Ballston’s Metro station could soon see a colorful, motion-activated, LED light display as part of a new public art project.
Dubbed “Intersections,” the project is being backed by the Ballston Business Improvement District and is still many months away from completion.
But the BID is picking up steam on the effort, according to documents prepared for the County Board, and it’s designed to “create a dynamic, ever-changing feature that will turn an ordinary subway entrance into a place of surprise, wonder and delight.”
The BID is teaming up with a Dutch “design/art collective” to create the art installation, which will consist of spotlights projecting a variety of different colors onto the canopy stretching over the Metro station’s entrance.
The lights will also come equipped with a “a grid of sensors” to “pick up the activity of the people moving in and out of the Ballston station, making the pedestrians active participants in the work,” according to a description of “Intersections” on the BID’s website.
“Pedestrians have a direct influence, in that their presence under the canopy will effect the spawning of lines that travel over the canopy,” the design team wrote about the project, according to a county staff report. “Where these animated lines intersect one another, they will give life to ‘autonomous artifacts of light.’ Once these artifacts pass a threshold, they will form the basis of a more involved visual effect. Afterwards, the installation will reset to its initial state.”
The BID is funding the project with the help of a collection of Ballston businesses, and it’s one in a series of public art installations the group has commissioned over the years.
In a report to be reviewed by the Board at its meeting Saturday (Feb. 23), the BID says it has yet to receive Metro’s approval for the project, but it expects to win WMATA’s sign-off soon. Once that’s done, it’ll take about 15 months to fully design and construct the installation, likely to be completed sometime in fiscal year 2021.
The BID described these changes as part of its annual funding request to the Board. The business group is funded by a property tax in Ballston, and the BID is asking the Board to hold the tax rate steady this year to maintain its existing operations.
Board members agreed to a small rate hike last year to account for a dip in property values in the area, and the BID argues that it still needs the extra cash. The Board will begin its full round of budget deliberations in earnest Saturday, in what could be a challenging year.
APS on Two Hour Delay — Arlington Public Schools is a two hour delays this morning amid a light coating of snow. Fairfax County Public Schools, meanwhile, is closed after initially announcing a two hour delay last night. [Twitter]
County Still Seeking Aquatics Center Sponsor — “Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz has not given up on his goal of finding sponsors to help offset the cost of the Long Bridge Park aquatics center. ‘I remain optimistic that we will be successful” in finding partners,’ Schwartz told County Board members Jan. 29, though he offered no specifics.” [InsideNova]
ACPD: Get a Designated Driver for the Big Game — “Super Bowl LIII is slated for kick-off this Sunday, February 3, and, for many, this celebratory evening includes alcohol. Enjoy the game and festivities, but don’t drop the ball on safety. Make it your game plan to take a sober ride home – whether it’s by using a ride sharing service, taxi, public transportation, or designated sober driver.” [Arlington County]
Ballston BID to Launch ‘Club’ — “The Ballston Business Improvement District is launching a club for area residents… which appears to be a first-of-its-kind program in the region. When the club kicks off by the end of summer, members will enjoy exclusive benefits like discounts for restaurants and retail, in addition to events like yoga in the park and outdoor movies.” [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington Firm Makes Big Acquisition — “CACI International Inc. has reached an agreement to acquire LGS Innovations LLC for $750 million in a deal that extends Arlington-based CACI’s reach into the signals intelligence and cybersecurity markets.” [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Starbuck77
After 31 years, Ballston’s annual “Taste of Arlington” street fair will be replaced by a new event focusing on the neighborhood’s largest development: “QuarterFest.”
The Ballston Business Improvement District announced the swap today (Thursday), sketching out plans for a similar spring festival geared around Ballston Quarter, the newly revamped Ballston Common mall.
QuarterFest is slated to be held on May 18-19, 2019, and will be managed by “BallstonGives,” the BID’s charitable arm. Though the event will be more focused on Ballston Quarter, it will still be held in the same general area as Taste of Arlington, largely centered on Wilson Blvd near the mall.
BID CEO Tina Leone told ARLnow that her group decided to make the switch because “we really accomplished what we wanted to do” with Taste of Arlington over the years.
“The goal was always to put the spotlight on Ballston, and now with Ballston Quarter, we have this big draw,” Leone said. “We really wanted to move [the event’s] focus to center more on Ballston and now we have Ballston Quarter, which is a great way to do that.”
By the time QuarterFest rolls around, Leone expects that the new development will be about “80 percent open.” Shops and restaurants in the overhauled mall have been slowly opening for business over the course of the last month, and Leone believes a “big bunch” are hoping to open up by early January or February.
“By May, it’s going to be very active and vibrant around there,” Leone said. “By the time it’s fully open, Ballston will have 90 restaurants in all, so this will just be a great way to get people into the physical space, get them to visit and bring them into all those restaurants.”
Leone said that the change doesn’t mark the end of Taste of Arlington, necessarily. She points out that the BID could always “bring it back or partner with other organizations,” so she views it as being on more of an indefinite “hiatus.”
So while she hopes the new event is “the same amount of fun with the same amount of activity,” she also believes it will mark a new chapter in the county’s evolution.
“To us, this is a whole new festival,” Leone said. “Ballston is going through so many changes right now, and that really represents what’s going on Arlington-wide.”
Still No Answers About Ghaisar Shooting — Tuesday was the one year anniversary of the death of Bijan Ghaisar, who was shot by U.S. Park Police officers. Thus far, Arlington County has declined to release the recording or transcript of 911 calls connected to the case. [WUSA 9]
Spotted: Beto and TMZ at DCA — Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), who narrowly lost his nationally-followed electoral challenge to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), was seen being interviewed by a TMZ producer outside of Reagan National Airport yesterday. [Twitter]
Chamber: Keep Dillon Rule — “As part of its 2019 package of legislative priorities, the [Arlington] Chamber of Commerce is continuing its belief that the ‘Dillon Rule‘ needs to be maintained, and urged members of the General Assembly to do nothing that would lessen it.” [InsideNova]
Ballston Booster Saves Dozen Dogs — Ballston BID chief Tina Leone has “rescued more than 200 dogs from around the world, and brought a dozen more to Northern Virginia on Monday.” [Patch]
Nearby: Pedestrian’s Foot Run Over Along W&OD Trail — Last week at a road crossing of the W&OD Trail in Falls Church, “a black or gray sedan of unknown make failed to yield to a pedestrian on the sidewalk, ran over their foot, and failed to stop at the scene.” [City of Falls Church]
Flickr pool photo by Duluoz Me
The developer behind Ballston Quarter is now promising a grand opening late next month, a minor departure from the September date originally targeted for the revamped Ballston Common Mall to begin welcoming customers once more.
Forest City is now targeting Oct. 25 for the development to open its doors “barring any unforeseen delays,” Forest City Regional Director of Marketing Jill Fredrick told ARLnow, via a PR rep. The bevy of restaurants and retailers set to call Ballston Quarter home won’t open all at once, but on a “rolling basis” over the next nine months, Fredrick added.
The overhauled mall has been in the works for years now, as Forest City has sought to refresh the aging structure with a mix of retail, office and residential space. But the exact timetable for its completion has been difficult to pin down, with the developer reporting some construction delays to county officials over the past few months.
“You’ve got to look at the magnitude of this project — it only slipped a month,” said Ballston Business Improvement District CEO Tina Leone. “Of course, we would’ve loved to have had a huge grand opening, but at least they’re opening.”
Leone and county leaders alike view the development as a critical one as Ballston continues to become an ever-more-urban section of Arlington — as she puts it, it will help transform Wilson Blvd into a “truly a retail street” and the neighborhood as a whole into “an 18-hour community.”
Yet the massive amount of construction required for the project, running in tandem with a host of other major Ballston developments, has snarled traffic in the area and forced visitors to the businesses that have remained open in the mall to wind through a confusing maze of scaffolding and tarps. Accordingly, Leone is quite anxious to see things start to wrap up on the site.
“There will be a critical mass of things starting to open in the fall, and then by the spring, end of the second quarter, it’s going to be up and rolling,” Leone said.
By the Oct. 25 opening, Fredrick expects that the mall’s “public areas will be fully open and accessible to the public, including vertical transportation elements like the escalators and elevators.” Leone says that will include clear ground-floor entrances along both Wilson and N. Glebe Road, as well as some big improvements to the mall’s parking garage.
“The elevator banks are going to match up with the floors in Ballston Quarter, instead of having to go up and down the stairs, and there will be more escalators,” Leone said. “It’s going to be more open, so you can actually see where you’re going and where the parking garage is. The connectivity is going to be much better. It couldn’t have gotten much worse, right?”
She added that sidewalks along Wilson will also be wider for people walking to the mall by the time it opens, which will help the development accommodate outdoor seating for a variety of its restaurants. The County Board is set to give the go-ahead for the new patios to open next week, when it could grant permits to establishments including Compass Coffee, South Block, Ted’s Bulletin, True Food Kitchen, Union Kitchen and Bartaco.
Leone also noted that the CVS pharmacy, which has remained open during the construction, will be accessible from both the Glebe and Wilson sides of the mall. And for fast food fans, she fully expects that the reopened Chick-fil-A will start serving customers by the time development opens.
Inside the mall itself, Leone hopes that the “wayfinding is going to be very, very clear” to help shoppers navigate the new space. Fredrick says construction will be ongoing even after the development opens, but she expects it will be “limited to the interior of tenants’ space and will not interfere with overall public access.”
Crucially, Leone says the new “plaza” at the center of the development should be open by the time fall rolls around, and she hopes to start working with Forest City to schedule activities and events in the space through the winter and spring.
One feature the area will be missing, however, is are the “large media screens” the developer originally proposed for the plaza. Attorney Evan Pritchard says the developer had hoped installing two LED screens there would “be an interactive and fun element to help activate the plaza,” but has since determined that they might not be allowed under county zoning rules.
Forest City is asking the Board to drop its request for the screens at its meeting Saturday (Sept. 22), though Pritchard expects to pursue a change to the county’s zoning ordinance to allow them in the future.
“We hope to have Board support on that,” he said.
With or without the screens, Leone hopes the plaza will be a natural “entrance into the market area,” a 25,000-square-foot food court home to 18 restaurants. She expects that will open by November, as will Punch Bowl Social, a bar offering a bevy of games and entertainment options.
As for the rest of the offerings at Ballston Quarter, Leone hopes to see everything open by spring 2019. But half the battle will be the mall finalizing tenants for its remaining open space — Fredrick said three quarters of the development is already leased, with “additional deals in the works.”
“It’s just a matter of getting everyone into their spaces,” Leone said.
Virginia Lawmakers Will Have Final Say on Any Amazon HQ2 Incentives — Should Arlington or anywhere else in Northern Virginia win Amazon’s second headquarters, a panel of administration officials and General Assembly members on the Major Employment and Investment Project Approval Commission would have the final chance to review the state’s incentive package for HQ2. The commission’s chair says the group has already approved the broad strokes of what Virginia offered Amazon, but would have to approve any changes. [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington Public Schools ‘On Track’ in Teacher Hiring — Superintendent Patrick Murphy says the school system has already managed to hire 300 teachers, who will report to orientation in the coming weeks as the start of classes inches ever closer. [InsideNova]
Podcast Explores Ballston’s History — Before the Metro station and the mall, Ballston was home to “an infamous saloon known as the Bucket of Blood” and a “pro football team known as the Ballston Skulls.” Local historian and journalist Michael Lee Pope explores the neighborhood’s history on the Ballston BID’s podcast. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo via wolfkann
Construction is ongoing for several major projects in Ballston, though at least two should be up and running by the end of the year.
Ballston Quarter, a transformation of Ballston Common Mall, plans to open its shopping and entertainment center in the fall, according to a news release from the county. The completion of a pedestrian bridge that will connect Ballston Quarter to 4201 Wilson Blvd and the Metro station has been pushed back to 2019, however.
Ballston Business Improvement District CEO Tina Leone said Ballston Quarter will likely be fully leased within a year. So far, several eateries, retailers and entertainment-oriented tenants have signed on to the development. Retailers including Macy’s and Regal Cinemas have remained open during construction.
“That property has just been critical to how Ballston has developed over the last couple of generations,” Leone said. “Ballston Quarter really catalyzed these other developments to occur.”
That project is slated to be completed near the end of 2018, according to the Ballston BID. Restaurants already committed to Ballston Exchange include Shake Shack, We The Pizza and CAVA. A New York-based coworking space became the development’s first new office tenant last month.
A number of the current projects in Ballston include residential space — Ballston Quarter, for instance, will include a 393-unit residential tower, according to Ballston BID.
And 4040 Wilson Boulevard, the final piece in Liberty Center, will feature office, retail and residential space. The Shooshan Company, that site’s developer, plans to wrap up construction by January 2020.
As Ballston continues to develop, “what we really want to achieve is a greater sense of neighborhood and a greater sense of community,” Leone said.
A full list of developments in Ballston can be found here.
Plenty of big changes are on the way for Ballston, and Business Improvement District CEO Tina Leone has a front seat to all the latest developments.
Join Leone and ARLnow’s Alex Koma for a conversation about the future of the Ballston Quarter development, the shifting landscape of the neighborhood’s transportation needs and much more.
A new art gallery is opening in Ballston on Saturday (May 12).
The Fred Schnider Art Gallery, which is backed by D.C. area real estate investment and development firm Fred Schnider Investment Group, is planning a grand opening event from 6-9 p.m. at the Residences at Liberty Center (888 N. Quincy Street).
The gallery opening will feature the work of award-winning artist and longtime Marymount University professor David Carlson. He will display his “Out of My Mind” paintings and drawings from his “Fields and Transformation” series.
The 850-square-foot gallery will display seven exhibits a year, with each exhibit appearing for six weeks at a time. Normal exhibit hours will be from 2-7 p.m. Thursday through Sunday until July 8.
The gallery plans to collaborate with local universities to incorporate an educational setting into the space. It will also host events with the Ballston Business Improvement District and the Arlington Commission for the Arts.
Crystal City Could Be Big Budget Winner — Commercial real estate analysts expect Crystal City and the Dulles Toll Road corridor to be the big winners from the new spending bill that was signed into law last week, boosting domestic and military budgets. Crystal City is also among the Northern Virginia locales under consideration for Amazon’s HQ2. [Bisnow]
Park Police Chief Cancels Meeting with Beyer — Updated at 12:30 p.m. — The chief of the U.S. Park Police cancelled a scheduled meeting yesterday with Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. Beyer and Norton are seeking answers in the fatal Park Police shooting of Bijan Ghaisar, who fled from a reported crash and then from officers before being shot in Fairfax County. USPP later released a statement explaining the chief’s decision. [WUSA 9, PDF]
Ballston to Hold Puppy Party Tomorrow — “Didn’t feel the love on Valentines Day? Join the Ballston BID for a puppy pick-me-up. All dogs present available for adoption through our partner, Homeward Trails. They bring the furry friends. Earl’s will bring the food.” [Ballston BID]
Charlie Clark on Arlington and Its History — “Clark compared the local population to the cast of the NBC show ‘Parks and Recreation,’ a group of honest, do-gooders who try their best but things still go awry. They’re a body of citizens that aren’t afraid to challenge their local governance on issues, pointing in particular to the struggle put up by local citizens last year when Arlington worked to relocate Fire Station 8.” [Arlington Connection]
Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Reservations — Procrastinators rejoice, a number of Arlington restaurants were, at last check, still taking reservations for Valentine’s Day dinner tonight. [Patch]
Flickr pool photo by Tim Brown
OpenWater, a company that develops a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution for award ceremonies such as the TONY and James Beard awards, has move its headquarters from the District to the Ballston neighborhood.
The 35-person company signed a seven year lease at 4401 Fairfax Drive and moved in earlier this year, according to a press release by the company. OpenWater previously resided in D.C. for 8 years and was able to expand its footprint by 120 percent as a result of the move.
The company was named one of Inc’s 5000 fastest growing companies in 2017 and reported $2.5 million in revenue in 2016. On top of providing management software for awards ceremonies, their software is also compatible for other application review processes such as selecting board members, grants and scholarships.
The company also plans to open up the new space for technology forums and networking events.
“OpenWater is a company that thrives on constant and consistent innovation, making them a perfect fit for the robust and fast-growing tech scene in Ballston,” said Tina Leone, CEO of the Ballston Business Improvement District, in a press release. “Ballston continues to lead the push for innovative technologies in the DC metro area because of companies like OpenWater and we are thrilled to have them in our neighborhood.”
Images via OpenWater
Arlington Economic Development is hosting Arlington Premiere at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex (627 N. Glebe Road) from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 29.
Attendees can “welcome new business owners and network with other key business and community leaders as we celebrate our growing business community,” a blurb on the event, which is sponsored by the Ballston Business Improvement District, says. Registration is no longer available as the event has reached capacity.
Also at the event, AED will reveal the winners of the Arlington’s First Four competition. The contest honors locally-based businesses that have shown revenue growth over a three-year period.
“The Arlington Premiere is a great way for you to meet our new businesses and strengthen your relationship with other county and community leaders,” AED director Victor Hoskins wrote in an email to the public.
Ballston May Be Next ‘Hot’ Neighborhood — Thanks to new development, the renovation of Ballston Common Mall, and the efforts of the Ballston Business Improvement District and others, Ballston is being mentioned as the region’s “next hottest neighborhood.” [Washington Post]
Wegmans Coming to Alexandria — A Wegmans grocery store is finally set to open within a reasonably short drive of at least some parts of Arlington. Per WBJ, the Rochester, NY-based chain will open an 84,000-square-foot store at Hoffman Town Center in Alexandria, not far from where the National Science Foundation recently moved. [Washington Business Journal]
Decal Deadline is Today — Today is the deadline to display the new 2017-2018 Arlington County vehicle decal. “Beginning November 16, you will be at risk of receiving a parking ticket if your decal is not displayed on your windshield,” says the county. [Arlington County]
‘News Dude’ Finds Human Seat — NBC 4’s Adam Tuss was able to catch up with the man who wore a seat costume in Virginia Tech and Ford’s unusual “driverless” car experiment in Arlington. The researcher said he was “pretty stressed out” after Tuss ran up to him at an intersection and asked what he was doing dressed as a car seat in a van. [NBC Washington, Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Eric
County Focused on Child Care — “Demand for child care in Arlington is high and the County is working with business owners and families to meet the increasing needs. Preliminary steps also are underway to map out a comprehensive Child Care Initiative that establishes an action plan to advance the availability, accessibility, and quality of childcare in Arlington.” [Arlington County]
GGW Urges Support for Accessory Apartments — The website Greater Greater Washington is urging its readers to write to the Arlington County Board in support of two proposals: lowering parking minimums for buildings near Metro stations, and “reforming overly burdensome regulations on accessory apartments.” [Greater Greater Washington]
Yankee Stadium Operator to Run Rosslyn Observation Deck — JBG Smith has hired New York City-based Legends to run the public observation deck at the top of its Central Place tower in Rosslyn. Legends also operates Yankee Stadium, Angel Stadium in Anaheim, AT&T Stadium in Dallas and the One World Observatory at One World Trade Center. The 12,000 square foot Central Place observation deck will feature “an outdoor cantilevered terrace and full food and beverage program,” plus panoramic views. [Washington Business Journal]
Ballston Building Sells for $72 Million — New York-based property investment group Westbrook Partners has acquired the Two Liberty Center office building, at 4075 Wilson Blvd in Ballston, for $72 million. [Commercial Property Executive]
Ballston BID CEO on Redevelopment — Ballston Business Improvement District CEO Tina Leone says changes along the Ballston corridor, including extensive renovations to the former Ballston Common Mall (now Ballston Quarter), are having a ripple effect. “This redevelopment has spurred on like 10 other projects here,” she said. “The face of Ballston is going to change again in the next three to five years, it’s going to look so different. I know it’s just going to be better.” [Washington Business Journal]
Reminder: No Parking Meter Enforcement Today — Parking meters in Arlington will not be enforced today, due to the Veterans Day observation, but meters will be enforced tomorrow. [ARLnow]
A new Silver Diner restaurant will be opening in Ballston.
The 6,700-square-foot eatery will join Target and Enterprise Rent-A-Car as retail tenants in the currently under-construction 750 N. Glebe development. Set to open in 2020, 750 N. Glebe will be a 12-story building with nearly 500 apartments, across from Ballston Quarter mall.
The new Ballston location will be the 14th Silver Diner in the D.C. area. The company has an existing Arlington location at 3200 Wilson Blvd in the Clarendon area.
The Washington Business Journal reports that, at least for now, Silver Diner plans to operate both Arlington locations simultaneously. (It has a long-term lease in Clarendon.)
Current plans are to operate both Ballston and Clarendon, although [Silver Diner founder Bob] Giaimo has acknowledged in the past that site where the Clarendon Silver Diner sits at 3200 Wilson Blvd., would likely be the subject of redevelopment at some point, putting the diner’s future there in flux.
More about the lease signing from a Ballston Business Improvement District press release, after the jump.
Saul Centers announced this morning that Silver Diner has signed a lease at 750 N. Glebe, a mixed-use development project located at the intersection of North Glebe Road and Wilson Boulevard in Ballston. Silver Diner will be the development’s third retail tenant, joining previously announced tenants Target and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Construction began during the first quarter of 2017 and 750 N. Glebe is expected to deliver in the spring of 2020.
The Ballston Business Improvement District (BID) helped facilitate bringing in what will be the 14th Silver Diner location in the Greater Washington D.C. region. The BID orchestrated an all-day meeting in their office between Silver Diner management and several Ballston landlords where BID CEO Tina Leone provided neighborhood insights and statistics to demonstrate to Silver Diner that the Ballston community was the right fit for their next location.
“Silver Diner is a regional institution and we are thrilled to have them join us in Ballston,” says Tina Leone, CEO of the Ballston BID. “With 33% of Ballston’s workforce eating lunch out three times a week, Silver Diner will be welcomed with open arms. Their addition bolsters the strength of our growing dining scene of over 60 restaurants and gives the community another great option for a family brunch, business breakfast meeting, and late-night fare.”
Silver Diner will occupy 6,700 square feet of 750 N. Glebe’s 61,000 square feet of first floor retail space. Earlier this year Saul Centers landed Target to be the site’s retail anchor with a 41,500-square-foot lease. “With the addition of Silver Diner to our tenant roster, 750 N. Glebe now has 80% of its retail space fully leased – we couldn’t be happier with the tenants we’ve secured thus far. Silver Diner’s commitment to chef-driven and locally-sourced farm-to-table food makes them a perfect fit for the neighborhood,” said Saul Centers’ President J. Page Lansdale.
Situated on the old Rosenthal Mazda dealership site, 750 N. Glebe will be a 12-story mixed-use development, containing 491 luxury rental apartment units plus the 61,000 square feet of retail space. Located in the heart of Ballston, 750 N. Glebe is across the street from the Ballston Quarter redevelopment and three blocks from the Ballston Metro Station, with access to the Orange and Silver lines.