Arlington, VA

(Updated at 4:10 p.m.) If you want to stock up on hand sanitizer and face masks, you’re going to have a tough time finding any in Arlington.

Numerous stores we checked around the county were completely out of both, amid fears over the coronavirus outbreak. Despite there being no confirmed local cases, shoppers in Arlington seem as eager to hoard supplies as others across the U.S.

The CVS store at Ballston Quarter mall was a typical scene. The shelves this afternoon were mostly bare where face masks, hand sanitizer and Lysol once stood.

Elsewhere around Arlington:

  • The Harris Teeter stores in Shirlington and Pentagon City were completely out of hand sanitizer
  • Ayers Hardware in Westover had only a limited supply of face masks and was imposing a per customer sales limit
  • Preston’s Pharmacy on Lee Highway was out of hand sanitizer, but a clerk said customers were buying aloe and rubbing alcohol to make their own “homebrew” hand sanitizer
  • Cherrydale Hardware on Lee Highway was out of masks
  • Target in Rosslyn was out of hand sanitizer

If you feel you must get your hands on some hand sanitizer — or some face masks despite officials cautioning that they’re ineffective — there might be a solution. A pop-up “coronavirus supply store” opened on Florida Avenue NE in D.C. over the weekend, offering both of the above plus bleach and “preparedness kits.”

Arlington County and Arlington Public Schools officials, meanwhile, say they’re monitoring the outbreak and are continuing to make emergency preparations.

Jay Westcott contributed to this report

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Morning Notes

It’s ARLnow’s 10th Anniversary — On this day 10 years ago ARLnow quietly published its first article. It has since grown to be Arlington’s local news publication of record, read by a majority of those who call our county home. Join us to celebrate this milestone tonight at Bronson Bierhall in Ballston (4100 Fairfax Drive) from 5-7 p.m. [Facebook]

County Board Approves Solar Farm Deal — “‘This is a groundbreaking partnership for the County,’ said County Board Chair Libby Garvey. ‘It will take us a long way toward our goal of 100 percent use of renewable sources for all electricity used in government operations by 2025.’ Arlington County is the first locality in the Commonwealth to enter into a power purchase agreement of this scale for off-site solar energy with an investor-owned utility company.” [Arlington County, Dominion Energy]

Local Pharmacies Selling Out of Surgical Masks — Preston’s Pharmacy at 5101 Lee Highway is sold out of surgical masks amid worries about the deadly coronavirus outbreak. The store “reported that people are calling, and coming in asking about surgical masks… they are having re-ordering issues from their supplier.” [WUSA 9]

Investors Buying Up Crystal City Properties — “In another indicator of how sought-after the real estate near Amazon’s HQ2 has become, even an NBA player with no ties to Greater Washington is an investor in the Crystal City market. Jeff Teague, a point guard for the Atlanta Hawks, bought a 935-square-foot apartment at 1200 Crystal Drive.” [Washington Business Journal]

Home Sales Way Down in Arlington — “Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. reports the median price of a home that sold in Arlington County in December was $649,000. That’s up 19% from the median selling price a year earlier. The number of sales in Arlington County was down 24% from a year ago, and, with only 148 homes on the market last month, active inventory was down 51%.” [WTOP]

Another Title for Local Girls Flag Football Team — “Congratulations to the [Arlington-based] Virginia Hurricanes 14U girls flag football team for winning the NFL Flag Football National Championship tournament at the NFL Pro Bowl event in Florida this past weekend. This is the second NFL Flag Girls National Championship title for the Hurricanes.” [Virginia Hurricanes]

Chamber Holds Hospitality Awards — “The Arlington Chamber of Commerce today honored 98 front-line workers in Arlington’s hospitality industry at the 16th Annual Hospitality Awards at the Key Bridge Marriott Hotel. These prestigious awards are presented each year to hospitality workers who deliver outstanding customer service, exhibit excellence in their roles, and continuously exceed their job descriptions.” [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]

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No work is happening yet, but there are signs that plans to replace the Highlander Motel in Virginia Square with a new CVS store are getting closer to fruition.

A permit application was filed last month for the property at 3336 Wilson Blvd for a new building, to house CVS. Thus far no permits have been issued.

The application follows years of legal wrangling between Arlington County and local businessman Bill Bayne. In 2018 the Virginia Supreme Court cleared the way for Bayne to redevelop the 56-year-old budget hotel, after the county refused to allow him to use the parking lot behind the motel for store parking.

Bayne subsequently sued the county in federal court for alleged civil rights violations, but that suit was dismissed in October, with the judge citing Arlington County’s sovereign immunity as a reason for the dismissal.

Bayne told ARLnow that the legal fight cost him at least $250,000, if not more.

“It’s over… it is what it is,” he said.

As of Monday morning, no bookings were available online for the Highlander’s $69/night rooms past January, but Bayne told ARLnow that was an error that would be corrected; rooms could be booked past then if you call the hotel, he said.

Bayne said the hotel is planning to stay open for at least another year and there’s no set closing date, though he acknowledged that he’s continuing to pursue the redevelopment.

Bayne is also the owner and co-owner, respectively, of two other long-time local businesses: the Crystal City Restaurant gentlemen’s club and Crystal City Sports Pub, both on 23rd Street S. Changes may be on the way for the former — Bayne said he’s considering changing the name of Crystal City Restaurant to “National Landing Strip,” given the new branding for the collective Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard area in the wake of Amazon’s HQ2.

“I’ve thought about doing it… it’s certainly crossed my mind,” Bayne said of the possible name change.

The only thing keeping Bayne from changing the name, he said, is sentimentality. Bayne’s father bought the business in 1963 and renamed it “Crystal City Restaurant” from “Arlington Luncheon” to reflect what was then the new name for the neighborhood along Route 1.

Flickr pool photo (1) by Maryland Nomadic

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Morning Notes

Local Dems Tout Big Wins — “Heading into the critical 2020 presidential race, we’re especially excited about the tremendous grassroots enthusiasm that fueled Democratic victories statewide. This historic victory belongs to the grassroots activists as much as it belongs to the Democratic Party.” [Press Release]

Leaf Collection Schedule Announced — Courthouse, Clarendon and other neighborhoods are on tap for Arlington County’s first vacuum leaf collection pass of the season, starting Monday. [Arlington County]

Amazon Gives to Some Local Pols — “In the Democratic leadership ranks, House Democratic Caucus Chair Del. Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, received $1,000. Her district is just outside of Amazon’s new Arlington home. And the company sent $1,500 to Sen. Janet Howell, D-Reston, and $1,000 to Del. Patrick Hope, D-Arlington, who both represent Arlington neighborhoods a stone’s throw from HQ2.” [Washington Business Journal]

Walgreens Applying for Sign Permits Updated at 10:15 a.m. — Walgreens signs are going up on former Rite Aid stores across Arlington, after the chain acquired stores from its drug store competitor nearly two years ago. [Twitter]

Investment for Company With Arlington HQ — “CoreMedia, a global content management platform and developer of CoreMedia Content Cloud, is excited to announce that it has successfully partnered with OpenGate Capital, a global private equity firm, on a majority growth investment… Terms of the investment were not disclosed.” [PRNewswire via Potomac Tech Wire]

First Snow Possible Next Week — “Back-to-back Arctic cold fronts are predicted to sweep across the eastern United States over the next week, the second of which has a small chance to squeeze out some snowflakes in the Washington region late Monday and/or Tuesday.” [Capital Weather Gang]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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