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by ARLnow.com — August 26, 2015 at 10:00 am 532 0

Ground floor of the Metropolitan Park Acadia building in Pentagon CityA CorePower Yoga studio is coming to the ground floor of the new Metropolitan Park Acadia apartment building in Pentagon City.

The company has applied for building permits at the soon-to-open building, at 1201 S. Fern Street.

This will be CorePower’s second Arlington location — it recently opened a studio in Courthouse. The company also has locations in Georgetown, Merrifield and Falls Church.

by ARLnow.com — August 25, 2015 at 10:30 am 2,034 0

A third entrance to the Pentagon City Metro station is slated to open as soon as next month.

Arlington County is wrapping up work on a Metro entrance on the northeast corner of S. Hayes Street and 12th Street S., next to the offices of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Transportation Security Administration, the latter of which is moving to Alexandria in two years.

The stairs-only entrance and pedestrian access tunnel connect to what is currently a set of glass doors in the station’s mezzanine. While no official opening date has been set yet, the opening is “tentatively scheduled for the end of September,” according to Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman Eric Balliet.

The entrance and tunnel was actually first built in 1984, but “for a number of reasons, was never opened to the public,” according to the county. In order to open it, the county needed to rehabilitate the tunnel, repairing lighting, electrical connections, leaks, deteriorated doors and gates, floor tiles and other 30-year-old infrastructure. The county also added security cameras, an emergency call box and new signage.

The total cost of the project is $1.3 million. The county says the expense is worth it in order to provide another entrance to a busy station next to the Arlington’s largest shopping center. The new entrance may also help accommodate a coming influx of riders from new development in the area, including a new Whole Foods.

“The opening of the entryway will provide an additional access/egress point to this busy Metrorail station, one of the County’s highest ridership stations, and to the adjacent retail center, Fashion Centre,” the county said in its recent Capital Improvement Plan.

The county, not WMATA, will be responsible for ongoing maintenance of the tunnel.

by ARLnow.com — August 19, 2015 at 11:30 am 2,949 0

Three men were arrested last night after Arlington County Police spotted a stolen car in the Pentagon City area.

An officer located the vehicle, which had been stolen in a “strong arm carjacking” in Maryland, on 12th Street S., near Penatgon City mall. A few minutes earlier, around 7:30 p.m., a police license reader had spotted the car on nearby Route 1.

The three men inside the car tried to flee when police approached, according to ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. All three were captured, but an officer used a Taser to subdue one suspect when he tried to resist arrest, Sternbeck said.

Per department policy, the man who was tased was brought to Virginia Hospital Center for evaluation.

In addition to facing possible charges in Arlington, the men were wanted for “a number of charges” in Maryland, said Sternbeck.

by ARLnow.com — August 12, 2015 at 3:45 pm 5,606 0

TSA headquarters in Pentagon City (photo via Google Maps)The Transportation Security Administration will move from its headquarters in Pentagon City to a new office in Alexandria, the federal government announced today.

TSA currently occupies a complex at 601 and 701 12th Street S. in Pentagon City, across from the Pentagon City mall.

It’s planning to move to the Victory Center building at 5001 Eisenhower Avenue, near the Van Dorn Metro station, in about two years. (In 2013, the TSA renewed its lease in Pentagon City for five years.)

The General Services Administration touted the new lease as a money-saving move that will save taxpayers more than $95 million over a 15-year lease. The government is paying rent of $36 per square foot, more than 25 percent below projected market rents, and getting $50 million for tenant fit-out costs and moving expenses.

“This is yet another great GSA-negotiated deal for government and the American people,” said GSA’s Darren Blue, in a press release. The new lease agreement allows TSA to consolidate four locations into one at a rental rate and utilization rate that will ensure the agency is more efficient and effective in executing its mission.”

The City of Alexandria was similarly triumphant in its announcement of the deal.

“GSA’s decision to locate the TSA headquarters at Victory Center is a huge economic boost for Alexandria as a whole, and for the West End in particular,” said Mayor William Euille. “The City is working on a small area plan for Eisenhower West that encourages new investment, redevelopment and business activity. TSA will serve as a catalyst, and will add a daytime office population and on-site retail activity to this developing market.”

TSA has about 3,400 employees at its headquarters, which will boost total employment in Alexandria by four percent after the move from Arlington, according to an Alexandria press release.

“Over the initial 15-year lease, the headquarters is expected to generate close to $16 million each year for Alexandria’s economy,” the city said. “The economic impact includes new salaries and wages for Alexandria residents, and spending by TSA employees and visitors at local businesses. Occupancy of the existing Victory Center building will result in a 3.0% decrease of the City’s overall office vacancy rate (from 16.5% to 13.5%), making it one of the lowest in the Washington, D.C. region.”

This is just the latest office loss for Arlington County, which is coping with relatively high office vacancy rates.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service moved its headquarters from Ballston to Falls Church last year, while the National Science Foundation is planning to move its headquarters and more than 2,000 employees from Ballston to Alexandria by 2017. In both cases, the GSA said the moves would save millions of dollars in leasing costs.

Victor Hoskins, who took over as the county’s head of economic development earlier this year, said the county was disappointed but not surprised by the deal.

“Obviously, we’re very disappointed in the decision to relocate from Arlington,” Hoskins said. “The TSA has called Arlington home for quite some time, and the County worked aggressively throughout the procurement process to try to keep the agency here.  The decision aligns with the trend of valuing direct occupancy costs (rent) over the overall costs of siting federal facilities.”

“This move represents a challenge, but not one that was unexpected,” Hoskins continued. “We pledge to continue to move forward with our strategy of diversifying Arlington’s economic base and focusing on bringing fast-growing technology companies, particularly those in the fields of cybersecurity, ed tech, med tech, big data, clean and green tech, and nonprofits/associations, to Arlington.”

“It is a different strategy than Arlington has experienced in the past, but one that we believe will drive us ahead in the future of the office market,” he said.

Photo via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com — July 17, 2015 at 10:50 am 1,317 0

Arlington police carSomeone broke into nearly a dozen cars in Pentagon City between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

Police say 11 vehicles were found with smashed rear passenger windows Thursday morning. The car interiors had been ransacked, with some items stolen — mostly coins and cash but also small items from a Bic lighter to an iPod, according to police reports.

The break-ins happened in parking lots and streets around Pentagon City, including the 1100 block of Army Navy Drive, 1500 block of S. Fern Street, and the 1200 and 1900 blocks of S. Eads Street.

So far, no arrests have been made.

by ARLnow.com — June 25, 2015 at 9:30 am 4,869 0

Nearly 1,100 new apartment units could be coming to Pentagon City as part of a major planned development of the 37-acre RiverHouse apartment complex.

RiverHouse owner Vornado presented the initial development plans to largely skeptical members of the Arlington Ridge Civic Association last night.

The plans call for 934 new market rate apartment units, to be added to the existing 1,670 units on the site across three buildings, which date back to the 1950s and 60s. Vornado is also proposing a 150 unit, stand-alone affordable apartment building, to be developed with a nonprofit affordable housing partner.

The new market rate units will be built across three buildings, each about seven stories tall — half the height of the existing buildings — to preserve the views of condominium residents on Arlington Ridge.

The first two buildings are to be built on what is currently a surface parking lot across from the Pentagon Row courtyard. Between the buildings will run a pedestrian corridor that leads up to the ridge, with 30,000 square feet of ground floor retail space.

The surface parking will be replaced with a large underground garage. RiverHouse aims to reduce its overall parking ratio from just over one spot per unit to 0.85 spots per unit, as currently only about 70 percent of its parking spots are filled at night. With a total of 2,754 units, RiverHouse would have 2,340 parking space.

The third building will be built on what is now a pool and detached fitness center behind two of the buildings. In place of the current amenities, the new building would have a larger, improved fitness center plus a large, new outdoor pool, for use by residents of all three buildings.

Grace Hopper Park, located on the RiverHouse grounds, would remain untouched. Beside it, in front of the southernmost RiverHouse building on S. Joyce Street and across from county softball fields, Vornado is proposing the 150-unit building, affordable for those making up to 60 percent of area median income.

(more…)

by Heather Mongilio — June 19, 2015 at 2:30 pm 311 0

ZERO8Hundreds of runners will celebrate Father’s Day in Pentagon City with a race to help end prostate cancer.

The annual Zero Prostate Cancer Run/Walk, hosted by Zero- The End of Prostate Cancer on Sunday, is a series of four events, with a four-mile run/walk, kids race, a one mile fun run and a “virtual” option for those who don’t want to wake up early.

“This series is a great chance for men, women, children, and families of all ages to increase awareness and raise funds to end a disease that affects one in seven fathers, husbands, brothers, sons, grandfathers, partners and friends,” said Jamie Bearse, the CEO of Zero in a statement.

The event starts with the Superhero Dash, a short sprint for kids ages nine and younger, at 8:15 a.m. Kids can dress up as their favorite superheroes and will receive capes.

The four mile walk/run starts at 8:30 a.m. and will take runners from Pentagon Row courtyard (1101 S. Joyce St.) down Army Navy Drive to S. Adams Street. Runners will turn around at S. Adams Street and finish at Pentagon Row. Participants can select and put on a tie shortly after the one mile mark at the “Tie One of for Dad” transition area (at S. Nash Street).

There will be awards for the top three male and female finishers, top three survivor finishers and top three male and female finishers in each age group.

This year, people can help support the end of prostate cancer from their beds by wearing a “Snooze for Dudes” t-shirt and posting a picture to social media.

Participants can register as an individual or as team. Registration is $40 for the four-mile race, $20 for the one-mile walk, $20 for the Superhero Dash and $35 for Snooze for Dudes.

The race will also feature the “Courage Wall,” a chalkboard wall where people can write what they wish they had the courage to be or do. The wall was created by Del Ray local Nancy Belmont and has since gone viral.

“The run/walk aims to bring together survivors, patients, families, friends and many in the community to raise funds for prostate cancer, and share hope and passion, and the Courage Wall will help us to do that,” said Amanda Pini, the marketing and communications coordinator for the race.

S. Joyce Street, between 15th Street S. and Army Navy Drive, and Army Navy Drive, between S. Joyce Street and 25th Street S., will be closed from 7-11 a.m. as a result of the race.

File photo

by Mariah Joyce — June 9, 2015 at 11:00 am 1,736 0

Police car lightsA woman said someone reached a camera into her dressing room at Marshall’s in Pentagon City last Friday.

The incident happened at the Marshall’s at 1201 S. Hayes Street around 6 p.m. on Friday. The woman noticed someone taking pictures of her while she was in the store’s dressing room and reported the incident to the police.

The alleged peeping tom fled the scene before officers arrived and the victim was unable to provide a description of the suspect.

From the daily Arlington County Police crime report.

PEEPING TOM, 150605045, 1200 block of S. Hayes Street. At 6 pm on June 5, a female victim noticed a subject taking pictures of her while in the dressing room at Marshall’s. The suspect fled and victim was unable to provide a description.

by ARLnow.com — May 20, 2015 at 2:45 pm 1,038 0

The Tutti Frutti frozen yogurt store at 1301 S. Fern Street in Pentagon City, across from the Costco, has closed.

The store closed recently and as of Monday it appeared that the furniture and froyo machinery had been cleared out.

The Tutti Frutti Pentagon City location first opened around the beginning of 2013. A north Arlington Tutti Frutti location, which is not owned by the same franchisee, remains open at 2439 N. Harrison Street, in the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center.

by ARLnow.com — May 18, 2015 at 4:05 pm 1,858 0

Pacers Pentagon Row store (photo via Google Maps)Pacers will close its running store on Pentagon Row next month, the company announced this afternoon.

The store, at 1101 S. Joyce Street, is being moved to a new Pacers location at 300 Tingey Street SE, in the District’s Navy Yard community.

The Pentagon Row store will close its doors on June 28, while the Navy Yard location is expected to open in late August. The Pacers location at 3100 Clarendon Blvd in Clarendon will remain open and will be the local chain’s only Arlington location.

The Pentagon Row Pacers opened in spring 2009, after the company bought and took over the storefront of the Gotta Run Running Shop, which originally opened in 2004, according to Pacers CEO Kathy Dalby.

Dalby said that the popular Pacers races in Pentagon City and the Pentagon Row store’s active running club will continue even after the store closes. She said the decision to close the store was mostly about its small size.

“Pacers Pentagon Row has a great following, especially the groups that run with us weekly out of the shop,” Dalby said. “However, the size of the store — our smallest at 1,200 square feet and 60% smaller than our average location — limited our ability to provide the full breadth of product our customers have come to expect from Pacers Running.”

“We look forward to still supporting runs and races from Pentagon Row and [continuing] to be an integral part of the South Arlington fitness community,” Dalby continued.

Separately, Pacers also announced that it will be moving its existing location near Logan Circle in D.C. to a larger storefront at 14th and S Streets NW. That move will take place around the Fourth of July holiday.

Photo via Google Maps

by Ethan Rothstein — May 12, 2015 at 3:35 pm 5,641 0

Pentagon City residents are worried about the potential for nightmare traffic and parking woes now that a large portion of the busy Costco parking lot off S. Fern Street has been blocked off for construction.

About half of the parking spaces in Costco’s surface parking lot have been fenced off over the past day or so. Kimco — which owns the Pentagon Centre big box mall and its parking lot — is beginning construction on a seven-story parking garage at the corner of 15th Street S. and Fern Street.

When the parking garage is complete, it’s expected to provide 394 spaces and include 5,919 square feet of ground floor retail as part of a larger development plan. About 260 parking spots were blocked off yesterday, according to George Ronetz, the general manager of Federal Parking, which manages the lot.

The lot will be blocked off until October, Ronetz said, after which time construction crews will repave and reopen it to accommodate the holiday shopping season. In May 2016, construction will resume on the new structure and that portion of the lot will close again.

Shoppers and area residents may worry about a “Costcopocalypse” — the lot is usually packed on evenings and weekends — but Ronetz said he will have staffers direct cars to the parking garage next to the Costco, which has about 520 spaces.

“There’s ample parking spaces, it’s just a matter of parking in a different area,” Ronetz told ARLnow.com today.

Of course, whether drivers who frequent Costco and its notorious parking lot listen to Ronetz and his staff remains to be seen.

“I was literally standing on the street today encouraging people to park in the garage on the roof, and people will flip me off and say ‘No, I will park where I want to park,'” he said. “I’ve been out there personally and have been hit by cars because I’m trying to show a little old lady a place to park and out of nowhere a car hits me in the leg and knocks me down.”

The parking garage has two entrances, off 12th Street and the Fern Street lot. Customers can either park on the roof or a level below it.

by Ethan Rothstein — May 4, 2015 at 1:30 pm 727 0

Specs New York in Pentagon Row Specs New York in Pentagon Row

A new sunglasses store is getting ready to open in the Pentagon Row shopping district in Pentagon City.

Specs New York, which sells designer sunglasses and has locations in New York City, Montgomery Mall and Springfield, Va., is occupying a small, standalone space along S. Joyce Street. The shop carries brands like Ray Ban, Luxottica and Oliver Peoples.

The store appears just about ready to open, but it’s unclear when an opening date will be. A call placed to Specs New York’s corporate number in New York was not answered, and the voicemail system “is not set up,” according to the recording.

The boutique’s website lists the Arlington store as “coming soon,” but says it’s opening up in the nearby Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall.

by Ethan Rothstein — April 23, 2015 at 10:10 am 2,706 0

Kimco Realty has released the renderings of its plan for Phase I of the redevelopment of the Pentagon Centre mall.

The real estate company will present the renderings to the Site Plan Review Committee tonight as it tries to amend its approved site plan. Its initial plans for the 16.8-acre site that includes the Costco, Best Buy and Nordstrom Rack in Pentagon City were approved in 2008, but those called for constructing the six-structure complex’s office buildings first.

Because of the realities of Arlington’s stagnant office market, Kimco now wants to build residential first, including a 25-story apartment tower at the corner of 12th Street S. and S. Hayes Street. That tower would be steps from the Pentagon City Metro entrance and would include ground floor retail.

Also in Phase I would be two buildings along 15th Street S.: a 10-story residential building with ground floor retail at the corner of S. Hayes Street, and a seven-story parking garage next to a new S. Grant Street, which would alleviate the loss of parking spots in the Costco’s surface lot.

The two residential buildings would give the area an influx of 703 residential units, and the parking garage would supply the area with 394 spots.

Phases II and III of the redevelopment — planned for 20 and 40 years after Phase I — have not been rendered. If approved, those phases of the redevelopment will see the demolition of the main mall building and the Costco, replacing it with three office buildings, a hotel and a park along S. Fern Street.

by Ethan Rothstein — April 13, 2015 at 12:15 pm 7,536 0

Rosslyn Metro station (Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann)

As Arlington grapples with the cloudy future of transit on Columbia Pike, in the wake of the streetcar line’s cancellation, one question has been largely absent: Is Metro the answer?

The Pike, Pentagon City and Crystal City together are projected to account for 65 percent of the county’s population growth and 44 percent of its job growth in the next three decades, and Arlington doesn’t have a long-term transit plan in place for the Pike to accommodate that growth. So far, much of the discussion has revolved around bigger and better buses.

But there is another option, a much bigger, bolder and pricier option than even the streetcar: taking advantage of an existing stub tunnel at the Pentagon Metro station and building a new Metrorail line under Columbia Pike. Such a line was envisioned as a likely expansion by the Metrorail system’s original planners in the 1960s.

When the proposal for Arlington’s short-term plan for the former-streetcar corridor comes before the Arlington County Board next year, two of the five members of the Board will be newly elected, replacing the retiring Board chair and vice chair, Mary Hynes and Walter Tejada.

So far, seven candidates have declared they’re running for the two open seats: Democrats Christian Dorsey, Peter Fallon, Katie Cristol, Andrew Schneider, James Lander and Bruce Wiljanen, and independent Audrey Clement. Will this new crop of Arlington leaders revive the idea of Metro as long-term a solution for the Pike’s growth?

Dorsey tells ARLnow.com that he’s open to Metrorail as part of a more holistic discussion of the Pike’s transportation future.

“We haven’t undergone a process to really do that in a sufficient way, where we’ve looked at a variety of transit options that are possible — not feasible, but possible — and determining whether or not that matches long-range projections,” he told ARLnow.com. “I absolutely think that’s something that needs to be done in consultation with regional partners on heavy rail.”

The county is still planning to install 23 more transit stations along Columbia Pike, for a total of $12.4 million — redesigned to cost far less than the Walter Reed Super Stop prototype — and those stations are designed to accommodate enhanced bus service. However, other than assumptions that more, bigger and fancier buses will be coming to the Pike, it’s unclear how those stations will be integrated. The county has vowed to spend $200 million on the corridor’s transit over the next six years.

Cristol agreed with Dorsey, saying Arlington needs to consider all long-term options in the corridor’s future.

“I believe we need to keep everything on the table as we contend with the forces shaping re-development and transit demand in Arlington,” she said. “Rapid population growth and demand for public transit on the Pike will be a defining feature for Arlington’s coming decades … I will always be for considering and discussing big ideas — even the expensive ones that seem infeasible in the immediate — as we look to address those dynamics.”

WMATA already has a 40-year plan in place for Metrorail’s future development, but that plan, adopted in 2013, includes a connection between Arlington’s since-cancelled and D.C.’s embattled streetcar lines. WMATA has since discussed plans for a second tunnel in Rosslyn and another line in Virginia, but public discussions from the agency have not included Columbia Pike.

Photo courtesy Thierry Discoll

Wiljanen said Arlington taking on that discussion would distract from the immediate needs of the Pike’s residents.

“If a Metro line opened tomorrow under Columbia Pike, I would be elated,” he told ARLnow.com in an email. “However, given the current political and budgetary climate, starting the process now will prove to be an exceedingly heavy lift, and the timeline could easily extend 30 years or more into the future. I think we need quicker solutions.”

Clement, a perennial candidate for Arlington public office, thinks Arlington needs to take up these discussions as soon as possible.

“It is definitely time to plan for a Metrorail line under Columbia Pike,” she said. “One of the principal reasons I opposed the Pike trolley was the fact that the trolley tracks would have to be dug up to accommodate the subway, which is the ultimate solution to congestion on the Pike.”

(Fallon, Schneider and Lander did not respond to ARLnow.com’s email asking for comment.)

Dorsey also opposed the streetcar, while Cristol, a Pike resident, and Wiljanen didn’t say whether they supported the project, only that Arlington needs to move on.

(more…)

by Ethan Rothstein — March 27, 2015 at 1:20 pm 4,524 0

Updated at 2:40 p.m.: The Arlington County Police Department has cleared the scene. It is re-opening roads in the area, and shoppers and employees will soon be able to re-enter the mall.

Earlier: The Pentagon Centre Mall is under evacuation this afternoon as the Arlington County Police Department investigates a bomb threat.

The ACPD brought bomb-sniffing dogs to the complex that includes a Best Buy and Costco to evaluate the threat, received at 12:21 p.m., police said. Several streets in the area are shut down, plus the South Hayes Street entrance to the Pentagon City Metro station. Pentagon Police are assisting with the investigation.

Police have yet to find anything but continue to search, ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said. Officers are sweeping the entire center, including the large Costco parking lot.

“It’s going to take a while to do a full sweep just because of the sheer size of the center,” Sternbeck told ARLnow.com.

The bomb threat was called in to the mall’s front desk, Sternbeck said.

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