56°Mostly Cloudy

by Chris Teale — May 23, 2017 at 4:35 pm 0

Space for police, fire and emergency management, swing space for government offices or Arlington Public Schools, bus storage or parkland might be coming to two sites the county is considering acquiring.

The Buck property off N. Quincy Street near Washington-Lee High School and the Virginia Hospital Center site at 601 S. Carlin Springs Road could both be acquired by the county, which has options to buy or swap for the land and has been going through a review process to determine best future uses for it.

Through that process, there are now five possible scenarios for each on how the county might make use of these sites. Staff outlined those scenarios in a presentation to the commission last week, and the Joint Facilities Advisory Commission (JFAC) will host an interactive public forum on the plans tomorrow (Wednesday).

Both sites are being tapped to potentially include space for the county’s Office of Emergency Management and police and fire departments. Some scenarios would include parking for ART or Arlington Public Schools buses on the site, with varying levels of open space for recreation and community gardens.

One scenario for VHC (Scenario C) would reserve a 130,000 square foot site as temporary swing space for either APS or the county during construction elsewhere. No plan would place permanent school space at the Buck property, something that had been called for by neighbors in the past.

Other neighbors, meanwhile, previously raised opposition to the county buying the Buck site, and accused the county of “barreling ahead” with the acquisition without listening to community feedback.

“JFAC, working with county and schools staff and with the community, has developed five scenarios for how the county might use each of these possible land acquisitions to meet some of our many pressing facility needs,” said JFAC chair Ginger Brown in a statement. “This forum is meant to put those scenarios before all Arlingtonians, to gather their feedback before JFAC makes recommendations to the County Board.”

The forum will be held in the Wakefield High School cafeteria (1325 S. Dinwiddie Street) from 7-10 p.m.

RSVPs are required for those planning to attend the forum. JFAC will also host an open house on Tuesday, May 30 to discuss the potential uses.

An online form will be available on the JFAC website for public feedback on specific use scenarios for the properties, starting on Thursday, May 25, according to a county press release.

by ARLnow.com — May 18, 2017 at 2:35 pm 0

(Updated at 3 p.m.) An under-construction replacement for the former Marymount University “Blue Goose” building in Ballston is on fire.

Firefighters are on the scene of a two-alarm apartment fire on the seventh floor of 1008 N. Glebe Road, according to scanner traffic. They’re reportedly having issues with water pressure in the building, though as of 2:55 p.m. the fire is said to have been extinguished. In addition to stairs, firefighters used a ladder truck to reach the apartment that was on fire.

Police have closed the southbound lanes and one northbound lane of N. Glebe Road between 11th Street and Fairfax Drive. Drivers should expect traffic impacts in the area.

The nearly-completed building, with more than 260 apartment units, was expected to be move-in ready this summer, according to the developer’s website.

by ARLnow.com — May 16, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

A small two-story building that’s now in the shadow of a much larger development in Courthouse has been placed on the market.

The owner of SuperStar Tickets and its building at 2305 Wilson Blvd says he is searching for a buyer, with the help of a real estate firm, but will only sell for the right price.

Omar Sider said he’s seeking an above-market price for the building, which he thinks could be attractive to investors given its proximity to the Courthouse Metro station and the new development at 2311 Wilson Blvd, which will house the headquarters of local tech firm Opower.

Sider’s building was grouped into the site plan for its larger neighbor and designated as a “stand alone retail pavilion.” Sider says he’s grandfathered in to keeping the building as-is, housing SuperStar Tickets’ offices, but he could also opt to build a new 6,400 square foot building with additional underground space and a connection to the parking garage of 2311 Wilson.

The latter is what any potential purchaser would likely intend to do. Because of the small size of the lot, a tall building is not possible.

“It’s a diamond in the rough,” Sider said of his property. “I don’t really want to sell it.”

Sider purchased the building in 2010 for $1.2 million and refused to sell it to the developer of 2311 Wilson, who he said made an offer only slightly above its market value. At least one anonymous tipster who reached out to ARLnow.com didn’t think holding on to the building was a good idea.

“They could have sold out at any time and made big bucks, but they refused,” said the tipster.

Sider, an Arlington native, said he thinks Courthouse will continue to be an attractive neighborhood, with more development and changes in the works. He said he is content to keep the building in his family “forever” if need be.

Should the building sell, he hopes to move SuperStar Tickets to another office in Arlington. Even if it doesn’t sell, the business is growing and may eventually require a bigger space, according to Sider.

by Chris Teale — May 16, 2017 at 1:25 pm 0

Target will be opening a new 41,500-square-foot store in Ballston, at the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Glebe Road, the company announced this afternoon.

The new store will be located on the first floor of the 12-story mixed-use development at 750 N. Glebe Road being constructed by Saul Centers, Inc. The development is three blocks from the Ballston Metro station, on the site of a former Mazda dealership.

Customers will be able to buy groceries, clothing and accessories, technology, beauty and home products, and toys and baby care items. There will also be a CVS Pharmacy inside the store.

The new Target will allow guests to order online and pick up products within one hour. It is projected to open in 2021.

“Target’s small-format store near Saul Centers’ mixed-use project at Wilson and Glebe will offer a convenient, one-stop shop for the surrounding neighborhoods,” said Mark Schindele, senior vice president of properties at Target, in a statement. “Local guests as well as visitors to the community will enjoy an easy and inspiring experience, featuring a grocery assortment, exclusive apparel brands, a location to pick up online orders and the convenience of 40 dedicated parking spaces.”

Target officials said small-format stores, geared to dense urban and suburban neighborhoods and college campuses, are a priority. The retailer plans to operate more than 130 small-format stores by the end of 2019; it has an existing small-format store in Rosslyn, which opened in 2015.

“I’m delighted to welcome Target’s expansion into the Ballston area of Arlington,” said Del. Patrick Hope (D) in a statement. “Target has broken the mold with its retail stores specifically tailored to the uniqueness of the neighborhood. The addition of more grocery options and a quick pick-up services is the right fit for the Ballston neighborhood and I can’t wait for their grand opening.”

Image via Target

by Chris Teale — May 11, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

The developer behind the plan to spruce up Market Common in Clarendon moved to assure residents last night that the IOTA Club and Cafe will stay where it is.

In the latest round of renderings of the project, Regency Centers showed the fixture of the local music scene in its same spot at 2832 Wilson Blvd.

After hearing reports that the venue might be demolished, local residents and IOTA regulars began a “Save IOTA” campaign, and had over a dozen supporters at the open house.

And surrounded by those supporters in front of a copy of the rendering on the wall behind him, Regency’s vice president of investments Devin Corini said IOTA would not be torn down.

“None of this is getting razed,” he said, gesturing to IOTA’s current building.

For those behind the campaign to save IOTA, Corini’s assurances were welcome news, but they are still waiting to see how the plans evolve.

“I think it’s encouraging they’re already including community feedback and they’ve said today they don’t plan on changing IOTA’s building,” said Melissa Mannon, one of the campaign’s organizers.

But another aspect of Regency Centers’ plan raised some questions: the proposal to do away with a permanent playground in the revamped courtyard area on Clarendon Blvd, known as “The Loop.”

John Fitzpatrick, senior construction manager at Regency Centers, said the new courtyard could have temporary amenities like an ice skating rink in the winter, space for outdoor movies or a farmers’ market, or a splash pool in the summer for kids. He said new options would open the space up for different uses.

“We’re creating a different experience,” he said. “We could create multiple kid experiences.”

But on boards and posters set up around the room for people to give their opinions, the plan received some negative feedback.

“We need the tot lot, not free-form seating,” one wrote. “Tot lot remaining is critical! Don’t make it for older children,” wrote another.

“The tot lot as it is now is the single most vibrant part of the complex — it is active all the time and helps people come here to shop – a great marketing tool,” wrote a third.

Under the plan, just over 21,000 square feet of office space would be added at Market Common, along with another 21,000 square feet of new retail space, including a new upper level. The office building at 2801 Clarendon Blvd will receive a drastic makeover, including new retail tenants.

The plans were unveiled last night at a community meeting inside that building. As well as renderings for viewing, attendees watched a promotional video, sampled food from local restaurants, talked to Regency Centers staff and listened to a classical guitarist playing outside.

“What was once strictly office will be reformatted to provide additional shops, restaurants and increased activity,” said the video. Corini said there has already been “remarkable” interest from retailers in moving into the revamped space, and a number of attendees expressed support for the plans, but others were not so convinced.

“Looks like a Mickey Mouse town — devoid of culture — only looking to put khaki pant brands and day cares to get support,” wrote one attendee.

Regency Centers says it is still refining the designs and taking feedback from the public. The company has submitted initial plans to the county but has not yet submitted a final site plan for County Board approval.

by Chris Teale — May 9, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

With redevelopment just around the corner, the Food Star grocery store on Columbia Pike will close as early as next week according to a sign on its entrance.

Its lease at the property is set to expire on May 25. The grocery store is expected to move to 206 W. Glebe Road in Alexandria’s Arlandria neighborhood and replace the Foodway currently there.

The sign, written in English and Spanish, reads:

Dear Food Star customers:

After 32 years of business it is with sincere regret that we inform you that Food Star supermarket will be closing permanently at this location between April 30 and May 15, 2017. It is our utmost priority to inform you of this decision as you are a very important part of the Food Star family. We appreciate your business and are thankful for your loyalty. We hope to have the opportunity to continue serving you at our new location at: 206 W. Glebe Road (formally Foodway), Alexandria, VA 22305.

We will notify you which day we will open. Thank you for your business and continued support.

The store at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. George Mason Drive is set for demolition along with several small retail businesses for the “Columbia Pike Village Center” development. More than 1,800 people who wanted to “Save Food Star” signed a petition against the plan last year.

In its place will be a new 50,000 square foot Harris Teeter grocery store, 31,530 square feet of new ground-floor retail space and a 22,150 square foot public square. The project also includes a six-story apartment building with 365 market-rate units, retail space and a three-level parking garage.

The Harris Teeter is expected to open in late 2019.

Arlington County has posted a list of other food stores in the area, the closest of which is 0.5 miles away from the Food Star, that residents can go to during construction of the new grocery store.

Of the other stores in the plaza, the Para Ti hair salon has already relocated to S. Carlin Springs Road. April was its last month in the strip mall.

by ARLnow.com — May 9, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

More on Proposed Rosslyn Residential Tower — As first reported by ARLnow.com, a residential tower is being proposed to replace the RCA office building in Rosslyn. A new preliminary site plan filing provides some additional details: it will be 24-story residential building with 407 units of both apartments and condos, plus some ground floor retail and three floors of underground parking. [Washington Business Journal]

Caucus Voting Starts Today — Voting in the Democratic caucus for County Board and School Board starts today. The first day of caucus voting will take place between 7-9 p.m. at Key Elementary School, followed by additional caucuses on May 11 and 13. ARLnow recently published “why you should vote for me” essays from each candidate. [Arlington Democrats]

Arlington Couple’s Soccer Devotion Recognized — A local couple “is among three finalists in the international family category for Bayern [Munich]’s Fan Awards, recognizing dedication to the fabled club.” Their devotion includes regular attendance Saturdays at Summers Restaurant in Courthouse for games, and holding up matching husband and wife jerseys following their 2015 nuptials. [Washington Post]

Scalia Son Is an Arlington Priest — Paul Scalia, the sixth child of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, is a Catholic priest who serves as Episcopal Vicar for Clergy — an assistant to the Bishop — in the Diocese of Arlington headquarters (200 N. Glebe Road). Scalia just released his first book and NBC 4 used the occasion to ask him about growing up in the Scalia household. [NBC Washington]

Nearby: Amazon Opening Store in Georgetown — Amazon.com will be opening one of its first brick-and-mortar retail stores in Georgetown, at 3040 M Street NW. It has existing physical bookstores in Seattle, Portland and San Diego. [Washington Post]

by Chris Teale — May 5, 2017 at 11:45 am 0

The demolition of the pedestrian bridge over Wilson Blvd in Ballston is now expected to begin next weekend.

A spokeswoman for Forest City, which is carrying out the revamp of the Ballston Common Mall, said residents will start to see work being done on the bridge on Saturday, May 13.

That day, she said, crews will remove various trees and strip the bridge down to its barebones. On May 14, the spokeswoman said, a crane will be erected to remove the bridge structure. Then on May 20, final remaining bridge components will be demolished, including its columns and footings.

The bridge between Ballston Common Mall and 4201 Wilson Blvd — which houses the soon-to-be-relocated National Science Foundation — closed last year as part of the mall’s renovation.

Wilson Blvd will be shut for construction between N. Stuart Street and N. Randolph Street, with no cars or pedestrians allowed between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. The parking garage at Stafford Place II will remain accessible, as will the pedestrian entrance to CVS from N. Randolph Street.

“Please note that should an unforeseen unsafe condition be encountered that necessitates the operation to extend beyond these hours, we will require the closure to remain in place until such time that the road and sidewalk can be opened to allow for safe passage,” the spokeswoman said in an email.

The bridge is set to reopen with the revamped and rebranded Ballston Quarter mall in fall 2018.

by Chris Teale — April 26, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

The American Red Cross building along Route 50 and two single-family homes are set to be torn down and replaced by a five-story affordable housing building and 19 townhouses.

According to a preliminary site plan filed with the county late last month, the new building will have up to 124 units on the southeastern corner of the property on N. Thomas Street, with the townhouses in the northwest along N. Trenton Street.

Apartments would vary in size from studios to three-bedroom units, while the townhomes would all be three stories in height and be a stone’s throw from the new apartment building.

Cars would access the site from two locations on N. Trenton Street and another on N. Thomas Street. There would be no access from the Arlington Blvd service road.

The nearby 63-unit Whitefield Commons apartment complex would be kept and could have six more units added by the developer, the Wesley Housing Corporation, depending on the number of apartments in the new building.

In a letter to county staff dated March 20, an attorney representing Wesley said the project will bring numerous community benefits, including more affordable housing, improvements to sidewalks, curbs, gutters and streetscape, and public art.

A memo from county staff indicated that in prior meetings, staff members have suggested façade embellishments or using the fence of a to-be-built playground for art. Plans for public art are still in the initial planning stages.

Wesley commissioned Bonstra Haresign Architects to design the property. A transportation management plan found traffic impact to be minimal from the site, as it is well served by ART and Metrobus.

by Chris Teale — April 26, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

Progress on an undeveloped parcel of land in Potomac Yard may not happen for another three years after a recent County Board vote and Virginia General Assembly bill that passed this year.

At its meeting Tuesday, the Board allowed Lidl US, the owner of Land Bay C in Potomac Yard, to withdraw its application to extend the life of its final plan for the site by three years.

The site plan was originally approved in 2007, to include four buildings over an underground parking garage. It includes more than 1 million square feet of office space, 41,000 square feet of retail space and a half-acre park known as North Plaza.

Lidl looked to withdraw its extension after Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) signed HB 1697 into law. The bill automatically extends certain approvals from July 1, 2017 to July 1, 2020 on projects designed to help Virginia recovery from the 2008 housing crisis.

Lidl originally applied for a three-year extension on the site plan last November, before the bill had been debated and passed in Richmond.

The plan is valid until 2020 thanks to the bill’s passage, and at the meeting there was no discussion on a timeline for the project. Representatives with Lidl US did not respond to a request for comment. If construction does not begin before the site plan’s 2020 deadline, the applicant would either need to withdraw the plan or file for another extension.

During the public comment portion of Tuesday’s meeting, local resident Jim Hurysz noted the surrounding community’s concerns about the uncertainty surrounding much of the development at Potomac Yard.

Hurysz noted Alexandria City Council’s worries about a lack of open space in North Potomac Yard during its own planning process, as well as an expected influx of traffic when the Virginia Department of Transportation extends the HOT Lanes on Interstate 395.

by Chris Teale — April 25, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

The redeveloped Market Common in Clarendon will include a revamped courtyard area known as “The Loop,” according to a rendering released by the project’s developer and architect.

The rendering by architect Antunovich Associates shows several new eateries or other stores in the central median of the shopping center, with some seating areas nearby. Currently, that area has a small park with a fountain and benches.

It also appears, based on the rendering, that the sidewalks could be widened in the central space and that some on-street parking spaces could be removed.

A spokesman for Regency Centers, the developer behind the Market Common revamp, said they want to create a “gathering space for the local community.”

“As it sits now, the space is really just an environment to walk or sit in,” said spokesman Eric Davidson. “We want to activate it and take advantage of its design.”

The site plan is still in the preliminary review stage with the county. Regency Center’s plan is to rezone and redevelop a group of buildings along the 2800 blocks of Clarendon and Wilson Blvds.

The renovation would add a fourth floor and approximately 26,784 square feet of additional space to the office building at 2801 Clarendon Blvd. The plan also calls for improvements to the open space at the corner of Clarendon Blvd and N. Edgewood Street, new private outdoor roof terraces and the installation of a “partial green roof.”

Community members have previously expressed concerns about an aspect of the redevelopment plan, which could spell the end of Clarendon’s IOTA Club and Cafe.

A campaign to save IOTA is underway, although Regency has said previously it has wants to keep the music venue in place.

Regency will host an open house on the future of Market Common on May 10 from 6-9 p.m. at 2801 Clarendon Blvd.

by Katie Pyzyk — April 18, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

(Updated at 10:45 a.m. on 4/19/17) CarPool only has been closed for two weeks, but we’re now getting a closer look at the building that will replace the long-time Ballston establishment.

Developer Jefferson Apartment Group has released new renderings and information about the structure that will occupy 4000 Fairfax Drive.

The 22-story luxury high rise will have up to 330 residential units and 264 underground parking spaces, along with a rooftop swimming pool and sundeck. The ground level will house 8,260 square feet of retail. Plans for the surrounding outdoor area include a landscaped plaza with seating.

Penzance originally had been the developer for this project when the County Board approved it in 2015, but it sold the site to Jefferson Apartment Group, who has partnered with Mitsui Fudosan America.

The property will be built and maintained to LEED Gold standards. The developers expect to break ground late this year.

by Chris Teale — April 18, 2017 at 11:15 am 0

(Updated 4:10 p.m.) A new McDonald’s in Rosslyn appears close to opening in the new Central Place building.

External signage is up for the fast food restaurant, and on Tuesday morning construction crews were installing signs inside the windows too. Preparations continue inside the ground-floor space, while the sidewalks around the property appear largely complete.

Rosslyn’s previous McDonald’s at 1823 N. Moore Street closed in 2014 to make way for the Central Place development. At that time, a sign in the McDonald’s window stated it would be closed “indefinitely,” which left open the possibility that the eatery would return to Rosslyn in the future.

A company spokeswoman said the eatery is set to open this spring, although an exact date is to be determined.

by Chris Teale — April 14, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Construction is almost complete at Marymount University’s “Newside” building, and it has landed its first retail tenant.

Permit applications filed with the county indicate that Starbucks will move into the property at 1000 N. Glebe Road in Ballston.

The coffee giant would be the first to commit to moving into the new building’s 5,000 square feet of retail space. The structure replaces the “Blue Goose” that was demolished in 2015.

Two buildings are under construction on the site: a nine-story office building and a 12-story, 267-unit residential building.

The former will be owned by Marymount University, with the university using six floors as office and educational space. The top three floors will be leased out as office space.

Between the two buildings, there will also be a 10,600-square-foot public plaza and pedestrian passageway.

Construction is expected to be completed this summer.

by Chris Teale — April 12, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Ground has been broken at the site of two new residential buildings and a rebuilt substance-abuse recovery facility in Courthouse.

Approved in 2015 by the County Board, Gables Pointe 14 at 1307 N. Rolfe Street by developer Gables Residential will have 370 apartments in two buildings, underground parking and an 8,000-square-foot shared park.

As of Tuesday, crews were in the early stages of clearing ground for the new development. A pick-up point for school buses is located close to the construction zone, which is fenced off to the public. Cars are still able to park on both sides of N. Rolfe Street, with dump trucks and other construction vehicles also using it as an access road.

The buildings will be six and 12 stories in height, respectively, and include studio as well as one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Thirty-nine of the units will be committed affordable housing and the developer also has the option to install a $75,000 work of public art on the site or donate to the county’s public art fund as a community benefit.

“The Rosslyn-Ballston corridor is a highly desirable area,” Gables Residential regional vice president Jorgen Punda said in a prepared statement distributed to multiple outlets. “Our site involved the assemblage of thirteen lots, owned by both private individuals and Arlington County. It was a successful collaboration and we believe it is a great opportunity to deliver a ‘best in class’ apartment home community, with unparalleled amenities within walking distance to the Courthouse and Rosslyn Metro stations and a variety of dining and entertainment options.”

Also on the 2.7-acre site will be a new building for Independence House, a transitional living facility for those recovering from substance abuse.

The Independence House would be rebuilt, but not expanded, because more residents might limit the program’s effectiveness. The new building will have 14 single-occupant units.

The project is set to be completed in winter 2020.

×

Subscribe to our mailing list