More than a thousand people have given their feedback on how to make Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard — Arlington a better place — and that’s just online.
Hundreds more have shared their thoughts at close to a dozen on-site engagement activities throughout the area, and the project will continue to gain momentum throughout the summer.
The Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) is now several months into a multidimensional strategic planning process exploring the nature of the greater submarket that includes Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard — Arlington.
The process, called the Future Cities Project, includes an extensive community outreach effort via Neighborland, a platform that enables the public to engage in an accessible and equitable way both online and in person.
In addition to engaging online via www.futurecitiesproject.org, the Crystal City BID has been staging onsite engagement efforts at busy locations around the area, including Metrorail stations, residential and office lobbies, shopping areas and local events. Over the next two weeks, Crystal City BID staff will pop up at various locations soliciting immediate feedback via the effort’s signature whiteboard.
New questions — which focus on enhancing the quality of life, maximizing inclusivity and adding cultural attractions and destinations — will be posted every few weeks to maximize participation and maintain interest over the course of the next three months.
For a complete and detailed schedule of upcoming dates and locations, please visit the Future Cities Project website. You may also share your feedback online, see what others have shared and vote on ideas that you agree with.
“The public feedback collected from the community through Neighborland will be a key input into our efforts to rethink the strategic priorities for the BID as an organization and the area,” said Crystal City BID Chief Operating Officer, Robert H. Mandle. “What we learn will help drive thinking about the area’s identity and what is most needed to create an integrated and vibrant walkable urban center.”
The Future Cities Project is guided by a Steering Committee drawn from the Crystal City BID’s Board of Directors, civic associations, business and arts groups and major property owners in the Pentagon City and Potomac Yard areas, along with other public and civic sector leaders and officials. Visit www.futurecitiesproject.com to get involved and learn more.
Tracy Gabriel, a D.C. urban planning official who formerly was a vice president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, has been hired as the new president and executive director of the Crystal City Business Improvement District.
Gabriel joins the BID as Crystal City is poised for a “dynamic transformation.”
Though saddled with a high office vacancy rate following the loss of large government and military tenants, Crystal City is among the leading contenders for Amazon’s second headquarters, known as HQ2.
Even if Amazon goes elsewhere, Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard are set for significant growth — plus $2 billion in private investment and $1.5 billion in public infrastructure projects over the next decade — which will help it become “the largest walkable downtown in Virginia and of similar scale to major U.S. downtowns such as Indianapolis and Austin,” according to a press release (below).
Meanwhile, an expansion of the Crystal City BID to include adjacent Pentagon City is under consideration.
More on Gabriel’s hiring, via a BID press release, after the jump.
The Board of Directors of the Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) announces that Tracy Sayegh Gabriel has been hired as the new president and executive director of the organization. She will begin at the BID in August.
A nationally recognized urban planner and city-builder, Gabriel brings 15 years of planning, development, and place-based economic development experience in government and private consultancy in the Washington, D.C. and New York City markets. She is former vice president at the New York City Economic Development Corporation under the Bloomberg Administration overseeing neighborhood transformations and managing large-scale public projects. She is currently associate director at the District of Columbia Office of Planning, where she has led a design-forward, equity-driven planning practice since 2012 including neighborhood plans and place-making throughout the District and directing Anacostia Waterfront development. Her work has typically focused on mixed-use development and neighborhood revitalization, integrating real estate, infrastructure, and capital planning initiatives.
“Hiring Tracy is a strategic move to continue the exciting momentum underway in Crystal City, Pentagon City, and Potomac Yard – Arlington,” said Glenda MacMullin, Crystal City BID Board Chair and chief operating officer and chief financial officer at Consumer Technology Association. “Now is a pivotal time in our organization’s trajectory. We’re so thankful for the comprehensive, collaborative and strategic work that Rob Mandle and Rich Bradley have been doing, and we believe Tracy will help take the Crystal City BID and our entire area to the next level.”
The Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) is now several months into a multidimensional strategic planning process exploring the nature of the greater submarket that includes Crystal City, Pentagon City, and Potomac Yard – Arlington. The process, called the Future Cities Project, has been led by Rich Bradley of The Urban Partnership serving as the BID’s acting executive director, and Rob Mandle, the BID’s chief operating officer. The process has included an extensive community outreach effort, both in person and online, and is guided by a Steering Committee drawn from the BID’s Board of Directors, civic associations, businesses, and arts groups, and major property owners in the Pentagon City and Potomac Yard areas, along with other public and civic sector leaders and officials. The process will result in an Action Agenda to be released this fall that will drive the area towards becoming a more dynamic, urban, and walkable place.
This greater submarket is the largest walkable downtown in Virginia and of similar scale to major U.S. downtowns such as Indianapolis and Austin. With new private investment totaling $2 billion is in the pipeline and another $1.5 billion in public infrastructure projects slated for the next decade, Crystal City, Pentagon City, and Potomac Yard are poised for a dynamic transformation which will be supported by the BID’s strategy and leadership.
“I am excited about the opportunity to work with the Board, as well as the County, residents, businesses, and other stakeholders, to support the repositioning of Crystal City. The sheer scale of what’s happening in the Crystal City area right now will have an impact on the entire region,” Tracy Gabriel said. “I am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves to work at this important nexus of design, planning, economic development, and revitalization with the great team that’s already in place.”
While vice president at the NYC Economic Development Corporation, Gabriel was responsible for high-profile development projects and neighborhood-wide initiatives, including the transformation of Long Island City, now the fastest growing neighborhood in New York City, and the development of Hunter’s Point South, one of the most innovative urban waterfront projects. She also served as a consultant on various real estate, downtown, and revitalization projects at Phillips Preiss Shapiro Associates. Gabriel earned a degree from George Washington University, received her Master’s in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was a Fulbright Scholar in economic development in Damascus, Syria.
Arlington’s independent auditor is planning new reviews of how the county incentivizes businesses to move here, how it oversees its Business Improvement Districts and how it buys goods and services.
Though Horton reports to the Board, and was appointed by its members, the auditor is charged with acting as an independent watchdog in the county to make Arlington’s government more efficient, most recently releasing a report on operations at the county’s 911 call center.
This year, Horton plans to study Arlington’s procurement practices and “analyze root causes of any identified inefficiencies,” according to a news release.
He also wants to examine how the county’s economic development officials use “incentive funds” to lure businesses to the area, particularly as leaders fret about how to reduce the office vacancy rate in neighborhoods like Rosslyn and Crystal City.
“As the county works to reduce its office vacancy rate, it is important that our incentive practices are efficient and effective,” Horton said in a statement.
Finally, Horton is planning on examining how the county manages its financial relationship with the Business Improvement Districts in Rosslyn, Ballston and Crystal City.
Horton is also mulling two additional areas of focus: the county’s Neighborhood Conservation program, which is set to see steep cuts in County Manager Mark Schwartz’s proposed Capital Improvement Plan, and the site plan benefits negotiated between the county and developers. However, he’ll only pursue those reviews if he has enough time to do so.
The auditor will present his proposal to the County Board for approval on June 19.
The Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) wants to hear your thoughts about the future of Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard.
The process, called the Future Cities Project, will engage members of the public on the area’s future. Simultaneously, the Crystal City BID will hold various public meetings throughout the summer at both the Pentagon City and Crystal City Metro stations, residential and office lobbies, shopping spaces and more. The schedule has yet to come out, but the BID will provide update in the coming weeks.
Throughout the process, the project will “consider public space and placemaking efforts, the strategic goals of the organization, and elevating a new identity for the area — all with the goal of transforming these interrelated areas into a lively, walkable urban center,” according to a press release.
The public engagement effort comes as the BID is weighing plans to expand its boundaries to include Pentagon City and the Arlington portion of Potomac Yard, which — should it happen — would necessitate a new name to reference the combined neighborhoods.The effort also comes as Amazon considers Crystal City as a possible destination for its second headquarters.
Photo courtesy Crystal City BID
More Capacity for Yorktown, Career Center — The Arlington County Board this weekend is expected to approve use permit amendments that will allow 300 additional seats at Yorktown High School, thanks to internal modifications, and another 200 seats at the Arlington Tech program within the Arlington Career Center. [InsideNova]
Crystal City BID Considering Expansion — “The Crystal City Business Improvement District is weighing plans to include Pentagon City and Potomac Yard within its borders, creating a single, unified submarket that could also serve as a larger canvass for Amazon.com Inc. as it homes in on potential locations for its second headquarters.” [Washington Business Journal]
Entry-Level Homes Remain Sparse — One of the challenges facing the real estate market in Arlington and Northern Virginia as a whole is a dearth of entry-level homes for sale. Likewise, the inventory of homes for sale in general is low. Said one agent: “In hot areas like Merrifield, Arlington, Reston and Tysons, my buyers are experiencing multiple-offer situations.” [InsideNova]
ACFD Removes Handcuffs from Student’s Wrist — “Interesting call of the day: When you’re playing with handcuffs and the key breaks! [Rescue] 109 cut off a pair of handcuffs that had got stuck on a student’s wrist. No injuries except a broken pair of cuffs.” [Twitter]
GGW Endorses in County Board Race — The urbanist website Greater Greater Washington has endorsed Matt de Ferranti in the Democratic Arlington County Board primary. de Ferranti told the website that he supports “building housing that would be affordable across a variety of incomes and available to younger workers who can build income and own homes in the future.” [Greater Greater Washington]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
(Updated at 4 p.m.) Rosslyn residents are a bit happier with the neighborhood than they were last year, but they’d still like a new grocery store.
The results from the Rosslyn Business Improvement District survey, conducted in December 2017, were released earlier this month and point to a growing desire for healthy food options.
“Better grocery stores came up as the top desire for residents and the second for those who live in, work in, and/or visit Rosslyn,” the report said.
Currently, an aging Safeway and a newer Target Express are the main grocery options.
However, Rosslyn residents might be getting a new grocery store at some point in the near future, noted a Rosslyn BID rep, if an approved Monday Properties development at 1401 Wilson Boulevard moves forward. Plans are currently is on hold and a grocery tenant has not been announced for the location.
The survey also found that neighborhood negativity was down slightly, but there were areas with room for improvement.
Fewer residents expressed negative feelings about shopping options — down from 64 percent to 58 percent. Agreement that longer hours would get people to spend more time in Rosslyn dropped by three percent to 52 percent. Just over half of respondents noted that longer or later restaurant or shopping hours of operation would encourage them to linger in Rosslyn.
Survey takers said healthier food and more sit-down restaurants would be a welcome addition.
“Whether with food or retail, the overall consensus is a strong desire for more and better options, with local options playing an underlying theme,” said the survey results. “For dining, the public is unsatisfied with the limited sit-down dining options and desires more diverse and full-service restaurants. Additionally, a desire for healthy food options (including vegan, vegetarian, and organic) emerged in both dining and grocery options.”
Overall satisfaction with Rosslyn as a place to work went up from 87 percent to 91 percent.
“We see an overwhelmingly positive shift in perception from 2016 to 2017,” said Maureen Goldman, Rosslyn BID marketing and communications director. She said she was pleasantly surprised by the survey results and that the company would be capitalizing on the sentiment shift to make Rosslyn more of a destination.
“Perception change is a long game, it isn’t something that happens overnight,” she said.
Respondents were able to write-in the first words that came to mind when thinking about Rosslyn. The BID didn’t provide exact word count figures, but the group created a word bubble visualizing the word size corresponding with the frequency of the response.
The largest word on the chart was “convenient,” followed by “accessible,” “corporate,” and “clean.” Fewer respondents appeared to use words like “walkable,” “nice,” “food,” or “beautiful” to identify Rosslyn.
“Boring” was no longer within the top ten words used to describe the neighborhood.
Photo via Google Maps
Employees at Nestle’s USA headquarters are expected to finish moving into its new Rosslyn office by the end of January.
In an interview with ARLnow earlier this month, Rosslyn Business Improvement District President Mary-Claire Burick said the moving process is expected to be complete soon.
Burick noted that Nestle has worked hard to help any employees relocating from its current home of Glendale, Calif., and helped them settle into Arlington County.
“They’ve done a magnificent job with acclimating the employees, doing a resource fair and just making sure that those employees are well acclimated, not only to the neighborhood of Rosslyn but of Arlington in general,” Burick said.
Ahead of that move, Nestle has worked closely with building owner Monday Properties to prepare its new headquarters. It will include spaces for employees to collaborate, and Burick added the building will have a new open stairway to promote “walkability between floors.”
“I think Nestle was really creative about their office space and how it would support their culture,” she said.
And a major catering company will provide food and drinks to the new Nestle headquarters in Rosslyn, according to permit and ABC license applications.
According to applications, Compass Group, Inc. will provide the catering for Nestle’s USA headquarters at 1812 N. Moore Street, on the 33rd floor. Compass serves “award-winning restaurants, corporate cafes, hospitals, schools, arenas, museums, and more,” per its website.
A county permit application notes that the new cafeteria will require an inspection by the Department of Health before it can be used.
As of the time of writing, a spokeswoman for Compass Group had not provided any further details.
Disclosure: Monday Properties is an ARLnow advertiser.
Rosslyn has undergone a transformation in recent years as it continues to add new businesses, residential units and retail space in arguably Arlington County’s densest neighborhood.
It made national news last year as food giant Nestle chose to relocate its U.S. corporate headquarters there from Southern California. Nestle joined other corporate giants like Grant Thornton in moving to Rosslyn in recent years.
And at the forefront has been the Rosslyn Business Improvement District, which works to bring in new businesses and make the neighborhood a fun and vibrant place to be.
On this week’s 26 Square Miles podcast, we spoke to Rosslyn BID President Mary-Claire Burick about Nestle’s move, the ongoing construction at Central Place and its soon-to-open observation deck, as well as other development projects in the works.
Burick also discussed the ambitious Western Rosslyn Area Plan, events hosted by the BID and the future of Rosslyn, including a possible second Metrorail station and the long-discussed boathouse by the Potomac River.
Chamber Calls for Pause on Housing Conservation District — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce is calling for the Arlington County Board to pump the brakes on a proposed Housing Conservation District policy, set for a vote at tomorrow’s Board meeting. The Chamber says the policy would affect more than 450 privately-owned properties. “The County’s failure to provide any notice to property owners that would be affected by the Framework is inconsistent with Arlington’s established government process and the level of transparency the community has come to depend on,” said Chamber President Kate Bates. [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]
Carlin Springs Bridge Work to Resume — Demolition of the Carlin Springs Road Bridge over George Mason Drive was curtailed by winter weather last weekend, but is set to resume this weekend. Drivers should expect a number of detours in the area. [Twitter]
Fisette Tribute Packs Local Church — “A Dec. 13 tribute to departing Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette was about 90 percent heartfelt thanks for his 20 years of service in elected office. And about 10 percent celebrity roast.” The event was so well-attended that the parking lot of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington was filled to capacity by those whom Fisette has not yet convinced to take the Car-Free Diet. [InsideNova, InsideNova]
Gossip: Britt McHenry Back on Local Airwaves? — A noted local Twitter user who goes by the name “Clarendon Bros” shared some local TV gossip last night, claiming that Britt McHenry was seen auditioning for a job at Fox 5. McHenry at one point lived in Arlington — it is unclear if she still does — and had a well-publicized run-in with local towing company Advanced Towing. [Twitter]
Fox Leaves Crystal City BID — “After more than a decade running the Crystal City Business Improvement District, Angela Fox is stepping down. The BID’s board of directors announced Fox’s departure Thursday, but has not named a permanent replacement.” [Bisnow]
Local Homebuilder Getting Bigger — “Arlington-based homebuilder CalAtlantic Homes is purchasing Home South Communities, a privately held homebuilder based in the Atlanta area. CalAtlantic itself is in the midst of a $9.3 billion merger with Miami’s Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN), expected to close early next year.” [Washington Business Journal]
Realtor Group Extends Clothing and Food Drive — “Despite the weather, the first community wide drop off for the Arlington Realtors Care (ARC) initiative, held on Saturday, Dec. 9 was a great success. ARC is sponsoring a second community wide drop off date scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 16 at RGS Title.” [Press Release]
Spaces is located at 1101 Wilson Blvd, in a building owned by Monday Properties. The chain’s Rosslyn location offers 303 desks in a 37,000-square-foot office space. Members can use any workstation, or can pay more to reserve one. Suites are also available for small businesses. Up to 800 members can be accommodated.
A large open area with a full kitchen, bar/café and eight beer taps can be reserved for meetings and parties, and doubles as a co-working space when not in use for events.
Members can also access 9,000 square feet of outdoor space, including a large balcony, while its upper atrium connects to Rosslyn’s Freedom Park.
At a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, Rosslyn Business Improvement District president and CEO Mary-Claire Burick said the new co-working space, one of several open or planning to open in Arlington, will foster community.
“We love how Spaces encourages a sense of community with its design, programs and overall empowering atmosphere,” Burick said. “That’s what we’re all about here in Rosslyn, so I know you and your clients will feel right at home. I want you to know that you have the full support of the Rosslyn business community, because when you succeed, we all succeed.”
— Arlington Chamber VA (@ArlChamberVA) November 13, 2017
Photos via Mary Parker Architectural Photography, courtesy of Monday Properties. Disclosure: Monday Properties is an ARLnow advertiser.
The Crystal City Business Improvement District and civil engineering firm VHB will host a public meeting from 1-2:30 p.m. and again from 6:30-8 p.m. on November 15, on the 11th floor of 2011 Crystal Drive.
There, they will present the findings of a feasibility study on the project commissioned earlier this year, as well as several renderings of possible pedestrian links.
Crystal City BID CEO Angela Fox has said previously that a “new pedestrian connection will bring the airport even closer, from a 15-minute walk to a four-minute walk.”
— Crystal City (@ccbid) November 14, 2017
Central Place Plaza (1800 N. Lynn Street) in Rosslyn will host a harvest festival next month during Halloween weekend, the neighborhood’s first.
On Friday, October 27 from 4-10 p.m. and Saturday, October 28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., more than 20 vendors will sell various crafts and gifts, while there will be live entertainment and activities including a pie eating contest, cornhole, a pumpkin toss, costumes contests for children and pets.
The event is part of a series of autumnal happenings in Rosslyn.
The neighborhood’s Business Improvement District is hosting Cinema & Pub in the Park at Gateway Park (1300 Lee Highway) tonight — extending its summer film festival into September.
From 6-11 p.m. for the next three Fridays, beer, wine and sangria will be on offer, with food available from on-site food trucks. September 22 will be a family night, with activities beginning at 5 p.m.
The movie schedule is as follows:
- September 15: “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy”
- September 22: “Lego Batman”
- September 29: “Golden Eye”
On Tuesdays beginning September 19, Gateway Park will host Yoga in the Park, a yoga class for all experience levels from 6-7:30 p.m. The entire session of five classes costs $20 per person, and attendees should bring a yoga mat.
And on Thursday evenings from 6-8 p.m. starting September 21, Gateway Park will host Bonfire Concerts around its bonfire pit. Seasonal beers, ciders and wines will be available for purchase, with a different fashion truck on site each week as well as donuts from Mama’s Donut Bites and s’mores from Capital Candy Jar.
The following acts will perform:
- September 21: Trailer Grass Orchestra
- September 28 Scott Kurt & Memphis 59
- October 5: Moose Jaw
- October 12: Justin Trawick and The Common Good
Photos via Rosslyn BID.
An on-street parking space in Rosslyn will become one of six pop-up parks in Arlington County tomorrow (Friday) as part of the worldwide PARK(ing) Day event.
The space at the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Oak Street will be transformed into a “parklet,” a sidewalk extension installed in parking spaces that acts as a mini-park. A spokeswoman for the Rosslyn Business Improvement District said the site will be the location of the county’s first permanent “parklet” in spring next year.
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., visitors can stop by and have free bagels and coffee from Allspice Cafe, enjoy the outdoor seating and play games like corn hole and foosball in the afternoon. The Rosslyn BID is also offering free giveaways and discount cards for nearby restaurants.
Other “parklets” in Arlington will be found in the parking lot at 15th Street N. (Courthouse) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and at 500 12th Street S. (Pentagon City), 2400 Wilson Blvd (Courthouse), 2900 Clarendon Blvd (Clarendon) and 1000 N. Taylor Street (Ballston) from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
More will spring up across the region, with 28 sites set for D.C. and at least seven for Alexandria. PARK(ing) Day began in San Francisco in 2005 when Rebar, an art and design studio in the city, turned a metered parking space into a temporary public park.
Photo No. 1 via Google Maps, photo No. 2 via Arlington County.
(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) A series of public meetings will be held next week to discuss a possible new pedestrian connection between Crystal City and Reagan National Airport.
The meetings are scheduled to take place Tuesday, September 5 on the 11th floor of 2011 Crystal Drive, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 6:30-8 p.m. Both meetings will have the same agenda, with staff from the Crystal City Business Improvement District looking to gather public feedback on the proposed pedestrian link.
RSVPs for either meeting are requested but not required.
“Imagine walking from Crystal City’s main street to the airport in just under 5 minutes,” the meetings’ event page says. “The CC2DCA Pedestrian Connection Feasibility Study that is investigating this possibility.”
Earlier this year, the BID issued a Request for Proposals asking for consultants to study a possible connection. The deadline for sending those proposals, which included the studying of optimal alignments, real estate, regulations, costs and necessary approvals, has since passed.
BID officials say a new pedestrian crossing would help leverage various transportation improvements in Crystal City, including the revamped VRE station and a proposed new Metro station entrance on Crystal Drive. Reagan National is also set for a $1 billion refresh, with construction there expected to conclude in 2021.
Map via Google Maps
Another free weekly yoga event has begun in Crystal City.
The new program, “Yoga at the Fountain,” will be held at the Crystal City Water Park (1751 Crystal Drive) each Sunday night from 7:30-8:45 p.m. through the end of September, according to Amanda Shipe, one of its organizers. The first event was held this past Sunday.
The BID and Mind Your Body Oasis have been hosting a similar event, “Monday Morning Yoga,” at the water park from 7-8 a.m. for six years. Attendance has grown tremendously since the event first began, according to Shipe, the studio’s owner.
“We see a lot of familiar faces each Monday morning and then the people that come end up bringing their friends,” Shipe said, adding that local hotels also support the program and recommend the free yoga classes to their guests.
Hosting classes in the morning allows for participants to enjoy the outdoors before the summer heat and humidity become stifling. Having the new class on Sunday nights in August and September should also ensure comfortable conditions.
“I don’t know why it took us this long to think of [doing Sunday yoga classes],” said Shipe. Hosting the classes by the sound of running water, she said, makes them extra relaxing.
“The calming effects from the fountain are really influential in the overall effect that people have after the class because water has negative ions,” Shipe said. “Negative ions are very calming to people which is why people love to be around waterfalls and the ocean and rivers.”
Monday sessions are focused on Vinyasa Flow classes for all levels. Sunday night yoga classes, however, will each have different themes.
This past Sunday’s event was “Glow Yoga” where people brought glow sticks and wore reflective clothes. Around 30 people showed up, which, according to Shipe, is the highest attendance ever seen at one of these yoga events.
The themes for the next few Sundays vary. On August 13, the theme is “Family Yoga Night,” where parents can bring their children for a laid-back, unscripted class. The following class, on August 20, is “Downward Dog Yoga” where participants are encouraged to bring their dogs. The last Sunday of the month will be “Relaxing Night Flow” which will be more of a restorative class.
Angela Fox, the president and CEO of the Crystal City BID, said “Yoga at the Fountain” will continue to take place on Sunday nights next year, from May 1 through September 30.
Courtesy photos. Disclosure: The Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.