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Restaurant Row in Crystal City (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A round of recovery funds may soon be coming to long-time small businesses in National Landing.

Potentially up for grabs is $75,000 in funding from the National Landing Business Improvement District. The proposed initiative, which the Arlington County Board is set to consider on Saturday, would build on the ReLaunch program, which provides grants to small local establishments.

“While the current ReLaunch program is funded and is offered to all eligible businesses in the County,” a county report says, “the BID intends to prioritize National Landing businesses to increase the marketing to and availability of the program resources for this important segment of the small business community, which may need technical assistance to retool their businesses to remain competitive in a changing market.”

The funds are meant to assist “legacy” businesses “impacted by changing market conditions exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the report continued.

Eligible businesses must be at least 10 years old, have fewer than 10 employees and have a primary location within the boundaries of the National Landing BID, which span Crystal City and parts of Pentagon City and Potomac Yard, the county says. They must also “in good business standing,” operating with up-to-date business licenses and current on, or on a payment plan for, all county taxes.

The BID, in partnership with the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, has previously handed recovery funds to numerous Crystal City and Pentagon City establishments. Two rounds of the “Love Local” relief program each divvied out $100,000 in 2021 and 2022.

The latest batch of funding would go through the Arlington Economic Development BizLaunch Division, which would then distribute the $75,000 this year.

The county report noted the importance of supporting National Landing during a time of intense development and investment, including, most recently, the announcement that the Washington Capitals and Wizards would move to Alexandria — predicted to be a boon for the hospitality industry in the National Landing area.

“The area is experiencing transformative growth, with over $12 billion in public and private investment underway, including Amazon’s second headquarters, a surge of new residential construction and retail offerings, and major park and multimodal transportation investments that are enhancing a thriving residential, hotel, and business community,” the report says. “The BID is strengthening the experience and identity of National Landing.”


It’s time to dig out those ugly Christmas sweaters and get into the holiday spirit.

The National Landing Business Improvement District is planning a ski-themed holiday festival — dubbed “The Lodge” — at Metropolitan Park in Pentagon City, according to a press release.

It’s happening the first weekend in December — Friday, Dec. 1 through Sunday, Dec. 3 — at the park (1400 S. Eads Street) next to Amazon’s HQ2.

“Guests can savor peppermint mochas and holiday-themed bites from local restaurants, shop for holiday gifts from local artists and adults can stop by Summit Bar for Aprés Ski,” a press release from the BID says.

There are three distinct activity zones named after different ski slope ratings, catering to families, pets and adults.

For the kiddos, “Bunny Hill” offers face painting, photos with Santa, train rides and crafts.

Dog owners can visit the “Blue Run” section, which will have a dog bone bar and pet caricatures. Additionally, there is a holiday market and a pop-up Christmas tree farm. For those needing last-minute holiday cards, a photo booth is also available.

Adults in the mood for some grown-up fun can swing by the DC Fray Summit Bar in the “Black Diamond” section, sporting an ugly sweater, for an après ski spiked hot chocolate or mulled wine. The adults can also try their hand at axe throwing.

The park is accessible on foot or by bike and is a 10-minute walk from the Crystal City Metro Station. For those driving, parking is available along Crystal Drive, according to the release.

The hours of the festival are as follows.

  • Friday, Dec. 1 — 5:30-8:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 2 — 1-8 p.m.
  • Sunday, Dec. 3 — 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

(Updated at 9:40 a.m. on 8/1/23) If you build it, they will come.

That is the philosophy guiding the planned construction of the east entrance to the Crystal City Metro station, for which Arlington County inked a contract earlier this month.

First floated in 2002, the idea of a second Crystal City Metro entrance remained on the local radar before becoming one of the suite of transportation projects the county and state agreed to deliver in order to secure Amazon’s (recently opened) second headquarters in Arlington.

This month, Arlington approved a contract with JBG Smith and Clark Construction, which together agreed to build the second entrance for no more than $117 million. Design work is not yet complete, however, and the new entrance may not be ready until 2027.

The new entrance will be located at the northwest corner of Crystal Drive and 18th Street S., a couple of blocks from the current entrance.

Although a few years away, project proponents say the project will bring visitors closer to Crystal Drive, a part of Crystal City undergoing significant change, and will create a “transit hub” connecting people to rail (VRE and Amtrak), buses and the airport. Doing so, they say, will make using Metro more convenient and, thus, encourage additional ridership, which remains below pre-pandemic levels.

“This east entrance really brings transit where it belongs, into the heart of a commercial district,” says Tracy Sayegh Gabriel, the president and executive director of the National Landing Business Improvement District.

“Crystal Drive is a commercial spine and there are many enhancements and new destinations that will deliver soon and will seamlessly connect to the entrance,” she continued. “In 2024, we will realize a truly reinvisioned Crystal Drive.”

The Crystal City Water Park, set to reopen this September with a number of food vendor stalls, would be across the street from the new entrance. A retail strip with Mah-Ze-Dahr, Tacombi, and the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is steps away, while two dozen other retailers are set to move into Crystal Drive over the next year, including a new restaurant called Surreal.

Construction upgrades at the Crystal City Water Park are nearly complete (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Proponents say the second entrance will facilitate connections to other transit modes. Getting between VRE and Metro, for instance, can be a confusing hassle, says local civic association president Eric Cassel.

“Everybody who is a tourist or something like that, they have a hard time finding it currently, it’s kind of hidden away,” he said. “People don’t take transit as much because it’s difficult to transfer between that and buses and everything else. One of the reasons to make a focal point of a transit hub is to get people who would otherwise drive to take transit.”

The new station will also make hopping on the Metro a bit less of a slog for people who live or work in the neighborhood.

“This new entrance would save me and others 5 minutes of walking up the hill to get to the current entrance,” says Jay Corbalis, public affairs vice president for JBG Smith.

“That doesn’t sound like a lot to some people, but when you think about that every day, twice a day, for thousands of people, it starts to add up why it’s an important project,” he continued. “It changes the geography of National Landing. It brings that many people closer to the rest of the region.”

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MedStar Capitals Iceplex (via Monumental Sports and Entertainment)

Could Arlington one day be the home of the Capitals and the Wizards?

The Washington Post says talks to build a new arena in the National Landing area, not far from Amazon’s HQ2, are underway — but are in the early stages. The talks come as Monumental Sports and Entertainment, which owns the NHL and NBA franchises, contemplates leaving Capital One Arena in D.C. after the expiration of a lease clause in 2027.

“MSE executives have also talked to Virginia government officials about relocating the Capitals and Wizards from downtown D.C. to Northern Virginia, near Amazon’s new HQ2, according to three people with knowledge of the situation, who were not authorized to speak publicly about negotiations,” the Post reported Friday. “Two people familiar with the talks, including a Monumental official, described them as preliminary and exploratory.”

“If Monumental were to leave for Virginia, it would follow Amazon into a neighborhood boosters have renamed ‘National Landing,’ which has already started experiencing rapid transformation,” the Post’s article adds. “The move would be a major economic development win for both Arlington County and Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R), who has been mulling a 2024 presidential bid.”

It’s unclear where a new arena might go in the largely built-out neighborhood. The long-vacant PenPlace site, once contemplated as a possible landing spot for a Washington Nationals stadium before the team committed to D.C., is set to become the second phase of HQ2. That project, including the signature “Helix” building, is delayed but local officials expect it to get underway next year.

Another plot of land just to the west of PenPlace, however, is set for redevelopment, across from the Pentagon City Metro station, and located on a pair of high-capacity roads near I-395.

The Capitals already have a presence in Arlington — the MedStar Capitals Iceplex in Ballston hosts the hockey team’s training facility and team offices.

Pink in the Park promotional image (photo courtesy National Landing BID)

A big event postponed due to the April 1 wind storm has been rescheduled.

Pink in the Park, organized by the National Landing Business Improvement District, will now be held from 4-8 p.m. on Sunday, April 30. Tickets, available for free online, are required.

“Located at the Long Bridge Park Aquatics & Fitness Center, Pink in the Park will feature an exciting musical lineup of DJ Chan Don, Crush Funk Brass, Umami House, Footwerk, Reesa Renee, and headliner Black Alley,” a BID spokesperson wrote. “With a cashless beverage garden, food trucks, immersive, cherry blossom-inspired art installations, Instagrammable moments and more, Pink in the Park is the can’t-miss finale to cherry blossom season!”

The event will be hosted by Orlando Jones of MADtv and 7Up spokesman fame.

More below, from a press release.

Pink isn’t just a color, it’s a vibe. Celebrate the end of cherry blossom season and pump up the pink at Pink in the Park, presented by Amazon and produced by the National Landing Business Improvement District at the Long Bridge Park Aquatics & Fitness Center in National Landing.

From 4 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, April 30, adults can enjoy unforgettable music and entertainment with special guest and celebrity host Orlando Jones, and performances by DJ Chan Don, Crush Funk Brass, Umami House, Footwerk, Reesa Renee, and headliner Black Alley. Enjoy a  spring-themed cashless beverage garden, food trucks, immersive, cherry blossom-inspired art installations, Instagrammable moments, and much more.

Full performance lineup includes:

Adult beverages, including beer and wine, will be provided by #FrayLife Bar, Crystal City Wine Shop, Beauty Champagne and Sugar Boutique, Drunk Fruit, Lost Boy Cider and more. Guests can also sample flavors of National Landing restaurants and food trucks including:

“We are excited to announce a new date for Pink in Park and to bring all the pink energy across the river in National Landing on Sunday, April 30 as we close out the National Cherry Blossom Festival,” said Tracy Sayegh Gabriel, President and Executive Director of the National Landing BID. “We’re proud to highlight the festival in our neighborhood’s signature park in collaboration with our sponsors and vibrant National Landing businesses and look forward to being part of our region’s storied cherry blossom celebration.”

“Amazon is thrilled to partner with the National Landing BID and the National Cherry Blossom Festival to bring the joy of the cherry blossoms to National Landing,” said Patrick Phillippi, Senior Manager of Community Engagement for Amazon. “Pink in the Park will be one of the largest National Cherry Blossom Festival events ever in Virginia and we are excited to celebrate spring with our community.”

Please stay tuned for updates and more community programming by visiting or following the BID on Instagram @nationallanding.

WHEN: Sunday, April 30 from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.

WHERE: Long Bridge Park Aquatics & Fitness Center; 333 Long Bridge Drive, Arlington, Virginia

HOW: FREE festival tickets are available at Tickets are required.


Developer Brookfield has signaled its plans to redevelop the vacant Transportation Security Administration office buildings in Pentagon City.

Last month, Brookfield filed preliminary plans outlining how it will redevelop the site. The filed documents are not site plans that illustrate the buildings it intends to construct, but rather, a high-level overview of what it intends to do with the property.

The real estate company has long had plans to redevelop the TSA buildings, located at 601 and 701 12th Street S., near the Pentagon City Metro entrance and between the Pentagon City mall and the second phase of Amazon’s HQ2. Those plans are currently paused and the buildings have been empty since the TSA left in March 2021 for Springfield, abandoning its original plans to move to Alexandria.

Brookfield put its redevelopment plans on hold in 2020 at the request of Arlington County planners, who were working on a new sector plan to guide future development in Pentagon City, per the Washington Business Journal.

More than a year after the passage of the Pentagon City Sector Plan, Brookfield is taking its first steps toward redeveloping the property, which it is calling “12th Street Landing.”

Brookfield is dividing the property into three land bays, which it will redevelop one at a time, according to land use attorney Kedrick Whitmore. It will apply for site plans for these land bays “in the future,” he adds.

“The proposed development will result in significant improvements to the Property and benefit the Pentagon City community,” per a letter to the county from Whitmore. “Indeed, to enable the requested density increase, the proposed development will provide community benefits on-site, consistent with the recommendations of the Sector Plan.”

The three land bays comprising the proposed 12th Street Landing redevelopment by Brookfield (via Arlington County)

The number of buildings within each land bay and their uses will be finalized at the site plan stage, wrote Whitmore. Brookfield will provide on-site affordable housing but other community benefits will be worked out during the site plan process.

In the application, Brookfield asks the county to approve the maximum allowable density in for the site, as outlined in the Pentagon City Sector Plan. It also asks for permission to allocate that density among “various buildings and uses” once it files site plans for the site.

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Time is running out for your chance to win a National Landing prize package worth $500!

Entries for ARLnow’s inaugural Big Night Out giveaway close tomorrow (Friday) at noon.

The grand prize includes:

  • $100 gift card to Alamo Drafthouse
  • $100 gift card to Bowlero
  • $100 gift card to Synetic Theater
  • $100 gift card to Extreme Pizza
  • $100 gift card to Crystal City Sports Pub
  • Additional National Landing swag

Enter now for your chance to win this prize package, provided by the National Landing BID, before it’s too late.

If you’re not seeing the form above, use this link to enter.

National Landing offers memorable experiences during cherry blossom season, with its own blossoming cherry trees and an array of activities to explore. As you plan your day out with gift cards to five local businesses, be sure to discover all of the newer destinations the area has to offer.

Also, mark your calendar for Pink in the Park, a music-centric event hosted by Orlando Jones. This official National Cherry Blossom Festival event, presented by Amazon, is taking place from 3-7 p.m. this Saturday, April 1 at Long Bridge Park.

Good luck — and hope to see this weekend!


Today may be rainy, but in general the weather is getting warmer, the cherry blossoms are in peak bloom, and it’s a great time to get out of the house.

But where to go to take in the cherry blossoms and enjoy a nice night out? There’s a strong case this year for staying right here in Arlington.

Specifically: National Landing.

Not only does National Landing have its own cherry trees that are in bloom, but in case you haven’t been paying attention to all of the changes, there is also a ton to do there.

So we decided to partner with the National Landing BID to get some cool prizes from local businesses for one lucky ARLnow reader.

The grand prize haul includes all of the following:

While you’re contemplating what food to get, shows to see, etc. with $500 in local gift cards, you can also mark your calendar for Pink in the Park, the new music-centric event hosted by Orlando Jones. It’s happening from 3-7 p.m. on Saturday, April 1 at Long Bridge Park.

Free tickets to this official National Cherry Blossom Festival Event, presented by Amazon, are available for free online.

In the meantime, use the form below to enter for a chance to win the Big Night Out prize package. Good luck!

If you’re not seeing the form above, use this link.

The drawing will take place on Friday, March 31 and the prize will be available for pickup at Pink in the Park on Saturday, April 1.

Rain drops on a cherry blossom in Freedom Park in Rosslyn (Staff Photo by Jay Westcott)

You won’t have to go across the Potomac to enjoy cherry blossom festivities this year.

The National Landing BID is hosting Pink in the Park, a celebration of the region’s cherry blossoms sans D.C. tourist crowds.

Pink in the Park is scheduled for Saturday, April 1, from 3-7 p.m. The festival will be held outside the Long Bridge Aquatics and Fitness Center, at 333 Long Bridge Drive.

Current predictions say the Pink in the Park festival might miss peak bloom by about a week, thanks to warmer temperatures this winter.

The event will be emceed by comedian and American Gods actor Orlando Jones, with rock band Black Alley headlining. Black Alley is scheduled to take the stage at 5:45 p.m.

Other scheduled performers include DJ Chan DonCrush Funk BrassUmami HouseReesa Renee, and Footwerk. The National Landing BID website said the event will feature several food trucks as well as beer and wine vendors, including food trucks from Health Pub, Kona Ice, Pho Wheels, Peruvian Brothers, and The Grease Wagon.

Beauty Champagne and Sugar Boutique, Crystal City Wine Shop, DC Brau, District Fray, Drunkfruit and Lost Boy Cider are listed as beer and wine partners.

Pets are allowed at the event but must be leashed at all time, and it’s not recommended for pets that are sensitive to loud music and crowds.

The event will also have “Instagrammable moments,” “immersive art installations” and giveaways, organizers say. It will be preceded by Pink in the Pool, a family-friendly event from 9 a.m.-noon in the Long Bridge Aquatics Center.

Tickets to the event, of which Amazon is the marquee sponsor, are free and available online.

Pink in the Park graphic (via National Landing BID)
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An outdoor concert in Long Bridge Park (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Events at Long Bridge Park and Penrose Square could get boozier.

Arlington County is considering amending ordinances to allow the sale of alcoholic beverages during special events at these two public parks located, respectively, near Crystal City and on Columbia Pike.

Currently, county code allows alcohol at approved special events at Fort C. F. Smith Park in the Woodmont neighborhood, Clarendon Central Park and Gateway Park in Rosslyn. But amid support from some residents and the National Landing Business Improvement District to expand approved locations, the county is conducting a public outreach effort.

Locals can share if they think allowing drinking during special events at these parks is “a great idea, a bad idea or something in the middle.” The survey, originally set to close last week, is now open through Sunday, Nov. 6.

“Both of these sites were designed to be event venues and currently host a variety of events where alcohol would be a complement, including concerts, movie nights and festivals. In fact, both locations have closed off streets or easements nearby for their events to include alcohol,” says county staff member Adam Segel-Moss, in a video (below)explaining the proposed policy change.

The survey — which has been advertised online and on at least one sandwich board sign on Columbia Pike — asks respondents if there are any other locations staff should consider in the future. People can also share their experiences at special events they have attended at the three parks where alcohol sales are allowed.

“The county is going to take this change slowly, and in stages,” Segel-Moss said. “To be clear, we are not proposing alcohol in all parks every day at any time.”

If the change were to go through, special events organizers would have to request a permit to serve alcohol. Police review is required for special event permits requesting to serve alcohol, and the county can choose to require a police presence at the event, per the video.

The National Landing BID expressed its enthusiastic support for the change in a recent email promoting the survey.

“Having the ability to serve beer and wine during County-approved special events at Long Bridge Park (just like Gateway Park does currently in Rosslyn) is critical to our success in bringing diverse entertainment options to our district,” the BID said.

This ability would help the BID “bring world-class programming and major events to Long Bridge Park, including a signature event for the National Cherry Blossom Festival,” the email said.

A few years ago, Arlington asked locals what they thought of alcohol sales in public spaces, in general, when the county was updating its Public Spaces Master Plan.

“Nearly 60% of survey respondents indicated that they would be supportive of the sale of food and beverages, at least on a temporary basis, in parks and public spaces,” according to the plan. “This rises to over 60% when asked about the sale of food and beverages in the County’s high-density corridors or certain designated parks and plazas.”

Given the support, the updated parks plan recommends the allowing alcohol sales at more parks.

This change to county code could go to the Arlington County Board for review in January, Segel-Moss said.

Survey respondents on allowing concessions in Arlington parks (via Arlington County)
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The proposed bridge between Crystal City and DCA at its starting point in the planned Virginia Railway Express station (courtesy of Arlington County)

It’s a little less park-like than New York City’s High Line, but Arlington County has come up with a concept for new pedestrian bridge from Crystal City to National Airport.

Now, it is asking people to share their feedback.

Over the past year, the county, the Virginia Department of Transportation and a Boston-based civil engineering firm have evaluated 16 possible bridge and tunnel connections across active train tracks, the GW Parkway and National Park Service land.

After concluding the site could not accommodate tunnel entrances, VDOT and the county were left to consider two bridges. Today (Tuesday), Arlington launched a public engagement period for a preferred alternative, moving the needle forward on what’s being called the Crystal City to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport Multimodal Connection project — or CC2DCA.

The county proposes starting the bridge at the planned Virginia Railway Express Crystal City station at 2011 Crystal Drive  and ending in the second level of DCA’s Terminal 2 parking garage.

If built, it would take about five minutes to walk the 1,300 feet from the station to the airport, per a press release from the National Landing Business Improvement District.

The proposed Crystal City to DCA bridge starting point at the planned Virginia Railway Express station (courtesy of Arlington County)

The bridge would be an enclosed girder bridge running perpendicular to the rail tracks.

Then, the CC2DCA would run at an angle over the GW Parkway.

Initially, the county considered an arch bridge, but a bridge supported with girders would allow the county to link the connector with the Mount Vernon Trail without re-aligning it, per a staff presentation.

The bridge segment over the GW Parkway (courtesy of Arlington County)

Once it links up with DCA’s Terminal 2 parking garage, pedestrians would have a dedicated walkway through the garage to the terminal. This path would eliminate 40 parking spaces, according to the presentation.

The bridge segment over the GW Parkway and linking to DCA’s Terminal 2 parking garage (courtesy of Arlington County)

Ballpark estimates put the project at $43 million, the presentation said. So far, CC2DCA already has over $38 million in committed funds.

Now through Nov. 6, people can share their feedback in English, Spanish and Chinese, attend a public meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 25, or submit comments via email, according to the project webpage.

“The team is sharing concepts to make sure needs and priorities are aligned,” Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Claudia Pors tells ARLnow. “This is the preferred recommended alternative to date, but it hasn’t been approved by any agencies as of now.”

After collecting public feedback, the county plans to present its recommendation to federal agencies in December, Pors said.

The preferred alternative could be confirmed by next spring and the design phase could start by the end of 2023, per the National Landing BID press release.

The second-place contender would have started at 2231 Crystal Drive and ended at the third level of the Terminal 2 parking garage. Staff ultimately decided against it because it was projected to cost $64.5 million, would eliminate 130 parking spaces at the airport and it would not be as centrally located for rail users, per the staff presentation.

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