A $13.8 million plan to move Arlington Public Schools’ offices from the Education Center to prepare for its use as a high school is set to begin later this year.
The Education Center, which houses various APS offices as well as the Arlington School Board’s meeting rooms, will be used as part of a “hybrid option” alongside the Career Center to add 1,300 high school seats for APS. The Education Center is adjacent to Washington-Lee High School.
APS’ offices are set to relocate to Sequoia Plaza Two at 2100 Washington Blvd, which already houses the School Health Bureau that provides health programs and services, as well as the Parent-Infant Education and Environmental Health programs.
Separately, the county’s Department of Human Services consolidated more than 80,000 square feet of facilities into three buildings at its headquarters at Sequoia Plaza in 2014.
As part of a plan approved last December, the School Board agreed to amend its lease at the property and add just under 80,000 square feet of new office space. In May, the Board approved a design for the office space, which will be spread across four floors.
At its meeting Thursday, August 17, the School Board advanced a construction contract for Sequoia Plaza Two, and will vote to approve the contract as an action item at its September meeting.
Under a timeline presented by APS staff, construction would begin in September and take until April 2018. The first phase of moving would begin in December, with the second phase to begin in April once construction is complete.
Jeff Chambers, APS’s director of design and construction, said that first moving phase would be to move APS staff already based at the building elsewhere to accommodate construction. Chambers said the project will not require any more funding than the $13.8 million already budgeted.
A man of short stature walked into a Crystal City office building, stole a purse, and almost immediately starting using the victim’s credit cards, according to police.
The Arlington County Police Department is investigating the burglary, which happened Monday at the Consumer Technology Association in Crystal City. The department released surveillance camera images of the suspect at ARLnow.com’s request.
“At approximately 2:30 p.m. on August 14, police were dispatched the 1900 block of S. Eads Street for the report of a grand larceny,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “Upon arrival, the victim reported that between 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m., her purse had been stolen from her cubicle and her credit cards had been fraudulently used.”
“During the investigation, several employees reported seeing a suspicious male subject in the building,” Savage continued. “The subject is described as a black male, between 40 and 50 years old, approximately 4 ft tall and weighing 130 lbs. He was wearing dark clothing at the time. The investigation is ongoing.”
An employee who works at the association said the man “walked right into our building and stole a purse from someone’s desk,” then “immediately began using her credit cards at a gas station on Route 1 and then later in D.C.”
“It is very frightening that someone is going around to different office buildings like this!” the employee said.
County Opts to Acquire Hospital Site — Arlington County Board members on Tuesday voted to formally seek a large tract of land along S. Carlin Springs Road in a land swap with Virginia Hospital Center. In exchange, the county is offering to VHC county-owned land next to the hospital, which would allow it to expand. [Arlington County, InsideNova]
Bike Thefts Up in Arlington — Bike thefts were up for the first 6 months of 2017, compared to a year prior. No one seems to be safe from the prolific bike thieves, who often target high-end bikes parked in garages and bike lockers; among those reporting recent thefts were Henry Dunbar, the director of BikeArlington and Capital Bikeshare in Arlington, and an ABC 7 employee. [WJLA]
Gondola Project Not Dead — Though Arlington County has moved on from it, D.C. is still budgeting money to advance the proposed Rosslyn-to-Georgetown gondola project, including $250,000 for an environmental review of a potential gondola site near the C&O canal. One other intriguing factor: should the gondola run north of the Key Bridge, as shown in renderings, it may reach Arlington at the Key Bridge Marriott property, which is in the early stages of a potentially large-scale, mixed-use redevelopment. [Bisnow]
County Buys Office Building — As expected, the Arlington County Board has voted to purchase a low-slung office building at 2920 S. Glebe Road, to house Arlington’s head start program. The program is currently housed in the Edison Center next to Virginia Hospital Center, which is slated to be transferred to VHC in a land swap (see above). Arlington is paying $3.885 million for the Glebe Road property, nearly $1.5 million above its assessed value. [Arlington County]
JBG Has Big Plans for Crystal City — JBG Smith, the newly-formed combination of JBG and the Washington properties of Vornado, says repositioning and enhancing its 7 million square foot portfolio in Crystal City is a “top priority.” Among the changes in the works for the Bethesda-based firm: expanding the vacant office building at 1750 Crystal Drive, converting it to residential, and adding an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and a grocery store. [Washington Business Journal]
A coffee bar is moving into the RCA building in Rosslyn, in place of an English language school.
Permitting applications indicate that Central Coffee Bar — also known as Cities Coffee and Bar in county filings — will replace part of the Inlingua English Center in the first floor of the building at 1901 N. Moore Street.
Workers will convert the 2,212 square feet of office space back to its original retail use. As of Friday morning, work is underway to tear up the floors and ceilings.
Inlingua will remain in the building, but with a reduced footprint.
The building is set for demolition in the next few years, to be replaced by a residential tower. The Washington Business Journal reported last month that a 407-apartment building with 12,709 square feet of ground-floor retail space has been proposed in its place.
No word yet on an opening date for the new coffee bar.
Hat-tip to Chris H.
A building adjacent the Crystal City Metro station is getting a bold new red paint job.
Property owner Vornado will be adding color to its currently beige office building at 251 18th Street S. The painting is expected to begin soon.
The new color “will create an iconic new landmark at [the Metro station] and at the gateway to Crystal City at 18th Street,” according to the Crystal City Business Improvement District, which has been “adding color, vibrancy and art to Crystal City” via projects like Artomatic, Art Underground and various murals around the neighborhood.
While efforts to add to the vibrancy of the neighborhood and improve its aesthetics have been well-received — they were a main topic of an extensive Washingtonian feature last week — the reality is that many of the buildings around Crystal City date back to the 60s and 70s; 251 18th Street was built in 1975 according to Loopnet.
With a wholesale redevelopment of older buildings financially infeasible at a time of high office vacancy rates, Crystal City and its property owners have instead been finding ways to refurbish, creatively re-purpose — and now repaint — existing buildings.
It’s Groundhog Day — Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today, suggesting that we’re in for six more weeks of winter. The meteorological scolds at the Capital Weather Gang, however, think the prognosticating groundhog is wrong and that spring may arrive early. [Capital Weather Gang, Accuweather]
More Details on Nestlé Deal — Landing Nestlé is a huge win for Arlington County, for Rosslyn and for 1812 N. Moore Street owner Monday Properties, which stuck to its plan of keeping the skyscraper’s top floors empty as it awaited a big tenant. As part of the deal, Monday will put the company’s logo on two sides of the building, will nix a restaurant space to build a separate entrance for Nestlé’ employees, and will “more than double the size of the building’s wellness center to include space for spinning, yoga and pilates.” [Washington Business Journal]
Towing Bill Fails in Senate — A legislative effort to sandbag Arlington with state-mandated towing regulations that are friendlier to towing companies has failed in the state Senate. But a similar bill is still alive in the House of Delegates. [InsideNova]
Library Tells Story of Stratford Desegregation — Arlington Public Library is launching “a unique online exhibition and searchable database – built from thousands of photos, documents and recordings – surrounding the legal and moral battles that culminated with four courageous African American students taking their seats on Feb. 2, 1959 at Arlington’s Stratford Junior High School.” Dubbed “Project DAPS,” the collection will debut Feb. 25. [Arlington County, Project DAPS]
Catholic Diocese Launches New Website — The Catholic Diocese of Arlington has launched a new website. The new bishop, Bishop Michael Burbidge introduced the redesigned website in a video. [Catholic Diocese of Arlington, YouTube]
Arlington Men’s Club Turns 10 — Arlington has a “secretive and haphazardly organized” group called the Men’s Development Club. The club, formed 10 years ago, is basically an excuse for dads to get out of the house and drink beer with other dads. [Falls Church News-Press]
Photo courtesy Alexis Fedoroff
(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) Nestlé is moving its U.S. corporate headquarters from Southern California to Rosslyn, the company announced today.
The move, a boon to Arlington in its effort to reduce the county’s office vacancy rate and its reliance on government-related employment, will finally bring an anchor tenant to 1812 N. Moore Street.
The 35-story office building, owned by Monday Properties, was completed in 2013 after being built “on spec” and has remained vacant since, awaiting a major tenant. Nestlé will be initially leasing 40 percent of the building, just over 200,000 square feet on the top nine floors, with the option to expand to over 250,000 square feet, according to a press release.
“Monday Properties is proud to welcome Nestlé, one of the world’s finest companies, to our landmark property, 1812 North Moore Street, in the heart of Rosslyn,” said Anthony Westreich, CEO of Monday Properties, in a statement. “This transaction is particularly special to my family and me because we have been intimately involved in the early development of Rosslyn, dating back to the early 1960s. My father, Stanley Westreich, and his partners developed many of the first high rise projects in Rosslyn, having overseen the Gannett Company’s relocation in 1984 to Rosslyn at our 1000 Wilson Boulevard project just one block east of 1812 N. Moore Street.”
Nestlé will be investing $40 million in the relocation and estimates that it will be creating about 750 jobs locally. The company chose Rosslyn over 20 potential locations across the country after being offered $10 million in grants from the state, and $4 million in grants and $2 million in infrastructure improvements by Arlington County, the Washington Post reported.
The Washington Business Journal was the first to break the news, ahead of a 3:15 p.m. press conference with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe in Rosslyn. Less than weeks ago ARLnow.com predicted that 1812 N. Moore Street would get its first tenant this year.
Arlington is not the only beneficiary of Nestlé’s move. St. Louis stands to gain 300 jobs as Nestlé centralizes its information technology operations in the city, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported today. But Arlington is the big winner, gaining high-paying jobs and a prestigious corporate tenant that will further boost the county’s business reputation.
A big part of the draw: the highly-educated workforce in the area. Nestlé USA’s CEO cited “benefits for our current employees as well as a great talent pool for the future” in an Arlington County press release. That echoes what Monday Properties says is driving leasing along Arlington’s Metro corridors.
“Nestlé’s announcement comes on the heels of a number of high-profile corporate commitments to the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, which has transformed and attracted one of the country’s most desirable pools of top talent for companies looking to leverage for future growth,” the property owner said.
More from the press release:
“It is an honor to have Nestlé as our anchor tenant at 1812 North Moore Street,” said Tim Helmig, President and COO of Monday Properties. “The magnitude of securing one of the most widely recognized corporate brands in the world reinforces our initial strategic business plan which was to develop an office project that would attract prestigious corporate tenants to occupy what is arguably the highest quality designed office project in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area. As companies such as Nestlé increasingly look to procure first-rate amenities and easy accessibility to Washington, D.C., they’ll find that Rosslyn offers a business-friendly environment unparalleled with lifestyle opportunities for its employees.”
Soaring 390 feet, the LEED Platinum certified 1812 North Moore Street building is metropolitan Washington, D.C.’s tallest building with unprecedented visibility and recognition in the marketplace. Of incomparable caliber, distinct design and boasting the most efficient floor plates of any trophy building in the area, the building offers 537,000 square feet spanning 35 stories. The project’s remaining floors (encompassing over 300,000 square feet) provide future tenants with quality view space which is situated within a neighboring “who’s who” tenancy, including but not limited to Grant Thornton, Sinclair Broadcasting, Sands Capital, Raytheon Company, and BAE Systems.
“Rosslyn has clearly arrived,” noted Austin Freeman, Monday Properties Regional Portfolio Manager, who added “Companies are searching not only for quality and efficient real estate solutions, but want to be situated in a premier, transit accessible location that can attract and retain employee talent. 1812’s centralized location and Rosslyn’s unparalleled access to the entire metro DC region has resonated with corporate decision makers. When a company of Nestlé’s stature and global reach enters the market, it says a lot for the Rosslyn, Virginia story.”
On the heels of the Nestlé transaction and as a result of projected increases in defense spending under the Trump administration, Monday Properties expects to see sustained momentum in commercial real estate leasing within Rosslyn over the coming months. Monday has transacted on over 650,000 square feet of leasing activity in Rosslyn over the past 18 months.
Earthquake Drill Today — Virginia and a handful of other states will be participating in the Great SouthEast ShakeOut earthquake drill today at 10:20 a.m. [ShakeOut.org]
Sobering News on Office Vacancies — County officials are warning that Arlington’s office vacancy rate will remain relatively high for the foreseeable future. Optimistically, economic development officials believe that by “slowly and steadily” winning lease renewals and new tenants, the vacancy rate could decline to just past 15 percent, from the current 20 percent, within a few years. [InsideNova]
Arlington No. 8 on Marathon Training Rankings — Arlington County has ranked No. 8 on a list of the best places to train for a marathon. The county earned high marks for its parks, its walkability and its climate. [Competitor]
Most Popular College Applications — The three top schools in terms of the number of applications from the high school class of 2016 in Arlington were: 1. Virginia Commonwealth University, 2. University of Virginia and 3. Virginia Tech. [Arlington Magazine]
Arlington’s Commuter Efforts Lauded — “Arlington County Commuter Services (ACCS) is being recognized for weaving mobility into broader efforts to improve local quality of life and economic competitiveness. ACCS was named by the Association for Commuter Transportation as having the best transportation demand management (TDM) program among all large municipalities in the United States.” [Arlington County]
Photo courtesy Katie Pyzyk
Presidential Campaigns in Arlington — What do Ronald Reagan’s 1980 general election campaign, George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign, Hillary Clinton’s 2008 primary campaign and John McCain’s 2008 general election campaign have in common? They were all headquartered here in Arlington. Among them, Reagan’s campaign was based in an unassuming office building on Columbia Pike. [Arlington County]
AFAC Reports Record Need — The Arlington Food Assistance Center has had a record 116,000 family visits over the past year and expects weekly family visits to increase to 3,000 next month. [InsideNova]
All About Storm Drains — Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services has answered some frequently asked questions about the county’s more than 10,000 storm drains. [Arlington County]
The blaze was reported just after 10:15 a.m. on the B1 level of the Waterview building garage, at 1919 N. Lynn Street. The building is home to companies like CEB and Deloitte.
As of 10:35 a.m., firefighters on the scene reported that they had the fire under control. Sprinklers in the garage helped to keep it contained, according to scanner traffic.
Two people are being evaluated for possible injuries.
Firefighters are currently checking to make sure the fire didn’t spread to other levels. They’re also assessing smoke conditions in the garage.
Between the fire and lane closures due to construction, drivers should expect significant traffic delays on Lynn Street in Rosslyn.
A recognizable part of the Rosslyn skyline is set for redevelopment.
The RCA building at 1901 N. Moore Street is in the very early stages of a redevelopment plan.
Though still a few years away, the building is expected to be torn down and replaced with a new residential tower.
Local architecture firm Hickok Cole is working with property owner Weissberg Corp. on an “iconic” initial design that will balance “elegance and cost,” we’re told.
A site plan application is expected to be filed by next spring.
(Updated at 11:15 a.m.) The big TV screen and news ticker at the entrance to the WJLA (ABC 7) offices in Rosslyn have been quietly removed.
The electronic displays, which helped with Rosslyn’s “Manhattan on the Potomac” vibe, were recently taken down by Monday Properties, which owns the gleaming 1100 Wilson Blvd tower (and its twin tower at 1000 Wilson Blvd).
A spokeswoman described the removal as “temporary.”
“For the WJLA news ticker, the decision to temporarily remove the news ticker from outside of 1100 Wilson Boulevard was solely based on Monday’s desire to improve the outdated technology that supported the service,” the spokeswoman said in an email. “They’re in the process of evaluating new technology providers to help ensure such a service provides the utmost convenience and value to the community.”
No word yet on when new displays may be installed. WJLA just signed a new lease that should keep the television station at 1100 Wilson Blvd for at least another 15 years.
The Arlington County Board originally approved the replacement of the screen in 2012, but voted against WJLA and Monday’s request to devote part of the screen to sponsor messages. Near the end of its twelve-year lifespan, the screen only displayed a weather map because it was incapable of displaying WJLA’s high definition broadcast.
Dems Press Advantage in Arlington — Have you encountered voter registration volunteers in Clarendon and in Arlington’s other Metro corridor locales? They’re likely part of the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s effort to deliver votes for Hillary Clinton this fall. Heavily Democratic Arlington is key to Democratic candidates in statewide races. The ACDC is trying to boost turnout among those who live in apartments and condos to reach the goal of a 50,000 vote margin of victory. [InsideNova]
Groundbreaking for Courthouse Office Building — The groundbreaking for a new office building at 2311 Wilson Blvd in Courthouse is likely just days away, after its anchor tenant, Opower, confirmed that it will be moving forward with its lease. Opower was recently purchased by tech giant Oracle, throwing plans for the building — and for Opower staying in Arlington — in doubt. [Washington Business Journal]
Citizen’s Police Academy Accepting Applications — The Arlington County Police Department is now accepting applications for its 19th Citizen’s Police Academy this fall. The program “is designed to create better understanding and communication between citizens and the police through education,” ACPD said in a press release. “Some of the topics of discussion include: police hiring, legal considerations, use of force, vehicle operations, community engagement, K9, SWAT and mental health crisis intervention.” [Arlington County]
Arlingtonians Fascinated By Chinese Bus — ARLnow.com has been bombarded with tweets and emails from readers about a new “elevated” bus in China that straddles and drives over traffic. Is it cool? Absolutely. Is it a possible transit solution for Columbia Pike? Probably not — the new Freedman’s Bridge that carries traffic on Washington Blvd over the Pike almost certainly doesn’t have enough clearance. [Jalopnik]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
The 40,000 square foot space, on the second floor of the 3100 Clarendon Blvd office building, is set to open June 1.
“Clarendon is called home by many young entrepreneurs and high-achieving professionals, and MakeOffices gives them the place to meet across the table to share ideas and grow their businesses,” said MakeOffices CEO Raymond Rahbar.
The new office — the company’s second in Arlington, in addition to its original Rosslyn location — will be MakeOffices’ largest in the D.C. area. It will have 135 private offices, 454 desks, 10 call rooms, eight conference rooms, two wellness rooms, a relaxation room and five audiovisual booths.
“Its centerpiece is a large communal area comprising of a kitchen and event space that can host 70 seated and up to 150 at a reception-style event,” notes a press release. That kitchen will offer complimentary coffee, tea, fruit and, yes, a selection of three beers on draft. Also free: office-wide WiFi, conference room rentals and printer access.
The 3100 Clarendon Blvd location affords views of the Clarendon Metro station, easy walks to restaurants and bars and even a direct underground connection to the Clarendon Metro station. (That connection was sealed off while the high-security Defense Intelligence Agency was the building’s office tenant.)
Like WeWork and other, smaller competitors, MakeOffices offers its members flexible month-to-month leases that allow small companies to grow and large companies to host teams without the need to build out an office or sign a long-term lease. Thanks to copious amenities, collaboration among members and other factors, coworking spaces have developed a reputation for producing happier employees than traditional offices, with their typical rows of cubicles and lack of beer.
Despite its large size, MakeOffices expects its new Clarendon location — which is still under construction and just beginning to host hardhat tours — to fill up quickly. (ARLnow.com is among the companies that will have an office there.)
Pricing for a single desk in the space starts at $300 per month, while private offices start at $700 per month. (Offices with a view cost a bit more.) Potential tenants can schedule a tour online.
Publicly-traded energy tech firm Opower is staying in Arlington, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) announced at a press conference this morning, marking some good news for a county beset by the departures of large government agencies.
McAuliffe and County Board Chair Libby Garvey were among those making the announcement at Opower’s current headquarters at 1515 N. Courthouse Road in Courthouse, which President Obama visited in 2010, when the company was still a startup.
Opower will be moving down the street to a new office building at 2311 Wilson Blvd in Courthouse. The building — already approved by the County Board — is set to be constructed over the next two years, replacing a row of restaurants. Developer Carr Properties had been calling the 8-story building the “Clean Technology Center,” which seems consistent with Opower’s sustainability and energy conservation mission.
Virginia and Arlington County had been fighting to keep Opower, which was being courted by the District and by The Wharf, the massive new development on the Southwest D.C. waterfront.
“Keeping Opower in Arlington County has been a high priority of my administration,” McAuliffe said. “This high-profile energy software company is growing rapidly and making a major impact on global challenges, and we are committed to further strengthening this important corporate partnership. The technology industry is booming in Virginia, and wins like this expansion help us continue to build on the momentum in this important sector.”
“Arlington has watched Opower grow from a startup venture to a thriving leader not only in the region, but in the entire clean technology industry,” Garvey said. “Arlington’s highly-educated workforce and easy transportation access were things Opower was looking for as the company continues to grow, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with them for a long time to come.”
McAuliffe helped arrange a $1 million grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to help Arlington keep Opower.
“Arlington County will match the state funding with a performance-based local economic development incentive grant,” the county notes in a press release. “Arlington will provide an additional annual performance grant through the remaining years of the lease term subject to job and occupancy requirements. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.”
Opower plans to invest about $10.5 million in its new, 63,000 square foot headquarters and expects to add 70 new employees within three years. The company will also retain 357 jobs that currently pay above the region’s prevailing wage.
“Opower has been with Arlington since the beginning,” said Victor Hoskins, Director of Arlington Economic Development. “The company is a model for the fast-growth technology companies we’re hoping to attract to Arlington, and we simply could not be more pleased that Opower has decided to continue to be a part of Arlington’s business community.”
The building at 2311 Wilson Blvd will have a total of 150,000 square feet of office space plus ground floor retail spaces when it’s completed.