Early stages of construction have started on the future site of a new Harris Teeter, three apartment buildings and a new green space in Ballston.
Utility relocation and demolition of the recently-vacated American Service Center building will soon begin at 600 N. Glebe Road, said Mark Senn, the president of Georgia-based developer Southeastern Real Estate Group, LLC, the developer overseeing the project.
“The project has started, but it’s going to start in full force in the next couple of months,” Senn said.
The construction kicks off the first of three phases of development of the site. In phase one, a new 310-unit apartment building with a new Harris Teeter space on the ground floor will replace the former American Service Center building and Mercedes Benz dealership lot. During this phase, customers will still have access to parking and the current Harris Teeter, which was the company’s first in Virginia.
“Our goal is to keep Harris Teeter up and functioning and convenient for the customer and keep accessibility and parking like it is,” Senn said. “That’s the driving force behind this.”
Southeastern is trying to avoid disruptions especially during the holiday months, which are the busiest for grocery stores, he said.
Phase one will be finished in 2022, Senn said.
During the second phase, the old Harris Teeter will be demolished for new temporary surface parking. The second apartment building, with 195 units, and the public open space will be constructed in phase two.
In the third phase, the temporary parking lot will become the third apartment building: a 227-unit residential building with retail on the ground floor and two levels of below-grade parking.
With architects, mechanical engineers and electrical and plumbing engineers out of the office due to the pandemic, progress on the project has been slower, but people are working hard to keep it on track, Senn said.
“We’re on schedule to do the work as we had anticipated prior to COVID-19,” he said.
The County Board approved the three phases of work at 600 N. Glebe last year. Senn said the entire complex should take six to seven years to build.
“It’s a great project,” Senn said. “Hopefully, after COVID-19, it’ll be social-gathering place for the community.”
The park will include a pedestrian path, a dog run, a picnic area, as well as natural vegetation to support pollinator insects and birds.
In April 2019, the developer bumped the number of housing units in the project from 700 to 732, cut some parking spaces and announced its intention to seek LEED Silver sustainability certification.
The empty Red Cross building (4333 Arlington Blvd) in Buckingham will come down in a few weeks to make way for a new apartment building called The Cadence.
The building, developed by Wesley Housing Development Corporation, will have 97 units, all set aside for low- and moderate-income households. It is part of a complex that includes 19 nearly complete market-rate townhouses a stone’s throw away.
Local officials, project financiers and construction company representatives gathered for a socially distanced groundbreaking on Tuesday afternoon at the site in Buckingham. The event also commemorated renovations that will begin next year on the neighboring complexes, Whitefield Commons and Knightsbridge apartments, which Wesley also operates for low-income residents.
“The cadence that we set has changed tempo a few times, from where we were to where we are going, but we’re still moving ahead and at this point, we see no reason that we won’t stick the rest of the schedule going forward,” quipped Shelley Murphy, President and CEO of Wesley Housing.
Mark Weisner, the president of Bozzuto Construction Company, which is building The Cadence apartment building, said his company has “a lot of work to do in the next 24 months,” when the building is set to open its doors to renters.
Wesley’s presence in Northern Virginia continues to grow, as well as its staff. The nonprofit owns and operates 2,000 affordable housing units across the region, with about 690 units located in Arlington, including a mixed-income apartment building in Rosslyn that opened in 2017. The company also provides services and programs to residents.
Libby Garvey, the chair of the Arlington County Board, said this groundbreaking is an important milestone for the county, which — like every in-demand urban area — struggles to maintain affordable housing when wealthy families also desire to move in.
“Healthy communities provide work and housing opportunities for all levels of the social and economic spectrum,” Garvey said. “The pandemic has shown clearly how important housing is to everyone’s health.”
Murphy said the moderate-income units and market-rate townhouses in The Cadence make good on a promise that Wesley made to the community to bring more income diversity to Buckingham, which has a significant number of affordable housing units already.
“We want to make sure we are helping Arlington County build neighborhoods of opportunity,” she said.
Knightsbridge and Whitefield Commons provide “extremely deep affordability” for families with an average income of less than $20,000 and $30,000 a year, respectively, she said. The Cadence will cater to families of four who earn between $62,000 and $80,000 a year.
Wesley also promised to preserve the Whitefield Commons — which was built in 1943 and formerly known as the Windsor Apartments — and to encourage residents to seek transportation alternatives to cars. The developer faced some opposition from neighbors, who said Buckingham’s percentage of affordable housing units is much higher compared to other neighborhoods.
The project has received state and county funding, loans and tax credits. Additional funding comes from Wesley selling the land for the townhouses to Tysons-based home builder Madison Homes.
Construction activity has started on a 19-story, 306-unit residential building across from Amazon’s future HQ2 in Pentagon City.
The property had previously been a parking lot, owned by Verizon. The lot was turned into a temporary event space called The Grounds, which was until recently was used to host the Crystal City farmers market.
The new apartment building will have just over 10,000 square feet of retail space, a rooftop recreation area, and an underground parking garage. It is a block away from the first phase of Amazon’s under-construction HQ2, and directly across the street from the planned second phase of the tech giant’s second headquarters.
The Grounds was closed and fenced off recently, and within the past few days the pavement was torn up. Today workers could be seen using a backhoe to continue clearing and excavating the site.
About Last Night’s Flyover — The two fighter jets that flew low and loud over Arlington last night, startling many, were participating in a flyover for the dedication of the new Eisenhower Memorial in D.C. [Twitter, Twitter]
Big Crane Coming to Amazon HQ2 Site — “There will be tower crane erection work this weekend, starting at 5 a.m. on Saturday, September 19 and 7 a.m. on Sunday, September 20. Work will be completed no later than 9 p.m. each day.” All southbound traffic on S. Eads Street will be detoured. [Twitter]
No PARK(ing) Day — “Arlington County will not be hosting annual PARK(ing) Day events tomorrow due to COVID-19 precautions. But feel free to imagine the possibilities of drab, curbside asphalt turned into unique community spaces.” [Twitter]
Barr Speech in Arlington Makes News — “Attorney General William Barr said Wednesday that the Justice Department has recently acted ‘more like a trade association for federal prosecutors than the administrator of a fair system of justice’ and equated some prosecutors to preschoolers and ‘headhunters’ […] in a speech at Hillsdale College’s annual Constitution Day Celebration, which this year was held at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia.” [NBC News]
New Fire Engines for ACFD — “The Arlington County Fire Department recently took delivery of two new Pierce Manufacturing pumpers, which went into service with Engine 105 and Engine 109. The twin pumpers have a 1,500-gallon-per-minute pump and carry 750 gallons of water and 30 gallons of firefighting foam.” [InsideNova]
Virtual Award Gala Next Week — “Please join us for the 2020 Spirit of Community celebration on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 12:00 PM. This year, the Arlington Community Foundation will be honoring Arlington’s front-line human service workers during the COVID-19 Pandemic with the 2020 William T. Newman, Jr. Spirit of Community Award.” [Arlington Community Foundation]
Fairlington 5K Goes Virtual — “Having canceled its traditional event in April, organizers of the Fairlington 5K have announced plans for a ‘virtual’ race on Saturday, Oct. 3. Participants will have one week to compete in the event, which will support Fairlington resident Ellie McGinn, a young girl born with the rare brain/spinal cord disorder LBSL. Additional funds raised from the event will support Abingdon Elementary School.” [InsideNova]
A project that is changing the skyline of Arlington has just celebrated its “topping out.”
The massive Highlands residential development in Rosslyn recently reached its full height. Construction, which has continued through the pandemic and some notable challenges, is expected to wrap up in the second half of 2021.
More on the topping out and the project, from a press release.
Penzance, a leading owner, operator, and developer in the Washington, DC, metropolitan region, today announced the topping out of all three of the towers for The Highlands, Rosslyn’s newest mixed-use, luxury residential community.
Perched on the hilltop with panoramic views of Northern Virginia, the Potomac River, and the iconic monuments along the DC skyline, The Highlands name is inspired by its geographic location as the highest point in Rosslyn. In addition to three distinct residential towers, destination retail, the Highlands will be home to a new and enhanced Rosslyn Highlands Park and a new headquarters to Arlington County Fire Station #10 all funded as part of a public-private partnership between Penzance and Arlington County.
The Highlands, built to LEED Gold certification standards, will be comprised of 104 luxurious condos, 780 rental apartments, and more than 50,000 square feet of refined amenity space and 40,000 square feet of carefully-curated retail space between the buildings at full build-out, all delivering in the second half of 2021.
“We are proud to see all three of our towers at The Highlands reach this major construction milestone on-schedule as we work to deliver this new community that is primed to transform Rosslyn when it delivers in 2021,” said John Kusturiss, Senior Vice President of Construction and Development for Penzance. “The Highlands will establish a lively neighborhood within Rosslyn that aligns nature with architecture to create a pedestrian-friendly and connected environment, just minutes from the very best of the DMV.”
The Highlands includes three distinct towers: Pierce, Aubrey, and Evo. The elegant design of each building incorporates environmentally sustainable interior and exterior elements. Marked by a distinguished style to meet the unique needs of the region’s burgeoning and diverse makeup, The Highlands serves as the heart of the repositioned Wilson Boulevard and is only a short walk to both the Rosslyn and Courthouse Metro stations and Georgetown via the Key Bridge.
(Updated at 11 a.m.) The Arlington County Board has approved a nearly $4 million contract to plan, design and manage the construction of a new bus facility in the Green Valley neighborhood.
The Board unanimously approved the contract for a new Arlington Transit (ART) operations and maintenance facility at its Tuesday night meeting. The new facility will be built on a property along the 2600 block of Shirlington Road that the county bought for $24 million in 2018.
At the Board’s Saturday meeting, a resident expressed concern about temporary bus parking at nearby Jennie Dean Park.
“I think we can safely say that we’re not going to park buses on Jennie Dean Park again,” said County Board Chair Libby Garvey, in response, noting that the new facility is part of the reason why.
The imminent expansion of Jennie Dean Park and another recently-built ART facility in Crystal City are, presumably, the other reasons why there will be no additional temporary bus parking at the park.
As for the difference between ART’s $17.6 million Crystal City facility, and the planned Green Valley facility, with its $81.2 million project budget, Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman Eric Balliet said the two have different functions.
“The ART bus facility at South Eads and 32nd Streets, completed in summer 2017, is a smaller facility that includes a light-duty maintenance bay, a bus wash bay, compressed natural gas fueling station and parking,” Balliet told ARLnow. “The ART facility planned for Shirlington Road will include the permanent operations, administration, bus and operator parking and maintenance facilities necessary to support ART’s current and future needs.”
More on the contract approval, from a county press release:
The Board also voted unanimously to approve a $3.9 million contract with Stantec Architecture, Inc., for planning, design, and construction administration services for a new Arlington Rapid Transit (ART) Operations and Maintenance Facility at 2631 and 2635 Shirlington Road. The project, meant to meet ART’s current and future needs, will be built under a Construction Manager at Risk process to control costs.
ART, the County’s local bus service, currently operates out of four facilities. The new facility will improve transit efficiency and reduce operating costs by centralizing ART’s operational and administrative tasks and making it easier to perform preventative maintenance and unscheduled repairs. The facility will include permanent operations, administration, parking, and maintenance facilities to support ART’s growing fleet now and in the future.
The project will achieve at least Silver LEED Building Design + Construct Certification and will include sustainable materials and systems. Community feedback will be sought this fall and winter during the concept design and advanced design phases. The project will also be reviewed by the County’s Public Facilities Review Committee. Staff plans a socially distant walking tour, online open house materials, and an online feedback form to help gather feedback. The facility is expected to be completed in 2023.
The total project budget is $81.2 million, which includes the 2018 land purchase, construction, equipment, and soft costs. Funding is mainly from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA), with a combination of funding from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) and local sources. The project was originally approved in the Fiscal Year 2019-2028 Capital Improvement Plan.
Map via Google Maps
More APS Tech Issues Reported — Several people contacted ARLnow yesterday to report more technology issues involving remote learning. While Wakefield High School’s principal posted a possible fix on social media, APS spokesman Frank Bellavia said that any remaining problems were isolated: “At last check this morning, there were 25,273 APS-provided student devices active on our network. There are some issues at the secondary level, but we are working directly with those students to reset their devices.” [Twitter, Twitter]
Sept. 11 Commemoration Tomorrow — “Arlington County will commemorate the lives lost in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and express gratitude to all those who responded that day with a virtual event. To ensure everyone’s safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, the public will view the event online or on the County’s cable channels.” [Arlington County]
State Grant to Boost COVID Testing — “The Virginia Department of Health has provided the Department of Human Services with $320,287 to increase COVID-19 testing capacity. The grant award covers the period August 1, 2020 through December 30, 2020. Grant funds will support operations and logistics at testing sites.” [Arlington County]
Amazon Holding Virtual Career Day — “Amazon is looking to build on the success of last year’s Career Day events across six U.S. cities that hosted 17,000 job seekers with over 200,000 people who applied for jobs in the week leading up to the event. The new completely virtual event will open Amazon Career Day 2020 to everyone, regardless of their location. Some of the new employees will be placed at Amazon’s HQ2 in Arlington, Virginia, which is continuing to expand following its opening last year.” [Good Morning America, Amazon, WTOP]
Progress on DCA Expansion — “Project Journey is well on its way. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority this week offered an update on its two-pronged, roughly $650 million modernization program at Reagan National Airport. The final product will deliver a new north concourse, replacing the oft-maligned Gate 35X, and new security checkpoints. The former is expected to open in July 2021, and the latter by the fourth quarter of 2021.” [Washington Business Journal, NBC 4, InsideNova]
Wide Pedestrian Bridge Proposed — “The final EIS for Long Bridge recommended building 14′ wide pedestrian and bike bridge connecting Long Bridge, the MVT and East Potomac Park. Governor Northam committed to funding pre-COVID. This will be huge for regional trail connectivity.” [Twitter, Friends of the Mt. Vernon Trail]
Joe’s Place Pizza and Pasta at 5555 Lee Highway is closed for painting and, reportedly, some major changes.
A sign on one of the restaurant’s doors said it closed August 23 for painting and will reopen in a few weeks.
Buzz on the local Nextdoor social network suggests that the restaurant will be ditching its buffet — something that’s falling out of favor during the COVID era — and changing the menu, perhaps serving more upscale Italian cuisine.
Manager Rosario Farruggio told ARLnow today that the restaurant is not yet ready to publicly discuss the changes, but said some of the rumors on Nextdoor are “wrong.” He added that operating and now making changes to the restaurant during the pandemic has been especially difficult.
As of last week, a work crew could be seen inside the space. One worker told ARLnow the crew is painting the restaurant’s floors and walls and will be done in a month.
Joe’s Place previously closed in mid-April after its main oven broke down. It reopened in May for takeout and delivery, and its website says it has opened indoor dining as well as patio seating for “dining al fresco.”
The long-time local restaurant celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2018.
Joseph Ramos contributed to this report
A prime triangle of land in Courthouse is expected to remain largely vacant through next year.
The property at the corner of Wilson Blvd. and N. Courthouse Road once housed a Wendy’s. The fast food restaurant was torn down in 2016, in anticipation of the construction of a 12-story office building, which was approved the year before. More than four years after the demolition, however, there’s still no office building.
Instead, the lot has been used as a construction staging site over the past year, and this weekend the Arlington County Board is expected to approve the renewal of the construction staging use permit.
“Although the approved use was initially anticipated to last no longer than one (1) year, the applicant has requested to extend the use for additional time due to delays in construction related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the staff report says. “At the current time, the applicant is utilizing this site primarily for contractor parking.”
If approved, the use permit for the staging site would be valid for another year before the next County Board review. The 2000 Clarendon Blvd project is expected to wrap up in 2021.
Also in the report, county staff note that some nearby residents have complained about trash in and around the former Wendy’s site. That is being addressed, the report says.
This is a one (1) year review of a use permit associated with a site plan for a temporary off-site contractor’s storage and staging area, located at 2026 and 2038 Wilson Blvd. Radnor/Fort-Myer Heights Civic Association, the host civic association expressed concerns regarding maintenance of the sidewalk and trash pick-up around the site. Staff has relayed these comments to the applicant who acknowledged that he will remind contractors parking at this location to not litter within the public right-of-way.
In April, the County Board extended the approved site plan for the office building at the Wendy’s site for another three years, through July 1, 2023.
A portion of the Custis Trail will be detoured next week for construction of a roundabout.
The roundabout is being installed on the south side of the pedestrian underpass beneath I-66, which is currently a somewhat dangerous T-intersection. The project is part of VDOT’s larger I-66 widening project.
For two weeks, from Monday, Aug. 24 to Sunday, Sept. 6, those heading to and from the W&OD Trail on the Custis Trail will be detoured around Bon Air Park, via Wilson Boulevard and N. Lexington Street.
More from VDOT:
The Custis Trail will close in Arlington’s Bon Air Park between the Washington and Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail and the I-66 underpass for up to two weeks for construction to create a roundabout to enhance safety for trail users. The closure is planned from Monday, August 24, through Sunday, September 6. Detour signs will be posted to direct pedestrians, cyclists, and other trail users around the closure. This work is being done as a component of the Transform 66 Inside the Beltway Eastbound Widening Project.
A posted detour will route users around the closure using the W&OD Trail, Wilson Boulevard, N. Lexington Street, and N. 9th Road to reach the bike/pedestrian bridge over I-66. Delineators will be placed temporarily on a short span of Wilson Boulevard to separate cyclists from vehicle traffic and provide a wider bike lane to allow cyclists to travel in both directions for about 500 feet. The sidewalk on the north side of Wilson Boulevard will also be available for trail users.
A roundabout is being constructed on the south side of the Custis Trail I-66 underpass to improve safety and sightlines for pedestrians, cyclists, and other users of the Custis Trail and Bon Air Park. The Custis Trail remains closed under I-66 for safety reasons while an additional travel lane is added overhead. The trail is expected to fully reopen in late October 2020.
The I-66 Eastbound Widening Project will add a travel lane along four miles of eastbound I-66 and install approximately 12,000 linear feet of new and replacement noise barriers. The project also includes constructing a new direct access ramp from eastbound I-66 to the West Falls Church Metro Station at the Route 7 interchange, and a new W&OD Trail bridge over Lee Highway (Route 29).
Arlington County has taken an initial step towards the construction of a new elevator for the Pentagon City Metro station.
At a recent meeting, the County Board approved a nearly $750,000 contract with a construction consultancy to manage construction of a new elevator near the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall. The new elevator will provide an alternative to an existing Metro elevator on the eastern side of the street, which will also receive some upgrades as part of the $5.1 million project.
“The second elevator will be built on the west side of South Hayes Street, eliminating the need to cross six lanes of traffic, two parking lanes, and a bike lane to reach the existing elevator on the east side,” Arlington County said in a press release. “It will improve ADA accessibility and accessibility for passengers pushing strollers or luggage.”
Funding for the project “comes from federal and state sources and includes $200,000 in General Obligation bond funds, which are used as a local match for a federal grant,” the county said.
Bidding for the actual construction is expected to take place early next year.
More from a project webpage:
The Pentagon City Metrorail Station is one of the highest ridership Metro stations in northern Virginia. It provides access to multiple retail, government and commercial office buildings and is a transfer point for regional and local transit buses and numerous private bus services. Currently, passengers needing to use a street elevator to access the station must enter or exit on the east side of South Hayes Street.
Construction of a second elevator on the west side of South Hayes Street, near the existing west side escalator, will improve access for patrons making transit connections and for Pentagon City retail customers and tourists. It also will provide redundancy for this station entrance when one elevator is out of service for any reason. The project includes improving the appearance of the existing elevator on the east side of South Hayes Street to make it look more contemporary and visible to customers.
Photos via Arlington County and Google Maps