57°Light Rain

by ARLnow.com — October 14, 2016 at 10:15 am 0

Arlington dignitaries were on hand for a ribbon cutting and champagne ceremony at the new 168-room Hyatt Place hotel in Courthouse Thursday afternoon.

In addition to rooms with modern furnishings and comfy beds, the hotel, at 2401 Wilson Blvd, features a 24-hour gym, 24-hour meal service, free hotel-wide WiFi and a “coffee to cocktails bar.”

There’s also a curated art collection in the lobby and a newly-unveiled original sculpture — of a stylized, blue high heel shoe that doubles as a bench — outside, at the corner of Wilson and N. Adams Street.

At the ceremony, officials lauded the hotel as an economic asset for Arlington that was built with the support of local residents, thanks to a focus on public outreach by developer Schupp Companies.

by ARLnow.com — September 26, 2016 at 2:35 pm 0

Shots fired response in Pentagon City (courtesy photo)A man fired several gunshots in the air a block from a main entrance to the Pentagon reservation, according to an Arlington County Police crime report.

The shots were fired during a fight between two groups outside the Doubletree hotel on Army Navy Drive in Pentagon City.

No one was hurt and so far no arrests have been made, according to police.

From the crime report:

DISCHARGE OF A FIREARM, 160925005, 300 block of S. Army Navy Drive. At approximately 1:00 a.m. on September 25, police were dispatched to the report of shots fired. The investigation revealed a physical confrontation between two groups had ensued and one male subject discharged a firearm several times into the air. The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 6’2″ tall and wearing a black cap, light blue shirt, and blue jeans. There were no injuries reported.

by ARLnow.com — September 16, 2016 at 9:55 am 0

Bin 1700, a restaurant and lounge inside the Crystal Gateway Marriott (1700 Jefferson Davis Hwy) in Crystal City, is currently undergoing renovations.

Numerous workers could be seen working inside the demolished and under-construction space Thursday afternoon.

It’s unclear what exactly will be replacing the restaurant, though county permits indicate that the work is part of a larger interior renovation of the hotel’s lobby, common areas, hallways and rooms.

Bin 1700’s only two Yelp reviews describe a fairly middle-of-the-road restaurant that primarily served hotel guests.

by ARLnow.com — August 22, 2016 at 3:35 pm 0

A brand new 168-room Hyatt Place hotel opened in Courthouse last week.

Construction on the hotel began in early 2015 and wrapped up ahead of schedule this month. The hotel is expected to attract tourists, business travelers and conference attendees alike.

Among other features, the hotel has a curated art collection in the lobby and outside at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Adams Street, “for passersby to enjoy.”

From a Hyatt press release:

Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza is officially open in Arlington, Va. The hotel features the Hyatt Place brand’s intuitive design, casual atmosphere and practical amenities, such as free Wi-Fi and 24-hour food offerings. Hyatt Place Arlington Courthouse

Plaza is owned by Schupp Companies, a real estate development company, and is operated and managed by LodgeWorks Partners, L.P.

Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza is nearby a variety of restaurant, shopping and entertainment options. The hotel is two blocks away from the Courthouse Metro stop and close to major Washington D.C. attractions, including the White House, the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, and Arlington Cemetery. With inviting spaces to connect, meet, socialize, eat and drink, the property is a unique place designed around today’s modern traveler.

Hyatt Place Arlington Courthouse/Plaza offers:

  • 168 spacious guestrooms, all of which feature a swiveling 42-inch HDTV, the plush Hyatt Grand Bed® and Cozy Corner sectional sofa – all with separate spaces to sleep, work and play
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel
  • Complimentary a.m. Kitchen Skillet™, a free hot breakfast for guests available daily in the Gallery Kitchen, features hot breakfast items, fresh fruit, oatmeal, yogurt, cereal, fresh-baked pastries, premium coffee, an assortment of juices and more
  • 24/7 Gallery Menu & Market serving freshly prepared meals anytime, day or night and perfectly packaged sandwiches and salads
  • Coffee to Cocktails Bar featuring specialty coffees and premium beers, as well as wines and cocktails
  • Odds & Ends program for forgotten items that guests can buy, borrow or enjoy for free
  • 566 square feet of flexible, high-tech meeting/function space and connected to the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Conference and Event Center, accommodating up to 200 people for meetings and events
  • 24-hour StayFit Gym featuring cardio equipment with LDC touchscreens and free ear buds
  • Curated Art Collection with custom-designed pieces that will be featured in the lobby and cascade outside of the hotel onto the sidewalk at the corner of Wilson and Adams for passersby to enjoy

“Arlington is a vibrant community that enjoys both a warm neighborhood feel and an ever-expanding list of must-see places and experiences,” said Ray Schupp, president and owner at Schupp Companies.

“We are fortunate Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza is centrally located so guests are just steps away from the best of Arlington. We are confident this hotel will exceed expectations and deliver a memorable experience for all.”

Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza is under the leadership of General Manager Shiela Shrestha and Director of Sales Nasima Alam. In her role, Shrestha is directly responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the hotel, including overseeing the hotel’s 40 associates and ensuring guests encounter the purposeful service for which the Hyatt Place brand is known. Alam is responsible for providing sales service and support to travelers and meeting planners frequenting the Arlington, Va. area.

Photos courtesy Hyatt

by ARLnow.com — August 18, 2016 at 9:30 am 0

Storm clouds rolling in over the Potomac

Former Mansion Owner is In Jail — Rodney Hunt, the man who once owned the $23 million Arlington mansion that’s being used to throw large parties (and which was recently sold at a foreclosure auction), is currently in the Arlington County jail. Hunt was ordered to spend 90 days in jail earlier this month for violating his parole. An attorney says Hunt doesn’t know anything about the parties. [Washington Post]

Tourists Can’t Handle the Heat at the Cemetery — Anytime it gets sufficiently toasty outside, medical calls to Arlington National Cemetery become frequent. Tourists at the cemetery regularly suffer heat-related ailments that require paramedic dispatches during the summer. The cemetery is advising visitors to wear sunscreen and bring a bottle of water during the warm weather months. [Twitter]

Airbnb Is Costing Arlington Tax Revenue — Arlington County has yet to figure out a good way to get those renting out their homes on Airbnb to pay the county’s 5.25 percent lodging tax, which is paid by hotels and should be paid by Airbnb hosts. “Very few of the folks who should be paying taxes have stepped up to fork over the money,” reports Michael Pope. [WVTF]

Art Murals in Crystal City — Crystal City has more than two dozen outdoor art murals, implemented by the Crystal City Business Improvement District. The murals are part of an effort to “visually revitalize the area,” which is noted for being something of a concrete canyon. [Curbed]

Teacher Salaries By School — A list shows the average teacher salary, by school, at Arlington Public Schools. Topping the list is Kenmore Middle School, at $80,411. At the bottom of the list is the Arlington Mill high school program, at $61,731. [Patch]

APS Finance Chief Wins Award — Leslie Peterson, the assistant superintendent for finance and management at Arlington Public Schools, is one of three officials in the U.S. to receive the 2016 Pinnacle of Achievement Award from the Association of School Business Officials International. [InsideNova]

Amtrak Police Chief Shared Apartment With ‘Alleged Boyfriend’ — Amtrak Police Chief Polly Hanson, who’s under investigation for fraud and conflict of interest, reportedly shared an Arlington apartment with her “alleged boyfriend,” a senior director at a contractor that Amtrak hired under Hanson’s supervision. The two also are said to have co-owned a condo in Dewey Beach, Del. [Washington Post]

by ARLnow.com — August 15, 2016 at 11:15 am 0

Ballston (photo courtesy Noah Kaufman)

NAACP Wants War Memorial Plaque Changed — The Arlington chapter of the NAACP wants a plaque on the war memorial in Clarendon updated. The plaque lists Arlingtonians killed in World War I, but separates two “colored” military members from the rest of the local war dead. The NAACP says it would like to get the plaque removed and replaced. “We owe it to those who fought and died,” said local NAACP president Karen Nightengale. [InsideNova]

Two Restaurant Chains Coming to Arlington — Two regional franchise operators have signed agreements that will bring two expanding restaurant chains to Arlington. A former Domino’s Pizza franchisee is planning to open an Arlington location of Wisconsin-based Toppers Pizza, in addition to locations elsewhere in Northern Virginia. Meanwhile a Five Guys franchisee says it will be opening 10 Newk’s Eatery locations in Arlington and Fairfax counties. The Mississippi-based soup, salad, sandwich and pizza chain is big in the Southeast U.S., with more than 100 locations in 13 states and an aggressive expansion plan. [WTOP, Washington Business Journal]

Arlington Hotels Hacked — Two Arlington hotels have reportedly had their payment systems compromised by hackers. HEI Hotels and Resorts says malware was found on its systems at 20 hotels, including the Le Meridien in Rosslyn and the Sheraton Pentagon City on Columbia Pike. The hack potentially exposed the credit card information of hotel guests and customers. [Associated Press]

Pokemon Go at the Pentagon — Department of Defense officials have put the kibosh on DoD employees playing Pokemon Go on government phones, citing concerns about the game tracking the movement of its employees. The DoD has also reportedly told Pentagon employees to only play the game outside of the building. A Pokemon “gym” inside the Pentagon has been removed. [The Guardian, Twitter]

Bethesda Man Bought $1 Million Lottery Ticket in Arlington — The $1 million-winning Powerball ticket that was sold at a Ballston 7-Eleven store last month was sold to a Bethesda resident. Larry Elpiner says he plans to “share his winnings with family and friends,” in addition to paying for his daughter’s college education. [WUSA 9]

Photo courtesy Noah Kaufman

by ARLnow.com — August 3, 2016 at 9:15 am 0

Sunrise over the Potomac (Flickr pool photo by David Giambarresi)

Key Bridge Marriott Lease Sold — The ground lease for the 57-year-old Key Bridge Marriott in Rosslyn has been sold to a luxury hotel and resort operator, leading to speculation that the hotel — Marriott’s longest continuously-operating property — may soon be replaced. [WTOP]

Sales Tax Receipts Nudge Up — Arlington received $39.68 million in sales tax disbursements from the state this year, up 0.2 percent compared to the year prior, pointing to an ever-so-slight increase in retail sales in the county despite some challenges dragging that figure down. [InsideNova]

Arlington to Host Community Conference — Arlington County is hosting the 17th annual Virginia Statewide Neighborhood Conference from Sept. 29-Oct. 1. Hundreds of neighborhood leaders, community activists and government agencies are expected to attend. [Arlington County]

Local Yoga Studio Featured on National TV — Spark Yoga, an aerial yoga studio on N. Pershing Drive in Lyon Park, was featured in a segment on business news channel CNBC with reporter Diana Olick. [CNBC]

Bikes With Roofs — Is the hot summer sun beating down on you during your bike commute? If so, perhaps you can follow the lead of these two local cyclists and attach a canopy to your bike. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by David Giambarresi

by Adrian Cruz — July 27, 2016 at 3:35 pm 0


Arlington hotels are offering free coffee, cookies and other perks to the county’s cops to thank them for their service.

At an Arlington Chamber of Commerce ceremony yesterday, Arlington County Police Department chief Jay Farr received the gifts from six local hotels.

“Each day, the hardworking men and women of the Arlington County Police Department work tirelessly to protect us,” DoubleTree general manager Dori Familiant said in a press release. “It is an honor to work with the other hotels through the Chamber to extend our appreciation to the ACPD officers for their dedication to keeping our businesses, residents, and visitors safe.”

According to the Chamber, the gifts included:

  • Arlington Court Suites Hotel
    • A three-day free access to its Capital View Lounge for a choice of breakfast or dinner along with free parking and free access to the Capital View
  • DoubleTree by Hilton Crystal City
    • Free coffee anytime in Made Market, the grab and go located in the lobby
    • Complimentary lunch and dinner any day in the employee cafeteria
    • Complimentary DoubleTree by Hilton cookies at any time (Available at the front desk)
  • Holiday Inn Rosslyn
    • Complimentary cup of coffee daily from 6 a.m.-8 p.m. from the Potomac Perk Cafe
  • Hyatt Arlington at Washington’s Key Bridge
    • Complimentary items from Starbucks on an ongoing basis
  • Key Bridge Marriott
    • Complimentary beverages to be picked up in the staff breakroom
  • Residence Inn Arlington Capital View
    • Free cup of coffee at Illy’s Cafe from 6 a.m.- 6 p.m. every day.

Photo via Arlington Chamber of Commerce

by ARLnow.com — June 16, 2016 at 2:30 pm 0

Police car (file photo)A woman who was staying in a hotel along Columbia Pike woke up early Monday morning to find a burglar in her room.

Police say the man stole items from the woman’s suitcase, in a room at the Sheraton hotel near the Air Force Memorial.

The burglar was reportedly wearing slippers at the time of the crime.

From an Arlington County Police crime report:

LATE BURGLARY, 160615013, 900 block of S. Orme Street. Between 4:10 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. on June 15, a female victim awoke to a male suspect entering her hotel room. She observed him steal objects from her suitcase and then flee when she confronted him. The suspect is described as a black male in his twenties, approximately 5’8″ tall and weighed 160 lbs. He was wearing a gray shirt, orange/khaki shorts, and slippers.

by ARLnow.com — June 2, 2016 at 9:30 am 0

View of 23rd Street in Crystal City, from the top of an office building

Groundbreaking for Hotel Project — Developer B.F. Saul broke ground yesterday on a new hotel project. A 10-story Homewood Suites hotel will be replacing the former Colony House Furniture store at 1700 Lee Highway near Rosslyn. Demolition of the store is now proceeding, five years after it closed its doors. [Washington Business Journal]

Kojo Controversy Defused — Arlington County Board candidate Erik Gutshall wasn’t happy with the choice of political operative Ben Tribbett as a call-in guest for a Kojo Nnamdi Show segment on the County Board race — and the candidate made his feelings known via Twitter. Tribbett had done some paid polling work for incumbent Libby Garvey earlier this year, Gutshall pointed out. In the end, Gutshall himself joined the segment as a call-in guest, along with Tribbett and ARLnow.com editor Scott Brodbeck. [Storify]

Arlington Posting FOIA Responses Online — Arlington County is now releasing its responses to Freedom of Information Act requests online, for all to see. The first posted response is documents and emails related to NOVA Armory. Said County Manager Mark Schwartz: “My overarching goal is to increase government transparency. This is one simple way that we can share information that we have already collected… which already has some interest from the community.” [Arlington County]

by ARLnow.com — May 17, 2016 at 10:55 am 0

Here are some words we do not have an opportunity to write often: a construction project in Arlington is running ahead of schedule.

Construction on the new eight-story, 161-room Hyatt Place hotel in Courthouse is entering the home stretch.

Groundbreaking for the hotel, at 2401 Wilson Blvd, took place on a chilly January day last year. Developer Ray Schupp says construction is expected to wrap up mid-summer.

“We are ahead of schedule and now anticipate moving up our opening to mid-August,” Schupp tells ARLnow.com. The opening was previously planned for mid-September.

Also in the works: an unveiling for a new Vivian Beer sculpture, commissioned as part of the development and to be located at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Adams Street. A date for the unveiling has not yet been set.

Schupp says grand opening festivities are also being planned for the hotel and the local community will be invited. He thanked neighbors for their patience during construction.

“Our neighbors in Lyon Village and the surrounding communities have lived through this process while being positive (and sometimes forgiving),” he said. “We want to thank them in our opening.”

Photos by Jackie Friedman

by ARLnow.com — April 11, 2016 at 4:45 pm 0

Police car lightsA man was assaulted by a group of people on Columbia Pike early Friday morning after he got them kicked out of a restaurant, according to police.

The incident started around 8:40 p.m. Thursday as a dispute between two groups of people, inside a restaurant on the 2900 block of Columbia Pike, police said.

One member of a group was upset about being filmed by members of the other group and complained to restaurant management, which reportedly kicked the offending group out.

“Why they were filming or taking pictures inside the restaurant, that was not explained by the victim,” said Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

The group that got kicked out apparently decided to hang out in order to exact some retribution. When the victim exited the restaurant around closing time, they assaulted him. The victim later transported himself to the hospital, where he was treated for minor abrasions.

The victim waited until Saturday evening to report the crime to police. From an ACPD crime report:

ASSAULT BY MOB, 160409035, 2900 block of S. Columbia Pike. At approximately 8:40 p.m. on April 7, following a dispute, a victim was assaulted by a number of offenders after he exited a restaurant. The victim was able to give suspect descriptions for two of the suspects. The first suspect is described as a black male in his teens, approximately 5’6″ tall with a slim build. He was wearing glasses and had braces. The second suspect is described as a black male in his twenties, approximately 5’6″ tall with a slim build. The investigation is ongoing.

On Saturday, a block away from the first incident on Columbia Pike, police investigated an alleged abduction and sexual assault.

Officers responded to the Days Inn motel at 3030 Columbia Pike around 10 p.m. Saturday for a report of a dispute. The dispute turned out to be between the victim’s family — she had called them for help — and the suspect.

Police say the victim and the suspect were acquaintances and had gone out for drinks before heading to the motel, where he held her against her will and assaulted her. From today’s crime report:

ABDUCTION WITH THE INTENT TO DEFILE, 160409051, 3000 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 10:00 p.m. on April 9, police responded to a dispute in progress, upon investigation they determined the male subject used threats to hold the female victim against her will and assaulted her. Jorge Luis Velazquez Camacho, 34, of Wheaton Maryland, was arrested and charged with abduction with the intent to defile, object sexual penetration, strangulation, possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, and assault and battery. He is being held without bond.

by ARLnow.com — March 10, 2016 at 10:20 am 0

Tree blossoms in Lyon Park

Police Seek Witness in Pentagon City Investigation — Arlington County Police are trying to find a witness who rendered aid to an injured man found face down in the street in Pentagon City. The incident happened around 9:30 p.m. on February 25, on the 1200 block of S. Eads Street. The 65-year-old man remains in critical but stable condition. [Arlington County]

Group Forms to Oppose Gun StoreUpdated at 11:05 a.m. — A group called Act4LyonPark has formed to oppose NOVA Armory, the gun store that’s planning to open on March 26 at 2300 N. Pershing Drive. So far, Act4LyonPark has raised $6,300 to support its activities. The group says that in a recent vote, 88 percent of residents who responded voted for the Lyon Park Citizens Association to take an official stance against the gun shop.

Board to Consider Relaxed Historic Rules for Schools — The Arlington County Board is expected to vote Saturday on a proposal to make it easier for Arlington Public Schools to make changes to schools within local historic districts. The proposal would remove schools from the oversight of the county’s rigid Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board. Facing a school capacity crunch, APS says going through HALRB adds unnecessary delays and costs to projects. [InsideNova]

One Person Filed 6,500 Noise Complaints Against DCA — A single individual is responsible for 6,500 of the 8,670 noise complaints filed against Reagan National Airport last year, according to the airports authority. [WTOP]

Chamber Savors Hotel Tax Victory — With Arlington’s 0.25 percent hotel tax surcharge reinstated, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce is celebrating a long-awaited legislative victory. “Reinstating Arlington’s [Transient Occupancy Tax] was the Chamber’s top priority for the 2016 legislative session, with the funds generated by the additional TOT providing much needed support to ensure that Arlington remains competitive in attracting leisure and business travel,” said Chamber president and CEO Kate Roche. [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]

Local Musician Wins Songwriting Award — Arlington’s Justin Jones has won the $10,000 grand prize from a local songwriting competition in Bethesda. [Instagram]

by ARLnow.com — February 18, 2016 at 10:45 am 0

Kate RocheThe following op-ed was written by Kate Roche, President and CEO of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce.

In 2014, Arlington had 6 million visitors who spent nearly $3 billion in the County, making Arlington the number one county for economic impact of tourism in Virginia.

This is a substantial boost to our local economy. In just tax dollars alone, tourism revenue generates approximately $81 million in County taxes and $108 million in state taxes per year. Without these revenues, each Arlington household would pay an average of $1,800 each year in taxes to receive the same services.

Tourism also accounts for about 25,000 jobs in Arlington. As the President & CEO of the Chamber, I’ve had the pleasure of working with many in our hospitality industry who work hard every day and reflect positively on our community to those who visit.

Sheraton National Hotel in Foxcroft HeightsEvery year the Chamber hosts our Hospitality Awards which recognizes individuals in the industry who go above and beyond. These awards are not for managers or properties, but for the front-line individuals who make a difference – whether it’s the concierge who takes off his own tie and irons it for a guest who spilled mustard on his, or the parking attendant who rescues a guest during a blizzard. These are the people who make Arlington’s first impression on visitors and keep them coming back to our great county.

While our hospitality industry is thriving, its potential to grow has been significantly limited by budget constraints. As the chart below shows, the Arlington Convention and Visitors Service’s budget pales in comparison to our neighboring jurisdictions’ tourism budgets. While the ACVS staff is effective with the resources available, they are severely financially constrained.

More than twenty years ago, the Chamber successfully lobbied the General Assembly for an additional 0.25% Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) surcharge on hotel rooms in Arlington with all revenues to fund tourism. The Chamber has an active Hotel General Managers Committee who were, and continue to be, fully supportive of this. Even with this tax, our hotel room tax rates are extremely competitive, particularly compared to DC. This is a surcharge that pays for itself in additional revenue generated.

Regional tourism statistics

The TOT surcharge had a three year sunset clause and was renewed consecutively until 2011 when it lapsed. That lapse had nothing to do with tourism, but with the political climate in Virginia and some legislators’ view of Arlington.

The Chamber is working hard to make sure that politics don’t get in the way of what is not only good for Arlington County, but also good for Northern Virginia and the entire Commonwealth. Reinstating the additional TOT has been the Chamber’s top legislative priority this session. We have worked closely with the entire Arlington delegation to the General Assembly on this issue, with Senator Janet Howell introducing SB160 and Delegate Patrick Hope introducing HB 1147. I, along with our Chair Todd Yeatts and a number of Chamber members, have gone down to Richmond several times for these hearings. At this time SB160 has passed the Senate and HB 1147 passed the House of Delegates just last week.

The Arlington Chamber is hopeful this legislation will be signed into law by Governor McAuliffe and is incredibly optimistic about the impact these additional tourism funds will have not only on Arlington business, but the larger community.

by ARLnow.com — September 21, 2015 at 4:55 pm 2,203 0

Police car lightsA trio of men armed with shotguns robbed a hotel in Crystal City early Saturday morning.

The frightening incident happened just before 3 a.m. on Sept. 19, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on the 1400 block of Crystal Drive. The men made off with cash following the hold up, police say.

From the Arlington County Police crime report:

Three unknown subjects entered the [Crowne] Plaza Hotel with shotguns and stole an undisclosed amount of money. The subjects fled on foot. The first suspect is described as a mixed race male in his twenties, approximately 5’10”-6’1″ tall and weighed 175 lbs. He was wearing a black ski mask, a black hooded long sleeve North Face jacket, black pants, and black shoes. The second suspect is described as a white male in his twenties, approximately 5’9″-5’11” tall and weighed 210 lbs. He was wearing a black ski mask, a baggy brown jacket, black pants, and black shoes. The third suspect is described as a black male in his twenties, approximately 6’0″ tall and weighed 155 lbs. He was wearing a black ski mask, a tight black jacket, black pants, and black shoes.


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