(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) More than 5,000 Dominion customers were in the dark this morning due to a large power outage.
Around 10:45 a.m. firefighters were dispatched to the power substation at the intersection of S. Fern Street and 18th Street S. for a report of a transformer explosion and fire.
Shortly before 11 a.m. firefighters on scene reported that they had put a small fire out and were awaiting the arrival of Dominion representatives.
The incident knocked out power to much of the Pentagon City and Crystal City area, prompting numerous calls for stuck elevators and tripped alarms.
As of publication the Dominion website was reporting 5,146 customers without power in Arlington. The power was fully restored, according to Dominion, by 12:30 p.m.
Crystal City Outage Info:
A failed piece of equipment has caused 5,178 customer outages this morning.
Our crews are on the scene making repairs.
We expect to have power restored within the hour.
Thank you for your patience.
— Peggy Fox (@PeggyDomEnergy) September 28, 2023
This is the second month in a row for a large power outage in this area. An underground cable failure along 15th Street S. knocked out power to more than 10,000 Dominion customers on Aug. 22.
After nearly three years of waiting, the Crystal City Water Park is slated to reopen next week, JBG Smith announced yesterday.
The newly renovated, privately owned 1.6-acre park will feature nine restaurant kiosks, a cocktail and oyster bar, seating areas, public art installations, new water features — including a water wall — and a live performance stage.
“Water Park is a manifestation of our vision for National Landing as a premier 18-hour community that warmly embraces families, workers, students and visitors of all ages,” Kai Reynolds, chief development officer at JBG Smith, said in a press release.
“In addition to creating an urban oasis where people can relax, linger and enjoy time spent together, we have intentionally curated Water Park to serve as a celebration of the region’s rich and diverse culinary traditions,” he continued.
JBG Smith says it plans to host a grand opening ceremony next Friday, Oct. 6, from 6-10 p.m.
While the park previously had a small food and drink kiosk, the new iteration has nine kiosks for a variety of food vendors, with a focus on “local, minority- and women-owned businesses.”
The vendor lineup features:
- Brij, D.C. a café and wine bar by Skyler Kelley, supporting single mothers, the LGBTQ+ community and people who are homeless
- Bubbie’s Plant Burger, a Kosher, plant-based American eatery by the creators of D.C.’s Pow Pow, Margaux Riccio and Shaun Sharkey
- Cracked Eggery, a D.C. food truck known for inventive egg dishes that now has two brick and mortar locations in Cleveland Park and Shaw
- Dolci Gelati, a D.C.-based gelato shop offering over 450 seasonal, artisanal flavors, plus coffee and espresso
- Falafel Inc., a Georgetown-based charitable eatery that offers hummus and falafel dishes
- PhoWheels, a new Vietnamese-inspired food vendor
- Tiki Thai, a Reston-based Thai-Polynesian eatery
- Queen Mother’s, a fried chicken concept created by James Beard Award semi-finalist Chef Rahman “Rock” Harper
In addition to the kiosks, there is be a new cocktail and oyster bar, dubbed “Water Bar,” perched on top of the water wall at the back of the park.
The restaurant, operated by the Atlanta-based hospitality group STHRN, features a raw bar and an extensive cocktail list, according to JBG Smith. STHRN will also be opening an outpost of Crush Pizza, its New York-style pizzeria.
“We are excited to bring the delicious taste of Water Bar to life through unique, tasty cocktails and the deeply immersive flavors of the east coast,” Elizabeth Feichter, a partner at STHRN, said in the release.
Several events are scheduled to take place across Arlington on Saturday, bringing both festivities and road closures.
The events celebrate everything from the neighborhood of Clarendon to Bavarian and Irish culture.
Kicking off at 11 a.m., Clarendon Day will offer live music, food, craft beer, Virginia wines, art and inflatable obstacle courses. The event, which is one of Arlington’s largest street festivals, ends at 6 p.m.
Metro riders can take the Orange Line to the Clarendon station, the entrance to which is in the middle of the multiblock festival area.
Stretches of Wilson Blvd and Clarendon Blvd will be closed from 3 a.m. to 10 p.m. to accommodate the event, according to Arlington County police.
The complete list of street closures for the event is below.
- Wilson Blvd, from Washington Blvd to N. Highland Street
- Clarendon Blvd, from Washington Blvd to N. Garfield Street
- N. Highland Street, from 11th Street N. to Wilson Blvd
- N. Herndon Street, from Wilson Blvd to the alleyway behind CVS
- N. Hudson Street, from Wilson Blvd to the alleyway behind CVS
Samuel Beckett’s Celtic Festival
Samuel Beckett’s Irish Pub in Shirlington is hosting its annual Celtic Festival this Saturday from 12-7 p.m.
The event will highlight traditional Irish music and dance and feature a pop-up market, food and beverages.
Campbell Avenue, from S. Randolph Street to the parking garage entrance in front of Harris Teeter, will be closed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
National Landing Oktoberfest
Additionally, the National Landing Business Improvement District is holding an Oktoberfest event from 1-5 p.m. this Saturday at the corner of 22nd Street S. and S. Fern Street, behind what is dubbed “Restaurant Row” in Crystal City.
The beer-centric, Bavarian-ish event includes live music from the Alte Kumpel Band and The Pilgrims of Deep Run. Food and drinks, including offerings from Crystal City Sports Pub, will be available for purchase.
Activities include a stein-holding competition, a best-dressed contest, lawn games and crafting stations for kids featuring hat-making and clove decor. Attendees can register online ahead of time.
Police will close 22nd Street S. between S. Eads Street and S. Fern Street from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.
JBG Smith is asking Arlington County to relieve it of restrictions that it says present serious obstacles to putting up new rooftop signs.
The real estate company is specifically asking the county to remove language restricting the number and size of signs allowed on two office buildings in the Crystal Park development it owns in Crystal City. The proposal is set to go before the County Board this Saturday.
Not everyone is comfortable with the language change, however. Two area civic associations told the county that the restrictions should stay, fearing this would pave the way for more signs going forward.
Currently, Crystal Park offices are governed by a document that “ties certain approved signs to specific tenants, some of which no longer occupy the premises, limits installation of rooftop signs to a single, prescribed rooftop sign and contains outdated requirements for approved signs,” land-use attorney Kedrick Whitmore wrote in an application to the county.
This hamstrings JBG Smith, he continues.
“Collectively, these restrictions complicate the ability to re-design existing signage for new tenants and present obstacles to achieving new rooftop signage,” Whitmore wrote.
JBG Smith is requesting the county remove restrictions for Crystal Park 1 and 3 office buildings, located at 2011 Crystal Drive and 2231 Crystal Drive. Instead, it asks the county evaluate new signage only in accordance to the Arlington County Zoning Ordinance.
In 2012, the zoning code was updated, providing new clarifying parameters for signs and only requiring staff review. This change did not apply to a smattering of older developments throughout Arlington governed by more restrictive agreements.
County staff say this change would make it easier for JBG Smith to compete for tenants.
“As commercial buildings mature and market themselves for new tenants, it is imperative that building owners be able to avail themselves of sign permissions available to other similar buildings so as to not place themselves at a competitive disadvantage,” the report said.
The county notes that other building owners have made similar requests and had the support of staff, as this “allow[s] for fair administration of building signage.”
The report says Crystal City and Aurora Highlands civic associations told the county they do not support JBG Smith’s request because it could allow for more signs.
The other reason, leaders told the county, is that the current provisions were decided through negotiated community benefits during the site plan review process.
“The community accepted less in the way of other benefits to limit the number and size of signs, so they believe that changes to allow more signs would not be fair,” the report says.
The county says it found no evidence that the more restrictive language was related to community benefit packages.
“Rather these were common site plan conditions approved in the absence of comprehensive sign provisions of the [zoning ordinance], which are now in place,” the report said.
Eric Cassel, the president of the Crystal City Civic Association, told ARLnow this morning that, as of now, the issue is “relatively minor.”
“JBGS downgraded the proposal significantly and we are not spending resources to oppose it,” he said.
Part of Crystal Drive was closed for several hours yesterday after a utility worker inadvertently pumped oily water onto the road.
The Arlington County Fire Department, including its hazmat unit, was the first to respond to the scene in Crystal City for initial reports of an “unknown amount of gas in the roadway,” according to scanner traffic.
Crystal Drive was closed in both directions between 15th and 23rd Street S. according to an Arlington Alert message sent out shortly before 2 p.m.
Responders then called in Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services, and its sand truck, to handle cleanup, per the scanner. The cleanup crews could be seen near 20th Street S. and Crystal Drive on live camera feed.
DES spokeswoman Katie O’Brien told ARLnow Wednesday evening that oily water had flooded the road.
“A contractor for Pepco, pumping water out of an old electrical transmission vault, accidentally released oily water into the roadway,” she said. “An absorbent and sand was placed on the roadway to contain the oil and prevent slipping. The contractor is working to clean the area.”
The road reopened around 7:30 p.m.
Pepco, of course, serves customers in D.C. and suburban Maryland, not Virginia. It does, however, have communication and power transmission lines in the Crystal City area, according to O’Brien.
While jazz enthusiasts sway to soulful tunes, just a few miles away, emergency responders will be lacing up their running shoes for the Arlington Police, Fire, Sheriff, & ECC 9/11 Memorial 5K race in Pentagon City.
From 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., two roads will be closed for the music festival:
- Langston Blvd, eastbound from Fort Myer Drive to N. Moore Street
- Fort Myer Drive access road, from 19th Street N. to N. Moore Street
The festival will take place from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. and feature several jazz acts, including Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph, Pedrito Martinez Group, Oh He Dead and DuPont Brass, as well as food trucks and games.
Road closures around the Pentagon City and Crystal City will begin at 5 p.m. to prepare for the Arlington 9/11 Memorial 5K, which has raised money for 9/11-related charities since its inception in 2002.
The race, which kicks off at 6 p.m. and ends at 7:30 p.m., will start and end at the DoubleTree Hotel in Pentagon City. All road closures in the area will be lifted by 8:30 p.m.
More on road closures about the 5K from a police press release:
The Arlington County Police Department will close the following roadways around the Pentagon and in Crystal City to accommodate the event:
From approximately 3:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.
- Army Navy Drive, from S. Eads Street to 12th Street S.
From approximately 5:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.
- S. Eads Street, from Army Navy Drive to 12th Street S.
- S. Fern Street, from Army Navy Drive to 12th Street S.
- S. Hayes Street, from Army Navy Drive to 12th Street S.
- Army Navy Drive, from S. Joyce Street to S. Eads Street
- S. Joyce Street, from Army Navy Drive to Columbia Pike
- Columbia Pike, from S. Oak Street to Washington Boulevard
- S. Washington Boulevard, from Arlington Boulevard to Columbia Pike
- S. Washington Boulevard, from SB George Washington Parkway
- Route 110 S., from I-66 and Wilson Boulevard to Army Navy Drive
- Marshall Drive, from Iwo Jima Access Road to Route 110 S.
- Southgate Road, from S. Nash Street to Columbia Pike
- The ramp to Army Navy Drive from NB I-395 Exit 8A, Arlington Ridge Road, and N. Washington Boulevard
- The ramp from NB I-395 Exit 8C to Pentagon City / Crystal City
ACPD said motorists should expect traffic and “extended travel times” in the surrounding areas. The department advises seeking “alternative routes to reduce road congestion,” including taking Metro.
The Rosslyn Metro Station is located within walking distance of the jazz festival while both the Pentagon City and Crystal City Metro stations are in walking distance of the race. Paid parking is available at the Pentagon City Mall garage.
Police say additional street parking near both events will be restricted and motorists should be on the lookout for temporary “No Parking” signs.
Vampires will be descending on Crystal City next month.
It won’t be self-professed real vampires, known to haunt New Orleans and Atlanta, but rather the cast of the hit TV show “Vampire Diaries.”
Members of the cast will journey to Arlington for a three-day convention next month, offering fans a deep dive into its supernatural world. The “Vampire Fan Weekend” by Creation Entertainment is set to take place at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel, at 1700 Richmond Hwy, from Friday, Sept. 15 to Sunday, Sept. 17.
“Vampire Diaries” is set in the fictional town of Mystic Falls, Virginia and follows Elena Gilbert, portrayed by Nina Dobrev, who falls in love with 162-year-old vampire Stefan Salvatore, played by Paul Wesley.
The plot thickens when Stefan’s mysterious older brother, Damon Salvatore, portrayed by Ian Somerhalder, returns to town. His mission? To resurrect Katherine Pierce, whom both brothers loved and who bears an uncanny resemblance to Elena.
After 171 episodes spanning eight seasons on The CW network, the show concluded on March 10, 2017, cultivating a passionate fan base along the way.
The Gold package guarantees reserved front-row seats in the main theater throughout the event, an exclusive panel on Sunday, priority for autographs, special credentials, and complimentary autographs from stars including Somerhalder and Wesley.
Otherwise, autographs range from $30 to $85, photos cost $45 to $149 and the celebration concert is $35.
Autographs and photo opportunities with Somerhalder have sold out, according to Creation Entertainment’s website.
In addition to Somerhalder and Wesley, cast members set to attend include: Daniel Gillies, Candice King, Michael Malarkey, Riley Voelkel, Nathaniel Buzolic, Chris Lee, Quincy Fouse, Ben Levin, Chase Coleman, Zane Phillips and Micah Parker.
Dobrev, who left the cast after the show’s sixth season, is not currently listed as expected to attend.
(Updated at 9:15 p.m.) Thousands were without power in and around Crystal City and Pentagon City for much of the day due to a widespread outage.
The outage was first reported just after 11:15 a.m. Arlington County firefighters investigated a possible underground explosion and treated a Dominion worker with burns from steam that came out of a manhole, according to scanner traffic.
“At 11:18 a.m. a splice in an underground cable failed causing an arc/flash and 10,000+ outages in Crystal City, Pentagon City & nearby neighborhoods,” Dominion spokeswoman Peggy Fox told ARLnow shortly before 4 p.m. “We’re working to have all customers restored as quickly as possible, hopefully in a half an hour. A worker was treated at the scene and released.”
ACFD also responded to a large quantity of stuck elevator calls in the area, owing to the outage.
More than 10,250 Dominion customers were without power as a result of the outage. The outage map extended into the Aurora Highlands and Arlington Ridge residential neighborhoods, including Oakridge Elementary.
Arlington’s parks department closed the Long Bridge Aquatic and Fitness Center and the Gunston Community Center due to the outage.
As of 5:15 p.m., Dominion said all but 1,229 customers had their power restored, with outages still reported along Crystal Drive by ARLnow readers. As of 9 p.m. all customers had been restored, per Dominion.
Transformer blew on 15th st pic.twitter.com/TUBEKFx8RW
— Rachid Maalouf (@MaaloufRachid) August 22, 2023
Can confirm, I’ve never seen so many people out on the sidewalk as all homes and businesses have lost power! https://t.co/yFeHtFooAb
— James Gethyn Evans (@jagevans) August 22, 2023
Yup. It's chaos here right now. https://t.co/CBZSZVrBdf
— Alex Matsuo 👻🏳️🌈 (@TheSpookyStuff) August 22, 2023
Arlington County police are looking for a man who exposed himself to at least two women Monday morning.
The first incident happened around 8:30 a.m. on the 3500 block of S. Ball Street, in the Crystal City area near Potomac Yard. The second happened just over an hour later on the 400 block of 12th Street S. in Pentagon City, near the Lenox Club apartments.
“At approximately 8:41 a.m. on August 14, police were dispatched to the report of an exposure,” police said in a crime report. “Upon arrival, it was determined the female victim was walking in the area when the male suspect in a parked vehicle engaged her in conversation. During the conversation, the suspect exposed himself and fled the scene in his vehicle.”
“At approximately 9:52 a.m., police were dispatched to the 400 block of 12th Street S. to another report of an exposure,” the crime report continues. “It was determined the female victim was walking in the area when the suspect, matching the reporting parties description from the incident prior, engaged her in conversation from his parked vehicle and exposed himself.”
Police say the man fled in a silver SUV.
“The investigation is ongoing,” ACPD said.
(Updated at 10:20 a.m.) With half of its planned HQ2 now open in Pentagon City, Amazon is planning to leave most of its leased spaces in Crystal City.
Once the leases expire for temporary Amazon offices at 1800 S. Bell Street and 2100 Crystal Drive, in 2023 and 2024, respectively, JBG Smith intends to “take off-line and entitle [them] for alternate uses,” per a new report.
One of the buildings, 1800 S. Bell Street, could get the redevelopment treatment as early as 2026, the report says. JBG Smith included the property at the tail end of its near-term development pipeline for National Landing, the area composed of Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard. It appears slated to remain for office use.
Amazon has always planned to consolidate its office space and move employees to its permanent HQ2, the first phase of which — Metropolitan Park — opened in June. There is still no word from the company on when the stalled second phase, Pen Place, could begin, though the delay may only be a year or so.
The tech company’s departure from two of its three leased offices will pile on more vacancies in JBG Smith’s portfolio, according to the real estate company’s report.
By the end of 2024, the company anticipates 1.2 million square feet of office space in National Landing will be vacated. Amazon currently occupies about half that square footage.
Amazon plans to continue to occupy 1770 Crystal Drive, located near the Alamo Cinema Drafthouse, the taqueria Tacombi and the proposed second entrance to the Crystal City Metro station, at the northwest corner of Crystal Drive and 18th Street S.
Excluding Amazon, JBG Smith says its current retention rate between now and the end of 2024 is about 50%, versus an annual average of about 70%. To bring the rate up, the company will focus on filling more up-to-date buildings going forward.
“Our efforts to re-lease certain spaces will be targeted toward buildings with long-term viability,” wrote Matthew Kelly in the report. “We expect to repurpose older, obsolete, and vacant buildings for redevelopment, conversion to multifamily, or another specialty use, ultimately reducing our competitive inventory in National Landing.”
JBG Smith declined to elaborate on what other specialty uses it envisions as well as properties it plans to either retain for tenants or develop.
Its report, however, outlines when each of its commercial holdings in Crystal City was built and when it was last renovated.
Of the four built in the late 1960s, three have not been updated since the mid-2000s. Another 10 were built in the 1980s and were renovated over the course of 15 years starting in 2006.
The report also provides a timeline for forthcoming redevelopment plans. It says Crystal City is slated to get new apartments in the following places:
- 2250 Crystal Drive and 223 23rd Street S., where an office building and the former Jaleo restaurant once stood
- “Block W,” currently composed of a parking lot, an off-ramp and a JBG-owned workout park
- 1415 S. Eads Street, or the Americana Hotel
A new office building is slated to come to 101 12th Street S. and either offices or apartments could come to 2525 Crystal Drive. JBG Smith has studied both at the site and the report currently lists its estimated residential redevelopment potential.
A map of JBG Smith’s commercial holdings in the area, as well as its pipeline of commercial and residential development opportunities, is below. Click on the window in the top left corner to see a description of the map, the different colors, and individual addresses.
Construction could start on the redevelopment of Crystal House Apartments in Crystal City late next spring.
Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (A, which is spearheading the project along with D.C.-area developer EYA, expects to kick off construction in May or June of 2024, APAH spokeswoman Elise Panko tells ARLnow.
Arlington County selected the two companies build more affordable housing on the Crystal House apartment property after Amazon granted the county development rights to the vacant land, worth approximately $40 million. APAH and EYA have plans to construct 844 units on this empty plot, of which 655 will be designated as affordable.
Meanwhile, existing units will be kept affordable through a separate loan from Amazon. In an effort to mitigate the impact of its move to Arlington on the local housing market, the tech giant loaned the Washington Housing Conservancy money to purchase and stabilize rent at the complex, located at 1900 S. Eads Street, just one block from its second headquarters.
Several months after being selected to lead the project, APAH has requested the county’s permission to amend the previously approved development plans for the site, aiming to incorporate affordable housing, according to recently filed application materials.
APAH began by redesigning the project’s first phase, dubbed “Crystal House VI,” which is set to be located at the corner of 18th Street S. and S. Fern Street.
When the project was approved in 2019, the “Crystal House VI” was envisioned as a five-story building housing 63 units. However, APAH now intends to pivot towards affordable senior rentals, which the developer says is necessary to secure additional financing.
The developer requested permission to increase the number of units to 80 and halve the number of parking spaces.
It also requested different façade materials that “maintain a high quality and appealing design while reducing construction costs,” according to land-use attorney Nicholas Cumings.
According to a letter from Cummings, the increase in units can be achieved without changing the building’s overall footprint. The units will be smaller than the originally planned market-rate condos.
“The proposed minor site plan amendment represents a significant milestone in realizing the county’s goals,” APAH Executive Vice President Carmen Romero wrote in a letter of support to the county. “Creating these homes requires the approval of this minor site plan amendment in order to make the design compatible with an affordable senior rental project.”
Once construction starts next year, Panko says APAH anticipates Crystal House VI to be done in the fall or winter of 2025.
“This phase will reconnect the streetscape to the surrounding community as well as provide carefully crafted amenities for our seniors that foster a sense of belonging and enhance the overall quality of life for residents,” Romero said in her letter.
When asked for a timeline of the other projects in the pipeline, Panko said “there are two buildings on the site that will remain occupied, so the development will be phased to accommodate existing operations.”