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TRAFFIC ALERT: Vehicle Overturns in Crash on Army Navy Drive

At the height of the evening rush hour, only one lane of westbound Army Navy Drive is open at S. Fern Street due to a two-vehicle crash.

The crash happened at the intersection shortly after 6 p.m. An SUV involved in the crash overturned as a result of the impact. Another vehicle suffered heavy front-end damage.

The occupants of the vehicle were able to get out on their own power and no one has been transported to the hospital.

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Police Arrest Two Men for Shoplifting from Pentagon City Mall

Two men are now facing a series of charges after Arlington police say they shoplifted from a store in the Pentagon City mall and then led officers on a brief foot chase.

County police say the men walked into a store at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City (1100 S. Hayes Street) “selected multiple pieces of merchandise, concealed them on their persons and exited the store.”

When police saw one of the men leaving the mall, they say “ignored commands by officers to stop and a brief foot pursuit ensued before he was taken into custody without incident.” Officers later found the second man inside the Pentagon City Metro station, and arrested him.

Police identified the men as 27-year-old Anthony Adams of Clinton, Maryland and 30-year-old D.C. resident Kenneth Burley. Adams is charged with conspiracy to commit larceny, grand larceny: shoplifting, identity theft and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, while Burley is charged with conspiracy to commit larceny and grand larceny: shoplifting.

Both are being held without bond in the county’s detention center. Burley and Adams are both set for Oct. 23 hearing on those charges in Arlington General District Court.

Full details from a county crime report:

GRAND LARCENY (significant), 2018-09150139, 1100 block of S. Hayes Street. At approximately 12:11 p.m. on September 15, police responded to the report of a larceny. Upon arrival, it was determined that two suspects entered a business, selected multiple pieces of merchandise, concealed them on their persons and exited the store. A lookout was broadcast, and Suspect One was observed exiting the mall. The suspect ignored commands by officers to stop and a brief foot pursuit ensued before he was taken into custody without incident. Suspect Two was located by officers inside the Pentagon City Metro. He was stopped and taken into custody without incident. Anthony Adams, 27, of Clinton, Md., was arrested and charged with Conspiracy to Commit Larceny, Grand Larceny: Shoplifting, Identity Theft and Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance. He was held on no bond. Kenneth Burley, 30, of Washington, D.C., was arrested and charged with Conspiracy to Commit Larceny and Grand Larceny: Shoplifting. He was held on no bond.

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Yong Kang Street Starts Cooking in Pentagon City Mall

Yong Kang Street, a long awaited dumpling and noodle restaurant, is open for business in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall.

The restaurant features a mix of flavors from Taiwan, Hong Kong and China. The restaurant is named after a street in Taiwan famous for its restaurants and street food.

Yong Kang Street is located between Garrett Popcorn and Haagen-Dazs. The restaurant is open 10 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Courtesy photo

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Morning Notes

Hurricane Florence Update — The Tomb Sentinels at Arlington National Cemetery will remain on guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, as they have for 81 years, regardless of what happens with Hurricane Florence. However, according to forecasters, “there is no need to cancel outdoor plans, events, or travel in the Washington region this weekend” due to the hurricane. [Twitter, Capital Weather Gang]

DEA Lease Renewal Is Official — “The Drug Enforcement Administration will remain in its Pentagon City headquarters for at least 15 more years. The General Services Administration announced Wednesday it signed a 511,487 SF lease renewal for the DEA at 600-700 Army Navy Drive, two buildings owned by the California State Teachers Retirement System.” [Bisnow]

Neighbors Still Peeved Over Salt Dome Plan — “This is an emergency caused by rust. I know Neil Young says rust never sleeps but it doesn’t move that fast,” said Michael Hogan, president of the Old Dominion Citizens Association, regarding the “emergency” plan for a temporary salt storage facility next to the deteriorating salt dome near Marymount University. “This is just a terrible land-use decision.” [Washington Post]

Living in Arlington On a $80,000 Salary — Not much of interest happens in this millennial money diary, set in Arlington, but there is this discussion of tea vs. coffee: “I drink my third green tea. I’m trying to drink less coffee, so today I’m trying tea instead, but this is not cutting it. To all those people who say green tea gives them as much energy as coffee — I’m calling shenanigans.” [Refinery 29]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Mysterious Artwork Blooms Between Pentagon City, Crystal City

(Updated at 2 p.m.) A series of spray-painted flowers have bloomed on streets and trails around Pentagon City and Crystal City — but no one we’ve talked to is quite sure who’s responsible for them.

Eagle-eyed ARLnow reader Margot Duzak says she first spotted the flowers popping up in the area last Thursday (Aug. 30), without any explanation.

The flowers come in a whole host of colors and designs, with some running along 12th Street S., between S. Fern Street and S. Eads Street, on curbs and a trail not far from the Pentagon City Metro station.

From there, the artwork extends on curbs, sidewalks and bike lanes on S. Eads Street up until it meets 15th Street S., near the road’s intersection with Jefferson Davis Highway in Crystal City.

But the flowers aren’t the work of the county government — spokeswoman Jennifer Smith says she couldn’t find anyone responsible for the blooms, noting that staffers with the county’s Department of Environmental Services, Walk Arlington and Bike Arlington were all unaware of the flowers.

Crystal City Business Improvement District Chief Operating Officer Rob Mandle was similarly stumped.

Some colorful, flower-decorated bikes have also started popping up in the area of spray-painted flowers.

While the artist responsible may be unknown, for now, Duzak says the art is quite the welcome addition to the neighborhood.

“The bike lanes and sidewalks have never looked better,” she said.

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Parking Plans Spark Debate Over Pentagon City’s PenPlace Development

Plans for a new parking lot at the large “PenPlace” development in Pentagon City are shaping up to cause a bit of friction between county staff and the project’s developer.

JBG Smith is hoping to build a temporary, 204-space retail parking lot adjacent to the development, located on a nine-acre plot of land along S. Fern Street and just off Army Navy Drive. But Arlington officials would much rather see the developer construct a lot roughly a quarter of that size, over fears that so much parking would contribute to a car-dependent culture in the area.

The real estate firm argues that the parking is necessary to meet demands of the up to 50,000 square feet of retailers who will someday occupy the development, noting that the lot will only be a temporary necessity. Yet county staff have repeatedly insisted on changes, marking another dust-up over the development after officials previously expressed skepticism about JBG’s desire to significantly scale back the size of some buildings planned for the site.

The County Board approved the project back in 2013, when it was proposed by Vornado before the company spun off its D.C. holdings in a merger to form JBG Smith. Original plans called for three office buildings between 20 and 22 stories tall, an 18-story, 300-room hotel and a 300-unit apartment building between 16 and 18 stories tall.

JBG decided earlier this year to spread the residential space among two seven-story buildings instead, shifting the hotel rooms to some of the other buildings on the site, which prompted a new round of county scrutiny of the project.

Documents prepared for the project’s Site Plan Review Committee over the last few months show that county staff remain concerned about the reduced density on the site, citing the “dramatically lower heights and scale” of the seven-story buildings as especially problematic given their potential to house people close to the Pentagon City Metro station. Arlington planners previously called it “highly unusual” that a developer would seek to build something less dense than originally approved, though JBG executives have said the change was meant to “improve the pedestrian experience in the area.”

The newest debate centers around the parking lot proposed for a new segment of 11th Street S., which would sit behind two of the buildings to be built along S. Eads Street.

JBG argues that its plans for copious new retail in the area make the new lot essential, at least until another 1,600 parking spaces become available as the developer builds garages alongside the office buildings it has planned for the area.

“In addition, the applicant has claimed that a larger amount of parking is necessary due to the type of retailers being sought,” county staff wrote in a July 23 SPRC report on PenPlace. A JBG executive did not respond to a request for comment on the exact nature of the developer’s plans.

But to add so much parking for the new buildings, JBG needs an exception from the county’s zoning ordinance, which only lets developers construct one space for every 1,000 square feet of retail space. JBG’s proposal, by contrast, works out to about one space for every 196 square feet.

That’s a problem for county officials, who believe the parking lot “encourages auto traffic to the site, and proliferates surface parking.”

JBG has offered to shrink the size of the lot slightly, adding a 10,000-square-foot temporary dog park to cut the number of spaces to 180. Arlington planners wrote in the July 23 report that such an offer is an “improvement,” but lament that the change “does not address comments from staff regarding confining parking lots to future building footprints.”

So far, the SPRC has met four times to discuss the PenPlace plans, but does not yet have another meeting scheduled to hash out this dispute. Plans will ultimately need to go to the Planning Commission and then the County Board for final approval.

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Morning Notes

Fire at Retirement Home — A fire broke out in the laundry room of the Sunrise at Bluemont Park senior assisted living facility Sunday morning. The blaze was quickly extinguished, but not before filling part of the building with smoke. No injuries were reported. [Twitter]

Serious Crash on Arlington Blvd — Arlington County police investigated a crash involving critical injuries and a reported vehicle rollover last night on Route 50 at N. Pershing Drive. One person was transported to a local hospital. [Twitter]

DEA Staying in Pentagon City — “A federal judge has ruled against an Alexandria building owner’s efforts to lure the Drug Enforcement Administration from Pentagon City… Judge Loren Smith’s judgment, issued Thursday, effectively clears the way for the General Services Administration to award a new lease for the DEA to CSHV Lincoln Place LLC, the agency’s current landlord at 600-700 Army Navy Drive.” [Washington Business Journal]

Dragonfly Population Booming — “Your eyes are not deceiving you – there really are more dragonflies (and their cousins, damselflies) in the local area this summer. And according to Arlington naturalists, that’s a good thing.” [InsideNova]

No, Arlington’s Recycling Program Is Not Ending — Apparently a rumor has been circulating that Arlington County was ending its recycling program. A local TV station fact checked that and found, unsurprisingly, that the rumor is not true. [WUSA 9]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Cycling Advocates Fear Impacts of Planned Arlington National Cemetery Expansion

Bicycling advocates are blasting newly revealed plans to simultaneously expand Arlington National Cemetery and realign Columbia Pike, arguing that the proposed changes could make cycling along the roadway more dangerous.

The advocacy group “Sustainable Mobility for Arlington County” claims the cemetery’s current expansion plans, designed to someday add 70 acres to the burial ground, “will squander a major opportunity to improve the bike connection between Columbia Pike and Pentagon City and arguably make cycling less pleasant and less safe.”

In a message to its mailing list, the group urged concerned cyclists to speak in opposition to the cemetery’s plans at a public meeting on the subject in Pentagon City tonight (Wednesday).

The organization, founded by county transportation commission chair Chris Slatt, is primarily concerned that the cemetery only plans to add a 10-foot-wide sidewalk along the pike’s north side when it realigns the road. Army officials are currently hoping to add space for as many as 60,000 new interments to the cemetery’s south, absorbing the former Navy annex site and several other acres of land controlled by the county near S. Joyce Street and Washington Blvd, prompting some changes to the pike in the area.

The project also calls for the removal of Southgate Road in its entirety as it runs through area, which Slatt’s group describes as “a relatively quiet street that cyclists currently use to avoid that stretch of Columbia Pike.” The organization has made improving conditions for cyclists on the pike a central part of its mission, and it’s warning that eliminating an alternative to biking along the road would be a major step backward for the area.

“By replacing Southgate Road with just a sidewalk, this project is arguably a downgrade in cycling infrastructure,” the group wrote. “This portion of Columbia Pike has no reasonable nearby alternative. It needs great bike infrastructure.”

Spokespeople for the cemetery did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the organization’s criticisms. But a draft environmental assessment of the project prepared by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers suggests that the changes represent “the upgrade of Columbia Pike into a multimodal facility.”

“The alignment for the future Columbia Pike has the necessary geometry for a high capacity regional multimodal transportation corridor,” the corps wrote.

The corps wrote that planners also considered building the “wall trail” along the cemetery’s eastern boundary as part of this work, a bit of cycling infrastructure long hoped for by county officials to link the Foxcroft Heights neighborhood to Memorial Avenue. Yet the corps said it determined that it “appears to have severe space constraints due to aboveground utilities along the proposed route,” and didn’t consider it any further.

Instead, Slatt’s group would rather see the Army build a “bidirectional bike lane” on the north side of the pike to connect with additional improvements to the west of the area. If that’s not feasible, the organization would also accept a widening of the planned sidewalk into a trail “providing demarcated areas for pedestrians and cyclists marked with paint, signage or differentiated materials.”

Tonight’s meeting on the project is scheduled for the Sheraton Pentagon City hotel (900 S. Orme Street) from 5-8 p.m. The Army expects roadway construction associated with the expansion could start as soon as 2021.

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With Amazon Looming, Developers Increasingly Link Crystal City to Potomac Yard

Though they may not share the same zip code, Arlington’s Crystal City and Alexandria’s Potomac Yard are bound together in the pursuit for Amazon’s second headquarters — and, win or lose on HQ2, the area’s business community is looking to strengthen those ties in the future.

Four Mile Run may separate the two neighborhoods, but real estate giant JBG Smith controls vast swaths of property in both neighborhoods, helping the company pitch Amazon on the area’s potential. With Potomac Yard becoming a development hub for the city, and Crystal City’s commercial office space emptying out a bit, the combination could be enticing enough to win out over the region’s other offerings.

“They had the largest [space] requirement we’ve seen in economic development, ever,” Stephanie Landrum, president and CEO of the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, said during Bisnow’s “Future of Alexandria” event today (Thursday). “But there is enough square footage here to absorb that company and their requirement.”

Undeniably, Jeff Bezos’ big decision looms over any discussion of the area’s future. But, as Landrum points out, the same factors that made Crystal City and Potomac Yard attractive to Amazon will surely be enticing to other big companies.

“If we can’t get it, we turn around and ask the next Fortune 100 company about their expansion plans,” Landrum said.

That’s a big part of why business leaders are increasingly keen on unity among the various communities along the Potomac River.

Rob Mandle, chief operating officer of the Crystal City Business Improvement District, points out this organization has embraced Potomac Yard as it courts new companies, and even started to market Pentagon City in conjunction with those neighborhoods as well.

Though the areas may not be especially connected now, with transit and walkability a constant challenge, Mandle points out that, taken together, the combination of the three neighborhoods represents “the largest downtown in the entire commonwealth.”

He notes that, in terms of sheer size, the trio rivals downtown areas in mid-size cities like Indianapolis or Austin, Texas — and with the area still hurting from its loss of federal tenants, straining county coffers in the process, he’s hoping a more interconnected pitch can make a difference.

“We’re really working to articulate that to the marketplace,” Mandle said. “We see it as this seamless urban corridor between Braddock Road and Pentagon City.”

Robert Vaughn, vice president of development at JBG Smith, noted that such a connection certainly makes sense for his company.

Much of JBG’s property in Potomac Yard is residential, and he sees its “target renter” as being anywhere from 25 to 35 years old, likely working at the Pentagon or for some other government contractor based in Arlington (perhaps even in one of JBG’s commercial properties in Crystal City).

Rosslyn-Ballston corridor has traditionally been the prime area drawing in millenials interested in walkable, transit-oriented communities. That’s why Vaughn expects a similar focus on walkability could help the new combination of Crystal City, Potomac Yard and Pentagon City become attractive to that very lucrative constituency instead.

“Even though we’re all tied to our phones, we don’t want to just sit and look at our phones in our living rooms all day,” said Bill Dickinson, executive director of brokerage at Rappaport, another large regional developer. “It’s about creating space to get people out there.”

Photo via McCaffrey Interests, Inc.

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Tutti Spa & Nails Coming to Pentagon City Mall This September

Tutti Spa & Nails will open up shop in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City Sept. 4, according to the mall’s website.

The company’s services include manicures, pedicures, facials and a variety of spa packages.

The 1,400-square-foot site, located on the third level, looks to be the company’s first in Virginia, and joins locations as far south as Georgia and as far north as Massachusetts.

Other new additions to the shopping center include Comfort One Shoes, which recently opened a 1,200 square foot location on the mall’s second floor, according to a press release from the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.

Roots Canada will also join the shopping center’s roster at the end of this week (Aug. 10).

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Morning Notes

Arlington Has Some of the Oldest First-Time Mothers Nationwide — A new analysis suggests that the average Arlingtonian mother has her first child at 31, putting the county sixth in the nation in terms of the oldest average age. Falls Church ranks fourth. [New York Times]

School Board Approves Final Reed School Design — After reviewing plans last month, school leaders have signed off on new schematics for an elementary school in Westover. [InsideNova]

Arlington Planetarium Faces Temporary Closure — The facility could be closed for a year or more in 2020-2021, as the school system renovates the Education Center to allow for more high school seats. [InsideNova]

Pentagon City Rescue — Firefighters rescued an injured worker from a rooftop near the 400 block of 11th Street S. The worker suffered non-life threatening injuries. [Twitter]

Pentagon Set to Ban Fitness Trackers — Military and other DoD personnel soon won’t be able to take their Fitbits onto bases or other secure facilities, or even use step-tracking apps or other GPS functions on their phones. [WTOP]

Back to School at Barcroft Elementary — The school welcomed students and teachers back to class Monday (Aug. 7). Barcroft offers a “modified” calendar, reducing the summer break but not eliminating it. [Twitter, Twitter]

Flickr pool photo via wolfkann

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Police Investigating More Airbag Thefts in Crystal City, Pentagon City

Roughly 20 vehicles were damaged across a series of Pentagon City and Crystal City neighborhoods on Friday (Aug. 3), marking the second time in the last month thieves have struck the area.

Arlington County police believe “the windows of approximately 20 vehicles were smashed and airbags stolen” across the area sometime on Friday night, according to a crime report.

They add that the thieves stole the tires and rims off two of those vehicles. In all, police believe the incidents occurred on the following streets:

  • 500 block of 15th Street S.
  • 1500 block of S. Arlington Ridge Road
  • 1100 block of Army Navy Drive
  • 1200 block of S. Eads Street
  • 1600 block of S. Eads Street
  • 1900 block of S. Eads Street
  • 1100 block of S. Joyce Street
  • 1600 block of S. Joyce Street

Thieves damaged approximately 35 vehicles on some of the same sections of S. Joyce Street and S. Eads Street in early July. Many residents of the RiverHouse Apartments reported having their cars damaged at the time.

More details from an Arlington County crime report:

LARCENY FROM AUTO (Series), 2018-08030320/08030326/08040004/08040022/08040012/08040076/08040098/08040110/08040191, 1200 block of S. Eads Street/1100 block of S. Joyce Street/1600 block of S. Joyce Street/1900 block of S. Eads Street/1500 block of S. Arlington Ridge Road/500 block of 15th Street S./1600 block of S. Eads Street/1100 block of Army Navy Drive. At approximately 11:00 p.m. on August 3, police began responding to the above locations for multiple reports of larcenies from auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that the windows of approximately 20 vehicles were smashed and airbags stolen. During the course of the investigation, it was also determined that two vehicles each had a set of four tires and rims stolen. The investigation is ongoing.

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Roots Canada Set to Open in Pentagon City Mall Next Week

Lifestyle brand Roots Canada will open up shop in a 3,200 square foot space within the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City next Friday (Aug. 10).

Though a display in front of the forthcoming store, pictured above, advertises Roots as coming Aug. 11, a recent press release from the company, Fashion Centre at Pentagon City’s website and ads in the Pentagon City Metro all set the opening date as Aug. 10.

Next Friday’s opening in Arlington will come the day after Roots opens for business in Georgetown (3259 M. Street NW).

The two D.C.-area sites follow three new stores that opened this June in Greater Boston. Roots aims to have between 10 and 14 new retail locations open in the U.S. by the end of next year, according to an April press release.

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BREAKING: Fire Breaks Out in Pentagon City Apartment Building

Arlington firefighters are working to extinguish a blaze at a Pentagon City apartment complex.

First responders were called to a building along the 800 block of 15th Street S., adjacent to the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, around 5 p.m. today (Wednesday).

Firefighters believe the blaze started on the eighth floor of the building, according to a tweet from the department, and they were able to quickly extinguish it.

There’s no word yet on any traffic impact or injuries.

Photo via Google Maps

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Thieves Smashed Windows, Stole Airbags from ‘Approximately 35 Vehicles’

Dozens of vehicles were damaged at apartment parking lots in the Pentagon City and Crystal City area this past weekend.

According to police, “approximately 35 vehicles were smashed and [had] airbags stolen.” The damaged cars were discovered Saturday morning.

A resident of the RiverHouse Apartments, whose car was among those damaged, said the large Pentagon City apartment complex was a target for the thieves.

“On Saturday, July 7, I was informed that my car had been vandalized: window busted and driver’s airbag stolen,” she said. “Twenty-four other cars in the RiverHouse Apartments complex had their airbags stolen. All were Honda Accords or Civics.”

“RiverHouse has no cameras filming the parking lots,” the resident added. The apartment complex’s vast parking lots have also been the scene of a number of car wheel thefts.

More on the airbag thefts from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2018-07070087/07070100/ 07070106, 1600 block of S. Joyce Street/1600 block of S. Eads Street/2000 block of S. Eads Street. Between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. on July 7, police responded to multiple reports of larcenies from auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 8:00 p.m. on July 6 and 7:54 a.m. on July 7, the windows of approximately 35 vehicles were smashed and airbags stolen. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

Photo via Google Maps

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