Arlington, VA

Early plans for the new hotel being proposed in Ballston include locally-run bars, a rooftop jacuzzi, an artistic LED light display, and possibly an urban farm.

Vienna-based developer Schupp Companies is proposing to build the 10-story, 180-room hotel at the intersection of N. Randolph Street and 5th Road N. along with a two-story underground parking garage with space for 91 cars, as first reported by UrbanTurf.

The latest plans for the building at 501 N. Randolph Street call for a bar, restaurant, and a lounge area in the 12,829-square-foot ground floor area, according to copies of the documents ARLnow obtained by Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The rooftop is also slated to have another bar with a jacuzzi surrounded with lounge chairs and plants, per the plans.

“The view lines are going to be spectacular,” said Ray Schupp, president and owner of Schupp Companies. “On the roof, a small local bar with good views would be really, really great.” 

“I think local entrepreneurs do the best job there,” he said of the rooftop establishment. “The rooftop will be for sure be a local entrepreneur. We’re looking at someone who really cares about what they’re doing. We’ll just lease the space for them.”

When asked, Schupp said he was also considering dedicating some rooftop space to the growing trend of urban farming, which would make the hotel one of the only buildings in Arlington to feature a rooftop farm. Schupp added a bee hive might be difficult, but growing herbs for the bars or restaurant could be “a great idea.”

The hotel will replace long-time Italian restaurant Tutto Bene which closed in 2014. It was originally slated to have 240 rooms.

Plans lay out several aesthetic plans for the exterior of the hotel, including “multi-colored light” display on a strip of windowless-wall visible from the recently renovated Ballston Quarter mall. Schupp told ARLnow that the design will be modeled after the displays mounted on the company’s Hyatt hotel development in Courthouse, but will be tailored to fit the “high-tech” image of Ballston.

The developer is aiming to paint the Ballston hotel’s a “soft but vibrant green similar to GMU’s Arlington campus building,” per the plans. But on the panels that face N. Randolph Street, the company is considering adding a metallic, shimmering coat to the paint.

“I think a shimmering look will be good as the sun sets,” said Schupp.

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(Updated at 10:30 a.m.) A new hotel with several hundred rooms could be coming soon to Ballston.

Vienna-based developer Schupp Companies recently submitted plans to build a 10-story hotel with 240 rooms at 501 N. Randolph Street and 4019 5th Road N., according to the Arlington County website. Previously, the lot was home to celebrated Italian restaurant Tutto Bene before it closed in 2014, after 26 years in business.

The description on Schupp Companies’ website indicates that the developer purchased the land in 2015, and touts the “over one million visitors” to the nearby renovated Ballston Quarter mall and the Medstar Capitals Iceplex.

A spokeswoman for the company did not immediately respond to requests for more information about the project. On Tuesday UrbanTurf reported that the plans had recently changed and now called for 180 rooms, though that could not be immediately confirmed.

The county’s Site Plan Review Committee is scheduled to discuss the plan in two weeks, on Thursday, October 24. The public meeting will be held from 7-9 p.m. in the Bozman government center building (2100 Clarendon Blvd) in Courthouse.

Schupp previously engaged in a lengthy legal battle with Clarendon’s now-closed Kitty O’Shea’s in 2011, where the owner accused the company’s owner of forcing the bar out to make way for a new hotel. (The planned hotel eventually did open in 2016.)

If approved, the hotel would sit near another proposed redevelopment project: the Ballston Harris Teeter on N. Glebe Road, where developers are planning to build a new Harris Teeter space underneath a new, 732-unit residential building.

Images 1-2 via Google Maps 

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The Rosslyn Holiday Inn is one step closer to becoming a two-tower mixed-use development, albeit with some changes ahead.

The Arlington County Board unanimously voted to move the development project at 1900 N. Fort Myer Drive ahead during its meeting Tuesday night, including a proposal to sell a parcel of public land near Lee Highway to developer Dittmar. However, Board members required the developer take several actions related to the parking, traffic, and architectural elements of the plan following complaints from residents.

“This redevelopment of a highly visible site in Rosslyn is an important step toward achieving the community’s vision of a more vibrant and walkable urban village,” said Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey in a press release.

Dittmar first submitted site plans last year, aiming to build a 25-story tower facing N. Nash Street with 500 housing units and a second, 38-story tower facing N. Fort Myer Drive, with a 344-room, higher-end hotel. The pair of towers would be conjoined by a 10-floor building with conference and retail space, as well as a three-level parking garage.

The Board’s latest changes require the developer to:

  • Accommodate buses in the parking plan
  • Develop an option for better vehicle turning on the N. Nash Street side of the lot
  • Share design options for the side of the complex that will face N. Nash Street
  • Share design options for the pedestrian passageway

Dozens of residents took to the podium during last night’s meeting to express concern over parking and traffic congestion from the development. One N. Nash Street resident said the project was “a disaster waiting to happen” if the Board didn’t follow the amendments the Board agreed upon, adding that the original plan would make walking, driving or living on his street “pure hell.”

As part of the development, Dittmar has pledged to fund $4.5 million for several transportation improvements.

Additionally, in exchange for the greater density the developer requested for the plan, Dittmar is offering to make part of its conference center public, contribute $5 million for open space in the neighborhood, and provide $4.5 million to the county’s affordable housing fund — money officials say will have a “Rosslyn-first” preference. Dittmar will also seek to earn a LEED Gold green energy certification for the building.

Dittmar is the same company that originally built the existing Holiday Inn in 1972.

A representative of the company cited a letter of support received from Nestle, which recently relocated to Rosslyn and is now expanding its local presence, arguing that “allowing new top-tier, world-class facilities for conferences at the location of the exiting Holiday Inn would make Rosslyn an even more attractive space both for business and leisure.”

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Bryce Harper saw his postseason prospects go up in smoke yesterday at the hands of his long-time former team, but the strikeout-prone Phillies slugger was gracious enough to pose with some Arlington firefighters afterward.

Firefighters were dispatched to the Pentagon City Ritz-Carlton hotel around 12:30 a.m. today (Wednesday) to assist with a stuck elevator, according to ACFD spokesman Capt. Justin Tirelli. After freeing those in the elevator, they happened upon Philadelphia stars Bryce Harper and Jake Arrieta in the lobby and asked for a photo with the former Nat and one-time Rosslyn resident.

Harper obliged, taking a photo with two firefighters outside the Ritz, where visiting pro sports teams often stay when in town.

“In Arlington, you’ll never know who you will run into on the street,” ACFD said in a tweet this morning. “Firefighters from A-shift handled a stuck elevator call and happened to recognize @bryceharper3, who happily posed for a pic. Bryce — Sorry about the loss, but thanks for being a good sport!”

Harper and the 79-78 Phillies are set to face the now-playoff-bound Nationals again in D.C. tonight at 7:05 p.m.

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Morning Notes

Road Closures for 9/11 5K — “The 18th annual Arlington Police, Fire & Sheriff Memorial 9/11 5K race will take place on the evening of Saturday, September 7, 2019. The Arlington County Police Department will close several roadways around the Pentagon and in Crystal City to accommodate the event.” [Arlington County]

Pentagon, Rosslyn Rank Among Busiest Stations — “In Virginia, the Pentagon [Metro] station averages around 14,000 entries and exits each weekday, ranking it and Rosslyn ahead of Pentagon City, Crystal City, Ballston, Vienna and Wiehle-Reston East.” [WTOP]

Hotel Occupancy Rate Going Down — “Arlington’s year-over-year hotel-occupancy rate is down from 2017 for the first seven months of the year, but the average room rate is higher, according to new data.” [InsideNova]

Even Shirlington Feeling Amazon Glow — “It might be a bit of a stretch to call it proximate to the e-commerce and cloud computing company’s second home in Arlington County, but a Shirlington office building with future ‘Amazon HQ2 upside’ is being offered for sale.” [Washington Business Journal]

Startup Moving After Big Funding Round — After raising a new $51 million funding round, Arlington-based Federated Wireless is moving its 80-person team to a new 20,000+ square foot space at 4075 Wilson Blvd in Ballston. [Washington Business Journal]

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(Updated at 4:45 p.m.) An Arlington man has been arrested and charged with murder after a woman fell from an upper floor of a Crystal City hotel early this morning.

Police were called to a hotel on the 1300 block of Richmond Highway — which corresponds to the Embassy Suites by Hilton Crystal City National Airport — for a report of a woman who fell from a height onto the hotel lobby below.

The victim, who died at the scene, was identified as 63-year-old Arlington resident Zelalem Abedje. Following an initial investigation, police arrested a 27-year-old man for murder.

“The circumstances preceding the fall remain under investigation,” police said in a press release, below. “Tebebe Makonnen, 27, has been charged with Murder and is being held in the Arlington County Detention Facility on no bond.”

Last year Makonnen was arrested in Arlington and charged with sexual battery in connection with a reported assault of a woman inside a local medical office.

Including today’s incident, there have been three homicides in Arlington County in 2019 so far.

More from an ACPD press release:

Arlington County Police announce the arrest of an Arlington man following a suspicious death investigation in Crystal City. Tebebe Makonnen, 27, has been charged with Murder and is being held in the Arlington County Detention Facility on no bond.

At approximately 1:38 a.m. on August 20, police were dispatched to the 1300 block of Richmond Highway for the report of an EMS assist. Upon arrival, an adult female was located deceased inside the lobby of a hotel after falling from an upper floor. The circumstances preceding the fall remain under investigation.

The victim has been identified as Zelalem Abedje, 63, of Arlington, Virginia. Cause of death will be determined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

This remains an active criminal investigation. Based on the preliminary investigation, this appears to be an isolated incident with no ongoing threat to the public.

Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact Detective R. Munizza of the department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4171 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

Photo (1) via Google Maps, (2) via Embassy Suites

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Morning Notes

Storms Expected Today — “Strong to locally severe thunderstorms are in the forecast Tuesday afternoon and evening, and the potential exists for this to be a significant severe weather event.” [Capital Weather Gang]

ACPD: Expect Police at Fair — “As in years past, the [Arlington County Fair] will have dedicated police staffing and resources and fairgoers can expect to see a visible police presence… There are no known threats to Arlington County, however, the public is encouraged to remain aware of your surroundings at all times.” [Arlington County]

Local Volunteer Firefighting Legacy — “Tucked inside the Clarendon fire station on N. 10th St. is a special closed-off room. By long-standing arrangement with the county, it is dedicated to honoring the station’s decades of reliance on volunteer firefighters. Today’s professionally staffed Fire Station 4 deploys ‘no active volunteers, but retains a volunteer presence.'” [Falls Church News-Press]

Hotel Near HQ2 Sells For Big Bucks — “Host Hotels & Resorts sold the Residence Inn Arlington Pentagon City, a 299-room high-rise property at 550 Army Navy Drive, for $99.1M in a deal that closed July 1, according to Arlington County property records.” [Bisnow]

Deer Rescued from Fence — “Last week, Officer Solano and several neighbors were able to safely untangle this juvenile deer from a soccer net in a resident’s backyard. The deer immediately ran away, uninjured, back into the woods nearby.” [Twitter]

Man Brings Loaded Shotgun to Pentagon — “A Kentucky man taken into custody at the Pentagon last week had a shotgun, ammunition and a machete in his pickup truck, according to court documents… While speaking to the officers, [the man] made ‘incoherent statements about being in the area for ‘liberty business.”” [Fox 5]

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Morning Notes

New Coworking Space Coming to Ballston — “Piedmont Office Realty Trust signed a 29K SF lease with WeWork at its Arlington Tower office building at 901 North Glebe Road in Ballston, the REIT said in its Q2 earnings release Wednesday evening. The coworking giant will take the entire fifth floor and plans to open before the end of the year, Piedmont Director Chris Poppell tells Bisnow.” [Bisnow]

Disaster Declaration May Be Coming Soon — “A disaster designation based on damage assessments in Arlington County would allow homeowners and businesses in Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax County to apply for low-interest federal loans beginning as soon as next week to help pay for repairs. Fairfax County Emergency Management Coordinator Seamus Mooney expects the designation to be approved within the next two weeks.” [WTOP]

Changes Proposed for Pentagon City Hotel — “The owner of the DoubleTree by Hilton in Crystal City is gearing up for a play to capitalize on the 627-room hotel’s proximity to Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters. Tom Baltimore, CEO of the hotel’s owner, Park Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: PK), told analysts on its second-quarter earnings call Thursday that the hotel is one of several the company is evaluating as possible redevelopment opportunities.” [Washington Business Journal]

Video: Dark Star Park Day — A timelapse video captured the moment on Thursday morning when the shadows lined up at Rosslyn’s Dark Star Park, as happens once a year on Aug. 1. [Twitter]

Arlington Boy Lives Dream in Boston — “There was a special visitor to the WBZ Weather Center on Thursday. Noah Coon from Arlington, Virginia is a big weather fan and stopped by the studio thanks to Dream On 3. Noah has cerebral palsy and was in Boston to visit the Red Sox. Because he’s also a fan of meteorology, he came to visit the WBZ weather team.” [WBZ]

Video: Yorktown vs. W-L — Just published online: “Long-lost footage of the famous Nov. 5, 1970, mud bowl football game between the Yorktown High School Patriots and the Washington-Lee Generals. Yorktown was favored with a 9-0 record but W-L won 12-0 and earned the Potomac District championship. [YouTube]

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Morning Notes

Officials Pledge Action on Flooding — “Perhaps sensitive to growing community disenchantment over past performance in addressing heavy-rain incidents, County Board members on July 13 pledged to find ways to improve local-government efforts to address the impact of flooding. ‘We have to up our game,’ acknowledged County Board Chairman Christian Dorsey.” [InsideNova]

Residents Demand Stormwater Fixes — “Alexandra Lettow was near tears as she described the losses her family suffered in Monday’s flooding to neighbors and county officials gathered at a home in Arlington’s Waverly Hills neighborhood… It was at least the seventh time the neighborhood had flooded in 19 years.” [Washington Post]

Flood Insurance Doesn’t Cover All Losses — “They have a FEMA-backed flood insurance policy through Liberty Mutual… When the insurance adjuster came Tuesday to assess the damage she dropped a bombshell. Right there in the middle of the policy it reads, for property in a basement, coverage is limited.” [WJLA]

Arlington Man Leads Police on Chase — “At first the Expedition refused to stop for the trooper, but finally pulled off and stopped on the shoulder. A few minutes into the traffic stop, the driver of the Expedition drove off from the trooper and a pursuit was initiated westbound on I-66.” [Press Release]

Board Approved 23rd Street Tunnel Request — “After years of maintaining the little-used 23rd Street pedestrian tunnel that runs under Richmond Highway in Crystal City, Arlington will request its closure from the state.” [Arlington County]

New Renderings of Rosslyn Hotel Development — “The proposed development… would replace the Holiday Inn at 1900 N. Fort Myer Drive with a building which combines residential, hotel and conference center uses along with retail and restaurant space. A 38-story tower fronting N. Fort Myer would contain a four-star hotel with 344 rooms (compared to the previously-proposed 327), and a 25-story residential tower fronting Nash Street would deliver roughly 500 studio-to-three-bedroom units (compared to the previously-proposed 490).” [Urban Turf]

Interim Economic Development Director Named — “Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz has named Alex Iams interim director of Arlington Economic Development. Iams currently serves as assistant director of the department. He succeeds Victor Hoskins, who has served as director since January 2015.” [Arlington County]

Hoskins: Arlington in Good Shape — “Hoskins said that Arlington County has ‘nothing to worry about’ with Amazon coming in, adding that the move to Fairfax County is coming at the right time — ‘Yes, I’m done in Arlington.'” [Tysons Reporter]

Photo courtesy Craig Fingar

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Newly-revised plans for the redevelopment of the Key Bridge Marriott site in Rosslyn include a new bike path.

Los Angeles-based developers Woodridge Capital Partners and Oaktree Capital Management purchased the hotel at 1401 Lee Highway for $190 million last year. Since then, the developers proposed renovating the 582-room hotel and adding three residential buildings to the site — two with condominiums and one with apartments.

On June 11, Woodridge and Oaktree Capital Management LP submitted plans to build a pedestrian and cyclist “esplanade” on the north side of the site, with a connection to Lee Highway. The county noted earlier this month that the developers need to ensure pedestrians and cyclists weren’t hampered by their plan to demolish the footbridge over Lee Highway, which connects the Custis Trail and Gateway Park.

“This area, which will be fully open to the public, will offer spectacular views of the Potomac River and connect to the bike path leading to the Key Bridge,” the developers wrote in the new plans.

“The esplanade, which will not be open to general vehicle traffic, will be fully open to pedestrians and cyclists and offer a new option for cyclists to access and navigate through the site,” the developers added. “It will also offer greater connectivity to the Custis Trail from the Key Bridge through a new bicycle path connection on the northeastern end of the property.”

A February traffic impact analysis indicates that developers plan to close the hotel’s current connection to N. Fort Myer Drive and keep the two entrances off of Lee Highway. The plans also call for several roadways on the site itself, including:

  • an east-west roadway connecting the buildings to be used for pick-ups and drop-offs
  • two north-south roadways on either side of the hotel
  • an emergency vehicle access road along the backside (northside) of the property

“The new streets, combined with esplanade, will provide much improved bicycle and pedestrian circulation through the site,” the developer’s site plan application says.

Woodridge and Oaktree are requesting the County Board’s permission to build 446 rooms in the renovated hotel along with 151 condominium units, 300 apartments units, and 635 parking spaces. The apartment building will sit on the parking garage on the west side of the lot, bringing its total height to 16 stories.

In exchange for increased density, Woodridge and Oaktree are promising to build LEED-certified energy efficient buildings and a yet-to-be-determined public art project.

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Morning Notes

Metro Removes 3000-Series from Service — “Metro overnight temporarily removed all 3000-series cars from service after we received a report of a door malfunction for which we need to identify the cause. This voluntary safety action reduces the number of available rail cars by ~15%” [Twitter, Twitter]

Courthouse Hotel May Become Apartments — “The owner of an Arlington hotel is now hoping to flip the building into residential space instead. The Arlington Court Suites Hotel in Courthouse could soon become a 180-unit apartment building dubbed ‘Park Arlington at Courthouse,’ according to plans filed with the county this week.” [Washington Business Journal]

More HQ2 Jobs Listed — There are now 18 open HQ2 jobs listed on Amazon’s website, with roles ranging from HR to sales to software engineer. Some of the jobs were reportedly first listed as working out of Amazon’s existing Ballston office, the long-term prospects for which are now in question. [Amazon, Washington Business Journal]

NPS’ Massive GW Parkway Backlog — “ABC7 asked the National Park Service how big the [GW Parkway’s] maintenance problem is. The… Parkway has a maintenance backlog of $717-million, but that includes 25 sites, such as Arlington House and Great Falls Park. $649-million of that amount is for paved roads. 33 million vehicles drive on the GW Parkway every year.” [WJLA, Twitter]

Va. Reps Call for Telework Option During ‘Summer Shutdown’ — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and other Northern Virginia representatives have written a letter to the director of the Office of Personnel Management, calling for federal employees to be given expanded telework options during the May 25-Sept. 8 “Summer Shutdown” of Metro stations in Alexandria. [House of Representatives]

Yellow Line Extension Starting This Weekend — “Metro today announced it will begin running all Yellow Line trains to Greenbelt more than a month earlier than expected – starting Saturday, May 25 – when the Platform Improvement Project begins at six Yellow and Blue line stations south of Reagan National Airport.” [PoPville]

Photo courtesy Peter Golkin

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