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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.

by Chris Teale August 15, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

Crews started moving in this morning (Tuesday, August 15) to begin work to give the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial — also known as the Iwo Jima memorial — a facelift.

The work will limit public access to the memorial and surrounding parkland until next year. In signs posted near the memorial and the Netherlands Carillon, the National Park Service said the revamp includes washing and waxing the memorial and re-gilding its lettering, repairing any parts of the granite plaza that have become damaged, improving lighting, and installing new signs, shrubs and trees.

The roadway and footpath around the memorial will also be repaved.

“The road will be rebuilt in its current configuration, but with materials to better support the heavy weight of the many tour buses that use the road daily,” NPS said in a press release.

As of Tuesday morning, crews were putting up detour signs for road and trail users, as the access road to the memorial’s parking lot will be closed. In an announcement of the work, NPS said the memorial will be surrounded by scaffolding for much of the project, but pedestrians can still access the memorial plaza from N. Meade Street. Buses will have a small area for pick-up and drop-off on N. Meade Street also.

The $5.37 million project is funded by a donation from local philanthropist David Rubenstein, who has also used some of his multi-billion dollar fortune to fund the Washington Monument’s post-earthquake repairs, enrich the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ endowment and gave $12.35 million to the Arlington House Robert E. Lee museum in Arlington National Cemetery.

NPS said public access will be limited until February 2018. The memorial was dedicated in 1954 by President Dwight Eisenhower and receives 1.5 million visitors per year.

by Chris Teale July 28, 2017 at 3:00 pm 0

Just feet from the demolition of the Arlington Presbyterian Church on Columbia Pike, officials broke ground Thursday (July 27) on the new affordable housing complex that will replace it.

Gilliam Place at 3507 Columbia Pike will have 173 affordable apartments, with 68 including two or three bedrooms. The ground floor of the property will contain nearly 9,000 square feet of space for retail and community use. It is named for Ronda Gilliam, a member of the church who volunteered in the community and opened a clothing donation center.

It all began in 2012 when members of the church reached out to the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing as they wanted to sell their property and create a space for affordable housing.

The new building will incorporate stone from the old church, which APAH board chair John Milliken said will be “instilled with the spirit and compassion that congregation embodied and will pass on to this new generation.”

And while the congregants are displaced from their original space, they have already guaranteed themselves a presence on the site after buying two plots of land for use as green space.

Derrick Weston, the church’s community organizer, said it will be designated as a sanctuary area for meditation. The church may also return to use the new building as a permanent home; during construction they are using a temporary space at the Arlington United Methodist Church (716 S. Glebe Road).

“This is our new front door. This is our front porch,” Weston said. “This is where people are going to visit and see who we are.”

The $71 million project is funded through various sources, including an $18.1 million loan from the county’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund, federal low-income housing tax credits authorized by the Virginia Housing Development Authority, private money from Capital One and Enterprise Community Partners totaling $31 million and donations from church members.

Susan Etherton, the chair of the church’s Moving Forward Team, said that the partnerships between various organizations were key in the church getting to this point.

“God gave us that vision, but without faithful partners, we would have been unable to accomplish that vision,” she said.

“Just think how much can be done when a group of well-meaning people all pull together in the same direction,” added APAH president and CEO Nina Janopaul.

The church, which was hit by a fire last year, is being demolished by construction crews. The building of Gilliam Place is expected to take about two years.

by Chris Teale July 21, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

Construction crews have demolished the Cherry Hill Apartments just off Lee Highway, and a new four-story building is set to replace it.

The three-story garden apartments at 2110-2120 N. Monroe Street in Cherrydale have been razed, as well as two single-family homes next door. The former building had 77 units and was built in 1961 near a Safeway grocery store.

Building permits filed with the county indicate that 79 trees have also been removed from the site. Currently, diggers are removing any remaining walls and buildings from the property ahead of clearing the ground.

In its place, property owner Dittmar will build a four-story apartment building with 93 units as a by-right development, meaning it does not require Arlington County Board approval.

Material advertising the former apartments touted them as a “quiet, garden style community” with direct bus service to the Rosslyn Metro station.

by Chris Teale July 13, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

A 22-story apartment building could arrive soon in Crystal City at the Century Center office and retail complex.

The building, with the address of 2351 Jefferson Davis Highway but located at the intersection of Crystal Drive and 23rd Street S., is set for 302 apartments on top of a podium of the existing two-story retail space. The Arlington County Board is set to vote on the plan by developer Lowe Enterprises on Saturday (July 15).

The building would have more than 330,000 square feet of floor space and be 270 feet tall, with a total of 242 parking spaces provided for residents. An existing shared garage with a nearby office building will provide another 100 spaces for retail customers.

The new building would be built above existing ground-floor retail, including California Tortilla, Buffalo Wild Wings and Mezeh Mediterranean Grill. The existing retail tenants are expected to stay in the property after the project is complete.

Plans also contain provisions for retail and food service kiosks along with a Capital Bikeshare station. It also would reconfigure the eastbound lanes of 23rd Street S., including removing one lane, in keeping with the goal of making it a pedestrian-oriented street.

In a report on the project, county staff recommended approval, including of a proposal to rezone the property to the Crystal City Mixed Use District. The plan had been set for discussion at May’s County Board meeting, but was withdrawn at the applicant’s request.

Photo No. 3 via Google Maps

by Kalina Newman July 11, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

Replacement of the Carlin Springs Road bridge will be up for discussion at the Arlington County Board’s meeting Saturday.

The Board will consider a construction project that would remove the 65-foot-wide bridge and replace it with a 69-foot-wide structure. The bridge takes N. Carlin Springs Road over N. George Mason Drive near Barrett Elementary School and Lubber Run Park on the border of the Arlington Forest and Bluemont neighborhoods.

In a report on the project, county staff said that while still structurally sound, the bridge was built in 1961 and is the most deteriorated county-owned bridge.

The Rustler Construction company submitted the winning bid on the project, which would combine the bridge replacement with a new sewer line along N. Carlin Springs Road between N. Abingdon Street and N. George Mason Drive. The bridge will also receive the following additions:

  • Wider sidewalks
  • Bike lanes
  • Four vehicular travel lanes
  • A facade arch and decorative railing
  • Enhanced lighting on and under the bridge
  • The street name on the bridge facade

Staff estimates the entire project will cost just over $5.8 million, with another $1.1 million set aside in contingency funds. The project for the bridge will be funded from the county’s capital improvement program, as well as with bonds, grant funding and money from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.

Additional bonds from the project to revamp the Shirlington Road Bridge will be used to make up a funding gap of $775,000, as that is progressing slower than expected, according to the staff report.

The sewer project will also be funded from the capital improvement program, and from funds carried over from another project in the Sanitary Sewer System improvement program that has been put on hold several times.

by Chris Teale July 7, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

Construction crews have moved in and are well on the way to demolishing the former Wilson School in Rosslyn to make way for the future H-B Woodlawn and Stratford programs.

As of Thursday, very few walls from the school at 1601 Wilson Blvd were remaining, with piles of rubble, metal and bricks piling up as workers continue to clear the site. Construction on the new $100 million building is set to start later this year.

The new structure is scheduled to open in fall 2019 and house 775 students across both programs. The Stratford Program will have the majority of the space of the lowest level, while H-B Woodlawn will have classrooms on the first through fifth floors. There will be shared spaces throughout the building, with outdoor terraces allowing open space for recreation and learning.

The site will also be home to a temporary fire station while the current Fire Station 10 in Rosslyn is rebuilt, despite a bout of back-and-forth drama over the plan last summer.

The former Wilson School had been recommended for designation as a historic district, but that request was denied by the Arlington County Board in 2015. Instead, the Board directed Arlington Public Schools to incorporate pieces of the old building into the new school.

Flickr pool photo by Jason OX4

by ARLnow.com June 29, 2017 at 10:05 am 0

There’s a recent addition to the site of Marymount University’s new mixed-use complex at the corner of N. Glebe Road and Fairfax Drive in Ballston.

In a public plaza, next to the buildings, is a sign that commemorates what stood there previously: the distinct but aesthetically controversial Blue Goose building, which was demolished in 2015.

The inscription on the sign, below, notes that there are four additional informational markers in the complex’s courtyard, made from salvaged blue panels from the former building.

Construction of the Marymount complex is expected to wrap up this summer. A Starbucks coffee shop is set to be its first retail tenant.

This site is where the distinctive “Blue Goose” building stood. While the origin of the moniker remains unknown. Arlingtonians recognized the building’s atypical form and striking use of polychromatic blue metal panels. Well-known local architect John M. Walton designed the building for M.T. Broyhill and Sons, which opened the office tower in 1963.

Marymount University welcomes you to walk through the courtyard to the right, which contains four two-sided informational markers. Visitors heading to the west will learn about the transportation history of this site including the streetcar line that followed Fairfax Drive. Visitors walking to the east will read about the history of the Blue Goose and its architect, developer, and tenants. These four markers were partially constructed with salvaged blue panels from the Blue Goose.

Photo courtesy Joel Kirzner 

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