The Springs, a new affordable apartment complex in the Buckingham area, near Ballston, celebrated its “topping out” last week.
The five story, 104-unit apartment building, at the corner of Carlin Springs Road and N. Thomas Street, is being developed by the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing. The project was approved by the Arlington County Board in 2014.
A topping out ceremony was held last Wednesday, after the construction project reached its highest point. Construction is expected to wrap up later this year.
“APAH purchased this site in 1997,” APAH Board member Susan Bell said in a statement. “Nine of APAH’s 14 properties are in North Arlington. The redevelopment of The Springs expands APAH’s presence in this wonderful Ballston location, just 1/2 mile from Metro and close to so many jobs and services.”
As part of the ceremony, more than 40 attendees, including County Board members and local legislators, signed a “commemorative beam” that will be installed on the top floor of the building.
“Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing is one of our key community partners,” said County Board Chair Libby Garvey. “Today only 9,600 Arlington apartments are affordable to the 17,000 low income families looking for housing in our community. With the targets set in the County’s Master Plan, we are committed to keeping Arlington a place where people from across the socioeconomic spectrum can live and work comfortably.”
Pentagon City Apartment Complex Gets Financing — The Altaire, the high-end residential development at 400 Army Navy Drive, has obtained $100 million in financing from Wells Fargo and is expected to begin construction this month. The 20-story complex will have two towers with a total of 453 units. Construction is expected to be complete by the second quarter of 2018. [Washington Business Journal]
History of Hall’s Hill — This year is the 150th anniversary of the historically African-American neighborhood of Hall’s Hill, also known as High View Park. An event on the community’s history last week revealed the origin of its name. Hall’s Hill is named after Bazil Hall, a white slaveholder who sold plots of land to freed slaves after the Civil War to spite his white neighbors. [InsideNova]
Arlington Real Estate Agent Invited to SOTU — Naveed Shah, an Army veteran and a Rosslyn-based real estate agent, was invited to be a guest of the White House at tonight’s State of the Union Address. Despite the fact that Shah and his family moved to the U.S. when he was two, after living in Saudi Arabia, Shah grew up in Northern Virginia and describes himself as “as American as it gets.” [Military Times, NBC Washington]
Local Immigrants Worried About ICE Raids — There’s growing fear among undocumented immigrants in Northern Virginia of stepped-up U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids. Advocates are advising immigrant families “to have a plan for their kids in case they’re deported.” In other news, it’s said that ICE agents “are making their presence felt and regularly hang around the Taco Bell on Little River Turnpike” in Annandale. [Annandale VA]
Arlington Young Dems, GOPers Working Together — In a show of bipartisanship during the heat of a presidential election year, the chairs of the Arlington Young Democrats and the Arlington-Falls Church Young Republicans met over the weekend to plan joint community service events in 2016. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
It didn’t take long for the Exxon station at the corner of N. Glebe Road and Carlin Springs Road to close following the Arlington County Board’s approval of a new apartment development in October.
The station is now shuttered and surrounded by a fence, as is the adjacent Prestige Certified Motors dealership (which moved to 7700 Lee Highway in Falls Church) and a surface parking lot once used by Macy’s. The block-long parcel of land is located across from Ballston Common Mall.
To be built on the parcel: a six-story, 173-unit apartment building dubbed 672 Flats. The building will include two ground floor retail spaces, an underground parking garage with 177 spaces and 70 bicycle parking spots.
No word yet on a construction timeline. Developer Penrose Group has completed a number of other projects around Arlington, including Pike 3400 on Columbia Pike, the Latitude Apartments in Virginia Square and the Residence Inn in Courthouse.
Arlington County has pledged to start an extensive community planning effort in 2016 for the area known as Shirlington Crescent, a process with the goal of bringing major economic, environmental and cultural changes to the area.
Plans for revitalizing and possibly redeveloping parts of Nauck and the Four Mile Run corridor began with a study conducted in 2014. This study outlined approximately 95 acres along Four Mile Run Drive and Shirlington Road for the community planning process to focus on.
The goal for this planning effort is to “develop a vision and area plan which could re-evaluate land use goals and objectives.” To do this, the County will consider various aspects of the existing Crescent and how to improve or change them, including:
- economic development
- environmental sustainability
- relationships to neighboring areas
- open space
- affordable housing
- urban design
- previous planning work
- cultural resources
- historic preservation
In a letter sent to ARLnow over the summer — which also appeared on InsideNoVa — Nauck resident Robin Stombler shared her thoughts on the need for change.
“A swath of South Four Mile Run and Shirlington Road has been neglected for too long,” she wrote. “Our Nauck neighborhood is often the location for industrial activities and unused vehicle storage. While much of the industry is welcomed, the Shirlington Crescent could be so much more.”
Stombler and her fellow Crescent residents will be a part of the planning process this year, starting with a gathering on the subject this weekend.
This neighborhood revitalization meeting starts this Sunday, Jan. 10 at 1 p.m. According to a public notice, members of the Arlington County Board will also be in attendance.
During the meeting, small groups will depart from the children’s playground at Jennie Dean Park at 3630 27th Street S. for a walking tour of the Crescent, lead by neighborhood guides.
Tours will end at the Arlington Food Assistance Center at 2708 S. Nelson Street around 1:45 p.m. Hot chocolate will be served as some residents and community members — and possibly County Board members, who will be attending the meeting — will give remarks about the neighborhood and their thoughts on which issues should be a priority.
Stombler is also responsible for organizing the walking meeting. In her letter, she expressed her neighborhood’s excitement and dedication to the start of the planning process.
“Shirlington Crescent is uniquely positioned to become an industry and arts cluster for Arlington,” she said. “[My neighbors and I] recognize that there is a long process of deliberation ahead, but we want to jumpstart the conversation. Input to our plan from the public is welcomed and encouraged.”
ARLnow Suffers Server Issue — ARLnow.com’s web server was down this morning due to a technical problem. It came back up at almost exactly noon. We apologize for any inconvenience. For those seeking an explanation of what went wrong, we’ve compiled some of our tweets from this morning. [Storify]
Big Apartment Development Proposed in Pentagon City — Vornado, which recently put several planned projects in Crystal City on hold, has filed a preliminary site plan application for a huge new apartment tower in Pentagon City. The 22-story, 558-unit residential building would be part of the Metropolitan Park development, next to a currently under-construction, Whole Foods-anchored apartment building, also owned by Vornado. Expect objections from some residents in nearby single-family home neighborhoods, who are already fretting about Vornado’s proposed addition of 1,100 apartments at the RiverHouse complex. [Washington Business Journal]
Lane of Memorial Bridge Reopens, For Now — The eastbound curb lane of the Memorial Bridge has temporarily reopened. It will close again early next year for additional repairs to the aging bridge, a National Park Service spokeswoman said. [Twitter]
DEA Seeking New Headquarters — The Drug Enforcement Administration may be looking to move from its Pentagon City headquarters. The GSA is seeking a new lease for the DEA, which employs some 2,500 people in Pentagon City. Competition among building owners is expected to be fierce. [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington Affordable for Millennials? — Despite high rents, the website RealtyTrac has ranked Arlington among what it says are the more affordable locales for young adults. Among places that are considered millennial magnets, Arlington has one of the more affordable ratios of average millennial income to average apartment rent. [RealtyTrac]
Positive Review for West Side Story at Signature — Signature Theatre’s production of West Side Story has choreography that’s “near-perfection,” at least according to a review in the University of Maryland Diamondback student newspaper. The production at the acclaimed Shirlington theater has been extended through Jan. 31. [Diamondback Online]
Shortest Day of the Year — Today is the shortest day of the year. The sun will be up just 9 hours and 26 minutes today, so enjoy the daylight while it lasts. Tonight is the winter solstice. [Capital Weather Gang]
Two Big Crystal City Projects on Hold — Two projects to replace aging office buildings in Crystal City are on hold due to high office vacancy in the region. Vornado was planning to replace 1851 S. Bell Street with what would have been the tallest building in Crystal City and the largest private office building in Arlington. The company was also planning to replace 223 23rd Street S. with an office and a residential tower. Those have both reportedly been shelved due to market conditions. [Washington Business Journal]
Police Play Cornhole With Bar Crawlers — Nearly 2,000 people flocked to Clarendon on Saturday for the inaugural Candy Cane Crawl, a holiday-themed bar crawl. Arlington County Police used the occasion to educate bar-goers about the dangers of drunk driving, by having people try to play cornhole while wearing “drunk goggles.” [WUSA 9]
Mary Slye Obituary — Mary Patricia Slye, who managed Robert Slye Electronics on Washington Blvd in Virginia Square, died last month of a heart attack at the age of 65. Slye was an Arlington resident and began working at the audio visual installation business in the mid-1980s. [Washington Post]
Vehicle Topples Light Pole on Washington Blvd — A vehicle struck a light pole near the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. Pershing Drive on Saturday, sending it toppling across the street. Luckily, no one was hurt. Eastbound traffic on Washington Blvd was blocked for about 15 minutes. [Twitter]
GMU Grad Hopes to Run for Arlington School Board — A newly-minted George Mason University grad has a specific and somewhat uncommon career goal for someone her age: Marlayna Bush says she wants to run for the Arlington School Board in 2018. She just received her BA in conflict analysis and resolution. [George Mason University]
The Arlington County Board unanimously voted to approve plans for the modernization of the Crystal Square 3 office building in Crystal City at its meeting last night.
The nearly 250,000 square foot space sits on top of the Crystal City Shops. After the redevelopment, the building will be reclassified as “Class A” office space and rebranded as 1770 Crystal Drive.
“This redevelopment is part of the ongoing public and private investments in Crystal City that will help ensure it remains one of the region’s premier urban villages,” County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement.
The property’s developer, Vornado, took the opportunity to plan the upgrade after its primary tenant, the U.S. Marshals Service, announced it will be moving its 1,600 employees to another Vornado property on S. Clark Street next year.
Plans to modernize the building include reshaping it to add approximately 10,000 square feet of office and retail space and replacing its facade.
The retail space on the first floor will be reconfigured and the second floor plaza will be turned into additional office space, which could be converted to more retail space in the future. The existing concrete facade will be replaced with glass and metal panels.
The top floors will also be repurposed to create open terrace areas. On the ground level, the facade will be pushed back seven feet to create a wider sidewalk along Crystal Drive.
Finally, a new entrance to the Crystal City Shops will be moved to the north side of the building.
The Arlington County Board unanimously approved the redevelopment of Arlington Presbyterian Church into an apartment complex with 173 affordable housing units at its meeting on Saturday.
“For over 100 years, Arlington Presbyterian Church has been a place where people of vision, connected with the community, have heard and responded to the needs of our neighbors,” the church said in a release. “As a faith community, APC is committed to creating and nurturing a community of disciples, being a people and place of crossroads for the Columbia Pike neighborhood, and redeveloping their property to provide affordable housing for those in their community.”
The project is a partnership between the church congregation and the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing, the organization overseeing the sale of the property at 3507 Columbia Pike, demolition of the church and construction of the apartment building.
“One of the key benefits of stable, affordable housing is the stable households it creates,” said John Milliken, vice chairman of the APAH Board of Directors at Saturday’s meeting. “It’s a unique and special opportunity to partner with APC… in carrying out what it has determined as its spiritual mission.”
As part of the vote, Board members also approved approximately $18 million in loans to help APAH fund the project.
The new building will also include a three-floor parking garage and ground floor retail space.
“This is another case where our development tools, coupled with major transportation investments, are helping us transform the Pike into the ‘main street’ that the community has long envisioned, while preserving the rich resident diversity that makes this part of Arlington so special,” County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement.
The church first approved the redevelopment plan in November 2013, but the sale of the church to APAH wasn’t until this February. Now that the loan from the County has been approved as well, the project is expected to move forward as planned.
At the meeting, community members spoke in support of the project’s final approval.
“[My wife and I] really love our neighborhood, its diversity, its walkability, the history, and the people,” Columbia Pike and Arlington Presbyterian Church member Miles Townes said. “We’re concerned some of our neighbors are not able to live in our neighborhood anymore, and we plainly see that the need for affordable housing is growing on the Pike.”
The project also has the support of other area faith communities.
“This project is a perfect example of doing something now for generations yet unborn that will look back and say ‘thank you,'” said the Rev. Andrew Merrow of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.
The Arlington County Board on Saturday unanimously approved a site plan amendment for a distinctive new glass-and-metal residential tower, with 330 apartment units, at 4000 Fairfax Drive. It will replace Carpool and its low-rise, 1960s era building.
“Ballston is in the midst of an important transformation that is bringing more housing and retail to the neighborhood along with new public gathering spaces,” County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement. “This redevelopment will add housing within walking distance of two Metro stations, provide important community benefits and help reinvigorate the neighborhood.”
The new building will include a publicly accessible courtyard with a water feature, 8,000 square feet of ground floor retail space, a rooftop deck and pool, and 264 underground parking space.
Community benefits secured by the county include $2.2 million for the Arlington’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund, $75,000 for public art, $32,100 for utility undergrounding, sidewalk and streetscape improvements, $350,000 for traffic signal improvements on Fairfax Drive and LEED Gold sustainability certification.
The recently-renovated Webb Building, a 10-story office building next to the new apartment tower, will remain, for now. It is slated to be redeveloped into more apartments as part of a second phase of the project in about 10 years.
The next step in the project is for the developers to exercise their contractual option to purchase the Carpool site. No word yet on when Carpool might serve its last beers.
The Arlington County Board is scheduled to consider a project that would tear down Arlington Presbyterian Church along Columbia Pike and replace it with an affordable housing apartment building.
County staff is recommending approval of the project, which was approved by the church’s congregation in 2013. The church’s regional governing body gave the green light for its sale to the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing earlier this year.
APAH is proposing to tear down the church, which was built in 1931, and construct a six-story apartment building with 173 units, all of which will be committed affordable housing. The building would include a three-level parking garage and 8,900 square feet of retail or civic use space.
The church has proposed leasing much of the retail area for a non-traditional worship space. A coffee shop was also suggested as a possible retail use, in addition to the church.
The apartment building would also replace the church’s surface parking lot and its tot lots, which are currently used by daycare provider Funshine Preschool. The preschool is being relocated to 3412 22nd Street S. and the tot lots are expected to be sold to a single family home developer in order to help fund the apartment building’s construction.
The County Board is expected to follow staff’s recommendations and approve a rezoning, use permit and $8.6 million loan from its Affordable Housing Investment Fund for the project.
The church is located at 3507 Columbia Pike.
The following letter to the editor was submitted by Bob Meyerson, a former Arlington resident, regarding development in the county and government spending.
I am almost 70 years old. I grew up in Arlington. I was last in Arlington in October for a reunion of (if you can believe it) the Woodlawn Elementary School Class of 1958, and recently before that I attended the W-L class of 1964 50 year reunion.
My purpose in writing is to express my utter shock and dismay at how Arlington has been destroyed, and for no good reason that I can discern, except for greed. There is no reason that so many people and hi-rise buildings should have been jammed into, as your publication proclaims, the smallest self governing county in the country. Why couldn’t the county have been left as it was in the “old days,” i.e., with predominantly single family home neighborhoods, albeit perhaps upgraded, renovated or replaced with more modern structures?
And commercial areas, i.e., Ballston, Clarendon, etc., rejuvenated without creating these New York City type ant hill like colonies with people jammed together? Why, I can’t even find my way around most of the county any more!
When I was in the first grade at John Marshall Elementary, I remember riding the school bus by an old house on Military Road with a milk cow in the front yard! And, when I was older, I remember a newspaper story of an old woman who lived on a small farm just off Glebe Road near Chain Bridge, who was evicted from her property for her inability to pay inflated taxes on a property she had lived on for most of her adult life…just so developers could build a bunch of (even for those days) McMansions. Also, I’d be really interested to know how much money the county and its residents have had to expend over the years on larger government, larger numbers of county personnel, greater numbers of emergency vehicles, larger structures to house county government and other inflated county expenditures. In Tuesday’s issue of your publication, there are stories about Arlington spending $637,500 here, and a million dollars there, like it was chump change!
I am not saying Arlington should have remained in the 1950s and 1960s (although I do miss that time period there). I am saying Arlington could have remained a successful, serene “bedroom” community adjacent to Washington, D.C. Instead, it is a place I can’t even recognize or claim as my home town anymore. Sadly, I would no more move back there (even if I could afford to) than I would move to Manhattan, New York City.
Formerly of N. Woodstock Street and N. Quebec Street
ARLnow.com occasionally publishes thoughtful letters to the editor about issues of local interest. To submit a letter to the editor, please email it to [email protected] Letters may be edited for content and brevity.
Photo by USDA via Wikipedia
County Apologizes for Political Facebook Post — Arlington County has taken down and apologized for a Facebook post that some called inappropriate. “No support or endorsement was intended” the county said of the post, which linked to an article about an Arlington County Democratic Committee resolution calling for a change to the Washington Redskins team name. [Facebook]
Arlington to Partner with Nextdoor — The Arlington County Police Department will be holding a press conference Wednesday afternoon to announce a partnership with Nextdoor, a private social network for neighborhoods. The partnership will help “build stronger, safer communities with the help of Arlington residents.” Nextdoor has been criticized recently for becoming “a bastion of racial profiling.”
Bluemont Residents Concerned About Big Ballston Development — The Bluemont Civic Association is expressing concern over a massive proposed development on the western side of the intersection of N. Glebe Road and Wilson Blvd. The development proposal calls for 483 apartments in a building with a grocery store and other ground floor retail. [Curbed]
Arlington-Built Satellite Blasts Off to Space Station — A tiny satellite built by elementary students at St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington is part of the cargo of a rocket that launched into orbit Sunday, bound for the International Space Station. [CBS News, Space.com]
‘Arlington Tech’ School Proposal — The Arlington School Board has signaled that it’s ready to move forward with the establishment of “Arlington Tech,” a high-technology coursework initiative to be located at the Arlington Career Center. [InsideNova]
Anti-Hunger Effort Draws Big Crowd — More than 1,000 people gathered at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center gym over the weekend to put together 100,000 meals for starving children around the world. [NBC Washington]
Arlington’s Official Song Turns 45 — “Arlington,” the official song of Arlington County, recently turned 45 years old. The song was written by a local clergyman and adopted as the county’s official song in 1970 with the encouragement of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Passenger Thrown from Minivan in Crash — Three people were hurt in an early morning crash on S. Arlington Ridge Road today. Police say a car traveling at 55 mph on the residential street slammed into the back of a minivan near 23rd Street S., causing one passenger in the van to be ejected from the vehicle. [WJLA, NBC Washington]
School Board Approves $100 Million H-B Design — The Arlington School Board has approved a concept design for the Wilson School in Rosslyn, future home of the H-B Woodlawn secondary program. With a 92-space parking garage factored in, the construction cost of the school may exceed $100 million. Also last week, the School Board confirmed that it will again ask the County Board for permission to build a new elementary school on the Thomas Jefferson Middle School campus. [InsideNova, InsideNova]
County Facebook Post Raises Eyebrows — Democratic political operative Ben Tribbett, among others, is calling an Arlington County Facebook post about a local Democratic resolution on the Redskins team name an “inappropriate use of a government Facebook account.” Tribbett was previously hired by the team to defend its name. [Facebook, Blue Virginia]
Nine Arlington Restaurants Make Top 50 List — Nine Arlington establishments have made Northern Virginia Magazine’s Top 50 Restaurants list. The highest on the list is new-this-year Kapnos Taverna in Ballston. [Patch]
Fisette on County’s Support for I-66 Plan — Arlington County Board member Jay Fisette says the county supports a plan for tolling I-66 because it is a regional compromise that’s cost effective, multimodal and not “the typical knee-jerk reaction [of] just widening roads.” Fisette notes that Arlington “was traumatized by the building of I-66 right through some of our neighborhoods” in the 1970s and 80s. [Washington Post]
Four Mile DMV Moving After Losing Lease — Dozens of angry Fairfax County residents came out to a meeting Thursday night to express opposition to a new DMV office in the Barcroft Plaza shopping center. The meeting also revealed more information on why the DMV is moving from its current location on S. Four Mile Run Drive. The DMV reportedly lost its lease due to a planned redevelopment, which has since fallen through. [Annandale VA]
More Info on Courthouse Redevelopment — We now know a bit more about the planned redevelopment of a low-rise office building in Courthouse. A 15-story, 91-unit condo building with 2,000 square feet of ground floor retail space is planned to replace the office building at 2000 Clarendon Blvd. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Eric
The Arlington County Board unanimously approved the redevelopment of Ballston Common Mall at its meeting last night.
In its approval of the project — which is now referred to as Ballston Quarter — the Board also entered a Letter of Intent to pursue a public-private partnership with Forest City Enterprises, the company that currently owns and operates the mall and is spearheading the redevelopment effort.
“This is an important, exciting redevelopment in the heart of Ballston,” Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement. “The long-term benefits of a revitalized Ballston Quarter warrant a public-private partnership — a wise strategic investment for the public good.”
The partnership is primarily financial at this stage of the project. According to a press release, the county plans to contribute $10 million to the project, including parking and transportation improvements around the mall, and would issue a $45.4 million Community Development Authority bond to further finance the redevelopment.
At the meeting, Hynes said other details of the agreement are “not fully fleshed out.”
The entire project is expected to cost $317 million for interior, facade streetscape improvements to existing buildings at the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Glebe Road. It also includes new development, like a 22-story, 406-unit apartment building where the Macy’s Furniture Store currently is.
The redevelopment of the mall itself involves more than 323,000 square feet of retail space, an open-air plaza with vendor stalls, improvements to the parking garage and a new pedestrian bridge over Wilson Blvd.
Public testimony given at the meeting by Ballston residents, business owners and stakeholders was overwhelmingly positive, thanking the Board for their work and expressing support for the project moving forward.
“Ballston has continued to evolve and transform over the years,” Ballston BID CEO Tina Leone said. “This property has served as a huge economic generator in the past, and it is vital to Ballston’s sustainability and long-term competitiveness.”
Resident and small business owner Jennifer Galloway echoed the need to rethink the mall.
“There’s currently a void in Ballston for most of our daily needs,” she said. “The redevelopment of the mall helps to fill that void and truly bring a town center feel to the heart of the area.”
Some residents did raise concerns and asked the Board to reconsider a proposal to remove the median strip on Wilson Blvd and to maximize the amount of space made available to the public on the property.
Board members addressed those concerns and took note to consider them moving forward. Still, members had positive views of the future of the project and of Ballston.
“This is a unique experience for us, stepping up like this to partner in the way we’re proposing to do it,” Board member Jay Fisette said. “It’s a smart, strategic investment all the way around, both public and private. We’re doing it with a reliable, experienced partner. That’s no small part in this.”
Board member J. Walter Tejada also shared his excitement.
“Ballston has the dynamic where you have to like urban living because it almost has the pulse of a city,” he said. “You can almost feel it, and [the project] has so much potential to make it even greater.”
Owner of Clarendon Restaurant on ‘Real Housewives’ — Ashley Darby, who co-owns the new Oz restaurant in Clarendon with her husband, will be a cast member on the upcoming “Real Housewives of Potomac.” The series will premiere on Bravo on Jan. 17. [Eater]
Arlington ZIP Code Makes ‘Most Expensive’ List — The 22207 ZIP code, which includes the northernmost neighborhoods of Arlington, has made the Forbes list of “Most Expensive ZIP Codes” in the U.S. The ZIP code ranked No. 339 on the list, with a median home price of $1,212,952. [Patch]
Biggest Developments Along Orange Line Corridor — Former ARLnow.com reporter Ethan Rothstein has compiled a list of “the 10 biggest developments in the R-B corridor pipeline.” The developments will be discussed at a Bisnow event on Nov. 18 in Ballston. [Bisnow]
Breezy Conditions Today — Expect a breezy day in the D.C. area today, with wind gusts up to 35-40 miles per hour. [Twitter]