Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Free Coronavirus Testing Event Today — “Arlington County will host a free COVID-19 testing event on Tuesday, May 26, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Barcroft (4200 S Four Mile Run Drive). Tests available both by drive-up and walk-up. No doctor’s note or ID required… the public can anticipate heavy pedestrian and vehicular traffic in the area.” [Arlington County, Twitter, Twitter]

Flasher Arrested After Incident Near Ballston — “At approximately 12:12 p.m., an officer on patrol was flagged down by an individual in need of assistance. It was determined that the victim was in the area when she was allegedly approached by the male suspect who exposed himself before running away. The officer located an individual matching the suspect description and, during the course of the investigation, he was positively identified.” [Arlington County]

New Facade, Name Change for Crystal City Building — “JBG Smith Properties is looking to revamp, rebrand and add more leasable space to its Crystal Drive office campus, including one building partly leased and occupied by Amazon.com Inc. as part of HQ2. The new name for the entire office and residential complex, long known as Crystal Park: The Parks at National Landing.” [Washington Business Journal]

Bakeshop Closes Due to COVID Case — Bakeshop in Clarendon is temporarily closed after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. The store is now being cleaned and other employees testing. The bakery’s Falls Church location remains open. [Twitter]

How Hotel Manager Chose ‘KIND’ Message — “He kept coming back to one night, in particular, when a Southwest Airlines pilot approached the front desk. He brought a woman with two children from the airport who had been stranded for the night, their connecting flight canceled. The pilot offered to pay for their room and then pulled out his wallet, handing the woman cash for a meal. ‘The woman started to cry and asked the pilot, ‘Can I give you a hug?”” [Washington Post, Twitter]

Restaurant Fire Causes Significant Damage — “On Thursday, May 21 at approximately 11:23 a.m., units from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, Arlington County Fire Department and the City of Alexandria Fire Department were dispatched for a reported building fire in the 5200 block of Leesburg Pike in the Bailey’s Crossroads area of Fairfax County… Damages as a result of the fire were approximately $350,000.” [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Photo courtesy Dennis Chiappetta

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Morning Notes

County Opposes Second McD’s Drive-Thru Window — “Maybe, in the end, they can all sit down amicably over a Happy Meal. But the mood was decidedly unhappy when the Arlington County Board and representatives of McDonald’s recently tangled over redevelopment of the restaurant chain’s 60-year-old outlet in the 4800 block of Lee Highway.” [InsideNova]

Sloppy Mama’s to Reopen Today — “Sloppy Mama’s BBQ owner Joe Neuman also isn’t in a rush to open his dining room, though he is launching takeout at his Arlington restaurant on Friday. He received a Paycheck Protection Program loan, which has terms that reward businesses that rehire staff. Neuman closed Sloppy Mama’s on March 16, just as barbecue season beckoned.” [Washington City Paper]

Va. Trying to Ramp Up Testing — “As the state plans to reopen on Friday — though it will delay Northern Virginia’s reopening until after Memorial Day — the commonwealth is still not meeting Gov. Ralph Northam’s testing goal of 10,000 tests a day. This week, Virginia’s Department of Emergency Management signed contracts with three commercial labs in an effort to ramp up testing as the state gears up to reopen.” [DCist]

March Hotel Occupancy Rate Shows Big Drop — “Arlington hotel and motel occupancy took a pummeling in March as the COVID-19 pandemic began to take hold… March’s occupancy rate of 34.5 percent for Arlington resulted in a first-quarter occupancy rate of 52.3 percent.” [InsideNova]

GMA Profiles YHS Senior Photo Project — “In Arlington, Virginia, photographer Matt Mendelsohn has made it his mission to give the senior class of Yorktown High School the celebration they deserve… With the growing popularity of his project, which he’s named ‘Not Forgotten: The Yorktown Seniors of 2020,’ he’s enlisted the help from his daughter on shoots and a parent.” [Good Morning America]

Library Launches Virtual Career Services — “Arlington Public Library is offering virtual one-on-one appointments to job seekers who want career help or to improve their resume. All appointments are free and confidential. Appointments are available Mondays and Thursdays, 5:30-7 p.m., and Tuesdays, 9:30-11 a.m. No library card is required.” [Arlington County]

Signature Helps With Inn’s Mannequins — “Instead of letting tables sit vacant, the [Inn at Little Washington] chef plans to outfit his dining rooms with mannequins… The chef (who majored in drama in college) has been working with Shirlington’s Signature Theatre to get the faux humans costumed in 1940s-era garb. Servers will be instructed to pour them wine and to ask them about their evening.” [Washingtonian, Eater]

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Morning Notes

VHC Staff Honored by NYSE — Two radiation therapists at Virginia Hospital Center, Melinda Mack and Amanda Sprecher, were honored during the opening bell ringing at the New York Stock Exchange yesterday. [Twitter]

Tomorrow is Arlington’s ‘Community Day’ — “A beloved Arlington tradition, Neighborhood Day brings communities together to enjoy the great outdoors and strengthens ties between neighbors.  In our currently socially-distant world, Neighborhood Day 2020 (May 2) is swapping out the traditional outdoor get-togethers and focusing on how Arlingtonians can build community while staying apart.” [Arlington County]

Fundraiser for Shelter Employee Bonuses — “I’m raising money to benefit four emergency shelters in Arlington County. The front line staff at these organizations are heroes who risk their personal health and wellness for those most vulnerable. I want to offer each front line staff member a $5/ hour bonus for their selfless work for at least two weeks.” [GoFundMe, Facebook]

Courtland Towers Store to Become Apartments — “It’ll soon be ‘bye, bye, bodega,’ as Arlington County Board members are allowing the owner of the Courtland Towers apartments in the Courthouse area to replace its longstanding ground-floor convenience store with four additional residential units and other amenities for residents. The proposal had generated pushback from nearby residents and garnered formal opposition from the Clarendon-Courthouse Civic Federation.” [InsideNova]

Roots Closing at Pentagon City Mall — “Toronto clothing retailer Roots Corp. said Wednesday it will close both its stores in Greater Washington. The closure of outposts in Georgetown and at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City come as part of the liquidation of the apparel company’s U.S. subsidiary through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing — a measure being taken to close the stores quickly and in a cost-effective manner, the company said.” [Washington Business Journal]

Fund Created for Local Immigrants in Need — “The Dream Project, a nonprofit organization offering educational assistance to immigrants in Northern Virginia through scholarships and mentoring, has established an emergency relief fund to help immigrant students and families who are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” [Press Release]

Hotel Donates Rooms to County — An unnamed hotel in Arlington has donated rooms to the county to serve as Permanent Supportive Housing for up to 16 people, reducing their risk of COVID-19 exposure. [Arlington County]

Electric Bills Going Down This Month — “Dominion Energy says Virginia customers will see a $6 discount on their billing each month starting on May 1. ‘The cost of fuel has gone down and we’re passing the savings directly on to customers,’ Dominion Energy said.” [NBC 12 Richmond]

New County Initiative Tackling Hunger — “Arlington County announced a new initiative for the coronavirus era: the Cooperative for a Hunger Free Arlington. We talked to those heading the group — Abby Raphael, Diane Kresh and Amy Maclosky — about what it is and how they plan to help during these tough times.” [Facebook, Apple Podcasts]

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Morning Notes

County Board Defends COVID-19 Response — “Arlington leaders continue to push back against accusations they could be doing more to address the COVID-19 crisis within the county’s 26 square miles. A number of civic-activists used the public-comment period of the County Board’s April 25 meeting (held ‘virtually’ after the government received state authority to do so) to rap officials for not imposing more aggressive regulation of daily life.” [InsideNova]

More Contributions for Small Biz Grant Fund — “The Arlington County Industrial Development Authority has joined Arlington Economic Development’s (AED) efforts to help small businesses… [The authority] approved a contribution of $326,000 of its own funding. Together with the $674,000 of funding from the County, and the recently announced contributions of $100,000 each by the Crystal City and Rosslyn Business Improvement Districts, total GRANT program funding has reached $1.2 million.” [Arlington County, Rosslyn BID]

Ballston Hotel Donates Rooms to Healthcare Workers — “The Ballston BID is collaborating with local organizations to coordinate free accommodations at the Holiday Inn Arlington at Ballston for essential healthcare workers in the community. Chesapeake Hospitality, which manages the Ballston-based Holiday Inn on North Fairfax, is donating a complimentary block of 50 rooms per day… to frontline medical staff, their families, and those most vulnerable within the community.” [Press Release]

Arlington Gets Okay Social Distancing Marks — “Falls Church has a C+, Fairfax County has a C and Arlington gets a B- in social distancing grades from @Unacast. Virginia’s grade is D- and the U.S. as a whole gets a D+.” [Falls Church News-Press, Twitter]

New Deputy Chief for ACPD — “Arlington County Police Chief M. Jay Farr is pleased to announce the appointment of Captain Adrienne Quigley to the position of Deputy Chief of Police, effective Sunday, May 10, 2020. Deputy Chief Quigley will assume command of the Systems Management Division at a later date.” [Arlington County]

Historic Home and Huge Lot Not for Sale, Yet — “Long coveted by developers and planners for schools and parks, the home built just after the Civil War has stirred interest since the death in 2017 of owner Randy Rouse, the homebuilder and equestrian. But his widow still lives in the home. And this week, it appears that some speculation on marketing the house was premature, the chances that the county could purchase it almost nil.” [Falls Church News-Press]

COVID Case Shuts Down Credit Union Branch — “The Arlington Community Federal Credit Union is closing one of their branches after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, the credit union announced Monday morning.” [Patch]

Bankruptcy for Hair Cuttery, Bubbles — “Ratner Cos., the Vienna-based parent company of hair salon chains including the Hair Cuttery, Bubbles and Cielo, has filed for bankruptcy protection after closing more than 80 locations across the country in March. The company and related entities, including Creative Hairdressers Inc., filed for Chapter 11 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.” [Washington Business Journal]

Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak

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Morning Notes

Another Sewage Release in Four Mile Run — “Avoid contact with Four Mile Run Creek downstream of 7th St S until further notice due to a sanitary sewage release. County Water/Sewer/Streets is responding.” [Twitter]

ACFD Rolls Out New Medic Unit — “As we progress through the COVID-19 pandemic, ACFD continues to adjust our response to ensure the best service and safety for our community. Yesterday we deployed a new resource that will provide rapid on-scene assessment to identify non-critical patients with potential or confirmed #COVID related complaints.” [Facebook, NBC 4]

Former Police Chief Dies — “On Friday, April 17, 2020, retired Chief of Police William K. ‘Smokey’ Stover passed away of natural causes. He was 89 years old… Chief Stover was known for his integrity, character and straight talk, no-nonsense style.” [Arlington County]

Hotel Heart Turns to Hope — “If you’ve driven the 14th Street Bridge from DC to Virginia over the past few weeks, you’ve seen it: a giant illuminated heart on a Crystal City building… Thursday night, the hotel broadcast a new message: ‘HOPE.'” [Washingtonian]

YHS Dad Photographing Seniors — “Matt Mendelsohn’s Instagram feed is a veritable who’s who, featuring portraits of Stephen Hawking, Ray Charles, Nicole Kidman, Bill Clinton, Chris Rock and countless other famous figures… Now he’s set an ambitious goal amid the backdrop of the COVID-19 crisis: to photograph every member of Yorktown High School’s Class of 2020.” [Arlington Magazine]

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Arlington County Police are investigating a stabbing in the Green Valley neighborhood, near Shirlington.

Officers were dispatched to the 2200 block of Shirlington Road shortly after midnight Wednesday for multiple reports of a man who was stabbed and bleeding outside of a residential building.

“Upon arrival, officers located a male victim suffering from a minor stab wound,” ACPD said in a crime report today. “He was transported to an area hospital for treatment. The preliminary investigation indicates that a verbal dispute between known individuals preceded the stabbing. The investigation is ongoing.”

The stabbing happened around the same time as an unrelated incident a short distance away, along Columbia Pike.

According to initial reports, a man staying at the Days Inn hotel threatened to kill himself and to harm police if they intervened. That set up a tense standoff that stretched into wee hours.

More from Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage:

At approximately 12:15 a.m. on April 15, police were dispatched to the report of a suicide threat in the 3000 block of Columbia Pike. A negotiation team responded and established communication with the subject. The subject was ultimately taken into police custody and the incident was safely resolved. A search of the room located suspected narcotics. The subject was transported to an area hospital for evaluation. Charges are pending.

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The hotel industry has been hit hard by coronavirus crisis. Huge hotels are now only hosting a handful of guests while most of the country hunkers down at home.

But that hasn’t stopped some local hotels from showing their community some love during tough times.

The DoubleTree Hotel in Crystal City, one of the first buildings you see when driving into Arlington via the 14th Street Bridge, has turned one of its now-vacant wings into a large, lighted heart.

The hotel’s general manager, who together with another manager turns the 52 lights on at night, told WJLA that the gesture is intended to “help everybody recognize that they are not alone and that there’s a little bit of love and hope out there.”

“We’re going to get through this together and we will be here to welcome them back when the time comes,” he told the station.

Other hotels in the Crystal City area, as seen in the following social media post from Arlington County, have followed suit.

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A 34-year-old resident of the Los Angeles area is in jail here after an incident involving police in Crystal City.

Officers were dispatched to the Americana Hotel, along Richmond Highway, around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday for a report of a trespasser in a hotel room. After police arrived, the suspect resisted arrest and spit on an officer, according to Arlington County Police.

The responding officer called for backup as the suspect resisted, per scanner traffic.

More from an ACPD crime report:

ASSAULT ON LAW ENFORCEMENT, 2020-03240048, 1400 block of Richmond Highway. At approximately 9:31 a.m. on March 24, police were dispatched to the report of a trespasser. Upon arrival, it was determined that prior to police arrival, an employee of a hotel located the suspect asleep inside a room and instructed him to leave, however he refused and began acting disorderly. Arriving officers made contact with the suspect, who continued to yell and refused to identify himself. As they attempted to place the suspect into custody, he actively resisted and spit on an officer. Eric Slocum, 34, of Manhattan Beach, Ca., was arrested and charged with Assault and Battery on Police, Obstruction of Justice, Trespassing and Drunk in Public. He was held on no bond.

Photo via Google Maps

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A new development that will build new housing in Rosslyn while renovating one of the region’s oldest hotels got the green light from the Arlington County Board over the weekend.

The board approved the redevelopment of the Key Bridge Marriott site by a 4-0 vote. The project will include the renovation of the hotel — one of Marriott’s earliest hotels, which first opened in 1959 — as well as the construction of three new 16-story residential buildings, with about 300 rental apartments and 150 condo units.

With the site perched above the Potomac River, near Key Bridge, many of the new homes will have enviable views of the river and D.C.

The project also includes the construction of two new street segments, as well as the contribution of land and funding for a new public park.

More from an Arlington County press release:

The aging Key Bridge Marriott hotel at 1401 Lee Highway will be partially demolished and renovated, and three new residential buildings will be added to the site under a plan approved by the County Board.

“This plan adds much-needed housing in Rosslyn, new public open space and a major renovation of the Marriott Hotel, greatly enhancing the aesthetics and functionality of this highly visible site in Rosslyn,” Board Chair Libby Garvey said.

The Board voted 4-0 to approve the redevelopment plan. […]

In addition to renovating the hotel’s 445 rooms, developer KBLH, LLC, will build three 16-story residential buildings, with a total of 451 units, on the 5.5-acre site on the north side of Lee Highway. One of the new buildings is expected to offer rental apartments and the other two are planned as condominiums. The modernized hotel’s new façade will face Lee Highway and Gateway Park.

The plan, which evolved significantly before and during the public review process, also calls for two new streets that will connect with an esplanade open to the public on the north end of the site, accessible to pedestrians and cyclists but not cars. The esplanade will offer views of the Potomac River and Georgetown and connect to the bike path leading to Key Bridge. A crescent-shaped park will be built on the site’s Fort Myer Drive frontage and will provide an improved bicycle and pedestrian path to Key Bridge. Most of the park is on National Park Service property and will require federal approval for improvements.

The developer has committed to achieving LEED Gold certification for the residential buildings and LEED Silver for the hotel and will install ENERGY STAR and WaterSense appliances. Among other community benefits, the developer would contribute land for a new public park on the site, fronting on Fort Myer Drive, $870,075 to help plan and build the park, and a contribution of $1.75 million to the County’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund.

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In a bit of relief for hard-hit restaurants and hotels, Arlington County’s Treasurer says tax payments due between now and the end of April can be deferred temporarily.

Treasurer Carla de la Pava said in a statement that her office will not impose penalties and interest on late tax payments, though tax returns are still due. The decision mostly affects meals taxes, paid by restaurants, and hotel taxes, and requires payment by May 31.

More from the Treasurer’s Office:

Carla de la Pava, Treasurer of Arlington County, has determined that late payment penalty and interest will not be imposed on local taxes with a payment due date between March 13 and April 30, 2020, if such taxes are paid in full by May 31, 2020. This decision primarily but not exclusively affects Arlington County Meals, Food, and Beverage Taxes and Transient Occupancy Taxes, which would ordinarily be due March 20 and April 20. Taxpayers should still file the required returns even if they are not paying the tax until a later date. Taxpayers are encouraged to pay their taxes on time if they have the financial means to do so. Any taxes previously paid will not be refunded. Taxpayers should direct questions to [email protected]

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A long-delayed development project in the Potomac Yard area is likely to go back before the Arlington County Board this year with some changes.

Developer Meridian is expected to seek a modification to the earlier plan to build four office buildings on the empty plot of land along Richmond Highway, south of Crystal City, known as Potomac Yard Land Bay C.

The site plan was originally approved in 2007, per our earlier reporting, to include four buildings over an underground parking garage. It includes more than 1 million square feet of office space, 41,000 square feet of retail space and a half-acre park known as North Plaza. The window to start work on the site, located near the Lidl headquarters, was extended by three years by the state legislature in 2017.

A county spokeswoman tells ARLnow that half of the planned complex may be switched from office to residential use, with an option to also build a hotel instead. The change was foreshadowed in a conceptual site plan submitted to Arlington’s planning department. (Such plans are submitted for feedback from county planners and precede formal site plan filings.)

“The conceptual site plan for Potomac Yard Land Bay C proposes to convert the approved office GFA to residential use, with an option for hotel use as well,” said Dept. of Community Planning, Housing & Development spokeswoman Gina Wimpey. “The conceptual site plan is still under staff review, and we don’t know if or went the application will file a preliminary site plan, which would be the next step after the conceptual site plan. The conceptual site plan covers only the eastern half of Land Bay C, not the western half.”

A planning division presentation to the County Board last week suggested that planners were expecting the new site plan to be filed in time for County Board approval by the end of the year.

Arlington is experiencing a development boom, particularly in and around Crystal City, in the wake of the Amazon HQ2 decision.

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