Arlington, VA

A new, eco-friendly form of transportation is in the works for some residents along Columbia Pike.

Electric shuttle company FLARE Technology and Services is in the process of securing contracts with several apartment buildings in south Arlington. Once finalized, residents those buildings will be able to use the free service — offered as an amenity — to shuttle anywhere they might not have immediate access to, such as a Metro station or grocery store.

The service will be exclusive to the apartment residents, meaning those who stumble upon the cars along Columbia Pike will not be able to hop in, clarified FLARE CEO Andres Delgado.

Delgado said he hopes to have FLARE ready by the start of next year. In the meantime, the business will host a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Arlington Economic Development office in Ballston today (Tuesday).

“There are many desirable places to live within Arlington County, but everyone is not able to live in locations with easy access to transit,” said Delgado in a statement. “We created FLARE as a solution to solve the connectivity problem within Arlington and in the greater D.C. metro area.”

The company’s white vehicles, which look a bit like stretched-out golf carts with doors, have spent the last several weeks testing rides in the Shirlington area.

“We were able to drive people in Shirlington from a farmers market, to their apartments, to the grocery store,” said Delgado, “and it was awesome.”

Delgado emphasized that he is working with his co-founder, Chris Yeazel, to eventually have an app-based subscription service available for public use.

“Then anyone in the neighborhood will be able to jump on,” he said.

Another free ride service, Sprynt, hit the streets in Arlington in 2017. A “100% electric on-demand” ride, the service was paid for by advertisers, but the company stopped operating a year later.

Photo courtesy FLARE

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(Updated at 10 a.m.) Firefighters are on scene of a possible apartment fire at the River Place residential complex in Rosslyn.

Heavy smoke was reported on a lower floor of one of the high-rise buildings, on the 1000 block of Arlington Blvd. A second alarm was dispatched as a precaution, according to scanner traffic.

“Expect a large fire department response in the area,” ACFD said via social media.

Firefighters investigating the source of the smoke now believe it was from a small kitchen fire, which has since been extinguished.

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(Updated at 2:45 p.m.) Firefighters are on scene of an apartment fire at the Quincy Plaza apartments in Virginia Square.

The fire was first reported just after 2 p.m., on the 12th floor of the apartment tower at 3900 Fairfax Drive. The fire is reported to now be out, controlled at least in part via a sprinkler system.

Firefighters are now checking for additional fire, smoke and water damage in adjacent apartments. Water can be seen streaming down the side of the building near where the fire was reported, and “extensive” water damage is being reported in parts of the building, according to scanner traffic.

No word yet on what caused the fire.

Police are also on the scene, helping to provide traffic control with the eastbound lanes of Fairfax Drive closed by the emergency response.

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Property owner JBG Smith announced late Tuesday afternoon a major new redevelopment push in Crystal City in the wake of Amazon’s arrival.

The developer says it is planning to redevelop “approximately 2.6 million square feet of space across five multifamily buildings and one office building.”

“The buildings include 2000 and 2001 South Bell Street (formerly 2001 Richmond Highway), 223 23rd Street, 2300 Crystal Drive, and 2525 Crystal Drive, which are all within a half mile of the Metro and Amazon’s new headquarters,” the company said in a press release.

That’s addition to JBG’s existing plans to renovate an office building at 1770 Crystal Drive, add new apartments to the Riverhouse complex in Pentagon City, and build twin apartment towers at 1900 Crystal Drive.

“The submissions are part of JBG SMITH’s ongoing collaboration with Arlington County and private sector partners to deliver a mix of new housing, retail, office, and public spaces to National Landing,” says the press release. “This is an important step toward delivering additional housing units and retail amenities in National Landing, which will help meet anticipated new housing demand and mitigate upward pressure on rents.”

JBG said it plans to offer a community benefit package to include new open space and infrastructure upgrades as part of the redevelopment.

“While the final benefits will be determined through a collaborative process with Arlington County, the package is anticipated to include the creation of new public open spaces, improved pedestrian circulation, and transportation upgrades,” the press release said.

A map of the redevelopment (above) released by JBG Smith also references planned upgrades to Route 1, which may include removal of overpasses near the Crystal City Metro station.

Reached by phone, a spokeswoman declined to comment further, referring ARLnow to the press release.

The full release is below.

JBG SMITH (NYSE: JBGS), a leading owner and developer of high-quality, mixed-use properties in the Washington, DC market, today announced that it has submitted plans to Arlington County for the redevelopment of approximately 2.6 million square feet of space across five multifamily buildings and one office building. The buildings include 2000 and 2001 South Bell Street (formerly 2001 Richmond Highway), 223 23rd Street, 2300 Crystal Drive, and 2525 Crystal Drive, which are all within a ½ mile of the Metro and Amazon’s new headquarters.

The submissions are part of JBG SMITH’s ongoing collaboration with Arlington County and private sector partners to deliver a mix of new housing, retail, office, and public spaces to National Landing. These projects are anticipated to follow 1900 Crystal Drive and RiverHouse Apartments, which are already moving through the entitlement process. Taken together, these projects constitute over half of JBG SMITH’s 6.9 million square foot Future Development Pipeline in National Landing. Based on current plans, JBG SMITH expects the 6.9 million square feet to comprise approximately 2.2 million square feet of office and 4.7 million square feet of multifamily, totaling approximately 4,000 to 5,000 units, which will all have ground floor retail. This is an important step toward delivering additional housing units and retail amenities in National Landing, which will help meet anticipated new housing demand and mitigate upward pressure on rents.

In addition, JBG SMITH has broken ground on 1770 Crystal Drive and Central District Retail, which are both currently under construction. JBG SMITH is also serving as the fee developer for Amazon’s new headquarters and the master developer for the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus.

JBG SMITH’s submission includes a robust set of community benefits that will achieve several key Sector Plan objectives, including the dedication of open space, upgrades to the streetscape, and infrastructure enhancements. While the final benefits will be determined through a collaborative process with Arlington County, the package is anticipated to include the creation of new public open spaces, improved pedestrian circulation, and transportation upgrades.

“In reimagining this vital stretch along Crystal Drive and 23rd Street, we are focused on the goals of Arlington County’s Sector Plan, as well as our collective desire to foster a vibrant, architecturally distinct 18-hour environment throughout National Landing,” said Bryan Moll, Executive Vice President at JBG SMITH. “We look forward to working with the County to review and refine our proposals, which will significantly enhance the public’s experience at the street level and add a host of new housing and amenities for the community.”

JBG SMITH expects to commence construction on these developments after receipt of final entitlements, subject to preleasing and market conditions.

JBG SMITH and National Landing

National Landing is the newly defined interconnected and walkable neighborhood that encompasses Crystal City, the eastern portion of Pentagon City and the northern portion of Potomac Yard. Situated across the Potomac River from Washington, DC, National Landing is a well-located urban community known for its adjacency to Reagan National Airport and walkable environment featuring offices, apartments and hotels. JBG SMITH currently owns 6.2 million square feet of existing office space, 2,850 units of existing multifamily space, and controls 6.9 million square feet of additional development opportunities in National Landing, excluding Amazon’s land purchase.

In addition to the Amazon project, JBG SMITH has broken ground on Central District Retail, a 109,000 square foot entertainment and shopping destination that will serve as the retail heart of National Landing. JBG SMITH also expects to start construction on 1900 Crystal Drive next year, which currently comprises two residential towers with shops and green spaces at the base. The retail components of these two projects are expected to deliver almost 150,000 square feet of street-level retail featuring an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, specialty grocer, restaurants, bars, and other experiential offerings.

About JBG SMITH

JBG SMITH is an S&P 400 company that owns, operates, invests in, and develops a dynamic portfolio of high-quality mixed-use properties in and around Washington, DC. Through an intense focus on placemaking, JBG SMITH cultivates vibrant, amenity-rich, walkable neighborhoods throughout the Capital region, including National Landing where it now serves as the exclusive developer for Amazon’s new headquarters. JBG SMITH’s portfolio currently comprises 20.6 million square feet of high-quality office, multifamily and retail assets, 98% at our share of which are Metro-served. It also maintains a robust future pipeline encompassing 18.7 million square feet of mixed-use development opportunities. For more information on JBG SMITH please visit www.jbgsmith.com.

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Morning Notes

VDOT Repaving Planned This Month — “Upcoming @VaDOTNOVA night paving into August: Glebe Road, Spout Run Parkway, Washington Boulevard, Route 1 aka Richmond Highway aka the roadway formerly known as Jefferson Davis. Dates tentative, subject to change.” [Twitter]

ACPD Still Not Meeting Staffing Goal — The Arlington County Police Department has, on net, added a few new officers over the past year. But staffing challenges remain, echoing challenges for police departments across the region: ACPD currently has 352 officers despite a staffing goal of 374 officers. [NBC 4]

Arlington Hiring Public Safety Positions — Arlington County is currently hiring school crossing guards and 911 dispatchers.

Lee Highway Apartment Complex Sold — “A 50-year-old apartment complex along Route 29 in Arlington County has traded hands for the first time in 20 years. Connecticut-based Westport Capital Partners, through the entity WM MF Horizons Property LLC, acquired the Horizons Apartments from an entity connected to Dweck Properties to in a deal that closed June 26 for $71M, Arlington County property records show.” [Bisnow]

Rosslyn-Based Firm Buys Clyde’s — “It’s official: Clyde’s Restaurant Group, a 56-year-old institution in Greater Washington’s restaurant scene, is now a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Co. Graham, which is led by members of the Graham family that formerly owned The Washington Post, did not disclose a sale price.” [Washington Business Journal]

Nearby: More People Biking in Alexandria — “More than halfway through this summer’s Blue and Yellow Line shutdown… bicycle volume [has] almost doubled on the Metro Linear Trail, a smaller, along-rail trail which connects the King Street and Braddock Road stations.” [DCist]

Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak

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Morning Notes

(Updated on 07/22/19) Office Vacancy Rate Dropping — “The commercial vacancy rate in the County continues to improve. The vacancy rate as of the second quarter of 2019 stands at 16.6%, down nearly 5% from its historic high of 21% in 2015. Arlington Economic Development also announced it successfully closed 26 deals in FY 2019, representing 7.2 million square feet of office space and 43,000 jobs.” [Arlington County]

County Adopts New Bathroom Policy — “The Arlington County government has adopted what amounts to a […] policy for government-building restrooms and locker rooms. The policy, outlined to County Board members on July 16, will formally allow any individual to use a male or female restroom ‘that corresponds with gender identity or expression,’ county staff said.” [InsideNova]

Human Remains Found Near GW Parkway — Human remains, in a skull, have reportedly been found near the GW Parkway and Reagan National Airport, in the same area where a D.C. cadaver dog was hurt earlier this week, prompting a medevac flight. The dog is now recovering from serious injuries. U.S. Park Police are investigating the source of the remains. [Fox 5, Washington PostWTOP]

New Provost, Plans for Marymount — “Marymount is proud to welcome the university’s new Provost, Hesham El-Rewini, Ph.D., P.E., who officially begins his duties on campus this week… ‘We have bold plans for the future of Marymount as we strive to become an elite Catholic institution that is nationally recognized for innovation,’ said Dr. Irma Becerra, President of Marymount University.” [Marymount University]

GoFundMe for Westover Residents — A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to benefit residents of Westover whose homes were damaged by flash flooding last week. So far more than $8,000 has been raised. [GoFundMe]

Big Crane Assisting With DCA Project — “A 250 ft. crane is being used to lift and put steel into place for a new 14-gate concourse that will replace Gate 35X” at Reagan National Airport. [Twitter]

Pentagon City Apartment Sold for Big Bucks — “Dweck Properties Inc. has picked up another multifamily property in Pentagon City, not far from where Amazon.com Inc. is settling into its second home. A Dweck affiliate paid $117 million July 9 for the Park at Pentagon Row, a 299-unit apartment building at 801 15th St. S.” [Washington Business Journal]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

Helicopter Complaints Continue  — “Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), one of the lawmakers who requested the study, said that helicopter noise is ‘our number one constituent complaint’ and that the number of complaints has risen steadily since he took office in 2015.” [Washington Post]

Early Morning Apartment Fire — “Units were called to 2400 blk 27th Ct S for fire in 4 story garden apt. On arrival crews found balcony #fire on floors 1 & 2 being controlled by #firesprinklers. Fire extinguished, no extension inside. No injuries.” [Twitter]

New Election Chief Sworn In — “When Gretchen Reinemeyer was sworn in as Arlington County’s general registrar, she became only the fifth person to hold the position since it was created in 1947. Reinemeyer is succeeding long-time registrar Linda Lindberg who is retiring at the end of the month after serving more than 25 years in the Arlington Voting and Elections Office–16 of them as general registrar. [Arlington County]

YHS Student Helps Improve Pedestrian Safety — “Pedestrians in Arlington, Virginia, may notice flashing yellow lights when crossing the street, thanks to one high schooler who’s working to make streets safer… Jake Smith, who graduated Yorktown High School on Thursday, interned with the Arlington County Department of Environmental Services to help them plan their beacon project and keep cars accountable.” [NBC 4, Arlington County]

Zoning Keeps Parts of Arlington Exclusive — “Arlington does have a decent amount of area zoned for multi-family housing, but it’s concentrated in the more southern parts of the county. This makes North Arlington completely inaccessible to many and is the source of the county’s geographical inequality.” [Blue Virginia]

Dozen New Arlington Police Officers — “The Arlington County Police Department welcomed 12 new officers this week, as Session 140 graduated from the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy (NVCJA) and took their oath to serve and protect the residents and visitors of Arlington County.” [Arlington County]

Local Businessman Sentenced — “A prominent Northern Virginia businessman has been sentenced to more than six years in prison for multiple fraud schemes that cheated investors out of roughly $20 million. Todd Hitt, 54, of Arlington, Virginia, pleaded guilty earlier this year in federal court in Alexandria to soliciting investments in building projects as part of what amounted to a Ponzi scheme.” [Associated Press, Press Release]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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A new location of Wiseguy Pizza appears to be coming to Pentagon City.

The local New York-style pizza chain opened a shop in Rosslyn in 2015 and also has three locations in D.C. The new Wiseguy Pizza is located on the ground floor of the Witmer, the new 26-story luxury apartment building at the corner of 12th Street S. and S. Hayes Street, according to signs covering a storefront on the ground floor.

The restaurant is “coming soon,” according to the signs, but so far no opening date has been announced.

The apartment building, at 710 12th Street S. near the Metro station, is now leasing with rents for one-bedroom apartments listed as ranging from $2,025-$3,100.

Photo courtesy @AlexWestEndRes/Twitter

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Morning Notes

Fire Outside Shirlington Apartment BuildingUpdated at 9:30 a.m. — “ACFD working to extinguish a dumpster fire near an apartment building at 3000 S. Randolph Street in Shirlington. ‘Smoke conditions’ reported in portions of the building.” [Twitter, Twitter]

The Cost of Renaming Washington-Lee — “It will cost taxpayers about a quarter of a million dollars to change ‘Lee’ to ‘Liberty’ on the name of Arlington’s oldest public high school. School officials have released an estimate of $224,360 for the name change, with about two-thirds of the total for ‘soft costs’ (uniforms, athletic equipment and the like) and the remainder ‘hard costs’ such as signage.” [InsideNova]

Local Teen Gets Celebrity Shoutout — “When [H-B Woodlawn student] Cole Goco, 17, sits down to draw his comic Billy the Pop, every line and contour is decisive. He uses pen, after all. And, after five years, hundreds and hundreds of strips published regularly to a blog, two self-published comic books, a dedicated following, and — most recently — the recognition of Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, it’s safe to say Goco knows what’s doing.” [DCist]

Rosslyn Startup Gets Another Investment — “Frontier Capital, a Charlotte-based growth equity firm focused exclusively on B2B software, today announced a strategic growth investment in Phone2Action, a digital advocacy platform that connects citizens to lawmakers.” [BusinessWire]

Bomb Squad Investigates Suspicious Car at DCA — “A portion of the daily parking lot at Reagan National Airport was closed [Wednesday] morning after suspicious contents were spotted inside a parked car. Authorities checked out the car ‘out of an abundance of caution’ and nothing hazardous was found, per an airport spokeswoman.” [Twitter]

Local Pedestrian, Bicycle Crash Reduction Effort Honored — “The Arlington County Pedestrian Bicycle Crash Reduction Campaign aims to reduce bicycle and pedestrian-involved traffic crashes through the coordination of education, engineering and enforcement… Arlington County saw a seven percent decrease in pedestrian crashes and a 29 percent reduction in bicycle-related crashes in 2018.” [Virginia DMV]

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Morning Notes

Metro Removes 3000-Series from Service — “Metro overnight temporarily removed all 3000-series cars from service after we received a report of a door malfunction for which we need to identify the cause. This voluntary safety action reduces the number of available rail cars by ~15%” [Twitter, Twitter]

Courthouse Hotel May Become Apartments — “The owner of an Arlington hotel is now hoping to flip the building into residential space instead. The Arlington Court Suites Hotel in Courthouse could soon become a 180-unit apartment building dubbed ‘Park Arlington at Courthouse,’ according to plans filed with the county this week.” [Washington Business Journal]

More HQ2 Jobs Listed — There are now 18 open HQ2 jobs listed on Amazon’s website, with roles ranging from HR to sales to software engineer. Some of the jobs were reportedly first listed as working out of Amazon’s existing Ballston office, the long-term prospects for which are now in question. [Amazon, Washington Business Journal]

NPS’ Massive GW Parkway Backlog — “ABC7 asked the National Park Service how big the [GW Parkway’s] maintenance problem is. The… Parkway has a maintenance backlog of $717-million, but that includes 25 sites, such as Arlington House and Great Falls Park. $649-million of that amount is for paved roads. 33 million vehicles drive on the GW Parkway every year.” [WJLA, Twitter]

Va. Reps Call for Telework Option During ‘Summer Shutdown’ — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and other Northern Virginia representatives have written a letter to the director of the Office of Personnel Management, calling for federal employees to be given expanded telework options during the May 25-Sept. 8 “Summer Shutdown” of Metro stations in Alexandria. [House of Representatives]

Yellow Line Extension Starting This Weekend — “Metro today announced it will begin running all Yellow Line trains to Greenbelt more than a month earlier than expected – starting Saturday, May 25 – when the Platform Improvement Project begins at six Yellow and Blue line stations south of Reagan National Airport.” [PoPville]

Photo courtesy Peter Golkin

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Morning Notes

Crystal City Apartment Building Sold — “A Crystal City residential property within blocks of Amazon’s planned HQ2 campus has sold for $228 million, more than double what it last sold for a decade prior, according to Arlington County property records.” [Washington Business Journal]

It’s National Police Week — Law enforcement officers from around the country and the world are in the D.C. area for National Police Week. The annual series of events is held to honor officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. As in years past, Arlington County Police motorcycle officers are assisting with the numerous motorcades associated with Police Week. [Twitter]

Free Cone Day Today — Häagen-Dazs is holding its annual Free Cone Day today (Tuesday) from 4-8 p.m. Among other nearby locations, a locally-owned Häagen-Dazs franchise store is located in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall. [Häagen-Dazs]

Crashes During Monday’s Rain — A number of crashes were reported Monday morning, amid persistant rain. Among them were a crash with entrapment at Military Road and Lorcom Lane, and a reported car vs. tree collision at Route 50 and S. Columbus Street. [Twitter]

School Board Member Donating Kidney — “Arlington School Board Vice Chairman Tannia Talento will be out of commission for several weeks, as she is donating a kidney to a sister. Speaking at the May 9 School Board meeting, Talento said preparing for, undergoing and recuperating from surgery will cause her to miss some end-of-school-year events, but ‘I hope it is amazing and wonderful,’ she said of the last weeks of the 2018-19 year.” [InsideNova]

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