Arlington, VA

Up to three new businesses are set to replace the long-vacant Cardinal Bank building at the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center.

According to the shopping center’s developer A.J. Dwoskin & Associates, the bank’s demolition began earlier this week, and the new building will be “going up as quickly as possible.”

The company is early in its efforts to lease the 4,312 square feet of available space and “[does] not have any signed leases yet.”

“Depending on what deals come our way, we could have up to three new businesses,” said A.J. Dwoskin Marketing Director Lindsay Gilbert.

A county building permit submitted by A.J. Dwoskin at the bank’s current address (5335 Lee Hwy) details the building’s demolition, and adds that “the proposed building will be a 3,476 square foot restaurant space with a maximum of 125 seats.” The company would not comment on the permit or its mention of a restaurant.

Per signage at the construction site, the “retail pad building delivery” is expected in the first three months of 2020, but Gilbert said she does not expect any businesses operating in the spaces until later in the year.

“We’re particularly excited about the demolition, as that always creates a little neighborhood buzz,” Gilbert said.

In addition, the developer is also currently looking to lease two spaces in the lower levels of the busy shopping center, which houses a Harris Teeter store and restaurants like Peter Chang.

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The new Bob and Edith’s Diner at 5050 Lee Highway will be housed in a new a retro-styled building.

Demolition of the old building, which formerly housed Linda’s Cafe, is mostly complete and work on the new building — described architecturally as sporting a “new Mid Century flavor” — should be starting soon.

“The new structure reflects the image and feel of a family style diner,” the restaurant said in a statement. “The Bolton family is excited for the expansion of the new diner and promises to serve the community with the same great quality and service as the other area locations.”

“My dad, Bob worked here 60 years ago when it was Steak & Eggs,” owner Greg Bolton said. “I worked here 40 years ago and now my kids, Chris and Tammy, are walking the same floor as their grandfather and father did. Bob and Edith’s Diner will be here for generations to come and I really feel it came full circle.”

The new B&E’s will be the 5th location for the local chain, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary. It is currently expected to open in the spring.

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The former Linda’s Cafe along Lee Highway has been given the figurative People’s Elbow.

Already down for the count and set to be replaced by a new Bob and Edith’s Diner location, the building that housed Linda’s is now no more. Gone is the one-time home of “excellent burgers” and an extra-spicy Twitter account.

Demolition of the building has been underway since at least Monday, after workers fenced off the lot in preparation for the project, according to tipsters.

As of this article’s publication time, a rep for Bob and Edith’s Diner did not respond to a request for an update on the new location, the anticipated opening of which has been delayed for months.

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Arlington County will begin tearing down the S. Clark Street bridge over 18th Street S. in Crystal City next week, which is expected to generate noise and traffic disruptions for the rest of the month.

Demolition work will begin Monday, June 10, according to the county’s website. The work is part of a $6 million project to tear down the elevated section of S. Clark Street and rebuild a “new open space” in what will soon become a hotspot with the arrival of Amazon’s second headquarters.

“There will be a lot of noise near the work site. No explosives will be used,” the county wrote about the demolition. It added that while debris is being removed, residents “should expect more truck traffic in the area.”

Crews will work Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. However, road detours will stay in effect during the weekend and will last for the next two to three weeks. Per Arlington County:

There will be a series of eastbound and westbound closures on 18th Street between South Eads and South Bell Streets during this work. Northbound South Bell Street between 18th and 15th Streets also will be closed. Detours are expected to last for 2-3 weeks, weather permitting.

Drivers will be able to detour around the closure by taking 15th Street S. or using 20th Street S.

The June demolition date for the bridge is slightly after the “tentative” May start date the county originally had hoped for. The project’s demolition of the S. Clark Street overpass over 15th Street S. wrapped up this winter.

Images via Arlington County and Google Maps

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A developer wants to knock down the single-family home near the Colonial Village Apartments complex in order to build several townhouses.

The new Colonial Village Townhouses project aims to to build seven, four-story townhouses on a 15,920-square-foot “sliver” of land located between N. Veitch Street and 18th Street N., according to newly filed preliminary site development plans.

The plans say the townhomes will all have terraces and range in size from 1,468 square-feet to 1,938 square-feet.

“The seven townhouses are designed in a classic urban, Georgetown style, harmonizing with the existing Colonial Village apartments,” said the filing, which was submitted on behalf of the developer on May 6. The developer is listed as 1731 N Veitch Street LLC, which is a subsidiary of Bethesda-based BeaconCrest Homes.

BeaconCrest Homes Managing Partner Robert Malm declined to comment on the project when reached by ARLnow, but he did clarify that the single-family home on the property is “under contract” with BeaconCrest and slated for demolition.

The plans call for several exemptions to the zoning rules of the lot, including:

  • A 2-foot exception to the 40-foot height limit zoned for the area, noting that the architectural plans call for the houses to be 41.98 feet high due “to the slope of the property.”
  • Each unit is slated to contain a two-car garage and a driveway with space for two more cars for a total of four vehicles per townhouse. The plan notes this exceeds the parking regulations zoned for the area and requests an exemption.

A December county staff report noted that existing the zoning ordinance “does not specify that the County Board can modify building height for townhouse developing” in this kind of lot so that “further analysis” will need to be done on the requested height exemption.

As part of the community benefits requirement of the development, BeaconCrest says in a letter attached to the site plan that it will negotiate with the county to provide some nearby improvements, including:

  1. Sidewalk, curb, and gutter improvements
  2. Streetscape improvements
  3. Affordable housing contribution
  4. Contribution to utility fund

The winter staff report also asked the developer to create a detailed tree planting scheme to meet county canopy requirements considering some existing trees on the property may have to be felled. (BeaconCrest Homes faced outcry from some neighbors in years past due to tree removal.)

Mariska noted in the newly filed plans that the development will “provide new residential units with high-quality architecture and within easy walking distance to the Courthouse Metro Station and surrounding amenities.”

The architect listed for the plans is Fairfax-based Pinnacle Design & Consulting Inc. The engineer and landscape architect tapped for the construction is Falls Church-based Walter L. Phillips, Inc.

Preliminary site plan submissions are “the earliest stages of the site plan process,” notes Arlington County’s website. “During this stage, staff review draft applications to ensure that they meet technical filing requirements.”

Later stages in the site plan process typically involve a review from the Arlington Planning Commission followed later by a vote of the County Board.

Photo (2) via Google Maps

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The S. Clark Street bridge over 18th Street S. in Crystal City is set to be torn down this month, prompting some detours.

Knocking down the bridge is “tentatively set for late May,” the county wrote in a press release, noting that the exact date could be three to four weeks from today.

The county is warning drivers the demolition will cause detours, namely:

This work will require a series of alternating eastbound and westbound closures on 18th Street between South Eads and South Bell Streets. The detours are expected to last for 2-3 weeks.

Drivers will be encouraged to use 15th and 20th Streets South as alternate routes. Additional details for the detours will be shared soon, as plans for the bridge removal are finalized.

The demolition is part of a $6 million project to tear down the elevated section of S. Clark Street and build a “new open space” with streetscaping that’s friendlier to development. It’s happening in an area next to the Crystal City Metro station that’s likely to increasingly become a hotspot with Amazon’s arrival.

“To make way for new building sites and an improved surface street network, the Crystal City Sector Plan and accompanying Multimodal Transportation Study called for its demolition,” wrote the Crystal City Business Improvement District on its website.

Demolition started last summer and as of the beginning of 2019 crews had already demolished the S. Clark Street overpass over 15th Street S.

Officials have said they hope to complete the project by this summer.

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By next summer, the formerly 2-3 story office building across from the Whole Foods in Clarendon is slated to reopen as a four-story, mixed office-retail building called The Loft.

Today, however, it’s a noisy demolition — one that briefly caught on fire last week.

The project is in the later phases of demolition, according to Eric Davidson, a communications manager for shopping center operator Regency Center, with construction set to follow. The Loft is planned to open in the second quarter of 2020.

The building is part of Market Common Clarendon, and was also once home to the beloved Iota Club and Cafe. Straddling Clarendon and Wilson boulevards, the building has 86,000 square feet of office space and 23,000 square feet of retail space available, according to a leasing flyer.

Most of the tenants of the 145,000 square foot building remain unannounced, but high-end fitness company Equinox is expected to be among the retail tenants. Davidson said additional tenant announcements are likely over the next few weeks.

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Arlington’s Crystal City neighborhood is echoing with the sounds of demolition today as work gets underway on Amazon’s new, temporary offices.

Loud, heavy demolition is underway at 1800 S. Bell Street and 1770 Crystal Drive, two of three buildings near the Crystal City Metro station that Amazon plans to lease from JBG Smith. The aging office buildings are being refurbished prior to Amazon’s arrival.

Lighter construction is underway at 241 18th Street S., which is also part of Amazon’s plans but which has other, existing tenants.

The space — around 500,000 square feet in total — is planned to only be temporary for the tech giant, which is set to eventually move to a brand new office campus near the Pentagon City. JBG Smith, which plans to sell Amazon that property for its permanent campus, is rehabilitating Amazon’s Crystal City office buildings as part of a “big bet” on the area’s future with Amazon on board.

The arrival of “HQ2” is not only prestigious for Arlington and the combined Crystal City-Pentagon City-Potomac Yard area now being called National Landing, but also for the contractors working on the project. On Friday, one contractor even sent out a press release, below, and posted on Facebook about its work on the Crystal City project.

Arlington’s best-known project is currently under construction. Muller Erosion & Site Services has begun work on the highly anticipated Amazon’s new HQ2 in Arlington, Virginia. Amazon is building its second headquarters in the Crystal City, and Muller Erosion & Site Services is proud and excited to be associated with the project.

Amazon has said it is committed to create 25,000 jobs in Arlington, a region it considers to be a great fit for putting in place the needed talent pool. The company will invest $2.5 billion in Northern Virginia, and plans are also in place to build 4 million sq. ft of energy efficient office space. […]

For Muller Erosion & Site Services Inc, this is a prestigious project and affirms the company’s high standards of services. The company is considered to be a leading site construction business in the Mid-Atlantic region and works on several high-profile projects throughout the region.

“We are thrilled and honored to be part of Amazon’s new plans to build its second headquarters in Arlington. Our best service will be delivered by our experienced team, and we look forward to contributing to the project however we can,” said a spokesperson for Muller Erosion & Site Services.

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Morning Notes

Overturned Vehicle Near Gunston — A vehicle overturned in a reported four-vehicle crash in the Long Branch Creek neighborhood yesterday afternoon. The crash happened on the 1500 block of 28th Street S., near Gunston Middle School. Two occupants of the overturned vehicle were able to get out safely prior to rescuers arriving on scene, according to initial reports. [Twitter]

Dog Rescued by ACFD — Firefighters rescued a dog named Bling from yesterday’s house fire in Lyon Park. “Medics provided oxygen to Bling with a special pet mask,” the fire department said. “Although Bling did suffer some smoke inhalation, his outlook is good!” [Twitter, Twitter]

WUSA 9 Back on Fios — After several days of being blacked out for Verizon Fios customers as a result of a fee dispute between Verizon and Tysons-based broadcaster Tegna, local CBS affiliate WUSA 9 has returned to the Fios lineup. In an email to an upset resident during the blackout, forwarded to ARLnow.com, Arlington’s cable administrator said there was nothing the county could do to help resolve the dispute. [Washington Business Journal]

Salt Dome Goes Bye Bye — “Up since 1928 when it originally held water, the old salt tank on Old Dominion is coming down this week with an interim replacement directly behind… Tanks for your service.” [Twitter]

Chamber: Amazon Will Help Arlington Grow — In a letter to its members, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce argues that Amazon’s arrival in the county will be a benefit for the local business community. “The Amazon headquarters helps us to grow back the jobs lost in the past decade,” the Chamber’s Scott Pedowitz wrote. “This development will happen across the next 12 years, which means that it will be gradual; our labor and real estate markets will not change overnight.” Amazon is only expected to bring 400-500 jobs to Arlington this year, though it plans to add 25,000 jobs in the county through 2030, the letter said. [Chamber of Commerce]

News About the News — Alexandria local news site AlexandriaNews.org has shut down after 10 years in business. Meanwhile, Sun Gazette editor Scott McCaffrey is celebrating 25 years in that position. [Sun Gazette, Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Demolition work on the elevated section of S. Clark Street in Crystal City is slowly moving forward.

Workers kicked off a project to demolish the road and transform the area’s transportation network in earnest this summer, when they tore down S. Clark Street’s overpass over 15th Street. S. Since then, the county says workers have still had to use “10 to 15 dump trucks per day” to remove all the soil that supported that structure.

“To date, the contractor has hauled approximately 12,000 cubic yards of soil material off-site, out of an estimated project total of 22,000 cubic yards,” county staff wrote on Arlington’s website this month.

Crews have also recently finished “demolishing the concrete walls and abutment next to the 15th Street off-ramp and the south abutment on 15th Street S. eastbound,” leaving just a few pieces of the old overpass structure remaining.

Now, workers are moving their “excavation and demolition activities to locations between 12th and 15th Streets” as Crystal City approaches Pentagon City. Workers are also busily installing “new traffic signal and street light equipment at the intersection of Route 1 and 20th Street S. and along the median and northbound right shoulder of Route 1 between 15th and 20th Streets.”

Eventually, contractors will also demolish S. Clark Street’s bridge over 18th Street. S., prompting more detours. However, the county says it has yet to set a firm date to start that work, and will provide two weeks’ warning before it begins.

The county’s ultimate goal for the $6.6 million project is to create new open space along Route 1, opening up more development opportunities along a suddenly quite popular section of the county. Workers are hoping to wrap up construction by this coming summer.

Officials are also aiming to bring Route 1 itself down to the same grade as other nearby roads as part of some of the transportation improvements it promised Amazon, leading to a complete transformation of the area’s roadways in the coming years.

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(Updated Wednesday at 10:20 a.m.) Demolition work is kicking off ahead of the development of a new apartment complex in Crystal City, set to be located immediately adjacent to some of Amazon’s new office space in the area.

JBG Smith, the area’s dominant property owner, started work yesterday (Monday) to tear down an office building at 1900 Crystal Drive. Eventually, the company hopes to add two buildings to the site, with room for 750 apartments and some ground-floor retail.

JBG is aiming to kick off construction on the project next year, and it specifically identified the effort as one it hopes to accelerate now that Amazon is officially Arlington-bound. Crystal City currently has a slightly higher than average residential vacancy rate, and hasn’t seen much in the way of new apartment development recently, but local property owners are racing to offer new options to the thousands of Amazon workers set to descend on the neighborhood in the coming years.

The developer has yet to secure county approval for the 1900 Crystal Drive project, however. Vornado/Charles E. Smith previously secured permission to build a 24-story building on the property, but that approval lapsed in 2015. The company spun off its local property holdings in a merger with JBG the next year.

But JBG can pursue demolition of the building as “by right” work in the meantime, meaning it doesn’t require any approval from the county until new construction starts.

The Crystal City Business Improvement District is warning that the demolition will prompt a few sidewalk closures, near Crystal Drive’s intersection with both 18th Street S. and 20th Street S. JBG will also build a covered walkway over the sidewalk along Crystal Drive to allow pedestrian access as the work continues.

The BID says the garage entrances on both 18th Street S. and 20th Street S. will remain open during the construction. Additionally, JBG plans to keep offering the collection of basketball hoops and other games it maintains in one of the building’s parking lots, but will move those over to the plaza behind the 1900 Crystal Drive building, along S. Bell Street.

The building’s demolition will also mark the disappearance of one of the most colorful structures in Crystal City. JBG affixed brightly colored artwork to several buildings in the neighborhood as it mulled how to revitalize the area, and do away with its more outdated facades.

Photo 1 via Google Maps

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