Arlington, VA

Local bookstore One More Page (2200 N. Westmoreland Street) will be able to pay the bills after all, thanks to its auction last month.

“We received donations of wine, window washing service, and many other items,” said owner Eileen McGervey, of the items the store auctioned off. “It was really quite overwhelming.”

In total, the online auction raised $20,374.32, passing its goal of $20,000.

The highest bid item was an original cartoon by the late Richard Thompson, which was donated by his wife Amy Thompson — it sold for $1,111.50. The item the fetched the second highest bit was naming rights to a character in the the Wine Country mystery series by Ellen Crosby, which sold for $725.

McGervey described the auction as a “wonderful success” to ARLnow and said the money raised was enough to cover the vendors she wasn’t able to pay after the building owner raised her rent by 30 percent in July. The spike in rent was caused largely by changes to the county’s real estate valuation method for the type of condominium building that houses One More Page.

The building’s property tax liability more than doubled this year, even after an appeal that knocked $700,000 off the valuation.

Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey tells ARLnow he has been working with the parties involved to try to make sure One More Page could meet its obligations and stay in business.

“Shortly after this issue raised itself in the public eye, I spoke with the owner and we tried to see what we could do and what would be available,” Dorsey said.

Dorsey encouraged any small businesses affected by the real estate valuation change to contact Arlington Economic Development’s BizLaunch division.

Dorsey said he was “deeply sympathetic” to the bookstore’s plight, noting that the establishment is one of his family’s favorites. But he added that the valuation changes was necessary because “for years we were not taxing at the appropriate levels, which create larger issues of equity.”

In the meantime, McGervey said that the bookstore is looking into holding more events to help it stay afloat. She’s also started a Patreon membership program after would-be auction buyers said they were interested in supporting the bookstore that way.

“The whole experience has invigorated us and our customers to make sure we stay here,” McGervey said.

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A local bookstore is holding an auction to raise money after the owner says rent increased by 30 percent this year due to property tax changes.

One More Page Books, located in the East Falls Church neighborhood at 2200 N. Westmoreland Street, is hosting a silent auction fundraiser from Friday, August 2 at 6:30 p.m. until Sunday, August 18 at 5 p.m. The bookstore is currently finalizing the item list, which currently ranges from artwork and chocolates, to bike tours and book manuscript consults.

Owner Eileen McGervey said she was excited for the auction, which kicks off with the store’s regularly-scheduled wine and cheese party Friday night. She told ARLnow that customers came up with the idea of the auction, which has since gathered items like handmade shawls and a dinner with media members who cover the Capitals.

The auction was arranged after McGervey said the landlord informed her last month that the real estate taxes for the building went up significantly. The end result? A 30 percent rent increase, applicable to the current year.

McGervey said that’s a challenge for the independent bookstore not only because it operates on small profit margins, but also, “unlike other businesses we don’t have the option of raising the prices because books come with prices on them.”

The tax hike was the result of the county changing the way it calculates the value of some commercial buildings, like the mixed-use commercial condo building One More Page inhabits. The change more than doubled the assessed value of One More Page’s space — and thus also its assessed taxes — even after it was lowered on appeal.

(That’s on top of the County Board approving a real estate tax hike which increased the amount owners pay by two cents for every $100 in assessed property.)

“Unfortunately, in the case of the condominium that houses One More Page, this meant an increase in the assessed value of the property from CY 2018 of $2,351,100.00 to a CY 2019 valuation of $5,591,100.00,” Board Chair Christian Dorsey wrote in a letter to McGervey, who had asked if the Board could offer any assistance to the bookstore.

Dorsey continued:

This is indeed a large jump in the assessed value of the building. The County is bound by the Constitution of Virginia and State Code to assess all real estate at fair market value, and this methodology provides a more accurate assessment of commercial condominium values than did the previous. This methodology took into consideration the actual income and expense data submitted by the owner of the property along with similar condominiums in Arlington.

While the owner chose not to appeal the assessment with the County’s Board of Equalization this year, the owner did file an administrative appeal, resulting in a $700,000 reduction in the CY 2019 assessment, to $4,907,500. With the assessment reduction, the total tax bill for the building in Calendar Year 2019 is $56,485.00, up from $26,228.67 in CY 2018.

One More Page has been able to cover the rent raise in the past month, but at the expense of paying some of its vendors. Asking for help covering these bills is awkward, McGervey said, but better than the alternative.

“You don’t want to just be gone one day and have people not know that you could have been there,” McGervey said.

She noted that she’s now exploring the idea of a membership program to cover future rent needs.

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Morning Notes

Board Member Wants Lower School Costs — “In remarks to a local service organization, Matt de Ferranti telegraphed the likelihood that Arlington property owners would see a higher real-estate-tax rate this year, in part to pay for higher school costs. But at the same time, he said the days of gold-plated school facilities must come to an end.” [InsideNova]

Arlington No. 5 on ‘Women in Tech’ List — Arlington County ranks fifth on a new list of “the Best Cities for Women in Tech in 2019.” D.C. ranked No. 1. [SmartAsset]

Isabella Restaurant Gear Up for Auction — “Rasmus Auctions is advertising online auctions for kitchen equipment, dining room contents, decor and more at Yona, Pepita and Kapnos Taverna in Arlington until about noon March 13.” [Washington Business Journal]

County Expanding Drug Take-Back Boxes — “In the first calendar year of the Permanent Drug Take-Back Box program, residents safely disposed of 1008 pounds of unused, unwanted or expired prescription medications. Due to the success of the program, an additional permanent drug take-back box has been installed at Arlington County Fire Station #5.” [Arlington County]

AWLA Calls for More Pet Foster Families — “We need your help! Our kennels are full and we are in URGENT need of foster homes for medium-large adult dogs and kittens undergoing treatment for ringworm.” [Facebook]

Falls Church Becoming ‘Un-boring’ — The sleepy City of Falls Church is attracting younger residents amid a development boom, cheered on in an editorial by the little city’s newspaper. [Falls Church News-Press]

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Morning Notes

Hope: No Impeachment Filing Yet Updated at 9:50 a.m. — Del. Patrick Hope (D) says he’s delaying filing articles of impeachment against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D), who is facing two accusations of past sexual assaults. “An enormous amount of sincere and thoughtful feedback… has led to additional conversations that need to take place,” Hope said. [Twitter, TwitterTwitter]

More Trailers for Arlington Tech — “Students coming into the Arlington Tech program at the Arlington Career Center for the next two years may find themselves spending more time in trailers than they had thought, and more time than School Board members are happy about.” [InsideNova]

Auction for Restaurant Items — The former furnishings of now-shuttered Rolls By U are up for auction by Arlington County, to help pay its overdue tax bill. [Arlington County]

Car vs. Columbia Pike Restaurant — It appears that a car ran into the front of Andy’s Carry Out restaurant on Columbia Pike. [Twitter]

State Split on Northam’s Fate — “Virginians are deadlocked over whether Gov. Ralph Northam (D) should step down after the emergence of a photo on his 1984 medical school yearbook page depicting people in blackface and Ku Klux Klan garb, with African Americans saying by a wide margin that he should remain in office despite the offensive image, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll.” [Washington Post]

Beyer on Face the Nation — “Democratic Virginia Reps. Don Beyer and Jennifer Wexton renewed their calls for Gov. Ralph Northam and Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax to step down over their respective controversies” on CBS’s Face the Nation Sunday morning. [CBS News]

Local Chef on CBS This Morning — Chef David Guas of Bayou Bakery in Courthouse made an extended appearance on CBS This Morning Saturday, talking about his food, his restaurants and how his aunt inspired his love of cooking. [CBS News]

Flickr pool photo by TheBeltWalk

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(Updated at 3:15 p.m.) The Fairlington 5K Run and Walk tomorrow will raise money for an Arlington girl with a rare, degenerative disease.

In 2011, Ellie McGinn was diagnosed with LBSL (leukoencephalopathy with brainstem and spinal cord involvement and lactate elevation), which causes impaired nervous system functioning that can lead to muscle stiffness, tremors, weakness, poor balance and difficulty coordinating body movements.

The nonprofit organization “A Cure for Ellie” has been set up in her name to raise awareness of LBSL and funding for research. McGinn appeared on the Today Show last year for her and her parents’ work in their search for a cure.

Tomorrow’s non-competitive run/walk in Fairlington aims to promote general health and physical fitness while also supporting McGinn, who is a third-grader at Abingdon Elementary School. The event begins at 8:30 a.m. at Abingdon Elementary (3035 S. Abingdon Street) and registration is $35 for adults, $20 for children ages 6-16 and free for children five and under.

Arlington County police will oversee the following road closures from approximately 7-9:30 a.m. to accommodate the race:

  • Abington Street between S. 29th Street and S. 36th Street
  • 36th Street between S. 34th Street up to, and including, Stafford Street
  • Wakefield loop off S. 34th Street
  • Utah Street between S. 32nd Street and S. 34th Street

Photo via A Cure for Ellie

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Property: 5136 Leesburg Pike, Alexandria VA
Auction: Wednesday, November 1 at noon
Previews: Oct 18 from 10-11 a.m. and Oct 25 from 11 a.m.-noon

Opportunity knocks! Two story office condominium in Skyline Court. Perfect for professionals or investors!

The property is currently leased to 2 tenants but leases can be terminated by new owner with 30 day notice. Great location convenient to Alexandria, Arlington and DC! The ground level is configured as a massage spa with a large reception area, 3 treatment rooms, a break room, utility room and 1/2 bath.

The upstairs is laid out as office space with a large open office/reception area and 4 private offices along with a storage room and 1/2 bath. There is ample parking in front of the building.

Complete financials and leases can be found on tranzon.com. 2% paid to registered brokers.

Contact:

Tranzon Fox
Jeff Stein
[email protected]
888-621-2110

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Morning Notes

NRECA Tree Planting Ceremony — In honor of its 75th anniversary, yesterday the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association planted a tree next to its Ballston headquarters using soil collected from hundreds of its 900 electric co-op members. [Facebook]

SoberRide Active for July 4 — The regional SoberRide program will be offering free Lyft rides up to $15 each on the Fourth of July, to help get impaired drivers off the road. Between 7 p.m. on July 4 and 2 a.m. on July 5, Lyft users can use the promo code “SOBERJULY4” to get a free ride up to $15 or a $15 discount on a more expensive ride. [Washington Regional Alcohol Program]

Work on DCA Project Starting Soon — A $1 billion improvement project for Reagan National Airport is set to kick off soon, with construction of new security checkpoints for terminals B and C. That construction is expected to wrap up in 2020, while construction of a new commuter concourse is expected to conclude in 2021. [Washington Business JournalWashington Business Journal]

Arlington Ridge Mansion to Be Auctioned — A 6 bedroom, 7 bath home in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood, built in 2015 and valued at $3.7 million, is being auctioned next month. [Patch]

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3120 N. Pershing Drive mansion (via Prime Auction Solutions)

The sale of Pershing Manor fell through, prompting the owners of the controversial mansion to put it back on the auction block.

The property at 3120 N. Pershing Drive, which has been criticized by neighbors for its ostentatiousness, initially sold at auction for $2.2 million in December, ARLnow.com was told. The deed, however, was never transferred.

Pershing Manor auction cardNow an email from auction firm Prime Auction Solutions says the “luxury mansion” will be auctioned off online between March 3-10.

The opening bid for the 13,700 square foot home — which sits on 0.42 acres in Lyon Park and which was most recently assessed by Arlington County for $4 million — is only $750,000.

The auction website describes this as a “second chance” sale. “Buyer did not perform,” the site says.

Auction previews are scheduled from 1-3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26 and Sunday, March 5.

Hat tip to Eli Tucker

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3120 N. Pershing Drive mansion (via Prime Auction Solutions)

A controversial mansion in Lyon Park has sold at auction.

Pershing Manor, at 3120 N. Pershing Drive, sold for $2.2 million, Prime Auction Solutions auctioneer Anne Nouri tells ARLnow.com. No other details about the transaction were immediately available.

The home was most recently assessed at $4 million by Arlington County.

The mansion is controversial with neighbors for reasons that may have made it attractive to some buyers: at 13,700 square feet it is large and ostentatious — especially by Lyon Park standards — with a circular driveway, indoor heated pool, stone waterfall and other luxury features.

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Morning Notes

Christmas trees on the Food Star lot on Columbia Pike (photo courtesy Peter Golkin)

Lyon Park Mansion Auction Is Tonight — The huge “Pershing Manor” mansion at 3120 N. Pershing Drive is scheduled to hit the auction block at 5 p.m. tonight. The opening bid is $750,000, though the property is assessed at $4 million. [ARLnow, ARLnow]

McHenry Talks About Towing Spat — ESPN sportscaster Britt McHenry is opening up about the time she berated an Advanced Towing employee in Arlington — and was caught on camera doing so, in a video that would go viral around the world. McHenry says she regrets what she said during the 2015 incident. The fallout has hurt her both professionally and personally, she says. [Marie Claire]

Garvey’s Swearing In Ceremony — Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey will be sworn in for her second full term today. The ceremony will take place in the County Board room (2100 Clarendon Blvd) at 5 p.m. It will feature remarks from Garvey and a poem from Arlington County Poet Laureate Katherine E. Young. [Arlington County]

Developers Want Gondola, Boathouse — At a Bisnow event in Pentagon City last week, local developers said they’re generally supportive of the proposed Rosslyn-Georgetown gondola, though they’d also be interested in a Rosslyn boathouse to connect with a local water taxi system. Rosslyn, they noted, has fewer opportunities to develop its waterfront than jurisdictions like Alexandria, Prince George’s County and D.C. [Bisnow]

Volunteers Needed for Wreath Laying — The group Wreaths Across America is seeking volunteers to help lay wreaths on gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. The holiday tradition will take place this coming Saturday morning. [Wreaths Across America]

Photo courtesy Peter Golkin

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In October its owner was asking for permission to use it as a bed and breakfast.

Now, in December, it’s up for auction.

3120 N. Pershing Drive mansion (via Prime Auction Solutions)The controversial “Pershing Manor” mansion at 3120 N. Pershing Drive is being sold to the highest bidder on Tuesday, Dec. 13. We’re told that the bidding is starting at $750,000, with an undisclosed reserve.

The auction firm released a video tour of the massive home (above).

Per the auction website, the 13,700 square foot brick mansion, built on 0.42 acres in Lyon Park in 2005, features:

  • Gated Circular Driveway and 2 Car Garage
  • 4 Bedroom Suites and 2 Additional Guest Suites
  • 7 Total Full Baths and 2 Powder Rooms
  • Indoor Heated Pool & Stone Waterfall
  • Dual Grand Staircase with Intricate Cast Iron Railing & Banisters
  • Chef Inspired Granite Gourmet Kitchen
  • Theater Room with Multi-Level Stadium Seating
  • Embassy Sized Walk Out Lower Level with Wet Bar, Dance Floor and Full Kitchen

The County Board agenda item to consider allowing the home to be used as a bed and breakfast was deferred to December, to give the owner more time to discuss the proposal with skeptical Lyon Park neighbors.

Photo via Prime Auction Solutions. Hat tip to “John Fontain.”

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