A startup offering temporary hotel rooms in new apartment complexes is now planning to expand to two Arlington developments.
WhyHotel announced today (Tuesday) that it will soon offer 175 rooms for rent in the residential tower attached to the Ballston Quarter development, and another 150 rooms in the “Centro Arlington” project, which is taking the place of the Food Star grocery store off Columbia Pike. The company recently scored $10 million in venture funding to power the new projects, in addition to a similar “pop up” hotel in “The Boro” development in Tysons.
Unlike a home-sharing service like Airbnb, WhyHotel strikes agreements directly with the owners of large residential properties to rent out blocks of furnished apartments, bringing along an on-call staff to handle cleaning and other guest needs. The company is hoping to provide a happy medium for customers between staying at a friend’s place and shelling out for a hotel room, while helping developers fill space in new buildings as they lease them out.
Jason Fudin, WhyHotel’s co-founder and CEO, told ARLnow that he was interested in opening up shop more properties around Arlington because of the area’s potent mix of tourism and booming residential development. WhyHotel is aiming to open its first “pop up” in D.C., but Fudin says he never lost sight of the county as a “great place to be.”
“We do expect to be in Arlington in perpetuity,” Fudin said. “And as there’s more and more development, we’re hoping to be the solution people look to as they activate their developments.”
Fudin noted that the company has its roots in Arlington. The concept began as an initiative by developer Vornado Realty Trust at “The Bartlett” complex in Pentagon City, but its backers then struck out on their own, initially joining up with Crystal City startup incubator 1776.
Considering that Fudin viewed the company’s work in Pentagon City as a clear success for all involved, driving plenty of business to retailers near the building in the process, he’s hoping to replicate the same formula in Ballston and along the Pike.
Fudin expects that WhyHotel will have its Ballston Quarter rooms ready by April 1, slightly after the residential section of the development (located at 700 N. Randolph Street) is slated to open up. Some stores in the newly renovated Ballston Common mall have already started opening for business, and Fudin expects that will make the rooms immediately above the development plenty desirable.
Beyond the location’s proximity to D.C., he added that the large number of corporate headquarters in the neighborhood (not to mention federal tenants like DARPA) should bring plenty of travelers to the area.
Fudin conceded that the location on the Pike (950 S. George Mason Drive) is a “less dense urban area” than either D.C. or Ballston, but he said the company was still interested in moving in because of how close it is to the Pentagon.
“You have a tremendous number of people that work in defense or in the federal government who call that area home, so we natural customers in that space,” Fudin said. “It’s a great spot for families who are relocating. When you relocate to city, you don’t instantly have housing, whether you’re military or otherwise, and we see this as a great option for them… The ability to stay in a ‘like-home’ experience rather than a small hotel room is better for everybody.”
The Centro Arlington development, which will be anchored by a Harris Teeter grocery store, is to set to open in earnest midway through 2019, so Fudin expects WhyHotel’s rooms will be available there in “late summer or early fall.”
The County Board is set to sign off on allowing WhyHotel to offer some of its new rooms next week. County staff is recommending the Board’s approval for the temporary hotel use at Ballston Quarter for the next two years or so at a Dec. 15 meeting.
The proposed redevelopment of the Rosslyn Holiday Inn could not only bring hundreds of new apartments and revamped hotel rooms to the area, but also lead to a major transformation of the neighborhood’s appearance.
The Vienna-based developer The Dittmar Company has submitted plans to the county calling for a total overhaul of the hotel, located at 1900 Fort Myer Drive. As first reported by the Washington Business Journal, the proposal calls for two new towers of 26 and 38 stories on the site, totaling about 73,200 square feet of residential, hotel and retail space.
In all, the plans call for 490 apartments, 327 hotel rooms, 275,000 square feet of conference and event space and 13,400 square feet of ground-floor retail. Dittmar is asking for a site plan amendment and some zoning changes to complete the work, requiring a lengthy county approval process, but is aiming to kick off work by 2020 and open up the development in 2023.
“Though the hotel remains active and profitable, with very low vacancy rates, redevelopment will be of significant benefit to Arlington County and the surrounding community,” Nan Walsh, a land use attorney representing Dittmar, wrote in an Oct. 19 letter to county planners.
While the redevelopment would see the demolition of a hotel that’s been a part of the neighborhood’s skyline since 1972, it could also prompt a host of other aesthetic changes for the heart of Rosslyn.
Dittmar would demolish the hotel’s sky bridge over Fort Myer Drive as part of the construction, removing a main pedestrian path over one of the area’s busiest roads. However, Walsh argues in her letter that such a change largely meets the vision of the updated “Rosslyn Sector Plan,” which pushes for a move to more street-level pedestrian walkways after “execution of the skywalk concept fell short of expectations.” Plans for the development do call for a new “east-west” pedestrian path through the site, but that would connect N. Nash Street to Fort Myer Drive.
Walsh also argues in her letter that the new development’s design would help meet the sector plan’s vision of “creating a gateway to Rosslyn from Lee Highway and the Key Bridge.” The building’s offerings could also contribute to “the transformation of Rosslyn from an office-oriented downtown to a true mixed-use community with 24/7 activity,” she wrote.
To that end, Dittmar envisions using about 7,700 square feet of the development to offer a “full-service restaurant,” most likely located closest to Lee Highway to the property’s north. The remain 5,700 square feet of retail space could go to a commercial tenant, or be set aside for “civic space to be used by the county” — the plans suggest a public library could be a decent fit in the space.
Dittmar also plans to contribute cash to the county’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund as a condition of the development, and could even send the county enough money to complete its long-debated “Corridor of Light” public art project in the area.
As for the hotel portion of the development, Walsh envisions the new establishment as a “four-star, full service hotel.” Of the building’s apartments, 70 will also be set aside as “short term rentals,” designed for people looking to stay for 30 days or less.
The 38-story tower would also include a “6,000-square-foot event space” on its top floor, complete with panoramic views of the area. Rosslyn has increasingly become home to buildings marketing a similar view of the D.C. skyline.
The towers would also sit on top of three levels of underground parking and another four above ground, with 858 parking spaces available in all. A traffic study prepared by Dittmar’s consultants estimates that the project would only create “minor increases in delays” in the congested section of Rosslyn.
The county has yet to schedule any review of the proposed development, but it could eventually require work from the Site Plan Review Committee and Planning Commission before heading to the County Board.
Police Investigate Stabbing Near Alexandria Border — Updated at 2:45 p.m. — Arlington County Police are investigating a stabbing that happened last night at S. Arlington Ridge Road and S. Glebe Road. The incident, which started when the victim asked for help finding a ride, was initially believed to be a shooting, but was later determined to be “the result of a sharp weapon.” The victim was found with non-life threatening wounds just across the border in Alexandria. [Twitter, ACPD]
Major Redevelopment in Rosslyn — The Dittmar Co. has filed a preliminary site plan to redevelop the Holiday Inn hotel in Rosslyn, building 26- and 38-story towers housing 490 apartments and 327 hotel rooms. The proposal includes a 6,000 square foot event space on the top floor of the taller tower and the demolition of a skybridge crossing Fort Myer Drive. [Washington Business Journal]
Leonsis Says Build the Gondola — In a joint WaPo op-ed, Caps and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, JBG Smith CEO Matt Kelly and former GOP Congressman Tom Davis say the proposed Georgetown-Rosslyn gondola would be a “forward-looking and innovative” investment in our transportation infrastructure. [Washington Post]
Local CEO Buys Rosslyn Buildings — “Affiliates belonging to Cogent Communications Holdings Inc. CEO Dave Schaeffer, one of the region’s highest-paid chief executives, have acquired a pair of Rosslyn office buildings (1550 and 1560 Wilson Blvd) recently renovated to include upgraded common-area space and a new boutique boxing-oriented fitness facility.” [Washington Business Journal]
Sheriff’s Office Raises Money for Prostate Cancer — The Arlington County Sheriff’s Office helped to raise money for prostate cancer treatment at Virginia Hospital Center during the month of November via its “Beards with a Badge initiative.” [Virginia Hospital Center, WJLA]
November Sets Weather Record — Last month was the wettest November on record for the Washington area. It was also the second-wettest meteorological fall on record for the area, according to the National Weather Service. [Twitter]
Police Searching for Missing Man Last Seen in Georgetown — Police are still looking for David Stern, a D.C. accountant last seen at Dixie Liquor on M Street in Georgetown. The 29-year-old, who is engaged to be married, hasn’t been seen since buying a bottle of Crown Royal at the store this past Tuesday. [Fox 5]
Photo courtesy @wwwchris
Arlington County Police describe the woman’s death as a “domestic-related homicide.”
Officers were initially dispatched to a hotel on the 1700 block of Jefferson Davis Highway — the Crystal Gateway Marriott is the only hotel on that block — “for the report of a possible death.”
Stafford resident Natasha Rivera, 20, was found dead in the room. Rodolfo Rivera, 24, was arrested and charged with murder.
More from an ACPD press release:
Arlington County Police announce the arrest of a Stafford, Virginia man following a domestic-related homicide investigation in Crystal City. Rodolfo Rivera, 24, was arrested and charged with Murder. He is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.
At approximately 9:40 a.m. on November 3, police were dispatched to the 1700 block of Jefferson Davis Highway for the report of a possible death. Upon arrival, officers located a female victim deceased inside a hotel room. The suspect was on scene when police arrived and taken into custody without incident.
The victim has been identified as Natasha Rivera, 20, of Stafford, Virginia. Cause of death will be determined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
Anyone with information about this homicide is asked to contact Detective G. Skeens of the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4166 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
Strangers Mourn Arlington Hero at Funeral — “I attended the funeral of a man I didn’t know. In the pew in front of me sat two women who also hadn’t met him. And in front them, in rows packed with people, there were others who knew nothing about Patricio Salazar’s love of sports or books or his ability to talk to anyone he met. They knew only how he had died: trying to help someone.” [Washington Post]
Rosslyn Circus Gets Poor Reviews — “The Holiday Inn in Rosslyn, Virginia, is a nondescript building that easily blends into the dull neighborhood of offices just outside of Washington. But for an hour on Thursday, November 1, the budget hotel felt like a dreamworld — an alternative universe of alternative facts.” [The Weekly Standard, Daily Beast, Periscope, Twitter]
Anti-DUI Event Cancelled — An anti-drunk driving community outreach event scheduled to take place in Clarendon tonight has been cancelled due to expected storms and downpours. The event was originally scheduled to take place the weekend before Halloween but was then postponed due to rain. [Twitter, Arlington County]
WMAL Broadcasting from Metro 29 — Radio station WMAL (105.9 FM) is broadcasting live from Metro 29 Diner on Lee Highway this morning. Among the guests stopping by for interviews are a cadre of Republicans: George Allen, U.S. Senate candidate Corey Stewart, and congressional candidates Thomas Oh and Barbara Comstock. [Twitter]
WhyHotel Coming to Columbia Pike — “WhyHotel has just signed a deal for its second project in Arlington. WhyHotel signed on with Orr Partners to operate temporary hotel rooms in 150 of the 366 units in the Centro Arlington development… [which] is replacing the former Food Star grocery store at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. George Mason Drive.” [Bisnow]
New Scalia Statue at GMU Law School — “As debate raged on Capitol Hill over a Supreme Court nomination that could shape the court’s future for decades, five justices gathered Thursday at a law school just across the Potomac River for the unveiling of a statue honoring an icon from its recent past — the late justice Antonin Scalia.” [Washington Post]
Arlington Living Wage Calculator — According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology living wage calculator, the income required to raise three kids in a household with two working adults in Arlington County is $92,480. [MIT]
Arlington Flyover Today — There is a flyover scheduled around 1:15 p.m. today in support of a funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. [Twitter]
Where to Find Singing WBJ Staffers — The Continental Beer Garden in Rosslyn and Westover Beer Garden in Westover are among the 15 best beer gardens in the D.C. area, according to the Washington Business Journal. The former is “a popular happy hour spot for WBJ staffers, who are known to sing along to the tunes playing on the outdoor speakers and share an order of pretzels and beer cheese dip.” [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington Pet Adoptions Up — “In 2017, we did a record number of adoptions for [the Animal Welfare League of Arlington], with 1,366 pets adopted. So far this year, we have already beaten that number, with 1,450 pets adopted.” [Twitter]
Halloween Stores Now Open — If you’re looking for a Halloween costume, there are three Spirit Halloween stores now open in the area, although none are in Arlington. For something closer to home, Total Fright in the Crystal City Shops (known as Total Party other times of the year) is also selling costumes and decorations. Meanwhile, a Christmas store is now open in Tysons. [Tysons Reporter]
First Responders Say Starting Pay Is Too Low — “Patrick Gorman was just beginning to enjoy his job as an Arlington, Va., police officer when he decided to quit. His wife was pregnant with twins, and they already had a 2-year-old. Even with both working full time, he said, they couldn’t afford to live in the area. Two months out of training, he left the department in February and moved to North Carolina.” [Washington Post]
Large Arlington Contingent for Boston Marathon — Some 77 runners from Arlington are set to compete in the prestigious Boston Marathon a week from today. [InsideNova]
Public Safety Personnel Recognized for Crisis Interventions — “Four Arlington County police officers, two sheriff’s deputies, and a 9-1-1 dispatcher were honored this week for their exemplary work in responding to people in a mental health crisis when on a call or on the job.” [Arlington County]
Spotted: Michael Irvin — Former Dallas Cowboys great Michael Irvin was spotted hanging out at Champps on Pentagon Row over the weekend. [Twitter]
Rosslyn Hotel Opening Brings Up HQ2 — It’s difficult to find an economic development event in Northern Virginia these days that doesn’t spark discussions of Amazon’s HQ2. At an opening for the new Homewood Suites hotel in Rosslyn, Arlington Economic Development Director Victor Hoskins remarked that “you’d have to build, like, 10 more of these” if Amazon were to come to Arlington. [Washington Business Journal]
ARLnow Doesn’t Have a Wikipedia Page — Did you know that despite being around for more than eight years, and being cited as a source in plenty of Wikipedia pages, ARLnow does not have its own page? With Facebook now starting to use Wikipedia as a signaling mechanism for trustworthiness, now would be a great time for someone to finally give ARLnow its own Wikipedia entry. Pretty please?
The incident happened around 12:30 a.m. early Friday morning, on the 1700 block of Jefferson Davis Highway (Route 1).
More from Arlington County Police:
WEAPONS VIOLATION, 2018-03230014, 1700 block of Jefferson Davis Highway. At approximately 12:39 a.m. on March 23, police were dispatched to the report of a disorderly subject brandishing a knife. Upon arrival, it was determined that a male subject was being disorderly inside a hotel and had damaged property. When security officers attempted to intervene, the subject allegedly charged at them and made threatening statements while brandishing a knife. Arriving officers took the subject into custody. Ralph Powers, 43, of Newark, Delaware was arrested and charged with Assault & Battery, Carrying a Concealed Weapon, Destruction of Property and Drunk in Public.
Sexual Assault Suspect Was Maintenance Worker — The man arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a woman in her apartment in Rosslyn last year worked as a maintenance worker for an apartment building in D.C. Police say he posed as a maintenance worker in the Rosslyn building to get the victim to open her door, before forcing his way into the apartment. [NBC Washington]
New Uber Pickup at DCA — “If you are planning to take an Uber, Lyft or other ride-share service from Reagan National Airport, you’ll need to head to a new spot to be picked up. Airport officials have moved the pick up zone to the ticketing level (upstairs) at Terminals B and C.” [Washington Post]
Spotted: M.J. Stewart at NFL Combine — Former Yorktown football star M.J. Stewart, who was also a standout defensive back at the University of North Carolina, was among those working out at the NFL Scouting Combine over the past week. [Twitter]
Rosslyn Hyatt Sold — The Hyatt Centric hotel in Rosslyn has been sold to a subsidiary of publicly-traded hotel operator Sotherly Hotels for $79.7 million. The hotel was recently renovated. [Seeking Alpha]
LiveSafe Helping to Keep SXSW Safe — The South by Southwest festival is utilizing the mobile safety app produced by Arlington-based LiveSafe to help with event security this year. SXSW kicks off on Friday in Austin, Texas. [DC Inno]
Nearby: Alexandria Residents Oppose Beer Garden — “Residents of a townhouse development next to a proposed beer garden in Del Ray are opposing the business, saying it will create ‘noise and safety issues’ and ‘negatively affect our community.'” [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Duluoz Me
Partisans Stake Out Sides on Country Club Tax Bill — There are two very different political perspectives on the state bill that would greatly lower the tax bills of Arlington’s two country clubs. On one hand, a writer on the conservative blog Bearing Drift says Arlington’s tax treatment of Army-Navy Country Club (which is covered by the bill along with Washington Golf & Country Club) is “manifestly unfair, and… impacts an especially distinguished and patriotic group of older folks.” On the other hand, progressive blog Blue Virginia says the bill, which passed the Virginia General Assembly last week, should be vetoed by Gov. Ralph Northam (D) because it would “lavish big $$$ on super-rich people, weaken local autonomy vs state AND set a horrible precedent.” [Bearing Drift, Blue Virginia]
County Launches Online Payments for Building Permits — After years of grumbles from local businesses, starting today Arlington County is accepting online payments for building permits. Payments can only be made online when one is submitting permits via the ePlan Review portal. [Arlington County]
Arlington Tourism Tax Bill Passes — “More than a dozen Republican members of the House of Delegates voted against, but Arlington’s effort to retain its ability to levy a surtax on hotel stays to pay for tourism promotion is headed to the governor’s desk.” [InsideNova]
Arlingtonian Making World Record Attempt — Crystal City resident and elite runner Tyler Andrews will attempt to break the 3o-year-old record for fastest 50K run next month. [STRIVE Trips]
First Down Marks Ninth Anniversary — First Down Sports Bar & Grill in Ballston is celebrating 9 years in business today. [ARLnow Events]
Nearby: Lebanese Taverna Closing in Bethesda — Arlington-based local restaurant chain Lebanese Taverna is closing its Bethesda location, citing an inability to reach agreement on a new lease with the landlord of Bethesda Row. [Bethesda Beat]
Photo courtesy Paola Lyle
Former Clarendon Walgreens Building Purchased — JPMorgan Chase has bought the building that housed the former Walgreens in Clarendon for $25 million, perhaps for a new bank branch. [Washington Business Journal]
Local Man Shot and Killed in Philly — An Arlington man who “appeared to be intentionally trying to run down people” with his car was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer in South Philadelphia. The shooting is under investigation. [WPVI]
More Details on Arlington Vehicle Decals — “The 2017-18 Arlington car-tax decal may come with a new feature: personalization. The county treasurer’s office is working on a plan that would add each vehicle’s year, make and model onto the new decals, which will start being distributed over the summer.” [InsideNova]
ACPD Launches Super Bowl Sobriety Campaign — “The Arlington County Police Department and law enforcement agencies across the country are huddling up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for a special Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk reminder to urge football fans across the nation not to drop the ball on this issue.” [Arlington County]
VHC Named Top Hospital for Nurses — Virginia Hospital Center is the top hospital for nurses in Virginia, according to new rankings from a nursing website. [Nurse.org]
Signs Up for Nestle in Rosslyn — A Nestle sign is now up on the company’s new headquarters at 1812 N. Moore Street in Rosslyn. [Twitter]
State Senate OKs Arlington Hotel Tax Bill — The Virginia state Senate has passed a bill to authorize Arlington to impose a 0.25 percent hotel tax surcharge, to fund tourism promotion. The county’s current authority to collect the surcharge expires July 1. [InsideNova]
Robert Parry Obituary — “Robert Parry, an investigative journalist who was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1985 for his Associated Press exclusives about the CIA’s production of an assassination manual for Nicaraguan rebels, died Jan. 27 in Arlington, Va. He was 68.” [Washington Post, Consortiumnews]
The man was seeking “the business cards of management,” according to this week’s Arlington County crime report. Police did not give an explanation for why he wanted business cards at 1 a.m.
Responding officers were able to find the man nearby, based on a “lookout” broadcast after the victims called 911. He was arrested and now faces multiple charges.
More from ACPD:
BRANDISHING, 2018-01230010, 2400 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 1:00 a.m. on January 23, police were dispatched to the report of a brandishing. Upon arrival, it was determined that a male suspect entered the lobby of a business, made contact with two employees and requested the business cards of management. When the victims declined, the suspect threatened them, brandished a firearm and fled in his vehicle prior to police arrival. A lookout was broadcast based upon the suspect description provided by witnesses and arriving officers located a vehicle and suspect matching the description nearby. Richard Hylton Jr., 28, of Gaithersburg, MD, was arrested and charged with Assault & Battery (x2), Brandishing a Firearm, and Carrying a Concealed Weapon (x2).
This week’s crime report was one of the shorter ones in recent memory. The remaining items from it are below.
LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2018-01170105, 4000 block of Lee Highway. At approximately 12:06 a.m. on January 17, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny from auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that an unknown suspect(s) removed the tires from and tampered with multiple vehicles in the parking lot of a business. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.
LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2018-01170002, 01170124, 1000 block of Arlington Boulevard. At approximately 12:08 a.m. on January 17, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny from auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 7:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. on January 16, an unknown suspect(s) smashed the windows of two vehicles and stole items of value. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.
A new wine bar and restaurant is open on the first floor of a Courthouse hotel.
Verre Wine Bar and Restaurant is located at 2415 Wilson Blvd, on the first floor of the Hyatt Place hotel, which opened ahead of schedule last year. Based on photos posted to the wine bar’s Yelp page, it opened in November.
Verre has an extensive wine and draft beer list, as well as small plates and cheese and charcuterie boards among other foods. It opens at 5 p.m. each day with happy hour.
The Key Bridge Marriott and the 5.5 acres of prime Rosslyn real estate around it are being purchased by a pair of Los Angeles investment firms for $190 million, the Washington Business Journal reported today (Friday).
The firms plan to invest in rehabbing the hotel, WBJ reports, and a portion of the partially-wooded site between Lee Highway and the GW Parkway is expected to be redeveloped as new residential properties and possibly some retail. The buyers were among a number of companies with redevelopment visions bidding to acquire the site, ARLnow.com hears.
The hotel first opened in 1959 as the Key Bridge Motor Inn, one of Marriott’s earliest hotels (the first was the Twin Bridges Motor Hotel, in Arlington near the 14th Street Bridge).
Photo via Google Maps
A hotel in Rosslyn near the Iwo Jima Memorial has changed its name.
The Best Western Rosslyn/Iwo Jima at 1501 Arlington Blvd. is now the Red Lion Rosslyn/Iwo Jima.
Permitting applications filed with Arlington County earlier this month indicate it is just a name change, and that no other aspects of the hotel have physically been changed other than its branding.
The Red Lion has 141 rooms, and other amenities including free Wi-Fi, complimentary bike rentals, a 24-hour fitness center and more. A hotel and condo redevelopment has been proposed for the property.
Hat-tip to Eric L.