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by Chris Teale — March 24, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

The national political climate and art are colliding this year at Artomatic.

The free six-week art extravaganza debuts tonight in Crystal City. Among the politically-inspired pieces: a large paper mache President Trump with a Russian flag lapel pin and a Gollum-like Vladimir Putin on his shoulder.

Meanwhile, a display that gained national attention during the 2016 campaign season encourages attendees to take photographs of their own backsides in a cut-out “Rump” poster. And dueling portraits feature two politicians holding their fingers to their lips, telling each other to be quiet.

By and large, however, the event is more eclectic than political. Other works include giant plywood street art rabbits and a painting of a nude woman wielding a sword.

Artomatic kicks off tonight for its third stint in Crystal City. The event includes the work of 600 artists across seven floors of vacant office space at 1800 S. Bell Street — 100,000 square feet of visual artwork, film, performance art, three stages of live music and free art workshops. It will also host the first Artomatic wedding on April 22.

“Artomatic has a very simple mission: to build community among artists,” Artomatic board chair emeritus George Koch said at a preview event Friday morning.

Among the collaborators this year is the Crystal City Business Improvement District, which partnered with Artomatic and developer Vornado to make the space available. Crystal City previously hosted Artomatic in 2007 and 2012.

Crystal City BID president and CEO Angela Fox said that as the neighborhood evolves, such events help “give it a soul.”

“We pave the way, then get out the way and Artomatic comes in here, all volunteers and transforms this space,” Fox said.

Artomatic begins Friday with its opening night party, starting at 7 p.m. It will be open Wednesdays and Thursdays from noon to 10 p.m., and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon to midnight. The exhibits are closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

by Chris Teale — March 22, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

2231 Crystal Drive SineWaveA venture capital fund seeking to help grow new technology businesses in Crystal City will receive economic development funds from Arlington County.

The County Board unanimously approved an incentive-based economic development grant for SineWave Ventures at its Tuesday meeting.

Up to $250,000 would be paid over five years to SineWave under the terms of the deal, depending on performance.

The agreement states that SineWave must attract five capital providers and partner companies to lease office space, and create at least 391 new full-time jobs. There are other goals for investment reviews and the provision of educational events for local entrepreneurs.

Sinewave graphicSineWave is aiming to develop a central hub of similar tech-focused venture capital firms at 2231 Crystal Drive, to invest in new companies. It will be in the same building as startup incubator 1776, and close to open-access workshop TechShop and coworking space Eastern Foundry.

A “sense of collaboration, advisement and mentorship” will come from the companies all being located in Crystal City, said Christina Winn, director of Arlington Economic Development’s Business Investment Group.

Board member John Vihstadt said such grants will help the county be less reliant on the federal government.

“This may seem like small potatoes to some, but frankly it’s part of the story where we really are working very hard to diversify Arlington’s economy away from federal contractors, away from the defense industry and towards really a 21st century economy, which is where the action hopefully is going to be,” he said.

Winn said AED spent two years developing the plan and ensuring there is little financial risk to the county. Board member Christian Dorsey said the requirement that SineWave repay the money if it fails to hit its targets is wise.

“These are not investments of the international high-risk equity variety,” he said. “These are of the safe variety, as if they don’t pan out we get our money back, which is the best investment to make because you can’t really lose.”

by Chris Teale — March 14, 2017 at 10:45 am 0

2231 Crystal Drive SineWaveA venture capital fund could get a grant to set up an investment hub in Crystal City hub.

At its Saturday meeting, the Arlington County Board will consider a proposed agreement with SineWave Ventures for an incentive-based economic development grant.

Up to $250,000 would be paid over five years under the terms of the deal, depending on performance.

SineWave is aiming to develop a central hub of similar tech-focused venture capital firms, in an office building at 2231 Crystal Drive, to invest in new companies. SineWave provides early-stage investment in businesses that develop technology for potential use in the public sector, including in the fields of cybersecurity, data and networking.

The agreement stipulates that SineWave must attract five capital providers and partner companies to lease office space, and create at least 391 new full-time jobs. There are other goals for investment reviews and the provision of educational events for local entrepreneurs.

If SineWave has not achieved 90 percent of its targets, it will be required to pay the grant money back to the county. A staff report on the plan estimates Arlington will receive $430,000 gross tax benefit over 10 years; or $180,000 net tax benefit after the full grant is paid.

County staff wrote that the plan will help fill vacant office space in the area and attract new businesses.

“With respect to Arlington’s ongoing vacancy challenges, the Crystal City submarket continues to need companies and investment to diversify and rebuild its tenant base,” staff wrote. “The proposed partnership with SineWave aligns with the County’s economic development strategy to attract key co-working operators, business incubators/accelerators and venture funds; SineWave adds another critical piece to the budding technology ecosystem in Crystal City.”

Image via Vornado

by Chris Teale — March 13, 2017 at 12:45 pm 0

Startup Monday header

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Passengers at the region’s airports could have an easier time during their travels thanks to a new partnership between the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and Crystal City startup incubator 1776.

1776 front deskThe partnership, announced last month, means the two organizations will work together to find and mentor firms that look to use technology to make air travel more efficient. That technology includes proposals that can benefit airports, transit agencies and more.

MWAA operates Ronald Reagan Washington National and Dulles airports, as well as the Dulles Airport Access Highway and the Dulles Toll Road. It also manages construction of the Silver Line project into Loudoun County.

“In today’s rapidly changing world of business and commerce, it is imperative that transportation providers, such as airports, take advantage of new technologies that help us meet the demands and expectations of our increasingly mobile customers,” said MWAA president and CEO Jack Potter in a statement.

Already, 1776 is affiliated with companies that look to improve the travel experience in and around airports. The startup incubator, which has an office at 2231 Crystal Drive in Crystal City, partnered with mobile application company Airside Mobile to add Automated Passport Control devices that help international passengers arriving at Washington Dulles International Airport be processed more quickly.

Reagan Airport (file photo)MWAA also has been innovating through a partnership with CLEAR, a firm that helps its members move quickly through airport security lines and advances the use of biometric technology for security screening.

Additionally, the authority has invested in mobile app technology to aid security screening and airport signage, and is developing patented processes and technologies to make airport operations more efficient.

“Startups and new technologies continue to rapidly disrupt the way we travel from point A to point B,” said Evan Burfield, cofounder and CEO of 1776, in a statement. “1776 is excited to partner with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority to harness the latest innovations within the transportation and aviation industry.”

by ARLnow.com — March 10, 2017 at 11:15 am 0

What’s it like racing around an expansive Crystal City parking garage on a bike?

Kind of like a videogame, as a video (above) from this week’s edition of Crystal City’s Wednesday Night Spins demonstrates.

The events are taking place on Wednesdays from 6-9 p.m., on the G3 and G4 level of the parking garage at 201 12th Street S., through the end of March. The races are free for spectators and around $15 for participants.

by Tim Regan — March 3, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Photo via Crystal City BIDA bike race series that lets cyclists pedal through an underground parking garage has started up again in Crystal City.

The “Wednesday Night Spins” indoor race series held its first match of the year on March 1, according to the event’s organizers.

Though last year’s races were held at the complex at 2345 Crystal Drive, this year’s events are taking place on the G3 and G4 level of the parking garage at 201 12th Street S.

“Wednesday Night Spins hosts races for elites and amateurs with participants in each category competing for weekly prizes and points in pursuit of the Series Title,” the Crystal City BID said on its website.

According to the BID, the races last approximately 35 minutes and take place every Wednesday in March from 6-9 p.m. Each night’s schedule is as follows:

  • 6:00 p.m. — Onsite Registration/Check-in
  • 6:30 p.m. — Beginner Race
  • 7:25 p.m. — Women’s Open Race
  • 8:25 p.m. — Open Race

On the final evening of the series, organizers will combine the beginner and open races and add three more competitions: the “Anything Goes Race,” “Feds Vs. Contractors,” and the “Fixed-Gear Finale.”

Cyclists who want to participate in any of the scheduled races can sign up online. Registration is generally $15 per race, though some are more or less, depending on the match.

The race is free for spectators, who will have access to a wine and beer garden in the building’s lounge.

Photo via Crystal City BID

by Chris Teale — March 3, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

The redevelopment of North Potomac Yard in Alexandria gathered more steam last week, and residents in Crystal City are keeping an eye on its potential impacts.

North Potomac Yard is in the northeast corner of Alexandria, just across the Arlington County line, near a planned Potomac Yard Metro station. It is currently occupied by a Regal movie theater, a Target and other big box stores and restaurants.

The City of Alexandria is in the planning process for a massive mixed-use development at the 69-acre site, to include retail, residential units, a hotel and office space.

On February 22, city staff released the first draft three chapters of the updated plan, then the following day met with the Crystal City Civic Association at its general meeting.

Association president Christer Ahl told ARLnow.com that his members are most concerned that Crystal City will be left behind as nearby developments spring up in Arlington and Alexandria.

“Perhaps the larger issue which the project raises is whether it could contribute to the notion of Crystal City becoming a ‘backwater,’ stuck with many old buildings which at best might be renovated, while the Rosslyn/Ballston corridor and Potomac Yard in two very different ways will be full of exciting new development,” he said.

“Of course, this depends a lot on the attitude and priorities of the county, JBG/Smith and other developers, together with the near-term market situation.”

Ahl added that many in the area are also concerned with the impact on traffic along Crystal Drive and Route 1 from the new development, which could total as much as 7.5 million square feet.

The Alexandria City Council voted to approve the new Metro station in May 2015, to be located on the Yellow and Blue lines between the Braddock Road and National Airport stops.

While the new Metro station and the Metroway bus rapid transit route along Route 1 could take care of a lot of traffic impact, Ahl said, there were still concerns about the number of cars to hit the roads with the new development.

“If we assume that the new development goes hand-in-hand with the new Metro station, that should take care of a lot of the concerns,” Ahl said. “Alexandria very strongly focuses on being as pedestrian, bike and transit-friendly as possible, and conversely avoiding car dependency. In terms of vehicular traffic on U.S. Route 1 or Potomac Avenue leading into Crystal City, I guess the proof in the pudding is hard to predict.”

One other aspect that Ahl said troubled some association members is the potential loss of amenities like the movie theater and Target, which are major draws. But he said members will continue to monitor the situation and see how it evolves.

“To some extent, it becomes wait and see,” Ahl said. “Depending on their own inclinations and their own preferences, we’re speculating on whether it will be positive or negative in some sense. Some people would hate to see losing some of their existing favorite places, although they emphasized in our meeting that Target has a lease in place until 2028, so that might be the last thing that happens down there.”

According to a timeline, an advisory group tasked with updating the North Potomac Yard plan will present its final recommendations in April.

Images via City of Alexandria

by Tim Regan — March 2, 2017 at 10:50 am 0

A truck caught fire in Crystal City this morning, prompting a response from the Arlington County Fire Department.

The blaze broke out in a box truck carrying shredded material before 10:30 a.m. this morning. The truck was parked in front of a building on the 200 block of 12th Street S.

Arlington County firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the small fire, which was in the back of the truck. The truck itself did not catch fire, according to scanner traffic.

by Tim Regan — February 24, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

Police car lightsSomeone phoned in a bomb threat to a building in Crystal City earlier this week, prompting a police search.

The threat was called in to a residential building on the 1900 block of S. Eads Street — the same block as the large Crystal House apartment complex — just after 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22.

Arlington County Police officers with bomb-sniffing dogs swept the building, but no explosives were found. The building was not evacuated.

Police are still looking for the person who called in the threat.

From an ACPD crime report:

BOMB THREAT, 2017-02220081, 1900 block of S. Eads Street. At approximately 8:38 a.m. on February 22, an unknown subject called in a bomb threat. A K9 sweep was conducted with negative results. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

by ARLnow.com — February 23, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

Young buck (deer) in backyard (Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak)

Vornado Scraps Development Proposals — Ahead of the closing of its merger with JBG, Vornado has indefinitely put on hold a number of development proposals, including: all but one building of its proposed RiverHouse development in Pentagon City; a revamp of the shops at 1750 Crystal Drive that was to include a new 12-screen multiplex; and a pair of retail pavilions at 2101 and 2201 Crystal Drive. [Washington Business Journal]

Arlington a ‘Best City’ to Go Car-Free — According to a new list in Forbes, Arlington County is one of the top 25 U.S. cities for one to live without a car. Arlington was also one of nine places whose walkable neighborhoods were profiled in the magazine. [Forbes]

Video of Apartment Fire — The weekend fire at the Serrano apartments on Columbia Pike was caught on video. The dramatic video shows firefighters arriving and starting to douse the flames with water. [Statter 911]

‘Star’ Renewed for Second Season — Fox has renewed ‘Star’ for a second season. One of the stars of the series is Washington-Lee High School grad Brittany O’Grady. [Deadline Hollywood]

‘Taming of the Shrew’ Review — A review of Synetic Theater’s new production of Taming of the Shrew says the physical theater performance “speaks colorful volumes” despite the lack of dialogue. [Broadway World]

Leadership Change at Community Foundation — Arlington Community Foundation Executive Director Wanda Pierce is stepping down next month after eight years of leading the local nonprofit.

Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak

by Buzz McClain — February 23, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

Lafayette 1-825

Buying your first car or home? Refinancing or retiring? Lafayette Federal Credit Union will be your financial partner for all of these milestones.

Since 1935, Lafayette Federal has been catering to families and businesses worldwide, offering a wide range of financial products and services that prove the difference between a community-oriented credit union and a traditional multi-branch bank.

“We are member-owned, not-for-profit and community minded,” said Marilyn Wagner, Vice President, Marketing for Lafayette Federal. “Every decision made, every new product and every service introduced is based on what is best for our community. Being a not-for-profit organization allows us to pass savings along to you, which in turn is good for your wallet.”

Those new to the credit union concept are welcome to talk to a Lafayette Federal representative at any time to discuss the benefits of membership. One major benefit is lower rates on residential mortgages, credit cards, and auto and boat loans. There are other advantages, as well as free cutting-edge mobile banking, free rewards credit cards and eight locations, including three in Northern Virginia.

For those living and working in Arlington, the road to achieving your financial goals begins with a visit to the new Crystal City branch, located on the ground floor of the 2231 Crystal Drive building.

The Crystal City location is a full-service branch and can assist members with all of Lafayette Federal’s products and services. The branch also has an ATM on-site and across the street.

Start your Lafayette Credit relationship by visiting the Crystal City branch or by contacting Branch Manager, Veronika Memetova at 240-485-9312 or [email protected].

The preceding post was sponsored by Lafayette Federal Credit Union and written by Buzz McClain. 

by Tim Regan — February 16, 2017 at 5:30 pm 0

A new apartment building could rise from a lot in Crystal City.

Crystal House Apartments Investors filed a preliminary site plan for an infill development that would construct a new apartment building called “Crystal House III” near the corner of S. Eads Street and 18th Street. The proposed construction site is adjacent to the existing Crystal House apartment buildings, which are two 12-story residential towers that were built in 1961.

Under the proposed plan, the developer would build a new five-story building on a parking lot next to those towers with 252 new residential units. The plan also calls for a two-level underground parking lot with space for 424 vehicles and the construction of a new public park, streetscape improvements and public art.

“Through the proposed development, the applicant will be providing new residential units in a building with high-quality architecture and within walking distance to many community amenities, such as the Crystal City Metro station, Pentagon City Mall and 23rd Street retail businesses,” the filing reads.

The new filing is a revision of a former plan that called for the construction of two four-story residential buildings and a parking garage. That was never built, however.

The proposal is listed as preliminary, pending a final filing, on the Arlington County projects and planning website.

Second photo via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com — February 13, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Metrobus and fire department vehicle (file photo)The strong winds Monday morning caused a frightening moment for a Metrobus driver in the Crystal City area.

The incident happened around 10 a.m. on S. Eads Street at 22nd Street S.

“The lid of a trash dumpster that was being pushed down the street was blown open by the wind striking the windshield of a Metrobus,” a Metro spokesman told ARLnow.com. “The bus operator was treated on site for minor injuries due to broken glass.”

The bus was not in service at the time and no other passengers were reported to be on the bus.

File photo

by Tim Regan — February 6, 2017 at 10:30 am 0

Photo via Chick-Fil-AFathers and daughters will have a chance to strengthen their bond over chicken sandwiches and waffle fries during an upcoming event in Crystal City.

The Chick-fil-A at 2200 Crystal Drive is slated to hold a pre-Valentine’s Day “Daddy-Daughter Princess Night” on Monday, Feb. 13, at 4 p.m. The event is an annual sit-down meal held at Chick-fil-A restaurants across the country.

“We know how important it is to have special moments with your princess and we want to help make this pre-Valentines day one of those special moments,” the Arlington location said on its website. “Let us help make this a lifetime memory.”

Customers interested in attending must reserve a table no later than today, Feb. 6, by calling the restaurant at 703-415-7815. The meal lasts approximately 40 minutes.

“Daddy-Daughter Princess Night” isn’t the only family event the eatery has held. Chick-fil-A’s locations in Ballston and Crystal City also hosted medieval-themed mother-son “date knights” in 2013, for instance.

Photo via Chick-fil-A

by ARLnow.com — February 3, 2017 at 10:25 am 0

Crystal Couture is back for another year.

The annual fashion show and sale in Crystal City kicked off last night on the sixth floor of 2200 Crystal Drive. The event features models walking the catwalk, showing off the work of local designers. There is a bar, a DJ, numerous boutiques and free make-up and hair makeovers.

Thursday night’s event was hosted by media personality Sarah Fraser. Friday’s show will run from 5-10 p.m. and will be hosted by television personality Paul Wharton, while Saturday’s event will run from 2-10 p.m. and will be emceed by radio host Tommy McFly.

Crystal Couture is free to attend.

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