A group of large local employers and small local businesses has formed a new group intended “to support National Landing’s transformation.”
The Arlington Community Coalition says the arrival of Amazon’s HQ2 is a golden opportunity to bolster housing and transportation options in the National Landing area, which includes Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard. The group also wants to build a sense of community and support local businesses as the area grows.
“After seeing years of decline from BRAC, National Landing will significantly help small businesses attract a steady stream of new and regular customers,” said Freddie’s Beach Bar owner Freddie Lutz, one of the coalition’s members. “National Landing will become an economic engine driving new growth and opportunities for small business retail and restaurants.”
Members of coalition include the Consumer Technology Association — outspoken supporters of Amazon’s arrival — along with Amazon’s National Landing landlord, JBG Smith, and Virginia Tech, which is developing an Innovation Campus in Potomac Yard. Other members include Lyft, Freddie’s, Commonwealth Joe and Mothersauce Partners.
The group believes that Amazon-fueled growth will foster a “collaborative ecosystem for education, innovation, and entrepreneurship” that will help “further establish Northern Virginia as the next great technology hub.”
Countering the anti-Amazon sentiment that made headlines prior to Arlington’s approval of millions in local incentives for the retail and tech giant, the new coalition says the community will benefit from the area’s growth, and not just because of Amazon.
“From housing to transportation, education to entertainment, National Landing will be not only a global technology hub but a vibrant community for all of us who live, work, and visit here,” said Glenda MacMullin, Chief Operating Officer and CFO, Consumer Technology Association.
The full press release from the Arlington Community Coalition is below, after the jump.
(Updated on 10/18/19) This weekend, the Arlington County Board will consider whether to help advance the overhaul of the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) Crystal City station.
The County Board is poised to vote this Saturday, October 19 on a resolution supporting the VRE’s application for $15.8 million in regional funding, which would help pay for the long-discussed plans to expand and redesign the station.
Arlington’s buy-in is required as part of the VRE’s funding application to the regional transit planning board Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA), per a staff report to the Board.
The new station will feature 850-foot-long platforms to accommodate commuting trains. The station’s current 400-foot long platforms are too short to accommodate the trains’ length, forcing passengers to walk to the front cars to disembark at Crystal City.
The County Board previously approved a somewhat controversial site behind 2011 Crystal Drive for the new platform space. The new site would make the station more accessible to Crystal City Metro station (via a future second entrance) as well as 18th Street S. (via a tunnel) and Crystal Drive (via a pedestrian bridge.)
“VRE’s project will enhance station capacity and convenience for passengers; expand railroad capacity, operational flexibility, and resilience; improve commuter rail reliability and on-time performance; reduce highway congestion; and reduce transportation- related air pollution,” staff wrote in the Board report.
VRE renewed pushes to fund the $44.5 million project after Amazon chose Arlington for its second headquarters, bringing the promise of 25,000 Amazon workers in the Crystal City and Pentagon City area.
VRE said its Crystal City station is already the railroad’s most heavily-used station, with about 18% of riders using it.
The Board previously supported VRE’s requests to the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation to fund a majority of the project earlier this year.
As of today (Thursday), the resolution supporting VRE’s application for the remaining funding was listed on the County Board’s consent agenda — a place usually reserved for items members expect to pass without debate.
VRE is currently finalizing designs of the project and estimates construction will wrap up around 2023 or 2024, the same time Amazon is expecting to open its permanent Met Park headquarters.
Arlington Rooftop Bar Reopens — After being shut down by county building inspectors, Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill in Courthouse reopened Tuesday evening, just in time to watch the Nationals sweep the Cardinals in Game 4 of the NLDS, to advance to the first World Series in D.C. since 1933. [Twitter]
Housing Still Hot Near HQ2 — “The median sale price for all home types in the 22202 [zip code, which includes the Pentagon City and Crystal City area] jumped nearly 40% in September compared with the same time last year, reaching $685,000… That makes it nine straight months of home price appreciation for the 22202 area. Arlington County as a whole saw a modest 12% year-to-date increase, $590,000 for all home types.” [Washington Business Journal]
Retail Job Fair Next Week — “Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, Washington D.C.’s international shopping destination, invites job seekers to attend its Retailer Job Fair on Tuesday, October 22. From 11 a.m.-7 p.m., candidates can visit the Metro and First Levels to pick up applications, meet with store representatives and apply onsite.” [Press Release]
DCA Fee to Help Pay for Expansion Project — “Project Journey, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s $1 billion capital improvement effort well underway at Reagan National Airport, will be paid for in part by airline passengers. At its meeting Wednesday, the MWAA board will be asked to approve the submission of a new Passenger Facility Charge application… The $4.50 fee is collected by airlines as part of their airfare and remitted to the airport of origin.” [Washington Business Journal]
Caps Dogs Star in Arlington Photoshoot — “In the 2020 Capitals Canine Calendar, you will see 12 months of Washington ice hockey players posing with dogs of all sizes, ages and bark levels… There was plenty of four-legged mischief during the October shoot at the MedStar Capitals Iceplex in Arlington.” [Washington Post, Twitter]
Nearby: New Restaurant in Arlandria — “The new Taqueria Senora Lola is now open at 3901 Mount Vernon Avenue in Arlandria. Owner Oswaldo Salinas said the restaurant — adjacent to Salinas’ other eatery, Lilian’s Restaurant, opened two weeks ago and had a grand opening event this past Saturday.” [ALXnow]
Arlington officials are asking Amazon to go back to the drawing board for its proposed headquarters in Pentagon City to put a greater emphasis on sustainability.
The 2.1 million-square-foot proposed office complex at the corner of 15th Street S. and S. Eads Street, is currently pending review by Arlington’s Planning Commission and County Board. If plans are finalized on schedule by the end of 2019, demolition is due to start early next year, according to JBG Smith’s Vice President of Development Matt Ginivan, with excavation then lasting through the end of the year.
It’s not easy being green
As part of the construction, Amazon Vice President of Global Real Estate John Schoettler announced during a Site Plan Review Committee (SPRC) meeting last night (Monday) that HQ2 would seek a LEED Platinum energy certification instead of its lower, original Gold goal.
“We are working to secure renewable energy for the campus which means our Arlington buildings will operate on 100% renewable energy by 2030,” said Schoettler.
SPRC members commended Amazon for the new goal but pressed the company for more details on how it would meet the carbon emissions reduction targets. Previously, the company’s designs were scored on the lower end of LEED’s Gold efficiency ranking.
SPRC members also asked how Amazon would avoid use of fossil fuels, particularly in its restaurant spaces.
Brian Earle, a principal at ZGF Architects, said Amazon was committed to forgoing natural gas in its kitchens and cafeterias, but admitted they didn’t “see a path towards having a life safety [electric] generator that meets the county’s requirements that does not use fossil fuels.”
Schoettler added that Amazon was planning to build off-site renewable energy facilities like solar or wind farms elsewhere in Virginia to power the buildings with renewable energy and off-set the impact of fossil fuels.
“That might make us feel very virtuous, but we have to be very cautious about how we produce that off-site energy,” she said of off-site renewables.
Another part of the HQ2 plan involves the landscaping of the site itself, which is slated to include gardens, a dog park, and terraces on the multi-step grooves.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently pledged his company would achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and that Amazon was “going to work very hard with the community [in Arlington] to make sure our presence there ends up being a net positive, rather than a net negative.”
Arlington officials also recently passed a new energy policy committing the county to carbon neutrality by 2050.
Another protected bike lane, what about electric vehicle parking?
SPRC member and Transportation Commission Chair Chris Slatt urged Amazon to nix some of its parking spaces, saying: “I think your parking is a far greater blemish on your sustainability than whether there’s a wood-burning fireplace in the staff lounge.”
Other members of the SPRC focused on the nexus of sustainability and transit asked Amazon to expand the percentage of parking spaces reserved for electric vehicles. The recommendation follows the county’s new energy plan predicting more people will drive electric cars in the next thirty years — a trend backed by Gov. Ralph Northam’s recent investment to expand the number of charging stations available statewide.
Amazon’s current designs set aside about 2% — or about 40 spaces — of its 1,968 total parking spaces for electric vehicles.
“Why not push for 10%?” asked one SPRC member.
There was at least one big win for non-car transportation last night. Following repeated calls from activists, Amazon announced it would build a protected bike lane on 15th Street S. along the length of the Metropolitan Park development, of which its headquarters is the final phase. That follow’s Amazon’s previous pledge to build a protected lane along S. Eads Street.
Cards Coach Has Good Day in Arlington, At Least — “Cardinals pitching coach Mike Maddux hit not one, but two holes-in-one during a morning round of golf at the Army Navy Country Club, manager Mike Shildt revealed to reporters on Monday. The country club later confirmed the achievement to ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez.” [Yahoo]
Real Estate Market Awash in HQ2 Hype — “As of the first week of October, there were nearly 70 active listings for single-family detached homes in Greater Washington that mentioned Amazon’s HQ2 in their description… The median driving distance for the homes was about 7.4 miles.” [Washington Business Journal]
County to Sponsor Marine Corps Marathon Again — “Arlington County Board members on Oct. 19 are expected to ratify a sponsorship agreement for the Marine Corps Marathon, and allocate $85,000 in funding. The marathon, to be held this year on Oct. 27, is ‘the largest annual event held in Arlington, driving significant spending at local businesses and generating related tax revenues for the county.'” [InsideNova]
Video Shows Cars Stopped in Bike Lane — A video posted to Twitter shows numerous cars stopped, blocking the bike lane along Crystal Drive in Crystal City. In addition to voicing frustration about the blocked bike lane, the video poster wrote: “why are all these drivers doing pickups, dash-ins, etc, not given space, in favor of people street-parking adjacent to a huuuuge underground garage?” [Twitter]
No In-School Flu Vaccines This Year — “Arlington Public Schools students will not have access to free, in-school flu vaccinations this fall, county school officials said. Last school year, the school system partnered with Healthy Schools (CareDox) to offer the in-school service.” [InsideNova]
WeWork Phone Booths Emitting Fumes — “Colleen Wong, a director with the Global Entrepreneurship Network, said she noticed a pungent smell in the phone booths at WeWork’s Rosslyn location in Arlington, Virginia, where she’s a tenant. ‘I always noticed, from the first time I entered a phone booth, a strong chemical odor,’ Wong told Business Insider.” [Entrepreneur]
Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler
(Updated at 11:45 a.m.) As the development plans stack up for Crystal City and Pentagon City, the need for a new school could be growing.
As plans progress for Amazon’s second headquarters, developer JBG Smith has submitted its own plans to the county proposing to build thousands of additional apartments (and potentially condos) in the area, to help house the tens of thousands expected to one day work at HQ2.
JBG Smith’s plans for Crystal City and the Pentagon City area so far include adding:
- About 1,000 new housing units at the RiverHouse development
- 790 units in two new structures at 1900 Crystal Drive
- 762 units in its towers planned on S. Bell Street
- 752 units at its two connected, V-shaped towers planned for 2525 Crystal Drive
- 645 units along 23rd Street S.
While apartment buildings catering to younger workers are unlikely to generate an abundance of students — in 2015 it was reported that the entire 1,670-unit Riverhouse complex in Pentagon City only housed 30 Oakridge students — the redevelopment plans are still raising an eyebrow among those monitoring school capacity issues.
Local officials tell ARLnow that there are no specific plans in the works for building a new school to accommodate new students in the area. There has been past discussion, however, of Vornado (now JBG Smith) providing a site for a new school.
“As of this moment, [Arlington’s planning department] has not had any discussions with JBG Smith about any of their pending applications regarding providing a school site,” a county spokeswoman when asked whether there are current school-related discussions with the developer.
In an interview with the Washington Business Journal, Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey said that in exchange for approving the massive developments, the county could ask JBG Smith for a package of “truly transformative community benefit improvements.”
Dorsey did not immediately respond to a request by ARLnow to clarify what might be included in such a package.
“APS has discussed an elementary school in that area in the past,” said school spokesman Frank Bellavia, when asked if Arlington Public Schools was considering adding a new school to the area.
“Specifically, the South Arlington Working Group had identified the Aurora Highlands neighborhood,” which is adjacent to Pentagon City and Crystal City, as a potential site, Bellavia said Thursday. “We are in the process of working through our future seat needs and will most likely need elementary seats in that neighborhood.”
Prior to its merger with JBG Smith, Vornado had given APS a tour of vacant office space it owned nearby which could be converted into a school.
APS will be updating its facilities plan in early 2020 as part of the county’s 2021-30 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), according to Bellavia.
A spokeswoman for JBG Smith said the developer is “working with the County but it’s too early to discuss the community benefits package.”
Pedestrian Struck on Crash-Prone Stretch — “A pedestrian was struck on Washington Blvd in front of Washington-Liberty HS around 10 a.m. this morning. The victim was transported to a hospital with minor injuries, per scanner traffic. This stretch has seen numerous pedestrians struck by drivers over the past few years.” [Twitter]
Local Leaders from Wa. Coming to Talk Amazon — “How do you prepare for Amazon.com Inc. when the company plans to drastically grow in your city? That’s what city officials from Bellevue, Washington, hope to learn from our own Arlington, as they send an envoy to meet with county leaders Thursday. The communities… each expect to house more than 4,000 Amazon employees by 2022.” [Washington Business Journal]
Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Approaching — “On Saturday, October 26, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Arlington County Police Department, Arlington County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its 18th opportunity in nine years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. This disposal service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.” [Arlington County]
Special Burial and Flyover at ANC — “A pilot who died during WWII was finally laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. Air Force Major Donn Young’s remains were recovered decades after his B-25 bomber crashed in Papua New Guinea… The burial happened, in part, because of an adventurous entrepreneur.” [WJLA]
Another Wohl, Burkman Press Conference — Conservative provocateurs Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl held yet another press conference outside Burkman’s Rosslyn area townhouse to accuse another Democratic presidential candidate of sexual impropriety. The press conference was disrupted by a bagpiper, a process server and a man in a corn suit. [Twitter]
Congressman: Congress Must ‘Do Something’ About Trump — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) tweeted yesterday: “President Trump just said out loud that it’s OK to betray our Kurdish allies and allow the release of 11,000 ISIS fighters because ‘they’re going to be escaping to Europe.’ He’s out of completely out of control and Congress has to do something about it.” [Twitter]
Photo courtesy Catherine Ladd
Two new, towering buildings have been proposed for the northwest corner of the intersection of Crystal Drive and 23rd Street S.
The pair are part of JBG Smith’s massive mixed-use development in Crystal City, which includes thousands of new apartments across five new buildings, along with a new office building. With Amazon’s HQ2 staffing up, the large-scale redevelopment could help house thousands as new workers flock to the area.
The new plans call for a pair of towers on 2000 and 2001 S. Bell Street with 762 housing units and 54,215 square feet of retail space. And on 2525 Crystal Drive, JBG Smith is planning two connected, V-shaped towers with 752 housing units and 59,000 square feet of retail — an unusual design rolled out months after critics called designs for Amazon’s nearby permanent HQ2 “unambitious.”
Two towers on 23rd Street S.
It calls for JBG Smith to demolish the existing 11-story “Crystal Plaza 5” office building at 223 23rd Street S. and the one-story retail building that currently houses celebrity Chef José Andrés’ award-winning Jaleo restaurant.
One part of the site is reserved for the “West” tower at 223 23rd Street S., which will stand 31 stories tall and house 645 apartment units as well as 20,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. The majority of units in the building are slated to be smaller-sized one bedroom apartments (215) but plans indicate the West tower will also include 75 two-bedrooms.
On the roof, the development will feature a swimming pool with lounge chairs, some artificial turf, and greenery.
The ground floor will include 1,850 square feet of bike storage with room for 276 bikes.
An office tower along Crystal Drive
A second building on the same site — the “East” office tower at 2300 Crystal Drive — will be 24 stories tall, plus a penthouse space. Instead of residential space, the East tower will feature 520,000 square feet of office space and 15,000 square feet of retail space.
Renderings reviewed by ARLnow indicate the office tower will have floor-to-ceiling glass panels installed from top to bottom, framed with burnished bronze.
The ground floor will include four retail spaces totaling 15,071 square feet, as well as 1,000-square-foot bicycling parking area. In total, the bike facility is slated to include 88 bike parking spaces. Building tenants, including cyclists, can expect to have access to 176 lockers and 12 showers.
The building is also expected to include lounge space on its narrow, step-style roof, with terraces featuring furniture and greenery.
Some Added Green Space
While JBG Smith’s plans paint the picture of a thoroughly urban Crystal City, looking more like the downtown of a major city than a suburban enclave, it also includes at least a bit of extra green space near the 23rd Street towers.
To the west of the 223 23rd Street S. residential tower is a new, tiny strip of parkland, replacing at least a portion of what’s currently a driveway and a planter wall next to the WeWork building at 2221 S. Clark Street.
Diagrams show new trees planted along the green strip, with a walkway down the middle.
Image 9 via Google Maps
Arlington Woman Sues Moby Dick House of Kabob — “An Arlington woman is suing Moby Dick House of Kabob after a salmonella outbreak related to hummus made at least 17 people sick in Maryland and Virginia since September 10.” [WTOP, Bethesda Magazine]
Driver Cited for Striking Cars at McKinley Elementary — Per an Arlington County Police spokeswoman: “At approximately 4:28 p.m. on October 3, police were dispatched to the 1000 block of McKinley Road for the report of a hit and run just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the driver of the striking vehicle hit three unoccupied parked vehicles in the parking lot. The driver of the vehicle was identified, the incident was determined to be a medical emergency and the driver of the striking vehicle was issued a summons for violation of Arlington County code § 14.2-17 Vehicle to be Kept Under Control.”
Arlington: Too Crowded for Some — Arlington has “grown crowded enough to prompt even deep-rooted residents to escape ever farther out to nature. Take my friends Tim and Beth Reese… They’re now ensconced on a 77-acre grow-your-own-organic-food farm a 90-minute drive out in Capon Bridge, West Virginia (pop. 371).” [Falls Church News-Press]
Fire Prevention Week Reminders — “It’s Fire Prevention Week, and this year the Arlington County Fire Department and fire departments across the country are working to educate their communities about the small but important actions everyone can take to keep themselves and those around them safe.” [Arlington County]
Nearby: Amazon Opening Store in D.C. — “Amazon.com Inc. is preparing to grow its brick-and-mortar retail presence along one of D.C.’s growing retail corridors: 14th Street NW.” [Washington Business Journal, PoPville]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
A preliminary site plan filing reviewed by ARLnow includes a 688,223 square-foot residential development in Crystal City — a pair of towers at 2000 and 2001 S. Bell Street — replacing an existing building at 2001 Richmond Highway and an adjacent parking lot.
That’s in addition to four other new, planned buildings — at 223 23rd Street S., 2300 Crystal Drive, and two towers at 2525 Crystal Drive — that were announced late Tuesday afternoon. In all, JBG Smith announced five new residential buildings and one office building — “all within a half mile of the Metro and Amazon’s new headquarters.”
The two S. Bell Street towers will be located across the street from one another on a new, re-aligned portion of Clark-Bell Street, bounded by 20th Street to the north and the newly renamed Richmond Highway to the west. The proposed buildings include a combined 762 housing units and 54,215 square feet of retail space.
Attorney Kedrick Whitmore of Venable LLC submitted JBG Smith’s site plans. In a letter, Whitmore wrote that the new development will bring an “infusion of new residents and mixed uses” that will “activate the existing fabric of Crystal City.”
Whitmore also noted new residents will create a stronger market for the retail spaces, which are struggling countywide to attract tenants.
The West tower’s units are a mix of one bedrooms (105), two bedrooms (69), and three bedrooms (39) with the majority being a smaller-sized one bedroom unit (145.)
Next door at 2001 S. Bell Street, JGB Smith is planning a 26-story tower with 403 units and 34,243 square feet of retail. This east tower will feature studio apartments (65), smaller-sized one bedrooms (155), regular one bedroom units (84), and two-bedroom units (99.)
Together the buildings will be served by a two-story underground parking garage with 314 spaces for cars.
JBG Smith’s attorney noted that the developer would be demolishing 185 existing parking spaces on the lot and adding 444 for an overall increase of 259 spaces — and resulting in a final parking ratio for cars of 0.34. The garage is also slated to include 330 bicycle parking spaces.
Coming between the two towers would be a new, merged S. Clark and S. Bell street, which is part of the Crystal City Sector Plan’s goal “to form a new north-south street between Jefferson Davis Boulevard and Crystal Drive.”
Arlington began demolishing the the S. Clark Street bridge over 18th Street S. in June as part of a larger $6 million project to bring Clark Street down to ground level and re-align the two streets together.
JBG Smith is proposing a new pedestrian walkway to the new street which wraps around the east tower.
The developer also submitted plans for an additional pair of buildings on the northwest corner of 23rd Street S. and Crystal Drive.
JBG Smith’s attorney wrote that the plan for the buildings will “include significant site improvements, including (but not limited to) partial implementation of realigned Clark-Bell Street, improved onsite circulation, street and sidewalk improvements along segments of 23rd Street and Crystal Drive, new interim public open space, and new infrastructure.”
Whitmore noted that the developments align with the Sector Plan‘s overall goals of transforming the area into an an “18-hour” neighborhood where people can work, live, and go out.
Also included in the new development plan are two towers at a listed address of 2525 Crystal Drive, which seemingly corresponds to the location of the JBG Smith-owned Crystal City sand volleyball courts and workout park, next to an off-ramp from Reagan National Airport.
Additional details on the new developments, however, including renderings and maps, were not immediately available due to confusion at the permit office caused by the county’s new digital permit submission system.
According to two permit staffers, JBG Smith did not correctly submit the site plans to the online system, resulting in the need for re-submission this (Wednesday) afternoon. Renderings of the new buildings and landscaping maps were also not publicly available by Tuesday afternoon.
JBG Smith’s latest slew of projects are in addition to its other plans in Crystal City and Pentagon City — which include redoing an office building (1770 Crystal Drive), adding new apartments to the Riverhouse complex, and building twin apartment towers at 1900 Crystal Drive.
Street View photo and map via Google Maps. Renderings via JBG Smith.
Amazon Tweaking HQ2 Heating Plan — “Amazon.com Inc. confirmed it will tweak some elements of its HQ2 plan in Arlington County to eliminate a carbon dioxide-emitting system. The news comes a little more than a week after CEO Jeff Bezos announced in D.C. plans to end the company’s reliance on fossil fuels in a decade.” [Washington Business Journal]
County Tax Deadline Coming Up — “Taxes are due soon! If you have moved or sold your car, you may still owe taxes for the months when your car was in Arlington. If you are waiting for account adjustments, still pay your bill in full by Oct. 5. Overpayments will be refunded.” [Twitter]
Video: Ovi at ATS — Arlington Public Schools has released a video from Caps star Alexander Ovechkin’s recent visit to Arlington Traditional School. “Hi kids, I think it’s breakfast time for you, no?” Ovechkin asked as he pushed a grocery cart full of Ovi O’s cereal into a classroom. [Vimeo]
Dorsey to Talk Racial Equity at Church — “Christian Dorsey, Chair of the Arlington County Board, will be speaking about racial equity at Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ, 5010 Little Falls Road, at 7:00 p.m. Monday, October 7.” [Press Release]
New Daycare Center Near Fairlington — “As Alexandria struggles with affordable daycare, a new facility is in the works near the Fairlington neighborhood. A special use permit has been filed for Our First Step Daycare Center, a new daycare center planned for 2500 N. Van Dorn Street.” [ALXnow]
Ever Have a Dream Like This? — Updated at 8:35 a.m. — “Scanner: Police responding to S. Four Mile Run Drive for a report of a naked woman who walked on to an ART bus then walked right back off.” [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman