Demolition Underway on Amazon Buildings in Crystal City

Arlington’s Crystal City neighborhood is echoing with the sounds of demolition today as work gets underway on Amazon’s new, temporary offices.

Loud, heavy demolition is underway at 1800 S. Bell Street and 1770 Crystal Drive, two of three buildings near the Crystal City Metro station that Amazon plans to lease from JBG Smith. The aging office buildings are being refurbished prior to Amazon’s arrival.

Lighter construction is underway at 241 18th Street S., which is also part of Amazon’s plans but which has other, existing tenants.

The space — around 500,000 square feet in total — is planned to only be temporary for the tech giant, which is set to eventually move to a brand new office campus near the Pentagon City. JBG Smith, which plans to sell Amazon that property for its permanent campus, is rehabilitating Amazon’s Crystal City office buildings as part of a “big bet” on the area’s future with Amazon on board.

The arrival of “HQ2” is not only prestigious for Arlington and the combined Crystal City-Pentagon City-Potomac Yard area now being called National Landing, but also for the contractors working on the project. On Friday. one contractor even sent out a press release, below, and posted on Facebook about its work on the Crystal City project.

Arlington’s best-known project is currently under construction. Muller Erosion & Site Services has begun work on the highly anticipated Amazon’s new HQ2 in Arlington, Virginia. Amazon is building its second headquarters in the Crystal City, and Muller Erosion & Site Services is proud and excited to be associated with the project.

Amazon has said it is committed to create 25,000 jobs in Arlington, a region it considers to be a great fit for putting in place the needed talent pool. The company will invest $2.5 billion in Northern Virginia, and plans are also in place to build 4 million sq. ft of energy efficient office space. […]

For Muller Erosion & Site Services Inc, this is a prestigious project and affirms the company’s high standards of services. The company is considered to be a leading site construction business in the Mid-Atlantic region and works on several high-profile projects throughout the region.

“We are thrilled and honored to be part of Amazon’s new plans to build its second headquarters in Arlington. Our best service will be delivered by our experienced team, and we look forward to contributing to the project however we can,” said a spokesperson for Muller Erosion & Site Services.

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Construction Underway at “The Lot” in Clarendon

Construction is now underway at “The Lot,” a long-awaited outdoor beer garden in Clarendon.

A red, enclosed deck and pine picnic tables are being built at the site, at the corner of Wilson Blvd and 10th Street N. The Rebel Taco food truck is now parked on the site behind a fence.

The site has been in the works for two years on a former used car lot in Clarendon. Since then progress has been slow: a wooden fence erected in October last year was the first major work. In February, crews replaced the site’s old Prime Auto Group signs with two black billboard-style signs reading “The Lot: Beer Garden.”

The company behind The Lot is Social Restaurant Group, which also opened Pamplona and Bar Bao. Originally, they planned to open The Lot in March 2017 but were delayed until the summer, then the following spring, citing a lengthy permitting process.

The Lot’s permit application asked for at least 150 seats, an enclosed deck, and a kitchen.

Social Restaurant Group co-founder Mike Bramson told ARLnow last year he hoped The Lot would offer “a vast variety, from Belgian to German to local craft beers” as well as frozen drinks, food from the Rebel Taco food truck, and games like cornhole and giant Jenga.

The beer garden’s website is currently blank and its Facebook page has no information yet on when it may open.

 

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Morning Notes

Experts See More Amazon Jobs Heading Here — “Given Amazon’s Northern Virginia incentives allowing for as many as 38,000 jobs over 15 years, CoStar Managing Consultant and Senior Real Estate Economist Paul Leonard expects it will absorb much of the planned New York payroll, despite Amazon’s company line that ‘nothing has changed’ for National Landing.” [Bisnow]

More on I-395 Incident — Arlington County Police say it was a juvenile suspect, driving a stolen car without a driver’s license, who caused a big crash on I-395 before leading police on a foot chase during Tuesday’s evening rush hour. [Arlington County]

Inside Look at Memorial Bridge Work — Workers are laboring to restore the Arlington Memorial Bridge to its former glory, one piece of 90-year-old granite at a time. [NBC Washington]

Copa Kitchen & Bar Opening Today — The latest restaurant to open at Ballston Quarter is Copa Kitchen & Bar, which is expected to serve customers from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. today, according to a social media post. [Instagram]

Where’s the Weather? — Our faithful weather bar, which has graced the top of our site for many years, is out of commission, for now. IBM, in its infinite wisdom, killed the source of our data. Why, Watson, why? We’re working to restore the current conditions display with a new data source, but it’s probably going to take a few months. [Weather Underground]

Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler

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Workers Kick Off Four Months of Ballston Quarter Pedestrian Bridge Construction Tonight

Workers might’ve lifted the new Ballston Quarter pedestrian bridge into place over Wilson Blvd, but it won’t be ready for walkers for months yet.

The county announced yesterday (Thursday) that another four months of work are scheduled on the bridge, which is designed to connect the newly revamped Ballston Quarter development with the neighborhood’s Metro station, linked through the Ballston Exchange development at 4201 Wilson Blvd.

That work means that more road closures are underway on a busy Ballston street.

Tonight (Friday), Wilson Blvd will close between N. Randolph and N. Stuart streets starting at 8 p.m. It won’t reopen until Sunday at 6 p.m.

Then, starting Monday (March 4), county officials say they plan to close the eastbound lanes of Wilson Blvd overnight on weekdays for the next eight weeks. The closure will run from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. each night, and they’re designed to allow time for “glass installation” on the bridge.

Once that wraps up, workers will close the westbound lanes of Wilson overnight for the next eight weeks to allow for the completion of that work.

Ballston Quarter’s developer, Forest City, also recently secured the County Board’s blessing to continue to use Mosaic Park as a construction staging area through March 22. The developer used the space to assemble the bridge, temporarily delaying planned renovations for the park.

Forest City had hoped to have the bridge ready in time for the development to start opening to customers last fall, but quickly realized it would need more time for the project.

It’s one of many delays for the redevelopment of the old Ballston Common mall — not only has the developer missed its own targets for opening stores to customers, but it’s currently unclear just when its new food court may open for business.

Photo 1 via @ArlingtonDES

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Morning Notes

Snow Likely Tonight — An inch or two of snow may fall overnight tonight. Snow is also possible Sunday. [Capital Weather Gang]

Clement Running for County Board Again — “She’s been a familiar name and face in local elections for nearly a decade, and Audrey Clement has made it onto the ballot again for 2019. Clement filed all requisite paperwork to run for County Board as an independent, Arlington election officials confirmed.” [InsideNova]

Lee Highway Revitalization Process Chugs Along — “Neighborhood activists… turned out Feb. 12 to execute ‘The Arlington Way’ and put in their two cents on how to create a theme for the multi-ingredient pudding that has characterized Lee Highway since it was so-named nearly a century ago.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Ballston Apartment Project Update — “Saul anticipates substantial completion of its massive North Glebe Road project by early 2020. The $275 million development will include 490 apartments and 60,000 square feet of retail — small-format Target included — across 2.8 acres.” [Washington Business Journal]

Dim Sum Restaurant Closes in Seven Corners — “Fortune is closed for good. Always an awkward space in the middle of the Home Depot parking lot, but I know it was a special spot for many.” [Twitter]

Lubber Run to Become Smoke-Free — Thanks to a change in state law, Lubber Run Amphitheater could be smoke-free by the end of the year. The state has until now prohibited Arlington County from being able to enforce a smoking ban at the venue. [InsideNova]

Photo courtesy David Ruckman

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Morning Notes

Board Member Wants Lower School Costs — “In remarks to a local service organization, Matt de Ferranti telegraphed the likelihood that Arlington property owners would see a higher real-estate-tax rate this year, in part to pay for higher school costs. But at the same time, he said the days of gold-plated school facilities must come to an end.” [InsideNova]

Arlington No. 5 on ‘Women in Tech’ List — Arlington County ranks fifth on a new list of “the Best Cities for Women in Tech in 2019.” D.C. ranked No. 1. [SmartAsset]

Isabella Restaurant Gear Up for Auction — “Rasmus Auctions is advertising online auctions for kitchen equipment, dining room contents, decor and more at Yona, Pepita and Kapnos Taverna in Arlington until about noon March 13.” [Washington Business Journal]

County Expanding Drug Take-Back Boxes — “In the first calendar year of the Permanent Drug Take-Back Box program, residents safely disposed of 1008 pounds of unused, unwanted or expired prescription medications. Due to the success of the program, an additional permanent drug take-back box has been installed at Arlington County Fire Station #5.” [Arlington County]

AWLA Calls for More Pet Foster Families — “We need your help! Our kennels are full and we are in URGENT need of foster homes for medium-large adult dogs and kittens undergoing treatment for ringworm.” [Facebook]

Falls Church Becoming ‘Un-boring’ — The sleepy City of Falls Church is attracting younger residents amid a development boom, cheered on in an editorial by the little city’s newspaper. [Falls Church News-Press]

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New Curb Extension Blocks Off Right-Turn Lane in Ballston, Prompting Headaches for Drivers

Ballston’s bevy of construction projects has led to another headache for drivers near Wilson Blvd.

Workers recently wrapped up some work on sidewalks at the intersection of N. Randolph Street and Wilson Blvd, near a trio of large construction projectsBallston QuarterBallston Exchange and Liberty Center. That included the installation of a new curb extension designed to make life a bit easier on pedestrians, who were previously a bit baffled by construction at the intersection.

But the downside of that sidewalk work is that the newly finished curb blocks off most of N. Randolph Street’s right-turn lane. The road frequently gets backed up, particularly during the evening rush hour, creating crowded conditions on the side street.

County officials say they’re aware of the problem and are hoping to fix it, but the wet weather has made that a bit of a challenge.

“The curb extension was constructed and [lane] re-striping usually follows,” Jessica Baxter, a spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Environmental Services, told ARLnow. “This is weather-dependent and requires that no moisture be on the pavement.”

Baxter says that work is now set to take place next Saturday (Feb. 23).

In the meantime, she said the developer managing the project has placed traffic cones in the lane to make it clear that drivers can’t use the lane.

“The right lane will go away while the next lane over will become either a thru lane or right turn lane,” Baxter said.

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Construction Work Set to Close Sections of W&OD, Four Mile Run Trails Starting Next Week

Some work to repair stream erosion will prompt a weeks-long closure of two trails in the Dominion Hills neighborhood starting next week.

The W&OD trail and Four Mile Run trail will both be impacted by the construction, aimed at reversing the impacts of erosion along Four Mile Run as it nears I-66. Construction is set to kick off on Monday (Feb. 18).

The work will force the closure of the W&OD trail for about a month, the county says, shuttering a section between N. Ohio Street and its intersection with the Custis Trail.

The section of the Four Mile Run trail in the area, between N. Madison Street and Patrick Henry Drive, will be closed for about six weeks.

“Tree impacts will be avoided to extent feasible,” the county wrote on its website. “Some trees will be pruned along the Four Mile Run trail in the vicinity of the staging/access area.”

Workers will post detour signs near the closed sections of the trails. Cyclists and pedestrians will be directed onto N. Manchester Street, then 10th Road N. to avoid the construction.

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Amazon Signals It Could Sign Agreement with Local Unions to Govern Arlington Construction

Amazon is showing an increasing willingness to sign a collective bargaining agreement with local unions before it sets to work building new office space in Arlington, perhaps meeting a frequent demand of activists concerned about the tech giant’s labor practices.

Though the company cautions that nothing is set in stone until county officials formally sign off on an incentive deal to bring the tech giant’s new headquarters to Crystal City and Pentagon City, Amazon is sending signals that it’s open to the prospect of striking a “project labor agreement” with construction workers who could someday erect the company’s future home in Arlington.

Should the company someday strike such a deal, commonly known as a “PLA,” the agreement would set out the employment conditions for all workers involved in Amazon’s construction efforts (whether or not they belong to a union) before the company starts accepting bids for the project. The PLA could govern everything from pay rates to workers’ compensation claims, and the agreements are generally designed to ensure labor peace during a major project while also improving conditions for workers.

“We’re definitely open to it,” Amazon spokeswoman Jill Kerr told ARLnow. “But this is all still pretty early. We really have our heads down, focused on working with the community on this initial package for approval before county officials.”

Kerr says that company has already held an initial meeting on the topic with representatives from the Baltimore-D.C. Building Trades, a coalition of unionized construction workers, and JBG Smith, the company’s future landlord at some existing buildings and development partner for other properties.

A spokesman for JBG Smith declined to comment on the deliberations, but Kerr stressed that discussions were “all hypothetical” and remain very much in the earliest possible stages of debate. Amazon plans to both build new offices in Pentagon City and renovate others in Crystal City, and Kerr believes it’s too early to say how any future PLA would apply to that range of projects.

However, Steve Courtien, the D.C. field representative for the building trades, came away from the meeting cautiously optimistic about the prospects of someday striking a deal with Amazon.

During a Feb. 3 town hall on Amazon convened by Arlington Democrats, he said the company seemed generally “positive” about the idea, particularly because the tech firm has worked out PLAs for some of its other projects around the country — Kerr said she was unable to confirm that latter assertion.

As for JBG Smith, Courtien said the idea of a PLA was more of a “mind bend” to them, but he fully expects the development firm to follow Amazon’s lead, given the size of the company’s investment in the area.

“That’s what they have to get past,” Courtien said. “Amazon basically has to tell JBG, ‘this is what we want,’ then they say ‘OK’ and negotiate the PLA with private contractors.”

The County Board is signaling that it’s broadly supportive of those efforts, and members have said in the past that they’ve encouraged Amazon to strike a PLA before moving into Arlington.

But Virginia law prohibits government agencies from requiring PLAs as a condition of allowing new construction (in keeping with the state’s tradition of pro-business, anti-union regulations) and county officials are cautioning that they’ll only have a limited role to play in the discussions.

“I think I speak for the whole Board in saying it’s something we’re all supportive of,” County Board member Erik Gutshall said during the town hall. “But it’s not something we can legally mandate from them.”

Anti-Amazon activists have been similarly enthusiastic about the idea of a PLA for the company’s construction work, considering the frequent concerns raised about how the tech giant treats its warehouse workers.

Stories of employees being unable to take bathroom breaks without risking their jobs or warehouses filled with boiling heat in the summer and freezing cold in the winter have spooked many county residents. Roshan Abraham, a leading Amazon critic as part of his leadership role with the progressive group Our Revolution Arlington, also points out that the company has pledged to oppose any unionization efforts it encounters at its other new headquarters in New York City.

That’s why Abraham believes it will be crucial for Arlington workers to secure a PLA before Amazon comes to town, though he fears it might not be enough to combat the huge company’s power.

“We shouldn’t stop just at a PLA,” Abraham said during the town hall. “We should be pressuring them even further to stay out of their union-busting behavior, which has been pretty well documented elsewhere.”

Ultimately, Abraham is so skeptical of the company’s business practices that he believes it’s a poor fit for Arlington’s values (even though he is “not that deluded” to believe that the county will turn down the company’s new headquarters).

Board members say they have their own concerns about Amazon’s ethics, whether it signs a PLA or not, but they don’t believe they’re substantial enough to justify barring the company from moving in.

After all, Gutshall pointed out that Arlington is also home to Boeing, a major military contractor, and while he may not like that they “manufacture equipment that is designed to kill people all over the world,” he hasn’t tried to chase the company away.

“We’ve not made it a condition of a corporation locating here or a resident locating here to abide by our progressive values for how you conduct your business,” said County Board member Katie Cristol. “Some 10 or 15 percent of Arlingtonians voted for Donald Trump. I’m not a fan of that, but I’m not going to try to kick them out of Arlington County or say they can’t live here.”

Photo via JBG Smith

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Morning Notes

More Rumbles of More Amazon — “John Boyd, principal of the Boyd Co. Inc., a private site selection firm in Princeton, N.J… said he wouldn’t be surprised if Amazon decided to add more jobs to its operations in Crystal City.” [Washington Business Journal]

ACFD Rescues Stuck Puppy — Arlington firefighters helped to free a 9-week-old puppy whose head got stuck while being a bit too curious. “She thanked the crew with many kisses,” the department said. [Twitter]

Caps Player Joins Bash — New Arlington-based fitness business Bash Boxing has gained an investor and partner known for throwing a few punches: Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson. [Washington Business Journal]

Middle School Project May Be Delayed — “The surroundings may prove a bit cramped for a while, but county school officials say they are working up contingencies if the expansion of Dorothy Hamm Middle School isn’t ready in time for the start of classes in September.” [InsideNova]

Favola vs. Merlene Preview — “Has a longtime member of the Arlington Democratic establishment solidly represented Northern Virginia at the state legislature in Richmond, or is there need for new blood?” [Greater Greater Washington]

Civic Federation Diversity Efforts Hit Snag — “Duke Banks hopes one of his legacies will be a commitment to bringing in a younger and more diverse group of leaders… Efforts to bring in new faces at the venerable organization have seen successes, but took a recent step backward with the resignation of two members of the board’s leadership.” [InsideNova]

Nearby: Affordable Homes Disappearing in Alexandria — The number of single-family homes in Alexandria valued at less than $500,000 dipped below the number priced higher last year. [Washington Business Journal]

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Morning Notes

Good News for Ed Center Project — “It may not come with all the bells and whistles, but county school officials should be able to convert the Arlington Education Center building into classroom space without exceeding the $37 million budgeted for the project. Two estimates… came in slightly under budget to turn the former school-system headquarters into classroom space for 500 to 600 students.” [InsideNova]

Succession Question for Va.’s Leaders — Under fire for each of their own controversies, resignations by Virginia’s Democratic governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general could end up triggering a special election or even elevating a Republican state lawmaker into one of the top jobs. Meanwhile, the chaos in Richmond was the lead story on the national evening news this week — twice — and made the cover of this morning’s New York Post, with the headline “Virginia is for Losers.” [Politico, Twitter]

Amazon and Homelessness — “Along with the promise of 25,000 high-paying jobs will come more expensive housing, and possibly, more people priced out of homes, and some, falling through the cracks. Seattle, where Amazon is based, has a huge problem with homelessness. Will Seattle’s problems become ours?” [WUSA 9]

Possible Presidential Candidate Lives in Arlington — Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who is considering a run for president, reportedly rents a three-bedroom home in Arlington with her husband, for their time in the D.C. area. The current rent is estimated at $4,500 per month. [Heavy]

Merger of Banks with Local Branches — “BB&T will buy SunTrust Banks for about $28 billion in an all-stock deal, the companies said on Thursday, creating the sixth largest U.S. lender in the biggest bank deal since the 2007-2009 financial crisis.” [CNBC]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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County Gears Up to Spend Nearly $410,000 Installing A/V System at Long Bridge Park Aquatics Center

Arlington officials are getting ready to spend nearly $410,000 for the installation of video boards at the Long Bridge Park aquatics and fitness center, a pricy project that has drawn plenty of criticism over the years.

The County Board is set to approve a contract with a construction company this weekend, after staff submitted a report arguing that only a firm with “specialized knowledge” will be able to handle the installation of the center’s audiovisual systems. The county’s main contractor kicked off work on the building this summer, though workers have mainly been occupied with clearing the site at 475 Long Bridge Drive since then.

In all, the contract calls for the erection of an “LED video board” in the center’s main “natatorium,” complete with an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Staff wrote in the Board report that the work will also include “fixed video cameras, associated broadcasting equipment, ceiling mounted speakers, and other associated hardware and software” in order to allow for the “live streaming of swimming and diving events.”

“The facility will also include speaker systems in the leisure/family pool, that will interact with wireless microphones, as well as in exercise spaces in the facility,” staff wrote. “The package also includes central paging, to ensure all areas of the building can be reached in an emergency.”

The Long Bridge project has long been the subject of intense scrutiny, after creeping costs convinced county leaders to repeatedly delay its construction. Former County Board member John Vihstadt was no fan of the project either, railing against its expense during his successful bids for office in 2014. Vihstadt and other skeptics around the county argued that Arlington had more pressing budget needs than a new pool, and that the project had become full of excesses.

But the Board signed off on a scaled down, $60 million version of the project over Vihstadt’s objections in 2017. However, there were few mentions of the audiovisual system set to be installed as part of this work during debates over the matter.

The Board is currently set to draw the $410,000 for the A/V installation from a $10.7 million fund the county set aside for the project’s “soft costs,” on top of the original $60 million sum designated for the center’s construction. Board members are set to approve the new contract at its meeting Saturday (Jan. 26).

When the project is finished, likely sometime in 2021, the center is also set to include room for diving at a variety of heights, and a family pool, complete with elements including a lazy river, splash pad for tots, basketball, volleyball, lap lanes and a water slide. The project also includes a new fitness center, billed as the largest one operated by the county, and an expansion of the adjacent park and its walkways.

A working group convened to hash out potential fees for the center’s users is also set to meet next Thursday (Jan. 31), as the county solicits feedback on what services residents want to see at Long Bridge.

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NoVa Congressional Delegation Pushes for Funding for Major GW Parkway Rehab Work

Federal officials think they have a good shot at winning $126 million in grant funds to make a series of badly needed repairs on a long section of the GW Parkway, and Northern Virginia’s congressional delegation is throwing its weight behind the effort.

The National Park Service, which maintains the road, is currently applying for a hefty U.S. Department of Transportation grant to fund rehabilitation work on a roughly eight-mile-long stretch of the parkway, as it runs between the Spout Run Parkway in Rosslyn and I-495. Now, both of Virginia’s senators and three local members of Congress are lending their support to the funding push, in a bid to finally afford some changes on the aging roadway.

“The proposed project will address serious deterioration of the GWMP and implement significant safety improvements,” the lawmakers wrote in a Jan. 8 letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. “This project will improve a critical link in the National Capital Region’s transportation network while preserving the historical and cultural characteristics that make the parkway one of the most scenic roadways in the country. These proposed improvements will increase the safety of visitors while significantly extending the life of the parkway.”

Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner (both D-Va.) both signed the letter, as did Virginia Reps. Don Beyer (D-8th District) and Jennifer Wexton (D-10th District). Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.’s lone, non-voting representative in Congress also added her support.

The NPS says the construction work, set to cost about $150 million in all, will start at the parkway’s Spout Run Parkway exit and include:

  • Making drives smoother by replacing the asphalt pavement
  • Replacing guardrails and repairing walls
  • Repairing stormwater management systems to keep excess water from damaging the road
  • Constructing new concrete curbs
  • Rehabilitating parts of two historic, scenic overlooks
  • Lengthening entrance and exit lanes at some interchanges

Officials also hope to use the cash to replace the stormwater drainage grates that line the parkway, which have long made for a bumpy ride for drivers. They’re also envisioning adding four “emergency turnarounds,” in order to allow police to more easily redirect drivers who stop on the road due to a crash or inclement weather.

The construction would also include improvements at the parkway’s interchange with Chain Bridge Road in McLean, like adding a new traffic signal to the area.

The lawmakers note in the letter that this northern stretch of the parkway was first built in 1962, and with more than 33 million vehicles using the road each year, it’s badly deteriorated in the decades since.

The NPS is hoping to win the funding through the Department of Transportation’s “Nationally Significant Federal Land and Tribal Projects” program. In a release, park service officials said they believe the project “will compete well” for cash through that program, given the parkway’s “significance” and the fact that the NPS has already wrapped up schematic design work for the construction.

If all goes well, officials hope to kick off construction sometime next year.

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Safety Concerns Prompt Sidewalk Closure on Four Mile Run Bridge to Alexandria

Safety concerns have prompted the county to close a sidewalk along a bridge over Four Mile Run connecting Arlington and Alexandria.

The western sidewalk of the bridge connecting S. Arlington Ridge Road with Mount Vernon Avenue is now closed indefinitely, the county announced last week.

Officials say a recent inspection revealed “beam deterioration” on one of the supports under the bridge’s western sidewalk. The structure was built back in 1956.

The county now plans to use “signage and barricades” to direct people to the other side of the bridge. A Metrobus stop serving the 10A, 10E, 23A and 23B routes and the entry to the Four Mile Run Park and the Four Mile Run Trail sit just before the north end of the bridge on the east side at S. Glebe Road.

Another Metrobus stop sits at the northwest corner of Arlington Ridge and Glebe Road, serving the 10A and 10E routes.

County engineers plan to “monitor conditions and look at eventual replacement options,” but have no timetable for the sidewalk to reopen.

The county closed sidewalks along another nearby bridge at W. Glebe Road over Four Mile Run due to similar concerns back in November.

Photo via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Gymboree Expected to Close — “Children’s clothing retailer Gymboree Group Inc. is expected to seek bankruptcy protection this week, with plans to close all 900 of its stores, according to people familiar with the matter.” The company has a Gymboree location at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall. [Wall Street Journal]

A First for the Local Real Estate Market — “The Arlington real estate market for 2018 was essentially flat compared to a year before – while, for the first time, the average sales price of single-family homes topped the $1 million mark.” [InsideNova]

Storm Response Now in ‘Phase 4’ — Arlington County’s snow removal effort is now in “Phase 4,” cleaning up problem areas with a focus on schools and county facilities. Overnight a refreeze produced black ice and made plowing more difficult and driving hazardous, the county said. Last night Arlington Public Schools decided to close schools today instead of open on a delay. [Twitter]

School Construction Project Update — Construction is running on time on both the future Alice West Fleet Elementary School and the future home of H-B Woodlawn in Rosslyn, but heavy rains have caused delays for the future Dorothy Hamm Middle School, formerly known as the Stratford School, on Vacation Lane. [InsideNova]

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