Across the street from the Crystal City Metro station, in a nondescript office building, stands the headquarters of Bloomberg BNA, one of Arlington County’s largest private employers.
Each day, more than 1,000 employees push through its revolving glass doors or take the elevator up from the underground garage.
Bloomberg BNA is an information and research company which provides “legal, tax, compliance, government affairs and government contracting professionals with critical information, practical guidance and workflow solutions.” Established in 1929 as the Bureau of National Affairs, the company was employee-owned from 1947 until 2011, when it became a subsidiary of financial news and information giant Bloomberg.
Paul Albergo, the bureau chief, has worked at Bloomberg BNA for over 30 years. Around 200 people work under Albergo at Bloomberg BNA’s Crystal City news division.
“We are one of the largest news-gathering organizations in Washington,” Albergo said. “We have the largest number of reporters that are credentialed on Capitol Hill.”
Bloomberg BNA was in D.C.’s West End from the 1920s until 2007, when it came to Arlington, lured by tax incentives, which were extended earlier this year. Previously, the company was scattered amongst several different buildings. In Crystal City, employees are an elevator ride away from each other.
In the new space, people from various departments can rub shoulders in the “pantry” — a pristine, sunlit eating area boasting an exotic fish tank and a peanut butter grinder.
“You tend to run into people that you’re thinking about but you don’t have a formal meeting with and suddenly you can have communication,” Albergo said.
One of the many perks of the company’s new building is an easy commute: the West End location was not close to a Metro station and could be difficult to reach by car.
“To go from a neighborhood that was kind of tucked away in a corner of the city to a location that was well-served by Metro, [Virginia Railway Express], just a couple blocks off the highway and other major commuter routes [made] everyone’s commute a lot easier,” Albergo said.
Albergo himself lives in the District but his commute is about 20 minutes quicker than before. Ironically, although the company is no longer in D.C., it now takes reporters less time to get to their important events on Capitol Hill, among other places.
“In many ways it becomes really easy to recruit people that come to work here because commuting is so easy,” Albergo said.
Another free weekly yoga event has begun in Crystal City.
The new program, “Yoga at the Fountain,” will be held at the Crystal City Water Park (1751 Crystal Drive) each Sunday night from 7:30-8:45 p.m. through the end of September, according to Amanda Shipe, one of its organizers. The first event was held this past Sunday.
The BID and Mind Your Body Oasis have been hosting a similar event, “Monday Morning Yoga,” at the water park from 7-8 a.m. for six years. Attendance has grown tremendously since the event first began, according to Shipe, the studio’s owner.
“We see a lot of familiar faces each Monday morning and then the people that come end up bringing their friends,” Shipe said, adding that local hotels also support the program and recommend the free yoga classes to their guests.
Hosting classes in the morning allows for participants to enjoy the outdoors before the summer heat and humidity become stifling. Having the new class on Sunday nights in August and September should also ensure comfortable conditions.
“I don’t know why it took us this long to think of [doing Sunday yoga classes],” said Shipe. Hosting the classes by the sound of running water, she said, makes them extra relaxing.
“The calming effects from the fountain are really influential in the overall effect that people have after the class because water has negative ions,” Shipe said. “Negative ions are very calming to people which is why people love to be around waterfalls and the ocean and rivers.”
Monday sessions are focused on Vinyasa Flow classes for all levels. Sunday night yoga classes, however, will each have different themes.
This past Sunday’s event was “Glow Yoga” where people brought glow sticks and wore reflective clothes. Around 30 people showed up, which, according to Shipe, is the highest attendance ever seen at one of these yoga events.
The themes for the next few Sundays vary. On August 13, the theme is “Family Yoga Night,” where parents can bring their children for a laid-back, unscripted class. The following class, on August 20, is “Downward Dog Yoga” where participants are encouraged to bring their dogs. The last Sunday of the month will be “Relaxing Night Flow” which will be more of a restorative class.
Angela Fox, the president and CEO of the Crystal City BID, said “Yoga at the Fountain” will continue to take place on Sunday nights next year, from May 1 through September 30.
Courtesy photos. Disclosure: The Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
(Updated at 7:20 p.m.) Local coffee shop Commonwealth Joe is encouraging Arlingtonians to explore businesses in Crystal City and Pentagon City with special “passports.”
The program will run for a week, from today (August 7) until Sunday, August 13. People can stop by Commonwealth Joe (520 12th Street S.) and pick up their own passport, or they can get a team passport for up to three people.
Once passports are claimed, the goal is to visit all of the participating businesses to get the passports stamped.
In addition, there will be prizes for the first three teams to get all of the stamps. These grand prizes include day passes from Earth Treks, free Sweetgreen salads, WeWork merchandise and more.
A spokeswoman for Commonwealth Joe said they started this event to help build relationships with other local businesses and to help people explore the neighborhood.
Metro Delays This Morning — Updated at 9:25 a.m. — A disabled train outside of the Pentagon Metro station caused significant delays on the Blue and Yellow lines during part of this morning’s rush hour. Meanwhile, a signal problem outside of the Rosslyn station caused delays on the Orange and Silver lines at the tail end of the rush hour. [Washington Post, Twitter]]
Arlington Men Charged With Murder — Updated at 10:40 a.m. — Two young Arlington men have been arrested and charged with the fatal shooting of a Silver Spring man. Police say the Arlington men, ages 19 and 21, and a 19-year-old Maryland man went to the victim’s house to rob him of marijuana. [WTOP, Washington Post]
Crystal City Library to Remain Open For Another Year — The “popup” library in the Crystal City Shops will remain open through June 2018, Arlington County announced this morning. Newly-renamed landlord JBG Smith reached an agreement with the county to keep it open, according to a press release. [Arlington County]
ACPD Releases Video With Talking Dog — The first Arlington County Police Department video promoting an upcoming public safety block party has been released, and it’s “narrated” by one of ACPD’s K-9 units. A highly-anticipated video featuring ACPD officers doing synchronized swimming has yet to be released. [YouTube]
Volunteer Arlington Awards — Earlier this week, the group Volunteer Arlington handed out its 2017 Volunteer Arlington Awards, celebrating dedicated volunteers in categories like “lifetime of service award,” “distinguished corporate service award,” and “distinguished county service award.” [Volunteer Arlington]
Clever Signs at AWLA — A sign outside of the Animal Welfare League of Arlington in Shirlington is using pop culture references to help build demand for pet adoptions at the shelter. The latest: “They want to watch Game of Thrones too.” [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
A Crystal City-based startup is planning to add 184 jobs here as part of an expansion, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Monday.
Trustify, which moved into new offices overlooking Long Bridge Park earlier this year, is planning to spend just over $1 million on building and equipment costs associated with the expansion. The 184 jobs are expected to be added over a period of three years, according to Virginia Economic Development Partnership.
A VEDP spokeswoman said Trustify will be eligible for nearly $120,000 in state reimbursement for job recruitment and training.
Trustify is a sort of “Uber-for-PIs,” using the internet to connect businesses and consumers with trained private investigators. It makes money by taking a cut of the hourly fee charged to customers.
In a press release, McAuliffe and other officials, including Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette and state Sen. Adam Ebbin, heaped praise on Trustify for its rapid expansion.
“Trustify’s impressive growth in a short amount of time is a strong example of what high-tech, entrepreneurial companies can accomplish in the Commonwealth,” said the governor. “Arlington County and the Northern Virginia region are home to a dynamic IT industry… We are proud to have this innovative business in the Commonwealth contributing to the new Virginia economy, and look forward to Trustify’s continued success.”
Trustify President Jennifer Mellon, in turn, lauded Arlington County as a place to do business.
“We decided on Arlington, Virginia for many reasons,” Mellon said. “The community here in Arlington is a fantastic place in which to work and commute. Arlington provides employers and employees many benefits and advantages that are not available in other areas and communities. We believe the DC Metro area, in general, is a beacon of inclusive innovation with some of the best percentages of women and diversity in tech compared to the rest of the country. We have transportation, office, and community options and benefits that made this area the clear choice for Trustify.”
Trustify says it raised $6.6 million in new funding this year, according to the Washington Business Journal. With that funding the company hopes to grow and capture more of the U.S. private investigations market. Figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest that Trustify is after at least a $1.5 billion dollar market; there are some 28,500 private investigators nationwide making an average annual wage of around $53,500 a year, according to the BLS.
By the numbers, the company is one of the hottest tech startups in Arlington, but it is not without its critics. It has a very vocal, persistent critic in Glen Hellman, a local tech scene commentator and strategist who also goes by the nickname “Mr. Cranky.”
Hellman ripped what he characterized as an uncritical Washington Business Journal article on the governor’s Trustify announcement, despite being mentioned in that very article.
“It’s a good thing Washington Business Journal doesn’t have a sports page because they’d be writing headlines about every kid who ever received a participation trophy for being the bench warmer on the worst team in the lowest league of some minor 3rd grade soccer team,” Hellman said in an incendiary blog post this morning. “I believe the reason Trustify puts out these press releases is to counter any bad press they receive, to push down the SEO of negative stories and obfuscate… the truth in order to raise money from poor unsuspecting widows and orphans.”
The full press release from the governor’s office, after the jump.
County Opts to Acquire Hospital Site — Arlington County Board members on Tuesday voted to formally seek a large tract of land along S. Carlin Springs Road in a land swap with Virginia Hospital Center. In exchange, the county is offering to VHC county-owned land next to the hospital, which would allow it to expand. [Arlington County, InsideNova]
Bike Thefts Up in Arlington — Bike thefts were up for the first 6 months of 2017, compared to a year prior. No one seems to be safe from the prolific bike thieves, who often target high-end bikes parked in garages and bike lockers; among those reporting recent thefts were Henry Dunbar, the director of BikeArlington and Capital Bikeshare in Arlington, and an ABC 7 employee. [WJLA]
Gondola Project Not Dead — Though Arlington County has moved on from it, D.C. is still budgeting money to advance the proposed Rosslyn-to-Georgetown gondola project, including $250,000 for an environmental review of a potential gondola site near the C&O canal. One other intriguing factor: should the gondola run north of the Key Bridge, as shown in renderings, it may reach Arlington at the Key Bridge Marriott property, which is in the early stages of a potentially large-scale, mixed-use redevelopment. [Bisnow]
County Buys Office Building — As expected, the Arlington County Board has voted to purchase a low-slung office building at 2920 S. Glebe Road, to house Arlington’s head start program. The program is currently housed in the Edison Center next to Virginia Hospital Center, which is slated to be transferred to VHC in a land swap (see above). Arlington is paying $3.885 million for the Glebe Road property, nearly $1.5 million above its assessed value. [Arlington County]
JBG Has Big Plans for Crystal City — JBG Smith, the newly-formed combination of JBG and the Washington properties of Vornado, says repositioning and enhancing its 7 million square foot portfolio in Crystal City is a “top priority.” Among the changes in the works for the Bethesda-based firm: expanding the vacant office building at 1750 Crystal Drive, converting it to residential, and adding an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and a grocery store. [Washington Business Journal]
The Crystal City Business Improvement District announced today (Monday) it is looking to study the feasibility of a new pedestrian link between Crystal City and Reagan National Airport.
In collaboration with other stakeholders in the neighborhood, the BID issued a Request for Proposals asking for consultants to study a possible connection.
Respondents will need to study optimal alignments, private and public real estate considerations, regulatory requirements, costs and financing and implementation, including the necessary agency and stakeholder approvals that would be required. Proposals are due August 4.
“Crystal City is the area’s most accessible neighborhood – with Metro, [Virginia Railway Express], connections to every major area highway, bike paths and an airport you can literally walk to,” said Angela Fox, Crystal City BID president and CEO, in a statement. “A new pedestrian connection will bring the airport even closer, from a 15-minute walk to a four-minute walk and transform the area into a unique multimodal transportation hub serving as a major economic development catalyst for Crystal City, Arlington County and the Commonwealth.”
In their announcement of the RFP, BID officials said the new pedestrian crossing would help leverage various upcoming enhancements to Crystal City’s transportation infrastructure, including the revamped VRE station and a proposed new Metro station entrance on Crystal Drive. Reagan National is also set for a $1 billion refresh, with construction there expected to conclude in 2021.
A 22-story apartment building has the go-ahead to start construction in Crystal City after the Arlington County Board unanimously approved the project at its Saturday meeting.
The building, with the address of 2351 Jefferson Davis Highway but located at the intersection of Crystal Drive and 23rd Street S., is set for 302 apartments on top of a podium of the existing two-story retail space. The building is part of the larger Century Center office and retail complex.
The existing ground-floor retail includes Buffalo Wild Wings and Mezeh Mediterranean Grill. The existing retail tenants are expected to stay in the property after the project is complete.
The building would have more than 330,000 square feet of floor space and be 270 feet tall, with a total of 242 parking spaces provided for residents. An existing shared garage with a nearby office building will provide another 100 spaces for retail customers.
“This is the sort of mixed-use project that has become an Arlington signature,” said County Board chair Jay Fisette in a statement. “This building will accomplish one of our key goals — to bring more residents to the heart of Crystal City and provide an even better balance of jobs and residents in this neighborhood. This is a very attractive building, putting state-of-the-art new apartments above upgraded retail space that will enhance the neighborhood’s vibrancy.”
And while the project itself received broad support among County Board members and local residents who testified at the meeting, several raised concerns at the effectiveness of the county’s Transportation Impact Analysis.
The TIA is a requirement for new projects that assesses how many new vehicles and users of public transportation will be added, but some residents said it failed to take into account the community’s traffic concerns.
In their own recommendations of the project in Crystal City, both the Planning Commission and Transportation Commission said said staff must engage in a “community conversation” and receive feedback on where TIA studies can be improved.
“What we’re asking is for staff to reach out broader and more deliberately to the community, because they’re currently not feeling heard,” said Planning Commission member Stephen Hughes at the meeting.
County transportation director Dennis Leach said staff in the county’s Department of Environmental Services are already looking at updating the TIA, and that they will look to the community for input on how it can be changed before presenting any updates at a public meeting, as well as to the Planning and Transportation Commissions.
Leach said the county already asks far more of developers to show impacts on traffic and transit than many other jurisdictions. In its announcement of the Board’s approval, county officials said the analysis for this project was more stringent than most:
The applicant conducted a more extensive traffic impact analysis than usually conducted for such a project. The analysis included the effects of the project on multiple modes of transportation, not just vehicle trips. It assessed the development’s projected impact on the adjacent street, sidewalk, transit, and bicycle network and took into account additional traffic generated by approved, but not yet built, projects within the study area, and their associated transportation network improvements. The analysis evaluated 14 intersections along Crystal Drive, South Clark Street, 23rd Street South and 26th Street South and concluded that future intersection level of service will remain the same regardless of the development, due to sufficient capacity within the existing Metrorail and bus system for the additional trips generated by the site, and a high-quality environment that exists adjacent to the site for pedestrians and bicyclists.
There is no specific timeline on when the TIA regulations will be updated and presented to the community, although Leach said it is already in staff’s work plan. Fisette said he hoped to see progress in the “near term,” possibly as early as September.
The building, with the address of 2351 Jefferson Davis Highway but located at the intersection of Crystal Drive and 23rd Street S., is set for 302 apartments on top of a podium of the existing two-story retail space. The Arlington County Board is set to vote on the plan by developer Lowe Enterprises on Saturday (July 15).
The building would have more than 330,000 square feet of floor space and be 270 feet tall, with a total of 242 parking spaces provided for residents. An existing shared garage with a nearby office building will provide another 100 spaces for retail customers.
The new building would be built above existing ground-floor retail, including California Tortilla, Buffalo Wild Wings and Mezeh Mediterranean Grill. The existing retail tenants are expected to stay in the property after the project is complete.
Plans also contain provisions for retail and food service kiosks along with a Capital Bikeshare station. It also would reconfigure the eastbound lanes of 23rd Street S., including removing one lane, in keeping with the goal of making it a pedestrian-oriented street.
In a report on the project, county staff recommended approval, including of a proposal to rezone the property to the Crystal City Mixed Use District. The plan had been set for discussion at May’s County Board meeting, but was withdrawn at the applicant’s request.
Photo No. 3 via Google Maps
A plan to host a polling place at a condo building in Crystal City has been nixed, but elections officials said they are confident of finding a new location before November.
County staff had planned to move the polling station for the Crystal City 006 Precinct to the Crystal Gateway condo building at 1300 Crystal Drive from Crystal Place (1801 Crystal Drive) in time for November’s elections.
But a staff report on various changes to voting locations ahead of the elections said the Crystal Gateway “no longer wishes” to host a polling place. Likewise, the report notes that Crystal Place “no longer wished” to do the same.
Arlingtonians will go to the polls to elect a Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General and local members of the Virginia House of Delegates, as well as representatives on the Arlington County Board and School Board.
Gretchen Reinemeyer, the county’s deputy director of elections, said the building “did not provide any information on why they would not like to be a polling place.” Crystal Gateway’s property manager and a spokesman for Equity Apartments, which owns both the Crystal Gateway and Crystal Place, did not return calls requesting comment.
Reinemeyer said staff is “in the process” of finding a new polling place for the precinct, and they are “optimistic that we will have a new location soon.” She said that when looking for new polling places, staff try and find county-owned buildings in the precinct first before assessing other options.
“If there is not a suitable county facility available, we look at other buildings used by the community that have a ground level meeting room such as churches or community rooms in apartment or condo buildings,” she said. “Once we find a location that we think will work, we begin negotiating with the management of the space.”
The County Board will vote on the proposed voting changes at its meeting Saturday (July 15). Also on the table is a change for the Rosslyn Precinct to move its voting place to the 1800 Oak Apartments from the soon-to-be-redeveloped Fire Station 10, and a technical change for the Virginia Highlands Precinct to reflect that votes are cast at the recently reopened Aurora Hills Community Center.
Photo via Google Maps.
Jay Fisette, the most senior member of the Arlington County Board, has less than six months to go until his retirement. And while it will not happen during his tenure, there’s something Fisette wants for Arlington, eventually: for it to become a city.
Arlington is the fourth-largest county in Virginia by population — after Fairfax, Loudoun and Henrico — but by far the smallest, at only 26 square miles. In fact, Arlington is the smallest self-governing county in the U.S. (Mathews County, on the Chesapeake Bay, is the second smallest in Virginia, at 86 square miles.)
Fisette says Arlington has more in common with Virginia cities, like neighboring Alexandria and Falls Church, than it does with counties. And, he says, it makes sense that an increasingly urbanized place like Arlington should be governed as a city.
Additionally, many already refer to Arlington as a city, and for population-counting purposes the U.S. Census Bureau includes Arlington in its list of Virginia towns and cities, an exception the Bureau only makes for Arlington and for places in Hawaii, which has no incorporated cities.
A change to city status, however, would require action by Virginia’s state legislature.
“I have come to believe that Arlington County should ultimately become the City of Arlington,” Fisette tells ARLnow.com. “In 1846, we became Alexandria County — because we were much more rural than the City of Alexandria or DC. Then in 1920, we became Arlington County, in order to cause less confusion with our neighbor — the City of Alexandria.”
“Today, we are the geographically smallest, and most densely populated self-governing county in the U.S. and my experience is that we have much more in common with cities than counties,” Fisette continued. “I have not looked into this in a while, however, I know the change to a city would require General Assembly action. While I am not clear what they are, there may be some further changes that would be automatic with a city designation.”
Fisette didn’t reveal any plans to take action on changing Arlington from a county to a city, but did say he hopes it is “considered” by county leaders moving forward.
Fisette discussed the idea last month at the Crystal City Business Improvement District’s annual meeting. At the meeting, he also expressed his belief that the “City” in “Crystal City” should be lopped off and the neighborhood renamed simply “Crystal.”
The Crystal City Twilighter, a mid-summer 5K race through the heart of Crystal City, is just over a couple of weeks away.
The race begins Saturday, July 22 at 8:30 p.m. Participants can either register as individuals, or as part of a team with other runners.
The race begins at 2121 Crystal Drive at the Crystal City Courtyard Green, and follows Crystal Drive past Long Bridge Park.
Teams must register with a minimum of five members to participate, and include at least two male and two female runners.
Once a team is registered, they can choose to be in one of three divisions: Racing Clubs and Teams; Community Run Clubs; or Pacers Neighborhood Fun Runs.
This year teams in each division will be competing for points in four categories: being the biggest, fastest, strongest and smartest.
The points for the biggest team are awarded to the team with the most runners, while the fastest team will earn points for speed based on the combined finish times of its five fastest runners. To earn points for being the smartest team, members participate in a six-question round of Trivial Pursuit before the race.
After the race, specials for participants will be available at local bars and restaurants.
Crystal City Hotel Worker Sexually Assaulted — A female employee of the Hyatt Regency hotel in Crystal City was sexually assaulted Sunday morning, according to police. A 34-year-old man from Bahrain was arrested following the assault. [WJLA, Fox 5]
Arlington Man Beaten to Death in Brooklyn — An Arlington resident was beaten to death by a 69-year-old man in his Brooklyn home, in what’s being described as a case of self-defense during a home invasion. Rodolfo Rosa, 48, of Arlington, Va., died after suffering severe head trauma during the alleged break-in and the struggle that ensued. [New York Post, New York Post]
ACFD to Hold Fire Camp for Girls — Thursday is the first day of Arlington County’s annual all-girls firefighting camp, which “introduces teens to the male-dominated career of firefighting” and encourages them to pursue a career as a firefighter or paramedic. [Washington Post]
Slow Drivers in Passing Lane to Be Fined — Starting this past Saturday, a new law went into effect in Virginia which makes it illegal to misuse the passing lane by driving slowly in the left lane longer than necessary. Those pulled over for it face a $100 fine. [WHSV]
No Flag Waving at Arlington Cemetery — It is technically illegal to wave an American flag at Arlington National Cemetery. That is an unintended side effect of — or, perhaps, collateral damage from — a 2006 federal law meant to crack down on anti-gay protests during military funerals. [Washington Post]
Photos: Costumes of BlerDCon — “The inaugural BlerDCon… brought out thousands of cosplayers of color from across the country” in Crystal City this past weekend. ESPN’s The Undefeated has photos of some of the attendees. [The Undefeated]
Photo via @kcristol
BlerDCon, an “exclusively inclusive” convention for geeks of all colors and backgrounds, arrives at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City (2799 Jefferson Davis Hwy) today.
BlerDCon strives to help people embrace their inner nerd across a variety of genres, including “anime, comic books, sci-fi, gaming or cosplay.” It’s taking place today through Sunday, July 2.
The weekend’s events will include panels, celebrity guests, presentations, workshops, gaming tournaments, cosplay contests and more.
The convention will be open 24 hours each day. Tickets start at $45 per person.
More from the BlerDCon website:
Despite the rapid growth of the nerd universe, however, conventions have failed to proportionately represent the expansive minority nerd audience. Fans of all backgrounds and cultures are embracing their inner nerd. This includes POC (Black, Asian, Latino, etc.), women, disabled, LGBTQ and many more types of nerds across the globe. This is where BlerDCon comes in.
For those who don’t know, “Blerd” is an acronym for Black nerd; this has become a phrase embraced by minority nerds of all backgrounds, no matter what their skin color. The word blerd has evolved to become a symbol of unity for all nerds; BlerDCon is a team of lifetime geeks that has rallied around this concept to create a con for all.
BlerDCon says it anticipates between 3,000-4,000 attendees.
The free event will run for 5 to 10 p.m. and features games, activities, music and fireworks watching.
From 5-8:30 p.m., the Department of Parks and Recreation will host free moonbounces, face painting and balloon art.
The department will host family games from 5-7:45 p.m. D.C. Fray, formerly United Social Sports, will provide free games like giant Jenga and giant Connect Four.
The fireworks on the National Mall are scheduled to start at 9:09 p.m. and last for 17 minutes.
On-site parking will not be available for attendees. Free shuttles are available from 4:30-10:30 p.m. between the park and the Pentagon City and Crystal City Metro stations.
In addition to Long Bridge, several communities in the county will have their own celebrations that day, including:
- Albemarle parade and celebration
- Barcroft parade
- Bell ringing in the Bluemont neighborhood
- Douglas Park parade and picnic
- Fairlington Villages parade
- Lee Heights parade and celebration
- Lyon Village parade and celebration
Other places to watch the fireworks in Arlington include:
- Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall
- U.S. Air Force Memorial
- Gateway Park in Rosslyn
- Gravelly Point
- Iwo Jima Memorial
- Key Bridge
- Pentagon Reservation