(Updated 10:30 a.m.) Where the prosaic golden arches of the stand-alone McDonald’s once perched, a residential high-rise now joins the many skyscrapers defining Rosslyn’s changing skyline.
Some old landmarks have been incorporated into new high-rises, including the McDonald’s now beneath Central Place Tower on N. Lynn Street and the former Fire Station 10 at the base of The Highlands.
Others, such as Tom Sarris’ Orleans House, a fixture for nearly 50 years, were replaced with offices and a newer generation of businesses like Compass Coffee and Cava.
Although commercial office buildings have been a constant feature of Rosslyn’s skyline over the past 40 years, the last decade has seen a shift towards more living space.
Anthony Fusarelli, Arlington County’s planning director, says that out of the approximately 8 million square feet of new development planned in Rosslyn, nearly half is designated for residential use. Office space accounts for roughly 2.8 million square feet, retail occupies 171,459 square feet, and the remaining space is allocated for hotels.
The transformation reflects a broader shift the county undertook over the last 20 years to steer urban planning toward residential and mixed-use development to accommodate a growing population, boost economic activity and adapt to people’s waning enthusiasm for the conventional workplace.
This trend is likely to persist, not only because of changes in work patterns post-pandemic, but also because Arlington County is encouraging residential development in Metro-oriented Rosslyn to help address its reported shortage of housing supply.
Planning Rosslyn’s future
To understand how and why this shift occurred, Fusarelli pointed to Rosslyn’s history.
Sixty years ago, if someone had ascended the 555-foot Washington Monument and looked westward across the Potomac River, they would have seen a very different Rosslyn. The view would have been dominated by rail yards, pawnshops, oil storage tanks and other retail and industrial operations.
“So, just this mix of varied uses that is quite different from what we have today,” Fusarelli said.
After World War II, Fusarelli said the Arlington County Board recognized the area was valuable because of its proximity to D.C. Eager to establish Rosslyn as an auxiliary office hub for the growing federal government, the county embarked on an aggressive campaign to transform the area into a vibrant business district.
“Back in the early ’60s, Arlington established a new zoning tool called the ‘site plan process,’ which incentivized private landowners to build much taller buildings, much bigger buildings, in exchange for providing certain public benefits,” Fusarelli said.
Amazon Leases Former PBS Building — “Amazon.com Inc. is gobbling up more office space in Crystal City, signing a lease for another full building owned by frequent partner and current landlord JBG Smith Properties. The tech giant is now set to occupy another 272,000 square feet at 2100 Crystal Drive… The building is currently home to the Public Broadcasting Services’ headquarters, though the nonprofit announced plans last year to move to a different building within Crystal City.” [Washington Business Journal]
W-L vs. Wakefield in the Semis Tonight — “Having been blown out by the Yorktown Patriots a few days earlier, the Washington-Liberty Generals turned the tables on their Arlington rival, winning 66-61 Feb. 25 in a quarterfinal game of the 6D North Region boys high-school basketball tournament… Washington-Liberty will now face another big Arlington rival – the Wakefield Warriors (17-9) – in the Feb. 27 region semifinals at Wakefield at 7 p.m.” [InsideNova]
JBG Selling Properties to Fund Development — “JBG Smith Properties sold a 50% stake in its 552,000-square-foot Central Place office tower in December for $220 million… The sale to PGIM Inc. of the Rosslyn asset netted JBG Smith $53.4 million and comes as the company seeks to both shed properties outside of its core business and fuel a development pipeline.” [Washington Business Journal]
Another Possible N. Va. Coronavirus Case — “Health officials in Virginia said Tuesday they are monitoring two residents for possible coronavirus, including one in Northern Virginia.” [Washington Post]
DMV Urging Residents to Get REAL ID Now — “More than 850,000 Virginians in 2019 took the steps necessary to get a ‘REAL ID’-compliant driver’s license or identity card, but perhaps twice that many are still in need of one, state officials say. ‘We estimate approximately 1.5 million more Virginians will want to get a REAL ID between now and October,’ said Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Richard Holcomb.” [InsideNova]
With Thanksgiving right around the corner and the winter holidays quickly approaching, a festive day-long event is coming to Rosslyn next week.
Hosted by the Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID), Rosslyn Cheer will take place on Wednesday, December 4 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., and then from 5-7:30 p.m, at the Central Place Plaza (1800 N. Lynn Street)
During the lunchtime hours, there will be free hot chocolate, holiday cookies for sale, and a performance from an a cappella group.
Later in the evening at 5 p.m., the H-B Woodlawn Chamber Singers will be performing and a holiday food and drink bar will be offered.
Throughout the day, the BID will host its annual Rosslyn Holiday Clothing Drive, where they will be collecting warm hats, coats, sweaters, sweatshirts, and gloves. All items will go towards the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network.
“Rosslyn Cheer is a time for the community to come together and kick off the holiday season, from the tree lighting in Central Place Plaza to the lighted buildings across our distinctive skyline,” said Rosslyn BID president, Mary-Claire Burick. “The highlight will be a performance from Rosslyn’s new school, H-B Woodlawn, who have brought their own light to the neighborhood since moving in this September.”
H-B Woodlawn, meanwhile, held a Thanksgiving parade along Wilson Blvd this morning.
— Shana Curtis, Ed.S. (@AP_Curtis) November 26, 2019
— H-B Woodlawn Library (@Hbwlibrary) November 26, 2019
A new bar and restaurant bound for the ground floor of the CEB Tower in Rosslyn is pushing back its opening date slightly, now aiming to start serving patrons next year.
The Metropolitan Hospitality Group, which also operates Circa Bistro in Clarendon, announced plans to bring a second “Open Road” restaurant to the area last summer. The firm had hoped to open it up sometime this fall, but MHG President Matt Carlin told ARLnow that “the permit process has definitely taken longer than we thought.”
But he says the project is still moving forward, and the company is “expecting our permit at the end of the month.”
“Then it will be approximately [a] six-month buildout,” Carlin wrote in an email. “And [we’re] hoping to open in May/June 2019.”
The company first brought the concept, which features a vast beer selection and Southern-style menu options, to Merrifield several years ago. However, Carlin says the Rosslyn location will be a bit different than the original.
The restaurant itself will be located in the plaza area directly in front of the building, with awnings and outdoor seating accompanying it. Then, below the plaza, MHG is also planning a separate bar attached to the restaurant dubbed “Salt,” which will be accessible via N. Lynn Street.
The tower itself is the largest building in Rosslyn, and only just opened last year. It’s currently in the process of adding new office tenants, and has already signed other retailers including Compass Coffee and Cava.
(Updated 3 p.m.) Bethesda Bagels seems to be moving closer to opening its new Rosslyn location.
A sign on the exterior of the storefront at Central Place (1800 N. Lynn Street) indicates that the location is now hiring. The company is looking for a variety of new staff members, including bagel rollers and dough makers, who will mix dough from scratch and hand roll bagels during the day, according to the sign.
The posting also lists a bagel baker position for a night shift.
Owners of Bethesda Bagels previously told ARLnow they were aiming for an August opening. Danny Fleishman, president of Bethesda Bagels, said he currently looking at sometime between Oct. 10-18 for an opening, though that may be subject to change.
The regional chain currently operates stores in both Bethesda and D.C., in Dupont Circle.
Shooting for early October. Fingers crossed!
— Bethesda Bagels (@bethesdabagels) September 17, 2018
A colorful, constantly changing public art installation is now on the way for Rosslyn’s Central Place.
Arlington Public Art is teaming up with the Rosslyn Business Improvement District and developer JBG Smith to host the new work of art at Central Place Plaza (1800 N. Lynn Street), just across from the Metro station.
California-based artist Cliff Garten will be working to install and program the piece from now until Thursday (July 12), according to a county press release. The 150-foot-wide, 15-foot-tall LED artwork, titled “Gravity and Grace,” will be projected onto the top two floors of the parking garage at the site.
“The ever-changing artwork incorporates real-time environmental data that organizes its spectral shifts of color,” the county arts program wrote in the release. “Both color field painting and blues guitar inspired the design of the artwork. If the work of art were played on a guitar, you might say that the programmed environmental factors are really what are strumming the chords of color you see on the wall.”
The county added that Norm Schwab of the design firm Lightswitch and artist Pablo Molina helped write algorithms for the artwork “that drives the color and motion transitions in the artwork.”
“The significant pieces of real-time environmental data tied to the artwork vary daily and show significant fluctuations over long periods of time, such as temperature and extreme weather tied to climate change,” the county wrote. “This shifting data introduces chance into the structure of the artwork pulling data from factors like local variations in Arlington’s temperature, river level, traffic patterns or water usage.”
Garten, who is also the designer behind the “Corridor of Light” art installation coming to N. Lynn Street’s intersection with Lee Highway and I-66, will host an “on-site artist talk” about the installation tonight. The event will start at 9 p.m.
Photo via Arlington Public Art
The owners of a new Rosslyn observation deck are holding a contest to give people the opportunity to catch a first glimpse of the views from the space at CEB Tower at Central Place before it officially opens this summer.
Four winners will be able bring up to four guests each to tour the observation deck, located at 1201 Wilson Blvd. Entry for the contest ends Thursday.
Views from the 12,000 square foot deck feature much of the Georgetown waterfront, the Washington Monument, the U.S. Capitol building and more. According to the Washington Post, the space — expected to be a major tourist attraction — will also offer fourteen 55-inch touch screens that will highlight local landmarks. There will also be a bar with light food options.
Once it officially opens, the deck will charge $21 for admission, with reduced rates for students, seniors, children and the military. Admission will be free for Arlington residents.
Photo courtesy of Rosslyn BID
ACFD Battles Kitchen Fire — Arlington County firefighters last night extinguished a kitchen fire in an apartment building on the 1900 block of N. Calvert Street, just north of Lee Highway and east of Spout Run. No injuries were reported. [Twitter, Twitter]
Taylor P.E. Teacher Pleads to Drug Charge — A second former P.E. teacher at Taylor Elementary School has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a drug bust in December. Michael Diaddigo, 28, will reportedly “serve 1 of a 12-months jail sentence if he follows probation, which includes a $500 fine and substance abuse treatment.” [Twitter]
Central Place Bus Tunnel Still Closed — “A bus tunnel in Rosslyn critical to many commuters — which Metro said more than a year ago would open in days — remains closed due to outstanding construction concerns, WTOP has learned.” [WTOP]
Lanes Closures in Crystal City Tonight — The lanes of certain roads around Crystal City will be closed for about two hours tonight to accommodate the first of the annual Crystal City 5K Friday races. [Arlington County]
Residential Parking Permit Applications — “It is now time to renew your Residential Permit Parking Program permits and passes for the new program fiscal year beginning July 1, 2018. Remember enforcement continues throughout the year, so new passes/permits must be displayed by July 1st, 2018.” [Arlington County]
Actor Says No to WJLA Interview — Amy Schumer has turned down an interview with Arlington-based TV station WJLA (ABC 7) because it is owned by Sinclair, the broadcast station owner under fire for making its anchors read a script denouncing “biased and false news” from other outlets. [Buzzfeed]
Bethesda Bagels is aiming to open a new location later in the year at Rosslyn’s Central Place.
Danny Fleishman, one of the bagel chain’s owners, told ARLnow that they intend to open in five or six months, pending permitting, but are “shooting for August.” The shop will be adjacent to the recently opened Nando’s Peri Peri.
The bagel shop has been around since 1982, and currently has two D.C. locations and one in their namesake town of Bethesda, Md. Closing hours vary among the locations, but all of the current locations open at 6:30 a.m. Monday-Saturday.
At least 25 handmade, New-York style bagel flavors are on offer, from orange cranberry to pumpernickel to more traditional selections like plain and everything bagels.
Bagel schmears include peanut butter and jelly, honey butter, cinnamon butter, and many varieties of cream cheese from blueberry and strawberry to olive and roasted red pepper.
The chain also offers a number of sandwiches and special items, like bagel bites stuffed with hot dogs.
(Updated 2:39 p.m.) A spring book festival is coming to Rosslyn this year for the first time.
The Rosslyn Reads! Spring Book Festival will take place at Rosslyn’s Central Place Plaza (1800 N. Lynn Street) on Thursday, April 26, from 10 a.m.-10 p.m, and will feature readings from local writers, local food and beverages, and a used book sale.
Used books, DVDs, and CDs will be sold for $1-5, with all proceeds benefiting Turning the Page, an educational resources nonprofit.
Author talks will be held throughout the day, and a free concert by Virginia band Two Ton Twig will be held in the evening.
The event is hosted by the Rosslyn Business Improvement District in partnership with the Arlington Public Library and Washington’s Carpe Librum book store.
The full list of scheduled events at the festival is below.
- 10 a.m. – Event opening
- 10:15 a.m. – Preschool story time
- 11 a.m. – Managing Up “Workout” Coffee Talk with Careerstone Group LLC president and The Washington Business Journal editor-at-large
- 12 p.m. – Author Talk with Bayou Bakery owner David Guas on his cookbooks
- 12:30 p.m. – Author Talk with John Pfordresher on his The Secret History of Jane Eyre: How Charlotte Brontë Wrote Her Masterpiece
- 1 p.m. – Author Talk with Nicholas Reynolds on his Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy: Ernest Hemingway’s Secret Adventures, 1935-1961
- 2 p.m. – Author Talk with Rebecca Czarniecki on her Manners & Tea with Mrs. B
- 3 p.m. – Family storytelling & music
- 4 p.m. – The Great Zucchini Show magic show
- 5-7 p.m. – Author Talk and beer tasting with Mark Elliott Benbow on his Christian Heurich and His Brewery
- 5:30 p.m. – Author Talk with Liza Mundy on her Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II
- 7-10 p.m. – Two Ton Twig performance alongside a pop-up wine and beer bar and food trucks
The Rosslyn Farmers Market will kick off once again in a few months, but with a new feature: a weekly community supported agriculture program (CSA).
Like other CSA programs, FRESHFARM Share program staff pull together fruit, vegetables, and other goods from local farmers and producers that also sell at the farmers market.
Residents have the option of a regular share, which costs $30 a week and feeds two people or “one person who eats a lot of veggies,” or a large share that will feed two to four people for a week, according to the subscriber website.
A rotating market treat can be added on for $5 per week, and can be anything from pickles to pasta sauce to pastries (and other non-alliterative supplementary snacks).
Subscribers can pick up their share of the week’s crop at the farmers market, which is held weekly at 1800 N. Lynn Street at the Central Place Plaza from late spring through early autumn. The CSA is limited to 40 subscriptions, and members can skip up to two weeks per half season with three days notice.
More from a press release on some subscription logistics:
While the Rosslyn Farmers Market season will begin on May 9 and run through October, FRESHFARM Share will not begin until May 16. If you subscribe for the first half of the season (12 weeks) of FRESHFARM Share, your subscription will run through August 1.
If you subscribe for the second half of the season (12 weeks), your subscription will run from August 8 through October 24. Full season subscriptions are also available (May 16 – October 24). Share pick-ups will be available during the market’s afternoon operating hours.
The announcement of the program, in partnership with the Rosslyn BID, follows the results of a Rosslyn resident and worker survey which noted the neighborhood’s desire for more healthy food options.
Photo courtesy of the Rosslyn BID.