HQ2 will be home to Arlington’s second Conte’s Bike Shop, a South Block, the second location of Vienna-based Social Burger and the first brick-and-mortar location of HUSTLE — a high intensity cycling workout business.
South Block’s Met Park spot will be one of four new planned locations that will open in the next two years, South Block’s Vice President of Marketing Lindsey Parry told ARLnow.
“For us, it’s always been about our community first and so the opportunity to build new blocks and to be a part of HQ2 to us is just really establishing those local roots, continuing to grow,” she said.
A common thread among the businesses is making an impact in their communities.
South Block owner Amir Mostafavi started nonprofit Fruitful Planet that gives fresh fruits and vegetables to food insecure communities and people in need. And at Social Burger in Vienna, 40 meals a week that its customers purchase go to Lamb Center, a homeless shelter.
Social Burger Owner Denise Lee said she’s looking forward to showcasing the business and bringing the burger spot to a bigger setting.
“I’ve been there several times through the construction phase,” she said. “It’s amazing. I’m excited to be part of that. It’s going to be a beautiful campus when the time comes.”
The restaurant will be larger than its original, with a planned 38 seats, and some outdoor seating, Lee said.
HUSTLE co-founder Sunny Miller started the online workout platform during the pandemic to continue connecting with the community she had built through cycling classes. HUSTLE later began pop-up classes at the Wharf in D.C., but to have a permanent space for the business is something special, Miller said.
“This space is going to mean so much for my team and the community because we finally have a place where they can come on a regular basis,” she said.
HUSTLE has already started running free strength classes in Long Bridge Park, Miller said. And they will also be starting cycling classes there every Saturday, beginning in June.
Conte’s Bike Shop co-founder David Conte said the approximately 4,000-square-foot space will feature a mezzanine with a studio for seat fitting, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a coffee bar similar to the one at its Navy Yard location.
“For us to have an opportunity to literally be on the ground floor with an organization like Amazon that’s going to serve the community and the county really quite fabulously, is really humbling and it’s a real privilege,” said Conte’s co-founder Wayne Souza.
“Amazon is excited to bring these businesses and more to HQ2, helping to build a vibrant, buzzing neighborhood,” the company said in a blog post this morning.
Phase 2 of Amazon’s HQ2, including the signature “Helix” building, is a go.
The County Board unanimously approved the plans on the long-vacant PenPlace site in Pentagon City at its meeting on Saturday.
The plans incorporate 3.2 million square feet of office space and about 94,500 square feet of retail on what County Planner Peter Schulz described as the last undeveloped site in Pentagon City.
Amazon plans to build three, 22-story office buildings, three retail pavilions, and its spiral-shaped office building The Helix, on a block bounded by S. Eads Street, 12th Street S., Army Navy Drive and S. Fern Street. The site will also accommodate 2.75 acres of public park, a permanent home for Arlington Community High School, a childcare center and a multi-level underground garage.
The tech giant earned about 1.7 million square feet in bonus density for commitments to sustainable design — among them, powering the buildings with on-site solar panels and electricity from solar farms elsewhere in Virginia — a $30 million affordable housing contribution, public open space and maintenance, off-site transportation improvements and other additions like the school.
Almost two dozen people commented on the plan during the County Board meeting, mostly in support of PenPlace and Amazon’s work with the community during the review process. But a handful had concerns, some questioning whether, given the high density approved, the company should provide more to Arlington.
Community group Arlingtonians for Our Sustainable Future called on the County Board to secure additional benefits, requesting Amazon also fund an elementary school and at least one additional environmental equity and transportation benefit. ASF advocates for measured development in Arlington.
But Board Vice Chair Christian Dorsey rejected how the group calculated numbers it published that assigned values to benefits and to density. He said ASF also didn’t account for macroeconomic benefits, a greater return on the affordable housing investment and other considerations.
“This is a complex conversation. We don’t expect that everyone would fully get and absorb this, that’s why I am happy to engage with people on it,” he said. “But it also kind of underscores why we don’t have these conversations fully in the public.”
Anne Bodine, who was representing ASF, said the county should share the value of density and its calculations.
“Please don’t tell us that you know its value and we can’t,” she said during public comment.
Feedback over the last year of community engagement on the project changed aspects of the development, including adding more green space and other features such as a “green ribbon,” which is a biophilic walking path.
Over the engagement period, the planned size of some buildings shrunk, allowing more space for the public park and increasing the tree canopy.
Board Chair Katie Cristol applauded the project’s consideration that put the public space “front and center” rather than it being an afterthought just using what’s left over after buildings were accounted for.
Board Member Takis Karantonis said he would have liked the green ribbon to be less linear, and to get a protected bike lane on 12th Street, although he recognized technical constraints.
School Bus Driver Shortage — From an Arlington Public Schools email to families: “Due to a shortage of bus drivers, APS will not be able to operate late buses this afternoon, Fri, April 22, or Mon, April 25. Transportation will not be provided for any scheduled late activities at schools today or Monday. Any scheduled athletic events with approved transportation prior to this announcement will take place as scheduled. APS will resume late bus service on Tue, April 26. We apologize for the inconvenience.” [Twitter]
Water Rescue Call Near Chain Bridge — “Water Rescue – #DCsBravest responded for the report of a person in the water in the vicinity of Chain Bridge Road NW. Upon arrival, adult male already safely removed to shore on VA side and is being transported by @dcfireems
with non-serious/non-life threatening injuries.” [Twitter]
PD, FD Help Make Birthday Special — From the Arlington County Police Department: “Happy Birthday, Sarah Elizabeth! Corporal Smithgall first met Sarah Elizabeth while working as a School Resource Officer and has maintained a relationship with her and her family ever since. When he heard she was celebrating a birthday, he enlisted the help of his patrol squad members and Arlington County Fire Department to make it special with a birthday parade, cake and balloons!” [Facebook, Twitter]
Homelessness Org Needs Bedding — “We have moved clients into permanent housing; please help us make it feel like a HOME. We need six bedding bundles.” [Twitter]
It’s Monday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 75 and low of 54. Sunrise at 6:19 am and sunset at 7:56 pm. [Weather.gov]
Amazon Hiring Update — “Amazon.com Inc. is one-fifth of the way to the minimum number jobs the company committed to fill at its second headquarters in Arlington, one of the tech giant’s top hiring locations. As of Wednesday, Amazon had hired 5,000 employees who are assigned to HQ2… It is a 1,500-employee uptick since the last announcement in November.” [Washington Business Journal, Amazon]
HQ2 Phase 2 Vote This Weekend — “Amazon’s proposal for the next phase of HQ2 construction, including the spiral-shaped Helix structure, is set to go before the Arlington County Board for a final vote on Saturday, April 23. The company wants to build three more HQ2 office buildings alongside a 350-foot tall, futuristic building it calls the ‘Helix’. The development would be built on a piece of property known as ‘PenPlace’, just off Army Navy Drive.” [WJLA]
Injured Crow Dies — From the Animal Welfare League of Arlington: “UPDATE: this morning the crow passed away peacefully at @BRWildlifeCtr. We are very grateful to them for doing everything they could to care for him. We are still looking for information regarding this active investigation.” [Twitter]
Fire Station 8 Demolition Nears — “Arlington County will begin demolishing the Fire Station 8 structure during the week of May 2 and expects to complete demolition by the week of June 20. The demolition of the fire station, at 4845 Langston Blvd., will be in preparation for construction of the long-awaited new fire station at the same site. Demolition work will take place from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.” [Patch]
Arlington Company’s Ukraine Donation — “Arlington defense contractor AeroVironment Inc. is donating more than 100 unmanned aircraft systems and training services to defense officials in Ukraine… the donation of the company’s Quantix Recon systems will provide Ukraine’s military with unmanned vehicles that can fly by enemy forces undetected and unaffected by radio frequency jammers to relay reconnaissance intel.” [Washington Business Journal]
It’s Thursday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day, with a slight chance of rain in the afternoon. High of 67 and low of 45. Sunrise at 6:24 am and sunset at 7:52 pm. [Weather.gov]
Revamped Clarendon Restaurant Reopens — “With a new menu that offers Mexican food for all, Buena Vida Gastro Lounge is reopening its newly renovated restaurant in Clarendon this week, serving lunch and dinner and brunch on weekends. Buena Vida, at 2900 Wilson Blvd., also has a new executive chef, Jaime Garciá Pelayo Bribiesca, and a new décor created by CORE architecture+design.” [Patch, Instagram]
Group Wants More from Amazon — “While Arlingtonians for Our Sustainable Future (ASF) welcomes a new Amazon presence at PenPlace, we urge county leaders to strike a fair deal in this site plan review. As structured now, Arlington would trade world record bonus density — more buildable space — for unequal community benefits from Amazon.” [Press Release]
Art Exhibit Opening at GMU in Va. Sq. — “A new exhibition of art commissioned by the British Council to interpret an academic and policy report by a professor at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government will be unveiled April 29 at Mason Square (formerly the Arlington Campus). The event is open to the public and features a keynote address from the ambassador from Tanzania and a panel discussion with representatives from international development, public diplomacy, and art agencies.” [George Mason University]
It’s 4/20 — Clear throughout the day. High of 60 and low of 39. Sunrise at 6:26 am and sunset at 7:51 pm. [Weather.gov]
Police Looking for Missing Teen — “MISSING: ACPD is seeking assistance locating 14-year-old Anahi… Described as a [Hispanic] female, 5’4″ tall with brown hair, brown eyes and a nose piercing. She was last seen at approximately 12:30 p.m. today in the 400 block of S. George Mason Drive.” [Twitter]
Amazon Banana Stand in Crystal City — “Amazon has operated a stand in front of 1770 Crystal Drive, one of the office buildings it occupies in Crystal City, since July. The banistas give away bananas, individually or by the bunch, every weekday between 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., Anderson said. And anyone can take them, from Amazon employees to residents to passers-by. The stands have dog treats, too.” [Washington Business Journal]
Reports of Strange Sounds Last Night — “Locals: anyone know what that annoying chime / doorbell thing is that goes off every 10 minutes? I’ve seen reports of hearing it from Arlington to Alexandria.” [Twitter, Twitter]
Power Outage Last Night — “Just over 600 Dominion customers are without power tonight in the Columbia Forest and Claremont neighborhoods. Restoration expected within a few hours.” [Twitter]
Metro Wants to Develop Housing — “Metro has released a 10-year joint development plan that’s chock-full of big projects to extend the agency’s reach and increase ridership… The agency says it could produce 26,000 new housing units and 31 million square feet of new development through joint development projects at 40 stations. This could create a projected $50 million in yearly lease revenue.” [Axios]
It’s Tuesday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. Breezy, with wind gusts of up to 31 mph. High of 50 and low of 40. Sunrise at 6:27 am and sunset at 7:50 pm. [Weather.gov]
Amazon surprised a Washington-Liberty student with a $40,000 college scholarship and a paid internship with the company earlier this week.
An Amazon engineer showed up at the door of W-L senior Amina Luvsanchultem on Monday (April 11) with a surprise Amazon Future Engineer scholarship, the company announced in a press release.
The $40,000 scholarship will go towards her studying computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) next fall. Additionally, she’ll take on a paid internship with Amazon after her freshman year in college.
A video from the company shows Luvsanchultem answering the door and being in understandable shock while being greeted with the news.
Luvsanchultem is a first-generation Mongolian-American student who hopes to work at NASA one day, Amazon said. She also founded the organization Students for Racial Equity, which works with students, parents, and educators to better understand how race, cultural, and linguistic diversity impacts Arlington classrooms.
The Amazon scholarships were aimed at high school seniors from “underserved and historically underrepresented communities.” Recipients were chosen based on academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, participation in school and community activities, work experience, future goals, and financial need.
Of the 250 scholarships (totaling $10 million) handed out by Amazon, 18 were to students from the D.C. region. Luvsanchultem was the only student from Arlington to receive a scholarship.
More than 70% of recipients identified as Black, Latino, and Native American while half identity as women, Amazon notes.
Construction on the first phase of Amazon’s HQ2 in Pentagon City is coming along while, earlier this month, the second phase of the headquarters was approved by the county’s Planning Commission ahead of County Board consideration.
Rising high school seniors can apply for next year’s round of Amazon Future Engineer Scholarships when the application opens again in the fall. Requirements include completion of an Advanced Placement computer science course in high school, the intent to pursue a computer science degree at a four-year school, and a teacher recommendation.
(Updated at 10:35 a.m. on 04/07/22) After one year of community engagement, plans for the second phase of Amazon’s second headquarters in Pentagon City cleared the Planning Commission on Monday night.
The project now proceeds to the Arlington County Board, which is slated to review the plans during its meeting on Saturday, April 23.
The second phase, at the corner of S. Eads Street and 12th Street S., will develop a long-vacant block with 3.2 million square feet of office space and about 94,500 square feet of retail, according to county planner Peter Schulz.
This density will be spread across three 22-story, renewable-energy-powered office towers and Amazon’s signature building: a glassy, verdant, twisting structure dubbed “The Helix,” which it intends to open to the public twice a month.
The ground floor of one tower will have a 15,000-square foot public childcare facility accepting government subsidies as well as the permanent home for Arlington Community High School, with seats for 300 students.
The campus will also have one- to two-story retail pavilions, 2.75 acres of public open space and underground parking and loading.
Other public benefits include bike lanes on three of the four streets along the site — Army Navy Drive, S. Fern Street and S. Eads Street — and a $30 million contribution to the county’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund.
Amazon, which is currently leasing office space in Crystal City, is building its HQ2 in two phases. The first phase, Metropolitan Park, is at the corner of 13th Street. S and S. Eads Street and just south of the second phase, named PenPlace.
Construction on Met Park, comprised of two 22-story buildings and 2.5-acre open space, is underway and should be completed in 2023.
Last night, Planning Commissioners reviewed the changes Amazon made in response to community comments, considered how they were received by the Site Plan Review Committee (SPRC) and addressed lingering concerns.
“There was a feeling that the project should be held to a very high standard, considering who the owner of the project is,” said Planning Commissioner Tenley Peterson of the SPRC process. “Such a successful, high-profile business like Amazon should provide a project that will both impress the community and be a standard future projects can be measured against.”
Amazon tweaked the façades and roofs of the office towers to increase their architectural variety and moved buildings around to accommodate protected bike lanes, wider sidewalks, and extra turn lanes for cars.
The company also added an outdoor stairway to create a direct connection to Army Navy Drive and added a 15-foot-wide walking, biking and scooting path running east-west.
New Football Coach for Wakefield — “For someone who has never previously been a high-school football head coach, Darrell Weeks’ vast and diversified experience in the sport certainly makes him qualified. Now his chance has come. On March 30, the 45-year-old Austin, Texas, native was announced as the Wakefield Warriors’ new head coach during an after-school gathering in the high school’s town-hall area. Weeks, a special-education and math teacher at Wakefield, has been out of coaching since 2010.” [Sun Gazette]
Target Opening Delayed — “The new Target at Pentagon Row didn’t open today. Opening has been pushed back a week to April 10. No carts yet.” [Twitter]
ACPD Looking for Missing Man — “MISSING: ACPD is seeking assistance locating Shaun… [age] 39. Described as a White male, 5’7″ tall and weighing 145 lbs. He was last seen on the afternoon of March 15 in the 1400 block of S. Joyce Street” in Pentagon City. [Twitter]
Honor for Clarendon-Based Axios — “@axios Congrats on being named on @Comparably’s Best Places to Work in Washington, DC Metro Area 2022 list.” [Twitter]
Peter Chang Responds to Award Nod — “‘We were surprised this time it’s the outstanding chef category, not the regional. It’s such an honor to be recognized among all the talented chefs,’ Peter Chang told me in an email through his daughter, Lydia Zhang. When Zhang informed him of his nomination, he says, his response was, ‘OK, what’s next? We have a business to run here.'” [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Clarendon Bars Win ‘Fake ID Awards’ — “Last night, @ARIArlington recognized two security guards and management of two restaurants (@dontitova & @BarBaoVA) during ACPD’s sixth annual Fake ID Awards. The recipients were recognized for their excellence in detecting false identifications and preventing underage drinking.” [Twitter, WTOP]
Amazon Pledges Millions More for Housing — “As it seeks county approval for the next phase of new HQ2 construction, Amazon is pledging a $30 million contribution to support affordable housing in Arlington. The figure was revealed in county documents posted online this week, as Amazon’s latest HQ2 development proposal is set to go before the county planning commission on Monday.” [WJLA]
Nearby: Armed Robbery in Falls Church — “City of Falls Church Police seek two men who are suspected of armed robbery. At about 3:30 today, police responded to a tobacco and vaping shop in the 1100 block of W. Broad St. for a report of an armed robbery. Store employees told police that two men entered the store, one showed a handgun, and demanded valuables. There were no injuries. The men seemed to arrive and leave by foot.” [City of Falls Church]
It’s Monday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 57 and low of 37. Sunrise at 6:49 am and sunset at 7:36 pm. [Weather.gov]
Construction Milestone for HQ2 — “Metropolitan Park, the first phase of our second headquarters’ development in Arlington, Virginia, is taking shape as we celebrate an important milestone: the ‘topping out,’ or completion of the highest floor of the building. So much has changed since we began construction more than two years ago in National Landing, and we can’t wait to welcome Amazon employees and the Arlington community to Metropolitan Park in 2023.” [Amazon, Twitter]
Covid Rate Low in the ER — From Virginia Hospital Center emergency department chief Dr. Mike Silverman: “This past week was the best COVID week we’ve had in a long time in the ER. We actually didn’t have any positive cases among our ‘symptomatic’ patients and just a handful or so among all comers to the ER. Our percent positivity rate was <2%. Hospitalizations remains low and we are returning to normal with in-person meetings and some options about mask wearing in non-clinical areas.” [Facebook]
Girl Found, Parents Eventually Located — “The parents of the little girl who was found unattended on the Martha Custis Trail in Arlington, Virginia, have been found on Saturday night. The girl was found behind a Giant grocery store on Langston Boulevard-U.S. 29 and Spout Run Parkway just before midnight Saturday.” [WTOP]
Arlington Gets HUD Grant — “The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded more than $2.8 million in FY 2021 Continuum of Care (CoC) Competition Awards to Arlington. The awards will provide funding to help individuals and families experiencing homelessness move into permanent housing with access to supportive services, with the overarching goal of long-term stability.” [Arlington County]
Aircraft Company Opens Local Office — “California-based Stratolaunch, which is testing the largest aircraft ever built, has established a permanent D.C.-area office. It’s in National Landing, the Crystal City area of Arlington County, Virginia. Stratolaunch was founded in 2011 by the late Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft.” [WTOP]
APS Students Serve as Pages in Richmond — “Two students at Swanson Middle School recently finished an 11-week program as pages with the Virginia House of Delegates. This selective program welcomes eighth and ninth-grade students to Richmond from across the commonwealth to learn about the legislative process and assist the House of Delegates. Chandani Rathod and Jacqueline Ake were the only two students chosen from Arlington County.” [Arlington Public Schools, Twitter]
Yes, Traffic is Getting Worse — “With more people returning to work, the D.C. region has seen an increase in drivers and that number could continue to shoot up. ‘It has been a steady climb,’ said Mary DePompa, WTOP Traffic anchor. Despite the rise in gas prices, the boom in the number of drivers appears to be a recent trend.” [WTOP]
It’s Monday — Clear throughout the day. High of 67 and low of 41. Sunrise at 7:11 am and sunset at 7:22 pm. [Weather.gov]
Wet, Windy, Snowy Saturday on Tap — “A powerful storm system will cross the region Saturday. We are likely to see winds gusting over 50 mph Saturday, along with very low wind chills by Saturday night. We remain uncertain about snowfall, as the cold air will be chasing the precip — a wide range remains possible.” [Twitter, Capital Weather Gang]
Firefighters Union Wins Vote — “For the first time in more than FOUR DECADES — a public sector union will have the right to negotiate a contract with Arlington County. And it wasn’t just a win — it was a BLOWOUT.” [Facebook, Twitter]
PSA: Don’t Leave Keys Inside a Parked Car — An auto theft near Upton Hill park: “At approximately 12:40 a.m., a witness observed three unknown suspects rummaging through a vehicle. The witness yelled and the suspects fled the scene on foot. The suspects then entered into the victim’s car, located the keys inside and drove away from the area. The vehicle is described as gray in color, 2015 Honda CRV bearing VA license plate VKX2844.” [ACPD]
Marymount Adding Wrestling Teams — “Marymount University is moving forward on plans to add both Men’s and Women’s Wrestling as varsity sports, expanding the institution’s athletic offerings to 22 different varsity-level teams. Men’s competition will begin in the 2022-23 academic year, as Marymount currently searches for a head coach who will begin recruiting for the program immediately. Women’s competition will debut during the 2023-24 academic year.” [Marymount University]
How Arlington Landed HQ2 — “If you’re interested in how Amazon could reshape our region, it’s worth understanding what our region had to build to land them. It’s an underdog story that starts with a small team of local business-improvement officials who had neither the clout nor the cash of most of their competitors. Instead, they figured out what Amazon was really looking for and quietly began the process of shaping a city to fit those needs.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]
An Irish Tale on a Local Stage — “Tis the time of the year that everyone wants to be Irish, if only for a wee while, and Encore Stage & Studio has joined the celebration of all things Eire with the world-premiere production of ‘Riley O’Brien and the Lost Leprechaun.’ While aimed at the younger set, the show is inventive in its conception and solid in its execution, making it a treat for all ages.” [Sun Gazette]
Fairfax County Local News — ARLnow’s latest sister site, FFXnow, is providing up-to-the-minute coverage of Fairfax County following its recent official launch. Sign up for the email newsletter or follow on Facebook or Twitter. [FFXnow]
It’s Friday — Sunny most of the day, then rain overnight. High of 59 and low of 37. Sunrise at 6:27 am and sunset at 6:13 pm. [Weather.gov]