Firefighters responded to a blaze on the second floor of a low-rise apartment building near Ballston Friday night.
The fire was first reported just before 10 p.m. on the 4100 block of Henderson Road, in the Buckingham neighborhood.
Arriving units found smoke coming from the second floor and worked quickly to bring the fire under control. Firefighters from Ft. Myer and Fairfax County assisted with the firefighting effort, ACFD said.
The fire is being investigated by the Arlington County Fire Marshal’s Office.
More via social media:
Fire is under control, crews still working to ventilate structure. Fire Marshal on location to begin investigation. Please stay clear of area while fire crews are picking up. https://t.co/tjUxDCQ6Uj
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) October 12, 2019
FINAL UPDATE – Fire is under routine investigation. One occupant treated and released at the scene. Initial reports are that smoke detectors alerted occupants. #workingsmokedetectors #checkyourbatteries. https://t.co/9KHHZy5bTv pic.twitter.com/KbwiXha9Ue
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) October 12, 2019
— Rocky (@asap_rocky__) October 12, 2019
Map via Google Maps
A string of vehicle break-ins in north Arlington is continuing, but this time a suspect might have been caught on camera.
Someone stole a cell phone from an unlocked car in a garage on the 4700 block of N. Carlin Springs Road late Thursday night or early Friday morning, according to Arlington County Police.
“Between 11:00 p.m. on September 12 and 3:10 a.m. on September 13, an unknown suspect entered an unlocked vehicle inside a garage and stole a cell phone,” ACPD said of the theft. “The investigation is ongoing and detectives will work to determine if this case is linked to any others reported in Arlington County.”
An anonymous resident in the same area as the break-in, a few blocks from Ballston, contacted ARLnow with video footage (above) of a man looking into a vehicle behind a house, taken that same night. Nothing appears to have been taken in the video, however, and police declined to confirm whether the person seen is a suspect in the theft.
ACPD was notified about the video, the resident said.
The video was taken with an Ring video camera. Arlington County Police are considering a public safety partnership with the Amazon-owned company, the Washington Business Journal reported last week, despite concerns nationally about the privacy implications of such partnerships.
On Ring’s Neighbors app, at least a half dozen car break-ins have been reported in and around Arlington over the past week — mostly involving unlocked vehicles. ACPD has been reminding residents to lock their cars and homes at night as part of a public safety initiative dubbed the “9 P.M. Routine.”
The annual Buckingham Festival returns this weekend, bringing food, dancing, and a road closure to Arlington.
The Arlington County Police Department announced today (Friday) that officers will a section of N. Pershing Drive between N. Glebe Road and N. Thomas Street from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. to block traffic from festival goers.
In the past, the street event has celebrated the heritage of the neighborhood’s Latino residents with food and folk dances — both of which are expected to return this year. In addition, children will be able to play games and enjoy a bounce house.
Falls Church-based Latin band Grupo Quimbao is also scheduled to perform live during the event.
Organizers noted in their bilingual event flyer that parking will available at Barrett Elementary School.
(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) It was poultry pandemonium at Popeyes on Pershing, the Pike and in Pentagon City today.
The fried chicken chain has been selling out of its wildly popular, critically acclaimed new chicken sandwiches nationwide, and Arlington is no exception — but one shining beacon of salty and fatty goodness in the county was still serving as of mid-afternoon today.
Spurred on by a social media war among Popeyes, Chick-fil-A and Wendy’s and lesser chicken sandwich purveyors, customers have been flocking to Popeyes restaurants and scarfing down every clucking sammy in the joint.
In Arlington today, we went searching for the coveted bread-chicken-pickles-and-mayo stack at three Popeyes locations in the county: at 4241 N. Pershing Drive in Buckingham, near Ballston; at 5007 Columbia Pike, near the Arlington Mill Community Center; and at the Pentagon City mall food court. (A fourth, right on the Arlington/Alexandria border at 4675 King Street, was left off our visit list.)
Arriving at the Pershing location around 1 p.m., the parking lot was full and a line wrapped around the interior of the restaurant. After finally advancing to the front of the line, a woman dressed in business attire and not the usual Popeyes uniform — was it the owner? — broke the news that the restaurant had sold out of the sandwich an hour earlier. She said a shipment on Friday is expected to restock their sandwich supply, and added in hushed tones that they may be restocked tonight (Wednesday) as well.
The story was even bleaker at the Popeyes on the Pike. Staff there said they’re out of the sandwiches, noted that many local Popeyes have been out for two days, and asserted they won’t be getting more until Friday at the earliest. One particularly spicy customer — the sandwiches come in classic and spicy varieties, it should be noted — said the viral online food fight is to blame.
“It’s crazy. I blame it on social media,” the customer said. “They [the Popeyes sandwiches] are good, but they’re not Chick-Fil-A good.”
Finally, at 3 p.m., the Popeyes at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City food court beckoned. Taking stock of the origin of the chain’s name — it’s supposedly named after a detective in the 1971 film The French Connection, not the spinach-swallowing cartoon sailor — it dawned on our intrepid reporter that we, too, were conducting an investigation into a dealer of addictive substances. But since chicken sandwiches are decidedly more benign than heroin, he soldiered on.
From a distance, a long line could be seen. Upon further inspection, it started at the Popeyes and stretched well past the McDonald’s. Approaching the counter, employees could be seen preparing it — The Sandwich — the most buzzworthy fried chicken fast food concoction since the KFC Double Down.
Sure enough, the chicken sandwich was still being served to hungry shoppers and office workers, pulled to the Popeyes stall at the mall at 3 p.m. as if by some magnetic force.
“It’s really good,” said Sedaya Moore, halfway through her first Popeyes sandwich experience, before continuing to chow down with her dining companions. There was nothing else to say.
Vernon Miles contributed to this report
Local affordable housing non-profit Wesley Housing Development Corporation is staffing up as it prepares to take on more projects.
“We’re at about 100 employees in total,” said the nonprofit’s President Shelley Murphy. “This time last year we were about 80ish.”
Most of those employees have been added to the nonprofit’s property management team, which manages buildings throughout Northern Virginia. The rest of the new hires have been added to Wesley’s real estate department (around 10) and a housing stability team (3) that connects tenants with social services to help them stay housed.
One big project in Arlington that necessitated new hires was Wesley’s redevelopment of the Red Cross site at 4333 Arlington Boulevard in Buckingham. The planned mixed-income community, dubbed The Cadence, will feature 97 affordable apartments and 19 market-rate townhomes. Murphy expects to break ground on the project next year.
Recently, the nonprofit added a senior project manager and a senior construction manager to the Buckingham development, as well as a real estate development associate, per a press release earlier this month.
Previously, Wesley also developed a 12-story, mixed-rent rate Union on Queen building near Rosslyn.
Today, Murphy said Wesley owns 2,000 affordable housing units across the region, with about 690 units located in Arlington.
“By adding three new team members to the real estate development team, we will be well-equipped to continue addressing the affordable housing crisis in this region,” said Murphy in a statement.
While Wesley officials did not mention Amazon’s forthcoming HQ2 in Arlington as an impetus for its growth, the new headquarters is expected to exacerbate the county’s longstanding struggle to replenish its affordable housing stock.
Amazon announced last month that it would donate $3 million to local affordable housing and support services. Additionally, the tech and retail giant would match employee donations to local housing nonprofits — including Wesley — up to $5 million through the end of September.
When it comes to Amazon, Murphy acknowledged HQ2 speculation has raised property values and rents which could make her work more difficult. But overall, she said the company’s arrival portends good things for the county.
“The fact is that the 25,000 jobs that they’re adding over the course of 10 years are the same jobs that we lost with BRAC a few years ago,” she said, referring to the thousands of jobs Arlington lost due to Department of Defense restructuring that started in 2005.
In her opinion, the heated debates over Amazon’s potential to shrink Arlington’s affordable housing stock have been healthy for the community.
“All the sudden, our leadership is talking about it, they’re investing in it, there’s a regional conversation,” said Murphy, who commended the Arlington County Board for investing in housing projects and supporting a variety of affordable housing initiatives.
A man was robbed in a bathroom in the Buckingham neighborhood this past Sunday night.
Police say three men told the man he had left some belongings behind after leaving the bathroom of a local business, on N. Glebe Road just north of Route 50.
“When the victim reluctantly returned to the restroom, the suspects followed him, assaulted him and stole his personal belongings and an undisclosed amount of cash,” police said.
More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report.
ROBBERY, 2019-04280253, Unit block of N. Glebe Road. At approximately 8:42 p.m. on April 28, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery by force. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was inside a business and had exited the restroom when he was approached by three male suspects who engaged him in conversation. The suspects convinced the victim that he had dropped something when he was in the restroom. When the victim reluctantly returned to the restroom, the suspects followed him, assaulted him and stole his personal belongings and an undisclosed amount of cash. The suspects fled the business on foot prior to police arrival. Arriving officers canvased the area and a K9 track was initiated, and subsequently the victim’s belongings, with the exception of the cash, were located nearby. The victim suffered minor injuries. Suspect One is described as a black male, 18-25 years old, 5’11”-6’3″ tall, with a thin build, 150-180 lbs., with short, black hair, wearing a black shirt or hooded sweatshirt, and dark jeans. Suspect Two is described as a black male with short dreadlocks, 17-20 years old, 5’11”-6’0″ tall, with a thin build, approximately 150 lbs. and wearing a green hooded sweatshirt. Suspect Three is described as a black male, 17-20 years old, 5’11”-6’0″ tall, with a thin build, approximately 150 lbs. and wearing a red hooded sweatshirt.
The rest of the crime report is below.
SunTrust Bank will close its branch at 249 N. Glebe Road on Feb. 5.
“The decision to close a branch is made after careful study and analysis,” Hugh Suhr, a spokesman for SunTrust, told ARLnow, adding that market growth, real estate arrangements and transaction volumes are some of the factors considered.
The bank began notifying clients last week, and their accounts will be transferred to either the Arlington Gateway branch at 901 N. Glebe Road or the South Arlington branch at 3108 Columbia Pike, unless clients specify a different location, Suhr said.
“SunTrust, like all banking companies, must constantly refine its branch network to meet the changing needs and transaction patterns of clients, as well as taking into account their increasing usage of newer delivery channels such as internet banking and mobile banking,” Suhr said.
In May, SunTrust, which is based in Atlanta, was hit with a massive data breach that compromised 1.5 million customer accounts.
A Subway sandwich shop next door at 243 N. Glebe Road closed earlier this year. The owner decided to shut it down in April in order to focus on another Subway location nearby that is still open, a spokesperson for the restaurant told ARLnow.
New research suggests that people living in Arlington’s poorest neighborhoods also have the fewest opportunities to lead healthy lives when compared to other communities throughout the entire D.C. region.
A study commissioned by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and conducted by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University show that many of Arlington’s most diverse neighborhoods with the lowest median incomes, such Columbia Heights, Nauck, Douglas Park and Buckingham, also scored the lowest in their measure of “health opportunities” across metropolitan Washington. The results closely mirror a previous study’s findings that people living in many of the same neighborhoods lack economic opportunities as well.
The researchers developed a “Healthy Places Index,” known as HPI, to evaluate not only health outcomes (like life expectancy) in each community, but also to understand whether people have the opportunity to be healthy based on where they live. That includes evaluations of factors like air quality, access to healthcare, housing affordability, the availability of public transportation and education levels.
The study applies that index to neighborhoods across the D.C. area, examining communities using granular Census tract designations to detect patterns within counties and cities in the region. Though the group found that the overall health of the 4.5 million people living in the District and its suburbs is “excellent” and “well above the national average,” they also uncovered “islands of disadvantage” within even wealthy localities like Arlington.
Even though some of the more affluent, higher educated areas of the county rate quite highly in the study’s measure of health opportunities, others rank among the lowest in all of Northern Virginia. The researchers identified the Columbia Heights neighborhood, just off Columbia Pike, as having one of the “the lowest HPI scores in the region,” noting that about 23 percent of adult residents there live in poverty. Buckingham, located along Route 50, also posted poor HPI scores, and the study noted that its residents have a median income of about $38,125 annually.
“The researchers found stark contrasts in socioeconomic and environmental conditions in Northern Virginia, often between neighborhoods separated by only a few miles or blocks,” the VCU academics wrote. “As was observed elsewhere in the region, people of color were disproportionately exposed to adverse living conditions.”
To illustrate those points, the study compared McLean — one of the wealthiest and whitest communities in the area — to Columbia Heights. The former ranked among the top-scoring neighborhoods in the region on the HPI, a far cry from Columbia Heights’ own performance.
“The population in the McLean tract was predominately white (70 percent) and Asian (19 percent), the population in Columbia Heights was largely Hispanic (51 percent) and black (19 percent),” the researchers wrote. “More than half was foreign-born, and most immigrated during 2000-2009.”
While the researchers identify a whole host of factors that could be contributing to such a split, they also stress that it is impossible to ignore the impact of “institutional racism” in understanding why such a divide exists between the races when it comes to health opportunities. They note that discriminatory housing and economic policies mean that people of color are “more likely to live in racially and ethnically segregated neighborhoods that suffer from decades of disinvestment,” which can have a whole host of negative consequences for their health.
“As a result, neighborhoods of color often lack access to affordable high-quality housing, stores that sell healthy foods, green space, clean air and clean water,” the researchers wrote. “These communities are often targets for fast food outlets, tobacco and alcohol marketing and liquor stores. These conditions affect not only the health, economic opportunity, and social mobility of people of color, but they also weaken the health and economy of the entire region.”
Accordingly, the study recommends approaches recognizing that history to officials sitting on the Council of Governments, as they try to craft a response across the region.
“Real solutions require targeted investments in marginalized neighborhoods to improve access to affordable, healthy housing as well as affordable transportation, child care, and health care (e.g., primary care, dental care, behavioral health services),” they wrote. “Everyone benefits from this approach, not only the residents in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, but also the entire regional economy. Economic and racial inequity saps the strength of the economy. Everyone pays a price for inaction: persistent poverty and social isolation fuel discontent, unhealthy behaviors (e.g., drug addiction), crime, and violence.”
Lubber Run Project Budget Boosted — “Arlington County Board members on Sept. 22 agreed to add about $1.4 million to the budget for rebuilding Lubber Run Community Center, which will push the construction cost to $41.14 million and the management fees to $4.11 million.” [InsideNova]
Clarendon Circle Construction Begins — “Things will start looking different in Clarendon and not because of too many cosmos at Don Tito’s. The long-awaited Circle intersection improvements project kicks off today.” [Twitter]
Neighborhoods Want in on W-L Name Discussion — “The president of the Buckingham Community Civic Association thinks Arlington school leaders may need some remedial work in geography. Bernie Berne used the Sept. 20 School Board meeting to complain that his community had been shut out of the committee set up to suggest new names for Washington-Lee High School, even though it is closer to the school than another civic association that has been included on the panel.” [InsideNova]
Fire at Columbia Pike Building — On the 5100 block of Columbia Pike: “First arriving units found a fire contained to an appliance. The fire was extinguished. All occupants are safe & accounted for.” [Twitter, Twitter]
Tree Advocates Increase Pressure — “Another month has brought another round in the ongoing dispute between tree activists and the Arlington County Board – and much of the give and take on both sides is beginning to sound familiar to the point of repetitious. Activists in support of expanding the county’s tree canopy were among a number of advocacy groups that descended on the Sept. 22 County Board meeting. Among their chief complaints: The county government hasn’t done anything to prevent the removal of trees during an upcoming expansion project at Upton Hill Regional Park.” [InsideNova, Twitter]
Fox News Highlights Lucky Dog — Arlington’s Lucky Dog Rescue continues to get national attention for its work rescuing dogs from areas flooded by Hurricane Florence. Over the weekend Fox News broadcast from Shirlington to bring attention to the dogs that are now available for adoption. [Yahoo]
The Arlington County Board has approved a site plan that would bring 97 affordable housing units and two rows of townhouses to Buckingham.
The “100 percent affordable” multi-family building and townhouses will replace the former local Red Cross headquarters.
The approved development comes despite complaints from nearby residents about the proposal. The new development’s density, potentially increased traffic, and “the desecration of the tree canopy” were all cited as dealbreakers for some locals, though supporters asserted that the building was vacant, the affordable housing is “badly needed” and complaints were overblown.
A partial rezoning of the site was approved alongside the site plan at Saturday’s County Board meeting (April 21). There are currently two single family homes on the site, in addition to the former headquarters and an existing playground.
The townhouses will be built in the first phase of the project, with construction on the multi-family building, which is required to “achieve Earthcraft Gold or LEED v4 Homes and Multifamily Midrise Gold certification,” following in a second phase.
The developer, Wesley Housing Development Corporation, agreed to preserve the on-site apartments, known historically as the Windsor Apartments but now called the Whitefield Commons, which the county says were built in 1943. Unit incomes will average 80 percent of the average median income, and the building will average 60 percent of that figure.
Whitefield Commons’ interior will be reconfigured to add five units, bringing the total units inside that complex to 68. The multi-family building will have 97 units, and the townhouses will have 19.
There will be 187 parking spaces between the developments — 45 at Whitefield Commons, 88 at the multi-family building, and 42 for the townhouses. The townhouses have the highest parking ratio per unit, at 2.26 spots per unit plus four visitor spots.
Wesley Housing Development Corporation will be required to “encourage transportation alternatives.”
That will be done via a transportation management plan, which includes a provision to give “each new tenant in the multi-family building… a choice of a SmartTrip card preloaded with a $65 balance or a bikeshare or car share membership,” according to a county project website.
A Google Maps estimate shows that the site is approximately a 22 minute walk to the Ballston Metro station. The 3.95 acre parcel is bordered by N. Thomas and N. Trenton streets, 2nd Road N., and Arlington Boulevard.
Plans estimate that 60 trees will be removed, three of which are dead or dying and another 17 of which are located on top of or near an existing storm pipe.
An estimated 132 tree credits will be granted, according to the site plan. One credit is given for each planted shade tree or large evergreen tree, or for every three deciduous, ornamental, or small evergreen trees.
Map via Google Maps
Petition in Support of Affordable Housing Project — The website Greater Greater Washington is helping to promote a petition that intends to counter resident complaints about a proposed affordable housing project on the former Red Cross site along Route 50. Neighbors are concerned that the project might “defile” the Buckingham neighborhood, with increased traffic and school overcrowding and a loss of green space. [GGW, GGW]
‘A Friend’ Writes Thank You Note to ACPD — From the Arlington County Police Department Twitter account: “To the citizen who left this unexpected note on one of our cruisers, thank you. ACPD is grateful for the support we receive from the community and small gestures like this mean a lot to our officers.” [Twitter]
Arlingtonian Places 23rd at Boston — Among other impressive finishes by Arlington residents at the Boston Marathon on Monday, Graham Tribble finished 23rd with a time of 2:30:06, the fastest among the D.C. area contingent at the prestigious race. [RunWashington, Patch]
High Schools Students Learning How to Spot Fake News — “At Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia, outside Washington, some high school seniors are bent over their laptops, engaged in a digital course called Checkology that helps them figure out what makes news and information real, misleading or just plain false.” [Voice of America]
Elementary Girls Heading to Int’l Problem Solving Competition — “An all-girls engineering team from Glebe Elementary School is heading to the 2018 Odyssey of the Mind World Finals where they will compete with students from nearly 25 countries… The team of fourth graders from Glebe, who are all ages 9 or 10, became state champions last weekend at the Virginia Odyssey of the Mind competition, which was held April 14 in Newport News.” [Arlington Public Schools]
ACPD Forms ‘Restaurant Liaison Unit’ — The Arlington County Police Department has formed a “Restaurant Liaison Unit” to work with local bars to tamp down on drunken and sometimes violent incidents. One Clarendon bar in particular had police responding to it for a call almost every other day in 2017. [Washington City Paper, Twitter]
Glebe Lane Closure Causes Backups — Commuters heading northbound on Glebe Road today faced major backups due to a lane closure near Ballston. Washington Gas has been performing emergency repairs in the roadway since Wednesday. [Twitter, Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Rex Block