Date Set for County Board Special Election — Circuit Court Chief Judge William Newman officially has declared that the Arlington County Board special election will be held on April 8. The special election is being held to replace now-former County Board member Chris Zimmerman. [Sun Gazette]
End of the Road for Seoul Food Truck — The Seoul Food truck, which makes stops in Rosslyn, Courthouse, Ballston and other lunch spots in Arlington, will be retired at the end of this month. The owners say they want to spend more time focusing on their brick-and-mortar store in Silver Spring, Md., next to the Wheaton Metro station. [Food Truck Fiesta]
Bike Boulevard Signs Installed — Arlington has installed signs and sharrows designating 9th Street S. and 12th Street S., which run along either side of Columbia Pike, as “bike boulevards.” The county has not yet, however, installed improved intersection crossings or trail links, leading some to say that the bike boulevards so far do little to improve safety for Pike cyclists. [Greater Greater Washington]
Preservation Arlington Mourns Loss of Homes — The group Preservation Arlington says a total of 14 demolition permits were applied for in January. “In review of the Arlington County tax records, eight of the eleven houses are owned by builders and are speculative redevelopments, and two are being redeveloped by individuals who bought the property within the last year,” the group writes. “The looming demolition of these houses and buildings represents an incredible loss of history, architecture, time, energy, and materials.” [Preservation Arlington]
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA
Three houses are being torn down to make way for a new apartment building in the Lyon Park neighborhood.
Developer Clark Realty expects to begin demolition on the vacant houses, on 9th Road N. behind Jay’s Saloon, within the next week. Construction on the new building, which will feature 18 one-to-three bedroom apartments and 33 parking spaces, is expected to take about a year.
The building, dubbed 9th Road Residences, is being built “by right,” meaning County Board approval is not needed. The new structure will be adjacent to another Clark-built apartment building on 9th Road. Both are about the same in scale: 3 stories high with a half-sunken ground floor.
Clark is planning to rent the apartments, but they’re being built with “condo-level finishes” so that the building can be converted to condominiums if market conditions dictate.
The project is adjacent to but separate from Clark’s “10th Street Flats” development, which will eventually result in the closure and demolition of Jay’s Saloon (3114 10th Street N.) and several other small businesses. That development must first go through Arlington’s site plan process.
At an informal neighborhood meeting with the developer last night, Lyon Park residents expressed little objection to the 9th Road project, but raised some concern about traffic that might eventually come from 10th Street Flats.
The Ballston-area house, a duplex on the 4200 block of Washington Blvd near Washington-Lee High School, was built between 1895 and 1910, according to county documents. Its owners have submitted a site plan proposal for two semi-detached townhouses to take its place.
The proposal calls for the building to be demolished and replaced with a 4,707-square-foot, 43-foot-tall brick structure. The home’s solid-paneled doors, metal gutters, downspouts and other interior and exterior elements will be preserved as part of the redevelopment, according to the proposal.
The proposal is scheduled to go before the Planning Commission and County Board no later than November, according to county documents.
The Navy Annex, once an expansive Department of Defense office complex, has been reduced to a pile of rubble.
The military started tearing down the offices, first built in 1941, last fall. The demolition will make way for an expansion of Arlington National Cemetery and, eventually, a realignment of Columbia Pike.
(Arlington County is still in negotiations with the military regarding the exact land swap plan necessary to accomplish both objectives.)
Demolition of the last of the 7 wings of the Navy Annex started on June 19 and appears to be mostly complete. No structure on the site is still standing; rather, piles of rubble and lower portions of the building are awaiting additional demolition and will be hauled away over the next month, we’re told. Additional debris removal is taking place across Columbia Pike, at the Navy Annex’s former parking lot.
Grass and meadows are expected to be planted on the 42-acre site in September, according to Rep. Jim Moran’s office. Before and after photos from the demolition can be found above.
A ceremonial swinging of sledgehammers kicked off the demolition of an old bridge over Four Mile Run this morning.
The bridge, located between Potomac Avenue and Route 1 near Potomac Yard, was used by trains until the late 1980s when the railroad was decommissioned. It has since sat out of use, overgrown with vegetation.
Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), County Board Vice Chair Jay Fisette and Alexandria Mayor William Euille were at the bridge Monday morning, sledgehammers in hand, to announce the start of demolition, which will get fully underway in two weeks. The demolition is expected to be completed by April.
The bridge is being taken down to create open space above Four Mile Run, which environmental officials from both jurisdictions say will allow the stream to grow vegetation and develop a healthier ecology. Moran recalled a large flood in the 1970s, after which the local governments decided to pour in concrete. The concrete mitigated flood impacts but wound up damaging the stream’s ecosystem, Moran said.
“The vegetation serves its purpose if you allow it to grow,” Moran said, “and this does.”
The Pulte Group, which owns the Potomac Yards development adjacent to Four Mile Run, will fund the $3.5 million demolition and the stabilization of the stream banks. After the demolition, Alexandria and Arlington will jointly fund a new, urban-style park on another unused bridge, adjacent to Potomac Avenue.
The plan to transform the area started in 2006 when both jurisdictions passed the Four Mile Run Restoration Master Plan, and has been helmed by the Arlington/Alexandria Four Mile Run Redesign Task Force.
“We finally are seeing these plans come to fruition,” Moran said. “We’ve been waiting 25 years for a ribbon cutting here, and now we’ve got a sledgehammer smashing.”
VDOT crews have started tearing down the bridge from Courthouse Road to eastbound Route 50, leading to numerous closures, detours and delays in the area.
Today through Sunday night, traffic on westbound Route 50 is being diverted onto 14th Street N., up to Wilson Boulevard, down Barton Street and back to Route 50 via 10th Street. This afternoon, a long line of traffic was observed before the detour, which is in place to allow for the two-day demolition of the bridge.
Through August, when construction of a new bridge is expected to be completed, eastbound Route 50 drivers heading to Courthouse will have to drive past Courthouse and take the Rhodes Street bridge to 14th Street.
Drivers in Courthouse seeking to get on to eastbound Route 50, who used to be able to use the Courthouse Road bridge, will now have to take the Rhodes Street bridge to the Arlington Boulevard service road that leads to the difficult blind merge with Route 50 near the U.S. Marine Corps (Iwo Jima) memorial. Temporary traffic lights have reportedly been placed at the Arlington Boulevard/N. Meade Street intersection, before the entrance ramp, to help with traffic flow.
The bridge demolition is part of the $39 million Route 50/Courthouse Road interchange project. The project is scheduled for completion in October.
(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) The heavily-used Courthouse Road bridge, which connects Courthouse with eastbound Route 50, will be torn down in two weeks.
The bridge is expected to close on Friday, Jan. 25. VDOT is planning to block and reroute westbound I-50 in the Courthouse area from Jan. 26-27 to allow for the bridge demolition work. That weekend, westbound traffic will be directed around the closure via 14th Street, Wilson Boulevard, Washington Boulevard and 10th Street.
From Jan. 25 to late August, when construction of a new Courthouse Road bridge is expected to wrap up, drivers trying to get from eastbound Route 50 to Courthouse will have to drive past the former bridge and instead take the N. Queen/Rhodes Street bridge, turning left on 14th Street to eventually reach Courthouse Road.
The bridge demolition is part of the $39 million Route 50/Courthouse Road interchange project. The project is scheduled for completion in October.
Photo courtesy (bottom left) Keith Hall
An aging county-owned building near Shirlington is being torn down as part of the expansion of Jennie Dean Park.
The LaPorte Building at 3600 S. Four Mile Run Drive was purchased by Arlington County for $3.6 million in 2002, as part of a long-range expansion plan for the 22.4 acre park. It was most recently used as a temporary construction office during the expansion of Arlington’s Water Pollution Control Plant. The building was vacated by the plant contractor in late 2010.
Now, the county is preparing to finally tear down the run-down structure. The demolition will be conducted in an environmentally-responsible manner, officials say.
“Rather than using traditional means and methods, the County’s contractor will deconstruct the building,” said Dept. of Parks and Recreation Construction Management Specialist Brenda Parker. “This entails taking apart the building in order to reclaim, reuse and/or recycle as much of the materials as possible.”
After the structure is town down, the lot will be turned in to open space.
“Once the building is removed, the area will be graded and seeded, a portion of the fence will be removed, temporary landscaping will be installed around the site perimeter and benches may be added at the corner of S. Four Mile Run Drive and S. Nelson Street,” Parker said. “That work should be completed by early 2013.”
An adjacent, existing parking area will be maintained, however, in order to temporarily store equipment and Arlington Transit buses while a new ART facility is constructed. Use of the temporary storage area is expected to last through the end of 2013, at which time the parking lot will be demolished and converted to open space.
The Pike will be closed between S. Quinn Street and S. Orme Street from 9:00 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2 to 4:30 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 5. The closure will be in place while crews demolish part of the Washington Boulevard bridge over the Pike as part of VDOT’s ongoing interchange project.
“Motorists on Columbia Pike will follow detour signs as will motorists heading from Washington Boulevard to Columbia Pike,” VDOT said in an email. “The closure is part of the bridge replacement project at Washington Boulevard (Route 27) and Columbia Pike. Visit the VDOT project page for more information.”
The long-awaited process of demolishing the Navy Annex and its surrounding parking lots is scheduled to begin within the next month or two, officials tell ARLnow.com.
The 1 million square foot military office complex, first built in 1941 and located on the eastern end of Columbia Pike, will be torn down to make way for an expansion of Arlington National Cemetery. The entire 42-acre Navy Annex site, which includes a large surface parking lot on the other side of Columbia Pike, will be turned into a grass field in advance of an official transfer from the Department of the Army to Arlington National Cemetery in late 2013.
Demolition on the eastern wing of the Navy Annex is scheduled to start in November or December. The process will include abatement of asbestos and other hazardous materials. Demolition, site grading and seeding is expected to be complete by August 2013.
Columbia Pike should only experience “minimal” traffic impacts from the project; Southgate Road, which runs parallel to the Pike on the other side of the Navy Annex, is expected to see the majority of traffic disruptions.
The Navy Annex site is not expected to be used for burials for at least a couple of years. First, Arlington County and the federal government must come to a land swap agreement. The entities are still working on a deal to swap the county’s 4.23 acre Southgate Road right of way, and perhaps some other land, in exchange for a portion of the Navy Annex site.
The most recent land swap agreement — which has since fallen through, according to Arlington County federal liaison Brian Stout — called for construction of an Arlington County heritage museum on the site. At least a portion of the proposed museum would be used to commemorate the Civil War-era Freedman’s Village, which was once located on the site.
The county is also working with the federal government and VDOT to reach an agreement for a realignment of Columbia Pike. Currently, the Pike curves around the Air Force Memorial — located adjacent to the Navy Annex — and toward the cemetery before the intersection with S. Joyce Street.
Stout says the county is proposing that the Pike be straightened and run through the current Navy Annex parking lot, before making an L-shaped intersection with Joyce Street. That would make for an easier drive up the Pike and would make for a contiguous burial area that’s not divided by the busy road. The project has been discussed but so far no engineering plans are in place, Stout said.
Another point of discussion deals with parking for the Air Force Memorial. Stout said the current demolition plan seems to call for the demolition of a portion of the parking lot used by memorial visitors. If that’s removed, visitors may need to park on Southgate Road.
Takis Karantonis, Executive Director of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, says the demolition presents an opportunity to improve the “eastern gateway” to the Pike. He said CPRO would like to see up to five stories of mixed use development along the Columbia Pike frontage of the tiny Foxcroft Heights neighborhood, located between the Navy Annex and the Sheraton National hotel.
“This is not the sightliest of places,” he said of the aging military building and the parking lots that line that section of the Pike. “Getting this redeveloped… is for us a welcome development. We think that the neighborhood will develop very nicely with that.”
Most of Foxcroft Heights is slated to remain single family homes under the recently-approved Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Area Plan.
A neighborhood information meeting about the demolition process is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15 at the Galaxy Room of the Sheraton National (900 S. Orme Street).
Voter Registration Deadline Today — If you want to vote in the upcoming presidential election and haven’t registered yet, today’s the last day to do so. Oct. 15 is the deadline to register to vote or update your address for the Nov. 6 election. Registration applications most be postmarked by today or submitted to Arlington’s Office of Voter Registration (2100 Clarendon Blvd) by 5:00 p.m. [Arlington County]
Marymount ‘Blue Goose’ Will Be Demolished — Marymount University’s distinctive but aging “Blue Goose” building at the corner of N. Glebe Road and N. Fairfax Drive in Ballston is set to be demolished and redeveloped. The actual demolition is still “a few years away,” according to a school spokeswoman, but the planning process is now getting started. [Arlington Mercury]
Metro to Miss Cell Phone Deadline — Tomorrow is the deadline set by Congress for Metro to have all of its underground tunnels and stations wired for cell phone service. The agency will miss the deadline and doesn’t expect to meet the mandate until the end of 2015. [Washington Examiner]
High School Football Update — In high school football action over the weekend, Yorktown came from behind to defeat Langley by a score of 24-14. The Patriots are undefeated with a record of 7-0. Washington-Lee and Bishop O’Connell both lost on Saturday afternoon. And Wakefield is still looking for its first win of the season after losing its homecoming game to Falls Church by a score of 41-6.
The existing restaurant closed earlier this month and will be demolished. An entirely new McDonald’s will be built on the site (5009 Wilson Blvd).
The interior will include the traditional booths and chairs, but a new lounge type of area will be added, as will new community tables. The different styles of seating are designed to give customers a variety of dining options to fit their lifestyles — from meeting new people at the communal seating to enjoying a quiet cup of coffee in the lounge. Plasma screen TVs and free Wi-Fi will also be available.
“This construction is a part of McDonald’s focus to modernize and elevate the restaurant experience through upgrading to a more modern exterior design and providing upscale and contemporary interior décor,” said local McDonald’s franchisee Kyu Rhee.
Plans for the exterior are said to be consistent with the McDonald’s brand, while still allowing for flexibility with color and design materials to adapt to the neighborhood. There will be new landscaping and an easily identifiable drive through.
The construction is intended to show McDonald’s customers that the company can change with the times and with customer needs, while retaining the brand’s basic principles. The new restaurant is expected to open late in October.
While there’s no word on exactly when demolition is expected to begin, we’re told a crane has been sitting in the building’s parking lot for the past couple of weeks, while the Chamber just announced that it is in the process of moving to a temporary office in Ballston.
Replacing the office building will be a new 16-story, 254-unit apartment building called the Tellus. The mixed-use building will also include more than 15,000 square feet of office and retail space. Construction had been set to begin in 2010, but financial difficulties forced it to be delayed.
Over the next couple of days, the Chamber will be moving to a new, temporary office at 4600 Fairfax Drive, Suite 804. The Chamber says it will be closed to the public through Monday, July 16, during the move.
The Chamber plans to move back into the first-floor office space of the Tellus, once it’s completed. That could happen as soon as 2014, the Chamber says.
Arlington Funeral Home Demolition — Arlington Funeral Home in Virginia Square has been torn down to make way for a new office building. Arlington funeral home first opened in April 1956. [Arlington Public Library]
Election Day Today — Arlington voters are going to the polls today to cast their ballots in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate and the Democratic primary for the U.S. House of Representatives (see candidate essays for Rep. Jim Moran and Bruce Shuttleworth). Arlington has a complete list of polling places here.
Trader Joe’s Asks for Display Cases — Trader Joe’s in Clarendon is asking the Arlington County Board for permission to put display cases in the store’s windows along N. Garfield Street. Currently, the windows — which are legally required to remain transparent, per a site plan — look in on the store’s storage area. [Arlington County]
APS Accepting Applications for Committee — Arlington Public Schools is inviting applications from parents and community members for its Pupil Services Committee. The committee meets once a month during the school year and “reviews the services offered by psychologists, social workers, substance abuse counselors, school counselors, and attendance specialists.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Photo courtesy Bill Colton
Update on 10/23/12 — Demolition is now set to begin in November or December.
The 70-year-old Navy Annex complex, on the eastern end of Columbia Pike next to the Air Force Memorial, is set to be torn down starting next month.
Demolition on the complex will begin in late May, according to Rep. Jim Moran’s office. The demolition process is expected to last a couple of months.
Until recently, the Navy Annex was home to administrative offices for the Marine Corps. It was originally built as a warehouse in 1941 and has 1 million square feet of office space for up to 6,000 workers, according to GlobalSecurity.org.
The 37-acre site, along with other surrounding land, will be used to expand Arlington National Cemetery.