The concession stand at the Crystal City Water Park has closed.
The concession’s last day was Friday, after landlord Vornado declined to renew vendor Adel Ishak’s lease, we’re told. Ishak, who was a prominent attorney in Egypt before he fled to the United States with his family due to safety concerns, had run the kiosk for at least six years.
ARLnow.com has learned that landlord Vornado — soon to be JBG Smith — is planning an expanded retail presence in the park, perhaps a more full-featured restaurant or a beer garden. A major residential redevelopment anchored by an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is planned across the street.
Some local residents who heard that the concession stand would be closing started a petition calling for it to remain open, but to no avail.
“Rain, sleet, snow and shine, Adel was there,” one customer lamented to ARLnow.com. “He has built this business from the ground up – he started with nothing and now has run the stand year-round because of his customers. My hope is… that perhaps Vornado can move his concession to another part of Crystal City or Arlington.”
Alamo Drafthouse Coming to Crystal City — An Alamo Drafthouse Cinema will be coming to Crystal City to anchor a residential redevelopment by the JBG Smith. The redevelopment will convert the aging office building at 1750 Crystal Drive to a gleaming glass-and-metal residential building while topping it with a six-story addition. Also planned is an as-yet unsigned “specialty grocer” — think: Trader Joe’s or something similar. [Washington Business Journal]
Home Prices Rise in Arlington — “Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. says the median selling price in Arlington County last month was $613,500, up 15 percent from May of 2016. The change was based on 350 closed sales in Arlington in May.” [WTOP]
County Looking for More Tech Grant Recipients — Arlington Economic Development is looking for more tech companies to lure to Arlington with its $1 million “Gazelle Grant” program. AED is seeking another 8-13 companies that are growing by at least 30 percent over a three year period and are willing to commit to at least a three year lease. [Technical.ly DC]
Real, live baby goats will be brought to the office’s beer garden from 6-8 p.m. They will roam around during a yoga class, nuzzle up to participants and sometime climb on top of their backs.
“After the practice we will hold a happy hour where you can mingle and chat about your experience,” says a poster for the event.
For those who’d prefer practicing yoga with pets rather than barnyard animals, Arlington-based yoga instructor Beth Wolfe is hosting a Kitten and Adoptable Pet Yoga session next week at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington (2650 S. Arlington Mill Drive), featuring roaming, cuddly pets that are up for adoption.
Wolfe is also hosting “Silent Disco Yoga,” featuring participants listening to music via wireless headphones, at Shirlington’s Energy Club gym rooftop on Friday. Additionally, she hosts a monthly “Beer Yoga” at Capitol City Brewing in Shirlington, with the next session scheduled for Monday.
Photo courtesy C.J. Cross/Facebook
Advertising for Capital Bikeshare? — The Arlington County Board has approved a policy that would allow an advertising sponsorship for Capital Bikeshare. A corporate sponsorship of the regionwide system could generate $750,000 over five years for Arlington County, which would be used to support, expand and promote the system in Arlington. [Washington Post, Washington Business Journal]
Board Approves Climate Resolution — The County Board last night approved a resolution expressing the county’s commitment to fighting climate change, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting energy efficiency. The resolution also states “that Arlington County supports the principles of the Paris Agreement and will continue to… advance action in accordance with the goals outlined in [it].” [Arlington County]
Arlington Taking Action to Attract Pollinators — Workers planted flowering plants in Arlington yesterday as part of a joint effort to attract more pollinators — insects like bees and butterflies. The environmentally-friendly effort was sponsored by the Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation, NOVA Parks and Dominion. [WJLA]
Arlington to Update Resource Protection Map — Arlington County will hold public hearings on updating its Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Map. “The more accurate map will help Arlington protect environmentally sensitive lands near streams and ensure that the County can comply with local and State regulations,” said a press release. “It will allow the County to review development projects fairly and provide accurate information to residents and other stakeholders.” [Arlington County]
Photos from Crystal City Car Show — The annual Crystal City Fathers Day Auto Festival was held this past weekend and featured more than 100 cars. This year the show was organized in part by Carsfera.com. [Facebook]
Williamsburg Neighborhood Plan Updated — The County Board has approved an update to the Neighborhood Conservation Plan for Arlington’s Williamsburg neighborhood. Per a press release: “Residents made recommendations for improving traffic and pedestrian safety, maintaining the neighborhood’s character, protecting the tree canopy and improving neighborhood parks.” [Arlington County]
Photo courtesy Valerie O’Such
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.
A software startup received a $35,000 grant at Saturday’s Arlington County Board meeting after relocating to Crystal City last year.
Stardog moved to 1400 Crystal Drive in September, having launched in 2005 in the Shaw neighborhood of D.C. CEO Kendall Clark said the company helps businesses bring together internal data from various different sources.
Clark said that while that process could take a large company like Samsung a week and use 30 people to collate all the data on, for example, the purchases of a certain dishwasher in the corridor between D.C. and New York, Stardog’s technology does the job in a matter of seconds.
Stardog already serves the likes of NASA, Oxford University Press and Bosch.
“We’re lucky to have found a bunch of really big customers who have this problem and we solve it well,” Clark said. “It’s not an area that anyone else is really focusing on in our software, so it’s a good combination of need and the software business that we’re looking at, which is a good combination if you can find it.”
Clark said Stardog chose Arlington after its landlord in Shaw tripled the rent, but he said the new Crystal City location has many benefits for employees. With software developers based as far afield as Hawaii and Moscow, Clark said the close proximity to National Airport and Metro helps staff get around easily, while the places where people can eat and live are numerous.
In addition, Clark said, Stardog found Arlington to be a much easier place to do business in as a startup.
“All the business license and low level paperwork that doesn’t really get you any advantage to being in a place — but if you don’t do it it’s bad — it’s lots of stuff like that in Arlington that you can do online,” he said. “In the District, I found for whatever reason there was always some reason I or somebody else had to go to an office in Southeast, struggle with parking and the whole nightmare and then go in and you’re there all day.”
Under the terms of the grant, Stardog must create 70 new full-time jobs at its Arlington office and lease 3,500 square feet of office space. If, by the end of 2019, it has not hit 90 percent of its space target and 50 percent of its employment target, it will have to pay back some or all of the grant.
A staff report that recommended approving the grant said Stardog will use the grant to help build out its new office, relocate its operations and recruit and train new employees.
Clark said the company plans to triple its revenue from last year, and is “on track” right now to do just that. That new revenue will lead to more full-time employees, which will lead to “more people buying houses,” Clark said.
The Arlington County Board will discuss Saturday whether to move forward with a plan to extend a partial real estate tax exemption for Bloomberg BNA.
Bloomberg BNA is a major employer in the neighborhood with 972 employees and a 200,000 square foot office at 1801 S. Bell Street. It signed a deal earlier this year to stay in Arlington, invest $5.5 million and create up to 125 new jobs.
Under the proposal, Bloomberg BNA would be allowed to continue its partial property tax exemption, which expires at the end of this year, for another five years. Arlington first offered BNA an exemption in 2006 to lure it to Crystal City.
The company provides legal, tax, regulatory and business information to professionals who work in fields like the law, taxation and the environment among others.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) approved a $500,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist with the project, which came as Bloomberg BNA was looking to explore its options for future locations in the region. An extended tax exemption is part of the package of incentives.
The exemption took effect in 2008, and costs the county approximately $400,000 a year. Under the terms of the extension, BNA would need to keep at least its current staffing levels and occupied office space. If not, the County Board could withdraw from the exemption or reduce it.
If the County Board moves ahead with staff’s recommendation to advance the plan, a public hearing would be held in July.
Photo via Google Maps
The UnitedHealthCare professional cycling team made a strong showing at the Armed Forces Cycling Classic this past weekend throughout Arlington.
The team took home two second-placed finishes and one first-place finish in the showpiece Clarendon and Crystal Cups for men and women.
In the women’s Clarendon Cup, Cuban Olympic cyclist Marlies Mejias Garcia took first for Weber Shimano, beating Kendall Ryan of TIBCO-SVB into second and Lizzie Williams of Hagens Berman-Supermint into third.
The following day, UnitedHealthCare finished second in both the men’s and women’s Crystal Cups in Crystal City. Laura Van Gilder took first in the women’s race for Mellow Mushroom Cycling, ahead of UHC’s Laurette Hanson in second and Ingrid Drexel Clouthier of TIBCO-SVB in third.
Tyler Magner took victory in the men’s Crystal Cup for Holowesko Citadel, ahead of UHC’s Sebastian Haedo in second and Brandon Feheery of The Crit Life in third.
In addition to the competitive races, the Challenge Ride offered a closed course to cycling enthusiasts of all abilities in and around the Pentagon, Crystal City and the Air Force Memorial, while young riders could also test themselves in a kid’s race. The races closed roads across various neighborhoods throughout the weekend.
Below are the top 10 in each of the four main races, with teams indicated in parentheses:
Women’s Clarendon Cup
- Marlies Mejias Garcia (Weber Shimano)
- Kendall Ryan (TIBCO-SVB)
- Lizzie Williams (Hagens Bergman Supermint)
- Rushlee Buchanan (UnitedHealthCare)
- Ingrid Drexel Clouthier (TIBCO-SVB)
- Laura Jorgenson (Mellow Mushroom Cycling)
- Janelle Cole (United HealthCare)
- Laura Stephens (TIBCO-SVB)
- Diana Penuela (United HealthCare)
- Colleen Gulick (Pickle Juice Pro Cycling Team)
Men’s Clarendon Cup
- Carlos Alzate Escobar (UnitedHealthCare)
- John Murphy (Holowesko Citadel Racing Team)
- Adam Myerson (Team Skyline)
- Rafael Meran (Dave Jordan Racing)
- Sean McElroy (Chainheart)
- Carlos Brenes Mata (Team Somerville Bicycle Shop)
- Brandon Feheery (The Crit Life)
- Jake Keough (Team Skyline)
- Sam Rosenholtz (CCB Velotooler Cycling Team)
- Ben Renkema (Palmetto State Medical)
Women’s Crystal Cup
- Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom Cycling)
- Laurette Hanson (UnitedHealthCare)
- Ingrid Drexel Clouthier (TIBCO-SVB)
- Marlies,Mejias Garcia (Weber Shimano)
- Lizzie Williams (Hagens Bergman Supermint)
- Colleen Gulick (Pickle Juice Pro Cycling Team)
- Diana Penuela (UnitedHealthCare)
- Tina Pic (Papa Johns)
- Brianna Walle (TIBCO-SVB)
- Kyrstin Bluhm (Fearless Femme Racing)
Men’s Crystal Cup
- Ty Magner (Holowesko Citadel Racing Team)
- Sebastian Haedo (UnitedHealthCare)
- Brandon Feheery (The Crit Life)
- Thomas Humphreys (Battley Harley-Davidson / Local)
- Jake Keough (Team Skyline)
- Brendan Rhim (Holowesko Citadel Racing Team)
- Patrick Raines (Hearts Racing Club)
- Matt McLoone (Battley Harley-Davidson / Local)
- Scottie Weiss (SeaSucker)
- Adrian Hegyvary (United HealthCare)
A key transportation goal of the Crystal City Sector Plan is close to becoming reality.
The Arlington County Board on Saturday is expected to consider a $6.3 million contract to demolish the elevated portion of S. Clark Street between 12th Street and 20th Street S.
While taking away a useful but relatively lightly used shortcut across Crystal City, the project will “normalize the street network and create more development space in the Crystal City area,” according to the county staff report.
More from the county’s webpage for the project:
The South Clark-Bell Street Demolition project is a goal of both the Crystal City Sector Plan and Crystal City Multimodal Transportation Study. It will improve safety for all modes of transportation and will establish the long-term street grid for the north and south portions of Crystal City along with the 15th Street South/South Clark-Bell Street Realignment project.
The elevated portions of South Clark-Bell Street will be demolished north of 18th Street South. South of 18th Street South, new open space will be created in the existing roadway right-of-way and new sidewalks, landscaping, and lighting along U.S. Route 1 will be provided. The project will also establish new building pad development sites for redevelopment of Crystal City, with the necessary infrastructure to transform the U.S. Route 1 corridor in Crystal City on the east side.
The project also includes traffic signal upgrades at 20th Street S. and Route 1.
The winning bid on the project was $6.3 million from Ardent Company, LLC, which was higher than the original $5.5 million county engineer’s estimate, but much lower than the only other bid published: $15 million from Fort Myer Construction Corporation.
If approved by the County Board, the contract would include a $1.3 million contingency for a total authorization of $7.6 million.
Construction is expected to begin this fall and wrap up in the summer of 2019.
Photo via Google Maps
The streets of Arlington are being readied ahead of this weekend’s Armed Forces Cycling Classic, the arrival of thousands of competing bicyclists, support teams and spectators.
Races will take place Saturday and Sunday for amateurs and professionals alike, with police set to close roads across various neighborhoods to accommodate the festivities.
And in preparation, as of Friday afternoon crews have begun putting out traffic cones, tents and barriers for the competition, which begins early Saturday morning.
The Capital Weather Gang anticipates heat and humidity will descend on the area this weekend, so riders and spectators should be careful and stay hydrated.
The Crystal Gateway Marriott hotel at 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway in Crystal City showed off some of its recently-completed renovations yesterday.
The nearly 600-room hotel figures prominently into Arlington’s hospitality industry, hosting tourists, business travelers and large meetings.
Major upgrades were made to the guest rooms, imparting a more modern design and moving away from the hotel’s red and gold color scheme to a royal blue one.
Behind the renovation is general manager Regan Linke, who worked as a bartender when the hotel first opened in 1982.
“I came back about five years ago and the hotel was in need of some renovation,” said Linke.
The remodel also included the addition of the new M Club Lounge for Gold and Platinum Elite Marriott Rewards members. The 24-hour lounge area has coffee, snacks and wine for members.
The rest of the lobby will be completed later this year.
The hotel also gave a taste of its new restaurant 15th & Eads, named after the intersection it sits on. Included were mixed drinks served in mason jars, a selection of flatbread pizza, sliced meats and cheeses and made-to-order samples of New York strip steak.
It also follows a trend for the area, which has undergone significant changes within the last year, including a slew of new restaurants, businesses and the Transitway bus system and its new dedicated lanes in the neighborhood.
“It matches what happening in Crystal City,” Linke said. “Crystal Drive is expanded with restaurants. We’re attached to Metro and so everybody’s really thrilled about what’s happening at the hotel.”
Police Investigating Shooting in DoD Office Building — Arlington County police are investigating a fatal shooting in the Defense Department’s Taylor building, at 2530 Crystal Drive in Crystal City. The shooting happened this morning and initial reports suggest it was self-inflicted.
Lyon Village Profiled by WaPo — “Close to both the Clarendon and Court House Metro stops on the Orange and Silver lines, Lyon Village is the kind of neighborhood where families know their neighbors, children play and parents can walk almost everywhere.” [Washington Post]
ACPD Recruiting for Citizen’s Police Academy — Applications are currently being accepted for the Arlington County Citizen’s Police Academy. The academy “was designed to create a better understanding and communication between citizens and the police through education.” Applicants are subject to background checks before acceptance into the program, which shows the “inner workings” of the police department. [Arlington County]
Arlington Hosts Travel Trade Show Attendees — Arlington County hopes to get a big tourism and economic boost from its promotional efforts during this year’s U.S. Travel Association IPW trade show, which was held in D.C. for the first time. The county, in partnership with the Rosslyn BID, JBG Companies, and Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall, also hosted 150 trade show attendees in Rosslyn on Monday. [Arlington County]
Crystal City Startup Gets Big Funding Boost — Arlington-based private detective booking startup Trustify has raised more than $6.5 million as part of its latest fundraising round. The company recently opened a new office in Crystal City. [Washington Business Journal]
Letter to the Editor: Kids Over Dogs — The writer of a letter to the editor of the Sun Gazette newspaper doesn’t understand why, in county government, there seems to be more urgency over proposed changes to a dog park than making sure there is enough land to build new schools to keep up with rising enrollment. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
The 20th Armed Forces Cycling Classic will take place in Arlington this weekend, and one of its former champions is set to get back in the saddle.
“After being a professional for 10-plus years, I began to have heart arrhythmias…I had major complications,” Keough wrote in an email.
Keough will be cycling with Team Skyline, run by the acclaimed bicyclist Ryan DeWald. DeWald, like Keough, suffers from another chronic medical condition: Type 1 diabetes. Both were diagnosed in 2014 and took time away.
“I got thin. I got sick. I didn’t know what was wrong with me,” DeWald said. “I missed one weekend of racing then I got back on my bike, I got on insulin, I re-sorted out how to race my bike on insulin. I worked with some of the best doctors in the world.”
When DeWald re-entered the cycling realm after his brief hiatus, he made an immediate impact. In 2015, he was ranked third nationally as a Category One rider, out of 1,475 cyclists.
Despite that impressive statistic, DeWald remembers when everybody told him to stop biking. He refused to take their advice.
“I had nothing to lose so I just kept racing the bike. Now, I’m turning more into an inspirational athlete with dynamic speaking skills,” DeWald said.
He hopes to eventually transfer out of bike racing and take on more leadership roles.
DeWald started the foundation, Winning the Race with Diabetes, to help people manage Type 1 diabetes while also engaging in athletic lifestyles. In addition to running Team Skyline, he runs a team bike shop in Reading, Penn.
While DeWald was getting back on his bike, Keough underwent cardiac ablation surgery. The procedure caused him to go into cardiac arrest.
“I was told by the best sports cardiologists in the world that I could never be an athlete again and that I should live a sedentary life,” Keough wrote.
Yet, Keough persisted. He takes medication to keep his heart rate low and has a sprinter plate on his chest.
“I’m back racing on my own terms and trying not to let my health issues dictate how I live my life,” Keough wrote.
“I think he’s taking his life into his own hands every time he sprints…I think he’s a few steps away from winning a big one,” DeWald said of his teammate. And after years apart, the men rekindled their friendship via social media this past winter.
“He was telling me about what happened to him, he asked me about my condition and we started comparing notes,” DeWald said.
Shortly thereafter, Keough joined DeWald’s team. Team Skyline rides about 15,000 miles per year and races 50-60 events annually.
This weekend’s race will not be Keough’s first since leaving retirement. However, he remains surprised by his recent success.
“I didn’t really plan on making a comeback. But, after racing Speed Week this spring and finishing fifth at Athens Twilight and fourth overall, I realized I could still be a factor at the top level of the sport I love,” Keough wrote.
Skyline is hopeful for this weekend. Keough’s youngest brother, Luke Keough, will also be participating this weekend, on a different team.
“Obviously, as a former winner, the goal is to get back to the top step. But, more importantly, it’s to have a blast,” Keough wrote.
“We’re going to try to win,” DeWald said. “Jake has just got to beat his brother [in the race]. How hard can it be to beat your younger brother?”
The Armed Forces Cycling Classic consists of two days of races: the Clarendon Cup on Saturday, in Clarendon, and the Crystal Cup and non-competitive Challenge Ride on Sunday, in Crystal City. The pro-am races, along with corresponding kids races and the Challenge Ride, are open to spectators.
High School Proposals on the Table in June — A pair of proposals for adding high school seats are on the table at Arlington School Board meetings next month. The board is expected to approve a $3.6 million construction contract for adding 300 seats to Wakefield High School, while Superintendent Patrick Murphy will recommend the board approve a “hybrid” option for adding another 1,300 seats, with 600 seats at the Education Center site near Washington-Lee and 700 at the Arlington Career Center. Despite the added capacity, Murphy expects that it will eventually be necessary to build a new 2,200 seat comprehensive high school to keep up with rising enrollment. [InsideNova, InsideNova]
Marriott’s Longest-Standing Employee Is in Crystal City — Cecil Exum, a 79-year-old omelette maker at the Crystal Gateway Marriott, is Marriott’s longest-standing employee. He’s been with the company for 61 years, since the Marriott family ran a “Hot Shoppes” root beer stand and opened its first hotel, the Twin Bridges Motor Hotel in Arlington. [Washington Post]
POTUS at ANC on Memorial Day — “President Donald Trump honored those who lost their lives serving the nation as he participated in a solemn wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery Monday and told emotional stories of just a few who perished.” [Daily Mail]
Cars Towed During Clarendon Memorial Day Ceremony — Some veterans attending the annual Memorial Day ceremony at the war memorial in Clarendon reportedly had their cars towed from a bank parking lot nearby. Del. Patrick Hope (D) tweeted photos of the cars being towed and called it “disgusting.” He directed the tweet at Del. Tim Hugo (R), the sponsor of the bill (now law) that blocked Arlington County from enforcing a “second signature” requirement for certain trespass tows. [Twitter]
Photo courtesy Peter Golkin
The fifth annual Father’s Day Auto Festival returns to Crystal City on Sunday, June 18, where a bevy of vehicles from sport cars to antiques will be on display.
The family-friendly festival is from 2-6 p.m. at 220 20th Street S., and will feature a range of automobiles for viewing.
Presented by the Crystal City Business Improvement District, the festival has a new partnership with automotive website Carsfera. The collaboration allows dozens of new cars to be added to the line-up.
In addition to the display show, there will be other activities like a mini race car painting booth, a race track, moon bounce and live music. A Toyota Prius will also be on display for local artists to creatively paint throughout the event.
The event is free to attend, and it is also free to register a vehicle to display, but online registration is required for the latter.
Photo via Crystal City BID
A building adjacent the Crystal City Metro station is getting a bold new red paint job.
Property owner Vornado will be adding color to its currently beige office building at 251 18th Street S. The painting is expected to begin soon.
The new color “will create an iconic new landmark at [the Metro station] and at the gateway to Crystal City at 18th Street,” according to the Crystal City Business Improvement District, which has been “adding color, vibrancy and art to Crystal City” via projects like Artomatic, Art Underground and various murals around the neighborhood.
While efforts to add to the vibrancy of the neighborhood and improve its aesthetics have been well-received — they were a main topic of an extensive Washingtonian feature last week — the reality is that many of the buildings around Crystal City date back to the 60s and 70s; 251 18th Street was built in 1975 according to Loopnet.
With a wholesale redevelopment of older buildings financially infeasible at a time of high office vacancy rates, Crystal City and its property owners have instead been finding ways to refurbish, creatively re-purpose — and now repaint — existing buildings.