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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
(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.
Bank Booting Xmas Tree Sale from Lot — “Optimist members tell 7News On Your Side that [Wells Fargo] bank officials told them in late 2021 that their parking lot would not be available to the Optimists for liability reasons. This concern was bewildering to club members as they say over the years they’ve never had any serious accidents or issues. The Optimists are now scrambling to find another space.” [WJLA]
Real Estate Agents Making Less — “Northern Virginia Realtors shared roughly $30 million less in compensation during the first six months of the year compared to the same period in 2021 despite rising home prices, according to a new Sun Gazette analysis. Year-over-year sales for the first half of 2022 were down 12.2 percent, according to figures reported by the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors.” [Sun Gazette]
Expanded Bikeshare Station in Ballston — From Capital Bikeshare: “Our teams have expanded and replaced the station at Glebe Rd & 11th St N in Arlington. Happy riding!” [Twitter]
Firefighters Rescue Stuck Bird — “The Arlington Fire and Rescue Department helped save a blue jay stuck in a tree on Monday — and the video is heartwarming. The bird appeared to have a piece of plastic material wrapped around its leg.” [WJLA, Twitter]
Arlington Seeks Feedback on Bay Plan — “The County is updating its Chesapeake Bay Preservation Plan, which speaks to effective land use management practices as required by the state. Read on, chime in.” [Twitter, Arlington County]
Local Company Making New Acquisition — “Evolent Health Inc. is taking steps to expand its arsenal of services for health care providers, starting with an acquisition that will move it into the lucrative area of musculoskeletal care. The Arlington company, which helps health systems and insurance companies manage their costs and improve care, charges into the second half of 2022 on the cusp of closing its purchase of Alpharetta, Georgia’s IPG.” [Washington Business Journal]
New Burger Restaurant at DCA — “Elevation Burger has opened a new restaurant in Terminal E at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington. Founded in 2002, Elevation Burger uses USDA-certified organic, 100-percent grass-fed beef and fresh-cut fries cooked in heart-healthy olive oil.” [Patch]
It’s Thursday — Humid and mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 88 and low of 75. Sunrise at 6:07 am and sunset at 8:25 pm. [Weather.gov]
A bank could be coming to the former The G.O.A.T. space across the street from the Clarendon Metro station, a reliable source has told ARLnow.
A year ago, the sports bar closed after about three years in operation at 3028 Wilson Blvd. Previously, it was the chili-serving Hard Times Cafe before that closed in 2016.
But earlier this month, an ARLnow reader tipped us off that construction was going on at the space. An issued Arlington County permit confirms that interior renovations are ongoing, including removing the once-prominent staircase at the front connecting the first and second floors.
There were thoughts the space was being renovated for a new venture by The G.O.A.T. co-owners local serial entrepreneur Scott Parker and chef Mike Cordero, or, even, a hotly anticipated rebirth of Whitlow’s on Wilson. Neither appear to be the case.
Both Parker and Cordero confirmed they are no longer tenants and not involved in the revamping of the space. Parker also owns nearby Don Tito, Bearded Goat Barber, the soon-to-open Nighthawk Pizza, and a number of other local businesses. Cordero owns Taco Rock, including the location in Rosslyn.
Former Whitlow’s manager Jon Williams also said the beloved now-shuttered watering hole wasn’t making a comeback quite yet.
“I’m still looking for the right place,” he wrote to ARLnow. “Hopefully soon.”
The Whitlow’s former space seems set to become two separate entities, a Five Guys and restaurant, as well as possibly live entertainment concept “B Live” from Michael Bramson.
At the moment, it’s unclear the exact bank that would occupy the prime location on Wilson Blvd or when it could open.
The source said it’s likely that the bank would only occupy the first floor, leaving the second floor potentially available for a local venture.
ARLnow reached out to the Rappaport Company, which is the leasing agent for the Underwood Building (named after the former owners), for confirmation and more details, but a company representative declined to provide comment.
The Williamsburg Shopping Center is looking for a new bank to take up tenancy where United Bank once had a branch.
Leasing agent Nora Eways said the bank location at 6500 Williamsburg Blvd shuttered on Jan. 15 but did not give a reason for the closure. The shopping center’s owner is hoping to find another bank to fill the space, perhaps in part due to the large metal bank vault that appears in interior photos.
“The landlord’s main preference is for another bank,” Eways said.
While the search continues for another bank, she said other potential tenants, including medical groups, have expressed interest in the spot.
“This space is in a very affluent area in Arlington,” she said, of the shopping center’s proximity to North Arlington neighborhoods like Williamsburg and East Falls Church. “It’s a great neighborhood center where we’ve had very few vacancies in general.”
Eways said pre-pandemic, the shopping center was fully leased “for a while.” United Bank’s departure was one of two COVID-19-era vacancies, she said, referencing the closure of the Zinga! frozen yogurt spot in October.
“Banks and frozen yogurt shops are two businesses that are decreasing in size throughout the nation,” she said, adding that mobile banking has led some banks to consolidate their physical locations.
Photo (1) via Google Maps, (2-3) via Renaud Consulting
Arlington resident Celia Edwards Karam is at the top of her game.
She is the Chief Audit Officer for Capital One, and was just named the first independent member of the Board of Directors for Zola, a popular online one-stop-shop for wedding planning services.
Zola’s founder, Shan-Lyn Ma, tapped Karam for the position, and after a series of conversations with the company’s leadership, Karam was officially in.
“I guess I must have done okay in those interviews,” she said, laughing.
While she got married before anything like Zola existed, Karam said she is joining the board to help Zola find opportunities for growth and new corners of the $55 billion wedding industry to explore.
The appointment adds to a resume that includes degrees from Harvard and Stanford universities, 14 years at Capital One and volunteer work with the nonprofit Commonwealth, which helps vulnerable people achieve financial security.
Her achievements seem to flow from one source. “It all comes back to [the question], ‘How might we make choices that are actually helping people get to better outcomes?'” she said.
Karam draws inspiration from her experience as a Jamaican immigrant. She came to the U.S. with her family when she was five years old, and watched her parents work hard to give her and her siblings access to education and better opportunities.
“Financially speaking, we didn’t have a lot to work with,” she said. “The sense you get instilled is one of gratitude and one to give back.”
This sense manifests in Karam’s concern for people, and making their lives easier. She says Capital One, Zola and Commonwealth share this customer-centered pursuit.
But these companies also share Karam.
In recent years, the chief audit officer has grown more confident in sharing her perspective as a Black woman — something that she did not always do. As a child, she was taught that the way to achieve equality was by ignoring color.
“The way to succeed, in my mind, was for my bosses not to notice the differences,” she said. That changed five years ago.
“I came to what might sound like a ridiculous conclusion: The fact that I am a Black woman actually makes me different,” she said.
Keeping in mind her bad experiences suppressing her identity, today she encourages business leaders to show employees that their perspectives, informed by their diverse identities, are valued. It is one reason she said she admires and wants to work with Ma — one of the relatively few women running successful new tech companies.
“If you don’t have the numbers, there’s nowhere to go from there,” she said. “But you only get a diversity of perspective if the people who are there feel like they can actually share what’s on their minds.”
Karam jokes that outside her work, she does not have too many hobbies she can pursue because she has three kids — ages seven, 10 and 12 — who she shuttles to “what feels like hundreds of sports activities.”
In the 10th month of remote work since the shutdown this March, she said she and her kids have started taking lots of walks with the family dog through Arlington. She, her husband and kids have called Arlington home since 2007.
“Arlington is actually a pretty amazing place to live,” she said. “It’s exactly right mix of urban and suburban for our family.”
Photo courtesy Celia Edwards Karam
The SunTrust Bank branch at 4710 Lee Highway, near the Lee Heights Shops, is set to close later this year.
The bank notified customers of the impending closure in a recent letter. The branch is scheduled to close its doors at noon on Tuesday, Dec. 8.
Those who avidly follow corporate mergers and acquisitions might have noticed that SunTrust and BB&T have branches across the street from one another on that block of Lee Highway. That’s of note because the two banks announced a $66 billion merger last year, with BB&T buying SunTrust in an all-stock deal. The combined company is now known as Truist.
As might have been predicted, the branches are now being combined, with the current BB&T branch at 4707 Lee Highway set to serve customers of both banks starting on Monday, Nov. 9.
“At our blended branch you’ll continue to receive the personal care you’ve come to expect from SunTrust teammates, whether you visit us in the lobby or use the drive-thru lanes,” the letter said. “There will also be BB&T teammates on hand to assist BB&T customers. There will be no changes to the ATM.”
Those with safe deposit boxes at the SunTrust bank branch will receive instructions on transferring them to a new location, the letter says.
Photos via Google Maps
Two new businesses are setting up shop right next to an entrance to the Pentagon City Metro station
As previously reported, chicken nugget and sandwich purveyor Chick-fil-A is coming to the ground floor of the new Whitmer apartment building at the corner of S. Hayes Street and 12th Street S. The space is currently under construction.
Also coming to 710 12th Street S. is a new Chase bank branch. Construction workers could be seen inside the future bank this morning.
There is no word yet on when either will open. Chick-fil-A previously refused to confirm that it was coming to Pentagon City, even after “Chick-fil-A coming soon” signs were put up. (They were later removed.)
The Chick-fil-A and Chase will joining the recently-opened Wiseguy Pizza on the ground floor of the apartment building, which is directly adjacent to the Metro station’s eastern entrance, across from the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall and two blocks from Amazon’s under-construction permanent HQ2.
Hat tips to @KalinaNewman and @Calebfiles