The RCA building in Rosslyn could soon be demolished — not with a bang, but mechanically and over the next five months.
“We are awaiting issuance of the demolition permit,” said Greg Van Wie, the senior vice president for McLean-based Jefferson Apartment Group. “[We] anticipate receiving it any day and commencing immediately thereafter.”
The looming demolition work comes nearly two years after the county approved plans to replace the concrete-cladded office building at 1901 N. Moore Street with a 27-story, 423-unit apartment building in June 2021. Construction of the building is expected to take three years.
“We are currently completing the interior demolition and abatement so [we] have not necessarily been delayed, just working through the County requirements for full demolition,” Van Wie told ARLnow today (Thursday).
JAG is leading a joint venture to demolish the building, built in 1969, as well as the skywalk connecting it to the Rosslyn Gateway building. The new structure, comprised of of a north and a south tower joined at the base and at the rooftop with an “amenity bridge,” will have retail and parking across the third and fourth floors and underground.
A letter to residents of JBG Smith-owned mixed-use apartment building Central Place, shared with ARLnow, informed residents that demolition would start Friday.
Van Wie said he is “not sure it will be Friday.”
Residents noticed prep work for the site occurring last fall. At the time, Van Wie told ARLnow he did not yet have a demolition schedule to share, but did say it will be dismantled, rather than imploded, “so there won’t quite be the same show as with the old Holiday Inn, unfortunately.”
The letter to Central Place residents outlined hours of demolition and expected closures over the next five months.
“We are expecting temporary closures of N. Moore Street just north of N. 19th Street,” it reads. “All closures will be coordinated between the developers and Arlington County.”
Per county zoning ordinances, demolition may take place Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on weekends and holidays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., the letter said.
“In our experience, teams will begin working promptly in the mornings, however it is common that activity will slow in the evenings,” the letter continued.
JAG projected demolition would occur in February or March back in December, when the Washington Business Journal reported that a joint venture led by JAG acquired the building for $55.5 million.
Three years ago, JAG took over the plans to redevelop the property from Weissberg Investment Corp., which built the initial building in 1969 and had plans to redevelop it back in 2017. The original plans were later put on hold.
Demolition could start on the former Inner Ear Studios building next year.
On Saturday, the Arlington County Board is set to review a contract to demolish the nearly 70-year-old warehouse and building at 2700 S. Nelson and 2701 S. Oakland streets in Green Valley, near Shirlington. The demolition will make way for a flexible open space for arts programming.
“The building is in a deteriorated condition, has exceeded its service life, and is cost prohibitive to repurpose, repair and maintain,” according to a county report. “Therefore, demolition was recommended.”
Work could take about 180 days and construction could be completed by the summer, per the report. Electrical outlets and hydrants would be installed as part of the project.
Arlington County plans to outfit the lot with a large event space, a small performance area, a temporary public arts space, a makerspace and seating. It will incorporate objects saved from the former epicenter of the D.C. punk scene.
“Several items of significance were salvaged from the Inner Ear Studio that occupied the warehouse prior to the County,” the report says. “Arlington County Cultural Affairs and Public Art are involving the community in shaping the future use of the site and incorporating the salvaged items for a flexible, open space that will be established after demolition.”
Arlington acquired the property in late 2021 in a bid to create an arts and industry district in Green Valley and make the arts more accessible in south Arlington.
The building is adjacent to the Arlington Food Assistance Center and the Arlington Cultural Affairs building, where an outpost of Arlington Independent Media is now located, and across from Jennie Dean Park.
Inner Ear Studios has remained active since moving out of its long-time home, with recording space now located in the basement of owner Don Zientara’s Arlington house.
Work is underway to take down the aging RCA building in Rosslyn — but a demolition schedule has yet to be set.
The forthcoming residential redevelopment for 1901 N. Moore Street, by McLean-based developer Jefferson Apartment Group, was approved in June 2021.
Sixteen months later, JAG Senior Vice President Greg Van Wie tells ARLnow that “the crews are removing cell tower equipment from the roof in preparation for demolition.”
As of now, though, there is no set date for the demolition, Van Wie said.
“We will have more updates on the schedule in the coming weeks,” he said.
A reader noted to ARLnow that he noticed the cell towers were gone in late September. This month, he described a large crane clearing the roof of HVAC units and other equipment, while down below, N. Lynn Street was closed down to one lane.
Those who were hoping for a dramatic implosion may be disappointed.
“We will be dismantling the existing building rather than imploding it so there won’t quite be the same show as with the old Holiday Inn, unfortunately,” Van Wie said.
One December morning in 2020, the 18-story hotel in Rosslyn came down during a controlled demolition that closed local roads and I-66. A new development with a 25-story residential tower an a 36-story hotel tower are being built in its place.
After taking apart the 13-story, 1960s-era RCA building, JAG will build a 27-story, 423-unit apartment complex. The planned 260-foot tall building is composed of a north and a south tower joined at the base and at the rooftop with an “amenity bridge.”
The fourth floor will feature a landscaped terrace and the roof will also have garden elements. There will be two levels of retail and 286 parking spaces spread across garages on the third and fourth floors and underground.
As part of the project, the developer will remove inner loop roads around the Rosslyn Metro station, as well as the skywalk connection between the RCA building and the Rosslyn Gateway building.
The developer will also donate $2.2 million toward improvements within Rosslyn, such as for Gateway Park, and add a mix of buffered, protected and unprotected bike lanes, colorized bus lanes, new intersections, a relocated red-light camera and a new Capital Bikeshare station.
A vacant, county-owned building in Glencarlyn could start coming down this fall, pending approval from the Arlington County Board this weekend.
This Saturday, the Board is slated to consider awarding a contract to tear down the old Virginia Hospital Center urgent care facility at 601 S. Carlin Springs Road.
“If approved, the contractor will begin mobilizing in the fall,” according to the project’s page on the county website. “Expected completion of the demolition is summer 2023.”
Arlington County acquired the old VHC Urgent Care in a land swap with the hospital. VHC received county-owned land at N. Edison Street for its expansion project, interior work on which is ongoing until this December.
While a private medical office building continues to operate next door at 611 S. Carlin Springs Road, the VHC building has sat vacant since the acquisition. Come winter, thrill-seekers take to the hill on the grounds for a sledding spot.
In order to use the land, the county needs to tear the VHC building down, as it “is not fit for further use due to mold and other issues,” according to a county presentation to neighbors of the building last September.
To do so, while continuing operations at the medical office building, the county had to separate the shared water, power and gas utility lines.
“This work began in February 2022 and is close to completion,” county spokeswoman Jessica Baxter told ARLnow in an email. “Throughout this project, we have been working closely with the adjacent medical office building to allow ample time for them to accommodate their patient/client schedules with the start of the demolition.”
Later this month, the county will install install solar-powered lights in the parking lot as “a temporary solution” once power to the site is disconnected in the fall, she said yesterday (Tuesday).
Boarded up windows and signs forbidding entry are visible from the perimeter of the site. These are in place and county staff check the perimeter of the site daily “to deter intruders,” according to the county’s 2021 project update to the neighborhood.
Arlington experienced a few delays getting to this point. Besides having to accommodate the medical offices next door, Baxter previously told ARLnow the project had to repeat its solicitation of bids, after a first round did not net any interested contractors.
A complete demolition is still a ways off, as are plans for how the county will use the site.
“Future uses of the site will be determined at a later time,” Baxter said this week. “After demolition, grass will be planted and maintained.”
Many Glencarlyn residents hope to see an expanded nature area, says neighbor Julie Lee.
“The site borders Glencarlyn Park and the Long Branch Nature Center,” she tells ARLnow. “It would provide additional outdoor recreational opportunities, as well as additional outdoor learning space for Campbell Elementary School which has a nature focus.”
First Day of School Three Weeks Away –” It seems as if summer just started, but before you know it, the 2022-23 school year in Arlington will be starting. The first day of classes for Arlington Public Schools is Monday, Aug. 29.” [Patch]
Pet Adoptions Down Slightly — “The Animal Welfare League of Arlington reports that 2,444 cats, dogs and small animals were adopted from its shelter during the 12-month period ending June 30. That’s down slightly from the 2,587 in the preceding year, which may be a positive sign that things are calming down in the get-along-with-COVID world that is now being experienced.” [Sun Gazette]
Another Gun Seized at Airport — ” Transportation Security Administration officers at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington stopped a Charlottesville man on Wednesday from bringing his loaded handgun onto a flight… The man told officials that he was in a rush to fly to Florida to attend a funeral and ‘forgot that he had his loaded gun with him,’ according to TSA.” [Patch]
Arlington Man Charged With Robbery — “The investigation determined the suspect entered into the business, selected a beverage and allegedly attempted to leave without paying. A female employee confronted the suspect, who ignored her and selected additional merchandise. The employee attempted to stop the suspect, during which he struck her before fleeing the scene on foot. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the suspect had stolen merchandise from an additional business.” [ACPD]
West Glebe Bridge Demolition — “After months of being closed, much of West Glebe Road Bridge has finally been torn down ahead of eventual reconstruction. Demolition started earlier this week and is expected to finish by the week of Sept. 5. Demolition work is expected to continue Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.” [ALXnow]
It’s Monday — Humid throughout the day. High of 91 and low of 76. Sunrise at 6:17 am and sunset at 8:13 pm. [Weather.gov]
County Board’s APS Covid Concern — “Is the Arlington school system inadvertently encouraging parents to not report COVID-like symptoms among students? That’s the concern of a number of County Board members, who say the current testing requirements make it more likely parents will stay mum rather than go to the hassle of getting their children checked out.” [Sun Gazette]
Big Vehicle Fire Shuts Down Route 50 — From Dave Statter on Saturday night: “Some fuzzy traffic-cam video showing a vehicle fire that has all lanes of Route 50 eastbound shut prior to Pershing. @ArlingtonVaFD & @ArlingtonVaPD handling.” [Twitter]
Police Upping Seat Belt Enforcement — “The high-visibility national seat belt campaign, Click It or Ticket, which coincides with the Memorial Day holiday, runs from May 23 through June 6, 2022, and works towards reducing the number of fatalities that occur when drivers and passengers fail to buckle up.” [ACPD]
‘Salt Line’ Makes WaPo Dining Guide — “Well-shucked oysters, fluffy Parker House rolls, a comfortable room staged with nautical mementos: Just about everything that helps pack ’em in at the Salt Line in Navy Yard can be found at its young spinoff in Ballston. Really, the only ingredient missing from the original is a water view, although if you squint from a table inside, you can imagine boats and waves beyond the already-popular outdoor patio.” [Washington Post]
Worries About the Local Water Supply — “A train crash, a power plant discharge, an underwater pipeline rupture — or an act of terrorism — could cripple the drinking water supply of the nation’s capital. And there’s no Plan B. D.C. and its Maryland and Virginia suburbs are dependent on the Potomac River as the main — or sole — source of drinking water.” [WTOP]
Annual Street Sweeping Starting Soon — From Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services: “Another round of Arlington street sweeping starts next month. Last year, 9,178 lane miles were cleaned for smoother rides and a healthier Chesapeake watershed.” [Twitter]
Beyer Banned from Russia — From Rep. Don Beyer: “A new Kremlin list of people banned from traveling to Russia just dropped; I am less interested than they might think in traveling to a country that is indiscriminately bombing Ukrainian civilians.” [Twitter]
APS Graduations at Constitution Hall — “Arlington Public Schools plans on having graduation ceremonies for its three main high schools back in their traditional spot – D.A.R. Constitution Hall – for the first time since 2019.” [Sun Gazette]
Lane Closures for Building Demolition — From the City of Falls Church: “From Sun 5/22 thru Thu 5/26, select lanes will be closed 9PM to 5:30AM while the building on the corner of Broad St. and Washington St. is demolished.” [Twitter]
It’s Monday — Partly sunny, with a high near 73 and a slight chance of showers later in the afternoon. [Weather.gov]
Demolition of the former Jaleo restaurant building in Crystal City began this week, as the site plan review process for a redevelopment on the block kicked off earlier this month.
The proposal by JBG Smith is making its way through the county approval process to turn the 2250 Crystal Drive and 223 23rd Street S. buildings into two apartment towers with ground floor retail and an underground parking garage.
The two 30-story apartment towers replacing the former restaurant space and the aging 11-story “Crystal Plaza 5” office building would include:
- A “West Tower” at 223 23rd Street S. that would be 309 feet tall and have 613 dwelling units, 4,379 square feet of retail and 184 parking spaces
- An “East Tower” at 2250 Crystal Drive that would be 304 feet tall, and have 827 dwelling units, 13,059 square feet of retail and 249 total parking spaces
An underground garage structure would serve both buildings, averaging 0.3 spaces per unit, and connect to the existing parking structure on the block, county planner Michael Cullen said in a presentation earlier this month.
For years Jaleo has fed Crystal City. Now the construction dinosaurs get to eat pic.twitter.com/6H49NiFcDN
— Mikala Jamison (@notjameson) May 17, 2022
JBG Smith also proposes moving the plaza and pedestrian access to a collection of underground shops and corridors to the northwest corner of the east tower.
Once approved and constructed, the buildings would make the block, called “Block M” in the 2010 Crystal City Sector Plan, 80% residential. Most of the buildings on Block M are owned by JBG Smith.
There was one adjustment in JBG’s most recent presentation to the Site Plan Review Committee (SPRC).
Along the east-west connection, JBG Smith added a park option based on community feedback at the Long Range Planning Committee, said Madhvi Shukla with JBG Smith. In both options, the whole east-west connection, which links Crystal Drive and another path to 23rd Street S., would be publicly accessible.
“The section that isn’t chosen for the park would have a public access easement to ensure whichever park space is chosen has public access to both Crystal Drive and to the underground entry,” she said.
Three park spaces are incorporated in the plan, which ultimately will total 26,000 square feet, but one of the spaces will be phased into its final size over time, Shukla said.
The 13,000-square-foot park envisioned in the 2010 Crystal City Sector Plan would not be fully finished unless JBG Smith redevelops the Crystal Plaza 6 apartments at 2221 S. Clark Street. In the interim, the park will total about 8,000 square feet on the site’s southwest corner, and an alley between the two towers will be a dead end.
The north-south connection between 23rd Street and the east-west connection would be designed to prioritize pedestrians, with 8 and 9-foot sidewalks, elevated planters for protection and string lights to signal it’s a pedestrian-first zone, Shukla said.
On 23rd Street, there will be protected bike lanes going in both directions, Shukla said, as well as a protected bike lane on Crystal Drive. While the 23rd Street realignment will narrow the roadway, it will have the same number of lanes without a median.
On June 13 and July 21, there will be virtual SPRC meetings to discuss the project. Planning Commission meetings and a County Board vote are expected this fall.
Amazon Hiring Update — “Amazon.com Inc. is one-fifth of the way to the minimum number jobs the company committed to fill at its second headquarters in Arlington, one of the tech giant’s top hiring locations. As of Wednesday, Amazon had hired 5,000 employees who are assigned to HQ2… It is a 1,500-employee uptick since the last announcement in November.” [Washington Business Journal, Amazon]
HQ2 Phase 2 Vote This Weekend — “Amazon’s proposal for the next phase of HQ2 construction, including the spiral-shaped Helix structure, is set to go before the Arlington County Board for a final vote on Saturday, April 23. The company wants to build three more HQ2 office buildings alongside a 350-foot tall, futuristic building it calls the ‘Helix’. The development would be built on a piece of property known as ‘PenPlace’, just off Army Navy Drive.” [WJLA]
Injured Crow Dies — From the Animal Welfare League of Arlington: “UPDATE: this morning the crow passed away peacefully at @BRWildlifeCtr. We are very grateful to them for doing everything they could to care for him. We are still looking for information regarding this active investigation.” [Twitter]
Fire Station 8 Demolition Nears — “Arlington County will begin demolishing the Fire Station 8 structure during the week of May 2 and expects to complete demolition by the week of June 20. The demolition of the fire station, at 4845 Langston Blvd., will be in preparation for construction of the long-awaited new fire station at the same site. Demolition work will take place from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.” [Patch]
Arlington Company’s Ukraine Donation — “Arlington defense contractor AeroVironment Inc. is donating more than 100 unmanned aircraft systems and training services to defense officials in Ukraine… the donation of the company’s Quantix Recon systems will provide Ukraine’s military with unmanned vehicles that can fly by enemy forces undetected and unaffected by radio frequency jammers to relay reconnaissance intel.” [Washington Business Journal]
It’s Thursday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day, with a slight chance of rain in the afternoon. High of 67 and low of 45. Sunrise at 6:24 am and sunset at 7:52 pm. [Weather.gov]
The Highlander Motel is finally coming down, with a CVS set to go up in its place.
Demolition has begun on the nearly six-decade-old, two-story motel on Wilson Blvd after it closed a year ago. The tear down is expected to be completed within the next several days, according to former owner Billy Bayne.
Video taken by a local filmmaker, below, shows a large excavator eating through the brick, siding, and metal of the old building.
Despite the motel turning into rubble, construction on the new CVS won’t actually start for a “few months” due to it being winter, a construction manager tells ARLnow. A tentative time frame for the building to be completed is mid-to-late August, but that deadline is weather-dependent.
The Atlanta-based Project Builders Inc. is the general contractor, as county permits show.
After the project is turned over to CVS, it likely will take at least a month for the store to open, notes the construction manager, putting an estimated opening date around late September.
There are currently at least three other CVS stores within about a mile of where the new one will be constructed, including locations in Clarendon and Ballston.
The plan to demolish Highlander Motel and replace it with a CVS has been in place since at least 2016, with permit applications being filed two years ago. Bayne still owns the land at 3336 Wilson Blvd and is leasing it to CVS.
As for the Highlander, Bayne admits watching it be demolished does conjure up emotions.
“I grew up running around there,” Bayne says. “Eating [Mario’s] pizza with Lefty and Joe, my father playing cards, the [Boozefighters’] big party every year. Lots of good memories there.”
But it’s time for it to go, Bayne says. The motel was struggling to stay afloat and had overstayed its usefulness, he says.
“My father would be happy since [leasing the property] is going to help out his children and grandchildren,” Bayne says, “Plus, having a CVS there is good for the neighborhood.”
Homes Coming to Large N. Arlington Property — “The Febrey-Lothrop estate in the county’s Dominion Hills neighborhood, located at 6407 Wilson Blvd. not far from the Fairfax County line, will soon see work begin on nine two-story homes, according to county permit records. The permit applications were filed last month by the property’s new owner: KLTOLL AIV LLC, a company controlled by New York-based Kennedy Lewis Investment Management…. Elise Cleva, a spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development, noted in an email the plans aren’t set in stone and ‘could change at any point if the owners decide not to construct all nine or if any issues prevent them from constructing the intended number of houses.'” [Washington Business Journal]
Demolition of 19th Century Home — “The circa-1889 Fellows-McGrath House in East Falls Church was being demolished [Monday], making way for a new home or homes. Photo courtesy of Charlie Clark.” [Twitter]
Bomb Squad Response in Courthouse — From yesterday afternoon: “There’s a suspicious package response on the 1300 blk of N. Courthouse Road, a block from the county government and police headquarters. Police requested the bomb squad respond to the location around 10:15 a.m., per ACPD. Sounds like the closed roads will reopen soon.” [Twitter]
Police: Drunk, Armed Man Arrested in Rosslyn — “N. Lynn Street at Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 4:08 a.m. on December 5, police were dispatched to the report of a male asleep behind the wheel of a vehicle. Upon arrival, officers located the running vehicle, made contact with the sole occupant who was in the driver’s seat and observed a firearm in plain view on the passenger’s seat… During a search of the vehicle prior to towing, ammunition was recovered. [The suspect], 45, of Accokeek, MD, was arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence, Refusal of Breath/Blood Test and Violent Felon in Possession of a Firearm.” [ACPD]
Tucker Carlson Interrupts Dems at Meeting — “The Dec. 1 Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting was held in person, but also broadcast online via YouTube for those unable to attend. Technological gremlins… were in evidence. The meeting began about 15 minutes past its scheduled 7 p.m. start time when the YouTube connection proved unstable. Far worse, indeed horrific, from a Democratic point of view: Midway through the meeting, the screen that was used for PowerPoint presentations at the meeting suddenly started serving up the sounds of… Tucker Carlson on FOX News.” [Sun Gazette]
Wakefield Football Coach Steps Down — “Wayne Hogwood’s successful nine-year tenure the winningest head coach in the history of the Wakefield High School football program has come to an end. Hogwood stepped down in recent days because of family matters. He has three young children who are heavily involved in multiple youth sports, and Hogwood wants to spend time for the next couple of years, or so, being involved with watching them play during the fall and helping his wife transporting the three to games and practices.” [Sun Gazette]
It’s Tuesday — Cold weather is back and snow is on the horizon. Today will be mostly sunny, with a high near 41. Sunrise at 7:14 a.m. and sunset at 4:45 p.m. Tomorrow there is a slight chance of rain, snow, and sleet before 7am, then rain and snow likely between 7am and 4pm, then snow likely after 4pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 38. [Weather.gov]
(Updated at 10:50 a.m.) A three-story, county-owned group home in Douglas Park is set for demolition early next year.
In its place, Arlington County will oversee the construction of an environmentally friendly home for six adults with disabilities, at a total cost of more than $5 million.
Built in 1924, the house at 1212 S. Irving Street has undergone several renovations and has operated as a group home since the mid-1970s, according to a county report. Today, the 3,800-square foot, seven-bedroom house accommodates five individuals.
But the county says the house needs to be rebuilt.
“This existing residence is aged and in deteriorating condition and will be demolished and replaced with a new two-story family home of approximately 3,000 [square feet],” according to the project page.
The $4 million construction contract for the net-zero group home was approved by the County Board in October. Demolition could begin in January 2022, as could the installation of a geothermal well field that will power the home’s heating and cooling systems, says Claudia Pors, a Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman.
“Right now the contractor (MCN Build) doesn’t want to begin demolition of the current structure until they have materials to build the new home, and demolition isn’t anticipated to begin for another 6-8 weeks,” she said.
The new home will have six bedrooms, including accessible bathrooms and closets, an area for staff and accessible communal living spaces with built-in furnishings and appliances, per the county report. It will be equipped with various audio-visual technologies to support individuals with complex medical support needs.
“Upon completion, the new home will provide a primary and permanent residence for up to six adults with developmental disabilities,” the report said. “It will be constructed to meet the changing needs of the residents across their lifespans, regardless of physical and behavioral support needs.”
Arlington’s Department of Human Services will operate and maintain the house, while a contracted residential provider will have the primary responsibility for caring for residents.
The new 1212 S. Irving Street will be a net-zero energy residence, meaning it generates as much energy as it consumes. It will also be the county’s first Viridiant Net-Zero certified building, Pors said.
“Some of the construction features include an airtight building envelope and high-performance windows and doors that prevent outdoor air from coming in, or loss of conditioned air; less than 50% of impervious area on the property, so stormwater can be absorbed by the ground naturally; and landscaping with non-invasive species,” she said.
Solar panels and geothermal systems will power the building, while energy recovery ventilators will recover heat or cold air, she said. The interior will also feature LED lighting, low-flow plumbing features and Energy Star appliances.
The project is $900,000 over budget, according to the report.
“The total project budget for the 1212 S. Irving St. Group Home project is $5,205,735,” the report says. “This amount is $900,000 over budget, due to the current unstable market conditions, longer construction duration from lagging supply deliveries, and the addition of a sixth bedroom and a kitchenette to satisfy DHS current programming requirements. The construction cost was over a $1 million more than the independent cost estimate received in November 2020.”