeper understanding and institutional memory for each case, and ultimately gather the necessary input to make educated prosecutorial decisions with greater speed, efficiency, and fairness. Put simply, the old horizontal model made everyone and, therefore, no one responsible for a case while the new Vertical model assigns accountability to specific individuals and their teams.
The vertical structure consists of four teams that reflect the needs of our community. Each team is headed by one of our Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorneys in close collaboration with each other and our leadership team.
- The Circuit Court Team focuses on major offenses with an emphasis on violent crime such as homicide, robbery, burglary and other street crimes like felony assault, as well as drug distribution. This team also houses our treatment court assistants working on Drug Court and the Behavioral Health Docket so that they are well-positioned to screen our most high-risk/ high-needs individuals for the most robust services we can provide.
- The Juvenile & Domestic Relations Team focuses on all events involving juveniles, both as defendants and victims, or household member crimes, as well as Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), which includes both misdemeanor and felony domestic violence cases.
- The General District Court Team focuses on all misdemeanor level offenses as well as all misdemeanor and felony vehicular matters with a high impact on public safety such as DWI/ DUI and Critical Accident cases. They are also responsible for all misdemeanor and felony GDC cases that occur in the City of Falls Church.
- The Special Victims Team focuses exclusively on all cases involving sex offenses ranging from sexual assault to internet crimes such as child pornography.
Within these four teams, certain attorneys are cross designated to capitalize on the array of prosecutorial and life experience possessed by our diverse team of attorneys.
Ms. Dehghani-Tafti explains, “The change has been monumental – like turning a battleship on a dime. The commitment of our extraordinary staff, the help of the county’s Department of Technology Services, and the collaboration with stakeholders to the transition to Vertical Prosecution has been instrumental to its early success. Even in its early days and during a pandemic we have been able to work quickly with victims to resolve cases, to ensure that our work is efficient, and to view our policies and practices through an equity impact. The vertical model is not just administrative inside baseball: it’s a key component of delivering both public safety and fair and equitable outcomes.”
Overnight lane closures and traffic stoppages are planned for I-66 East in Arlington near Patrick Henry Drive this weekend, weather permitting, to implement a traffic shift as part of the I-66 Eastbound Widening Project. This work will split the two I-66 East travel lanes for more than a half mile beginning near the Patrick Henry Drive overpass to allow concrete bridge deck work to progress in the center section of the existing bridge over the Custis Trail at Bon Air Park.
- On Friday, July 17, and Saturday, July 18, between 8 p.m. and 9 a.m., one lane will be closed nightly on I-66 East from approximately Sycamore Street to Exit 71 (Fairfax Drive/Glebe Road) to implement a traffic split.
- Temporary traffic stoppages of up to 20 minutes will occur during the overnight hours from approximately midnight to 4 a.m.
- The split roadway configuration on I-66 East will be in place for about two to three months.
- The split will begin approximately 1,000 feet prior to the Patrick Henry Drive overpass and finish approximately 1,000 feet prior to the Harrison Street overpass.
- This work was previously scheduled for July 10.
The I-66 Eastbound Widening Project is adding a travel lane along four miles of eastbound I-66. The additional lane is scheduled to open to traffic in fall 2020.
The project is also installing approximately 12,000 linear feet of new and replacement noise barriers along I-66 East and West. The project also includes building a new bridge over Lee Highway (Route 29) for the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail, and constructing a new direct access ramp from eastbound I-66 to the West Falls Church Metrorail Station at the Leesburg Pike (Route 7) Interchange.
The two pools will open under the Virginia Forward Phase III guidelines, which include diminished capacity, physical distancing of 10 feet and the requirement of a health and temperature screening for all staff and patrons. We have posted many of the details on our website and will continue to do so over the next 24 hours. Use this link to learn more and stay informed.
Patrons will need to purchase admission and make a reservation for a 45-min swim or water exercise/jog session. You will need to set up an account on our Self-Service Portal. You will receive a separate email this evening inviting you to join the APS Aquatics Self-Service Portal. Follow the instructions on the email to set up your account. Alternately, you can go to our web page here: Registering for Self-Service.
The reservations will open at 8 a.m. on the previous day (On Friday at 8 a.m. you will be able to register for Saturday sessions). They will first go live tomorrow morning. Instruction on registering are available at Making a Reservation. This section also includes information about what to expect when you get to the pool, while you swim and after you are done. Patrons will be checked in, directed to the locker rooms to shower before swimming and out to the deck to a designated Blue or Red lanes. After you swim, you may choose to exit directly off the deck or enter the Unisex Room to change out of your swimming gear and shower. If you have any questions or need assistance navigating the portal or the registration page, please call 703-228-6264 or 703-228-6263. Staff will be answering the phone starting at 8 am tomorrow. You may also contact me via email at [email protected]
Regretfully, The Wakefield pool will remain closed for a few more weeks. APS is performing major maintenance in the entire building ahead of the start of the school year. We recognize this is disappointing to our Wakefield patrons, but it is imperative that this work be completed. We anticipate opening around August 24.
We recognize that you may have a lot of questions. Please visit our website where you will most likely find most of your answers. We will continue to add information and will be setting up a frequently asked questions (FAQ). Feel free to email me with any questions, and I will try to respond to you within 2-4 hours.
The APS Aquatics team is excited to be back at the pools and ready to welcome you back. Staff will be learning how to navigate this new way of serving you and the success of our re-opening depends greatly on your willingness to follow the guidelines and on your patience. Our primary concern remains your safety both in the water and in the building.
We very much look forward to seeing you on Saturday at Washington-Liberty and Yorktown Pools. It has been a long 4-months on dry land.
Let’s go Swimming!
Director, Aquatic Management
Arlington Public Schools
Dear APS Families,
I hope you enjoyed the holiday weekend and found some time to relax and celebrate. Our work continues throughout the summer to prepare for the 2020-21 school year, and I will continue to share an update every Tuesday to keep you informed.
Yesterday, July 6, we launched the selection process in ParentVUE for APS families to choose, by July 20, the instructional delivery model that works best for your student(s). The two choices are hybrid in-person/distance learning or full-time distance learning. You should have received School Talk email and text messages alerting you about that process, and additional detailed instructions are available on the APS website.
Remember that when you log into ParentVUE and go to the Student Information tab, you must select “Edit Information,” and then scroll down to update information in red regarding instructional and transportation preference, for each student. If you have trouble logging in or cannot access ParentVUE, your school’s main office can assist you, or you can try the troubleshooting tips available on the website. If you call your school and leave a voicemail with your name and contact information, a staff member will get back to you. Your response is vital to planning for the fall, so please share your preferences with us by July 20. If we do not receive your response by July 20, your student(s) will be enrolled in the hybrid model.
We continue to receive a high volume of questions through the [email protected] email and are responding as quickly as possible. Please check the FAQ on the website before sending us a new question, as the FAQ and instructional model pages are being updated daily, based on the questions we are receiving. Some questions regarding specific course offerings and schedules cannot be answered at this time, as those decisions will be made based on student enrollment and staffing considerations.
I will be hosting a virtual Community Town Hall event next Tuesday, July 14, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. to address questions about the APS Return-to-School Plan. I will be joined by School Board Chair Monique O’Grady, and Bridget Loft, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning. The Town Hall event will be broadcast on Microsoft Teams and Facebook Live on the Arlington Public Schools Facebook page. I encourage you to save this date and we will share more details on the website and through School Talk later this week.
In the meantime, there are a few points I want to emphasize based on questions received over the weekend:
- Why APS is not offering a full-time in-school option: We understand there are difficult decisions to be made with both models. The full-time in-school scenario is not possible at this time, due to physical distancing requirements issued by the CDC, Virginia Department of Health and local health officials. Physical distancing limits the number of students and staff who can be inside a school at any one time, so the hybrid model allows half of students to be in school part of the week in order to reduce capacities in classrooms and on buses.
- What APS will do if health conditions improve: If health conditions improve and physical distancing and other health requirements are adjusted in a way that would allow APS to resume in-person instruction for all students, we would reassess our operating status at that time.
- What APS will do if health conditions worsen: We continue to monitor COVID-19 guidance from the CDC and state and local health officials on a daily basis. Our hybrid in-school model is contingent upon the school year beginning in Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan. If health data and recommendations from the Arlington County Public Health Division necessitate closing schools, students and staff participating in the hybrid model will transition to full time distance learning similar in substance to the existing full time distance learning model which will include a blend of teacher-led/synchronous instruction and asynchronous instruction.
- How distance learning will be different from this past spring: In both models, new content and all courses required by Virginia standards of learning will be offered, work will be graded, attendance will be required and all students will receive more frequent interaction with teachers and classmates. Distance learning will include a blend of scheduled synchronous/teacher-led instruction and asynchronous/independent instruction, in small groups or as a whole class. Devices and connectivity are being provided to all students so that everyone can access distance learning tools.
- What are the start and end times for the in-school days in the hybrid option: The instructional time for the hybrid model will be the same as a regular school day; however, distancing requirements on buses and temperature checks and handwashing requirements may require staggered start and end times, so the school day may start or end at different times than usual for some groups of students. No decisions have been made yet regarding Extended Day operations for 2020-21. A high-level sample weekly schedule is provided to give you a snapshot of what a day of instruction may entail.
- How will APS maintain the school culture and connection in full-time distance learning: APS will make every effort to group students and teachers from their school of record. Final groupings and assignments will be based on available staff and student enrollment. For example, if a given school had only 5 staff elect to teach virtually, but a large group of students enrolled in full-time distance learning, staff from other schools may need to be assigned for some courses. More information will be available at the beginning of August, when we have student enrollment numbers and staffing selections, and can begin to create master schedules and student groupings.
We are committed to providing a safe and strong return to school for all grade levels, regardless of the model you choose. Our Task Force meets next on Monday, July 13, to focus on safety, childcare and transportation, and I encourage you to join us for the Town Hall on July 14. Thank you.
Dr. Francisco Durán
Arlington Public Schools
Synetic Theater has partnered with the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) to raise $20,000 during the month of July to be split evenly between the organizations.
This partnership was initiated by Synetic Theater to help fulfil the company’s desire to invest in their local community while they are unable to host live performances at their Crystal City/National Landing theater space. With a goal of $20,000, donations will support wider access to nutritious supplemental groceries at AFAC, and Synetic’s portion will go to the company’s Synetic Strong campaign aiding in the development of new outreach programs to nourish the local community’s hunger for connection and spiritual uplift. Donations will be accepted for the Synetic Serves: AFAC campaign now through July 31 at www.synetictheater.org.
“Our name is derived from the words “synthesis”, meaning the combination of distinct elements to form a whole, and ‘kinetic’ meaning the creation of motion,” says Managing Director Jason Najjoum. “The company was founded on collaboration and the notion that words are meaningless without action. There are many needs to be met right now, and we are all hungry for justice and change. We hope that this effort to feed physical hunger and food insecurity in our midst can help fuel our community for the work ahead.”
AFAC provides dignified access to supplemental groceries to families in need – free of charge. Families can come once a week and receive a variety of food staples, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, eggs, chicken or fish, canned goods, rice, beans, and bread products. Utilizing AFAC’s services allows clients to devote their limited financial resources to obligations such as housing, utilities, medication, and other basic needs.
Since the start of the pandemic, AFAC has seen a 40% increase in active referrals. More families are seeking help, in addition to the thousands of families AFAC already serves. “Although there is no way to predict how many people we will serve in the coming months,” says Charles Meng, AFAC Executive Director & CEO, “we are prepared to meet the increasing demand as more and more Arlingtonians find that they have limited or uncertain access to nutritionally adequate food. We are grateful to have this partnership with Synetic Theater to help us meet the needs in our community.”
Rep. Don Beyer, who represents the Northern Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital in Congress, issued the following statement today on Independence Day festivities ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend:
“This weekend Americans across our region and the country will celebrate the birth of our nation in Philadelphia 244 years ago. Washington and other cities will see fireworks, martial displays and flyovers, large gatherings, and sadly, the dangerous potential to spread coronavirus.
“The catastrophic rise in case counts across the country, especially the South and West, resulted from rushed re-openings and decisions to ignore public health advice. Those disastrous mistakes led to large gatherings on Memorial Day Weekend, which helped fuel this new wave of infections.
“In the nation’s capital we finally managed to slow the spread of COVID-19. The people in our region sacrificed to make these gains, and we should do all we can to hold on to this progress. Staying home on July Fourth and avoiding large gatherings is the best way to do this. Those who go out should absolutely wear a mask, and social distance without fail.
“The President, as he has since February, continues to insist that the virus will simply disappear, and the Administration’s response continues to be guided by wishful thinking. That is not a strategy for ending a pandemic. While it is good that the National Parks Service will offer masks and encourage social distancing at fireworks displays, the safest course is to follow Dr. Fauci’s advice and avoid large gatherings altogether.
“Independence Day is ultimately about remembering our history and commemorating our values, not public spectacle, and we can celebrate patriotism at home with our families.”
Beyer previously led Members of Congress representing the National Capital Region in opposing the Trump Administration’s reported plans to hold another large military parade in Washington, D.C., and subsequently criticized the Administration’s lack of public health measures as it shifted plans towards a smaller event in the nation’s capital.
Yesterday Dr. Anthony Fauci urged Americans to avoid gatherings like President Trump’s planned fireworks show at Mount Rushmore. Arlington County has also encouraged residents to avoid July 4th festivities and stay home.
Today The AES Corporation (NYSE: AES) stepped up to provide immediate relief to hundreds of families who are struggling to put food on their tables as a result of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. A $25,000 contribution from the AES Fund at the Arlington Community Foundation will be split equally between affordable housing nonprofits APAH and AHC. This will allow the two organizations to provide $100 grocery gift cards to a combined total of 250 low-income households in their apartment buildings. This grant is the first tranche of a $75,000 total commitment from AES to the Arlington Community Foundation.
“Improving lives is at the core of our mission, and we take pride in serving the communities where we operate,” said Andrés Gluski, AES President and CEO. “Many households are facing incredible challenges at the moment, and we are grateful to partner with the Arlington Community Foundation to directly address some of the most pressing needs in our community.”
“Our residents are struggling to feed their families as the economic fallout from this health crisis continues to create instability in the home,” said Nina Janopaul, President and CEO of APAH. “AES’ support allows us to provide both immediate relief and flexibility in our support of the right-now needs of the people living in our communities.”
“AES’ decision to support grocery gift cards shows great sensitivity to the real needs of those who are facing a personal crisis in our community,” said Jennifer Endo, Vice President of Community Relations at AHC Inc. “Giving people the opportunity to go to a store and select the ingredients needed to make the meals that suit their families best provides necessary food, but also comfort and dignity. Introducing choice into the lives of our low-income residents at a time when so much feels out of their control is good for the body and the soul.”
This grant marks the first of several investments AES intends to make in Arlington, where the Fortune 500 company’s headquarters employs about 200 people. At least $50,000 of additional support will be deployed in Arlington this year to support pressing issues facing Arlington in the midst of this rapidly evolving crisis.
“We are grateful that AES has selected the Arlington Community Foundation as its partner in giving, taking advantage of our bird’s-eye view of the nonprofit landscape and knowledge of the greatest needs facing our community to make informed decisions about their charitable investments,” said Jennifer Owens, President and CEO of the Arlington Community Foundation. “Helping companies like AES to create and implement locally grounded charitable strategies is an important part of our mission. Today’s gift to APAH and AHC is just the beginning.”