The RCA building in Rosslyn could soon be demolished — not with a bang, but mechanically and over the next five months.
“We are awaiting issuance of the demolition permit,” said Greg Van Wie, the senior vice president for McLean-based Jefferson Apartment Group. “[We] anticipate receiving it any day and commencing immediately thereafter.”
The looming demolition work comes nearly two years after the county approved plans to replace the concrete-cladded office building at 1901 N. Moore Street with a 27-story, 423-unit apartment building in June 2021. Construction of the building is expected to take three years.
“We are currently completing the interior demolition and abatement so [we] have not necessarily been delayed, just working through the County requirements for full demolition,” Van Wie told ARLnow today (Thursday).
JAG is leading a joint venture to demolish the building, built in 1969, as well as the skywalk connecting it to the Rosslyn Gateway building. The new structure, comprised of of a north and a south tower joined at the base and at the rooftop with an “amenity bridge,” will have retail and parking across the third and fourth floors and underground.
A letter to residents of JBG Smith-owned mixed-use apartment building Central Place, shared with ARLnow, informed residents that demolition would start Friday.
Van Wie said he is “not sure it will be Friday.”
Residents noticed prep work for the site occurring last fall. At the time, Van Wie told ARLnow he did not yet have a demolition schedule to share, but did say it will be dismantled, rather than imploded, “so there won’t quite be the same show as with the old Holiday Inn, unfortunately.”
The letter to Central Place residents outlined hours of demolition and expected closures over the next five months.
“We are expecting temporary closures of N. Moore Street just north of N. 19th Street,” it reads. “All closures will be coordinated between the developers and Arlington County.”
Per county zoning ordinances, demolition may take place Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on weekends and holidays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., the letter said.
“In our experience, teams will begin working promptly in the mornings, however it is common that activity will slow in the evenings,” the letter continued.
JAG projected demolition would occur in February or March back in December, when the Washington Business Journal reported that a joint venture led by JAG acquired the building for $55.5 million.
Three years ago, JAG took over the plans to redevelop the property from Weissberg Investment Corp., which built the initial building in 1969 and had plans to redevelop it back in 2017. The original plans were later put on hold.
(Updated 4:45 p.m. on 3/14/23) Builders and entrepreneurs tell ARLnow they are waiting up to twice as long as they used to for Arlington County to issue permits, costing them thousands — if not hundreds of thousands — of dollars.
Permits that used to be issued the same day now take 1-3 weeks while those that took 2-3 months take double that time, they say. Meanwhile, the Arlington Permit Office’s limited hours of operation compound the delays and the high permitting fees exacerbate the costs incurred from waiting.
The apparent degradation of the county’s permit operation — corroborated by a number of sources, some of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals — follows the years-long development of a new online permitting system dubbed Permit Arlington.
The online system was touted by the county as a solution for long-standing problems with the former, more antiquated paper system.
“They have completely destroyed the system. They are slowing progress. The new system still doesn’t work nearly two years later,” a local custom home builder said. “Builders’ and developers’ holding costs are staggering.”
The Arlington Chamber of Commerce concurs.
“Some of our members may accept paying more for a quality permit service, but the timeframe and process must improve in order to justify the costs,” spokesman John Musso said. “We encourage the County to continue to recognize businesses as customers seeking a service, in this case permits.”
The complaints come as Arlington County continues transferring all permitting processes to its online system. The county has tied delays to the migration of permits into the system but has maintained that the overall wait time has not changed.
“With the phased launches of Permit Arlington, we are moving from a system with 1990 technology to a modern system,” said Dept. of Community Housing, Planning and Development spokeswoman Erika Moore. “This type of technological transition is complex and presents a learning curve for both staff and customers as all users adjust to using a new system.”
As part of the migration process, which started in 2019, Certificate of Occupancy permits moved online last week and last summer, nearly 10,000 active applications for building, trade and land disturbing activity permits moved online.
In response to customer inquiries, Moore said the Permit Arlington team is actively working through issues, has increased the size of the help desk team, has added numerous “how-to” documents and is making permanent fixes to prevent issues that caused earlier delays.
“The team will continue to work through these fixes until all the issues are resolved,” she said.
She says the Permit Arlington team applied lessons learned from the launch last summer to improve the implementation process for Certificates of Occupancy, “which launched smoothly two weeks ago.”
Musso counters there were still some issues.
“We have had several members note pain points with the transition of Certificates of Occupancy to Permit Arlington, resulting in confusion and uncertainty,” he said.
Concurrently, the county is requesting feedback about the permit process from recent applicants.
“We have heard from 250 people, but we want to provide enough time for people to respond,” Moore said. “Once it is closed, we will analyze the feedback and identify any potential action items.”
Meanwhile, the feedback was rolling into ARLnow.
Another home designer and builder was frustrated with office hours, which are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. Every third Thursday, the office closes at noon. The Permit Office re-opened for in-person service in September after being completely virtual due to the pandemic.
“I would be willing to say that the eight hours a week are just not enough and that the threat of Covid is no longer there,” said home designer and builder Leonard Matthews. “How odd it is that Arlington County Schools are [fully] open but the permit office is not?”
A branch of Arlington Public Library housed in the lobby of Arlington County government headquarters in Courthouse will reopen next week.
On Monday, March 13, the library will debut a new name and new amenities added as part of $4.8 million in renovations to the government office building. Interior renovations to some floors of the building at 2100 Clarendon Blvd in Courthouse began in September 2021.
“The new Courthouse Library, formerly known as Plaza Library, will feature contemporary furnishings, a new children’s book and media collection, and space for library programming such as storytimes and author talks,” Arlington Public Library Communications Manager Anneliesa Alprin tells ARLnow.
“Courthouse Library, a full-service branch, will feature the ‘Grab & Go’ express book collection and a ‘Library of Things,’ including do-it-yourself tool kits and handy gadgets,” she continued.
The renovations were funded through a $23.7 million tenant improvement allowance that was provided by landlord JBG Smith when the county renewed its lease in 2018.
Starting Monday, patrons can place holds and use the book drop then, Alprin said.
Courthouse Library will have the following hours:
- Monday: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
- Tuesday: 12-8 p.m.
- Wednesday-Thursday: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
- Friday-Saturday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Sunday: Closed
Very excited for the reopening Courthouse Library! @ArlingtonVALib pic.twitter.com/C0zaYkrpAE
— Jane Fiegen Green (@janefgreen) March 6, 2023
There will be a grand opening for the county government building on April 12 from 3-6 p.m.
“We’re opening the new full-service Courthouse Library, debuting a new Arlington Welcome Center and new Permit Arlington Center,” the county said in a release. “We will also be joined by the USS Arlington Community Alliance and the Arlington Historical Society to unveil a full model of the USS Arlington. Join us for a festive afternoon with an open house featuring government services, music, children’s story times, crafts, and many more surprises. All ages are welcome.”
The county also added conference rooms and renovated the lobby, second and third floors, the ninth-floor break-room and parking garage-level common areas.
The opening comes ahead of planned community engagement effort to discuss how the library system can best to meet the needs of residents.
“In the second half of 2023, the County Manager’s Office and Arlington Public Library leadership will engage with the community in longer-term strategic discussions about these issues and how to best provide library services in a changed and changing environment,” County Manager Mark Schwartz wrote in his proposed 2023-2024 budget.
These conversations will likely cover how to prioritize the competing needs of new locations and established locations, how to build a sustainable budget for library collections and how to staff libraries reliably. Arlington libraries have stayed afloat via “an over-reliance on temporary employees,” Schwartz says in the budget.
Nearly six months after a rideshare vehicle plowed into Ireland’s Four Courts, seriously injuring several patrons and sparking a devastating fire, work is starting on its eventual reopening.
Following roof repairs last week, a weeklong interior demolition process is getting underway today, Four Courts managing partner Dave Cahill tells ARLnow.
“Today’s a great day, we’re excited,” said Cahill. “It’s great to have the sound of a hammer inside the restaurant again.”
After the demolition, the owners of the long-time Courthouse pub will evaluate the damage and determine a timeline for construction and reopening. The hope is to be open by late summer.
Asked whether the owners ever considered simply reopening elsewhere, Cahill suggested that the community’s response following the crash put that idea to rest.
“There have been lot of challenging days, but the support for the community has been overwhelming,” he said. “It would be very difficult to walk away. After 27 years, there’s a lot of history and memories in this space.”
Cahill added that Arlington County, sometimes noted for its difficult-to-navigate permitting processes, “is being very helpful,” guiding the owners through the various regulatory hurdles.
Police announced in October that the Uber driver who slammed into Four Courts after suffering an apparent medical emergency would not face criminal charges. All three pub-goers who suffered serious, potentially life-threatening injuries in the August crash were released from the hospital by the next month.
(Updated at 2:40 p.m.) The Ballston and East Falls Church Metro stations are among those set to be impacted by a multi-week closure starting in June.
WMATA recently announced that it is planning to shut down a significant portion of the Orange Line during the summer for “system maintenance and modernization.”
Two Arlington stations — Ballston and East Falls Church — will be impacted by the infrastructure projects. The current plan is that only trains going east, towards Virginia Square and D.C., will be available at the Ballston station from June 3 to June 26, while the East Falls Church station will be shuttered during that time period.
The rest of the Orange Line, from West Falls Church through the end of the line at Vienna, will be closed for a longer period of time, from June 3 to July 17.
Elsewhere, there will be ten days of single-tracking from Stadium-Armory to Cheverly stations on the Orange Line and a complete 44-day shutdown from July 22 to Sept. 4 on the Green Line from Fort Totten to Greenbelt.
The reason for the shutdown, WMATA said, is to move forward on “five major projects to improve rail service reliability and modernize rail systems and facilities for customers.”
Those include completing a station roofing project on the Orange Line, replacing 30 miles of four-decade-old and failure-prone steel rails, installing fiber optic cables, modernizing information displays in the downtown stations, and elevator and escalator work at the Dupont station.
“Metro has used the lower ridership months in the summer to advance large maintenance and infrastructure projects with significant customer impacts,” the announcement notes. “By working closely with local jurisdictions, providing extensive free shuttle bus operations, and deploying comprehensive communications and outreach activities, Metro places significant effort to minimize the disruption to customers and the region.”
As for what the “free shuttle bus operations” could mean, county officials told ARLnow that hasn’t been figured out quite yet.
“WMATA will be scheduling coordination meetings with local jurisdictions to develop shuttle plans,” Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Claudia Pors told ARLnow via email. “As of yet, we haven’t heard from WMATA on their timeline. I don’t expect it to be dissimilar from other temporary station shutdowns.”
Locals have dealt with similar shutdowns. In September, Metro shuttered much of the Yellow Line for bridge and tunnel repairs as well as continuing work on the new Potomac Yard station. The Yellow Line shutdown is expected to continue at least through May, with free shuttles provided for impacted riders.
When Metro instituted similar construction-related shutdowns in both 2020 and 2018, the agency also provided free shuttle bus service.
A major portion of the latest work will be focused on “replacing 40-year-old steel rail that has become significantly more susceptible to rail breaks than rail in any other part of the system.” Metro says that it has been tracking rail breaks and determined the stretch of track between Ballston and Vienna “to be a top priority” for replacement.
The Ballston Metro station averages about 3,500 daily entries on weekdays, which is more than the Clarendon, Courthouse, and Virginia Square stations but below Rosslyn, Crystal City, Pentagon City, and the Pentagon. East Falls Church averages about 1,600 entries.
(Updated 3:40 p.m.) Work is ramping up on a new Arlington County bus maintenance building and parking garage in Green Valley.
Crews are set to wrap up laying the foundation for the Arlington Transit (ART) Operations and Maintenance Facility at the end of this month, says Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Alyson Jordan Tomaszewski.
“The facility will perform regular preventive bus maintenance, repairs and other unscheduled maintenance work,” per a project webpage. “It also will include administration and operations functions and parking for buses and staff.”
Then, passers-by may notice a crawler crane on site, which will be used to install steel columns. That work is set to last until sometime in March, according to the project webpage.
Meanwhile, work on the foundation of the parking garage is planned to start at the end of January, she says.
Construction began in June 2022 and is expected to be completed in the fall of 2024.
“We have experienced both weather and supply chain delays with the ART Operations and Maintenance Facility,” she said. “However, we are still on track for completion in fall 2024. To mitigate the supply chain issue, we are expediting material approval and procurement as best we can.”
ICYMI: Foundation and other infrastructure taking shape at the ART Operations and Maintenance Facility site along Shirlington Road. Work proceeds through next year. https://t.co/d6DdG1ZpQD pic.twitter.com/WNFKcZ0Oz8
— Arlington Department of Environmental Services (@ArlingtonDES) January 16, 2023
The Green Valley Civic Association welcomes the new facility.
“The county used to park about 60 ART buses right in Jennie Dean Park, next to the basketball court,” Robin Stombler, community-affairs chair of the civic association, tells ARLnow. “Moving the buses into a new operations facility adjacent to I-395 is not only a welcome change, but should mitigate noise and light disturbances on the residential community.”
Still, the civic association has some lingering concerns.
“We were vocal on the need for improved environmental conditions. This meant a state-of-the-art facility outfitted for a future electric bus fleet, better stormwater management and bioretention ponds, and lit signage that does not face the residential part of Green Valley,” Stombler said.
“The new county bus campus will house a staff-only, multi-story parking garage,” she continued. “We need some creative thinking to make sure this amenity is shared with the rest of the neighborhood.”
Next door, the general manager of the Cubesmart storage facility tells ARLnow that the county has “been very sensitive to the fact that we have traffic flowing in and out of there and has done great job keeping the road clean.”
The Cubesmart opened a second facility near the construction site back in March 2021. Between the original building, now “The Annex,” and the new building, there are nearly 2,400 storage units, she said.
This construction project follows on the heels of other recently completed ones in the Green Valley neighborhood, aimed at realizing a community vision of an arts and industry hub. The new John Robinson, Jr. Town Square, with a towering sculpture, as well as the renovated Jennie Dean Park opened with great fanfare this spring.
The County Board approved the purchase of the three parcels in Green Valley to build the ART facilities back in 2018.
“This project is essential for ART’s long-term sustainability and will address the current and future needs for parking, operations and maintenance of the County’s growing ART bus fleet,” according to the project webpage. “ART has significantly increased its number of routes and hours of service during the past 10 years and plans to continue growing during the next 20 years, supported by a fleet of more than 100 buses.”
The total cost to buy the land, plan and design the project and construct it is $81.2 million.
Work hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday through Friday, with some weekend work occurring between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m.
This article was updated to add comments from the Green Valley Civic Association.
VHC Health could break ground on a new mental health and rehabilitation facility at its old urgent care facility on S. Carlin Springs Road as soon as this year.
Arlington County and VHC Health — the new name of Virginia Hospital Center — announced a joint agreement this afternoon to expand behavioral health and rehab services through the proposed project at 601 S. Carlin Springs Road.
The new facility would have 72 beds dedicated to mental health and substance use recovery. This consists of a 24-bed adult unit, a 24-bed youth unit, a 24-bed “recovery and wellness unit” and five outpatient programs, according to a county announcement.
It will have 40 beds set aside for people with brain and spinal cord injuries, those recovering from strokes and those with neurological and other conditions. Currently, the main VHC campus has 20 beds for patients with these needs.
“We are grateful for our continued partnership with VHC Health in developing facilities to meet the healthcare needs of the Arlington community,” County Board Chair Christian Dorsey said in a statement. “With the growing demand, mental health services continue to be a priority. We remain committed to expanding capacity and offering services and support for individuals experiencing behavioral health challenges and their families.”
The chair of the VHC Health Board of Directors, Dr. Russell E. McWey, said this expansion of mental health services “has been a long-time priority for the Board and for VHC Health.”
“The Board is pleased to continue serving our community and to champion this facility and advocate for those who are in need in and around Arlington County,” he said in his statement.
The new S. Carlin Springs Road facility will house five programs: intensive outpatient programs for adults and children, a recovery and wellness intensive outpatient program, an adult partial hospitalization program and an outpatient behavioral health clinic.
VHC had originally intended to add a behavioral health unit to its main campus expansion, Deborah Warren, the executive director of the Arlington Community Services Board and the DHS Deputy Director, told ARLnow. Now, per the announcement, the hospital will instead build a 14-bed geriatric behavioral health unit.
The expansion comes as Arlington, Northern Virginia and Commonwealth as a whole are seeing two trends: deepening mental health needs and greater competition for limited healthcare resources.
Advocates have called the current state of mental health care in Virginia a crisis, one prompted by the state’s decision in 2021 to close most state psychiatric hospitals, which were understaffed due to low wages, hazardous working conditions and Covid.
The closures created a bottleneck at remaining facilities and forced private hospitals, including Virginia Hospital Center, to take in more patients. Sometimes, patients are brought to the hospital by law enforcement, and until they are able to be treated, are left to wait in the emergency room — handcuffed to a gurney under the watch of a law enforcement officer. This situation has contributed to burnout for county social workers and police officers.
In response, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced late last year the formation of a task force to come up with ways to remove law enforcement from this process and ensure people get the help they need. VHC Health CEO and President Chris Lane lauded this move in today’s statement.
“VHC Health applauds the Governor and the General Assembly for their commitment to addressing Virginia’s behavioral health crisis and this joint venture will contribute to the Commonwealth’s objective of treating behavioral wellness,” Lane said. Read More
The $50 million renovation of WETA’s headquarters in Shirlington is nearing completion.
After about two years, the local public broadcasting station WETA is set to finish off its 17,000-square-foot expansion on Campbell Avenue later this year. The refresh will include four floors of studios, offices, a consolidated headquarters, and more large spaces for public gatherings and screenings, Vice-President of External Affairs Mary Stewart told ARLnow.
It will also allow WETA to fully move out of the building down a few blocks at 3620 27th Street S, which was sold to the county in 2020 and is now scheduled to be torn down.
Some production is still being done out of the old building, which WETA first moved into in the 1980s, but that will stop once the renovation is completed on the building on Campbell Avenue, Stewart said.
Externally, much of the work appears to be nearing the finish line with the expansion extending into a space that was once a courtyard. It’s the internal renovations, said Stewart, that still need some time. Those are expected to be done in “late 2023,” despite some “supply chain hiccups.” Some of the studios and public spaces could be open to employees by the summer, though.
Two main studios and one flash (smaller) studio are set to be added. One of the main studios will be used by the PBS NewsHour.
The national nightly news broadcast, which recently debuted a new pair of anchors, will get an updated set, with modern tech, video walls, and an outward-facing TV screen on the ground floor. The goal for the new set is to be “flexible,” modern, and for the video screens to allow remote interviews to be more “natural and cohesive,” said Stewart.
Also set to start filming in the new studios will be the six-decade-old teen quiz show “It’s Academic.” In the fall, the longest-running TV quiz show in history announced it was moving into WETA’s renovated building with the hope it would start producing episodes there in early 2024.
The studios will also be home to PBS NewsHour Weekend and Washington Week, as well as local programming like WETA Arts. Additionally, the update will also allow pledge drives and special broadcasts to take place in the new studios.
“We will now be a 365-day, 7-day-a-week production,” Stewart said.
She said the biggest drivers of the expansion are to modernize, allow for more production flexibility, and consolidate all of WETA in one building.
The local PBS station actually first began operating out of Yorktown High School more than six decades ago, in 1961. It moved to D.C. for a time, before consolidating operations back in Arlington in 1983 at the still-standing 3620 27th Street S. location. In 1995, WETA purchased the building on Campbell Avenue and moved its headquarters there, while production remained mostly at the other building a few blocks away.
But with this $50 million expansion, WETA will be whole for the first time in its 62-year history.
“With this expansion of our building, it means WETA will have a permanent home in Arlington,” said Stewart.
Three years ago this month, Amazon started setting the stage for construction of the first phase of its second headquarters.
Since then, construction work has continued on-pace, with banners across the Pentagon City site, located at the corner of 13th Street S. and S. Eads Street, heralding a 2023 arrival.
Now that 2023 is here, an Amazon spokeswoman says work on the Metropolitan Park or “Met Park” phase of HQ2 — comprised of two office towers and a $14 million public park renovation — will wrap up in time to open this summer.
“Construction is well underway and nearing completion at Met Park,” says Hayley Richard. “We’re excited to open Met Park and start welcoming employees, neighbors, and visitors to our offices and public park spaces this summer. We will share a formal date and more updates in the coming months.”
In this phase, a block of warehouses were torn down and two LEED Platinum towers totalling 2.1 million square feet are being built in its place.
“Inside both towers, crews are working their way up the building installing signage, furniture, and floor paint,” Clark Construction said in an email last week.
Several local businesses will be moving into the 65,000 square feet of street-level retail: a daycare and a spa, Arlington’s second Conte’s Bike Shop, a slew of restaurants and cafés, and District Dogs. It’s unclear if RĀKO Coffee will still be moving in after the company’s first location closed and its goods were auctioned off.
Nearby, Amazon is also turning a large patch of grass south of 12th Street S. into a park with lush, meandering paths, dog areas and public art. The art installation — “Queen City” by Nekisha Durrett — pays tribute to the former Black community by the same name, which was located nearby before it was razed by the federal government to make way for the Pentagon. The structure’s reclaimed brick façade will highlight the area’s past as a hub for brick production.
“We have started placing exterior brick on the Nekisha art sculpture, and have added fencing and lighting around the daycare center, and begun laying stone pathways,” said Clark Construction, which also filmed a tour of the under-construction park.
The number of current HQ2 employees working from home or from leased office space in Crystal City remains somewhere above the 5,000 mark. In September this year, the tech company told ARLnow that it had assigned more than 5,000 employees to HQ2, after it was first announced in April that it had hired its 5,000th HQ2 employee. Some 28 jobs are currently posted on its job board for Arlington.
That puts Amazon one-fifth of its way toward its promise to bring 25,000 jobs to its second headquarters, in divisions ranging from web services to retail to Alexa.
Amazon and other tech companies such as ride-sharing platform Lyft are seeing their upward trajectory falter after years of accelerated growth during the pandemic. Like other companies, Amazon intends to lay off workers and pare back on spending. Some 18,000 employees could be let go in a cost-cutting effort targeting its corporate ranks, human resources, Alexa and retail.
When asked if these economic conditions were impacting hiring at HQ2, Richard demurred.
“Regarding your other questions, while I don’t have anything to share on that story, what I can tell you is that our long-term intention and commitment to the communities where we have a presence, like HQ2, remains unchanged,” she said.
After two years of permitting and renovations, a business along Langston Blvd may be able to swing open its doors.
Two years ago, Page Global, also known as Page After Page Business Systems, put up signs indicating it would be moving into the old TitleMax location at 5265 Langston Blvd, the corner of Langston Blvd and N. George Mason Drive.
The company bills itself as “an award winning industry provider of office solutions, strategic communications and information technology.” On its website, it lists various government agencies as clients.
This retail space, in a Virginia Hospital Center-owned building, used to be home to a 7-Eleven. Page Global leased the building in November 2020, per a VHC spokeswoman.
Around the same time, Augustine Roofing signed a lease and moved in next door (5267 Langston Blvd), filling a vacancy left when the decades-old Sam Torrey Shoe Service closed down.
But Page Global hasn’t been able to move in yet, due to ongoing renovation construction, according to an employee next door.
“The company won’t be open for a least another couple months,” said the employee. “They’re doing a ton of work in there… It looks amazing inside over there now — from what it was.”
He said construction has taken longer because of permitting and issues that crop up during construction. Currently, permits for electrical and plumbing work, issued early last year, are posted to the door of the building.
Page Global, headquartered in D.C. at 800 Maine Ave SW, was not immediately available for comment before publication. The company is led by James Page, high school-dropout from the Bronx turned businessman of 30 years, per a 2020 profile by the Washington Informer.
Arlington National Cemetery’s restored Ord and Weitzel Gate was unveiled to the public earlier this week, after more than four decades in storage.
At a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, the historic gate was officially reopened at the north entrance of the cemetery’s hallowed ground.
The iron gate dates to 1879 when it was first designed by Montgomery Meigs, also known for his work on the U.S. Capitol dome and what’s today the National Building Museum. The columns on top, decorated with “elaborately sculpted urns,” are two centuries old and were originally part of the War Department building prior to its demolition.
In 1902, the names of Civil War officers Gen. Edward Ord and Gen. Godfrey Weitzel were inscribed on the columns, thus giving the gate its name.
As the years went on, though, the cemetery expanded and the gate became weathered. It was also too small for modern vehicles to fit through. So, in 1979, it was disassembled and put into storage.
Forty-three years later, it’s back in its original location, restored, and reopened to the public. Now, though, it’s a pedestrian-only gate.
“The opening of the restored Ord and Weitzel Gate marks an important milestone in Arlington National Cemetery’s long-range plan to preserve our priceless monumental and architectural history,” Karen Durham-Aguilera, Executive Director of the Office of Army Cemeteries, said in a press release. “Our historic gates are among the cemetery’s most unique and meaningful cultural resources, yet their stories often remain untold.”
The restored gate also came with a number of improvements to the Custis walking path, including updating the sidewalk, security features, and making other visitor-friendly infrastructure changes.
The sidewalk was changed from asphalt to concrete for design and safety reasons, per a cemetery spokesperson. A new, updated guardhouse was also added, plus a water fountain, benches, trash cans, and street lamps. There’s a new pull-off location for the ANC tram as well.
ANC is in the midst of undergoing an expansion that will add 60,000 burial sites and space for the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center.
This will require realigning Columbia Pike and moving it closer to I-395 so that gravesites can be placed where it currently curves around the Air Force Memorial. That portion of the project just got underway this past spring. The construction will eventually result in the closing of a portion of Columbia Pike near Pentagon City, which could happen as soon as early next year.
With the expansion, as well as the restoration of the historic Ord and Weitzel Gate, Arlington National Cemetery is looking to preserve, modernize, and grow.
“Just yesterday I was giving a briefing on our Southern Expansion Project, and I discussed how we were building history, a project that will last as long as there is a United States of America,” ANC’s Director of Engineering Col. Thomas Austin said at Tuesday’s ceremony. “Now, here at Ord and Weitzel, we have the honor of rebuilding history, reviving a structure with elements that go back nearly 200 years. What an honor it is and how lucky we all are to be a part of it.”