Arlington, VA

Firefighters battled an apartment fire in the Penrose neighborhood Thursday morning.

The fire in a second floor unit of a three-story, garden-style apartment building on the 2000 block of 4th Street S. was first reported around 9:45 a.m. Firefighters from nearby Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall encountered heavy smoke upon arriving on scene, but were able to quickly extinguish the flames.

Residents in the apartment were able to get out as the fire spread and there were no injuries to the occupants or firefighters, we’re told.

A dog that was inside the apartment, however, was not able to get out. Firefighters attempted CPR after removing the dog from the apartment, but it succumbed to its injuries, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Justin Tirelli. The dog’s body was wrapped in a blanket by rescue personnel.

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.

Map via Google Maps. Staff photographer Jay Westcott contributed to this report.

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An Arlington man is facing a number of charges after police say he drunkenly charged at officers in an apartment hallway while half naked.

Police were dispatched to one of the RiverHouse apartment buildings in Pentagon City around 2 p.m. Monday, after a caller said someone they knew was intoxicated and “acting disorderly” in an apartment.

“Upon arrival, the subject charged at officers and remained combative,” Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “Following the deployment of pepper spray and a taser, the subject was taken into custody. He has been transported to an area hospital for evaluation. No officers were injured.”

An ACPD crime report add that the 40-year-old man was “partially undressed” and that the taser was used after the pepper spray “had little effect on the suspect.” He now faces charges of Indecent Exposure, Obstruction of Justice and Drunk in Public.

More from the crime report:

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2020-03300111, 1400 block of S. Joyce Street. At approximately 2:04 p.m. on March 30, police were dispatched to the report of trouble unknown. The reporting party advised dispatch that the known male suspect was allegedly intoxicated and acting disorderly inside a residence. Arriving officers located the partially undressed suspect in the hallway of the apartment building. The suspect repeatedly ignored the lawful commands of officers to stop and get on the ground and continued to act aggressively and advance towards them. An officer deployed OC Spray, which had little effect on the suspect and he continued to advance towards officers. A second officer then deployed their taser, enabling the officers to place the combative suspect into custody. The suspect was transported to an area hospital for medical treatment. Kenneth Archer, 40, of Arlington, Va., was charged with Drunk in Public, Obstruction of Justice and Indecent Exposure.

Photo via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Fire at Columbia Pike Apartment Building — One person was hospitalized and subsequently arrested after a fire at the Serrano Apartments on Columbia Pike Sunday night. [Twitter]

State Funds to Stabilize ART Service — “The Arlington County Board today accepted $420,926 in state grant funds to support Arlington’s local transit operations during the COVID-19 emergency… Arlington Transit (ART) buses, like transit services across the region, have experienced significant declines in ridership and revenue.” [Arlington County]

Arlingtonian Recounts Coronavirus Experience — Roy Schwartz, an Arlington resident and the co-founder of Clarendon-based Axios, tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this month. In a brief podcast interview, he recounted the experience, the delays in getting test results, and the contact from Arlington’s health department. [Axios]

Construction Projects ContinueUpdated at 9:10 a.m. — “While shuttering many businesses to try to slow the virus’s spread, officials in the District, Maryland and Virginia have designated construction as ‘essential,’ along with hospitals, grocery stores, banks and a handful of other businesses. All three jurisdictions have also allowed private construction, including home building and commercial developments, to continue.” [Washington Post]

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A new development that will build new housing in Rosslyn while renovating one of the region’s oldest hotels got the green light from the Arlington County Board over the weekend.

The board approved the redevelopment of the Key Bridge Marriott site by a 4-0 vote. The project will include the renovation of the hotel — one of Marriott’s earliest hotels, which first opened in 1959 — as well as the construction of three new 16-story residential buildings, with about 300 rental apartments and 150 condo units.

With the site perched above the Potomac River, near Key Bridge, many of the new homes will have enviable views of the river and D.C.

The project also includes the construction of two new street segments, as well as the contribution of land and funding for a new public park.

More from an Arlington County press release:

The aging Key Bridge Marriott hotel at 1401 Lee Highway will be partially demolished and renovated, and three new residential buildings will be added to the site under a plan approved by the County Board.

“This plan adds much-needed housing in Rosslyn, new public open space and a major renovation of the Marriott Hotel, greatly enhancing the aesthetics and functionality of this highly visible site in Rosslyn,” Board Chair Libby Garvey said.

The Board voted 4-0 to approve the redevelopment plan. […]

In addition to renovating the hotel’s 445 rooms, developer KBLH, LLC, will build three 16-story residential buildings, with a total of 451 units, on the 5.5-acre site on the north side of Lee Highway. One of the new buildings is expected to offer rental apartments and the other two are planned as condominiums. The modernized hotel’s new façade will face Lee Highway and Gateway Park.

The plan, which evolved significantly before and during the public review process, also calls for two new streets that will connect with an esplanade open to the public on the north end of the site, accessible to pedestrians and cyclists but not cars. The esplanade will offer views of the Potomac River and Georgetown and connect to the bike path leading to Key Bridge. A crescent-shaped park will be built on the site’s Fort Myer Drive frontage and will provide an improved bicycle and pedestrian path to Key Bridge. Most of the park is on National Park Service property and will require federal approval for improvements.

The developer has committed to achieving LEED Gold certification for the residential buildings and LEED Silver for the hotel and will install ENERGY STAR and WaterSense appliances. Among other community benefits, the developer would contribute land for a new public park on the site, fronting on Fort Myer Drive, $870,075 to help plan and build the park, and a contribution of $1.75 million to the County’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund.

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As the number of COVID-19 cases in Arlington continues to grow, those in apartments and condos might be wondering about the risks of living in close proximity to others who might test positive for the virus.

It’s worth noting that Arlington County’s health director said earlier this month that “the vast majority” of apartment dwellers have nothing to worry about in terms of their building’s heating and air conditioning systems — the air handling systems “should not lead to spread” of the virus.

But should a coronavirus case be reported in a building, there’s still concern about surfaces and people the infected person might have come into contact with. A memo forwarded to ARLnow from a resident in an apartment building near Ballston details some of the steps landlords are taking to mitigate such coronavirus exposures.

Key to the response: notification of residents and deep cleaning of the building’s hallways and common areas.

The memo is below, with the address and other details redacted to protect the privacy of the infected person.

TO:  Residents
FROM:  Dittmar Management Team
DATE:  March 20, 2020
RE:  Deep cleaning program

As you are aware, earlier today we were notified by a resident that a person living in the same apartment was diagnosed with the Covid-19 virus. Dittmar has not been notified of any diagnosis directly from the resident, the CDC or the Arlington County Public Health Department.

Later this afternoon, our third party service provider will begin sanitizing all public areas through a direct contact process. As an additional precaution we have contracted the company to fog the hallway with the EPA approved chemical Sporacide. In order to minimize the impact on your residency the work will be done overnight. At 9:30pm, the company will begin covering and taping off all apartment doors from the hallway. They will effectively be making the hallway a containment zone. Once the hallway is contained, they will begin a six hour fog. Please do not return to your home after 9:30pm or plan to depart until at least 5am. They will have staff on site throughout. At the conclusion of the sanitizing process, the plastic will be removed and you are free to leave your apartment.

In the unlikely event that the fire alarm is activated and you are required to evacuate, the fogging will stop and you may tear away the plastic barrier.

Please continue to follow the guidelines established by the CDC.  The website is https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.  Additionally, Arlington County has established a Covid-19 hotline to answer questions that you may have.  The number is 703/228-7999.

Thank you in advance for working with us to maintain a healthy home for all.

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After years of anticipation, preliminary plans have been filed for a major redevelopment project in Courthouse.

Apartment developer Greystar has filed a preliminary site plan application for the “Landmark Block,” consisting of the former CosiBoston Market and Jerry’s Subs restaurants, and the current Summers Restaurant and Mattress Warehouse.

The aging, low-slung buildings a block from the Courthouse Metro station are proposed to be replaced with a 20-story residential tower.

Greystar is proposing to contruct a 210-foot tall building with 418 residential units, about 400,000 square feet of total floor space, a rooftop deck, second floor pool and parking garage. The garage would have space for 418 bikes and 224 cars, including 60 vehicle parking spots for visitors.

The building would also have ground floor retail space, and penthouse apartments on the 20th floor. Greystar says the building would at minimum meet LEED Gold certification requirements, and the overall project would include a community benefits package with affordable housing and public art contributions, as well as “recognition of historic features and buildings,” among other things to be negotiated as part of the site plan process.

A planning process five years ago suggested that at least some of the building facades on the block would be preserved. The Envision Courthouse Square process also envisioned the Landmark Block redevelopment as being to the north of what could eventually become “Courthouse Square,” a large green park with underground parking below.

As part of fulfilling that more pedestrian-friendly vision for Courthouse, Greystar’s plans depict N. Uhle Street — located between the future building and the Metro station — as a tree-lined “promenade.”

While Greystar is listed as the applicant, affiliates of JBG Smith are listed as the owners of the underlying properties in county documents.

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The Arlington View Terrace apartments, which mostly have views of part of the Army-Navy Country Club golf course, are set for redevelopment.

The Arlington County Board last week allocated just over $8 million — a $7.25 million loan from the county’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund and a nearly $1 million grant — to help fund the redevelopment of the aging apartment complex at 1420 S. Rolfe Street, in the Arlington View neighborhood on the eastern end of Columbia Pike.

The 30-unit garden-style apartment complex is set to be torn down and replaced by a new building with 77 apartments, affordable for those making 30-60% of Area Median Income, according to local affordable housing developer AHC Inc.

“The Arlington View Terrace redevelopment enables AHC to add much-needed affordable living opportunities in a rapidly gentrifying area along Columbia Pike,” AHC President and CEO Walter Webdale said in a statement. “The new building will also help diversify housing options with 15 new three-bedroom apartments, eight fully accessible units and 10% of the new apartments designated for households earning no more than 30% AMI.”

A press release notes that AHC is “also exploring solar panels and a possible partnership with Connect Arlington to provide free Wi-Fi for residents at the site.”

AHC spokeswoman Celia Slater tells ARLnow that “if all goes well, we could start construction in Spring 2021 and open doors to new families in Spring 2023.”

“We are working with a relocation firm to help [current residents] move temporarily to other apartments – hopefully other nearby AHC properties,” she added. “All current residents will have first opportunity to move back into the new apartments. We work one-on-one with individuals and families to meet their needs – like trying to keep kids in the same schools if possible, etc.”

Arlington View Terrace is one of a number of Form Based Code developments along the Columbia Pike corridor currently making their way through the development pipeline.

The full press release from AHC Inc. is below, after the jump.

Read More

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A long-delayed development project in the Potomac Yard area is likely to go back before the Arlington County Board this year with some changes.

Developer Meridian is expected to seek a modification to the earlier plan to build four office buildings on the empty plot of land along Richmond Highway, south of Crystal City, known as Potomac Yard Land Bay C.

The site plan was originally approved in 2007, per our earlier reporting, to include four buildings over an underground parking garage. It includes more than 1 million square feet of office space, 41,000 square feet of retail space and a half-acre park known as North Plaza. The window to start work on the site, located near the Lidl headquarters, was extended by three years by the state legislature in 2017.

A county spokeswoman tells ARLnow that half of the planned complex may be switched from office to residential use, with an option to also build a hotel instead. The change was foreshadowed in a conceptual site plan submitted to Arlington’s planning department. (Such plans are submitted for feedback from county planners and precede formal site plan filings.)

“The conceptual site plan for Potomac Yard Land Bay C proposes to convert the approved office GFA to residential use, with an option for hotel use as well,” said Dept. of Community Planning, Housing & Development spokeswoman Gina Wimpey. “The conceptual site plan is still under staff review, and we don’t know if or went the application will file a preliminary site plan, which would be the next step after the conceptual site plan. The conceptual site plan covers only the eastern half of Land Bay C, not the western half.”

A planning division presentation to the County Board last week suggested that planners were expecting the new site plan to be filed in time for County Board approval by the end of the year.

Arlington is experiencing a development boom, particularly in and around Crystal City, in the wake of the Amazon HQ2 decision.

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(Updated at 6:40 p.m.) Firefighters from Arlington County and Alexandria are on scene of a truck fire in Crystal City.

A box truck caught fire along S. Bell Street, beneath the Crystal Square Apartments (1515 Richmond Highway). Firefighters have extinguished the blaze but smoke has been reported in some parts of the building. No injuries have been reported.

S. Bell Street was blocked by the emergency activity as of 2:45 p.m.

“If possible avoid the area,” ACFD said in a tweet.

Map via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Demolition Starts at HQ2 Site — “Roughly a dozen demolition workers from construction firm ACECO were on site in yellow vests and hard hats, along with a couple of excavators, one of which sat on a mound of bricks as it tore down the southeast side of the single-story building.” [Washington Business Journal]

Apartments are Hot Near HQ2 — “The development patterns that are taking place in Crystal City make it a more live-work-play area versus being an office-dominated submarket that has an underground mall… That area is evolving with new product coming online and Amazon making its presence in the region. All of those things have helped generate demand for multifamily housing.” [Bisnow]

New Pool House for Army Navy CC — “Arlington County Board members on Jan. 25 are expected to approve procedural matters that will pave the way for Army Navy Country Club to renovate its swimming areas and construct a new poolhouse.” [InsideNova]

Arlington Eateries Absent from Top 20 List — The new 2020 Washingtonian 100 Very Best Restaurants list does not include any Arlington spots in the top 20. [Washingtonian]

County Pitches in to Route 7 BRT Study — “The Arlington government will toss in just under $40,000 in support of the next phase of a plan to develop high-quality bus service in the Route 7 corridor. Arlington will allocate $39,200 as its share in covering the $560,000 cost of a ‘mobility analysis,’ the fourth phase of the study.” [InsideNova]

Four Mile Run Biz Celebrates 25th — Family-owned car repair business Auto Stop Arlington is celebrating its 25th anniversary this weekend with an event that will include a food truck, beer and wine tastings, and kids activities. [Facebook]

RIP Jim Lehrer — The longtime host of the PBS Newshour, which is produced in the Shirlington area, has died at the age of 85. [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Arlington County Police are investigating what the department characterized as a suspicious death.

Officers and medics were dispatched to an apartment at the AVA Ballston Square building (850 N. Randolph Street) around 5:30 p.m. Friday. Initial reports suggested that a young man was in cardiac arrest, with blood coming from his upper extremities, and that several other people were inside the apartment at the time.

“Upon arrival, an adult male victim was located deceased inside a residence,” police said in a press release. “Cause of death will be determined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.”

“This remains an active criminal investigation and the preliminary investigation has not revealed an immediate threat to the community,” ACPD said. “Anyone with information related to this case is asked to contact Detective J. Senn of the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4049 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at ‪1-866-411-TIPS‬ (8477).”

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