S. Walter Reed Drive is now home to 14 condominiums and eight townhouses.
Construction has finished on a five-story building at the corner of S. Walter Reed Drive and 11th Street S. The new development, Columbia Place, has 14 two-bed, two-bathroom condominiums and eight townhouses.
“Just a few miles to D.C. and just steps from fabulous dining and shopping locations, Columbia Place offers everything a downtown buyer wants without the downtown pricing. With condos starting in the $500s, Columbia is well-suited for a variety of lifestyles,” developer Evergreene Homes said in a press release.
The 14 condos sit on 3,000 square feet of retail space, which will house two “shopping opportunities,” Evergreene said on its website.
The developer will hold an open house this weekend from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, which will include a guided walkthrough of the new building. Refreshments will be provided.
“When you live at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed [Drive], you live in the center of Arlington. And that means saying goodbye to long commutes and embracing a life where work, shopping, dining and entertainment are all just moments away,” Evergreene said. “For those looking to own in Arlington there is no better-located community than Columbia Place.”
Disclosure: Evergreene Homes is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
Board Candidates Debate, Find Agreement — Updated at 12:30 p.m. — The four candidates for Arlington County Board participated in a candidates forum organized by the Arlington Forest Civic Association last night. The candidates found agreement on two notable issue: affordable housing shouldn’t be built on parkland — or, at least, certain parkland — and county property taxes shouldn’t be raised at this time. [Washington Post]
JPod Meeting on the Pike — The man behind a proposal to bring a monorail-like pod transportation system to Columbia Pike made his case to residents and to County Board Vice Chairman Walter Tejada at the Walter Reed Community Center last night. There are still several potential deal-breaking questions about the feasibility of the proposal. [InsideNova]
Teachers Training on Digital Devices — Arlington Public Schools continues to train teachers and educate parents about the use of digital devices like iPads and MacBooks in schools. APS is continuing its rollout of “personalized” devices, with the goal of each student having their own device. [Arlington Public Schools]
Exercise Helped Real-World Response at VHC — Arlington County says that an emergency response exercise at Virginia Hospital Center two years ago greatly helped the real-world response to a fire at the hospital last week. Evacuations of patients went smoothly and no one was hurt. [Arlington County]
GOP Presidential Candidate in Arlington Today — Long-shot Republican presidential candidate and former New York governor George Pataki will be speaking at George Mason University’s Arlington campus this afternoon. The speech on domestic and foreign policy is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at GMU’s Founders Hall (3351 Fairfax Drive).
Another South Arlington School Site Identified — A county working group is continuing its effort to identify a preferred site for a new elementary school in South Arlington, to be built by 2019, but in the meantime the group has identified a potential future school site. The South Arlington Working Group says a school could be built by 2024 on parcels of land that currently include the Aurora Hills Community Center, Virginia Highlands Park and a portion of the RiverHouse apartment complex. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Update at 9:50 a.m. — All lanes of the Pike have now reopened to traffic.
Earlier: All lanes of Columbia Pike are shut down between S. Monroe and Quincy streets due to a two-vehicle accident.
The crash happened around 9 a.m. on the westbound lanes of the Pike at S. Oakland Street. A Scion and a Toyota collided, sending the Toyota hurtling into a tree.
A woman in the Toyota had her leg pinned between her driver’s side door and a parked Jeep. Firefighters were able to move the Jeep to free her.
The woman was transported via ambulance to George Washington University Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. No one in the Scion required transport to the hospital.
The grassy patch of land that runs along Columbia Pike and Washington Blvd by the Pentagon is slated to be home to the new 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center by 2020.
“The Pentagon is the only 9/11 attack site without a visitor center or museum to explain the historic significance of what happened on that day. Among the 500,000+ visitors who come to the Memorial each year, few know how different this location is from all others in Washington, D.C.,” said James Laychak, the president of the Pentagon Memorial Fund, in a press release.
“The 9/11 Pentagon Visitor Education Center site is in a dramatic location, right where the attack of 9/11 took place and adjacent to the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and Air Force Memorial… This thoughtful arrangement creates a powerful backdrop to heighten the experience for visitors as they arrive at the 9/11 Pentagon Visitor Education Center,” the Pentagon Memorial Fund said on its website.
The organization is currently looking for sponsors to help it reach a goal of $75 million for the visitor education center.
Once the center is completed, visitors will be able to learn more about the Sept. 11 events and the significance of the Pentagon Memorial through exhibits created from artifacts and content donated by the FBI, National Geographic, the Transportation Security Administration and National Museum of American History, among others.
The visitor center will help tell the stories of both the victims and survivors of the Pentagon attack and inform visitors about the U.S. response to the attacks. It will also offer walking audio tours.
“Tens of thousands of children and students come to the memorial each year and few know why this memorial is different from all others in Washington, D.C. in that it is located where the event took place. Many of those are eighth-graders on class trips that are too young to have experienced the tragedy of Sept. 11. We do not want to miss out on these teachable moments,” the Pentagon Memorial Fund said.
The visitor center is expected to open in 2019 or 2020, according to a spokesman.
Columbia Pike is slated to be realigned as part of a land swap between Arlington County and the military that will allow for Arlington National Cemetery to be expanded around the planned 9/11 visitor center.
Kickboxing gym 9Round is planning to open two new Arlington locations, one in Ballston and another on Columbia Pike.
The new Ballston location at 927 N. Quincy Street may be open as early as next week, pending final approval from Arlington, said 9Round partner Michael Agrillo.
The company is looking to open the gym at the Penrose Square shopping center on Columbia Pike the end of the year or beginning of 2016, Agrillo said.
“We will be located by the new Starbucks under the Super Giant,” he said.
The company may also look at a new space in Pentagon City or Crystal City, bringing the total number of Arlington locations to four, Agrillo said. The company first opened in Arlington with a location in Courthouse, at 2250 Clarendon Blvd.
“We’re also residents,” Agrillo said of his partners in the business. “We know this area well.”
“9Round offers a 30 minute boxing/kickboxing fitness program that incorporates functional, interval, cardiovascular and circuit training regimens,” the company said in a press release about the openings. “There are no class times and no person to person contact; members can come to the studio whenever it fits their schedule and get started on the circuit right away.”
In addition to the three new Arlington locations, the company is planning to open up a new gym in Falls Church.
Disclosure: 9Round is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
Vihstadt Endorses Dorsey, McMenamin — Independent Arlington County Board member John Vihstadt has endorsed fellow independent Michael McMenamin and Democrat Christian Dorsey for County Board. Dorsey said in a statement that he is “honored to have the support of all five members of the Arlington County Board, including John Vihstadt,” but also reiterated his support for Democratic ticket mate Katie Cristol. [InsideNova]
ACFD Responds to Small Fires — The Arlington County Fire Department has battled two small fires within the past two days. On Saturday around noon on the 2300 block of S. Arlington Mill Drive, firefighters extinguished a fire on the back porch of a home. This morning ACFD extinguished a small apartment fire on the 4200 block of 2nd Road N. [Twitter, Twitter]
‘JPod’ Discussion Tonight — The Columbia Heights Civic Association tonight will discuss monorail-like “JPods” as a possible transit alternative for Columbia Pike. Residents will hear from JPods booster Bill James at tonight’s meeting at the Walter Reed Community Center. [CHCA]
Affordable Housing Opponents Vow Budget Fight — Now that Arlington’s Affordable Housing Master Plan has been approved, opponents of the plan are planning to try to stymie it within the county’s budget process next year. “The plan didn’t obligate the county, directly or indirectly, to spend money,” the chair of the Arlington County Republican Committee is quoted as saying. “The testimony at the budget hearing is going to determine how that is funded.” [InsideNova]
First Day of Fall — Today marks the autumnal equinox and the first day of astronomical fall in the Northern Hemisphere. We’re losing about two-and-a-half minutes of daylight per day, as the sun rises later and sets earlier. [Capital Weather Gang]
Arlington Unveils New Mobile Visitors Center — Arlington County, which generates about $81 million per year in tourism-related tax revenue, has unveiled a new mobile visitor center. The “Stay Arlington” branded cargo van will provide visitor information and services, primarily from parking spots near five Arlington Metro stations, but also at large events like the Marine Corps Marathon. [Arlington County]
New Traffic System on I-66 Underwhelms — Drivers are scratching their heads, wondering what exactly VDOT is accomplishing with its new, $39 million Active Traffic Management system. The system went live last week. It “combines sensors, cameras, computers and signs to help drivers figure out what’s ahead between Route 29 in Gainesville and the D.C. line.” [Washington Post]
ACFCU Launches New Marketing Campaign — The Arlington Community Federal Credit Union, a nonprofit local financial provider and ARLnow.com advertiser, has launched a new website, NotABank.org as part of a new marketing campaign. “We are for people, not for profit,” the website says.
Pike Office Building Purchased — Bethesda-based Cascade Realty Partners has purchased the 30,000 square foot office building at 3401 Columbia Pike for $4.8 million. The office building is 75 percent leased to Bank of America. [Virginia Business]
The Alliance for Housing Solutions and Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization will hold a panel discussion tonight about the positive aspects and challenges of mixed-income housing in Arlington.
The event will run from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike). The discussion comes in the middle of “Affordable Housing Month” and days before the County Board will discuss the Affordable Housing Master Plan.
Panelists, including a banker, an Arlington County official and developers who have worked with mixed income housing sites, will talk about what mixed housing is and where it does and does not work, said AHS Executive Director Mary Rouleau.
“We’re sponsoring this to get some people on stage who have dealt with mixed-income housing developments,” Rouleau said.
The event is intended to be an informational discussion, she said, adding that panelists will be talking about the positives and complications with mixed income housing.
“From our [CPRO] side I would just say: that the focus of this event is to provide first hand information (and education) on what mixed-income housing development actually is and what are the economic pre-requisites for successfully developing mixed-income housing projects,” CPRO Executive Director Takis Karantonis said in an email.
Panelists include Paul Browne with Wesley Housing Development Corporation, John Welsh with AHC, Inc., Ed Delany with Capital One Bank and Steve Cover with Arlington County.
“The invited panelists are among the most knowledgeable professionals on this topic and will offer the audience a great opportunity to learn and discuss,” Karantonis said.
A question and answer session will follow the panel discussion, allowing attendees to ask question about the complications of mixed-income housing. Many Arlington residents have responded well to the idea of mixed-income housing, Rouleau said.
“It’s complicated and we are just trying to explain to the community that we can’t just wave a magic wand and have mixed incoming housing developments,” she said.
Mixed-income housing is one solution to bringing more affordable housing to the area, including Columbia Pike neighborhoods, Rouleau said. Under the Affordable Housing Plan, the county will add roughly 15,800 affordable housing units.
“You can look at mixed income housing in two ways,” Rouleau said. “One, you have a building. In that footprint, you have housing for people with mixed incomes.”
The other would be a neighborhood that has houses that are completely affordable and homes that are affordable to higher income families, she said.
Mixed-income housing is an important part of the vision for Columbia Pike, Karantonis said.
“The Pike should offer housing opportunities to all types of residents across all income levels. As a community we committed not to exclude any group of residents (either on the higher or lower end of the income scale), he said in an email. “It is a declared goal of the Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Plan to avoid the displacement of any of its current residents, and actually grow by attracting the most diverse population. The Pike revitalization project is in its essence a mixed-income corridor.”
“Our whole concept that we’re working for is casual elegance,” said Tony Wagner, who took over on Aug. 10.
Wagner wants the place to be welcoming, with good quality food at “neighborhood prices,” he said. With his new concept of “casual elegance” in mind, Wagner and his staff have added new small plates, dishes and craft beers to the restaurant’s menu.
In addition to the small plates, which include new crab cakes, Wagner’s kitchen staff has also added flatbreads.
“We overhauled the menu completely,” Wagner said. “[We added] small plates that are absolutely delicious and pair well with the drinks.”
Wine, and to a lesser extent beer, have been the main attractions of Twisted Vines since it was opened in 2010 by previous owners Sybil and Josh Robinson. Wagner is expanding the drink menu by adding whiskey and bourbon drinks, as well as a new Bloody Mary for brunch, he said.
Under Wagner’s leadership, the restaurant has also started opening on Mondays, from 4-10 p.m., according to the restaurant’s Facebook page.
Twisted Vines is the first restaurant Wagner has owned, he said. The restaurant’s foundation had already been established by the Robinsons, giving him a good base to build on, he said.
Owning a restaurant has been “a passion for a while and the opportunity presented itself,” Wagner said.
The Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization will be holding its first fall festival on Columbia Pike this coming Saturday.
The event runs from 2-8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19 on S. Adams at Columbia Pike, near Taqueria Poblano.
“We want to have a lot of fun with the community,” said Takis Karantonis. “We started the summer with a festival and we wanted to close summer with one as well.”
For $25 a ticket, each attendee will get 12 wine tastings, eight craft beer tastings and tastings of food from Pike restaurants William Jeffrey’s Tavern, Red Rocks Arlington and The Celtic House Irish Pub and Restaurant.
Wine will be selected by Jason McKechnie of Twisted Vines Bottleshop and Bistro, and William Jeffrey’s Tavern’s Logan Skidmore will choose the craft beer.
“Kids and grownups will be happy with the quality of the food. It’s not dumbed down carnival food,” said Christine Hopkins, who helped plan the festival.
Beer selections will be unique to the festival — not be the craft brews that are offered every day at William Jeffrey’s, Karantonis said.
There will also be live music throughout the entire event, with local Pike band the Boxcartels playing from 4:15-5:15 p.m.
CPRO wants to start holding more fall events, Karantonis said, adding that fall on the Pike is typically a quieter than the summer.
Arlington Remembers 9/11 — Arlington County is marking the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks with a solemn ceremony in Courthouse. A moment of silence will be held at 9:37 a.m. [Arlington County, Twitter]
Sidewalks on the Pike Still Need Work — The new Freedman’s Village Bridge over Columbia Pike includes new, wider sidewalks along the Pike, but there are problems. Just up from the new sidewalks, narrow old sidewalks have telephone poles in the middle of them, obstructing pedestrians and bicyclists. And there are multiple crossings among the new sidewalks that make the going slow. [Greater Greater Washington]
Letter Writer: Everything Is Awful — Most people probably find Arlington a pleasant place to live. But a resident who wrote a guest commentary about Arlington for a Falls Church newspaper finds a lot to dislike, warning Falls Church residents of Arlington as a “cautionary tale” of development gone wrong. The letter blasts Arlington’s overcrowded schools, “scorched-earth development practices,” “critical shortage of parkland and green space,” “failed policies and inadequate planning,” “poor local air quality,” lack of mature tree canopy and “urban heat island effect.” [Falls Church News-Press]
AHC Repays Loan — Nonprofit affordable housing developer AHC Inc. has made a $2.5 million loan repayment to Arlington County, one of the organization’s largest lump sum repayments. AHC presented retiring County Board members Mary Hynes and Walter Tejada, along with other county officials, a giant check to mark the occasion.
Janet Howell Announces Breast Cancer Diagnosis — State Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd), who represents part of Arlington, announced yesterday that she was diagnosed with breast cancer this summer. She has undergone treatment and says her prognosis is “excellent.” [Reston Now]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Gov. Terry McAuliffe has dedicated the bridge that takes Washington Blvd over Columbia Pike as Freedman’s Village Bridge, in honor of settlement for freed slaves started in Arlington during the Civil War.
McAuliffe was joined by transportation officials, Arlington County Board members and descendants of Freedman’s Village residents as he unveiled one of the two plaques on the bridge this morning.
“I am pleased to be here today, on behalf of all the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia to fully, right now, dedicate our new bridge as the Freedman’s Village Bridge,” McAuliffe said.
The new bridge recognizes the importance of Freedman’s Village, the government settlement that housed freed slaves in Arlington. The village transformed from the government settlement to a thriving neighborhood with schools, a hospital and housing for the residents until its close in 1900.
Henderson Hall, the Marine Corps installation, now sits where Freedman’s Village was built, said Craig Syphax, a descendant from Freedman’s Village residents and the president of the Black Heritage Museum of Arlington.
“This bridge is very instrumental in keeping the black history alive,” Syphax said.
Many of the descendants of Freedman’s Village residents attended the bridge unveiling in honor of their ancestors. After the village was closed down, many of the residents moved to what is now known as Nauck and High View Park (formerly Green Valley and Hall’s Hill, respectively).
“I think the black residents of South Arlington are going to embrace this structure because of its expansiveness and its name that has been chiseled onto it and because it represents freedom,” Syphax said.
The bridge is the result of teamwork between Arlington County and the Virginia Department of Transportation. Community input, meanwhile, was influential in naming the bridge, McAuliffe said.
The bridge has a two-fold purpose, said County Board Vice Chair Walter Tejada during the dedication ceremony. Beyond replacing an existing bridge that was structurally unsound, the bridge serves as a way to recognize Arlington’s history.
“This new structure is not only steady completion and reflexive of the rich history of the area but will provide excellent accommodation to pedestrians and bicyclists, and those of you who are familiar with Arlington, know we are big about pedestrian circulation and bicyclists here in Arlington,” Tejada said.
The four-lane bridge handles about 80,000 vehicles per day and is wider and taller than the previous bridge, allowing roomier sidewalks and, originally, the potential of a streetcar running underneath. According to Virginia law, bridges can only be named in memory of a deceased person or to recognize an area with historical significance.
“Today we memorialize the residents of Freedman’s village who paved the way for all future generations of African Americans with a bridge dedicated in their honor,” Syphax said.
Arlington police are looking for a man who allegedly ran over a two year old in a McDonald’s parking lot and then drove off.
Police say the driver hit the child with his Cadillac while in the restaurant parking lot on the 3000 block of Columbia Pike. The man allowed the child’s family to pull him out from underneath the car before speeding off.
The toddler was hurt but is expected to be okay. Police are hoping grainy surveillance images of the car (above) may help them track down the driver.
From an ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department’s Auto Crimes Unit is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying and locating a suspect involved in a hit and run incident of a two-year old child on August 30, 2015.
The suspect drove into the McDonald’s parking lot, located in the 3000 block of Columbia Pike, at approximately 7:04 p.m. and was captured on surveillance video striking a two-year old child. The suspect vehicle ran over top of the child and stopped so the victim’s family could pull him from underneath. The vehicle then sped off and the child was transported to Children’s Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The subject is described as a black male between 18-30 years old. He has green eyes and dreadlocks past the ears. At the time of the incident, he was wearing a white baseball hat with a black brim. The vehicle is described as a four door, silver-colored Cadillac sedan.
If anyone has information on the identity and/or whereabouts of this individual, please contact Detective Burgess of the Arlington County Police Department’s Auto Crimes Unit at 703.228.4618 or at [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).
Investigation into Marine’s Death at Base — The military is investigating the death of a 22-year-old Marine at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. Cpl. Jon Gee was reportedly found unresponsive in his room on the base Saturday afternoon, after a night out at “a rave in the District.” [Washington Post]
Rousselot Blasts Lack of Pike Transit Plan — The fact that Arlington County has no transit plan yet for Columbia Pike, after the cancellation of the streetcar last year, is frustrating to Peter Rousselot, who helped to lead the charge against the streetcar. “I think it is a failure of management,” he told WAMU. “The answer on the Pike that our group presented all along… was a regional Bus Rapid Transit system, or BRT, involving Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax County.” [WAMU]
Tour of New Elementary School — Arlington Public Schools led members of the media on a tour of the new Discovery Elementary School on Thursday. Located next to Williamsburg Middle School, it’s the county’s first new primary school in over a decade. Discovery is designed to be a “net zero” consumer of energy thanks to renewable energy features. [WTOP, Katch]
GMU ‘Welcome Fair’ Today — George Mason University’s Arlington campus is holding a “Welcome Fair” for students between 5:30 and 8 p.m. today. [Twitter]
Library Helps With Business Plans — Arlington Public Library helped the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, an ARLnow.com advertiser, create a business plan and launch their business. The library has a business services librarian and number of resources for entrepreneurs, including access to a premium database that compiles demographic data by ZIP code. [Twitter]
More on Arlington Radio Station — WERA, Arlington’s new community radio station, hopes to launch by December. The station will cost Arlington Independent Media, best known as the nonprofit behind Arlington’s local cable access channel, about $400,000. [Arlington Connection]
Flickr pool photo by Arlington VA
Business is reportedly robust at Rappahannock Coffee (2406 Columbia Pike) despite a new Starbucks moving across the street.
The independent coffee shop, which once was the only cafe serving the portion of the Pike around Penrose Square, is so far not seeing negative effects from its newfound competition with the Seattle-based chain, according to owner Gi Lee.
“Our customers are loyal customers,” Lee said.
The new Starbucks opened at 2413 Columbia Pike in the middle of August, worrying some Pike residents that it would hurt Rappahannock and cause it to close. The local coffee shop had faced previous threats of demolition back in 2013 when a developer proposed building apartments on the strip of land where Rappahannock is located.
ARLnow.com observed 17 customers in Rappahannock this morning over a half hour period. At Starbucks across the street, we counted 27 customers over the course of 15 minutes.
Although the chain store sees more customers in the morning, it might not be due to customers defecting from Rappahannock. Lee said most regular customers are still coming in for their morning cup of joe, the beans for which are roasted in-house.
“Everybody likes our coffee,” he said. “It’s very fresh here.”
Rappahannock customer and vocal fan Jason Gooljar said the chain may have attracted new customers from the neighborhoods around the Pike while the local coffee shop kept its old customers. He professed his reverence for the small shop in a Facebook post, which he posted from Starbucks.
“So yes, I’m here at the Starbucks,” he wrote last Wednesday evening. “[Rappahannock] closes early.”
(Starbucks is also open three hours later than Rappahannock, which operates from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Starbucks is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. It is slow in the evening and Lee said he does not anticipate increasing the hours.)
Starbucks and Rappahannock offer two different environments, Gooljar said, and the two stores attract different types of customers.
Rappahannock has a more neighborhood feel, where customers interact with each other and the baristas, Gooljar said. Signs next to tables at the coffee shop encourage people to sit with their neighbors and meet new people.
“This store, people have made some really good friendships here,” he said.
On the other hand, Gooljar said, Starbucks is more individual — people typing away quietly on laptops or grabbing an espresso drink to go while on their commute.
One of the new Starbucks customers is South Arlington resident Kevin Keaty. He was already a loyal Starbucks customer and went to one of the chain’s stores in Pentagon City before the Columbia Pike location opened, he said.
“I really do like their products,” he said.
Horst Lummert, a new Arlington resident, visits both coffee stores and said he has noticed people in the Starbucks at night after Rappahannock has closed. On the other hand, Lummert said he sees about 20 customers in Rappahannock when he stops by in the morning. He has been a loyal Starbucks customer for many years, but he said there is something nice about visiting a local coffee shop.
“I come here because of the wonderful service,” he said. “And the coffee is pretty good.”
The manager of the Columbia Pike Starbucks referred ARLnow.com to the company’s corporate media relations department for comment.