Bye, Bye Bank Building — “A new residential development is on the boards for Columbia Pike. Marcus Partners filed plans late last week with Arlington County for a new 250-unit residential development at the site of the Bank of America office building at 3401 Columbia Pike. The six-story building will have ground floor retail, a central courtyard and 287 parking spaces on 2.5 below grade levels.” [UrbanTurf]
It’s Official: No Caucus — From Blue Virginia: “The @arlingtondems announce that their School Board Endorsement Vote process is canceled, as there is only one candidate (Bethany Zecher Sutton) left after the other withdrew.” [Twitter]
Rents Still Rising — “The median Arlington apartment rent in April was up 16.8 percent from a year before, the third highest growth rate among the nation’s 100 large urban areas, according to new data. The median monthly rental for an apartment in the county last month was $1,999 for a one-bedroom unit and $2,420 for two bedrooms, according to data reported by Apartment List.” [Sun Gazette]
Truck Crash Caught on Camera — From Dave Statter: “Just happened. 3rd crash in as many days on I-395S at Exit 8C/Rt 1. It appears the red car didn’t stop & no other cars struck. @VSPPIO has all lanes open.” [Twitter]
Protest Outside DEA HQ in Pentagon City — “I’m outside DEA headquarters in Arlington, where protests have gathered to draw attention to terminally ill patients’ rights to try experimental drugs like psilocybin.” [Twitter, The Hill]
WaPo Reporter Rappels Down Hotel — “On Thursday and Friday, about 80 people, including two local elected officials, a Washington Post reporter, and a member of the D.C. Divas women’s football team, dressed in full pads and uniform, rappelled down the side of the Crystal City Hilton to raise funds and awareness for New Hope Housing.” [Washington Post]
Boeing HQ May Draw More Companies — “Even without a sizable addition of jobs or expansion, Northern Virginia landing another major corporate headquarters has strategic ‘marketing value,’ Terry Clower, director of George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis, said in an interview. The presence of a headquarters attracts the attention of other corporations, as well as site-selection consultants who advise companies where to locate new facilities. ‘Nothing draws a crowd like a lot of people,’ Clower said.” [Washington Business Journal]
Metro: Ridership Rebounding — “Metro ridership is outpacing projections through the first three quarters of fiscal year 2022 by nearly 40 percent. Through March, ridership has exceeded the initial forecast by 28 million passenger trips as more people chose bus and rail for travel throughout the region. Metrobus leads the way, accounting for 60 percent of overall Metro ridership, compared to about 40 percent for rail.” [WMATA]
It’s Tuesday — Clear throughout the day. High of 68 and low of 48. Sunrise at 6:02 am and sunset at 8:11 pm. [Weather.gov]
Update on Shirlington Area Shooting — “At approximately 9:40 a.m., police were dispatched to the report of a shooting in the 4400 block of 31st Street S. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect approached the area in a vehicle, exited and fired shots towards two individuals sitting outside a residential building. The suspect then reentered the vehicle and fled the scene. No injuries were reported.” [ACPD]
Passenger Recounts Metro Derailment — From NBC 4’s Adam Tuss: “EXCLUSIVE — we talk to a passenger tonight who was on last week’s derailed Blue Line Metro train. Noelle Purcell says there was smoke, no communication, and she didn’t know if she was going to make it out.” [Twitter, Twitter]
Beyer Pushes for More Buses — From WAMU’s Jordan Pascale: “Rep. Don Beyer out with a statement telling WMATA to ‘maximize bus service’ as 7000-series sidelined for an undetermined amount of time… Metro says no go on bus increase, ‘all of our available operators and buses are already in service.'” [Twitter]
New Restaurant in Pentagon City –“The Ritz-Carlton hotel in Pentagon City has revamped its restaurant as a Mediterranean place that serves modern meze, small pours of glamorous Napa wines, and an espresso martini built with a brand of chocolate rum owned by Bruno Mars. Santé opened over the weekend at 1250 S. Hayes Street in Arlington, Virginia, for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner.” [Eater]
Unusual Protest Outside DEA — “A group called ‘Anonymous Apes’ placed a nine-foot monolith outside the Drug Enforcement Administration’s headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. The protest was staged by criminal justice and drug policy reform activists dressed in ape costumes who wanted to decry the DEA for preventing ‘research into the therapeutic uses of many natural plants and substances,’ the activists said to the District of Columbia Marijuana Justice Organization in a press release.” [NBC 4]
Spotted: Wienermobile — Arlington motorcycle officers spotted the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile while on patrol yesterday. [Twitter]
Howl-O-Ween in Rosslyn — “The Rosslyn BID and the Rosslyn Dog Owners Group (R-DOGS) are teaming up for a Halloween themed evening of dog-friendly activities, treats and fun in celebration of Rosslyn’s new Interim Dog Park at Gateway Park West! Beginning at 3 p.m. on Friday, October 22, Rosslyn’s pet community is invited to enjoy local pet-themed vendors, speakers, a social media dog costume contest and giveaways.” [Rosslyn BID]
It’s Thursday — ☀️ Today will be sunny and just about perfect, with a high near 77. Calm wind becoming south 5 to 9 mph in the afternoon. Sunrise at 7:24 a.m. and sunset at 6:21 p.m. Tomorrow will be cooler and partly sunny, with a high near 69.
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
It’s probably not something on most local tourism agendas, but if you wanted to check out the Drug Enforcement Administration Museum and Visitors Center, you’d better do it soon.
The museum, at 700 Army Navy Drive in Pentagon City, will be closing for over a year as part of a headquarters-wide renovation.
Clarion Partners, the landlord for the DEA headquarters, received an $11.5 million incentive grant from the Arlington County Board in April to keep the DEA in Pentagon City. Clarion Partners agreed to invest $82 million into a full renovation of the headquarters and to secure temporary space in Crystal City.
The final day for the museum is scheduled for Saturday, July 20. The museum is planning to reopen in fall 2020.
Admission to the DEA Museum is free. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. All guests older than 18 must present I.D.
Photo via DEA/Facebook
VHC Land Swap Ready to Move Forward — “Nearly six months after a divided Arlington County Board approved a major expansion of Virginia Hospital Center, board members are set to take the next step.” [InsideNova]
DEA Finds Temporary Digs — “The Drug Enforcement Administration has found temporary space in Crystal City for its employees while its… headquarters in adjacent Pentagon City gets a major makeover. Representatives for the DEA recently applied to Arlington County for interior alteration permits to renovate three floors at 2200 Crystal Drive.” [Washington Business Journal]
Road Closures for Ballston 5K Race — “The 2019 Girls on the Run 5K Race will be held in the Ballston-Virginia Square area on Sunday, May 19, 2019. The Arlington County Police Department will implement the following road closures from approximately 8:15 AM to 10:15 AM to accommodate the event.” [Arlington County]
Carlee Defines the ‘Arlington Way’ — “‘In its most positive framing’ [the Arlington Way] means ‘engaging with the public on issues of importance or concern (not always the same) in an effort to reach community consensus or… a shared understanding and an opportunity for everyone to be heard,’ [former County Manager Ron Carlee] writes. ‘In its negative framing’ the phrase has been ‘derided as a way to talk everything to death so that ideas are killed or that people are so worn-down that by the end, they do not care what happens as long as it is just over.'” [Falls Church News-Press]
Photo courtesy @klk_photography11/Instagram
Protest in Front of Nestle Office in Rosslyn — “On Tuesday, Greenpeace activists hauled a 15-foot-tall heap of garbage, artfully crafted to resemble one of those deep sea fish that’s about 90 percent jowl, out in front of the Nestlé’s U.S. headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.” [Gizmodo, Twitter]
‘No Stopping’ Arlington’s Growth — “Historically a commuter bedroom city for Washington, D.C., Arlington, VA continues its development renaissance with a variety of mixed-use projects that will shuttle in new residents, create open spaces and make new room for more restaurants and companies.” [GlobeSt]
Arlington Ponies Up Incentives for DEA — “The Arlington County Board is set to vote later this month to grant up to $11.5 million in financial incentives to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Pentagon City landlord to keep the agency from relocating to neighboring Alexandria, just shy of half of what it has promised Amazon.com Inc. for its second headquarters.” [Washington Business Journal]
Possible Meteor Lights Up the Sky — There were numerous reports of a meteor seen over Arlington, the D.C. region and much of the East Coast around 11 p.m. last night. [Twitter, BNO News, NBC Washington]
County Touts Green Initiatives Ahead of Earth Day — “Few communities can boast Arlington’s ceaseless commitment to sustainability — which is why one day in April can barely hint at the work that happens in the months before and after.” [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler
The owner of the Clarendon Fitness gym is now facing federal drug charges, after he allegedly tried to buy $50,000 worth of cocaine from undercover police officers.
Drug Enforcement Administration agents have charged Pascal Shaun Laporte with possession with intent to distribute, claiming that he was willing to buy two kilograms of cocaine from officers posing as Mexican gang members late last month. In an affidavit filed in federal court, the agents allege that Laporte unwittingly spoke with a police informant for close to a year as he looked to find a supplier to sell him hundreds of kilograms of cocaine each month.
Laporte opened Clarendon Fitness, a gym located at 2907 Wilson Blvd, back in 2010 and bills himself as a fitness enthusiast and investor on the business’s website. Neither Laporte nor his attorney responded to requests for comment on the drug charges.
The DEA claims that an informant first told agents about Laporte’s interest in finding a “cocaine supplier” in September 2017. Officials allege that Laporte paid the informant $1,600 to buy an ounce of cocaine two months later, striking a deal in the parking lot of the Arlington Traditional School (855 N. Edison Street).
By August, the informant arranged a meeting between Laporte and two Fairfax County police officers posing as members of “a Mexican drug trafficking organization” at the Tysons Corner mall. Laporte told them he was already “involved with another group of men who were getting him cocaine,” but that he was interested in buying much more, according to the affidavit.
Later that month, Laporte told the informant that he was coordinating with associates in both South Carolina and Florida, and hoped to buy as much as 10 kilograms of cocaine moving forward, if an initial deal with the undercover detectives went well.
On Aug. 30, the agents claim that the informant was able to arrange the sale at a Tysons Corner hotel, at which point Laporte delivered them $45,000, pledging to give them another $5,000 the next day. At that point, officers arrested Laporte.
Court records show Laporte was released from jail on a $30,000 bond on Sept. 6.
These drug charges are not Laporte’s first run-in with law enforcement. Arlington court records show he pleaded guilty to felony assault and battery in 2007, though the charge was eventually reduced to a misdemeanor.
Police also charged him with attempted malicious wounding and the assault and battery of a family member in 2014, but declined to move forward with those charges — he subsequently pleaded guilty to one count of disorderly conduct for preventing someone from dialing 911.
Hurricane Florence Update — The Tomb Sentinels at Arlington National Cemetery will remain on guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, as they have for 81 years, regardless of what happens with Hurricane Florence. However, according to forecasters, “there is no need to cancel outdoor plans, events, or travel in the Washington region this weekend” due to the hurricane. [Twitter, Capital Weather Gang]
DEA Lease Renewal Is Official — “The Drug Enforcement Administration will remain in its Pentagon City headquarters for at least 15 more years. The General Services Administration announced Wednesday it signed a 511,487 SF lease renewal for the DEA at 600-700 Army Navy Drive, two buildings owned by the California State Teachers Retirement System.” [Bisnow]
Neighbors Still Peeved Over Salt Dome Plan — “This is an emergency caused by rust. I know Neil Young says rust never sleeps but it doesn’t move that fast,” said Michael Hogan, president of the Old Dominion Citizens Association, regarding the “emergency” plan for a temporary salt storage facility next to the deteriorating salt dome near Marymount University. “This is just a terrible land-use decision.” [Washington Post]
Living in Arlington On a $80,000 Salary — Not much of interest happens in this millennial money diary, set in Arlington, but there is this discussion of tea vs. coffee: “I drink my third green tea. I’m trying to drink less coffee, so today I’m trying tea instead, but this is not cutting it. To all those people who say green tea gives them as much energy as coffee — I’m calling shenanigans.” [Refinery 29]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Fire at Retirement Home — A fire broke out in the laundry room of the Sunrise at Bluemont Park senior assisted living facility Sunday morning. The blaze was quickly extinguished, but not before filling part of the building with smoke. No injuries were reported. [Twitter]
Serious Crash on Arlington Blvd — Arlington County police investigated a crash involving critical injuries and a reported vehicle rollover last night on Route 50 at N. Pershing Drive. One person was transported to a local hospital. [Twitter]
DEA Staying in Pentagon City — “A federal judge has ruled against an Alexandria building owner’s efforts to lure the Drug Enforcement Administration from Pentagon City… Judge Loren Smith’s judgment, issued Thursday, effectively clears the way for the General Services Administration to award a new lease for the DEA to CSHV Lincoln Place LLC, the agency’s current landlord at 600-700 Army Navy Drive.” [Washington Business Journal]
Dragonfly Population Booming — “Your eyes are not deceiving you – there really are more dragonflies (and their cousins, damselflies) in the local area this summer. And according to Arlington naturalists, that’s a good thing.” [InsideNova]
No, Arlington’s Recycling Program Is Not Ending — Apparently a rumor has been circulating that Arlington County was ending its recycling program. A local TV station fact checked that and found, unsurprisingly, that the rumor is not true. [WUSA 9]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Police will provide an anonymous, safe way to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs this weekend, no questions asked.
The Arlington County Police Department will hold prescription drug take back events on Saturday (April 28) from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. They will collect prescription drugs at the following locations:
- Langston-Brown Community Center (2121 N. Culpeper Street)
- Fire Station #9 (1900 S. Walter Reed Drive)
- Gunston Community Center (2700 S. Lang Street)
Only pills and patches — not liquids, needles or sharps — will be accepted.
The Arlington County Department of Human Services will have staff members available at each location to provide information on substance abuse, and Virginia Hospital Center’s pharmacist outreach team will be on hand at the Langston-Brown Community Center to answer any questions regarding pills or medication.
The events are a part of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, in partnership with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Arlington County’s Sheriff’s Office. Officials hope the drug take back will result in fewer instances of pill abuse or theft.
For residents who can’t make it to a drop-off event, ACPD recommends throwing away pills by taking them out of the original container, adding water to melt the pills and then putting them in a bag with coffee grounds or cat litter before disposing in the garbage.
ACPD will host a town hall on the dangers of substance abuse from 7-9 p.m. on May 2 (Wednesday) at Kenmore Middle School.
In Arlington, the number of patients seeking treatment for opioid addiction increased by 245 percent from 2015-2017. In 2015, 100 patients sought treatment, but in 2017 that number rose to 345 patients.
Photo via Wikimedia/Sponge
ARLnow Suffers Server Issue — ARLnow.com’s web server was down this morning due to a technical problem. It came back up at almost exactly noon. We apologize for any inconvenience. For those seeking an explanation of what went wrong, we’ve compiled some of our tweets from this morning. [Storify]
Big Apartment Development Proposed in Pentagon City — Vornado, which recently put several planned projects in Crystal City on hold, has filed a preliminary site plan application for a huge new apartment tower in Pentagon City. The 22-story, 558-unit residential building would be part of the Metropolitan Park development, next to a currently under-construction, Whole Foods-anchored apartment building, also owned by Vornado. Expect objections from some residents in nearby single-family home neighborhoods, who are already fretting about Vornado’s proposed addition of 1,100 apartments at the RiverHouse complex. [Washington Business Journal]
Lane of Memorial Bridge Reopens, For Now — The eastbound curb lane of the Memorial Bridge has temporarily reopened. It will close again early next year for additional repairs to the aging bridge, a National Park Service spokeswoman said. [Twitter]
DEA Seeking New Headquarters — The Drug Enforcement Administration may be looking to move from its Pentagon City headquarters. The GSA is seeking a new lease for the DEA, which employs some 2,500 people in Pentagon City. Competition among building owners is expected to be fierce. [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington Affordable for Millennials? — Despite high rents, the website RealtyTrac has ranked Arlington among what it says are the more affordable locales for young adults. Among places that are considered millennial magnets, Arlington has one of the more affordable ratios of average millennial income to average apartment rent. [RealtyTrac]
Positive Review for West Side Story at Signature — Signature Theatre’s production of West Side Story has choreography that’s “near-perfection,” at least according to a review in the University of Maryland Diamondback student newspaper. The production at the acclaimed Shirlington theater has been extended through Jan. 31. [Diamondback Online]
VDOT to Talk I-66 in Arlington — VDOT officials are expected to provide some specifics about their plan to upgrade I-66 inside the Beltway during a meeting with the Arlington Transportation Commission. That meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 5 at 7:30 p.m. in the County Board Room at 2100 Clarendon Blvd. VDOT is said to be considering converting a portion of I-66 into HOT lanes. The agency has yet to reveal whether it will push for additional lanes inside the Beltway as well. [InsideNova]
Arlington Prosecutor Takes Morrissey Case — Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos will be the lead prosecutor in the latest criminal case against Del. Joe Morrissey, who is currently serving a work-release jail sentence after pleading guilty to having sex with a 17-year-old. [Washington Post]
Cops: Don’t Drive Drunk After the Big Game — Arlington County Police are reminding residents not to drive drunk after the Super Bowl on Sunday. For those planning on downing a few brewskies, ACPD recommends designating a driver, calling a cab or taking public transit. “Don’t want to attend the Detention Center’s #SuperBowlXLIX viewing party? Plan ahead by designating a #SoberRide home,” the department said via Twitter. [Arlington County, Twitter]
Energy Journey Game This Weekend — Call it the Super Bowl of local government-sponsored, energy-themed, life-sized board games. This weekend, Arlington County is holding the latest installment of its “Energy Journey Game,” an interactive life-size board game that tests your “energy IQ.” It’s taking place at Wakefield High School starting at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. [Arlington County]
A Visit to Pentagon City’s DEA Museum — The Capitol Hill publication Roll Call has a gonzo journalism account of one reporter’s trip to the DEA Museum in Pentagon City. From the article’s prelude: “And suddenly, there was a terrible mall all around us and the sky was full of what looked like squat office buildings — all glass and concrete and blocking out the sunlight — and the sound of the Metro, which ran underneath the Pentagon City Mall and the Pentagon Centre and the Drug Enforcement Agency Museum at 700 Army Navy Drive in Arlington, Va.” [Roll Call]
Flickr pool photo by ksrjghkegkdhgkk