Prosecutor: Black Asked for Help Killing Wife — At a bond hearing Monday, prosecutors said that David Black asked a friend to help kill his wife in a classic case of domestic violence. Black was denied bond and will remain in jail, charged with killing his estranged wife Bonnie Black in their home near Pentagon City. The trial is set for Feb. 29. [WUSA 9]
One of the Worst Traffic Bottlenecks — Arlington has one of the worst traffic bottlenecks in the country, according to the American Highway Users Alliance. I-395 between Washington Blvd and the GW Parkway ranked No. 26 on the list, wasting 1.1 million hours and 322,600 gallons of fuel annually. [WTOP]
TSA HQ Move May Be Delayed — The Transportation Security Administration’s headquarters may be staying in Pentagon City past 2017 after all. A judge has halted the TSA’s move to Alexandria in response to a protest of the lease bidding process by a losing bidder. [Government Executive]
Arlington GOP May Ditch Office — In order to save money, the Arlington County Republican Committee is considering giving up the $1,100 per month office it rents in the Dominion Arms apartment building. [InsideNova]
See Something, Type Something — Arlington County’s website has a “Homeland Security Tip Form,” for reporting “suspicious activity that may be related to terrorism” in Arlington. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Lime Fresh first opened its Pentagon Row location, near the Harris Teeter, in May 2012. It promised a “signature blend of fresh, mouth-watering Mexican dishes, dynamic ambiance, stylized interiors and scrupulous service,” but garnered mixed reviews online.
Ruby Tuesday announced late last week that it was immediately closing 11 Lime Fresh locations and selling eight others in Florida. In completely divesting itself of Lime Fresh, Ruby Tuesday said it was “in our shareholders’ best interest that we exclusively operate our namesake brand restaurants.”
McMenamin, a former Arlington County Civic Federation president who’s endorsed by the Arlington County Republican Committee and County Board member John Vihstadt, says he shares concerns about traffic and a strain on local services with residents from a nearby neighborhood.
Residents of Arlington Ridge — an affluent neighborhood overlooking Pentagon City — have long protested planned development in Pentagon City and Crystal City areas on the grounds of negative impacts to their community. Among the projects causing concern: approved development on the Pentagon Centre shopping center site and the as-yet vacant PenPlace site, plus proposed additions to the RiverHouse apartment complex.
McMenamin issued the following press release this morning, suggesting that such development does not represent “smart growth.”
County Board independent candidate Mike McMenamin expressed support today for a citizens’ group that is worried about overbuilding in the Pentagon City area.
“I agree with the Arlington Ridge Civic Association (ARCA) that the County board should undertake a study to determine how much additional density 22202 (Crystal City, Pentagon City and adjacent residential neighborhoods) can accommodate without compromising the area’s livability,” said McMenamin.
ARCA is concerned about traffic and transit congestion that will result in coming years, together with the additional fire, police, school, green space and other services that will be needed once all of the development the County has already approved for construction in 22202 gets built out.
Further, Vornado is now asking the County to amend the General Land Use Plan and up-zone its River House property to allow it to build an additional 1,084 apartments on top of the already approved development to be built in Pentagon and Crystal City.
In the past, the County has considered each new proposed building and zoning variance, one at a time, in isolation of its impact on the greater, surrounding area. “That needs to change,” McMenamin said, “particularly in 22202 which is a uniquely cordoned off segment of the County with limited transportation avenues.”
McMenamin supports the 22202 residents’ request that the County should step back, take a breath, and reassess its extraordinarily robust development policies that were enabled by the Metro system. “Until we better understand how much additional growth our infrastructure can accommodate,” McMenamin noted, “we cannot claim to be approving ‘smart growth.'”
Developer Kimco’s initial plans for the 17-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. As approved, the amended plan will result in the construction of 693 residential units in two buildings during the project’s first phase.
Phases II and III of the redevelopment — which are 20-35 years away — will see the demolition of the main mall building and the Costco, replacing it with three office buildings, a hotel and a three-acre park.
A 9,000 square foot open space will be built in Phase I. Kimco also agreed to provide space for a transit commuter store, to place solar panels on the roof of a planned parking garage and to provide at least 11 units of on-site affordable housing.
In all, the project includes 1.9 million square feet of mixed-use development, including 200 hotel rooms, 705,700 square feet of office space and 346,000 square feet of retail space.
Note: Images above are preliminary renderings and might not reflect the final project as approved.
Multiple roads will be closed in Arlington this weekend due to a 9/11 memorial race, a triathlon and festivals.
The 14th annual Arlington Police, Fire and Sheriff 9/11 Memorial 5K Race on Saturday will shut down some streets around the Pentagon.
The race takes runners around the Pentagon, starting from the DoubleTree Hotel in Pentagon City (300 Army Navy Drive) down Army Navy Drive, around Columbia Pike and on Route 110 back to the DoubleTree.
Online registration is closed, but the race is holding in-person registration for $50 on Sept. 10 and 11 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the plaza next to Arlington Police headquarters (1425 N. Courthouse Road). On race day, Sept. 12, runners can sign up from noon to 5 p.m. at the DoubleTree. All participants get a commemorative shirt and post-race refreshments at the DoubleTree.
For the race, both directions of Army Navy Drive between 12th Street S. and S. Eads Street will be closed from about 3-8 p.m.
The following roads are also closed between 5:45-6:30 p.m.:
- Westbound Army Navy Drive between S. Eads Street to S. Joyce Street
- S. Joyce Street from Army Navy Drive to Columbia Pike
- Columbia Pike from Pentagon South Parking to S. Joyce Street
- The northbound I-395 HOV exit to S. Eads Street
All roads that cross Army Navy Drive will be closed for approximately 20 minutes.
The following roads will be closed between 5:45-8 p.m.:
- Westbound Washington Blvd from Memorial Bridge to I-395
- Southbound Jefferson Davis Highway from Rosslyn to 15th Street S.
- Marshall Drive at Jefferson Davis Highway
- S. Eads Street from Army Navy Drive to 11th Street S.
Street parking will also be limited in Crystal City during the race.
In addition to the 9/11 Memorial 5K, there are two festivals shutting down roads on Saturday. The Prio Bangla Street Festival in South Arlington will close 9th Street S. from Walter Reed Drive to S. Highlands Street from 8 a.m. to midnight.
The Rosslyn Jazz Festival in Gateway Park (1300 Lee Highway) will close southbound N. Fort Myer Drive between east and westbound Lee Highway from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. There will be detours from on westbound Lee Highway and south on N. Scott and N. Veitch Streets for cars coming from Key Bridge. Heavy pedestrian traffic is expected between 2-10 p.m., according to ACPD.
On Sunday, roads in Pentagon City will be closed again, this time for the Nation’s Triathlon. The I-395 HOV lanes from the 14th Street Bridge in D.C. to the HOV overpass at S. Fern Street will be closed from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. to allow triathletes to complete the bike leg of the race.
A D.C. tea chain is planning to open a new store at the Pentagon Row shopping center in Pentagon City later this year.
Capital Teas, a store selling over 60 types of tea, plans to open a new location at 1201 S. Joyce Street, near Hudson Trail Outfitters, by early November, CEO Peter Martino said. It will be the company’s 16th store and will occupy the stand-alone space previously held by sunglasses store Specs, which was open for only about three months.
The store will sell a variety of loose teas, tea infusers, teacups, teapots and other tea accessories. It’s tentatively expected to open by the end of fall.
“Our Pentagon Row location will have the exact same tea selection of 60 specialty teas and infusions as we have at our other stores, and the same collection of modern and exciting tea-ware, but Pentagon Row will also have a somewhat expanded tea beverage menu to serve our patrons who may be ice skating on the adjacent rink this winter, or who are just enjoying time outdoors,” he said.
The Pentagon Row location will be the first Capital Teas store to add matcha shots to the beverage menu. Customers will be able to buy matcha shots or add it to other drinks, Martino said.
For those new to loose tea, Martino recommends buying a selection of black, green, white and other teas sold in the store. The store will also have a rotating selection of samples for customers to try.
“There’s a tea for every taste,” he said, “and a taste for every tea.”
Tea is the most widely-consumed beveral in the world, next to water, and the United States is beginning to embrace it, Martino said.
Capital Teas will have some competition in Pentagon City and elsewhere in Arlington. Teavana at the nearby Pentagon City mall and House of Steep (3800 Lee Hwy) in Cherrydale also sell loose leaf teas.
Metro Transit Police responded to the Pentagon City Metro station around the beginning of the evening rush hour for a “report of [a] suspicious package,” Metro said via Twitter.
According to Metro spokesman Mike Tolbert, a “suspicious note” was found on a train. The note was similar to another note — a bomb threat — that caused delays on the Blue, Silver and Orange lines this morning, Tolbert said.
Trains single tracked between the Pentagon City and National Airport stations for about a half hour as a result of the investigation. Metro said officers determined that the threat was “unfounded” and an all clear was given. Full service resumed, though with significant residual delays.
The incident even caused delays on the Green Line in D.C. “due to earlier congestion from delayed Yellow Line trains.”
Pentagon City and Crystal City may be connected by a multi-modal passageway by the end of the year.
The county is working with a private developer to expand 12th Street S. between S. Fern and S. Eads Streets to better connect Pentagon City and Crystal City.
The new extension, built by the private developer, will allow people to bike, walk or drive between the Pentagon City and Crystal City. MetroWay rapid transit buses would also use the new street to get from Pentagon City and Crystal City Metro stations, according to the Crystal City BID.
Two-way traffic on the new 12th Street S. extension is anticipated to start in 2016.
“This new roadway will become the main connection between Pentagon City and Crystal City. Considered the ‘Primary Transit’ street, 12th Street South has dedicated high-frequency transit service between Pentagon City and Potomac Yard,” according to Arlington County.
The entire project is anticipated to be completed in 2016, according to the project’s website, but a target date has not been set, said county spokesman Eric Balliet.
The southern part of the 12th Street S. extension is mostly complete. The developer still needs to install traffic lights and finish utility work before the road can open to one-way traffic, but Balliet said he did not know when that would happen.
“We expect this part of the street to open to one-way traffic later this year (no set date yet),” he said via email. The road is currently blocked off with gates and traffic cones, but pedestrians are able to use a sidewalk on the right side of the street.
The first half of 12th Street S. was constructed as part of the Metropolitan Park development project. Private developer Vornado is building a new complex with 22 levels, 699 apartments and 41,679 square feet of retail space next to 12th Street S.
A Whole Foods grocery store is also being built on the first level of the apartment building. There is no target opening date for the store, according to Katie Malloy, a PR rep for Whole Foods.
Metropolitan Park “completes the pedestrian streetscape along 12th Street for a seamless, urban experience between Pentagon City and Crystal City,” according to the Crystal City BID.
The northern half of 12th Street S. is expected to be completed next year, and is being constructed as an early part of the PenPlace development, Balliet said.
“I don’t have any updates about the timing of that portion,” he said.
PenPlace will sit next to the Marriott Residence Inn, off of Army Navy Drive and will extend to the new 12th Street S. The development, also being built by Vornado/Charles E. Smith, is projected to be five different buildings. The 16 to 22 story towers are expected to be office buildings, but one may be used for residential uses. A 300-room hotel is part of the five building plan and three connected open spaces are also being planned for the project.
There’s no word yet on when the bulk of the construction on PenPlace might begin.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.