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JBG Smith’s Major Crystal Square Project Nears Approval, Though Some Concerns Linger

Plans to transform a section of Crystal City into a new retail hub for the neighborhood could soon move ahead, though neighbors and cyclists are still pressing for changes to the redevelopment effort.

Many of JBG Smith’s plans for the “Crystal Square” project, centered on a block of Crystal Drive between 15th Street S. and 18th Street S., are up for approval by the County Board this weekend. The long-awaited project would completely revamp the existing office buildings on the block, adding a new movie theater, grocery store and other retailers to replace the existing Crystal City Shops at 1750.

County staff and planners have generally given the project a green light, given its potential to help speed along the transformation of a block centered around the area’s Metro station. Even still, some people living nearby worry that the construction will blot out some of Crystal City’s limited green space, and won’t address the neighborhood’s transportation challenges.

The heart of the Crystal Square development, backed by the area’s largest property owner, generally isn’t up for dispute. In all, JBG Smith plans to add 84,000 square feet of retail and commercial space along Crystal Drive by renovating some of the existing buildings on the property, and tacking on some additions as well.

The main draws will be a three-story movie theater, reportedly an Alamo Drafthouse location, and a 15,000-square-foot “small format specialty grocer,” like a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. Those businesses, and perhaps many others, will generally be centered closest to Crystal Drive’s intersection with 15th Street S., and the existing one-story retail in the area will likely be demolished to connect the theater and the grocery store, removing a small park in the process.

County staff note in a report for the Board that the proposal “not a complete redevelopment that breaks up the existing superblock with new public streets,” as might eventually be desirable for the area, it is a chance to “create a high-quality public realm…[that] enhances multimodal access and connectivity by placing large regional draws such as a movie theater and grocer within easy access of the Metro, bus stops, and VRE station.”

However, cycling advocates worry that all these plans will do little to improve connectivity to the Mt. Vernon Trail, leaving people highly dependent on cars in the area. The Washington Area Bicyclist Association is urging cyclists to press for protected bike lanes along both Crystal Drive and 18th Street S. to create a safer, low-stress place to bike that wouldn’t be constantly blocked by parked cars.

JBG Smith declined to comment for this article, but it seems the developer doesn’t see much room for protected bike lanes in the area. While a bike lane along Crystal Drive is included in the Crystal Square plans, county transportation staff told the Planning Commission back in February that “there is not enough space to provide a protected bike lane” on the road.

Eventually, JBG says it could also build a two-story retail building further down the block, at Crystal Drive’s intersection with 18th Street S. That feature has drawn a bit more scrutiny from neighbors, who note that the site was long envisioned as a new park to replace the green space set to be removed in the earlier construction.

“The proposed two-story building would take a chunk out of that green space and destroy the sight line from Crystal Drive up to Clark/Bell [Streets,” Crystal City Civic Association President Carol Fuller told ARLnow. “The CCCA has been fighting this for months.”

Fuller points out that the location is also the proposed place for a second Metro station entrance, but with the county putting the brakes on that project as it deals with a funding crunch, she argues it would make much more sense to delay consideration of adding a new building there as well. Otherwise, she sees it as a “poison pill” impacting the whole development proposal.

The Planning Commission ultimately voted to endorse that building back in May, though many members expressed grave concerns about the proposal. The Parks and Recreation Commission even said it was “premature” to allow the building until securing firm funding commitments from JBG to ensure a park of some kind is indeed built on the space.

Those concerns aside, the Board seems unlikely to take action on that part of the proposal, at least in the near term.

JBG is also asking for permission to revert one office building on Crystal Drive back to office space, doing away with plans to convert it into an apartment building, a move fueling speculation that the company wants to wait to see if Amazon tabs the neighborhood for its second headquarters before committing to plans for the building.

Staff recommend that the Board defer any consideration of that request, and plans for the two-story building, for up to a year, given all the uncertainty still surrounding the site.

The Board will take up consideration of the project at its meeting Saturday (Oct. 20).

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De Ferranti Goes on the Offensive Over Vihstadt’s Handling of Arlington’s Office Vacancy Rate

Arlington’s lone County Board race this fall has largely been a genteel affair so far, but Democratic challenger Matt de Ferranti is sharpening his attacks on incumbent John Vihstadt’s record, claiming the independent hasn’t done enough to address the county’s high office vacancy rate.

County officials of all stripes have long identified Arlington’s challenges filling vacant office space in corridors like Crystal City and Rosslyn as a prime reason that the county’s tax revenues have shrunk, squeezing its budget and creating a whole host of challenges for the county government.

Accordingly, both Vihstadt and de Ferranti have made the issue a central one for their respective campaigns, particularly because whoever wins a spot on the Board will likely need to wrestle with a budget that includes tax increases to tackle those revenue challenges.

Yet the Democrat has pledged a laser focus on the issue in recent debates and forums, and the Committee of 100 Board debate on Wednesday (Oct. 10), moderated by ARLnow’s Scott Brodbeck, was no exception. De Ferranti even went a step further to critique Vihstadt’s handling of the vacancy rate since he first won a special election four years ago, when he became the first non-Democrat on the Board since 1999.

“It’s been at 20 percent for four years,” de Ferranti said. “We need to bring it down and make it our priority to bring it down… and we need new vision to bring down that vacancy rate.”

Vihstadt pointed out that the county has successfully lured major companies during his tenure, with few bigger than Nestle and Gerber, in addition to smaller firms like trade associations and tech companies.

He added that he remains committed to “business and tax base diversification” to address the office vacancy rate as federal tenants increasingly go elsewhere, noting that “we’re not just a company town anymore.”

“We need green tech, med tech, cybersecurity and so forth,” Vihstadt said.

De Ferranti agrees on that point, but noted he’s been discussing the prospect of luring those industries to Arlington since his successful primary campaign this spring, charging that Vihstadt was coming to that particular talking point a bit late in the game.

“I’m glad that we’re both mentioning now, clean tech, green tech, energy efficiency technology,” de Ferranti said. “Those are the right fields, but we should’ve identified those four years ago.”

The spat over the office vacancy rate also carried over to perhaps the most contentious topic in Arlington at the moment: whether Amazon’s potential arrival in the county should be welcomed, or feared.

Vihstadt, as he has for months now, struck a cautious tone on the matter, noting that the county winning HQ2 would be a “mixed bag” in terms of its impacts on Arlington.

“We need to confirm the purported positives of this development coming to Arlington, but we also need to be mindful about addressing mitigants and negatives,” Vihstadt said.

De Ferranti acknowledged that caution is warranted, given the myriad ways in which the sudden arrival of 50,000 Amazon workers could disrupt the county’s housing market and strain its infrastructure. But he was also considerably more bullish on how the company could solve the very problem he spent so much time discussing, should Jeff Bezos follow through on the rumors and tab Crystal City for his second headquarters.

“With a vacancy rate of above 20 percent in Crystal City, we can’t turn it down,” de Ferranti said. “Count me as someone who says, we have conditions, but we have to move forward. That’s not to say your anxieties, and all Arlingtonians’ concerns on this, aren’t relevant, but eventually you have to take a position. My position is we need to ensure there are net benefits…but we also need to have a solid plan before we sign on to anything.”

You can listen to the entire debate on this week’s edition of the 26 Square Miles podcast.

Listen below or subscribe to the podcast on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher or TuneIn.

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Morning Notes

Arlington Losing Big Office Tenant — “BAE Systems Inc. is moving its headquarters to Falls Church as part of a consolidation of its Northern Virginia office space… The move will also further ding Arlington County’s office vacancy rate, which at the end of 2017 was 20.6 percent.” [Washington Business Journal]

Hazmat Situation at Kaiser Permanente — Arlington County firefighters responded to a hazardous materials incident at Kaiser Permanente in Falls Church yesterday. Five people were evaluated by medics and, of them, two were transported to the hospital. [WJLA, Twitter, Twitter]

Red Top Development Groundbreaking Nears — “The Shooshan Co. has teamed up with Trammell Crow Residential on the first phase of its planned Red Top Cab site redevelopment in Clarendon, with groundbreaking slated for early next year. The partners closed Sept. 29 on their acquisition from The Red Top Cab Co. founder Neal Nichols of several parcels along Irving and Hudson streets for a listed consideration amount of nearly $28.2 million, according to Arlington County’s Recorder of Deeds.” [Washington Business Journal]

RIP Lance Newman and Tim Wise — Two notable Arlingtonians have died: “Tim Wise, the longtime president of the Arlington County Taxpayers Association, died Friday in Fredericksburg after a 10-month battle with cancer and heart trouble… Lance Newman, one of four black students who in February 1959 began attending a previously all-white middle school in Arlington… had died after a short illness.” [InsideNova]

ACSO Launches Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign — “Breast cancer hits close to home for the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office, which has launched a campaign to raise awareness about early detection and preventative care. Over the last six years, two employees at the county’s sheriff’s office have been diagnosed with breast cancer.” [WUSA 9]

Forum Planned to Discuss Accessory Dwellings — “A forum looking at current regulations related to accessory-dwelling units in Arlington will be held on Monday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. at Central Library. Speakers will discuss how changes made to the county’s housing ordinances in 2017 impact the regulatory process, and will look at whether further changes are needed.” [InsideNova]

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Morning Notes

Local Investment Firm CEO Arrested — Todd Hitt, the founder of Falls Church-based Kiddar Capital, was arrested by the FBI and charged with securities fraud last week. Hitt was developing a new company headquarters in Falls Church. He made headlines as a young housing developer in the 1990s for clashing with Arlington neighbors while building what residents dubbed “McMansions.” [Tysons Reporter]

More White Nationalist Posters Spotted — A reader says he saw more white nationalists posters around Clarendon over the weekend. The reader, who wished to remain anonymous, says he removed the posters after photographing them. [Twitter]

New 1100 Wilson Blvd Rooftop — “Monday Properties hosted a VIP event for real estate brokers Wednesday evening to showcase the 6,200-square-foot indoor-outdoor space atop the 31-story building, part of the two-building The Towers. It is being unveiled as landlords in Rosslyn and across Greater Washington seek to up their communal spaces to appeal to tenants who increasingly want more than just office space to attract and hang onto employees.” [Washington Business Journal]

Bamboo Removal This Week — “Arlington County contractors will be removing bamboo in Benjamin Banneker Park during the week of Oct. 8. Depending on weather conditions, treatment is expected to conclude by Friday, Oct. 12.” [Twitter]

Maryjane Arrested for Car Theft, Weed — “Police caught a woman named Maryjane in Ballston who they say stole a car in Fairfax County — and they also hit her with a marijuana charge.” [Patch]

Windfall for Ballston Company — “Arlington-based AvalonBay Communities Inc. expects to clear north of $450 million from the sale of a majority stake in five Manhattan apartment communities.” [Washington Business Journal]

2000th Morning Notes Post — This is Morning Notes post No. 2000. ARLnow.com launched in January 2010.

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Morning Notes

Pentagon Ricin Case Update — “Letters sent to the White House and the Pentagon did not contain a finished form of ricin, law enforcement officials said Wednesday, but did contain a primitive form or precursor… A man was arrested in Logan, Utah, on Wednesday in connection with [the] suspicious letters.” [NBC News, NBC News]

Candidates Call for Speedier Lee Highway Planning — “Indications are pointing to redevelopment of significant portions of the Lee Highway corridor through Arlington beginning to gather steam. But is the Arlington County government going to be left behind as the process grinds on? The two candidates for County Board say the local government needs to get moving on its efforts to lead a comprehensive effort in helping plan the corridor’s future.” [InsideNova]

GMU ‘No Scooter Zone’ Nixed — George Mason University “recognizes the popularity of the scooters, so it is softening the message, [spokesman Buzz] McClain said. ‘I think the ‘no scooter zone’ sign got the attention of a lot of people, a little exclamatory. So we’re gonna tone down the messaging and say, ‘park the scooters over by the bikes,’ and that’s it.'” [NBC Washington]

Bistro 1521 Reviewed — Washington Post food critic Tim Carman gave a mostly positive review to Bistro 1521, the Filipino restaurant on N. Glebe Road in Ballston. [Washington Post]

Tonight: Family Film Showing in Clarendon — “Join Market Common Clarendon each Thursday in October starting at 6:30 p.m. for a FREE family-friendly movie on The Loop! Pre-movie fun begins at 4:30 with face painting and balloon twisting and free popcorn and candy from 6-8 p.m.” [ARLnow Events]

Teachers Endorse Kanninen, de Ferranti — The Arlington Education Association PAC has endorsed Democratic candidate Matt de Ferranti for Arlington County Board and incumbent Barbara Kanninen for School Board. The PAC represents Arlington teachers. [Twitter, Twitter, Arlington Education Association]

Domestic Violence Awareness Month Kickoff — “Project PEACE is hosting Kate Ranta, a local domestic and gun violence survivor… for a community conversation about sex, violence and the Arlington community. The event takes place [on] Thursday, October 4 [at] 6:30 p.m., at the Walter Reed Community Center.” [Press Release]

Arlington’s Pros and Cons Compared to Tysons — “‘Arlington has old office spaces with bad floor plans,’ said [GMU Professor Stephen] Fuller. ‘That’s sending people out to Tysons, which has newer office space… [But] when Amazon was looking at Northern Virginia, they were looking at Crystal City, not Tysons. Tysons just doesn’t offer lifestyle that they’re looking for.'” [Tysons Reporter]

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Trump Re-Election Headquarters May Be Based in Arlington

President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign is reportedly looking for office space in Arlington.

The Washington Post reports that Trump 2020 HQ could be located in Arlington, a departure from the 2016 campaign, which was headquartered at Trump Tower in New York City.

Per the Post:

The campaign has not yet signed a lease on office space, but campaign manager Brad Parscale and other officials are looking at several Arlington options, including in Rosslyn, which boasts easy Metro access.

The move is not expected until after the Nov. 6 midterm elections, at which point Trump’s reelection campaign will begin ramping up in earnest, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the plans.

With its deep bench of political talent and proximity to the White House and Congress, Arlington has been a go-to spot for presidential campaigns. Among the notable campaign headquarters in the county:

  • John McCain 2008 (in Crystal City)
  • Hillary Clinton 2008 (in Ballston)
  • George W. Bush 2004 (in Courthouse)
  • Ronald Reagan 1980 (near Columbia Pike)

Other candidates to set up shop in Arlington, according to a county press release from 2016, include Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Joe Lieberman and Mike Gravel.

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Morning Notes

WeWork Coming to Rosslyn — Another coworking space is coming to Rosslyn. WeWork is reportedly coming to three floors near the top of the new CEB Tower. [Washington Business Journal]

Board Passes Four Mile Run Plan — Despite some dissatisfaction among those who live in a nearby community, the Arlington County Board voted unanimously to adopt as-is the proposed Four Mile Run Valley Park Master Plan and Design Guidelines, which includes “a comprehensive Master Plan for Jennie Dean Park and Shirlington Park, with short and mid-term recommendations for maintaining and improving Shirlington Dog Park.” [Arlington County]

Memorial Bridge Closure Rescheduled — Due to high river levels, work on and the closure of the Arlington Memorial Bridge has been rescheduled to this coming weekend. [Twitter, National Park Service]

Salt Storage Structure Approved — “The Arlington County Board today voted to allow the County to build an interim salt storage structure before winter sets in, on County-owned property on Old Dominion Drive, between 25th Road N. and 26th Street N.” [Arlington County]

Scooter Injury in Crystal City — A woman on a motorized scooter reportedly suffered a dislocated elbow after she accidentally ran into a wall in the Crystal City area Friday evening. The safety of the electric rental scooters has been questioned both locally and nationally. [Twitter]

Coming ‘Flood’ of Medicaid Applicants — “The Arlington County Board today voted unanimously to accept state funding that will help pay for additional staff needed to process an expected flood of new applications for Medicaid under the state’s expanded program, Cover Virginia… ‘Under the expanded program, we expect 3,000 more County residents will qualify. Childless low-income adults with no disabilities, a group previously excluded, and families and persons with disabilities whose income previously was not considered to be low enough to qualify will now be eligible for coverage.'” [Arlington County]

Packer Drops By Clarendon Day — Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones, in town for Sunday’s game against the Redskins — the local team ended up upsetting the visitors 31-17 — dropped by Clarendon Day on Saturday. He also posed for a photo with Arlington County police. [Twitter]

APS Wires 40 Schools for Fiber Connection — “Arlington Public Schools (APS) is kicking off the 2018-19 school year with a brand-new connection–ConnectArlington. Thanks to a yearlong collaboration, 40 Arlington school facilities are now up and running on the County’s own fiber optic network. APS made the switch from a commercial provider to take advantage of ConnectArlington’s high-speed, dedicated network for digital telecommunications and broadband services.” [Arlington County]

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JBG Smith Changes Course on Crystal City Property, Flips From Residential to Office

Despite continued high office vacancy rates, developer JBG Smith has abruptly reversed course on a plan to convert an aging Crystal City office building to apartments.

At an Arlington County Site Plan Review Committee meeting on Monday, the company presented an updated plan to renovate the 12-floor, 242,000 square foot building at 1750 Crystal Drive and modernize the building facade. The change comes less than a year after JBG Smith filed a plan to convert the office building into a 21-story residential tower, which in turn was a change in course from an approved circa-2015 plan to modernize the building and keep it as office space.

The new-new plan changes the building’s address to 1770 Crystal Drive and better integrates it into planned pedestrian improvements and the “Central District” retail cluster, which is to include an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, restaurants with outdoor seating and a possible small-format grocery store.

The flip back to office will undoubtedly pique the interest of those trying to read the Amazon HQ2 tea leaves.

Betting markets and industry observers think the D.C. area is the most likely destination for the company’s second headquarters, and sources tell ARLnow.com that Crystal City is by far the most likely D.C. area location for it. Meanwhile, office vacancy in Crystal City remains high — it was just below 20 percent as of a year ago, according to county data — and the neighborhood’s largest and most influential landowner has scrapped an ambitious residential conversion plan in favor of sprucing up currently-vacant office space.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said last week that an HQ2 decision will be announced by the end of the year. The company’s request for proposals specifies that HQ2 will require a large amount of office space — 500,000+ square feet — in a relatively short period of time after the announcement.

A spokesman for JBG Smith was not immediately available to comment, according to a PR rep for the company.

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Morning Notes

Hurricane Florence Update — The Tomb Sentinels at Arlington National Cemetery will remain on guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, as they have for 81 years, regardless of what happens with Hurricane Florence. However, according to forecasters, “there is no need to cancel outdoor plans, events, or travel in the Washington region this weekend” due to the hurricane. [Twitter, Capital Weather Gang]

DEA Lease Renewal Is Official — “The Drug Enforcement Administration will remain in its Pentagon City headquarters for at least 15 more years. The General Services Administration announced Wednesday it signed a 511,487 SF lease renewal for the DEA at 600-700 Army Navy Drive, two buildings owned by the California State Teachers Retirement System.” [Bisnow]

Neighbors Still Peeved Over Salt Dome Plan — “This is an emergency caused by rust. I know Neil Young says rust never sleeps but it doesn’t move that fast,” said Michael Hogan, president of the Old Dominion Citizens Association, regarding the “emergency” plan for a temporary salt storage facility next to the deteriorating salt dome near Marymount University. “This is just a terrible land-use decision.” [Washington Post]

Living in Arlington On a $80,000 Salary — Not much of interest happens in this millennial money diary, set in Arlington, but there is this discussion of tea vs. coffee: “I drink my third green tea. I’m trying to drink less coffee, so today I’m trying tea instead, but this is not cutting it. To all those people who say green tea gives them as much energy as coffee — I’m calling shenanigans.” [Refinery 29]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Plans Coming Together for Redevelopment of Ballston Harris Teeter

Plans seem to be taking shape for a full redevelopment of the Harris Teeter and adjacent Mercedes Benz dealership lot in Ballston.

The grocery store’s owners are hoping to team up with a Georgia-based developer to build 700 residential units on the property with 83,600 square feet of retail on the ground floor of two buildings, including a newly renovated Harris Teeter store to replace the existing location.

The plans match the county’s long-term goal of transforming the Glebe Road property into a mixed-use community.

Though the plans are still conceptual at the moment, the developer provided some details to owners at the neighboring Hyde Park Condominiums — an anonymous tipster provided a copy of a presentation sketching out the redevelopment to ARLnow. Helen Duong, a spokeswoman for the county’s planning office, said that there’s a meeting scheduled today (Tuesday) for the developer to submit preliminary plans on the project.

A lawyer working on the development effort declined to comment. But the presentation, dated July 30, shows that the developer is envisioning buildings anywhere from six to eight stories tall, in addition to adding a half-acre park on the site. The plans also call for as many as 974 parking spaces to serve the new buildings.

Back in 2013, the County Board approved some policy changes to allow for more density on the site, in light of Ballston’s rapid development along Wilson Blvd. County staff wrote at the time that redeveloping the area would enhance “the southern gateway of Ballston” and transform N. Glebe Road into “an urban boulevard.”

The Board even approved zoning changes to allow buildings anywhere from 12 to 14 stories tall, so the current proposal, backed by the development firm Southeastern, is less dense than the county envisioned. However, it does call for many of the same transportation improvements the county sketched out at the time, including an extension of N. Tazewell Street from where it meets with N. Carlin Springs Road, running through the property.

Harris Teeter envisions building a new, 70,600-square-foot store on the site, complete with an “improved layout” and “improved customer experience and offerings,” according to the presentation. The old store would remain open as workers built the new one, complete with 390 housing units stacked on top.

Plans are a bit less set in stone for the height of each residential building. One option included in the plan calls for both buildings to be eight stories tall, provided the developer can win some policy changes from the county — another option envisions an eight-story building located on the current pre-owned Mercedes lot, and six-story building where the Harris Teeter is currently, closest to the Hyde Park condos.

Ballston Business Improvement District CEO Tina Leone declined to comment on the exact details of the plans, but said “we are very pleased and supportive to see community-building development happening here.”

Map via Google Maps

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Report: Crystal City Leads D.C. Region in Winning Business Relocations

Crystal City has convinced more businesses to move to the area from elsewhere in the D.C. region than any other neighborhood since 2014, according to new research.

New data compiled by the commercial real estate consulting firm Jones Lang LaSalle shows that Crystal City has convinced a total of 32 office tenants to move to the area over the last four years, including 20 previously based in D.C. and the remaining 12 from other parts of Northern Virginia.

The Rosslyn-Ballston corridor wasn’t far behind, luring a total of 28 businesses to relocate, with 21 from D.C. and seven from Northern Virginia, the firm found. In all, the two Arlington neighborhoods far outpaced other contenders like Tysons Corner or Old Town Alexandria, winning a combined 60 of the 113 commercial office tenants to move around the D.C. region since 2014. Even still, the corridor and Crystal City alike have grappled with persistently high office vacancy rates over the last few years, squeezing the county’s coffers.

Rob Sapunor, JLL’s senior research analyst for Northern Virginia, found that Crystal City won a total of 580,174 square feet of new tenants over the last few years, with 367,597 square feet worth of businesses coming from D.C. alone. Of those companies to make the jump, he found that five were nonprofits and 11 were professional associations.

He noted that three buildings earned the bulk of those new tenants — 1400 Crystal Drive, the Presidential Tower at 2511 Jefferson Davis Highway, and 251 18th Street S. The analyst attributed Crystal City’s relatively low rent prices to helping lure businesses out of D.C., predicting that it will “continue the trend of cost-conscious tenants exploring this market.”

Sapunor added that the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor added 482,545 square feet of new businesses, including 314,443 square feet from D.C..

“Among tenant types, no one particular industry dominates, a sign of the corridor’s shift away from a heavy reliance on government agencies and contractors,” he wrote. “New tenants include tech, media, lobbying, education, consulting and nonprofit.”

He predicts that the area will remain an “attractive market” for businesses looking for “monument views,” but he also expects competition from elsewhere in Northern Virginia to ramp up in the coming years. In particular, he foresees Tysons and even Loudoun County becoming more formidable competitors for businesses moving out of D.C. as Metro wraps up some of its long-awaited expansion work.

“As the market increasingly becomes increasingly transit-accessible with Phase 2 of the Silver Line opening in 2020, migrations within Northern Virginia will favor on-Metro relocations,” Sapunor wrote.

File photo. Chart via JLL

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Morning Notes

Fire at Retirement Home — A fire broke out in the laundry room of the Sunrise at Bluemont Park senior assisted living facility Sunday morning. The blaze was quickly extinguished, but not before filling part of the building with smoke. No injuries were reported. [Twitter]

Serious Crash on Arlington Blvd — Arlington County police investigated a crash involving critical injuries and a reported vehicle rollover last night on Route 50 at N. Pershing Drive. One person was transported to a local hospital. [Twitter]

DEA Staying in Pentagon City — “A federal judge has ruled against an Alexandria building owner’s efforts to lure the Drug Enforcement Administration from Pentagon City… Judge Loren Smith’s judgment, issued Thursday, effectively clears the way for the General Services Administration to award a new lease for the DEA to CSHV Lincoln Place LLC, the agency’s current landlord at 600-700 Army Navy Drive.” [Washington Business Journal]

Dragonfly Population Booming — “Your eyes are not deceiving you – there really are more dragonflies (and their cousins, damselflies) in the local area this summer. And according to Arlington naturalists, that’s a good thing.” [InsideNova]

No, Arlington’s Recycling Program Is Not Ending — Apparently a rumor has been circulating that Arlington County was ending its recycling program. A local TV station fact checked that and found, unsurprisingly, that the rumor is not true. [WUSA 9]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

Crash Closes WB Lee Highway — All lanes of westbound Lee Highway were closed at Spout Run for part of the morning after a crash. [Twitter, Twitter]

Flyover Planned Today — A flyover of Arlington National Cemetery, in support of a funeral, is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. today. [Twitter]

More Buses for Rosslyn Commuters — “After initially providing no additional backup options for riders during the Blue Line shutdown and major Orange and Silver Line work that began Aug. 11, Metro is now making some changes… Without much fanfare or notification to riders, Metro said this week it will add four additional Route 5A buses between Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride and Rosslyn and L’Enfant Plaza each morning.” [WTOP]

Rep. Jim Jordan Coming to Arlington Fundraiser — Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) will be the special guest at a fundraiser for Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) in Arlington next month. The fundraiser is being held Sept. 7 at Washington Golf and Country Club. Jordan has been in the news this summer over accusations that he turned a blind eye to the sexual abuse of wrestlers while an assistant coach at Ohio State. [TrailBlazer]

Ballston Apartment Building Sold — “The Ballston Place transaction… has closed with Akelius Residential AB buying the 382-unit apartment complex for $170 million, or $445,026 per unit.” [Globe St.]

Photo courtesy Patricia Kime

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Report: Residential Development Surged in Arlington This Spring

Arlington added more homes this spring than it has during any three-month period dating back to last summer, according to a new county report.

Between April 1 and June 30, the county saw construction work wrap up on a total of 278 new homes, including 236 apartments and townhomes and 42 single-family homes. The county totaled up these latest numbers as part of a quarterly analysis of development in Arlington.

That number far outpaces the 103 homes that became available over the same time period a year ago, and represents the most new homes to hit the market since the third quarter of 2017, stretching from July 1 through September 30. The county added 456 homes, including 411 in multifamily structures, during that period, according to county data.

The latest spike in new homes was largely generated by the completion of the 672 Flats project on N. Glebe Road in Ballston, a project that included 173 new apartments. The Key and Nash development in Rosslyn also wrapped up work this quarter, adding 63 new condos.

The completion of the Central Place project in Rosslyn accounted for the bulk of the rest of the construction to wrap up in Arlington this spring. The massive new building includes roughly 570,500 square feet of office space and roughly 11,000 square feet of retail space as well.

The 672 Flats project also included 4,300 square feet of retail space underneath the new apartments. The addition of nearly 4,600 square feet of office space at 383 N. Cathedral Lane, just off S. Glebe Road, rounds out the list of projects completed this spring.

The county’s data show that another 3,700 homes are currently under construction around Arlington, in addition to 910,000 square feet of office space and 334,000 square feet of retail space. During the same time last year, the county projected about 2,025 new homes on the way, with 67,500 square feet of retail and 1.4 million square feet of office space.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the bulk of the new development on the books is concentrated in Ballston and Rosslyn, with Crystal City and the Columbia Pike corridor not far behind.

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Morning Notes

Plan for Decaying Salt Storage Facility Tweaked — “Arlington government officials have come up with a slightly altered placement for a new North Arlington salt-storage container, one that may assuage the concerns of some – if not necessarily all – critics of the move. A new schematic drawing moves the footprint of the new storage facility closer to the existing, dilapidated salt dome on the 7.5-acre parcel along Old Dominion Drive between 25th Road North and 26th Street North.” [InsideNova]

New Office Option in Rosslyn — A local commercial real estate firm is opening a new office concept in Rosslyn which will combine the “office on demand” flexibility of co-working space with larger floor plans and suite configurations more common in traditionally leased office space. [Washington Business Journal]

Operating Costs a Question for Aquatics Center — A groundbreaking has been held for the new Long Bridge Park aquatics center, now the county has commissioned a survey of residents to help determine pricing and offerings, which will in turn help the county calculate the center’s yearly operating costs. The latest estimate pegs the subsidy from taxpayers at about $1 million per year. [InsideNova]

Rosslyn-Based Nestle Continuing to Hire — “Global food and beverage giant Nestle plans to boost hiring in the U.S., where it has just opened a headquarters in Virginia, the company’s U.S. chief said Wednesday. Steve Presley, Nestle USA CEO, said on FOX Business’ ‘Mornings with Maria’ that job creation will include positions at the new headquarters in Arlington County as well as production facilities in the commonwealth. [Fox Business]

It’s August — The calendar has turned a page, to August, but the current rainy weather pattern is expected to continue. [Capital Weather Gang]

Photo courtesy Jeremy Galliani

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