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by Heather Mongilio — October 1, 2015 at 3:35 pm 1,364 0

S. Walter Reed Drive is now home to 14 condominiums and eight townhouses.

Construction has finished on  a five-story building at the corner of S. Walter Reed Drive and 11th Street S. The new development, Columbia Place, has 14 two-bed, two-bathroom condominiums and eight townhouses.

“Just a few miles to D.C. and just steps from fabulous dining and shopping locations, Columbia Place offers everything a downtown buyer wants without the downtown pricing. With condos starting in the $500s, Columbia is well-suited for a variety of lifestyles,” developer Evergreene Homes said in a press release.

The 14 condos sit on 3,000 square feet of retail space, which will house two “shopping opportunities,” Evergreene said on its website.

The developer will hold an open house this weekend from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, which will include a guided walkthrough of the new building. Refreshments will be provided.

“When you live at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed [Drive], you live in the center of Arlington. And that means saying goodbye to long commutes and embracing a life where work, shopping, dining and entertainment are all just moments away,” Evergreene said. “For those looking to own in Arlington there is no better-located community than Columbia Place.”

Disclosure: Evergreene Homes is an ARLnow.com advertiser.

by ARLnow.com — September 29, 2015 at 4:45 pm 0

Update at 5:20 p.m. — This article has been updated to reflect a CEB spokeswoman’s request that we no longer refer to the company as “Corporate Executive Board.”

A ten-foot-tall, 1,300 pound “moon” has been gracing the Rosslyn skyline for the past two weeks.

The moon, which is illuminated with 936 LED lights, can be seen hanging from a crane that’s part of the Central Place construction project on N. Lynn Street. It was first lit up on Sunday, Sept. 13.

The temporary public art project is the brainchild of Brian Coulter, Managing Partner of Central Place developer JBG.

“[Coulter] and JBG team members worked with Los Angeles-based Custom Prop Shop, which created the prototype design and fabricated it from steel and a fibrous resin in a nearly year-long process from idea to installation,” according to a press release. “The moon will be suspended from the rear span of a Miller and Long Co. crane during construction, for about a year.”

Construction on the Central Place project is continuing at a steady clip. The development consists of CEB Tower, a 350,000 square foot office tower at the corner of Lynn Street and Wilson Blvd; a public observation deck; a 17,000 square foot public plaza; 45,000 square feet of street-level retail space; and Central Place Residences, a 377-unit residential tower.

So far, the office tower — the future global headquarters of CEB, formerly known as Corporate Executive Board, a publicly-traded company that’s currently based down the street in Rosslyn — is still just a big hole in the ground. The steel-and-concrete frame of the residential tower, however, is now several stories high and seemingly getting taller by the week.

A spokeswoman for JBG said construction crews are currently pouring concrete on the 8th floor of the residential building and expect the “topping out” to take place by the second quarter of 2016. Completion of the building is scheduled for early 2017.

Crews are currently working on the garage levels of the office tower, the spokeswoman said. A topping out for the office tower — the point at which the top floor of the unfinished building is in place — is expected by the end of 2016. CEB is expected to move in at the beginning of 2018. The observation deck is also slated to open in early 2018.

by ARLnow.com — September 22, 2015 at 10:10 pm 1,277 0

The Arlington County Board on Monday unanimously approved a redevelopment plan for the Pentagon Centre shopping center in Pentagon City.

Developer Kimco’s initial plans for the 17-acre site that includes the Costco, Best Buy and Nordstrom Rack in Pentagon City were approved in 2008, but those called for constructing the six-structure complex’s office buildings first. As approved, the amended plan will result in the construction of 693 residential units in two buildings during the project’s first phase.

Phases II and III of the redevelopment — which are 20-35 years away — will see the demolition of the main mall building and the Costco, replacing it with three office buildings, a hotel and a three-acre park.

A 9,000 square foot open space will be built in Phase I. Kimco also agreed to provide space for a transit commuter store, to place solar panels on the roof of a planned parking garage and to provide at least 11 units of on-site affordable housing.

In all, the project includes 1.9 million square feet of mixed-use development, including 200 hotel rooms, 705,700 square feet of office space and 346,000 square feet of retail space.

Note: Images above are preliminary renderings and might not reflect the final project as approved.

by ARLnow.com — September 11, 2015 at 9:30 am 1,627 0

9/11 flag in Arlington (Flickr pool photo by Kevin White)

Arlington Remembers 9/11 — Arlington County is marking the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks with a solemn ceremony in Courthouse. A moment of silence will be held at 9:37 a.m. [Arlington County, Twitter]

Sidewalks on the Pike Still Need Work — The new Freedman’s Village Bridge over Columbia Pike includes new, wider sidewalks along the Pike, but there are problems. Just up from the new sidewalks, narrow old sidewalks have telephone poles in the middle of them, obstructing pedestrians and bicyclists. And there are multiple crossings among the new sidewalks that make the going slow. [Greater Greater Washington]

Letter Writer: Everything Is Awful — Most people probably find Arlington a pleasant place to live. But a resident who wrote a guest commentary about Arlington for a Falls Church newspaper finds a lot to dislike, warning Falls Church residents of Arlington as a “cautionary tale” of development gone wrong. The letter blasts Arlington’s overcrowded schools, “scorched-earth development practices,” “critical shortage of parkland and green space,” “failed policies and inadequate planning,” “poor local air quality,” lack of mature tree canopy and “urban heat island effect.” [Falls Church News-Press]

AHC Repays Loan — Nonprofit affordable housing developer AHC Inc. has made a $2.5 million loan repayment to Arlington County, one of the organization’s largest lump sum repayments. AHC presented retiring County Board members Mary Hynes and Walter Tejada, along with other county officials, a giant check to mark the occasion.

Janet Howell Announces Breast Cancer Diagnosis — State Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd), who represents part of Arlington, announced yesterday that she was diagnosed with breast cancer this summer. She has undergone treatment and says her prognosis is “excellent.” [Reston Now]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by ARLnow.com — August 13, 2015 at 9:30 am 2,554 0

Backyard deer near Stroman's Branch (Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok)

Impede Apartments, Get a Self Storage Place — In an editorial, Falls Church’s newspaper of record is warning of “The Lesson of Cube Smart.” The lesson: when Arlington County put up roadblocks to the development of the proposed Shreve Apartments in East Falls Church, developer Mark Silverwood eventually lost patience and figured out that building a “by right” self-storage place would be easier and more lucrative. Separately, Silverwood also proposed an apartment building in Bluemont that was rejected by the community, canceling a proposed revamp of the neighborhood’s Safeway supermarket. [Falls Church News-Press]

More Orange Line Delays — There were morning rush hour delays once again on Metro’s Orange and Silver lines today. A train malfunction at the Virginia Square station prompted single tracking past the station and, once that was cleared, residual delays. [Twitter]

Arlington Man Wins $100,000 — Arlington resident Robert Thomas won $100,000 in a Virginia Lottery Cash 5 drawing last week. Thomas purchased the winning ticket at the Chanda Market at 5550 Columbia Pike. [WJLA]

APS SOL Score Rise — Arlington Public Schools is touting “impressive results” on its students’ 2015 Virginia Standards of Learning tests. Among those achieving significant test score gains were Limited English Proficient and minority students. [Arlington Public Schools]

Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok

by ARLnow.com — July 30, 2015 at 9:30 am 2,197 0

Line at Pedro and Vinny's on Columbia Pike

ITT Tech Protest Only Included One Student — A protest outside ITT Tech’s shareholder meeting in Rosslyn earlier this week reportedly included only one person who had actually been a student at the for-profit school. The rest were from advocacy groups and a labor union. [Inside Higher Ed]

New Food Delivery Service Comes to ArlingtonDoorDash, an online food delivery business that promises to get food to your door in 45 minutes or less, has launched in Arlington. DoorDash joins similar food delivery services like Seamless and Eat24 in entering the Arlington market. [WUSA 9]

Arlington Teacher Recognized at the White House — Arlington Career Center teacher Thomas O’Day was one of 10 educators nationwide to be honored as a 2015 Career and Technical Education Innovator. O’Day, who has been teaching television production at the career center for 27 years, received his recognition at an event hosted by the White House. [Arlington Public Schools]

New Affordable Housing Video — The group Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE) is producing a series of videos in support of affordable housing efforts in Arlington. The first video profiles Marcos Rubio, a janitor at H-B Woodlawn who currently commutes from the Springfield area. [Vimeo]

House Fire in Alcova Heights — A small house fire broke out on the 3800 block of 6th Street S. in the Alcova Heights neighborhood around 7:00 this morning. The fire was extinguished and no one was hurt. [Twitter]

Fairfax County Approves Seven Corners Plan — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors this week approved a sweeping redevelopment plan for the Seven Corners area, near Arlington. The plan, which was fought by residents in nearby single family home neighborhoods, calls for several thousand new homes, a revamped street grid and new shops and restaurants. [Washington Post]

by Heather Mongilio — July 22, 2015 at 4:20 pm 3,095 0

The Food Star at Columbia Pike and S. George Mason Drive (photo via Google Maps)

(Updated at 5 p.m.) Columbia Pike residents are getting a first look at the development that’s proposed to replace the Food Star grocery store at the the intersection of S. George Mason Drive and Columbia Pike.

Officials will hold an open house to discuss the proposal for a public square that will go next to the planned six-story multi-use building from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 30, at the county’s Parks and Natural Resources Operations Building (2700 S. Taylor Street).

Under the form based code proposal, submitted by Orr Partners, the new building will have five stories of market-rate apartments, and the first floor will have retail and a grocery store. The “major grocer” filling the space has not been finalized. There will also be a public square at the intersection of S. George Mason and Columbia Pike, but the idea is still in a preliminary planning stage.

Preliminary sketches for the project, dubbed “Columbia Pike Village Center,” show retail on the plaza level and the first level with the grocery store on the plaza level. The apartment complex would have an entrance on the plaza level by the public square and an entrance on the first floor.

The massing of the planned redevelopment of the Food Star grocery store on Columbia Pike (image via CPHD)

The building is planned to have about 250 new market-rate apartments and 607 parking spaces in a three-level below-ground garage, in addition to the more than 80,000 square feet of retail.

Of the 607 parking spots, 366 will be for tenants while 245 will be for customers and visitors. There will also be 28 public parking spots on the streets and 126 bicycle rack spots.

The building plans also call for three residential courtyards, one on the first floor, an open one on the second floor and one that is open from the second floor and up. According to preliminary landscape sketches, the courtyard on the second floor could have a pool.

by ARLnow.com — July 16, 2015 at 9:20 am 1,428 0

Butterfly at Long Branch Nature Center (Flickr pool photo by Airamangel)

Bailey’s Crossroads Project Canceled — A project that would have redeveloped a vacant office building into an apartment building in Bailey’s Crossroads has been canceled. The project was to take place just over the Arlington County line, on the Fairfax County side of the intersection of Columbia Pike and Carlin Springs Road. [Washington Business Journal]

W-L Turf Project On Track — A joint Arlington County-Arlington Public Schools project to replace the artificial turf at Washington-Lee High School’s stadium remains on track to wrap up early next month, despite the rainy weather that the area has been experiencing. [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by Airamangel

by ARLnow.com — June 25, 2015 at 9:30 am 4,869 0

Nearly 1,100 new apartment units could be coming to Pentagon City as part of a major planned development of the 37-acre RiverHouse apartment complex.

RiverHouse owner Vornado presented the initial development plans to largely skeptical members of the Arlington Ridge Civic Association last night.

The plans call for 934 new market rate apartment units, to be added to the existing 1,670 units on the site across three buildings, which date back to the 1950s and 60s. Vornado is also proposing a 150 unit, stand-alone affordable apartment building, to be developed with a nonprofit affordable housing partner.

The new market rate units will be built across three buildings, each about seven stories tall — half the height of the existing buildings — to preserve the views of condominium residents on Arlington Ridge.

The first two buildings are to be built on what is currently a surface parking lot across from the Pentagon Row courtyard. Between the buildings will run a pedestrian corridor that leads up to the ridge, with 30,000 square feet of ground floor retail space.

The surface parking will be replaced with a large underground garage. RiverHouse aims to reduce its overall parking ratio from just over one spot per unit to 0.85 spots per unit, as currently only about 70 percent of its parking spots are filled at night. With a total of 2,754 units, RiverHouse would have 2,340 parking space.

The third building will be built on what is now a pool and detached fitness center behind two of the buildings. In place of the current amenities, the new building would have a larger, improved fitness center plus a large, new outdoor pool, for use by residents of all three buildings.

Grace Hopper Park, located on the RiverHouse grounds, would remain untouched. Beside it, in front of the southernmost RiverHouse building on S. Joyce Street and across from county softball fields, Vornado is proposing the 150-unit building, affordable for those making up to 60 percent of area median income.


by ARLnow.com — June 22, 2015 at 1:45 pm 2,773 0

A new residential tower is planned for the current site of a low-rise office building in Courthouse.

The Bush Construction building at 2000 Clarendon Blvd is slated to be redeveloped as a residential tower, with 14 floors of apartments or condos, a rooftop terrace, ground floor retail and five levels of underground parking and storage.

The developer is scheduled to present its plan to residents of the next-door Odyssey condominium building tonight at 7:30 p.m. So far no formal plans have been filed with Arlington County, according to a Dept. of Community Planning, Housing and Development spokeswoman. There’s also no word yet on when the project is expected to start.

A presentation emailed to Odyssey residents shows a tan-colored tower with outdoor patios for certain units, a rooftop terrace with an indoor lounge, and a second-floor outdoor pool and patio area.

by ARLnow.com — June 17, 2015 at 9:15 am 2,392 0

Goldfinch in stream near Long Branch Nature Center (Flickr pool photo by airamangel)

County to Seek Ballston Mall Partnership — Arlington County is moving quickly to try to come up with a public-private partnership for the redevelopment of Ballston Common Mall. County Board members said Tuesday that they believe the redevelopment will bring important economic benefits. “To not reinvest is to watch the death, I think, of Ballston,” said County Board Chair Mary Hynes. [InsideNova, Arlington County]

Crash Near Kenmore Middle School — A five-vehicle crash occurred around 5:30 yesterday evening on S. Carlin Springs Road, just south of Kenmore Middle School. Scanner reports suggest a driver mistook the gas pedal for the brake at an intersection, leading to the multi-vehicle wreck. [Twitter]

Playground Contracts Awarded — The Arlington County Board has voted unanimously to award two contracts, together worth about $2 million, for new playgrounds at Long Bridge Park and Tyrol Hills Park. Construction on both is expected to begin later this summer and will take about four months. [Arlington County]

Panhandlers Stake Out Turf in Arlington — There’s “an ongoing turf war” among panhandlers in Arlington County, who seek to hold certain lucrative, traffic-laden roadsides and medians. The “war” has resulted in the occasional fist fight and accusations that rival panhandlers are making up their sob stories, which often revolve around being a veteran or losing a home. [Falls Church News-Press]

Free Chips and Guac at Cal Tor Today — California Tortilla locations, including the eatery in Courthouse, are offering free chips and guacamole to customers today. A purchase is required. [California Tortilla]

Flickr pool photo by airamangel

by Tim Regan — May 20, 2015 at 1:00 pm 3,879 0

A crowd of locals swapped memories, shared beers and even fought back some tears while saying goodbye to longtime neighborhood hangout Jay’s Saloon on Monday.

Jay’s Saloon first opened its doors in the fall of 1993, and became famous throughout Clarendon for $8 pitchers of beer during happy hour, cheap eats and a no-frills dive bar aesthetic.

In 2011, the bar received news that the building that houses it could be demolished and replaced with a mixed-use development. Last summer, that news became reality. The new development, called 10th Street Flats and located at 3132 10th Street N., is planned to have 135 residential units, 3,660 square feet of retail, almost 5,000 square feet of office space and nine live/work units.

Kathi Moore, who co-owned Jay’s with her ex-husband, spent the night slinging beers and hugging old friends.

“This is my life,” said Moore. “I spent half my working life here.”

For Moore, the closure of Jay’s represents an end, but also a new beginning. “[It’s] another phase of my life,” she said. “I’ll get another job.”

Moore’s patrons spent the night toasting the bar’s iconic status as the last dive bar in Clarendon.

Charlie Heitman, who manages the condo across the street from Jay’s, ate lunch there three or four days a week for more than a decade. To Heitman, the bar’s closing means one less place for locals to feel at home.

“It’s not a corporate bar, where everything is pre-programmed,” Heitman said. “I’m more sad about this than my last divorce.”

Last Saturday, Heitman served as auctioneer as bar sold off memorabilia and keepsakes.

“We sold almost everything off the wall. It was a frenzy,” said Heitman. “People [wanted] just a little piece of Jay’s to take home with them.”

“We know all the waitresses, we know all the bartenders,” said longtime regular Elaine Ethier. There’s no other place in Arlington like this.”

Jacki Barnett, who was a bar regular since 2007, spent the night savoring the minutes before last call. Even though she knew the doors would close for good, Barnett said she will always keep in touch with the people she met over the years.

“I’m going to take a big deep breath, I’m going to shed a tear, realize that all these people are still my friends,” Barnett said. “I’ll see them around the corner in just a minute.”

by ARLnow.com — May 12, 2015 at 8:30 am 2,681 0

Two men in religious garb walking through Rosslyn

Renderings of Proposed Ballston High-Rise — Ahead of Wednesday’s Arlington Site Plan Review Committee meeting, developers Lionstone and Penzance have released new renderings of the 22-story, 330-unit apartment tower they’re proposing to build on the Carpool site in Ballston. The tower is sleek metal and glass, with a retail pavilion on the ground floor. In a second phase, the developers are proposing to replace an aging, adjacent office building with another 22-story, 362-unit residential building. [Washington Business Journal]

Free Cone Day at Haagen-Dazs — The Haagen-Dazs store at Pentagon City mall is offering free ice cream today from 4:00-8:00 p.m. as part of the company’s nationwide Free Cone Day. [Facebook]

Coalition for Minority Affairs Honors Students — Eighty-seven African and African-American Arlington Public Schools students were honored last week by the Civic Coalition for Minority Affairs. The Northern Virginia group “endeavors to foster high academic achievement through its annual awards ceremony.” [Arlington Public Schools]

by Ethan Rothstein — May 1, 2015 at 1:55 pm 2,651 0

The Maxwell Apartments, at the corner of N. Glebe and Carlin Springs RoadThe average apartment in Arlington was 5 percent cheaper in 2014 than in 2013, according to the county.

Last year, the average rent in Arlington was $1,834 per month, according to the Dept. of Community Planning, Housing and Development.

That’s a dropoff from $1,934 in 2013 and $1,999 in 2012. It’s the cheapest average apartment rent since 2011, when the price was $1,768 per month, according to county records.

The average rent has declined for two years in a row after consistent, steep increases. A decade ago, in 2005, the average rent in Arlington was $1,270 per month, and the average three-bedroom apartment cost $1,803. Today, the average three-bedroom costs $2,671.

This drop in average rent comes at the same time as soaring assessments for residential properties — the average assessment in the county went up 4.9 percent, with some areas increasing by an average of 11 percent year over year. That jump, concentrated in some of the poorest areas in the county, cost homeowners an additional $400 in tax bills this year compared to last.

The higher assessments also hit the apartment market — existing apartment assessments jumped by 4.7 percent in 2015, but it appears that price bump has not yet been passed on to apartment renters.

It’s unclear if the two-year decline in rents is a trend or a blip. Arlington’s rental vacancy rate is at 3.8 percent — its office vacancy is at 20.4 percent, by comparison — and there are currently 2,055 net new apartment units under construction in the Metro corridors, per planning staff. Some of those units — like the Central Place development in Rosslyn — won’t come online until after 2016.

Since 2000, Arlington has added more than 23,000 residential units in the Metro corridors, many of them upscale rental apartment buildings. Metro ridership continually increased over that time, until recently. From 2010 to 2014, Arlington lost several thousand weekday Metro riders in both of its Metro corridors.

So far, developers aren’t showing signs of being scared off. Arlington still projects its Rosslyn-Ballston and Jefferson Davis Highway corridors will add a combined 35,000 apartment units by 2040.

by Ethan Rothstein — April 27, 2015 at 5:00 pm 5,888 0

The Food Star at Columbia Pike and S. George Mason Drive (photo via Google Maps)(Updated Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.) The Food Star grocery store and strip mall at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. George Mason Drive is being eyed for redevelopment.

The proposed building, from developer Orr Partners, would be six stories of mixed-use development — five stories of apartments and ground floor retail. The property would have to redevelop under the Columbia Pike Commercial Form-Based Code, which calls for mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly buildings.

Orr Partners Chairman David Orr said he expects the building to have about 350 market-rate apartments, and for a grocery store and other community-oriented retail —  maybe a fast-casual restaurant or two — to occupy the ground floor. He expects to submit a form-based code application in June.

“It’s going to be really great, we’re really excited,” Orr said. His Reston-based company has already built the FDIC headquarters in Ballston and Boeing’s former headquarters in Rosslyn. “We love Arlington, and we love doing business in Arlington.”

In addition to the retail and apartments, the developer plans to include underground parking and to build a public plaza where the large surface lot is now. The plaza, Orr said, would be roughly the same size as the ones at Arlington Mill Community Center and Penrose Square.

“We believe that public plaza has an opportunity to be a wonderful game changer for Columbia Pike because of its visibility and location,” he said. “Certainly the Penrose Square plaza was wonderfully done, but we think we can take it up another notch.”

Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization Executive Director Takis Karantonis is familiar with the plans, and he said the area — one of the major intersections on the Pike — is ripe for a project like this.

The massing of the planned redevelopment of the Food Star grocery store on Columbia Pike (image via CPHD)“This is a truly important intersection of the Pike and we are very interested in seeing that happen,” he told ARLnow.com this afternoon. “On the other side, we love the Food Star, it has been a staple on the Pike for a very long time. It serves three or four neighborhoods, and it will be a tough transition through the construction phase not to have a grocery store there.”

Karantonis said he would like to see the Food Star come back in the ground floor of the new building, or something similar: an affordable grocery store with a focus on ethnic foods.

The proposal is in its nascent stages, according to Urban Planner Matt Mattauszek with the county’s department of Community Planning, Housing and Development. So far, it is just a draft concept and Orr Partners is beginning to have meetings with the Form-Based Code Advisory Working Group. No official plans or proposals have been submitted to the county.

So far, the only clue as to what the development will look like is a rendering of the building’s general shape and size, submitted to CPHD, that shows a building with frontages along both George Mason Drive and the Pike. Orr said his company has retained KGD Architecture, which designed the Arlington Mill residences on Columbia Pike.

Photo, top, via Google Maps. Image, bottom, courtesy CPHD


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