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The driver of a Jeep careened into a bank in Pentagon City Wednesday night, injuring a pedestrian.

The crash happened shortly after 7 p.m. at 710 12th Street S., directly adjacent to the Pentagon City Metro station entrance.

The SUV went through the front of the Chase bank branch, potentially causing structural damage, according to initial reports. One pedestrian was struck and injured; they were treated on scene by medics and taken via ambulance to a local trauma center.

It’s unclear what led to the crash. The driver was still in the vehicle when police arrived, according to scanner traffic.

Screenshot (top) via @ogiuzi/Twitter

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A bank has moved its branch from one side of Ballston to the other.

Citizens Bank vacated its branch at 4075 Wilson Blvd just before the new year, after opening a new branch at 800 N. Glebe Road, on the western side of Glebe.

It’s unclear what might replace the branch’s former location, in a storefront that’s catty-corner from Ballston Quarter mall, on the same block as Hangry Joe’s Hot Chicken.

Ballston is home to a number of bank and credit union branches, including PNC, Chase, Capital One, Navy Federal, Wells Fargo, Truist, Bank of America, Sandy Spring and Citibank. A First National Bank branch is expected to open soon near the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Stuart Street.

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Signs for a new First National Bank (FNB) location are posted across the street from Ballston Quarter.

This new location, at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Stuart Street, is set to open in 2024. The Ballston branch is part of the bank’s plans to expand its presence in Northern Virginia, a spokesperson for the bank told ARLnow.

The bank currently has two ATMs in Arlington at Giant grocery stores at 3450 Washington Blvd and 3115 Langston Blvd and two branch locations in Fairfax County.

“This location is ideal to serve residents and businesses in Arlington while also adding convenience for our customers in nearby communities,” the spokesperson said. “The planned Arlington office will be a full-service branch that will leverage our modern layout and innovative technology to facilitate a convenient and consultative banking experience for customers and businesses.”

When it opens, the Ballston branch will also have interactive ATMs that “allow clients to use video chat technology to conduct transactions with a teller during extended hours, including into the evening and on weekends,” the spokesperson said.

Last July, the company announced its plans to expand in the D.C. area with additional branches and at least 11 offices that will serve the D.C. area before 2024, as well as a loan origination center in Richmond.

“Our goal with expansion is to continue adding resources for the markets we serve in D.C., Virginia and throughout our multistate footprint,” bank CEO and President Vincent Delie Jr. said in the release.

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A bank drive-thru has been heavily damaged in the City of Falls Church after a driver smashed through a brick wall.

The incident happened shortly after noon at the M&T Bank branch at 133 S. Washington Street. Arlington County firefighters responded to the scene to evaluate injuries and, if need be, rescue anyone inside the vehicle.

(ACFD provides firefighting services to the city under contract.)

The driver, who appeared to be an elderly man, was reportedly able to get out of his Subaru on his own power and did not suffer any serious injuries. The drive-thru, however, was not so lucky — the brick wall that was demolished was holding up the roof, which came down on the front of the hatchback.

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A climate change protest temporarily shut down a Rosslyn bank this morning.

The relatively small demonstration drew a handful of older protests and a few of grad-school age to the Wells Fargo at 1500 Wilson Blvd.

The organizers, ThirdAct Virginia, touted it as a protest of elders demanding climate action alongside youth climate activists. It featured rocking chairs outside the bank and a sit-in inside. Just over a dozen people participated, most of them older.

The issue, according to organizers, is Wells Fargo’s role in the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a planned 300-mile natural gas pipeline which would run through parts of Virginia. Construction on the pipeline was again halted by a federal court this week, despite being fast-tracked by Congress in the recent debt limit deal.

More on the protest, below, from a ThirdAct Virginia press release.

Members of ThirdAct Virginia, elders demanding climate action, and youth climate activists shut down an Arlington branch of Wells Fargo, disrupting business by staging a sit-in inside and protesting outside.

The multi-generational group, some sitting in rocking chairs outside the bank, sang songs and chanted, and waved signs and banners, demanding that the bank stop funding new fossil fuel projects including the contested Mountain Valley Pipeline that cuts across the mountains of southern Appalachia in West Virginia and Virginia.

The Friday protest is part of a series of actions across the country against the big four dirty banks (Wells Fargo, Chase, Bank of America, and Citibank) that are the worst offenders, continuing to finance billions of dollars in new fossil fuel projects, despite surging climate disasters. A large public protest with art, music and dance is planned for later in the day outside Wells Fargo headquarters in San Francisco.

The July 14 protests are timed to coincide with the announcement Friday of the bank’s 2023 second quarter earnings results.

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring Three Ballston Plaza. 

A local startup is providing younger generations with a new way to understand banking and finances.

Wellthi is a software tool that grants financial advice on a social media-like platform. It can be used through its independent app that is available to download, or within mobile apps of participating banks.

“Think of it as a Facebook or LinkedIn within a mobile banking app,” founder and CEO Fonta Gilliam said. “We are helping banks rethink their mobile banking experience.”

Fonta Gilliam and Nneka Ukpai of Wellthi (via Wellthi)

The company, initially named Invest Sou Sou, officially launched in 2021. Since then, it has formed partnerships with Mastercard, Discover Card, Galileo Financial Technologies and IDology. Citizens Bank recently became the first banking partner to launch with Wellthi, Gilliam said.

She aims to bridge the gap between the financial services banks provide and the places younger generations turn for finance tips: social media.

“We found that a lot of banks don’t know how to talk to millennials and Gen Z. 80% of us get our financial advice not from our branch managers or a financial advisor but from places like Reddit, TikTok and Facebook,” Gilliam said. “Wellthi gives users an experience that feels like say Reddit or TikTok but in a space where users can talk to certified financial advisors versus random influencers on social media.”

Wellthi received funding from Virginia Venture Partners (VVP), an equity investment program within the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation. The funds given to Wellthi from VVP were partially through the U.S. Treasury Department’s State Small Business Credit Initiative for a confidential amount.

She hinted at a few other undisclosed partnerships with banks.

The VPP funding follows on a seed funding round in December worth $2.1 million, Washington Business Journal reported. Gilliam says she moved her startup from D.C. to Arlington to take advantage of the various types of support available for startups, as well as the county’s hub of tech companies.

“Arlington had incredible incentives. I was looking for a [place] that could provide venture capital for early-stage companies like mine,” Gilliam said. “I was excited about the growth happening right now in Northern Virginia from Amazon’s HQ2 to the welcoming business feel the area gives.”

She says she hopes that this proximity will turn into more interest from local consumers and small businesses in the near future.

Wellthi promo (via Wellthi/Instagram)
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In response to criticism from residents, citizen commissioners and county staff, a developer has removed a drive-thru ATM from its plans to redevelop the Wells Fargo in Clarendon.

One year ago, McLean-based developer Jefferson Apartment Group filed plans to replace the bank — the one someone recently attempted to rob — with a mixed-use building. It is set to consist of 238 apartments, 60,000 square feet of office space and 30,000 square feet of retail, including a new Wells Fargo branch.

The current two-story bank building at 3140 Washington Blvd has a drive-thru in addition to a surface parking lot. Critics of keeping the drive-thru say it would detract from walkability in the area, which is seeing significant redevelopment that will result in more people living, shopping and using public amenities in Clarendon.

“This is the most walkable place in the county and drive-up for anything doesn’t make sense to me,” said Planning Commission member Jim Lantelme back in February. “You would have to have a second ATM that people could walk up to.”

One commenter said drive-thrus are “horrible for the environment and they aren’t faster than parking and going into the building,” while another called it “a relic of the 70s [that] doesn’t belong here.”

A third said it “seems like a very bad idea that will take away space from pedestrians and increase the chance of crashes and congestion in an area that is meant to be dense and walkable.”

Jefferson had originally doubled down on the drive-thru ATM, saying in a county document this was “for the convenience of existing customers and as requested by Wells Fargo based on customer feedback during and after the pandemic.”

Ultimately, it agreed to changes that resemble a suggestion from the Clarendon Courthouse Civic Association: walk-up ATMs and free, short-term parking on a new local street that Jefferson will construct as part of the project.

The walk-up ATMs will be located at the northern and southern edges of the bank, which looks out over N. Irving Street. This street, which dead-ends in a green space, is set to become a plaza through a separate, Dept. of Parks and Recreation-led planning process.

People using the ATMs will be able to park in short-term parking on the north side of a planned public road. As part of the project, Jefferson will build a new 10th Road N., which will run parallel to Washington Blvd and separate the new construction from the existing Verizon building to the south.

The proposed changes to the Clarendon Wells Fargo redevelopment (via Arlington County)

Even with the walk-up ATMs, staff have concerns that a bank, generally, is not the kind of lively retail that encourages people to use the planned Irving Street Plaza. Those who commented were not as concerned with this but suggested sculptures or water features could help “activate” the plaza.

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A residential redevelopment planned for a four-story office building, bank drive-thru and parking lot on Columbia Pike is now heading to the Arlington County Board.

On Monday night, the Planning Commission unanimously voted its approval for a project that would tear down the Bank of America building at 3401 Columbia Pike, at the northwest corner of S. Glebe Road and the Pike, next to the Wendy’s. It will now head to the Arlington County Board, which is slated to consider the project at its meeting next Saturday, Feb. 18.

The property falls within the Pike’s Commercial Form-Based Code, which provides a streamlined process for developers provided they meet certain guidelines. The project needs Planning Commission and County Board approval because of its size, according to Commissioner Stephen Hughes.

“Otherwise, the goal is for it to be a by-right development subject to the Zoning Administrator, if every checkbox is met,” he said.

The developer, Marcus Partners, proposes a 250-unit, six-story apartment building with 4,500 square feet of ground floor retail and 287 parking spaces across a 2.5-level underground garage. It will have 172 one-bedroom, 39 two-bedroom and 38 studio units.

“I for one am excited to see this building get built because it’s different,” Hughes said. “The materiality and the architecture of it are something we’ve yet to see on the Pike, and so I think we’re a little excited to see that.”

As part of the project, Marcus Partners will make streetscape improvements, revamp an existing alley for parking and loading and build a 7,800 square-foot private open space. It will landscape a small triangular lot to create more of a buffer between the building and a single-family home to the north.

Throughout the review process, people have been sensitive to how close the proposed building will be to this home and have recommended ways to minimize impacts on residents, said county planner Matt Mattauszek.

“This is not the first, nor will it be the last time, that a form-based code has an adjacency to a low residential development zone and it is always shocking to me… the embracing of the density that goes on with my neighbors on the Pike,” Hughes said.

The proposed building will round out development of this prominent intersection, says Lauren Riley, a land use lawyer with Walsh Colucci. It is flanked by three form-based code projects: Pike 3400 to the south, Gilliam Place to the west and the under-construction Westmont project to the east.

Riley assured anyone who banks with Bank of America that the branch — which was set to close late last year — will move across the street to the former Capital One building.

“No need to worry, you’ll still have your bank services across the street,” she said.

The form-based code comes with height restrictions: three to six stories for what it designates as main streets, two to five stories for avenues and two to three stories for local streets. Developers are able to extend or retract these designations up to 50 feet to make their project work.

Even with this workaround, Marcus Partners would have had to make a small section of its building three stories shorter, which county staff agreed would be unworkable. The developer is asking the County Board for relief from the tapering requirement.

“The transition from a higher density to a single-family home had been well thought out on the form-based code and the unique instance of this site and the way the site was assembled warrants this change,” said Commissioner Leonardo Sarli. “But the transition from main street to residential is a really good approach and one that benefits the community as a whole.”

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

(Updated 12:40 p.m. on 10/11/22) If you own a local restaurant, grocery co-op or healthcare clinic in an underinvested neighborhood, there’s a good chance that Arlington-based Capital Impact Partners can help find money to assist your business.

Capital Impact Partners (CIP), which has been in Crystal City for 40 years, is a Community Development Financial Institution aimed at helping lower-income and racially diverse communities secure loans as well as capital and financial assistance.

And this summer, CIP joined forces with lender CDC Small Business Finance and lending software company Ventures Lending Technologies to help clients more effectively. They are together known as Momentus Capital. The new group is already heating up the region’s economy, according to the Washington Business Journal, which named it as an honoree of its 2022 Inno on Fire Awards program.

“Small business owners, developers, and other local leaders are the engines of job creation and economic activity in communities across the country. When these leaders have the opportunity to succeed, their communities, their residents — and our country — thrive,” said Ellis Carr, president and CEO of Momentus Capital, in a statement. “We need bold thinking and a holistic approach to unleash solutions for underestimated communities. Momentus Capital was created to meet that challenge.”

Carr, who led CIP, and Kurt Chilcott, at the time the leader of CDC Small Business Finance and now the chair of both organizations’ boards, began developing the idea for Momentus in 2019. Under the new umbrella organization, the companies will still operate as one, although they will be maintained as separate legal entities, providing but their clients will now have access to more resources and products.

A small food business that Capital Impact Partners helped fund as part of Nourish DC (courtesy of Capital Impact Partners)

For instance, Momentus is developing new lending and investing products aimed at helping people who have historically been denied access to funding. It provides borrowers with training, mentorship and networking opportunities and also provides technical support to community-based organizations and lenders.

This is the kind of work that CIP has been doing since its founding in 1982. Now a national organization, with offices in Oakland, Detroit, Austin and New York, the company got its start in Crystal City, where its headquarters remain at 1400 Crystal Drive.

“We are always thinking about racial equity, the racial wealth gap, what was our role in that as lenders, and how can we create more access to capital in a more holistic way, deep in communities,” says Alison Powers, director of economic opportunities at Capital Impact Partners. “I like to think we’ve been one of the leaders when it comes to thinking about those questions.”

That might mean helping to secure a loan for a family-owned pharmacy in Green Valley or pinpointing a grant that might assist with staffing at a small, immigrant-owned restaurant on Columbia Pike.

Powers said this work reverses exclusionary systems in the U.S., such as redlining, which prevented communities of color and low-income families from getting home loans because their neighborhoods were deemed too risky for investment.

“How we think about credit and risk and underwriting has really been influenced by the history of the U.S. and who is perceived as being good candidates for access to certain financial products,” she says.

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When one Bank of America branch closes on Columbia Pike, another one opens.

The Bank of America branch at 3401 Columbia Pike is set to close in late November, per the bank’s website. The building it is housed in at the intersection of S. Glebe Road is likely on its way to being demolished to make way for a six-story, 250-unit residential development with ground-floor retail.

The office building at 3401 Columbia Pike was last sold in December 2020 to Marcus Partners for nearly $15 million, county property records show. That’s a $10 million over what it sold for in 2015.

The bank branch occupies most of the building, with a doctor’s office and an immigration law office also at that location. It’s not immediately clear when those businesses might be moving or closing.

Those looking to make deposits won’t have to go far, though.

A new Bank of America branch is set to open soon after the other one closes just a block away at 3532 Columbia Pike. It’s moving into the former home of a Capital One Bank. That branch was in the news over the years due to it being robbed twice, including one incident that was investigated by the FBI. It closed more than three years ago.

The new Bank of America branch is planning to open by the end of the year, but that timeline is “dependent on construction completion” a company spokesperson told ARLnow.

“The new center has been designed to highlight our high-tech high-touch approach, which helps us best serve all of our clients’ financial needs,” the spokesperson said.

Customers with safe deposit boxes in the existing branch are being urged to retrieve them by October 7, according to a letter from Bank of America shared with ARLnow by a reader.

Arlington has eight Bank of America financial centers and ATM locations, according to the bank’s website. This includes the locations inside of the Pentagon and a State Department facility on Arlington Blvd, which both may require “authorization to enter.”

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(Updated at 12:25 p.m.) We now know which bank is coming to the former G.O.A.T. sports bar space in Clarendon.

TD Bank is moving across the street to the highly-visible space near the Metro station, the company has confirmed to ARLnow. We reported in January that a bank was under construction on the first floor of 3028 Wilson Blvd, but could not confirm which bank was opening in the space until now.

“TD Bank will close the 3101 Wilson Blvd. store on Oct. 27 and will open the new 3028 Wilson Blvd. store location on Oct. 28,” a TD Bank spokesperson tells ARLnow.

Customers were informed of the move in letters sent last week.

The new, 2,081 square foot branch “will feature an advice center format, which allows colleagues to have advice conversations with customers about their financial goals along with conducting routine banking activities and account openings,” the spokesperson said. It will also have “sit-stand workstations that enable our colleagues to adapt them based on the type of conversation we’re having with a customer or the amount of traffic we expect on a given day.”

The move across the street comes as the existing branch’s lease is expiring.

“We have an expiring lease at our 3101 Wilson Blvd store, which gave us an opportunity to move to a location that better suits our customers’ needs and enhance[s] their banking experience with us,” said the spokesperson.

Construction permits suggest that the bank will be located on the first floor. So far, there’s no word on what might eventually come to the second floor of the building. The G.O.A.T. and its predecessor, Hard Times Cafe, previously used both floors.

There’s also no word as what might replace the branch on the ground floor of the office building at 3101 Wilson Blvd.

Hat tip to Ken K.

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