(Updated at 11:10 a.m.) The mid-century rambler near Williamsburg Middle School that was home to astronaut John Glenn and his family has been torn down.
The demolition came just days after the death of Annie Glenn, widow of the former U.S. senator and first American to orbit the earth. She died on Tuesday, May 19 from complications of COVID-19, as a backhoe sat in the front yard of the place she called home for nearly five years, including during John’s history-making Friendship 7 mission in 1962.
During the lead-up to the mission, reporters camped outside the house on N. Harrison Street and Vice President Lyndon Johnson tried to visit, but was rebuffed by Mrs. Glenn. After, Glenn continued working in D.C., and at one point hosted at his home a cookout with special guest Gherman Titov, the Russian who was the first person to orbit the earth multiple times, according to an Arlington Public Library history.
Glenn moved with his family to Texas in 1963, but his presence in Arlington is still felt. In 2012, the home’s owners told WUSA 9 that people still stopped by to gawk at the space hero’s former house. John Glenn died in 2016 and was interred at Arlington National Cemetery.
The property was sold in October for $1 million and the house is being torn down to make way for new construction. Local preservationists objected to the demolition, but nothing could be done legally to stop it and most respondents to an ARLnow poll last year said that the new owners should be allowed to tear down the house if they so chose.
Photo (3) via Google Maps
The old warehouses that once stood along S. Eads Street, between 12th and 15th streets, are no more.
A Reddit user who lives near the site captured a unique, bird’s-eye view of the demolition, posting a minute-and-a-half video showing the warehouses being methodically leveled over time.
The video was shot on a GoPro in timelapse mode, the user said.
“Hopefully you signed like a 10 year price lock lease because your rent is probably going to skyrocket,” another user said in the comments.
Demolition Starts at HQ2 Site — “Roughly a dozen demolition workers from construction firm ACECO were on site in yellow vests and hard hats, along with a couple of excavators, one of which sat on a mound of bricks as it tore down the southeast side of the single-story building.” [Washington Business Journal]
Apartments are Hot Near HQ2 — “The development patterns that are taking place in Crystal City make it a more live-work-play area versus being an office-dominated submarket that has an underground mall… That area is evolving with new product coming online and Amazon making its presence in the region. All of those things have helped generate demand for multifamily housing.” [Bisnow]
New Pool House for Army Navy CC — “Arlington County Board members on Jan. 25 are expected to approve procedural matters that will pave the way for Army Navy Country Club to renovate its swimming areas and construct a new poolhouse.” [InsideNova]
Arlington Eateries Absent from Top 20 List — The new 2020 Washingtonian 100 Very Best Restaurants list does not include any Arlington spots in the top 20. [Washingtonian]
County Pitches in to Route 7 BRT Study — “The Arlington government will toss in just under $40,000 in support of the next phase of a plan to develop high-quality bus service in the Route 7 corridor. Arlington will allocate $39,200 as its share in covering the $560,000 cost of a ‘mobility analysis,’ the fourth phase of the study.” [InsideNova]
Four Mile Run Biz Celebrates 25th — Family-owned car repair business Auto Stop Arlington is celebrating its 25th anniversary this weekend with an event that will include a food truck, beer and wine tastings, and kids activities. [Facebook]
RIP Jim Lehrer — The longtime host of the PBS Newshour, which is produced in the Shirlington area, has died at the age of 85. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Stolen Car Leads to Arrests — Several people were arrested after fleeing a reported stolen car on foot in the Green Valley neighborhood Monday afternoon. At least one of those arrested was a juvenile, according to scanner traffic. [Twitter]
Group Lists Properties Set for Demolition — “Demolition permits for a total of 159 homes, plus a number of other properties, were approved by the Arlington County government in 2019, according to an analysis by Preservation Arlington… In addition to homes, three garden apartments, 11 commercial buildings, two civic buildings and several other structures also were being readied for razing.” [InsideNova]
Doorways CEO Departing — “Doorways announced today that the agency’s President and CEO, Caroline Jones, MSW, will be leaving the organization in February. Since 1978, Doorways has operated at the many intersections of homelessness, poverty, and intimate partner violence, responding to community members in crisis.” [Press Release]
ARLnow Needs You — Help ARLnow set the direction for our news coverage and offerings in 2020 by taking this quick 10-question survey. So far, the average survey-taker has spent about 3 minutes answering the questions. [SurveyMonkey]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
- Sidewalk, curb, and gutter improvements
- Streetscape improvements
- Affordable housing contribution
- 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.”
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
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.
Officials have said they hope to complete the project by this summer.
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.