Around 10:15 a.m., firefighters were called to the Concord apartment building at 2600 Crystal Drive for a report of a fire on a fifth or sixth floor balcony.
Firefighters found a computer on fire on the balcony. According to scanner traffic, a resident had brought the computer outside after it caught fire in the apartment.
Firefighters are now working on smoke ventilation while the county fire marshal investigates the exact cause of the fire.
Update: 2600 blk Crystal Dr, small computer fire on the balcony has been extinguished, units working on smoke removal
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) July 24, 2015
The County Board approved a site plan amendment for a new church to go into a planned apartment building at 3001 Jefferson Davis Highway.
The new church — the “Meetinghouse of Worship” — is planned for the first and second floors of the 12-floor residential building. It will be occupy 23,906 square feet of space, with a 300-seat sanctuary, classrooms, administrative offices and a multipurpose room on the first and second floors.
“In the spirit of continuing to work with our property owners on uses that work in buildings, I just want to note that we have approved the location of a church in a commercial building in Potomac Yard,” Board Chair Mary Hynes said. “We think it will be a really interesting addition to what’s going on down there.”
The church will be on the left side of the building, next to 33rd Street. The first floor will have a chapel, multipurpose room and classroom, as well as two bathrooms. There will also be a small retail space next to the chapel. On the right side of the building, the apartment complex will have a lobby and retail space.
“The proposed religious institutions use would be both complementary to, and compatible with the residential and retail use,” the staff report to the Board said.
On the second floor, the church will have administrative offices and classrooms. The residential units start on the second floor on the right side of the building.
With the new plan for the building, the apartment complex will add 11 more residential units, making the total amount of units 342 instead of 331. The parking lot will also have 532 spots up from the initial 438, to accommodate worshipers.
Of those spots, 167 will be for the church: 142 standard spots, 24 compact spots, two handicap spots and two spots for handicap vans.
As reported by the Washington Business Journal, the site plan amendment was proposed by New York City-based real estate investment firm The Praedium Group LLC. The future building will be located just north of the National Gateway office complex, the future U.S. headquarters of German grocery chain Lidl.
Wellington Buyer Wants to Build — Washington REIT, which just purchased The Wellington apartments on Columbia Pike, has plans to build a new, 360-unit building on the property, perhaps atop the 711-unit complex’s large surface parking lot. [Bisnow]
GMU: Housing Crunch Coming — The D.C. area is not building housing fast enough to accommodate new residents and jobs, according to a report by the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis. By 2023, there will be 226,380 fewer housing units in Greater Washington than needed to house those moving to area, thus forcing people to move farther away from the city. [Washington Business Journal]
Nauck Community Portraits Exhibit — A new exhibition space in the Arlington County Cultural Affairs offices at 3700 Four Mile Run Drive is hosting “three-dimensional biographies” of Nauck community leaders created by Drew Elementary students. The “Nauck Community Portraits” exhibit was inspired by a new book about the historic African-American community. [InsideNova]
AWLA Placement Rate on the Rise — The Animal Welfare League of Arlington says it’s successfully placing shelter animals with new homes at a rate of 95 percent, exceeding national standards. It’s up from 76 percent in 2010, when Neil Trent took over as director of the organization. [Patch]
Kudla Out After Four-Set Loss — Arlington resident Denis Kudla, 22, capped his impressive performance at Wimbledon with a four-set loss to reigning U.S. Open champ Marin Cilic in the Round of 16 yesterday afternoon. Kudla, who turned tennis pro at the age of 16, was the last remaining American man in the tournament. [Fox Sports, Twitter]
Wellington Sells for $167 Million — The Wellington apartment complex on Columbia Pike has sold for $167 million. The 711 unit complex is 97 percent occupied. It was purchased by Washington REIT. [MultifamilyBiz]
Arlington Park Spending Near Top — Arlington County spends $249 per resident on parks, the third highest per capita park spending figure in the country, among the nation’s 100 most populous areas. Washington, D.C. ranked first, spending $346 per resident. Some of Arlington’s park spending is now going toward >$1 million playgrounds. [Washington Post, Trust for Public Land]
Flickr pool photo by thekidfromcrumlin
Renderings of Proposed Ballston High-Rise — Ahead of Wednesday’s Arlington Site Plan Review Committee meeting, developers Lionstone and Penzance have released new renderings of the 22-story, 330-unit apartment tower they’re proposing to build on the Carpool site in Ballston. The tower is sleek metal and glass, with a retail pavilion on the ground floor. In a second phase, the developers are proposing to replace an aging, adjacent office building with another 22-story, 362-unit residential building. [Washington Business Journal]
Free Cone Day at Haagen-Dazs — The Haagen-Dazs store at Pentagon City mall is offering free ice cream today from 4:00-8:00 p.m. as part of the company’s nationwide Free Cone Day. [Facebook]
Coalition for Minority Affairs Honors Students — Eighty-seven African and African-American Arlington Public Schools students were honored last week by the Civic Coalition for Minority Affairs. The Northern Virginia group “endeavors to foster high academic achievement through its annual awards ceremony.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Last year, the average rent in Arlington was $1,834 per month, according to the Dept. of Community Planning, Housing and Development.
That’s a dropoff from $1,934 in 2013 and $1,999 in 2012. It’s the cheapest average apartment rent since 2011, when the price was $1,768 per month, according to county records.
The average rent has declined for two years in a row after consistent, steep increases. A decade ago, in 2005, the average rent in Arlington was $1,270 per month, and the average three-bedroom apartment cost $1,803. Today, the average three-bedroom costs $2,671.
This drop in average rent comes at the same time as soaring assessments for residential properties — the average assessment in the county went up 4.9 percent, with some areas increasing by an average of 11 percent year over year. That jump, concentrated in some of the poorest areas in the county, cost homeowners an additional $400 in tax bills this year compared to last.
The higher assessments also hit the apartment market — existing apartment assessments jumped by 4.7 percent in 2015, but it appears that price bump has not yet been passed on to apartment renters.
It’s unclear if the two-year decline in rents is a trend or a blip. Arlington’s rental vacancy rate is at 3.8 percent — its office vacancy is at 20.4 percent, by comparison — and there are currently 2,055 net new apartment units under construction in the Metro corridors, per planning staff. Some of those units — like the Central Place development in Rosslyn — won’t come online until after 2016.
Since 2000, Arlington has added more than 23,000 residential units in the Metro corridors, many of them upscale rental apartment buildings. Metro ridership continually increased over that time, until recently. From 2010 to 2014, Arlington lost several thousand weekday Metro riders in both of its Metro corridors.
So far, developers aren’t showing signs of being scared off. Arlington still projects its Rosslyn-Ballston and Jefferson Davis Highway corridors will add a combined 35,000 apartment units by 2040.
Verde Pointe — Arlington’s newest high-end apartment community — is now accepting leases for June 2015 move-ins.
Featuring as many as 41 unique floor plan styles in both tower and townhome buildings, Verde Pointe will be a destination for area residents looking for a new apartment home in the centralized Courthouse neighborhood.
The community — located at the corner of North Veitch Street and Lee Highway — contains 162 apartment homes in a luxe residential tower as well as 36 apartment homes divided into townhome flats, each with a private entrance and the uppermost units with an enormous private rooftop terrace. Additionally, 242 residential parking spaces and the county’s first MOM’s Organic Market grocery store complete the mixed-use development.
Designed to LEED Gold standards, the apartment homes feature floor-to-ceiling windows, glass balconies, quartz countertops, movable kitchen islands, in-unit washer and dryers, programmable thermostats, engineered wood flooring, and panoramic views of the DC and Northern Virginia skyline. Both tower and townhome flats are available in studio, convertible, one bedroom, one bedroom plus den, and two bedroom varieties; pricing begins at $1,650/month.
Because Verde Pointe is an active construction site, interested parties are encouraged to visit the temporary leasing center at 2200 Clarendon Boulevard, Suite #1125, in Courthouse. Prospects receive tailor-made leasing materials, guided neighborhood discussions and details on services presented by the property management team, led by General Manager Charlie Wexell.
“We like to explore the ideal living situation for each prospect,” explains Wexell. “That’s the beauty of having so many unique floor plans and features: we can find the perfect fit for everyone’s specific preferences.”
The 36 townhome flats will deliver first, currently slated for the second week of June 2015. In each townhome are two flats, each with private entrances, easy access to the parking garage and open floor plans. The townhome flats located on the top floor also come complete with a private rooftop terrace. All community amenities, such as personal wine storage, rooftop pool, club room and kitchen, and fitness center will be available to all residents in the complex upon delivery of the tower, in July 2015.
The development is led by award-winning developer McCaffery Interests — who will also be managing the community within the nationally-renowned MI-Home brand — in partnership with Bergmann’s Cleaning, and with strong financial support from Cardinal Bank and Burke and Herbert Bank. In addition to Verde Pointe, McCaffery Interests is known for developing environmentally conscious projects nationwide. Last month, McCaffery Interests announced a new mixed-use development in partnership with Grosvenor Americas, known as Ballpark Square, located in the blooming Navy Yard neighborhood. Ballpark Square is home to First Residences, another new high-end residential community managed by McCaffery Interests.
Verde Pointe has been designed and is being constructed to LEED Gold standards, and will have several major sustainable features such as electric car charging stations and individually remote-controlled thermostats so residents can more closely control and monitor their energy use. In line with the green initiatives, MOM’s Organic Market has a long-running history with environmental advocacy, and has begun plans for engaging the Arlington community with eco-conscious functions and features for residents and neighbors.
All information on the Verde Pointe development and upcoming plans can be found at http://www.verdepointe.com/. Development and contact information for McCaffery Interests can be found at http://www.mccafferyinterests.com/.
The preceding article was sponsored by McCaffery Interests
Chicken Restaurant’s Name Goes National — ARLnow.com’s story about Chingon Pollo, the new chicken restaurant in Buckingham with a potentially vulgar name, has gone national. Last night it was picked up by the Jezebel sub-blog Kitchenette. While our most likely translation of the name — there are a number of potential translations — was “f-ckload of chicken,” Kitchenette translated it as “top f-cker chicken.” Meanwhile, in order to not run “a fowl” of authorities, the restaurant has officially changed its name to “Charcoal Chicken.” [Kitchenette]
New Burial Sites at ANC to Open Next Year — Arlington National Cemetery will open more than 27,000 new burial sites next year, as part of its Millennium Project expansion initiative. Local environmentalists and preservationists protested the expansion. [U.S. Army]
Crowdsourced Bike Rack Map — Arlington County is launching a free crowdsourced map of places to park one’s bicycle. RackSpotter, as it’s called, will rely on users to contribute information on the location and size of bike racks. [Bike Arlington]
Marymount to Buy Portable Planetarium — Marymount University has completed fundraising for a new portable planetarium. The planetarium, which is set up in a tent, will be brought to schools in Arlington, Fairfax and a number of other local counties. [InsideNova]
Crystal House Renovations — Roseland, the owner of the Crystal House apartments in Crystal City, says it’s embarking on a multi-phase renovation of the 828-unit complex. The renovations will spruce up the main lobby, grounds, pool, community common areas and the apartments themselves. “New state-of-the-art washers and dryers are being added to each building’s studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments,” according to a press release. “Further, full renovations to approximately half of the community’s 828 apartments will include upgraded kitchens with new appliances, upgraded fixtures and finishes in the bathrooms, and new flooring throughout.” A PR rep declined to say how much the renovations will cost.
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Apartment Tower Proposed for Carpool Site — A 22-story, 330-unit luxury residential tower has been proposed for the site at 4000 Fairfax Drive in Ballston currently occupied by Carpool. It’s unclear if the bar would move to a new location during construction or whether it would move back after. [Washington Business Journal]
Buses to Use Shoulders on I-66 — Monday, March 23 has been set as the launch date for a pilot program that will allow buses to use the shoulder lanes on I-66 inside the Beltway. The speed limit for buses using the shoulders will be 25 mph. [Washington Post]
Equalizing Treatment of Ticketed Cars — This weekend, County Board members are expected to approve a measure that would treat tickets issued by police officers the same as tickets issued by so-called public-service aides. The change would specifically apply to tickets for expired registration tags, personal-property decals and state safety inspections. Currently, tickets for such violations issued by officers can be dismissed administratively by the commonwealth’s attorney’s office, while tickets issued by PSAs require a more lengthy appearance before a judge. [InsideNova]
Wardian Sets Another Crazy Record — Superhuman ultramarathoner and Arlington resident Michael Wardian has set another record. This time, he set the record for fastest 50K on a treadmill. And he set the record after attempting it, unsuccessfully, 30 hours prior to his record-setting run. What’s more, Wardian accomplished the feat on a cruise ship in the Caribbean while sweating profusely. [Runners World]
Sondheim Revue Coming to Signature — In honor of composer Stephen Sondheim’s 85th birthday, Signature Theatre in Shirlington is planning a “Simply Sondheim” revue, to run from April 2-19. [Playbill]
Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber
(Updated at 2:45 p.m. Sunday) A 22-story apartment building in Ballston has been without heat all week, including today, the coldest Feb. 20 on record in D.C.
Residents in the East tower of Avalon Ballston Square, at 850 N. Randolph Street, have been forced to bundle up indoors while the building’s management has said crews are working on the issue, but no solution is in sight.
One resident, who declined to be identified, told ARLnow.com the temperature in her apartment has “hovered between 50 and 60 degrees since Tuesday morning.”
“Management has made no efforts to put us in a hotel or another apartment building with working heat,” she wrote in an email at about noon today. “Their only solution has been to pass out space heaters, which are dangerous to leave on all day or night. The D.C. area is going through record breaking cold temperatures and I cannot get a response from the management on site or corporate management.”
At least one other resident has reached out on social media about the heat, with no response from Avalon’s parent company, Ballston-based Avalon Bay.
@AvalonBay 12 degrees & no heat for 2 days at Avalon Ballston Sq. Completely unacceptable. There need to be major concessions for residents.
— Jessica Charters (@JMCharters) February 20, 2015
Avalon Bay is in the midst of a trying time as a company after a large luxury apartment complex in New Jersey went up in flames last month, causing massive damage and displacing hundreds of residents. The fire caused Avalon Bay to add more fire sprinklers and protections to its planned developments in New Jersey, and has sparked a discussion about more stringent fire code requirements at the state and local level.
When ARLnow.com spoke to a building employee, he simply said the heat was still off and they can’t say when it will be restored. The building’s management declined to comment, and a message left for Avalon Bay’s corporate public relations official has not been returned.
Below is the full text of the last email address Avalon Ballston Square has sent to its residents, according to our source, sent at 6:00 p.m. Thursday.
We wanted to keep you as updated as possible regarding the heat in the East Tower. Our maintenance team is continuing to work with several contractors on returning heat to the building as soon as we can. We are constantly monitoring all temperature levels. We will keep you updated as soon as there are any changes.
Please let us know if there is anything we can do to make you more comfortable. Thanks again for your patience.
Update Sunday, Feb. 22 at 2:15 p.m. — Power was fully restored to the East Tower at about 10:00 p.m. on Friday night, Avalon Bay spokesman Richard Wolff told ARLnow.com. One hundred units had been with “diminished” heat since Monday, out of 714 in the community, Wolff said. Avalon Bay offered on Friday to place residents in hotels.
After the jump, the full explanation Avalon Bay sent to residents Saturday morning for the origin of the heat malfunction.
The heating has been fully restored to the East Tower. Full heat was restored at approximately 10PM Friday evening and we have monitored the system throughout the night. The temperatures have stabilized where they should be for the entire building.
If your home is still cold, blowing cool or if the heat is off altogether, you should be able to simply reset your unit and get heat. The best way to fully reset your heating unit is to turn off the thermostat first, then go to your fuse box, turn off the breaker for your HVAC (they are labelled but typically it’s the double breaker switch at the bottom right), wait about 30 seconds and then turn the breaker and the thermostat back on. Our maintenance team is here and can provide assistance if needed. Please do not hesitate to stop by the office or call for assistance. If you had a space heater in your apartment, please return it to the office or call us to come pick it up.
We want to thank you for your patience and understanding while we were working to resolve this issue. Please either visit our office or call 703-243-7368 if you have any additional questions or concerns or if we can help in any way. We hope you have an enjoyable and relaxing weekend. To start it off, please join us in the lobby this morning for a light breakfast.
In addition, this is an internal memo, sent Friday night, Avalon Bay shared with ARLnow.com explaining the problem:
We have been receiving an increased amount of heating calls since Monday afternoon. Approximately 100 apartments are getting reduced heat from the boiler system. The apartments are all in the East Tower, but are not in one tier or floor; the distribution is random throughout the tower. The North Tower is operating normally. The root of the issue is that we are not able to maintain the correct water temperature in the loop. Since Monday afternoon the maintenance team has had three different contractors on-site; none have been able to identify the cause of the loop’s low and irregular temperature. Each day since Tuesday, the loop temperature has increased to normal or close to normal levels, giving the impression of a solution, but each night the temperature drops again. We now have the original mechanic that installed the system at the property and working to find the issue/fix.
At this moment, we have made an adjustment to the balancing valve between the two towers and the loop temperature is rapidly rising to normal; higher and faster than any of the temperatures we experienced this week. We are optimistic that the issue has been resolved but are going to check in periodically and return tomorrow morning to confirm.
In the interim for residents, we notified the East Tower residents to contact us if they are affected and need assistance with temporary solutions. The team and I have been in the lobby all evening greeting these residents and offering them space heaters or stays in the Residence Inn. Most residents are choosing to stay in their homes as the apartment temperatures are 55 – 60 degrees.
Not only is the frigid weather dangerous for those spending time outdoors this week, in some cases it’s also causing problems for those trying to stay indoors.
At The Market Common apartment building in Clarendon, the cold weather is causing fire alarms to go off repeatedly, thanks to exposed sprinkler heads bursting in the parking garage.
The alarms are apparently going off in Market Common Clarendon retail stores and restaurants, as well.
The apartment’s management team sent the following email to residents last night, telling them that they probably don’t have to run outside into the cold whenever the fire alarm goes off this week.
Dear Valued Residents,
As we are sure many of you already know, in the past 48 hours the fire alarm in the building has been going off sporadically. The alarm is sounding due to the extremely low temperatures in the single digits causing exposed sprinklers heads in the parking garage to burst.
Our retail component is doing everything in their power to prevent the bursts, however, as the weather is expected to drop well below freezing there is high potential the alarms will go off again.
Please keep in mind that these alarms are testing false and they are not emergencies you need to evacuate the building for. However, per the Fire Marshall, you should prepare to evacuate the building any time a fire alarm is to sound.
Our team will be working around the clock to keep sending updates if it is a pipe burst and not an actual fire. In the event that you do see smoke or fire, please call 911.
We are actively working with our retail component to permanently fix this issue and appreciate your patience and understanding.
As always, thank you for calling The Market Common your home.
The Market Common
Police Investigating Apartment Break-In, Fire — A man has been arrested and accused of breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s apartment and starting a small fire. The incident happened on the 1200 block of S. Scott Street, just off of Columbia Pike, Monday morning. [Washington Post]
Arlington Trying to Keep TSA — After losing the National Science Foundation and the Fish and Wildlife Service to Alexandria, Arlington County officials are stepping up their efforts to keep the Transportation Service Administration. The TSA currently has offices in Pentagon City, but at least one office owner is trying to lure the agency to Alexandria. [Washington Business Journal]
Name Chosen for New Park — The future, 8,000 square foot park next to the new Gables North Rolfe apartment complex, which is expected to be approved by the County Board this weekend, now has a name. Various community groups and county commissions have approved “Three Oaks Park” as the park’s name, in honor of the three large trees on the site. [InsideNova]
Building Over I-66 Would be Pricey — A new report has found that building office and apartment buildings over I-66 in Rosslyn would be expensive, but might eventually be worth considering. As much as 2.5 million square feet of new development could be possible by decking over open-air portions of the highway around Rosslyn. [Washington Business Journal]
‘How Arlington Are You?’ Quiz — A questionable, 10-question web quiz on the website of a Crystal City apartment building attempts to answer the question, “how Arlington are you?” Questions include “how many people do you know who work in the defense industry?” and “how often do you go to Starbucks?” [Crystal Square]
Photo courtesy @TheBeltWalk
Arlington County firefighters are on the scene of an apartment fire in the River Place condo complex in Rosslyn.
The fire broke out in the kitchen of a 12th floor unit in the River Place building at 1021 Arlington Blvd. It was quickly extinguished once firefighters were able to ascend the stairs and reach the apartment.
A second alarm was sounded but the fire was out by the time the additional units arrive. No injuries have been reported and the flames did not spread to surrounding units.
Firefighters are now working on ventilating smoke from the building.
Photo courtesy @ACFDPIO
(Updated at 2:25 p.m.) A new 2.17 acre apartment development is likely coming to the Courthouse area.
Gables North Rolfe Street is planned as a two building, 400,000 square feet, 395 unit apartment complex on the 1300 block of N. Rolfe Street, in the Radnor / Fort Myer Heights neighborhood, just off of Route 50.
The tract of land on which the project will be built is steep, wooded and also includes a handful of older single family homes and small apartment complexes. Because Arlington County owns three parcels of land on the site, it has been able to work with developer Gables Residential on a number of public benefits.
Among the the benefits, to be paid for by the developer:
- A new, 8,000 square foot public park that will include a 200-year-old tree
- LEED Gold certification for the apartment complex
- Thirty-nine units of committed affordable housing
- A stand-alone, 14-unit transitional living facility, for those recovering from substance abuse. This will replace the existing Independence House facility on the site, according to Arlington Dept. of Human Services spokesman Kurt Larrick.
The project is expected be considered by the County Board at its February meeting, in two weeks.
Discussing the project at last night’s Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting, County Board Chair Mary Hynes said the benefits from such projects represent key Democratic values.
“Affordable housing furthers diversity, inclusivity and sustainability, all of which are values… that have driven this community,” she said.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story reflected County Board Chair Mary Hynes’ remarks that the planned transitional living facility was for those who were just getting out of jail. A county spokesman says that is incorrect, and that the facility will be for substance abuse recovery.
MOM’s Organic Market — prominent family-owned and operated grocer, and leading environmental advocate — is set to open its first location in Arlington County this summer at the Verde Pointe development, located at the intersection of Lee Highway and North Veitch Street.
MOM’s Organic Market was founded by Scott Nash in 1987 in his mother’s garage, and since has grown to include 12 locations across the Mid-Atlantic. Known for stocking a higher volume of organic produce than any other grocer, MOM’s takes an active role in environmental preservation and public health initiatives in the region and beyond.
A longtime supporter of renewable energy, MOM’s has been fully wind powered since 2005. In February of 2013, MOM’s started harvesting energy from the sun with their first solar panel installation at their Waldorf, Md. location. The new Arlington MOM’s Market will maintain a free customer recycling center in which compost, commingled recyclable goods, plastic bags, household batteries, CFLs, fluorescent bulbs, shoes, corks, and cell phones are accepted. The organization also hosts recycling drives throughout the year for uncommon or hard-to-recycle goods such as electronic waste, eye glasses, denim, and holiday incandescent string lights.
“This is a great location,” shared MOM’s President and Founder, Scott Nash. “We’re excited to move in to the Arlington market.”
In line with MOM’s environmental advocacy, Verde Pointe has been designed and is being constructed to LEED Gold standards, and will have several major sustainable features such as electric car charging stations and individually remote-controlled thermostats so residents can more closely control and monitor their energy use.
The project — to be delivered in June 2015 — is led by award-winning developer McCaffery Interests in collaboration with architect Antunovich Associates, Clark Construction, and Arlington County, and with strong financial support from Cardinal Bank, Burke and Herbert Bank. It is located on the former site of Bergmann’s Dry Cleaning.
Verde Pointe will contain 162 apartment homes in a luxe residential tower as well as 36 apartment homes divided into townhome flats. The development will have close to 250 parking spaces for its residents and grocery store, will begin leasing in March of 2015 via verdepointe.com. In addition to Verde Pointe, McCaffery Interests is internationally renowned for developing environmentally conscious projects nationwide, most notably the approximately 600 acre Lakeside development on Chicago’s South Side.
For more information on MOM’s offerings, initiatives and corporate structure, please visit http://www.momsorganicmarket.com/. All information on the Verde Pointe development and up-coming plans can be found at http://www.verdepointe.com/. Development and contact information for McCaffery Interests and McCaffery Brokerage can be found at http://www.mccafferyinterests.com/.
The preceding article was sponsored by McCaffery Interests