Arlington, VA

Developer JBG SMITH is adding to its already extensive redevelopment plans in and around Crystal City.

The top property owner in the so-called National Landing area (Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard) just revealed plans for a new office building, just down the street from Amazon’s planned HQ2.

The building at 101 12th Street S. will replace a sparsely-used open green space the company owns near Long Bridge Park, on the northern end of Crystal City. The development is expected to include a nine-story “trophy” office building with 5,000 square feet of street-level retail, underground parking and a new “expansive park space.”

In a press release, below, JBG says the plans are part of its “ongoing collaboration with Arlington County and private sector partners to deliver a mix of new housing, retail, office, and public spaces to National Landing – the site of Amazon’s new headquarters.”

The developer envisions the area as a gleaming “18-hour” neighborhood, counter to its former image as a dull concrete canyon of aging offices and apartment buildings, with little nightlife to speak of.

More from the press release:

JBG SMITH (NYSE: JBGS), a leading owner and developer of high-quality, mixed-use properties in the Washington, DC market, today announced that it has submitted plans to Arlington County for the development of approximately 235,000 square feet of trophy office space and approximately 5,000 square feet of street-level retail at 101 12th Street, the proposed new address for the building. The current plan calls for a nine-story building, underground parking, and expansive park space on vacant land that JBG SMITH owns.

The submission is part of JBG SMITH’s ongoing collaboration with Arlington County and private sector partners to deliver a mix of new housing, retail, office, and public spaces to National Landing – the site of Amazon’s new headquarters.

101 12th Street is anticipated to follow 1900 Crystal Drive and RiverHouse Apartments, which are already moving through the entitlement process, and approximately 2.6 million square feet of development, which was submitted last month. In the aggregate, these projects constitute over half of JBG SMITH’s 6.9 million square foot Future Development Pipeline in National Landing. Based on current plans, JBG SMITH expects the 6.9 million square feet to comprise approximately 2.2 million square feet of office and 4.7 million square feet of multifamily, totaling approximately 4,000 to 5,000 units, which will all have ground floor retail.

In addition, 1770 Crystal Drive and Central District Retail are both currently under construction. JBG SMITH is also serving as the fee developer for Amazon’s new headquarters and the master developer for the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, all located in National Landing.

Designed to serve as a gateway between Long Bridge Park and the north-end of National Landing, 101 12th Street’s prominent eastern façade and ninth-floor terrace are expected to provide dramatic views of the DC skyline, the National Mall and monumental core, and Reagan National Airport.

JBG SMITH’s submission contains several community benefits including open space, a new expansive park, and street-level retail. A fitness center, first floor terrace, and the ninth-floor terrace will serve as amenities for the future tenants of the planned office. Keeping with JBG SMITH’s plan to foster a vibrant, architecturally distinct environment in National Landing, 101 12th will be layered with gleaming stainless-steel shingles on the 12th and 10th Street frontages to present a complementary variation against the design of surrounding buildings.

“The various development opportunities that JBG SMITH has submitted to Arlington County over the last year will work in tandem to create a more robust, 18-hour environment in National Landing,” said Bryan Moll, Executive Vice President at JBG SMITH. “The building at 101 12th Street is an important piece of the larger transformation, and we look forward to working with the County to review and refine our proposal.”

Renderings courtesy JBG SMITH/TMRW Studios, photo via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Dorsey Staying Put, For Now — “The chairman of the Arlington County Board says he’s not going anywhere… ‘My personal financial issues do not impinge on my ability to work with colleagues both in Arlington and throughout the region, our county staff and our community,’ Dorsey said. ‘I intend to demonstrate over the next four years those who voted to re-elect me did not make a mistake.'” [InsideNova]

RiverHouse Plans Pick Up Opposition — “JBG Smith’s plans to add nearly 1,000 new housing units to its RiverHouse Apartment Complex in Pentagon City, not far from the future home of Amazon’s second headquarters, now look to be in trouble. Arlington officials and neighbors are pushing back against the developer’s proposal.” [Washington Business Journal]

Police Chase Theft Suspect in Rosslyn — “Two suspects allegedly entered a business, concealed merchandise in bags and left without paying. An employee attempted to confront the suspects outside the business and, following a brief scuffle, the suspects fled the scene on foot. A lookout was broadcast by dispatch and a responding officer observed two individuals matching the suspect descriptions walking in the area. One suspect complied with the officer’s commands to stop while the other suspect fled.” [Arlington County, Twitter]

One Argument for ‘National Landing’ — “In 2018 when Amazon announced it would locate its new headquarters in National Landing, people familiar with Crystal City scratched their heads and said ‘that’s not a real place.’ But the name Crystal City itself was also an out-of-nowhere developer creation about 60 years earlier… Before it was Crystal City, it was Brick Haven, so named for its abundant brick factories.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Restaurants Still Waiting for Amazon Effect — Restaurant owners in Crystal City are excited about Amazon’s arrival in the neighborhood, but are not yet seeing tangible benefits in the form of increased business. [Washington Business Journal]

CEO of A-SPAN Retiring — “A-SPAN announces the retirement of its President & CEO, Kathy Sibert. After leading the organization for 11 years, Sibert will continue her role through January 31, 2020. Sibert became the President & CEO of A-SPAN (Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network, Inc) in 2008.” [Press Release]

Vienna Poaches from Arlington Economic Development — “The Town of Vienna has hired a business development manager in Arlington County to help revitalize local businesses. The town recently announced that Natalie Monkou, an Annadale resident, will be the town’s first-ever economic development manager.” [Tysons Reporter]

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Morning Notes

HQ2 Business Boom Strains County — “A full year after Amazon.com Inc. announced that it would set up shop in Arlington, there’s little doubt the company has drawn the sort of surge in business and development interest that local leaders promised as they pursued HQ2 — but all of that activity has also put a strain on the local government as it prepares for the tech giant’s arrival.” [Washington Business Journal]

Tour of Amazon’s Temporary Crystal City Office — “Amazon almost has 200 employees working in leased space in @ArlingtonVA, with more on the way.” [WJLA, Twitter]

‘National Landing’ Name Falls Flat — “It’s been one year since the HQ2 announcement, and with it the coordinated airdrop of the name, ‘National Landing,’ on an unsuspecting and bewildered population… So has National Landing stuck? Not really, at least among the common people, according to the folks I interviewed.” [Washington Business Journal]

Amazon Adjacent Real Estate Skyrockets — “The median home price in the 22202 ZIP code, which encompasses all of HQ2, was $815,000 in October. That’s about a 51% year-to-date increase or a $275,000 difference, according to data provided by MarketStats by ShowingTime, based on listing activity from Bright MLS.” [Washington Business Journal, WTOP]

Housing Affordability Increasing? — “With mortgage rates at a three-year low and a healthy job market, housing affordability rose to its highest level in three years in the third quarter of 2019… for the Washington area, high incomes helped to offset the pricey cost of housing, with the resulting regional opportunity index higher than the national average.” [InsideNova]

County Pleased With Water Main Break Response — “How well did Arlington County in Virginia think it handled the water main break that triggered a boil water advisory for more than 100,000 customers in the county and parts of Northwest D.C.? Pretty well, it seems.” [WTOP]

New American Legion Bridge Coming — “Commuters heading to and from Maryland on the Beltway may see some relief from the constant traffic woes. The governors of Virginia and Maryland announced an agreement Tuesday morning that would see the construction of a new American Legion Bridge.” [Tysons Reporter]

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A group of large local employers and small local businesses has formed a new group intended “to support National Landing’s transformation.”

The Arlington Community Coalition says the arrival of Amazon’s HQ2 is a golden opportunity to bolster housing and transportation options in the National Landing area, which includes Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard. The group also wants to build a sense of community and support local businesses as the area grows.

“After seeing years of decline from BRAC, National Landing will significantly help small businesses attract a steady stream of new and regular customers,” said Freddie’s Beach Bar owner Freddie Lutz, one of the coalition’s members. “National Landing will become an economic engine driving new growth and opportunities for small business retail and restaurants.”

Members of coalition include the Consumer Technology Association — outspoken supporters of Amazon’s arrival — along with Amazon’s National Landing landlord, JBG Smith, and Virginia Tech, which is developing an Innovation Campus in Potomac Yard. Other members include Lyft, Freddie’s, Commonwealth Joe and Mothersauce Partners.

The group believes that Amazon-fueled growth will foster a “collaborative ecosystem for education, innovation, and entrepreneurship” that will help “further establish Northern Virginia as the next great technology hub.”

Countering the anti-Amazon sentiment that made headlines prior to Arlington’s approval of millions in local incentives for the retail and tech giant, the new coalition says the community will benefit from the area’s growth, and not just because of Amazon.

“From housing to transportation, education to entertainment, National Landing will be not only a global technology hub but a vibrant community for all of us who live, work, and visit here,” said Glenda MacMullin, Chief Operating Officer and CFO, Consumer Technology Association.

The full press release from the Arlington Community Coalition is below, after the jump.

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(Updated at 12 a.m.) The Crystal City Business Improvement District is set to absorb parts of Potomac Yard and Pentagon City, and could be eying a name change.

The Arlington County Board approved a 76% increase to the land included within the BID’s boundaries during its meeting this past Saturday, September 21, after the BID gained the required support from commercial property owners.

The new area encompasses parts of Arlington’s Potomac Yard and Pentagon City neighborhoods, including Amazon’s planned permanent HQ2.

But that’s not the only change afoot in Amazon’s new backyard.

“We anticipate that this Board may be soon asked to consider whether a different name should be applied to the BID to reflect the expanded area,” Board Chair Christian Dorsey noted from the dais this weekend.

“Given the combined area’s size and scale as a major downtown district — the largest walkable downtown in Virginia — the BID believes an umbrella term to represent the unified area is critical to elevating the district and appropriately identifying the organization and its focus,” said the BID’s President and Executive Director Tracy Sayegh Gabriel in a statement.

“Exploration of this umbrella term has been underway since the launch of the BID’s strategic planning process in April 2018,” she added. “While the BID sees value in adopting National Landing as an overarching name for the district to complement the individual neighborhood names of Crystal City, Potomac Yard and Pentagon City, we continue to engage the community and area stakeholders on this topic.”

The name “National Landing” first first emerged with Amazon’s announcement it was heading to Arlington. The name — conjured up by a combination of Arlington and Alexandria economic development authorities, property owner (and Amazon landlord) JBG Smith, and the BID itself — was used to refer to the Crystal City, Pentagon City, and Potomac Yard area in and around the company’s headquarters.

Thus far the name has been used informally — without public hearings, and input from community groups — but its potential use as the BID’s new identity could solidify its emergence in the pantheon of local place names.

Recently, ARLnow learned via state records that JBG Smith created a “National Landing Business Owners Association Inc.” to take advantage of a new law allowing customers buy beverages and wander as they shop in malls.

A BID document included in a staff report to the Board this weekend said the renaming was its “highest priority” after expanding its boundaries:

Once the Area-Wide BID is approved by the County Board, a full rebranding of the district will be the highest priority initiative for implementation as per the Strategic Plan. In April 2019, the Crystal City Business Improvement District selected a branding consultant and kicked off the initiative with an Area-Wide Branding Committee. The goal of the effort is to create a new visual identity — including brand story, logos, signage, and place branding. The branding initiative will focus on both the BID organization and the area-wide name as well as the neighborhoods of Crystal City, Pentagon City, and the Potomac Yard-Arlington. The goal is to launch the new identity as early as July 2019.

Renaming a BID would require the Board’s approval, as well as the BID to work with the County Manager’s Office to hold public engagement sessions to gather residents opinions, according to Dorsey. During the public engagement process, residents will have the opportunity to suggest their own names, as well.

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This article was written by CvikerAR and sponsored by Arlington Economic Development’s Business Investment Group.

With the groundbreaking for Amazon HQ2 fast approaching, local startup Cviker Corporation (pronounced /sveye-ker/) partnered with developer JBG Smith to create an augmented reality (AR) visualization of National Landing (an area encompassing Crystal City and Pentagon City in Arlington) to envision the new development projects.

These projects, such as new buildings and infrastructure enhancements, are viewable using an app-based platform on a smartphone or tablet and allow the user to feel as if they are seeing the completed projects with their own eyes.

Cviker’s innovative vision and partnership with JBG Smith sprung out of a unique opportunity to work with Arlington Economic Development (AED) staff to create a visualization highlighting buildings and landmarks significant to Arlington’s technology ecosystem and innovation history for the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

Cviker first showcased the AR visualization of Crystal City and Pentagon City in AED’s booth at CES in January. This visualization highlighted prominent buildings, including the newly released Amazon HQ2 renderings. Beyond a visual aid, Cviker’s AR platform focuses on community engagement, showing the community how Amazon HQ2 will look and feel in Arlington.

To create this AR model of Crystal City and Pentagon City, Cviker combined 3D modeling with GIS and LIDAR data, along with additional animations and historical information to enhance the model. Realizing that the AR model developed for CES showed the future of Amazon in Arlington, Cviker leveraged its initial model for the opportunity to work closely with JBG Smith to make quality improvements.

By transforming the visualization from a functional, 3D model into a high-end, photorealistic and interactive experience, Cviker created an AR walkthrough of National Landing that can be seen in JBG Smith’s new marketing center in Crystal City. The viewer can perceive the relationship between the different types of infrastructure on an elevated level, providing new insights and use cases to better improve design and prepare for the future.

Cviker is a newcomer not only to the D.C. metro area, but also to the United States. A few years ago, a venue called VRBA opened in Bratislava, Slovakia. VRBA combined the simple, yet complex flavors of a gin and tonic with the exciting experience of virtual reality.

Creating virtual reality experiences during the day and gin and tonics at night, VRBA experienced immediate success, including gaining the attention of local politicians. Specifically, one local mayor with a particular interest in innovation proposed the idea of focusing on AR visualization of buildings and infrastructure renderings, and with that idea in mind, Cviker was born.

Going on to win an international smart cities competition, the Cviker team flew to the U.S. for an opportunity to work with the Smart City Works Actuator, a business accelerator based in Northern Virginia focused on growing startups in the architecture, engineering and construction industries. This is where AED learned of Cviker’s work and realized the potential it could have in helping to visualize the future of the County.

As the development for Amazon’s HQ2 draws closer, Cviker hopes to work closely with other groups, organizations and the Arlington community to ensure that equitable, safe, livable and desirable spaces are being created.

For more information about Cviker, and to see some of its AR visualizations, visit its website or download the company’s free app on the App Store called CvikerAR.

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Morning Notes

Rolling Thunder to Coming to a Stop — The 2019 Rolling Thunder rally will be the group’s last Memorial Day rally in the D.C. area, organizers say. The rally has brought thousands of bikers, along with road closures and motorcycle noise, to Arlington over the past three decades. [Washington Post]

The Gritty Pre-History of Crystal City — “Before development flourished (the entrepreneurs offered bargain rates to federal agencies), the area ‘was a conglomeration of places that sold junk, used tires, a drive-in movie theater, a run-down ice skating rink, second-hand materials — it was very unattractive…’ The industrial area leading to the Potomac Yard railway tracks for decades was bordered by sketchy bar-rooms of the 19th-century Jackson City and National Airport’s precursor, Hoover Field.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Seasonal Pop-Ups at Pentagon City Mall — A trio of “seasonal pop-up shops” are opening at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City: Chukulata, a sweet shop selling crepes and other treats; PolarX Ornaments, selling holiday decor and personalized ornaments; and Trunk and Drawer, which “specializes in men’s fashionable undergarments as well as sleepwear, activewear and swimwear,” per a press release.

Stepped Up DUI Enforcement Underway — “To help spread the message about the dangers of drunk driving, the Arlington County Police Department is partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to get drunk drivers off the roads and help save lives during the national high-visibility enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, which runs from December 13-31, 2018.” [Arlington County]

JBG Buying More Sites in ‘National Landing’ — “JBG Smith Properties has reached a deal to buy a development site across from Virginia Tech’s planned innovation campus in Alexandria, part of a larger strategy to acquire land in and around the National Landing area that includes Amazon.com Inc.’s new headquarters.” [Washington Business Journal]

Nearby: Old Town Getting Left Behind? — “The old guard of Alexandria, mainly in Old Town, has for decades wielded a sort of NIMBY clout and deployed ample financial resources to fight projects. The plans to activate Alexandria’s 8.6-acre waterfront were delayed for years due to community pushback and legal challenges… But fears that Alexandria will be left behind as competition intensifies with flashier destinations such as National Harbor and The Wharf are spurring change.” [Washington Business Journal]

Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman

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Morning Notes

Restaurant Owners Eye Crystal City — “Andrew Dana, owner of Parkview bagel sensation Call Your Mother and lauded Petworth pizza spot Timber Pizza Co., texted his business partner Jeff Zients on Tuesday night with one question: ‘How do we get into Amazon HQ2?’ It’s a question many restaurant and bar owners will likely be asking in the coming months as Crystal City and Pentagon City prepare to host parts of Amazon.com Inc.’s HQ2 and its eventual 25,000 employees.” [Washington Business Journal]

Last Vehicle Decal Deadline is Tomorrow — “Nov. 16 is the deadline for owners of vehicles garaged in Arlington to display the 2018-19 county vehicle decal. Decals, which signify payment of vehicle taxes, should be placed adjacent to the state-inspection sticker on the driver’s side of the windshield.” [InsideNova]

Columnist: Ban Cars in National Landing — “It seems pretty obvious what Arlington, Amazon, and JBG Smith (Amazon’s future landlord) absolutely need to do: Take the dramatic but wholly necessary step of banning cars and closing all the parking lots throughout National Landing.” [Washington City Paper]

Home Sales Down, Prices Up — “The arrival of Amazon may change things over the long haul, but for now, the Arlington real estate market seems to be moving through a dormant period, sales-wise – with few signs of improvement on the near horizon. But while sales were down, the average sales price was up slightly and prices of single-family properties averaged more than $1 million during the month, according to new figures.” [InsideNova]

First Word of HQ2 Win Received in Wendy’s Parking Lot — “Virginia learned it had won the biggest economic development contest in U.S. history when a low-profile state official got a phone call in the parking lot of a Wendy’s restaurant in the Shenandoah Valley at 2 p.m. Monday.” [Washington Post]

Tips for Thanksgiving Travel at DCA — “Construction delays and big holiday crowds mean you’ll have to add extra time to fly in or out of the D.C. region’s airports for much of the next month and a half.” [WTOP, MWAA]

Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak

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