The Arlington County Board unanimously voted to approve plans for the modernization of the Crystal Square 3 office building in Crystal City at its meeting last night.
The nearly 250,000 square foot space sits on top of the Crystal City Shops. After the redevelopment, the building will be reclassified as “Class A” office space and rebranded as 1770 Crystal Drive.
“This redevelopment is part of the ongoing public and private investments in Crystal City that will help ensure it remains one of the region’s premier urban villages,” County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement.
The property’s developer, Vornado, took the opportunity to plan the upgrade after its primary tenant, the U.S. Marshals Service, announced it will be moving its 1,600 employees to another Vornado property on S. Clark Street next year.
Plans to modernize the building include reshaping it to add approximately 10,000 square feet of office and retail space and replacing its facade.
The retail space on the first floor will be reconfigured and the second floor plaza will be turned into additional office space, which could be converted to more retail space in the future. The existing concrete facade will be replaced with glass and metal panels.
The top floors will also be repurposed to create open terrace areas. On the ground level, the facade will be pushed back seven feet to create a wider sidewalk along Crystal Drive.
Finally, a new entrance to the Crystal City Shops will be moved to the north side of the building.
Police say they were called to the intersection of Crystal Drive and 18th Street around midnight Saturday night, for a report of a man standing in the roadway and acting erratically.
Upon arriving on scene, police saw 29-year-old Hector Segura in a flower bed, waving his arms in the air, said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Segura was completely nude and sweating profusely despite the chilly temperatures, Sternbeck said.
According to police, Segura ran at the first responding officer and slammed his hands on the hood of his police cruiser, all while screaming incoherently. The officer used a Taser to subdue the man and called for backup to help take him in custody.
Medics responded and sedated Segura — who was under the influence of bath salts, according to a field toxicology test — to keep him from harming himself by continuing to writhe on the pavement, Sternbeck said. He was transported to Virginia Hospital Center for observation, where he continued to hallucinate and talk incoherently, according to Sternbeck.
Segura, a Mexican citizen, reportedly told police that he had traveled to the area for the 2015 International Drug Policy Reform Conference, which was being held in Crystal City. The conference focused in part on advocating for the legalization of marijuana.
Segura was charged with disorderly conduct and held on a $10,000 bond. He remains in custody and his passport has been surrendered, said Sternbeck.
Photo courtesy ACPD
In a press release, Maryland-based Earth Treks confirmed the Crystal City location will be its fifth gym and will be “among the largest climbing gyms in the nation.”
The company has also posted a video tour of plans for the new facility.
Earth Treks Climbing Centers announces plans to open its first indoor climbing gym within the Washington, D.C. beltway. Earth Treks’ Crystal City, VA location will be its fifth gym, with three gyms in Maryland (Columbia, Timonium, and Rockville) and one in Colorado (Golden) already in operation. True to form, Earth Treks’ newest facility will be industry leading in amenities and size.
With a massive footprint exceeding 45,000 sq ft, the Crystal City location will be among the largest climbing gyms in the nation. The new gym will feature a stunning climbing wall constructed by Walltopia and designed by Jason Kehl, fitness and climbing training areas, a dedicated yoga and group fitness room, private climbing teaching areas, a fully stocked gear shop and locker rooms.
The new gym will be located at 1235 S. Clark St. in Crystal City, VA and will take full advantage of the unique space afforded by an existing health club. The high ceiling heights currently used for tennis and racquetball will soon be home to a jaw dropping 35,000 sq ft of roped climbing and bouldering terrain.
With metro access, Bikeshare, and ample parking, urbanites and suburbanites alike will applaud the new gym’s convenience to Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia. The new location is just a five minute walk from the Crystal City Metro stop off the Blue and Yellow lines, and served by numerous biking trails. On site garaged parking will serve the gym and be free during peak hours. In addition to scores of shops and restaurants in the area, the burgeoning creative community in Crystal City is an excellent fit with Earth Treks’ active and adventurous customer profile.
Earth Treks’ owner, Chris Warner, expects the new location to be immensely popular as “we’ve seen a huge response since our initial announcement to the local climbing community. We couldn’t be more pleased to be coming to Crystal City.” Earth Treks is planning a grand opening in late spring 2016.
Highest Voter Turnout in N. Arlington — The Arlington neighborhoods north of I-66 had the highest concentration of voter turnout for Tuesday’s election. Arlington’s high-density Metro corridors and neighborhoods south of Columbia Pike generally had the lowest turnout. [Twitter]
Eric Cantor Buys House in Arlington — Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has purchased a $1.8 million house near Pentagon City. Cantor, who works for an investment banking firm in D.C., formerly lived in the Representative condominium on Arlington Ridge, overlooking Pentagon City, while serving in Congress. [Washington Business Journal]
Sport & Health Closing in Crystal City — The Sport & Health Crystal Gateway club at 1235 S. Clark Street has told members that it will close Dec. 4, a tipster tells ARLnow.com. The health club is set to be replaced by a new Earth Treks Climbing Center.
Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman
(Updated at 3:10 p.m.) Southbound Route 1 was closed between 20th and 23rd streets, near Crystal City, due to a multi-vehicle crash this afternoon.
At least 9 vehicles were involved and medics responded for at least two injuries. One of the injured parties, a young mother, was transported to a local hospital after being trapped in her severely damaged Prius. Rescuers cut off the roof of the car to free her.
The crash was caused by a driver in a pickup truck who suffered a medical emergency while driving, according to initial reports.
The truck ran right through a line of southbound traffic approaching the intersection with 23rd Street, slamming into vehicles, losing a wheel and careening across the intersection before striking a pole and coming to a stop across the street from Legal Sea Foods, witnesses said.
“It was like a pinball machine,” a witness told ARLnow.com. The pickup truck driver was evaluated by medics on the scene but declined transport to the hospital, according to scanner traffic.
Southbound traffic was diverted onto 20th Street for about an hour. As of 3:10 p.m. two lanes of traffic were squeezing by, though there was still debris in the roadway and crews were still working to clear wrecked cars from the roadway.
The Prius driver is expected to be okay. She was returning home from work when the crash happened, said the woman’s father, who arrived on scene to pick up a child seat and stroller that had been in the car. Her two-month-old child was not in the car at the time, he said.
Earth Treks Climbing Centers is planning on opening a massive new climbing gym in Crystal City, its first inside the D.C. Beltway.
The Maryland-based company is planning to open a gym at 1235 S. Clark Street, two blocks from the Crystal City Metro station, according to a State Corporation Commission filing. Without saying where exactly it would open, the company yesterday announced the new gym on its website.
“Earth Treks’ newest facility will be industry leading in amenities and size,” the company said. “With a massive footprint exceeding 45,000 square feet, the D.C. metro location will be among the biggest climbing gyms in the nation… The roped climbing area alone is so massive that you could drop the entire Earth Treks Timonium building in it and have room to spare.”
The gym will feature a 35,000 square foot climbing wall, fitness and climbing training areas, a yoga and group fitness room, private climbing teaching areas, locker rooms and a “fully stocked gear shop.”
The gym is expected to hold its grand opening by the start of summer 2016.
Earth Treks has three existing climbing centers in Maryland — in Rockville, Timonium and Columbia — and another in Golden, Colorado.
Rendering via earthtreksclimbing.com
Last week, at least four cars were broken into and one was reported stolen in Fairlington. All of the cars broken into were unlocked, and the car that was stolen was reportedly unlocked with the keys left in the ignition.
Also last week, items were stolen from a number of cars within a one block radius of the 2000 block of S. Eads Street, in the Crystal City area, according to a crime report.
This past weekend, at least 16 cars were broken into in the City of Falls Church, according to the Falls Church News-Press.
Arlington County Police are continuing to remind residents to lock their cars and to not leave any valuables in plain sight within the vehicle when it’s parked.
Preparations are underway for one of Arlington’s biggest annual events: The Marine Corps Marathon.
The marathon, now in its 40th year, will kick off starting at 7:45 a.m. on Sunday. The 26.2 mile course will take it from Rosslyn to the GW Parkway and Key Bridge, around D.C., across the 14th Street Bridge, and through Crystal City before ending near the Iwo Jima memorial.
We photographed workers setting up tents and signs near the memorial yesterday afternoon. Throughout the week more signs and tents will be going up in Crystal City and throughout the course.
For those hoping to cheer on the runners, Crystal City will be holding its annual MCM family festival, with activities like moon bounces, face painting and arts and crafts.
Rosslyn will again host the race’s finish festival, where runners will meet up with friends and family members. The finish festival will also have food and drink, souvenirs and live entertainment.
Photos by Justin Funkhouser
Arlington K-9s to Retire With Handlers — The Arlington County Board on Saturday unanimously voted to officially sanction the transfer of ownership of retiring law enforcement K-9 officers to their handlers, thus allowing police dogs to live out their lives with their long-time partners. [NBC Washington, Arlington County]
Big Changes Coming to Crystal City Building — The U.S. Marshals Service is consolidating its offices into one Crystal City office building. That will leave another Crystal City office building, 1750 Crystal Drive, vacant. Owner Vornado is planning a big facelift for the building, with more glass and steel and less concrete on the outside. [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington, Falls Church Renew Service Agreement — Arlington County will continue to provide court, jail, fire department and other services to the City of Falls Church, under a new agreement approved by the Arlington County Board on Saturday. Fall Church will pay Arlington just over $1 million per year for the services. [Arlington County]
McAuliffe to Start Marine Corps Marathon — Next weekend’s Marine Corps Marathon will be officially started by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. [Twitter]
M.J. Stewart Suspended at UNC — Former Yorktown High School football standout M.J. Stewart has been suspended from the University of North Carolina football team after being charged with assault in connection to an off-campus altercation. Stewart, a sophomore, had been a starting cornerback on the team. [Associated Press]
Resident to County: Cover Sandboxes — A Shirlington resident spoke before the County Board on Saturday to raise concern about uncovered sandboxes. She urged county officials to keep sandboxes covered when not in use, to keep pets and disease out. [InsideNova]
Ahmed Mohamed, the Irving, Texas teen whose arrest for bringing a “hoax bomb” to school became international news when it turned out it was just a science experiment, will be in Arlington tomorrow night.
Mohamed, 14, was arrested after be brought the homemade digital clock to school in a briefcase. Social media exploded with support for Mohamed after the story broke, with supporters saying that the arrest was an example of racial stereotyping.
The Dallas Morning News reports that Mohamed will be in Arlington Saturday night for a Council on American-Islamic Relations gala. The “Champions for Justice” fundraising banquet is being held at the Marriott Crystal Gateway in Crystal City, according to the CAIR website.
Mohamed is also scheduled to visit the White House on Monday, for the second White House Astronomy Night, the paper reports.
The event is planned for Thursday, Oct. 29, from 6-9 p.m. It will include a jack-o’-lantern contest and a steampunk costume contest.
“Break out your petticoats and top hats, don your driving goggles, and adorn yourself with gears of all shapes and sizes, because the winners of these contests will score awesome prizes!” TechShop said in an event page.
In terms of food and drink, the party will feature a Good Stuff Eatery milkshake bar, a kids candy bar and a “haunted cocktail bar.”
Tickets are $15 for adults who aren’t TechShop members, $10 for members, $5 for those under 21.
A family-friendly “Hack Your Halloween” meetup, featuring a workshop on laser etching a pumpkin, will be held from 4-6 p.m. Tickets for children ages 10-14 attending the meetup are $10 and there are additional charges for the pumpkin etching.
TechShop Arlington is located at 2110 Crystal Drive and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, except for major holidays.
Some Crystal City residents say they’re fed up with nighttime paving on Crystal Drive that they claim has kept them from sleeping.
Roadwork on Crystal Drive should end tonight, which is ahead of schedule, said county spokeswoman Jessica Baxter, adding that the original timeframe had paving and milling continuing for several weeks.
“We apologize for the inconvenience, but this is important work that needs to get done. The end result will be a smooth, durable pavement that all roadway users will enjoy,” Baxter said.
Crystal Drive was on the county’s schedule for paving this year, and it needed to be completed so the county could finish the Crystal City-Potomac Yard Transitway. Milling began last Friday, Oct. 9 at 9 a.m., but the majority of the paving was done at night in order to reduce traffic disruptions during the work day, she said.
“Milling tends to be noisier, which is why we scheduled it during the day to reduce the impacts in residential areas,” Baxter said. “The majority of paving, however, is taking place at night between 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. to minimize traffic impacts, maximize pedestrian safety and to expedite the work.”
Some Crystal City residents claimed that the paving noise was loud enough to keep them awake throughout the night, taking to Twitter to voice their frustrations.
— lindsaykat (@lindsaykat) October 14, 2015
— i fly dca ✈ (@flyidca) October 12, 2015
The noise was loud enough to be heard through earbuds, said Ryan Kaltenbaugh.
“Why would the County approve night time road work along a road with residential buildings with hundreds of residents? Even with ear plugs, it was extremely difficult to sleep, and I’m sure other residents along Crystal Drive had a difficult time as well,” Kaltenbaugh said.
While the county tried to minimize the disruptions to the flow of traffic, Kaltenbaugh said in an email that the road conditions were hazardous to drivers and pedestrians due to “an unmarked work zone (no cones, no police, no barriers, nadda).”
“On Saturday, with no Arlington County police officers present and no workers directing traffic, pedestrians and vehicles engaged in a game of Frogger – dodging workers, raised manhole covers and work vehicles and equipment on the unmarked road,” he said. “Throughout the day, there were a few near misses as work vehicles moved about and backed up in and around passing cars and crossing pedestrians.”
Arlington warned people living in Crystal Drive residences that there would be nighttime roadwork, Baxter said.
“We sent out notifications through the Crystal City-Pentagon City e-newsletter, the Crystal City Civic Association and BID, as well as to contacts at residential and office buildings,” she said. “In all of our communication, we shared that nighttime work should be expected.”
The Washington Area Bicyclist Association is organizing the 5-6 mile evening rides with Bike Arlington.
First up tonight is the Secrets of Crystal City. The ride will start tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Crystal City Water Park, on the 1700 block of Crystal Drive, and end just down the street at TechShop around 8 p.m.
“On our ‘Secrets of Crystal City’ ride, we’ll open your eyes to a whole new side of one of Arlington’s signature neighborhoods,” WABA said on the event’s website.
The rides continue weekly, with a tour of Shirlington on Oct. 14 and a ride through Ballston on Oct. 28. Another ride will take cyclists across the river on a haunted ghost ride on Capitol Hill in D.C. on Oct. 23.
Reservations for each tour costs $10, but it’s half off for WABA members and free for Capital Bikeshare members. Participants must provide their own bikes and helmets. The rides are open to anyone over 14 years old.
The tour is also accepting walk-ups depending on the amount of available space in the tour group. Walk-up riders can participate for free.
(Updated at 1:50 p.m.) There will be a “frenzy” at the Crystal City Farmer’s Market next week, as the Crystal City Business Improvement District gives away tropical plants ahead of the cold weather months.
Prospective adoptive plant owners can stop by the Crystal City BID’s tent to pick up a fern, palm tree or other tropical flora at 3 p.m. next Tuesday, Oct. 13 at the Crystal City FreshFarm Farmer’s Market.
The BID gets the plants for its “Floral Frenzy-Tropical Storm” event through a partnership with Vornado/Charles E. Smith, said BID president Angie Fox. Vornado removes the tropical plants in its planters around Crystal City to replace them with evergreen trees for the winter — the BID then gives away the old plants.
“Tropical Storm allows community residents and workers to rescue tropical ferns and other plants that would otherwise be thrown into the compost pile,” the BID said on its website.
The palm trees given away can grow up to 7 or 8 feet tall, can live year-round inside and are not difficult to keep alive, Fox said.
“We bring them out and Vornado brings planters, and people just grab [plants] and walk down the street,” she said.
The event, which is part of the BID’s Crystal Green program, is well attended and plants are usually gone within 30 minutes, Fox said.
“Tropical Storm is a great way for Crystal City residents and workers to adopt plants and support sustainable landscaping practices within our community,” Fox said in a statement. “The Floral Frenzy program provides hundreds of plants for re-use annually while celebrating Crystal City’s beautifully landscaped streetscapes and open spaces.”
The farmers market takes place on Tuesdays from 3-7 p.m. on Crystal Drive, between 18th and 20th streets. The market’s last day of the year is Nov. 24.
Photo courtesy of the Crystal City BID. Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
Construction on the Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway will continue through the fall after being delayed by construction conflicts.
“Unforeseen utility conflicts, poor soil conditions and underground obstructions slowed work at several station locations,” the county said on the project’s website.
Arlington County is currently working with contractors to set a new completion date for the project, said county spokesman Eric Balliet, adding that the county will update the community once a schedule has been set.
The county is also holding a public meeting next week to give an update on transitway. The meeting on Oct. 8 will be held at the Residence Inn (2800 S. Potomac Avenue) from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Currently, the county is working on new transitway lanes and on three of the new stations, Balliet said. Crystal Drive, S. Clark Street and S. Bell Street are affected by the road construction, he added.
“New dedicated transit lanes in Potomac Yard are nearing completion,” Balliet said. “Traffic signs and station signage are being installed, and we’ve started testing LED signs and other technologies that will support the transitway. Our contractor recently resumed construction at several station locations where utility conflicts, poor soils and underground obstructions had slowed work.”
Once completed, the Crystal City Potomac Yard transitway will provide better bus service along the Route 1 corridor, especially during rush hour, the county said.
“The new 4.5-mile Transitway between the Crystal City and Braddock Road Metrorail stations will provide faster, more reliable bus service along the congested Route 1 corridor, with amenities designed to attract new riders,” the county said.
The transitway project broke ground in July 2014 and was originally slated to take 10 months.
Photo via Arlington County