Real Estate Smoking Hot Near HQ2 — “Since Amazon announced in November its choice of Crystal City and Pentagon City, the median home sale price in that area has increased 17.7%, leaping to $655,000, and the typical home was placed under contract in just six days, down from 10 days last year, according to fresh data from real estate brokerage Redfin.” [Washington Business Journal, Axios, WTOP]
Marymount Names Tech-Oriented Interim Business Dean — “Tech expert and entrepreneur Jonathan Aberman is the new interim dean of Marymount University’s School of Business and Technology. Aberman replaces outgoing dean Marianne Ward-Peradoza and officially takes the reins of the school July 1.” [Washington Business Journal, PRNewswire]
Missing: Firefighter’s Keys — “A firefighter left his keys on the bumper of a fire truck while rushing to an emergency! If you happened to pick up this set of keys along Wilson Blvd from Ballston to 7 Corners, kindly return them to Fire Station 2!” [Twitter]
Water Main Work in Lyon Village — “Emergency Water Main Repairs: Crews are working on an 8-inch main at the 2800 block of Key Boulevard. Some 150 water customers could be affected. The street is detoured around the work site.” [Twitter]
Metro Summer Shutdown Underway — “After long lines and packed buses shortly after opening, commuters on Metro’s Yellow and Blue lines are seeing more frequent pick-ups but some traffic delays… Tuesday is the first work day that six stations on Metro’s Blue and Yellow lines south of Reagan National Airport are closed for platform repairs and other upgrades until Sept. 8.” [WTOP]
Photo: Tomb Sentinel in Thursday’s Storm — “On Thursday, Arlington was hit hard with rain and wind with gusts up to 70mph, but that didn’t stop one man from honoring the fallen. A Tomb Sentinel withstood torrential rains and wind gusts to honor the fallen at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.” [WJLA, Facebook]
Photo courtesy Peter Golkin
The Black Heritage Museum of Arlington is hosting a talk with local civil rights activist Joan Trumpauer Mulholland.
On Tuesday, April 30, the Museum will hold a talk with Mulholland, who hails from Arlington and who will share her experiences as an activist in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.
“She is known for taking part in sit-ins, being the first white to integrate Tougaloo College in Jackson Mississippi, joining the Delta Sigma Theta, joining Freedom Rides, and being held on death row in Parchman Penitentiary,” the museum said in a press release about the upcoming event.
Mulholland’s stories were previously chronicled in the 2013 documentary, “An Ordinary Hero.”
The event is free and will start at 7 p.m. in the Reinsch Library Auditorium at Marymount University (2807 N. Glebe Road).
Image courtesy of Black Heritage Museum
Virginia had more than 1,000 unfilled teaching positions in October 2017, according to former Virginia Department of Education Superintendent of Public Instruction, Steven R. Staples.
In 2018, the Commonwealth was still struggling with over 850 vacancies. Providing a diverse workforce in our schools is a necessity to support all learners. We can begin by being part of the solution by participating and engaging with practicing teachers about how we can all support the charge for a more diverse educational workforce.
Join us for a Panel on Diversity in the K-12 Teaching Workforce followed by a reception where you can mingle with the panelists, faculty and enrollment coordinators to learn more about M.Ed programs and gaining licensure at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 11 at Marymount’s Ballston campus, 1000 N. Glebe Road, Arlington, Virginia in the auditorium on the first floor. Refreshments will be provided.
In response to this shortage, Marymount University is expanding its education programs for those interested in seeking a pathway to the teaching profession. Our mission is central to meeting the needs of the community while fulfilling the dreams of newcomers and career-switchers that want to make a positive difference in the lives of children.
After our panel, feel free to talk with current MU and alumni about our teacher education programs. We will also be providing a short information session with an admissions team member to answer questions about applying to Marymount’s M.Ed programs after the panel discussion.
Marymount’s Education programs include:
- A four-year bachelor’s degree with VA teaching licensure
- A fast-track, full-time, one-year Professional Development Master’s program leading to licensure
- A part-time, self-paced Master’s program, leading to licensure
- A weekend cohort Master’s program leading to licensure in 18 months
- Certificate programs (15 credits) in Special Education, English as a Second Language and/or STEM that provides the foundation to teach on a provisional license
For more information about these programs, please join us on April 11 at 6 p.m. Parking at Marymount’s Ballston Center is free for guests at this event.
If you are unable to attend and would like information about our various programs leading to licensure, please contact Graduate Enrollment Services at 703-284-5901 or [email protected].
Amazon’s Offices Will Be Dog-Friendly — Amazon’s new “HQ2” offices in the Crystal City area will be dog-friendly, its head of economic development said at an event yesterday. Property owner JBG Smith wooed Amazon, in part, by making sure there were lots of dogs around during Amazon’s visit to the area. [Bisnow]
HQ2 Still Not a Certainty — “While there aren’t any signs Amazon.com Inc. plans to walk away from National Landing after abandoning Long Island City, the company’s future landlord and development partner warned Tuesday that HQ2 is still just an agreement in principle, not a done deal.” [Washington Business Journal]
Autonomous Vehicles in Ballston? — “In collaboration with the Ballston Business Improvement District, [a Virginia Tech] research team is seeking current public attitudes towards [self-driving vehicles] in Ballston through an online survey.” [Virginia Tech]
Arlington Gets ‘Love’ Tourism Grant — “The Arlington Convention and Visitors Service (ACVS) announced today that it has received a $10,000 grant from the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) ’50 Years of Love’ grant fund. ’50 Years of Love’ is part of VTC’s efforts to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Virginia is for Lovers tourism slogan.” [Arlington County]
Marymount Names New Provost — “Marymount is pleased to announce that the search process for its new provost has drawn to a successful conclusion. From a distinguished national pool, the University has selected Hesham El-Rewini, Ph.D., P.E. as the newest member of the Marymount team.” [Marymount University]
Beyer on Bryce — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) quoted Star Wars upon new of now-former Washington Nationals slugger Bryce Harper signing with the Phillies: “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.” [Twitter]
Janet Caputo and her husband thought they’d found just the right home for a new chapter in their lives when they moved into an apartment at “The Rixey” building in Ballston last month.
The couple had just sold their Cherrydale home of the last 22 years, looking to downsize now that their children are all heading off to college. Caputo says they spent months on the apartment search, touring buildings across Arlington multiple times before settling on The Rixey, located at 1008 N. Glebe Road.
Then came the news on Feb. 8 that Marymount University would be buying the building from its current owners, the prominent real estate developer The Shooshan Company, and converting it into housing for students, faculty and staff.
“I was not told the truth,” Caputo told ARLnow. “I wouldn’t have spent all this money to move in if we knew we could only stay for 14 months.”
Indeed, Shooshan and Marymount are now working over the course of the next several months to manage the tricky process of converting what was once yet another luxury apartment building in Ballston into an upscale dorm.
Representatives for both the company and the university say they’ll honor all existing leases, and are committed to making the transition go smoothly. Still, residents like Caputo can’t help but feel that they were blindsided by the change.
“I don’t think millennials are out to wreck the world… I don’t mind living among them,” Caputo said. “What I don’t like is being told I can’t stay in this building after I put all this effort into moving here.”
Kelly Shooshan, the company’s chief operating officer and director of residential development, says she can’t speak to what people were or were not told about the building’s future when they signed their leases. She deferred questions on that to The Rixey’s management company, the Bozzuto Group — Jamie Gorski, Bozzuto’s chief marketing officer, declined comment for this article.
However, Shooshan says residents have long been aware that some Marymount graduate students have lived in the building since it opened in October 2017, making ties to the university quite clear.
“In fact, they were the first students to move in,” Shooshan wrote in an email.
She added that the sale shouldn’t have come as a complete surprise, considering how Marymount and Shooshan worked together to make the development happen.
Marymount built its new Ballston Center building right next door to the Rixey, leasing the adjacent land to Shooshan. But the university reserved the right to purchase the apartment building outright in the future, and that’s exactly what Marymount did earlier this month, using a mix of state funds and private financing to afford the $95 million price tag.
“The Rixey was my baby,” Shooshan said. “I worked on it for four-plus years, so no one will miss it more than me. But all that means is I have to go build another great project.”
But Caputo says she had no idea that such an option was ever a possibility, and thinks it’s unreasonable that this wasn’t explained to residents ahead of time — she fully expects that if she’d known about the option, she and her husband wouldn’t have chosen The Rixey, and they certainly wouldn’t have spent close to $7,000 installing upgrades to the apartment’s furnishings.
Caputo adds that many of her neighbors are in the same boat. She’s heard from some who signed leases just weeks ago, and even encountered one family that put pen to paper on a lease the day the sale was announced.
A letter provided to ARLnow from the building’s new management company (American Campus Communities) says staff have also heard “a number of residents express concern” and surprise about the change.
“It’s just house flipping on an enormous scale, without telling unsuspecting people who think they are signing a lease in a multifamily building,” Caputo said.
Yet Shooshan points out that it’s not as if current Rixey residents are being thrown out on the street overnight.
“All leases will be honored,” Marymount Chief Financial Officer Al Diaz wrote in a statement. “But we will only renew leases for qualifying students, faculty and staff.”
Diaz says the university won’t start moving in undergraduate students to The Rixey until this coming August, though he says it “may fill vacancies that develop with graduate students, faculty and staff.”
But for anyone looking for a more immediate change, Shooshan says her staff is already working to help them move to another one of the company’s residential properties.
“Hopefully, this will resolve some of the initial frustrations,” Shooshan said. “As you know, no one likes change.”
Caputo isn’t yet sure what she and her husband will do — they’ve already paid their first month’s rent, and aren’t sure whether they’ll get it back if they move out early.
And she’s adamant that she has no interest in living in another Shooshan-owned property, after her experience at The Rixey.
“My husband and I are beside ourselves,” she said.
Marymount University is buying a Ballston apartment complex adjacent to one of its other office buildings in the area, with plans to convert the space into upscale housing for its students and staff.
The university announced today (Friday) that it’s spending $95 million to acquire “The Rixey,” located at 1008 N. Glebe Road. The building opened in October 2017, with a total of 267 apartments in the 15-floor structure.
The Rixey is located right next to the university’s Ballston Center at 1000 N. Glebe Road, which is home to several of Marymount’s undergraduate and graduate programs (in addition to a cafeteria and a Starbucks). By buying up the apartment building, the university hopes to provide “apartment-style city living” for undergrad students in addition to its on-campus residence halls, and also offer “significant housing options to Marymount University’s veterans, families, graduate and international students,” according to a news release.
“This new acquisition further cements Marymount as an anchor of the Arlington community,” Marymount staff wrote. “This multimillion-dollar facility provides walking-distance access to Marymount graduate programs at Ballston Center, shuttles to Marymount campuses and Metro access, making the building an accessible living-learning community.”
Amenities at the building also include “an expansive fitness center with Peloton bikes and a yoga room, a bike repair station, a rooftop clubroom with views of D.C. and a lounge with cabanas and TVs,” the release said.
A spokeswoman for the university did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether anyone is currently renting an apartment in the building, or what might become of current renters following this acquisition.
The university added in the release that it managed the acquisition with a combination of state funds and private financing.
Marymount also maintains space at 4040 Fairfax Drive in Ballston, in addition to its main campus at 2807 N. Glebe Road.
Board Approves Water Main, Fire Station Projects — “The Arlington County Board today approved contracts for two capital improvement projects, one to bring Fire Station 8 into the 21st century, and the other to replace a 90-year old water main with a larger pipe that will better serve the Cherrydale and Waverly Hills neighborhoods.” [Arlington County]
‘Say Yes to the Dress’ Star in Arlington — “TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta’s Monte Durham will be on campus next Tuesday, January 29th from 7:30-8:30 at Ballston Center. Durham will announce the Portfolio In Motion fashion show Designer of the Year.” [Twitter]
Snow, Cold on the Way — “A powerful arctic cold front is set to blast through the Washington region Tuesday evening. It could have disruptive effects, with rain quickly changing to snow during the evening commute and then rapidly freezing over roads.” [Capital Weather Gang, Twitter]
New Publishing Schedule this Week — Readers may notice some regular ARLnow features publishing at different times and/or days this week. For instance, this Morning Notes post is publishing at 7:30 a.m., while an opinion column that usually publishes on Thursdays is scheduled for this afternoon. We are trying out a new schedule this week — let us know what you think.
Photo courtesy Jim Harvard
County planners are now kicking off work to chart out the future of the former home of Arlington’s “Salt Dome,” the site of so much community consternation this past summer.
A task force convened by the County Board to study the 7.6-acre property, at the intersection of 26th Street N. and Old Dominion Drive and adjacent to Marymount University’s campus, is planning a “community roundtable” on the matter Saturday (Jan. 12). The meeting will be held at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street), starting at 10 a.m.
For about 90 years, the property was home to a large metal “dome” storing road salt and served as the base of operations for salt trucks in the northern half of the county. But county staff discovered in July that the structure was on the verge of collapsing, and they took rapid steps to secure the Board’s permission to tear down the dome and build a temporary storage facility in its place.
The process took months to complete, but many neighbors still felt blindsided by changes that failed to follow Arlington’s notoriously extensive community engagement guidelines. In particular, some worry that the temporary facility would eventually become permanent, even though people living nearby had hoped for years to see the land transformed into a park or some sort of other community amenity.
County workers removed the old dome just last week, standing up a structure designed to hold about 4,500 tons of road salt in its place.
The Board has since issued a variety of mea culpas for its handling of the issue — new Chair Christian Dorsey even singled the process out as a “failure” during his Jan. 2 speech taking the Board’s gavel — and agreed to kick off a planning process for the property in part to rebuild trust in the community.
The “Master Planning Task Force” could eventually recommend one of all manner of new uses for the property, most of which sits empty. However, county staffers agree that they’ll need to maintain most of their existing operations on the site, from winter storm response to leaf and mulch storage.
As for the rest, there are plenty of possibilities being batted about. The county’s Joint Facilities Advisory Commission, a group dedicated to finding space for public facilities around Arlington, is recommending that some sort of park or other public space must be created or maintained on the site, according to November meeting documents.
JFAC is also suggesting that the property could have room for an “elementary or secondary school,” at a time when land for new schools is a particularly acute need for the county, or for vehicle storage for police or school bus drivers.
Additionally, Marymount University is pitching the prospect of striking a deal with the county to build a “multi-use” athletic field on the site for its sports teams, alongside a one-acre park and playground to meet the community’s wishes.
The task force is set to meet again on Thursday (Jan 10.) and hopes to eventually deliver a report to the County Board with recommendations for future sites uses by April.
Worker Rescued from Memorial Bridge — A man working on the Memorial Bridge rehabilitation project was injured this morning and transported to the hospital via fireboat and then ambulance. The injuries were reported to be non-life-threatening. [Twitter, Twitter, Twitter]
More Worries About Real Estate Prices Post-Amazon — “Amazon’s possible arrival in Northern Virginia and Queens, New York, has already sent shockwaves through surrounding real estate markets. Mara Gemond, a longtime Arlington, Virginia, realtor… Crystal City — until news broke that Amazon might be splitting its 50,000-employee second headquarters between there and Long Island City in New York. All of a sudden, the two-bedroom condo in a 1980s-era building that had been sitting on the market for nearly three months with no offers, even after a price cut, had a flood of interest.” [CNN, Washington Post, ARLnow]
Metro Closure Causes DCA Gridlock — The closure of the Crystal City and National Airport Metro stations prior to Friday’s evening rush hour, amid a rush to get out of town for the holiday weekend, caused gridlock around the airport, the GW Parkway, Route 1 and other nearby roads. Arlington County Police were dispatched to the area to help with traffic control. [NBC 4, Twitter, Greater Greater Washington]
Chamber Welcomes Amazon — Among those welcoming Amazon to Arlington is the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. “This addition to Arlington is a significant step toward enhancing and maintaining the strength of Arlington’s commercial sector and diversifying our economic base,” the Chamber said in a statement. [Arlington Chamber]
Restrictions for West Glebe Road Bridge Traffic — “A routine inspection of the bridge on West Glebe Road at South Four Mile Run has uncovered deterioration, which will require a vehicle weight restriction of 5-tons, and closure of the sidewalks in both directions. Because safety is the priority, the restrictions are effective immediately.” [Arlington County]
Marymount U Prez Dances with Local Stars — “Dr. Irma Becerra has many accomplishments to her name. Dancing is not one of them, but D.C.’s Dancing Stars Gala could soon change that. Marymount University’s new president is one of eight local celebrities who will vie for $10,000 [this past] Saturday when the annual fundraising competition is held at The Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Corner.” [Fairfax News]
Arlington Resident Buys Airline — Sanford Rederer, a resident of North Arlington and Sarasota, Florida, has purchased Florida-based Island Air Charters. [Business Observer]
Pictured above: Crystal City as it once was — building and wayfinding sign in 2011 (Flickr pool photo by Chris Reed)
Arlington Holds Disaster Drill for Cyclists — “On Saturday BikeArlington and the Office of Emergency Management held the county’s first Disaster Relief Trial, modeled after such events in Oregon, Washington, and California… 70 registered families, teams, and individual bikers traveled throughout Arlington, stopping at four checkpoints and completing eight challenges.” [Local DVM]
Marymount Launches Internship Fund — “Marymount University has announced plans to financially support students who intern at non-profit organizations that do not have the resources to pay them. The new ‘Sister Majella Berg Internship Fund’ is a way to solidify partnerships between the university and local safety-net organizations, new Marymount University president Irma Becerra said.” [InsideNova]
AT&T Donates $30K to Local Nonprofit — “Bridges to Independence announced today a new contribution from AT&T. A private, nonprofit organization, Bridges is dedicated to serving families experiencing homelessness in the City of Alexandria and Arlington County, VA. AT&T’s support will directly benefit Bridges’ mission by expanding the organization’s Youth Development Program which serves children experiencing homelessness.” [Press Release]
Ballston Apartment Building Sold — “The Chevy Chase Land Company… announced today the $90 million acquisition of 672 Flats, a 173-Unit Class A apartment building in the heart of Ballston.” [Press Release]
Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin
HQ2 Odds Ever in Our Favor — Business Insider says it has “long seen the evidence pointing to the DC area” as the eventual destination for Amazon’s second headquarters. Online betting odds, meanwhile, favor Northern Virginia, and ARLnow.com hears that Crystal City is the far and away the most likely Northern Virginia locale for HQ2. [Business Insider]
High School Football Season Underway — “For the second straight season, but this year at a different venue, the Wakefield Warriors opened their high-school football campaign with a victory over the Washington-Lee Generals.” Yorktown, meanwhile, gave up a lead and lost to Wilson 37-29. [InsideNova]
McCain and Vietnam Vets Calls Nam Viet Home — A group of Vietnam War veterans, including the late Sen. John McCain, who was laid to rest over the weekend, regularly met up at Nam Viet restaurant in Clarendon. [Cronkite News]
First Day of School Reminder — Today is the first day of school for Arlington Public Schools and the school system is reminding residents that passing a school bus with its stop arm out is a traffic infraction punishable by a $250 fine. Police, meanwhile, are participating in a back-to-school safety campaign that includes extra enforcement of such traffic laws. [Twitter, Arlington County]
School Board: Don’t Go Over Building Budget — “Should Arlington Public Schools hold firm, no matter what, to budgets on upcoming construction projects? Or allow a little maneuvering room, if the opportunity arises, in an effort to get more bang for their buck? That question played out again Aug. 30, as School Board members split 3-2 in directing an advisory body to not even think about returning with a plan that exceeds the $37 million budget for turning the Arlington Education Center’s administrative offices into classroom space.” [InsideNova]
Police Prepare for Plane Pull — “The public is invited to cheer on the Arlington Police and Sheriff Team during the Plane Pull at Dulles Airport on Saturday, September 15, 2018.” [Arlington County]
New MU Prez Focuses on Real-World Experience — Irma Becerra, Marymount University’s new president and the first person of color in that role, plans “to further connect the Arlington university with its surrounding business community, making internships an equal pillar of her vision as enrollment, graduation and retention rates.” [Washington Business Journal]
Empanada Thief Caught on Camera — Arlington squirrels, apparently, are now blatantly stealing and eating empanadas in broad daylight. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf