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by Chris Teale November 14, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

Construction to expand a federal training facility has closed a walking trail near Alcova Heights Park.

The trail between 6th Street S. and S. Quincy Street closed permanently yesterday for construction on the State Department’s National Foreign Affairs Training Center (4000 Arlington Blvd).

NFATC trains members of the nation’s foreign service, and is seeking to expand its campus in Arlington to include a new training and classroom facility, childcare center and other buildings. The project is expected to be completed in October 2018.

As planned, the expansion would extend the perimeter fence farther south, and, in the process, swallow up a pedestrian path that connects George Mason Drive and S. Quincy Street.

The decision to close the path came under fire earlier this year from local residents, who signed a petition to try to save it. At the time, critics said pedestrians would be deprived of a way to walk from one end of the Alcova Heights neighborhood to another.

The petition was signed by more than 130 people and urged the General Services Administration, which is responsible for the project, to “build a perimeter trail connecting 3rd St. S to the existing trail at Quincy at 6th St. S,” among other demands.

by Chris Teale October 27, 2017 at 10:30 am 0

The Maserati and Fiat dealership on S. Glebe Road near I-395 is expanding.

The dealership at 2710 S. Glebe Road is being knocked down and rebuilt on the same plot of land. When an ARLnow reporter stopped by, much of the building had been demolished, except what used to be the front entrance. The building that housed the dealership used to be a seafood store.

Permitting applications filed with the county show a new one-story sales room will be built, as well as a four-story building for service and vehicle storage.

“The lot wasn’t being used to its fullest potential, so we’re expanding and adding space,” said Ethan Anderson, a spokesman for the company.

The dealership will stay open throughout the work, with employees’ offices housed in a temporary trailer nearby.

Anderson estimates the construction could take about a year to complete.

“It’s quite a project,” he said.

by Katie Pyzyk October 3, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

The owners of the The Board Room in D.C. had hoped to unveil their Arlington location in the old Sehkraft Brewing spot last month, but construction delays are pushing back the opening of the Clarendon bar and entertainment venue.

Mark Handwerger, the owner of The Board Room’s parent company, Bedrock Bars, wrote in an email, “We are not exactly pleased by the delays.” But he said that The Board Room’s team is “holding everyone’s feet to the fire.”

Part of the issue has been a hold-up on the millwork, delivery and installation of two additional bars. The owners ultimately had to resort to out-of-town fabricators because “everyone within a couple hundred miles of D.C. is buried with other projects, most notably The Wharf,” Handwerger said.

Today an ARLnow reporter visited 925 N. Garfield Street and observed a couple workers inside the demolished bar space, although not a lot of heavy duty construction was taking place. Some of the wall murals have been painted over and new drywall is piled nearby. There’s also a lot of debris and building material staged to be hauled away.

The new goal is for The Board Room to open mid-November if everything goes smoothly.

by ARLnow.com October 3, 2017 at 8:30 am 0

Construction at Shirlington Library — Construction is expected to begin this week on renovations to the Shirlington Branch Library, to bring the library into Americans with Disabilities Act compliance. Library administrators caution that “certain areas of the building may be closed for short periods, and noise may be unavoidable at times.” [Arlington Public Library]

Millennials Leaving D.C. for Cheaper Cities — “A new analysis by George Mason University researchers finds that… more people are leaving the region than arriving for the first time since the Great Recession. Millennial deserters — ages 20 to 29 — are one factor. But another big one is baby boomers leaving to begin retirement life elsewhere. Families and the unemployed are also going.” [Washington Post]

‘Anti-Muslim’ Group Holding Conference — Despite opposition, ACT for America — which describes itself as “a nonprofit national security organization” but which is described by critics as “the largest anti-Muslim organization in the U.S.” — kicked off its annual conference yesterday at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Crystal City. [Southern Poverty Law Center]

Yorktown Teacher Publishes Third Book — “Melanie McCabe, an English teacher at Yorktown High School and now three-time author, will debut her new work, His Other Life: Searching For My Father, His First Wife, and Tennessee Williams at the Arlington Central Library (1015 N Quincy St., Arlington) on Thursday, Oct. 5.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Region’s Dry Spell Continues — Today is expected to be the 20th straight day without measurable precipitation at Reagan National Airport. But it is still far from the region’s record of 34 straight rainless days in the fall of 2007. [Washington Post]

Photo courtesy Leslie Aun

by Katie Pyzyk October 2, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

In about a year, the newly renovated Ballston Quarter mall is expected to open. For now, construction workers are plugging away daily at tearing down parts of the old Ballston Common Mall and building up the new development.

A portion of the mall’s brick facade along Wilson Blvd has been torn down, revealing steel beams, concrete columns and a lot of workers. The hole in the side of the existing structure is part of the plan to transform the previously enclosed mall into a more open design with more street-facing storefronts and a courtyard.

The new overhead pedestrian bridge connecting 4201 Wilson Blvd to the mall will be near the new courtyard.

At the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Randolph Street, where the Macy’s furniture store used to be, upward progress is being made on what will be a high-rise apartment complex. The tower will have more than 400 units and leasing should begin next year, according to the Ballston Quarter website.

In addition to a few holdouts who remain in place during construction — such as CVS Pharmacy and the Regal Ballston Common movie theater — at least two new businesses have committed to opening locations in the renovated mall: fast casual eatery Mi and Yu Noodle Bar and “eatertainment” destination Punch Bowl Social.

The entire Ballston Quarter development is still scheduled to open in fall 2018.

by Katie Pyzyk September 28, 2017 at 12:45 pm 0

Starting in October, a construction project will close the Van Buren Bridge near the East Falls Church Metro until next spring.

The bridge expansion and replacement project is scheduled to begin the week of October 16, and all bridge access will end at that time. In a letter to residents, the City of Falls Church indicated that construction is expected to continue at least through March 2018.

During construction, Van Buren Street will be closed between 19th Street North in Arlington and East Columbia Street in Falls Church. Northbound vehicles will be rerouted from Columbia Street to Roosevelt Street and 19th Street North. Southbound vehicles will be rerouted from 19th Street North to Sycamore Street and 16th Street North. Cyclists and pedestrians will detour on an existing bridge along the W&OD trail in Benjamin Banneker Park.

Construction is expected to take place most weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and some weekend work may also be necessary. Residents in the affected area will still have access to their driveways and homes when the closure is in effect.

The project to remove and rebuild the existing Van Buren Bridge will repair structural deficiencies and add pedestrian access along the corridor to the East Falls Church Metro. The new bridge will have two lanes for vehicle traffic and cyclists in addition to a 12-foot wide pedestrian walkway.

by ARLnow.com September 27, 2017 at 8:30 am 0

County Celebrates ART Maintenance Facility Opening — Arlington County officials drove a bus through the ribbons at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Arlington Transit Light Maintenance Facility near Crystal City. “The facility provides… fueling, maintenance and wash services for the entire ART fleet,” noted a press release. “Washing and fueling services for ART buses had been contracted from an adjacent Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) facility at a higher cost and with restricted hours.” [Arlington County]

Banned Books Week at Libraries — Arlington Public Library is marking Banned Books Week, which runs through Sept. 30, by encouraging readers to check out at least one “challenged” book this week. [Arlington Public Library]

Lamenting Construction Inconveniences — From “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark: “My East Falls Church neighbors and I are at nerves’ end about a seemingly perpetual construction project we drive or walk past daily. The county’s stormwater drainage system expansion has been underway for a year at N. 24th and Rockingham streets. It has necessitated countless automobile and pedestrian detours… Construction improves our shared living space and boosts the economy. But it’s tough on neighbors.” [Falls Church News-Press]

W-L HOF Noms — The Washington-Lee High School Athletic Hall of Fame is accepting nominations for new inductees through Nov. 1. [W-L Athletics]

Lost Puppy in Va. Square-Ballston Area — A local resident is searching for her puppy, named Faith, who got loose Sunday night and was “lost by Quincy Park running towards Washington Blvd.” The dog is described as “a very sweet, incredibly timid boxer mix. Her identifying markings are: light brown body, black/white muzzle, white dipped paws, and a large spot of missing hair on her right hind thigh.” [Facebook]

Legal Drama for Matchbox — Matchbox Food Group, which counts a large Matchbox restaurant in Pentagon City among its locations, is locked in a messy legal battle between two of its cofounders and two of its financiers: a bank and the bank’s CEO, who is also an investor in the company. [Washington Business Journal]

by Chris Teale September 20, 2017 at 2:00 pm 0

A new hotel replacing the former Colony House Furniture Store in Rosslyn is starting to take shape, several years after its approval by the Arlington County Board.

The Hilton Homewood Suites at 1700 Lee Highway will be eight stories high with 168 rooms. Below ground will be two levels of parking, containing 102 spaces. The Board approved the plan by developer B.F. Saul in 2013.

As of Tuesday, the hotel’s main structure appeared to be finished, with work continuing inside on the future guest rooms, parking garage, loading bay and front entrance area. The hotel is close to the Rosslyn Vue condo building, but the trees between the two properties act as a shield of sorts between them.

On a web page about the project, B.F. Saul said the hotel is “scheduled to open in the near future.” Representatives with the company did not respond to requests for additional comment.

B.F. Saul said guests can expect “a focus on comfort and functionality” in an extended-stay hotel designed to be “guests’ home away from home while in the DC region for business or pleasure.”

“Sustainability is at the forefront of its design, construction and operation,” the page reads. “The suites offer large work areas, well-appointed bathrooms, digital flat screen televisions, fully-equipped kitchens, and an upscale, yet warm, home-like décor. The hotel will feature 1,400 square feet of highly flexible meeting space, and a best-of-class, 1,100 square foot fitness facility with state of the art equipment. The hotel will also feature a pool, spa, trail bicycles, and an outdoor patio equipped with a gas fireplace and built-in grill.”

by ARLnow.com September 18, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

County Board Approves Construction Contracts — At its meeting Saturday, the Arlington County Board approved a pair of contracts: a $2.5 million contract to build phase two of the Washington Blvd Trail project and a $6.6 million contract to remove an elevated roadway through part of Crystal City. [Arlington County]

Firefighters Save Kittens — “A passerby heard the kittens crying from a compost box and saw one of them with its neck stuck between the posts. The Good Samaritan flagged down a nearby firetruck and the firefighters were able to free the kittens. Animal Control was then called to the scene to help locate all of the kittens and bring them to safety.” [WJLA]

Lubber Run Community Center Design OKed — The County Board has given its approval to the conceptual design for the new Lubber Run Community Center and park, which will replace the original community center, built in 1956. The next steps in the $48 million project are for the design to be completed and the facility to be built. [Arlington County, InsideNova]

Arlington Company Raises $42 Million — Ballston-based Federated Wireless, which creates shared spectrum technology for the wireless industry, has raised $42 million in Series B investment. [VC News Daily]

‘Kayaktivists’ Protest Near Pentagon — A group of ‘kayaktivist’ protesters raised banners that said “Stop War on Planet” and “No Wars for Oil” in the Pentagon Lagoon, near the Pentagon and Columbia Marina, yesterday. [Facebook]

Victories for Yorktown, Wakefield — The Yorktown (3-0) and Wakefield (2-1) varsity football teams both won at home this weekend. Washington-Lee (0-3) lost and remains winless. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Jim Webster

by Chris Teale September 12, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Arlington County is set to add a new section of bicycle and pedestrian trail along Washington Blvd.

The Arlington County Board is scheduled this weekend to consider a plan for the second phase of the trail, running north along Washington Blvd from Towers Park — near Columbia Pike — to 2nd Street S. It will then link with the first phase of the trail along Washington Blvd, between Arlington Blvd and S. Walter Reed Drive.

The project proposes to construct a 10-foot wide paved trail on the western side of Washington Blvd. The trail will be mostly located in the road’s existing right-of-way, but also runs through the U.S. Navy Supply Facility (701 S. Courthouse Road) and Towers Park.

County staff moved the northern section of the trail onto the shoulder of Washington Blvd to reduce the need to build retaining walls and reduce the number of trees to be cut down. Under the current plan, about 84 trees would be removed and as many as 160 replanted after the project is complete.

“The project will serve as a valuable link in the overall trail network as it provides a north-south trail between the Columbia Pike (Towers Park) area and the Arlington Blvd Trail,” county staff wrote in a report endorsing the plan. “Recent improvements to the trails along Arlington Blvd will now be more accessible via this new Washington Blvd trail.”

In a letter to the County Board on September 6, Penrose Neighborhood Association president Maria “Pete” Durgan said members “wholeheartedly support” the project.

The county budgeted just over $2.1 million for the project, with just over $420,000 as contingent in case of change orders. Construction is expected to begin this winter and wrap up late next year.

by Chris Teale September 7, 2017 at 9:55 am 0

A new beauty store is set to move to Pentagon Row, reportedly as early as next spring.

Ulta Beauty is opening a 10,000-square-foot store at 1101 S. Joyce Street, replacing the Vitamin Shoppe and Lime Fresh Mexican Grill. The store will be close to Harris Teeter and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Washingtonian magazine reported late last month it will open in spring 2018. As of Thursday, construction crews were hard at work on the space.

Ulta offers a wide range of beauty products, including brands like Urban Decay, Nars and MAC. It also offers services like facials, eyebrow waxing and hair styling.

Already, Ulta has stores nearby in Bailey’s Crossroads, Springfield and Northeast Washington. Its online careers portal notes several open positions at the planned Pentagon Row store.

Ulta is one of a number of businesses that have opened or are opening at Pentagon Row in the coming months. Signs nearby welcome the arrivals of the F45 Training gym, Club Pilates, Aabee Kabob, a Deli and Basic Burger.

Basic Burger, a Shake Shack-eque burger restaurant, opened its first location in Courthouse last year.

by Chris Teale August 30, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

Ballston is prepared to cope with the imminent departure of the National Science Foundation, a major local employer, says Ballston Business Improvement District CEO Tina Leone.

The NSF is set to finish moving from Stafford Place on Wilson Blvd to Alexandria later this year, and began to move employees earlier this month.

But with a number of new construction projects ongoing in Ballston, and the upcoming opening of the renovated Ballston Quarter mall, Leone said the neighborhood is going to be just fine without a federal tenant and its more than 2,000 employees, even though she said it will add about 1 percent to Arlington’s office vacancy rate.

“This is our first real challenge, I believe,” she said. “Ballston has been very much growing and sustaining organically, it’s always been a place where people can live and work very easily. And now this is probably our first big challenge, I believe.”

Leone said the reason for her optimism lies in the major development projects underway, especially the redeveloping Ballston Common Mall, rebranded as Ballston Quarter.

Demolition of the mall to make way for a new apartment tower and retail space has been ongoing for just over a year, and Leone said once that project is done in 2018 it can anchor the rest of the neighborhood.

Leone also pointed to the likes of Marymount University’s “Newside” building, construction of new mixed-use developments at 750 N. Glebe Road and the former Carpool building, as well as developer Jamestown LP’s revamp of the NSF’s current home for new tenants, as other examples of the neighborhood’s continued growth.

Ballston will also be home to a revamped Central United Methodist Church that will include affordable housing, as well as several other new apartment buildings.

“The Ballston Quarter development has helped spur on these other developments,” Leone said. “Once developers knew that this project was a go, they said, ‘okay, now we can push the button on our projects too.’ Who doesn’t want to live next to a beautiful new open air retail, restaurants, 360,000 square feet of fun? That’s what really pulled the trigger on many of these other developments, for sure.”

(more…)

by ARLnow.com August 25, 2017 at 9:05 am 0

NSF Starting Its Move to Alexandria — “Moving day for the first group of National Science Foundation workers relocating from the agency’s Ballston headquarters to Alexandria starts this weekend, more than four years — and more than a bit of controversy — after selecting the site for its new home.” [Washington Business Journal]

TSA Moving to Springfield — The headquarters of the Transportation Security Administration will be moving from Pentagon City to Springfield, after the GSA awarded a new 15-year, $316 million lease. The move is expected to take place in 2020. [Washington Business Journal]

Construction Activity at DCA — Construction is underway at Reagan National for the airport’s $1 billion expansion project. [NBC Washington]

‘Doc’ Muse Dies — “Leonard ‘Doc’ Muse, who for 65 years – from the era of Jim Crow to the election of an African-American president – watched over the Nauck community from his perch behind the counter of the Green Valley Pharmacy, died the weekend of Aug. 19-20. He was 94 years old.” [InsideNova]

by Chris Teale August 18, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

Work to rebuild the Wilson School in Rosslyn could cause some inconveniences for those in the area as crews closed a sidewalk and street near the project.

Due to construction at the school at 1601 Wilson Blvd, 18th Street N. is closed to non-construction traffic between N. Quinn Street and N. Oak Street for the entirety of the project.

And pedestrians walking along that side of Wilson Blvd near the soon-to-be-rebuilt Fire Station 210 and a 7-Eleven convenience store will need to cross over as the sidewalk outside the school is closed too.

Construction on the new $100 million building appears to be underway, with work expected to be done in fall 2019. It will house 775 students from the future H-B Woodlawn and Stratford programs.

by Chris Teale August 15, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

(Updated August 16, 10:40 a.m.) With the summer almost at an end, several construction projects in Rosslyn and Clarendon are moving along.

In Clarendon, despite a small fire in May that prompted a major response from the Arlington County Fire Department, the Ten at Clarendon apartment building is open for business on 10th Street N.

A spokeswoman said the 143-unit luxury residential community was completed last month and residents are moving in. Also in July, the building added virtual reality tours for its new apartments .

In Rosslyn, a new six-story condo building is starting to rise in place of an aging low-rise apartment complex. The project, now called “Key and Nash” in signs posted nearby, will add 63 units at the corner of Key Blvd and N. Nash Street.

The project by Reston-based developer NVR, Inc., the parent company of homebuilder Ryan Homes, looks to be well on the way to completion.

Close by, demolition of the former Wilson School is over, and now workers have cleared the ground to start to lay the foundations for the new building.

The new school at 1601 Wilson Blvd, which will house the H-B Woodlawn and Stratford programs, is scheduled to open in fall 2019 and house 775 students across both programs.

But less than a block away, there appears to have been little progress as of yet on the proposed redevelopment of the 39-unit Queens Court apartment complex at 1801 N. Quinn Street.

The County Board approved in February a project by the local nonprofit Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing to bring 249 committed affordable units in a 12-story building.

And in Radnor-Fort Myer Heights, work is continuing on two new residential buildings and a rebuilt substance-abuse recovery facility. Crews and a variety of heavy machinery are on site at the project, known as Gables Pointe 14, at 1307 N. Rolfe Street. The 370 apartments in two buildings, underground parking and an 8,000-square-foot shared park are set to be complete in 2020.

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