(Updated at 6:50 p.m.) It seems the Harris Teeter in the Pentagon Row shopping center, now rebranded as WestPost, will not be vacating its spot anytime soon.

And if it did, Arlington County will continue to hold the shopping center’s owner to a 1998 agreement that requires the space be filled by a full-service grocery and drug store. The County Board affirmed the status quo in a vote on Saturday.

Although Harris Teeter has at least 10 years on its lease, the Sun Gazette reports, residents in the 22202 zip code were worried about even the possibility that their neighborhood grocery store would one day be replaced with a smaller-scale grocer such as Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. (Pentagon City already has one Whole Foods, near Amazon’s future HQ2.)

Anticipating the end of Harris Teeter’s initial lease, Pentagon Row’s owner, Rockville-based Federal Realty Investment Trust, had requested the county modify the 1998 agreement to allow Federal Realty to find a smaller retailer that sells drug- and grocery-store items if it could not find a full-service store.

The ask, which included other requests for flexibility regarding space, went before the Arlington County Board last month. At the time, nearly a dozen community members voiced their support for keeping the language. Board members deferred the item for one month so County Manager Mark Schwartz could work with the property owner on changes.

The revised proposal that the Board saw on Saturday kept provisions allowing the shopping center more flexibility with leasing and architecture, nixed the grocery store request completely. Members of the County Board unanimously approved the revised proposal, without any modifications to the grocery store agreement, without discussion.

“Because of our combined efforts, the developer backed off on changing [the] section that would have allowed less than a full-scale grocery,” said Carol Fuller, the president of the Crystal City Civic Association and Open Space Coordinator for Livability 22202, an advocacy group for quality-of-life issues in the area. “We were very worried about losing Harris Teeter. We fought it hard. Once they dropped that, we were no longer concerned with the other amendments.”

The county previously said that “Federal Realty shared their full intent and interest in retaining the current tenant or other similar operator.”

The shopping center sought the flexibility, supported by the National Landing Business Improvement District and the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, “so that they can respond to changes in the market in the event that they need to replace the grocery store tenant and services.”

Scott Miles, president of the Aurora Highlands Civic Association, said last month that losing Harris Teeter, or an equivalent full-service store, would degrade grocery options in a core part of the county and hinder residents’ ability to buy necessities without a car.

“A large, full-service grocer at the site remains an essential community service,” he said. “This may sound harsh, but we want the applicant to be fearful of not maintaining a large grocer — it’s not enough to ask for commercially reasonable efforts.”

Image via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Tornado Drill Today — “Virginia’s annual Statewide Tornado Drill will occur on Tues., March 16 at 9:45 a.m. If widespread severe weather threatens the Commonwealth on that date, the drill will be rescheduled for Wed., March 17, at 9:45 a.m. The Statewide Tornado Drill is an opportunity to prepare Virginians for tornado threats and to test public warning systems.” [Va. Dept. of Emergency Management]

Pentagon Row Harris Teeter’s Future in Flux — “Despite concerns from nearby residents, Arlington County Board members on March 20 could give the owner of Pentagon Row the ability to, potentially, significantly downsize grocery-store operations… Located on a 15-acre parcel in Pentagon City, the site has long included a Harris-Teeter supermarket. But that initial lease term is expiring, and there is no guarantee the supermarket chain will want to stay in the existing space.” [Sun Gazette]

Coronavirus Tests Available at DCA — “Coronavirus testing launched Monday at Reagan National and Washington Dulles International airports, which became the latest airports across the country to offer the tests. The centers are outside the security checkpoints at both airports and are operated by XpresCheck, which runs centers at a number of U.S. airports.” [Washington Post]

New Building to Have Temporary Hotel Rooms — “Arlington County Board members next month are expected to allow another developer to temporarily convert apartment space to hotel use. The developer of the 809-unit property at 1555 Wilson Blvd. is asking permission to use 100 of the residential units as hotel space starting in late summer. Eventually, the units would revert to their originally intended purpose.” [Sun Gazette]

Cherry Blossom Sculptures Arrive in Arlington — From the National Landing BID: “Two official @CherryBlossFest sculptures have landed! One at the Esplanade at Long Bridge Park and one at the Crystal City Water Park. They will be up through May 31.” [Twitter]

Bill Would Allow 15 MPH Speed Limits in Va. — “Currently, any city or county looking to slow traffic in a busy shopping district or on a quiet residential street can go no lower than 25 mph. A bill passed during this year’s General Assembly session, however, would change that, permitting posted speed limits to drop as low as 15 mph. A ten miles per hour difference may not seem huge, but for pedestrian safety advocates and the families of victims of traffic collisions, the change could mean the difference between life and death.” [Greater Greater Washington]

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For those Arlingtonians still waiting to get their vaccination, the list of options for getting it is growing.

While getting vaccinated through the county remains an option for all currently eligible groups, residents 65 and older have a lengthening list of stores at which they can receive the vaccine.

Thanks to federal partnerships, some local locations of Giant, CVS, Walgreens, Safeway and Harris Teeter are now offering no-cost vaccine appointments separate from Arlington County’s health department.

At this time, exact locations are only known for Giant and Safeway.

Giant 

Safeway

Appointments remain hard to come by, however, even as the one-dose Johnson & Johnson begins to roll out. Vaccine supply in the state remains limited, though it’s increasing.

The Virginia Department of Health tells ARLnow that more than 80,000 doses are being given to retail pharmacies statewide — an increase from last month.

The 69,000 J&J vaccine doses announced last week started coming in yesterday, VDH confirms, and clinics across the state are expecting to start using it today (Friday). Arlington is planning to vaccinate 1,500 people at a mass vaccination clinic at the Lubber Run Community Center tomorrow.

Virginia and Arlington County are both currently in Phase 1b, meaning those 65 or over and those with 16 to 64 with underlying medical conditions are eligible to receive the vaccine.

Statewide, it’s estimated that up to half of the population is currently eligible for the vaccine. Around 27,500 Arlingtonians have received at least one dose, per VDH data.

The challenges for retail pharmacies are the same as for localities: demand is still far outpacing supply.

Last month, CVS began offering vaccine appointments at its local stores for those 65 or over. Currently, 41 CVS pharmacies are offering the vaccine in Virginia with appointments booked through their website.

However, there’s only one location in Arlington (an exact address is not provided) and, at last check, appointments are “fully booked.”

CVS spokesperson Amy Thibault tells ARLnow that “roughly 41,580 appointments” per week available at the 41 locations statewide. Basic math says that’s about 1,000 appointments per store per week.

Most of them are using the Moderna vaccine.

“In most (if not all) states, the number of individuals who are eligible to receive the vaccine under the state’s rules far outnumber the state’s available doses,” Thibault said.

She also noted that CVS is receiving a “one-time allocation” of 212,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week which will be spread across their stores in 17 states.

Scheduling for that began Thursday on the CVS website and administering begins today.

The two Arlington Giant locations are also offering vaccines to those 65 or over, but no appointments are currently available either according to the grocery chain’s online scheduler.

Giant vaccine appointment system (Photo via screenshot)

Giant spokesperson Daniel Wolk tells ARLnow the number of appointments depends on the vaccine doses received and can fluctuate.

“The number is changing daily based on the total amount sent to us,” he writes. “We hope to increase the appointments as time goes by but it all depends on how much vaccine we receive.”

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Construction has started in Ballston on the future site of a new Harris Teeter, three apartment buildings and a new green space.

Excavation and sheeting and shoring work started this past week at 600 N. Glebe Road, said Mary Senn, the vice-president of Georgia-based developer Southeastern Real Estate Group, LLC, the developer overseeing the project.

“We are underway,” she said.

Work began last year with utility relocation and demolition of the vacant American Service Center building, Southeastern president Mark Senn told ARLnow in October.

The current phase is the first of three for the site, approved in 2019. In phase one, a new 310-unit apartment building with a new Harris Teeter space on the ground floor will replace the former American Service Center building.

In this phase, customers still have access to parking and the current Harris Teeter, which was the company’s first in Virginia.

“Harris Teeter and Southeastern are very excited to be moving forward with the construction, and the community will be excited to have the new store,” Mary Senn said. “[Harris Teeter] will really do this one up as the latest and the greatest, as far as the store goes.”

The grocery store may have a bar, among other new features, and will also have covered parking, she said.

“People in Arlington, given the weather the past couple of weeks, will appreciate the covered parking, which will definitely be an improvement,” said Senn.

The timeline for the construction of the project has not changed, the vice-president said. Phase one is expected to be complete in 2023.

“But we’ll be open before then,” she said.

During the second phase, the old Harris Teeter will be demolished for new temporary surface parking. The second apartment building, with 195 units, and the public open space will be constructed in phase two.

In the third phase, the temporary parking lot will become the third apartment building: a 227-unit residential building with retail on the ground floor and two levels of below-grade parking.

The park will include a pedestrian path, a dog run, a picnic area, as well as natural vegetation to support pollinator insects and birds.

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(Updated 12 p.m. 02/24/21) Early stages of construction have started on the future site of a new Harris Teeter, three apartment buildings and a new green space in Ballston.

Utility relocation and demolition of the recently-vacated American Service Center building will soon begin at 600 N. Glebe Road, said Mark Senn, the president of Georgia-based developer Southeastern Real Estate Group, LLC, the developer overseeing the project.

“The project has started, but it’s going to start in full force in the next couple of months,” Senn said.

The construction kicks off the first of three phases of development of the site. In phase one, a new 310-unit apartment building with a new Harris Teeter space on the ground floor will replace the former American Service Center building and Mercedes Benz dealership lot. During this phase, customers will still have access to parking and the current Harris Teeter, which was the company’s first in Virginia.

“Our goal is to keep Harris Teeter up and functioning and convenient for the customer and keep accessibility and parking like it is,” Senn said. “That’s the driving force behind this.”

Southeastern is trying to avoid disruptions especially during the holiday months, which are the busiest for grocery stores, he said.

Phase one will be finished in 2023, Senn said.

During the second phase, the old Harris Teeter will be demolished for new temporary surface parking. The second apartment building, with 195 units, and the public open space will be constructed in phase two.

In the third phase, the temporary parking lot will become the third apartment building: a 227-unit residential building with retail on the ground floor and two levels of below-grade parking.

With architects, mechanical engineers and electrical and plumbing engineers out of the office due to the pandemic, progress on the project has been slower, but people are working hard to keep it on track, Senn said.

“We’re on schedule to do the work as we had anticipated prior to COVID-19,” he said.

The County Board approved the three phases of work at 600 N. Glebe last year. Senn said the entire complex should take six to seven years to build.

“It’s a great project,” Senn said. “Hopefully, after COVID-19, it’ll be social-gathering place for the community.”

The park will include a pedestrian path, a dog run, a picnic area, as well as natural vegetation to support pollinator insects and birds.

In April 2019, the developer bumped the number of housing units in the project from 700 to 732, cut some parking spaces and announced its intention to seek LEED Silver sustainability certification.

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Morning Notes

VHC Has Supplies, Extra Beds — “Virginia Hospital Center officials said not all of their 394 beds are full at the moment and that the hospital could expand above 400 in the case of a surge… Melody Dickerson, chief nursing officer at VHC, said thanks to changes such as extending the life of personal protective equipment (PPE), under new CDC guidelines, they expect to have enough for at least next month, assuming shipments continue as expected.” [Washington Post]

Bayou Bakery Owner on CNBC — While working to give away food to those in need, Bayou Bakery is facing its own challenges. Chef and owner David Guas appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box Tuesday morning and discussed his decision to close and lay off all of his staff, while also working to apply for loans and eventually reopen. [CNBC]

Pile Driving Starting Soon at HQ2 Site — “Clark Construction Group, the lead HQ2 contractor, is planning to start a particularly noisy bit of work this week… It does have a solution, of sorts, for those nonessential workers who are sheltering in place. ‘They have provided us with ear plugs to help us deal with the noise, knowing that many of you are working from home,’ Aura management wrote.” [Washington Business Journal]

New Grocery Store Changes — Harris Teeter and Giant stores will be limiting the number of shoppers in their stores, in the interest of social distancing. Giant is also implementing one-way aisles. [Washington Business Journal, WTOP]

Beyer Wants Temperature Checks at Airports — “Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) today wrote to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf urging the adoption of stricter measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at American airports… such as enforcing social distancing, implementing temperature checks for travelers, providing guidance on how to self-quarantine for exiting travelers, and protective equipment for staff.” [Press Release]

‘Virus Vigilantes’ on the Lookout — ARLnow has been getting a deluge of emails, tips and tweets from locals concerned about other people not maintaining social distancing. Surreptitious photos of teens on sidewalks, construction workers at jobs sites, and even unsuspecting people in parks have been sent our way. It’s apparently part of a national trend of “virus vigilantism,” as people take it upon themselves to enforce health guidelines.

Glebe Elementary Choir Performs Online — Barrett Elementary got a shout out from Sir Elton himself for its staff dance video, but Barrett is not the only Arlington school creating music videos. Glebe Elementary made its own video recently, featuring the school’s fifth grade choir together performing “We Want to Sing” from their homes. [YouTube]

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(Updated at 9:40 a.m.) The Ballston Harris Teeter store is set for redevelopment, but in the meantime it remains open and is reducing its hours.

Signs posted around the store say that starting Wednesday, Feb. 26 it will go from being open 24 hours a day to being open from 6 a.m. to midnight.

A reason for the change was not given. A company spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.

It’s unclear when work on the new development will start. Apartment buildings with hundreds of units of housing, along with a new Harris Teeter store and a some public open space, are set to replace the current store, nearby Mercedes Benz dealership parking lot and a single-family home.

According to a staff report from the Arlington County Board approval of the redevelopment in November, the Harris Teeter store will remain open until the new store is built:

It is anticipated that the project will develop over three (3) major phases, with minor subphases. During Phase I, the existing ASC is demolished, and Building #1 (new Harris Teeter) is constructed, along with the streetscape and streets wrapping Building #1. The existing Harris Teeter will remain open, served by the remaining surface parking from the grocery store and ASC property, during Phase I. During Phase II, the old Harris Teeter is demolished to create new temporary surface parking, and Building #2 is constructed, along with the remaining North Tazewell Street sidewalk and street sections. The public open space will also be constructed during Phase II, and must be completed before the final Certificate of Occupancy for Tenant Occupancy in Building #2 (Condition #57). Further, temporary surface parking in the area of the old Harris Teeter / new Building #3, will be removed and planted as a temporary lawn area until Phase III begins (Condition #59). During Phase III, Building #3 is constructed, along with the remaining street and streetscape improvements wrapping the building along North Glebe Rd. and North Randolph Street and the two (2) levels of below-grade parking.

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The Arlington County Board is poised to advance the Ballston Harris Teeter project with several zoning updates.

The County Board will vote during its meeting this Saturday, November 16 on whether to approve the developer’s request to change the land’s zoning categories to permit the the many housing units as planned (732) and add retail to the buildings (83,600 total square feet.)

Georgia-based developer Southeastern Real Estate Group, LLC is planning to demolish the existing grocery store, nearby Mercedes Benz parking lot, and a single-family home at 525 N. Thomas Street. Southeastern will then build:

  • a new Harris Teeter on the ground level of a five-story apartment building containing 390 housing units
  • another, six-story apartment building with 234 apartments
  • an 11-story building with 243 housing units, and 10,592 square feet of ground-floor retail space
  • A strip of public open space fronting N. Thomas Street

The park will include a pedestrian path, a dog run, a picnic area, as well as “pollinator meadow zone” with plants selected to feed pollinator insects and birds, according to the latest plans filed with the county.

The Board previously approved a public meeting on the Southeastern’s zoning requests this summer. During the meeting, several residents asked the county to wait before approving the zoning changes, expressing concerns over too much traffic and the trees that will need to be cut down according to the construction plan.

In April, the developer bumped the number of housing units in the project from 700 to 732, cut some parking spaces, and announced its intention to seek LEED Silver sustainability certification.

The development is across the street from another site at at 501 N. Randolph Street and 4019 5th Road N. where builders envision a 10-story hotel with 240 rooms, featuring amenities like a jacuzzi, light display, and possibly home-grown herbs, as well as the renovated Ballston Quarter Mall.

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The new Harris Teeter store along Columbia Pike will open its doors to the public next week.

A ribbon cutting and a grand opening celebration will take place at the store (950 S. George Mason Drive) on Tuesday, October 22 from 4-7 p.m. During the grand opening, a “Taste of Teeter” will be held throughout the store, featuring grocery product samples.

The finished grocery store is has just over 50,000 square feet of space and is a larger part of the redevelopment of the Columbia Pike Village Center, dubbed “Centro Arlington.”

In celebration of the new store, Centro Arlington developers Orr Partners, in partnership with the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO), will host a Halloween-themed party on Saturday, October 26 from 2-6 p.m.

“We want to invite everyone to join us for this [Halloween] celebration to thank the community for putting up with our dust as we constructed this great project,” said David Orr, Chairman of Orr Partners, in a press release.

Developers first announced the large-scale project — which includes 22,150 square feet of public space, a three-level parking garage, and 365 market-rate apartments) — in 2015. It was approved by the county a year later, resulting in the demolition of the former Food Star grocery store.

“CPRO is thrilled to see the Pike growing,” said the organization’s executive director, Kim Klingler, in a statement. “We are eager to welcome Centro’s new tenants and businesses to the community.”

Harris Teeter joins Centro Arlington tenants Orangetheory Fitness, Eye Smile Optometry & Dental Care, and pop-up hotelier WhyHotel.

More on the store from Harris Teeter’s website:

This location will have many unique features including: expanded service meat and seafood cases with dry aged beef; handmade lobster rolls; and fresh steamed seafood. This location will also feature a pharmacy, ExpressLane Online Shopping and signature Harris Teeter amenities, such as: a hot foods bar; salad bar; a sub shop; store-made pizza; and fresh sushi.

“Harris Teeter is thrilled to celebrate the Centro Arlington store opening with a Taste of Teeter; we know the community is excited to see their new store, and we cannot wait to meet our new neighbors,” said Danna Robinson, communication manager for Harris Teeter.

In each of its stores, Harris Teeter strives to offer customers an incredible place to shop, which begins with customer service and features high-quality products, variety and selection. Harris Teeter also works to be a true community partner by supporting local schools and youth sports organizations, among other non-profit organizations. […]

Store Hours: 6 a.m.-midnight, daily

Store Square Footage: 53,000

Check-Out Lanes: 6 checkouts and 8 express checkouts

Pharmacy Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Store Features and Departments

Full-service Butchers Market with Rancher Beef, HT Reserve Angus Beef and USDA Certified Very Tender Beef • Dry Aged Beef Fresh • Store made sausage and burgers • Full-service Fishermans Market • Fresh Steamed Seafood • Fresh Made Lobster Rolls • Farmers Market Produce • Salad Bar  • Full-Service Floral and Custom Floral Arrangements • Full-service Fresh Foods Market Deli/Bakery • Sushi • Self-Serve Olives • International Cheeses • Custom Cakes and Ice Cream Cakes • Sub Shop • Artisan Breads • Boar’s Head Meats and Cheeses  • Fresh Made Pizza • Party Trays • Home Meal Replacements • Natural and Organic Foods • Pharmacy •  Free Blood Pressure Testing • Private, Professional Pharmacist Consultations • Drug Interaction/ Allergy Screening • Double Coupons • Club 60 Discount • ExpressLane Online Shopping •  Red Box DVD Rental Kiosk •  Starbucks • Sit-down eating area • ATM • Build Your Own 6-packs

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The new Harris Teeter along Columbia Pike appears to be one step closer to opening.

State records indicate that the grocery store replacing the Food Star market at the corner of the Pike and S. George Mason Drive applied for a Virginia ABC permit to sell wine and beer last week, and a Harris Teeter spokeswoman said it’s expected to open soon.

The spokeswoman told ARLnow yesterday (Monday) that the new store at 950 S. George Mason Drive had an “anticipated opening date of fall 2019,” but did not provide an exact opening date. Previously, a spokesperson said the store was slated to open in late 2019.

The finished store will have 50,000 square feet of space and is part of the redevelopment of the Columbia Pike Village Center that demolished the shopping center that Food Star, EvolveAll fitness studio, and several other small businesses inhabited.

As part of the project, dubbed Centro Arlington, developers are also building a 22,150 square foot public space, 31,530 square feet of space for other retailers, a three-level parking garage, and 365 market rate apartments.

Pop-up hotelier WhyHotel is planning to open around 150 temporary hotel rooms in the new apartment building this fall.

Image 1 via Google Maps, Image 2-3 via Google Maps

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Residents of Arlington will have a number of chances to weigh in on the next steps for the Ballston Harris Teeter redevelopment.

The Arlington County Board unanimously approved scheduling a public hearing related to developer Southeastern’s request to rebuild the grocery store as a ground-floor retail space with five stories of apartments up top — as well as build a second, eight-story apartment building next to it and a half-acre public park.

The upcoming hearing by the county’s Planning Commission is one of several planned to review the project.

A meeting of the Site Plan Review Committee next week will allow residents to learn more about Southeastern’s request to rezone a portion of the land slated for the site as well as view updated renderings. It will be held this upcoming Monday, July 22, from 7-9:30 p.m.

On Tuesday, July 23, the public can attend an open house from 5-6:30 p.m. to ask more questions, particularly about the project’s proposed public spaces, and view the latest project renderings.

Both meetings will be held at county government headquarters, at 2100 Clarendon Blvd in Courthouse.

Southeastern wants to up-zone the land near N. Thomas Street, which is is currently zoned for “Low-Medium” residential buildings, which would otherwise put a damper on the developer’s plans to build 732 units and include retail space in the buildings.

County Board members approved the request to advertise the public meeting during their meeting this past weekend.

In April, the developers submitted new planning documents the county proposing:

  • increasing the number of housing units from 700 to 732
  • seeking a LEED Silver certification for green energy
  • reducing the number of parking spaces to 1 per unit, excluding the store parking lot

“The proposed development will provide a new, top of the line Harris Teeter grocery store with upgraded features and offerings,” an April letter from the developer noted. “It will also provide additional, much needed housing close to the Ballston Metro station and the Ballston Quarter project.”

Five years ago, the County Board approved changes to increase density on the site, taking into account the neighborhood’s development along Wilson Blvd.

At the time, Board members said they hoped N. Glebe Road could become an “urban boulevard.”

Map via Arlington County

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