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A Subway location on the ground floor of Arlington County’s jail could be getting a rent lifeline this weekend.

The sandwich shop renting space at the base of the Arlington County Detention Center (1435 N. Courthouse Road) has struggled to stay afloat since the pandemic slashed its sales. Although it still operates in the space, it has not paid rent to the county since March 2020, according to a report.

“Subway’s business has declined precipitously during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the report to the County Board says. “It was closed for business altogether in April 2020. Its sales in May 2020 were less than 15% of normal. Although Subway’s sales have recovered to a degree, they are still, as of the date of this report, around one-third below normal.”

On Saturday, the Board is set to review a proposal to lower Subway’s rent during the remainder of the pandemic to a level it can afford. County staff settled on a base rent equal to 9.5% of its gross sales, retroactive to April 2020, according to the report.

“Staff worked with Subway to determine what Subway could afford to pay in rent based on its reduced sales,” the report said. “As a rule of thumb, restaurants can afford to devote roughly 10% of sales to the payment of rent. When sales decline substantially below normal, inflexible overhead like employee salaries and utility charges does not decline to the same degree, and accordingly absorbs a greater percentage of sales. This leaves a smaller percentage of sales that can be applied to rent.”

If approved, the reduction would last until Subway has two months in a row of sales in which 9.5% of their sales is greater than the base rent it is paying, or until one year after the amendment is signed — whichever occurs first. Then, Subway would have 18 months to pay back the rent it owes from before the agreement went into effect.

The sandwich shop’s lease on its 1,360-square foot space in Courthouse, last renewed in 2017, is up in 2024, the report said.

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Morning Notes

Voting Getting Underway — It’s Election Day. Polling places in Arlington are open from 6 a.m.-7 p.m. today. The statewide race for governor is dominating headlines, but here in Arlington there are local races for County Board, School Board and Virginia House of Delegates, plus bond referenda.

Three-Day Week for Students — “It’ll be a three-day work week, so to speak, for Arlington students this week. Classrooms will be closed on Nov. 2 for Election Day, and on Nov. 4, the school system will for the first time celebrate Diwali – a Hindu festival of lights – by taking the day off.” [Sun Gazette]

More on School Bus Driver Protests — Bus drivers for Arlington Public Schools earn the lowest hourly rate among various D.C. area school systems, as compiled by a local TV station. Drivers protested their treatment just over a week ago. [WUSA 9]

Pedestrian Tunnel Closing for Repairs — From Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services: “The pedestrian tunnel between Courthouse Metro station and Colonial Place will be closed for repairs this Wednesday through Friday. Aboveground crosswalks will remain open and the views of CVS are exquisite.” [Twitter]

Ticket Sales Restricted for Football Game — “This coming Saturday, November 6th at 3:30PM, W-L Varsity Football team, Cheerleaders and Marching Band will travel to Yorktown to play our last regular season football game. Please note that attendance at this game will be restricted.  Free passes will not be accepted. There will be no tickets sold at the gate. Due to restrictions put in place by Yorktown to address capacity and supervision concerns (including students rushing the field), W-L has been allocated 600 spectator tickets.” [Generals Athletics, Twitter]

ACPD Toy Drive Returns Next Week — “Help spread joy this holiday season by donating new, unwrapped toys during the Arlington County Police Department’s (ACPD) seventh annual Fill the Cruiser Holiday Toy Drive. This year, with families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for donations may be greater than ever and your generosity helps ensure the holidays are bright for some of our most vulnerable community members – children in need.” [ACPD]

It’s Tuesday — Today showers are likely, mainly between 11am and 2pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 53. Chance of precipitation is 70%. Sunrise at 7:36 a.m. and sunset at 6:06 p.m. Tomorrow it will be mostly sunny, with a high near 53.

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A woman was stabbed early Sunday morning during a large fight at a Courthouse hotel.

The incident happened around 2:30 a.m. It drew a large emergency response to the Arlington Court Suites hotel at 1200 N. Courthouse Road, two blocks from Arlington police headquarters.

Arriving officers encountered a melee involving what was estimated at the time to be around 100 people.

“The preliminary investigation indicates two large groups became involved in a physical altercation inside a hotel, during which the female victim was stabbed and the fire alarm had been pulled resulting in occupants exiting the building,” ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “Upon arrival, officers located the female victim in the parking lot suffering from a laceration and began performing emergency first aid until medics arrived. She was transported to an area hospital for treatment of injuries considered non-life threatening.”

“Officers responding inside the hotel located a suspect armed with a knife attempting to force entry into a hotel room,” Savage continued. “The suspect ignored the officer’s commands and the officer deployed a taser. The suspect was taken into custody without further incident and charged with a weapons offense.”

Video taken outside the hotel, below, shows the suspect being led out in handcuffs as medics treat the victim in the parking lot.

The suspect, a 20-year-old D.C. man, was charged with carrying a concealed weapon. So far there’s no word of anyone being charged in the stabbing itself.

“The investigation into the events that preceded the malicious wounding are ongoing,” Savage said. “Anyone with information that may assist with the investigation is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4180 or [email protected] Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).”

Video courtesy David Cheek. Alan Henney contributed to this report.

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President Joe Biden and Virginia governor candidate Terry McAuliffe at Lubber Run Community Center in July (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated at 4:05 p.m.) President Biden is coming back to Arlington.

Like he did in July, Biden will be campaigning with Terry McAuliffe, who’s in the home stretch of his campaign for a second term in the Virginia governor’s mansion. The Democratic campaign event is scheduled to take place from 5-8 p.m. Tuesday at Virginia Highlands Park (1600 S. Hayes Street) near Pentagon City.

Those registering to attend must attest to being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. No signs are permitted at the event, says the RSVP page.

Biden previously campaign with McAuliffe at Lubber Run Park near Ballston.

McAuliffe will face off against his GOP opponent, Glenn Youngkin, in the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 2. Early voting is currently underway and taking place through Saturday, Oct. 30. The deadline to request a mail-in ballot is tomorrow (Oct. 22).

McAuliffe, who served as governor from 2014-2018, will also be coming to Arlington tomorrow. The Friday event to kick off his bus tour of the Commonwealth is scheduled to take place from 8:45-10 a.m. outside county government headquarters at Courthouse Plaza (2100 Clarendon Blvd).

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Someone threw rocks at police cruisers a proverbial stone’s throw away from Arlington police headquarters in Courthouse.

The incident happened just before 10 a.m. last Friday, on the 2000 block of 14th Street N., the same block as the entrance to the police department.

“Police were dispatched to the report of a destruction of property,” ACPD said in a crime report. “Upon arrival, officers located the suspect and he was taken into custody without incident. The investigation determined that the suspect allegedly threw rocks at three police vehicles, causing damage and shattering a window.”

A 29-year-old D.C. man was arrested, charged with Destruction of Property, and held without bond, police said. A search of court records reveals a number of past arrests in Arlington, including for theft, destruction of property and drugs.

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Developer Greystar broke ground yesterday on an apartment building just a stone’s throw from the Courthouse Metro station.

The under-construction building now has a name: “The Commodore.” Work on it follows about three months of demolition of the “Landmark Block,” previously home to brick buildings that housed a handful of restaurants, including CosiBoston Market, Jerry’s Subs and Summers Restaurant.

Completion of the 20-story, 423-unit building at 2025 15th Street N. is expected in the fall of 2023, according to a press release.

“We are extremely excited to partner with Arlington County to redevelop the Courthouse Landmark site into a world-class, mixed-use project in the heart of the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor,” said John Clarkson, the managing director for Greystar Real Estate Partners. “The Commodore will deliver much needed housing and placemaking retail at the seat of Arlington County government and bridge the gap between the Rosslyn and Clarendon Metro Stations.”

The project will advance the county’s plans — seven years in the making — to redevelop not just the “Landmark Block,” but a sub-section of Courthouse it has dubbed “Courthouse Square.” The area is bounded by Clarendon Blvd to the north, N. Courthouse Road to the east, 14th Street N. to the south and commercial buildings to the west.

“Courthouse Square” is envisioned in county planning documents as “the civic and cultural heart of Arlington” and “where the revolution begins.”

Courthouse Square concept plan from 2015 (via Arlington County)

Apartment units will range in size from what Greystar calls “micro-units” to three-bedroom penthouses. The Commodore will offer 24/7 concierge service, a fitness center, a kitchen and dining area, a children’s playroom, a clubroom and a co-working space. Outdoor amenities include a pool and a rooftop with views of Rosslyn and D.C.

About 18,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space “will host locally loved food and drink destinations as well neighborhood, health & wellness, and personal care services for the Courthouse and Clarendon communities,” the release said.

As part of the project, Greystar will build part of a pedestrian promenade along N. Uhle Street between Wilson Blvd and 14th Street N. Residents will be able to use it to access the Courthouse Metro station.

The County Board approved the project back in March. Greystar is also overseeing another project in Courthouse, a 220-unit building on the vacant Wendy’s lot, which is currently winding through county processes.

“Greystar looks forward to being a vested and long-term owner in this dynamic and strategically important submarket,” Clarkson said.

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More than a dozen major redevelopments are in the pipeline in Arlington, from the second phase of Amazon’s HQ2 to large-scale apartment buildings.

Of the 16 ongoing and anticipated major site plan reviews, the county’s planning division expects 10 of them to go before the County Board for approval over the next nine months, before the beginning of the 2022-23 fiscal year on July 1.

1. Amazon HQ2 / PenPlace

One of the most consequential projects slated to go before the County Board by the end of 2021 is the second phase of Amazon’s HQ2 in Pentagon City, PenPlace, the public review process for which is ongoing. If approved as initially proposed, the “PenPlace” site would feature The Helix, a 350-foot tall spiraling office building that recreates a climb in the Blue Ridge Mountains..

2. Vacant Wendy’s site (2525 Clarendon Blvd) in Courthouse

Another notable development winding through public meetings is the apartment building proposed for the long-vacant Wendy’s site in Courthouse. A date has not yet been set for Board review.

3. Marbella Apartments near Rosslyn

The Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development recently accepted an application from Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing to redevelop the Marbella Apartments near Rosslyn. The public review process is just kicking off with an online feedback opportunity slated to open today (Monday) and close Wednesday, Oct. 13.

4. Joyce Motors site in Clarendon

Planning staff say a site plan application to replace Joyce Motors in Clarendon with apartments and retail, filed in May 2020, has also been accepted, with a County Board review expected before July 1, 2022.

Continued progress on the Joyce Motors project, however, is tied up with efforts to plan the future of development in Clarendon, precipitated by a bevy of other projects proposed there. Planning commissioners continue to provide feedback on the Joyce Motors development as part of their input on the Clarendon Sector Plan update, which currently includes three other proposed projects.

5. Wells Fargo/Verizon site in Clarendon

Site plans for two of the projects proposed in the Clarendon Sector Plan — one for the Wells Fargo and Verizon sites and the other for the Silver Diner site — could be filed by July 1. Only the Wells Fargo site is expected to see County Board action this fiscal year.

The Wells Fargo site is slated to be redeveloped as a mixed-use building with retail, office space and apartments. The second would be a hotel and apartment building over on the Silver Diner assemblage at 3200 Wilson Blvd, which includes well-known beer garden The Lot (3217 10th Street N.) and neighboring office retail buildings. Staff don’t anticipate this one reaching the board before July.

As part of the sector plan update, the county’s Long-Range Planning Committee is examining everything from building heights to historical preservation to open space. According to a recent timeline, the committee will issue draft recommendations this month that the County Board could consider in November or December.

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Power outages in N. Arlington at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 15, 2021 (map via Dominion)

(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) Around 3,400 homes and businesses are in the dark in Arlington as a result of a widespread power outage.

Portions of Courthouse, Clarendon and Virginia Square are without power, while a Dominion outage map previously showed a big swath of the residential neighborhoods to the north — extending into McLean — also affected. At the outage’s peak, nearly 5,500 homes and businesses were without power.

Traffic signals are dark at some of the busy intersections along the Orange Line corridor, according to scanner traffic.

On its website Dominion lists an early power restoration estimate of 6-9 p.m.

Reports of the outage came around the same time as the Arlington County Fire Department was dispatched to a report of a blown transformer. The fire department has also been responding to reports of smoke from buildings in the area, potentially linked to generators starting up.

At least one apartment building, Virginia Square Tower at 3444 Fairfax Drive, suffered a reported electrical fire, according to an email shared with ARLnow.

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The lower levels of the county government’s headquarters in Courthouse will undergo renovations starting next Monday, Sept. 20, and lasting through January 2023.

Most public areas of the Ellen M. Bozman Government Center (2100 Clarendon Blvd) will remain accessible while the lower levels are being revamped, according to the county.

The $4.8 million project, which the County Board approved in July, includes a variety of renovations to the first three floors and the creation of additional spaces.

“The renovations are designed for better, more concentrated use of space by the public and staff,” the county said. “They also include a new reception area on the lobby level, more conference rooms, and security enhancements.”

There will be renovations to the lobby, second and third floors, the ninth-floor break-room and parking garage-level common areas. Arlington Public Library’s Plaza Branch, located in the lobby, will get a children’s area. More conference rooms will be added and the first-floor reception area for the Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development will be reconfigured.

A county report from July said the renovations will support the county’s “new approach to building security as well as enhance customer interaction and engagement.”

Visitors will still be able to access lower-floor public service counters, including Voter Registration and Elections, the Treasurer’s Office and the office of the Commissioner of Revenue. Directional signs in common areas will guide visitors to their destinations.

Starting Monday, Sept. 27, the Treasurer’s Office will move to the first floor so people can pay their real estate and vehicle taxes in-person through the Tuesday, Oct. 5 due date.

The library’s Plaza Branch, which has been closed throughout the pandemic, will remain closed to the public during construction.

The County Board awarded the $4.8 million contract to Vienna-based Cooper Building Services. Funding will come from a $23.7 million tenant improvement allowance that was provided by landlord JBG Smith when the county renewed its lease in 2018.

The county previously used part of its tenant allowance on a contract to design the interior upgrades. There will be around $14 million left over after these renovations are complete.

Arlington County owns the land under the Bozman Center while JBG Smith owns the building. A letter of intent to restructure the ground lease agreement, announced in March, could eventually extend the land lease to JBG from 2062 to 2119.

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Morning Notes

It’s the End of Summers — The former Summers restaurant in Courthouse was torn down yesterday, making way for a new apartment development. Video of the demolition shows water being sprayed to control dust as the building was razed. [Twitter]

Staffing Concerns At 911 Dispatch Center — “The head of Arlington, Virginia’s Emergency Communications Center is addressing concerns that its current setup is problematic and even potentially dangerous. ‘We are like every other 911 center in the country, which has traditionally struggled with staffing,’ center administrator Dave Mulholland told WTOP. ‘We’re going to be very honest in acknowledging not every shift has optimal staffing.’ However, Mulholland maintains that crucial positions have always remained filled, and that more people are being trained to fill needed roles.” [WTOP]

Lebanese Taverna Helping to Feed Refugees — “When word came that thousands of Afghan refugees would be landing at Dulles in late August after their country fell to the Taliban, World Central Kitchen mobilized to make sure those reaching the U.S. after a harrowing journey would be greeted with a hot meal. The nonprofit’s first call was to Grace Abi-Najm Shea, one of five siblings behind Lebanese Taverna… Of the 61,298 meals WCK served there between Aug. 25 and Sept. 10, 5,037 came from Lebanese Taverna.” [Washington City Paper]

County Board May Modify Hotel Tax — “Arlington County is weighing whether to tax hotel guests for the total cost of their stay, including fees and other charges, and not just the cost of the room. The potential change to the transient occupancy tax — the revenue from which has collapsed amid the pandemic, affecting Arlington’s incentive arrangement with Amazon.com Inc. — follows changes to the tax definition in the state code adopted by the Virginia General Assembly.” [Washington Business Journal]

Much of Crystal City Is Now Carbon Neutral — “JBG SMITH, a leading owner and developer of high-quality, mixed-use properties in the Washington, DC market, today announced it has achieved carbon neutrality across its entire 16.1 million square foot operating portfolio. Building on this accomplishment, JBG SMITH intends for its properties to maintain carbon neutral operations annually.” [BusinessWire]

Tucker Rants About Beyer — Fox News opinion host Tucker Carlson called Rep. Don Beyer “a fashionably radical car dealer from Arlington” on his show earlier this week, in a segment about vaccine mandates. But Beyer’s communications director says that the local congressman, who is actually an Alexandria resident, “does not own any auto dealerships and has not for years.” [Twitter]

Harris Teeter Stores Cutting Hours — “Harris Teeter stores nationwide will be reducing their store hours until further notice, citing the shortage of labor caused by the COVID-19 pandemic… Starting Wednesday, Sept. 15, all Harris Teeters will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Stores in Northern Virginia have previously been open 24 hours, or until 11 p.m.” [InsideNova]

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Arlington County is inviting the public to provide feedback on the planned development for the vacant Wendy’s lot at 2025 Clarendon Blvd.

Greystar Real Estate Partners is proposing to turn the 0.57-acre lot about a block from the Courthouse Metro station into a 16-story apartment building, with up to 231 residential units and 4,000 square feet of retail.

Through Thursday, Sept. 16, residents can comment on land use — whether the building should be used for apartments or offices — as well as building size, architecture, transportation and open space.

Initially, the project was set to be an office building, proposed by the former developer, Carr Properties. After receiving the County Board’s go-ahead in 2015, the fast food spot was demolished in 2016 but the office building never materialized. The vacant lot has instead been used as a staging area for 2000 Clarendon, a condo project across the street.

A Greystar representative said in a presentation that Carr could not secure a tenant for the office building. So the new developer has turned to apartments instead.

“While a conversion from office to residential use will always require some changes to a building, we took a fresh look at the previously approved project, while changing it to fit a residential floor plan and adding a modest amount of additional height,” the representative said.

For the new project, the county and Greystar are interested in feedback on the architecture.

Greystar and architect Cooper Carry liken the building to a ship, said county planner Adam Watson. At the “prow,” pointing west towards N. Courthouse Road, an “angular glass vessel” set on marble-clad columns will rise above the plaza, while the façades along Clarendon and Wilson Blvd will feature red brick, he said.

“We really look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments on what you’d like to see in terms of signature gateway architecture at the site,” he said.

A 1,497-square-foot public pedestrian plaza will sit under the columns, at the intersection of Courthouse Road, Wilson Blvd, and Clarendon Blvd. Greystar is looking to fill the retail space with a restaurant that can use the plaza for outdoor dining, according to a spokesman.

Below ground, the new project includes a parking ratio of .32 spaces per unit, for a total of 74 spaces for residents, but no retail parking, according to a staff presentation. There will be 252 secure bicycle parking spaces and eight visitor spaces.

At 16 stories and 165.5 feet tall, the project clocks in much taller than recommended maximum of 10 stories in the Rosslyn to Courthouse Urban Design Study. But Greystar has a plan for securing its desired height and density.

The project includes a 104,789 square foot transfer of development rights from Wakefield Manor, a small garden-apartment complex less than a half-mile from the proposed development. The housing on N. Courthouse Road — featuring art deco and moderne design elements — has a historic easement, according to the county.

After the comment period ends, the county expects to hold virtual site plan review committee meetings in October and November. Dates for commission meetings and a final approval from the County Board have yet to be determined.

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