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.
Arlington Man Dies in Motorcycle Wreck — A 68-year-old Arlington man died last month after a motorcycle crash in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Police say Ben Walker, Jr. ran into the back of a car that had just made a U-turn on Indian Head Highway. [Patch]
Pentagon City Hotel Changes Hands — An Orlando-based real estate investment firm has acquired the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Pentagon City for $105 million. Xenia Hotels & Resorts said in a press release that the 365-room hotel is “uniquely positioned” in the market given its direct connection to the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall. [PR Newswire]
Housing Demolitions Continue — The group Preservation Arlington has released its latest tally of demolition permits, reporting that demo permits for 120 single-family homes were applied for in the first nine months of the year. “The pending loss of these homes ‘represents a loss of history, architecture, time, energy and materials,’ the preservation group said in a statement.” [InsideNova]
Virginia’s Halloween Candy of Choice — The most popular Halloween candy in Virginia, according to the website CandyStore.com, is Snickers bars. Hot Tamales and candy corn were second and third, in terms of pounds sold. [CandyStore]
Letter: Possible Names for Schools — In a letter to the editor, a local resident recommended consideration of three African-American women who played notable roles in Arlington County history as potential new names for public schools. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok
Construction at Shirlington Library — Construction is expected to begin this week on renovations to the Shirlington Branch Library, to bring the library into Americans with Disabilities Act compliance. Library administrators caution that “certain areas of the building may be closed for short periods, and noise may be unavoidable at times.” [Arlington Public Library]
Millennials Leaving D.C. for Cheaper Cities — “A new analysis by George Mason University researchers finds that… more people are leaving the region than arriving for the first time since the Great Recession. Millennial deserters — ages 20 to 29 — are one factor. But another big one is baby boomers leaving to begin retirement life elsewhere. Families and the unemployed are also going.” [Washington Post]
‘Anti-Muslim’ Group Holding Conference — Despite opposition, ACT for America — which describes itself as “a nonprofit national security organization” but which is described by critics as “the largest anti-Muslim organization in the U.S.” — kicked off its annual conference yesterday at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Crystal City. [Southern Poverty Law Center]
Yorktown Teacher Publishes Third Book — “Melanie McCabe, an English teacher at Yorktown High School and now three-time author, will debut her new work, His Other Life: Searching For My Father, His First Wife, and Tennessee Williams at the Arlington Central Library (1015 N Quincy St., Arlington) on Thursday, Oct. 5.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Region’s Dry Spell Continues — Today is expected to be the 20th straight day without measurable precipitation at Reagan National Airport. But it is still far from the region’s record of 34 straight rainless days in the fall of 2007. [Washington Post]
Photo courtesy Leslie Aun
A new hotel replacing the former Colony House Furniture Store in Rosslyn is starting to take shape, several years after its approval by the Arlington County Board.
The Hilton Homewood Suites at 1700 Lee Highway will be eight stories high with 168 rooms. Below ground will be two levels of parking, containing 102 spaces. The Board approved the plan by developer B.F. Saul in 2013.
As of Tuesday, the hotel’s main structure appeared to be finished, with work continuing inside on the future guest rooms, parking garage, loading bay and front entrance area. The hotel is close to the Rosslyn Vue condo building, but the trees between the two properties act as a shield of sorts between them.
On a web page about the project, B.F. Saul said the hotel is “scheduled to open in the near future.” Representatives with the company did not respond to requests for additional comment.
B.F. Saul said guests can expect “a focus on comfort and functionality” in an extended-stay hotel designed to be “guests’ home away from home while in the DC region for business or pleasure.”
“Sustainability is at the forefront of its design, construction and operation,” the page reads. “The suites offer large work areas, well-appointed bathrooms, digital flat screen televisions, fully-equipped kitchens, and an upscale, yet warm, home-like décor. The hotel will feature 1,400 square feet of highly flexible meeting space, and a best-of-class, 1,100 square foot fitness facility with state of the art equipment. The hotel will also feature a pool, spa, trail bicycles, and an outdoor patio equipped with a gas fireplace and built-in grill.”
Crystal City Hotel Worker Sexually Assaulted — A female employee of the Hyatt Regency hotel in Crystal City was sexually assaulted Sunday morning, according to police. A 34-year-old man from Bahrain was arrested following the assault. [WJLA, Fox 5]
Arlington Man Beaten to Death in Brooklyn — An Arlington resident was beaten to death by a 69-year-old man in his Brooklyn home, in what’s being described as a case of self-defense during a home invasion. Rodolfo Rosa, 48, of Arlington, Va., died after suffering severe head trauma during the alleged break-in and the struggle that ensued. [New York Post, New York Post]
ACFD to Hold Fire Camp for Girls — Thursday is the first day of Arlington County’s annual all-girls firefighting camp, which “introduces teens to the male-dominated career of firefighting” and encourages them to pursue a career as a firefighter or paramedic. [Washington Post]
Slow Drivers in Passing Lane to Be Fined — Starting this past Saturday, a new law went into effect in Virginia which makes it illegal to misuse the passing lane by driving slowly in the left lane longer than necessary. Those pulled over for it face a $100 fine. [WHSV]
No Flag Waving at Arlington Cemetery — It is technically illegal to wave an American flag at Arlington National Cemetery. That is an unintended side effect of — or, perhaps, collateral damage from — a 2006 federal law meant to crack down on anti-gay protests during military funerals. [Washington Post]
Photos: Costumes of BlerDCon — “The inaugural BlerDCon… brought out thousands of cosplayers of color from across the country” in Crystal City this past weekend. ESPN’s The Undefeated has photos of some of the attendees. [The Undefeated]
Photo via @kcristol
A Shirlington hotel is set for some major renovations, which are set to start later this summer.
The Hilton Garden Inn Shirlington at 4271 Campbell Ave will receive a refresh worth tens of millions of dollars. The bulk of the work is set to begin on July 30 and is expected to take until October to complete.
General manager Christopher Ng said the entire lobby will get new furniture, as will the bar and restaurant, the convenience store and all 143 guest rooms. Ng said that virtually everything “not nailed to the wall” will get a refresh, including guest beds, televisions and wall tiles.
Already, the hotel’s swimming pool and spa have been resurfaced, with Ng anticipating they will reopen for guest use next week.
Ng said the refresh is typical industry practice, and allows the Hilton Garden Inn to keep up with standards from its corporate office too.
“A renovation or a refresh every seven to eight years is really what the industry standard calls for, and we felt that it was really time for us,” Ng said. “Don’t get me wrong, the property is in fantastic condition compared to other properties that I’ve been to in Arlington and other cities that I’ve worked in, it just needs a little refresh.”
Ng acknowledged that the hotel has an “aggressive timeline” for its work, but said if the county approves the permits for construction, it can be achieved.
Anyone looking to stay in the hotel may find a guest room harder to come by while they are updated. But Ng said there should be minimal disruption to anyone staying in the hotel during construction, which will be staggered from floor to floor.
“The great thing about our hotel, when it was built it was built as a LEED property and the owners wanted to be very conscious of the environment and also build a hotel that would be… made to go through a renovation,” he said.
The Crystal Gateway Marriott hotel at 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway in Crystal City showed off some of its recently-completed renovations yesterday.
The nearly 600-room hotel figures prominently into Arlington’s hospitality industry, hosting tourists, business travelers and large meetings.
Major upgrades were made to the guest rooms, imparting a more modern design and moving away from the hotel’s red and gold color scheme to a royal blue one.
Behind the renovation is general manager Regan Linke, who worked as a bartender when the hotel first opened in 1982.
“I came back about five years ago and the hotel was in need of some renovation,” said Linke.
The remodel also included the addition of the new M Club Lounge for Gold and Platinum Elite Marriott Rewards members. The 24-hour lounge area has coffee, snacks and wine for members.
The rest of the lobby will be completed later this year.
The hotel also gave a taste of its new restaurant 15th & Eads, named after the intersection it sits on. Included were mixed drinks served in mason jars, a selection of flatbread pizza, sliced meats and cheeses and made-to-order samples of New York strip steak.
It also follows a trend for the area, which has undergone significant changes within the last year, including a slew of new restaurants, businesses and the Transitway bus system and its new dedicated lanes in the neighborhood.
“It matches what happening in Crystal City,” Linke said. “Crystal Drive is expanded with restaurants. We’re attached to Metro and so everybody’s really thrilled about what’s happening at the hotel.”
High School Proposals on the Table in June — A pair of proposals for adding high school seats are on the table at Arlington School Board meetings next month. The board is expected to approve a $3.6 million construction contract for adding 300 seats to Wakefield High School, while Superintendent Patrick Murphy will recommend the board approve a “hybrid” option for adding another 1,300 seats, with 600 seats at the Education Center site near Washington-Lee and 700 at the Arlington Career Center. Despite the added capacity, Murphy expects that it will eventually be necessary to build a new 2,200 seat comprehensive high school to keep up with rising enrollment. [InsideNova, InsideNova]
Marriott’s Longest-Standing Employee Is in Crystal City — Cecil Exum, a 79-year-old omelette maker at the Crystal Gateway Marriott, is Marriott’s longest-standing employee. He’s been with the company for 61 years, since the Marriott family ran a “Hot Shoppes” root beer stand and opened its first hotel, the Twin Bridges Motor Hotel in Arlington. [Washington Post]
POTUS at ANC on Memorial Day — “President Donald Trump honored those who lost their lives serving the nation as he participated in a solemn wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery Monday and told emotional stories of just a few who perished.” [Daily Mail]
Cars Towed During Clarendon Memorial Day Ceremony — Some veterans attending the annual Memorial Day ceremony at the war memorial in Clarendon reportedly had their cars towed from a bank parking lot nearby. Del. Patrick Hope (D) tweeted photos of the cars being towed and called it “disgusting.” He directed the tweet at Del. Tim Hugo (R), the sponsor of the bill (now law) that blocked Arlington County from enforcing a “second signature” requirement for certain trespass tows. [Twitter]
Photo courtesy Peter Golkin
A new wine bar and restaurant is coming to Courthouse.
The new spot, Verre Wine Bar and Restaurant, is located at 2415 Wilson Blvd, on the first floor of the Hyatt Place hotel. It is set to open this spring, according to developer Schupp Cos.
According to permit applications filed with the county, its 1,300 square feet of space will include 50 indoor bar and restaurant seats and space for 37 outdoor seats.
The 168-room Hyatt Place opened ahead of schedule last year.
Update on New Hotel Near Rosslyn — A new Homewood Suites hotel being built near Rosslyn recently celebrated its “topping out.” The 11-story hotel, which replaced the former Colony House Furniture store, is expected to be completed by early 2018. [Commercial Property Executive]
Gov. Recommends Changes to Towing Bill — Gov. Terry McAuliffe has sent a trespass towing bill back to the General Assembly with significant recommended changes. The bill in its current form would raise towing fees in Northern Virginia and prohibit Arlington from enacting its new “second signature” requirement on tows during business hours. [InsideNova]
Hospitality Workers Lauded — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce held its 13th annual Hospitality Awards on Tuesday. From a press release: “One winner, Fayssal Samaka of the The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City once checked in a family at the hotel, when he overheard that the father was recovering from cancer. Samaka arranged for the family to stay in the Presidential Suite and even booked them a tour. A few months later, the family informed the general manager that the father had passed away, and because the last trip they took together as a family was at The Ritz-Carlton, they would come back every year on vacation.” [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]
Project Explores Arlington Communities — A just-submitted doctoral dissertation examines “the processes of community development, suburbanization, and segregation that Arlingtonians, black and white, used to create lasting communities that met their own needs and reflected their own preferences.” The project’s exhibits include the local history of government housing during World War II, Arlington’s historically black communities, and the history of the American Nazi Party in the county. [Built By the People Themselves]
Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak
Police requested the bomb squad respond to the hotel, at 1400 Jefferson Davis Highway, just before 5:45 p.m. to investigate several suspicious packages. Additional fire department units were requested to the scene around 6 p.m.
Police were initially called to the hotel for a suspicious person.
“There was a report [that a] male subject was acting suspiciously,” Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage told ARLnow.com. “He had left the scene prior to police arrival.”
The man “left some packages behind in a hotel room,” Savage said. “In an abundance of caution, the ACFD Bomb Squad is going to investigate the packages.”
Update at 7:20 p.m. — The scene has been cleared, police said via Twitter.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) January 24, 2017
Struggling Skyline Sold — Vornado has taken its properties in Skyline off of its balance sheet after the 2.6 million-square-foot, half-vacant complex sold at a foreclosure auction last week. The cancelled Columbia Pike streetcar project would have run to Skyline, with Fairfax County set to pay 20 percent of the project’s cost. [Washington Business Journal]
More on ‘Pop-Up’ Hotel — The inauguration will be the big test for WhyHotel, the “pop-up” hotel in the new Bartlett apartment building in Pentagon City. Developer Vornado sees this as an experiment that could yield temporary revenue while a building is leased up. Arlington County planning commissioner Erik Gutshall says the county could benefit from additional tax revenue and a more lively streetscape. [Washington Post]
Arlington = NYE Destination? — Travelers coming to the D.C. area for New Year’s Eve should consider staying in Arlington due to its proximity to the District and lower hotel rates, says an article on “last minute deals for New Year’s Eve hotels.” [Travel + Leisure]
Transracial Adoption in Arlington — Arlington is “a fantastic community in which to raise a transracially blended family,” says the father of (now grown) adopted children from Vietnam, Sri Lanka and India. [Arlington Magazine]
Clarendon Post Office Murals — A local man has written a 44-page book on the artist who painted seven New Deal-era murals in the Clarendon post office. [Washington Post]
Reporting Issues to the County — Arlington County is reminding residents that they can report out-of-sync traffic signals, crosswalks with broken buttons and other non-emergency service requests via an online form. [Twitter]
Two Arrested for McD’s Beating — Arlington County Police have arrested two men for the beating of a 17-year-old boy at a McDonald’s on Lee Highway last week. The victim’s mother said she “believes the attack is payback for her son reporting a crime against him months ago.” [Fox 5]
Ray’s Files for Bankruptcy — The parent company of Ray’s The Steaks has filed for bankruptcy for the second time in two years. Owner Michael Landrum says Ray’s is in no danger of closing, however. [Washington Business Journal]
Rosslyn Hyatt Changes Branding — The Hyatt hotel on Wilson Blvd is now the first “Hyatt Centric” in the Mid-Atlantic region. Hyatt Centric is described as “a full-service brand that aims to attract a younger traveler, as well as to engage more with the neighborhood in which the hotels are located.” [Washington Business Journal]
‘Pop-Up Hotel’ Opening in January — “WhyHotel” is the new name of a “pop-up hotel” in the Bartlett apartment building in Pentagon City. Starting in January, the hotel will offer 50 unleased, furnished apartments as hotel rooms. Although most of the building is leased, owner Vornado is experimenting with “WhyHotel” as a way to monetize new apartment buildings during the lease-up period. [Washington Business Journal]
School Board Responds to Student’s Letter — Arlington School Board Chair Nancy Van Doren has responded to an open letter published in the Washington-Lee Crossed Sabres student newspaper. The letter, which was widely shared across social media, took the school board to task for approving high school boundary refinements that were seemingly antithetical to APS’ diversity goals. Without addressing the diversity issue, Van Doren defended the process and encouraged students to participate in future high school boundary decisions. [PDF]
County Board Approves Polling Place Changes — The Arlington County Board on Tuesday approved a number of precinct and polling place changes, to take effect in time for next year’s elections. [Arlington County]
Memorial Bridge Worries — The deteriorating Memorial Bridge can’t handle heavy support traffic for the presidential inauguration next month, officials said in a briefing yesterday, according to reported Tom Sherwood. Such traffic will use the 14th Street Bridge instead. [Twitter]
Wreaths for Every Grave at Arlington Nat’l Cemetery — “Wreaths Across America announced Wednesday it has reached its goal to place about 245,000 wreaths in the cemetery ‘thanks to an outpouring of support.’ Earlier this week, the organization had said it was about 10,000 wreaths short of its goal.” [WTOP]
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.