A Shirlington hotel is set for some major renovations, which are set to start later this summer.
The Hilton Garden Inn Shirlington at 4271 Campbell Ave will receive a refresh worth tens of millions of dollars. The bulk of the work is set to begin on July 30 and is expected to take until October to complete.
General manager Christopher Ng said the entire lobby will get new furniture, as will the bar and restaurant, the convenience store and all 143 guest rooms. Ng said that virtually everything “not nailed to the wall” will get a refresh, including guest beds, televisions and wall tiles.
Already, the hotel’s swimming pool and spa have been resurfaced, with Ng anticipating they will reopen for guest use next week.
Ng said the refresh is typical industry practice, and allows the Hilton Garden Inn to keep up with standards from its corporate office too.
“A renovation or a refresh every seven to eight years is really what the industry standard calls for, and we felt that it was really time for us,” Ng said. “Don’t get me wrong, the property is in fantastic condition compared to other properties that I’ve been to in Arlington and other cities that I’ve worked in, it just needs a little refresh.”
Ng acknowledged that the hotel has an “aggressive timeline” for its work, but said if the county approves the permits for construction, it can be achieved.
Anyone looking to stay in the hotel may find a guest room harder to come by while they are updated. But Ng said there should be minimal disruption to anyone staying in the hotel during construction, which will be staggered from floor to floor.
“The great thing about our hotel, when it was built it was built as a LEED property and the owners wanted to be very conscious of the environment and also build a hotel that would be… made to go through a renovation,” he said.
The Crystal Gateway Marriott hotel at 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway in Crystal City showed off some of its recently-completed renovations yesterday.
The nearly 600-room hotel figures prominently into Arlington’s hospitality industry, hosting tourists, business travelers and large meetings.
Major upgrades were made to the guest rooms, imparting a more modern design and moving away from the hotel’s red and gold color scheme to a royal blue one.
Behind the renovation is general manager Regan Linke, who worked as a bartender when the hotel first opened in 1982.
“I came back about five years ago and the hotel was in need of some renovation,” said Linke.
The remodel also included the addition of the new M Club Lounge for Gold and Platinum Elite Marriott Rewards members. The 24-hour lounge area has coffee, snacks and wine for members.
The rest of the lobby will be completed later this year.
The hotel also gave a taste of its new restaurant 15th & Eads, named after the intersection it sits on. Included were mixed drinks served in mason jars, a selection of flatbread pizza, sliced meats and cheeses and made-to-order samples of New York strip steak.
It also follows a trend for the area, which has undergone significant changes within the last year, including a slew of new restaurants, businesses and the Transitway bus system and its new dedicated lanes in the neighborhood.
“It matches what happening in Crystal City,” Linke said. “Crystal Drive is expanded with restaurants. We’re attached to Metro and so everybody’s really thrilled about what’s happening at the hotel.”
After a four-month project to refresh its inside, the Aurora Hills Community and Senior Center is set to reopen Monday.
The center at 735 18th Street S. near Pentagon City will be open once again on May 15 for senior activities and community events, including meetings of the Aurora Highlands Civic Association.
At an open house Thursday, community members could take a look around the revamped space. The main meeting room has had a new floor and ceiling installed and new audio-visual equipment added as well as some extra storage.
A breakout room to host fitness classes and other smaller activities has had similar treatment, while the center’s kitchen has new appliances and the front desk has been moved.
The project is part of a $555,000 rehab of the community center and adjoining library, approved last year by the County Board.
The library’s renovations have already been completed. A report by county staff, presented to the County Board as it was considering the upgrades, hinted that the entire building eventually may be torn down to make way for a new elementary school.
Two Arrested After Fleeing Traffic Stop — Two suspects were arrested by Arlington County Police earlier this morning after they took off on foot following a traffic stop in Pentagon City. Army Navy Drive was closed between Fern and Eads streets while officers on the ground and the U.S. Park Police helicopter searched for the suspects. [NBC Washington, Twitter]
Barcroft Fitness Room Closing — The fitness room in the Barcroft Sport and Fitness Center is scheduled to be closed between May 15 and this fall due to planned renovations.
PreCheck RV Coming to Crystal City — A TSA PreCheck mobile enrollment station will be parked at two different locations in Crystal City during the last two full weeks in May. The RV will be open weekdays; walk-ins are welcome but reservations can be made online. [WTOP]
Closing the Achievement Gap — The head of the Civic Coalition for Minority Children says lagging standardized test scores among African-American and Latino students in Arlington Public Schools can “be traced to disparities in teaching literacy to young children.” [InsideNova]
Dog Takes ‘Snuggle Tours’ of AWLA Offices — The Animal Welfare League of Arlington on Friday posted a video of Irma, a cuddly pup who takes “snuggle tours” of the AWLA offices, seeking extra belly rubs. [Twitter]
Pike Booster ‘Disappointed’ By Transit Delay — Cecilia Cassidy, executive director of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, said the group is “very disappointed” by the latest delay in bringing enhanced transit service to the Pike. Cassidy said the cancellation of the streetcar cancelled much of the planned development along the Pike and that the delays in providing a viable transit alternative have put other development into a holding pattern. [WAMU]
More on DCA Plans — The airports authority has released more details about “Project Journey,” its $1 billion plan for upgrading Reagan National Airport. “Scheduled to mobilize in summer 2017, Project Journey includes construction of two new security checkpoints that fully connect the concourse level of Terminal B/C to airline gate areas, buildout of an enclosed commuter concourse to replace the 14 outdoor gates currently serviced by buses from gate 35X and future improvements to roadway and parking configurations.” [Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority]
Good News, Bad News About Tech in Arlington — Arlington has risen in the rankings of the best places in the U.S. for women in tech, from No. 34 to No. 22 this year. However, women in tech in Arlington still earn less than men, there are significantly more men than women employed in tech in Arlington and overall tech job growth in Arlington over the past four years is flat. D.C., meanwhile, ranked No. 1 on the list. [DCInno]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Big Changes Coming to DCA — The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has revealed updated designs of the coming changes at Reagan National Airport. Among the changes are a new commuter terminal, replacing the outdoor commuter gate 35X, and a new structure to house security checkpoints, which will be positioned before travelers enter the airport’s main terminal B/C hallway. [WTOP, WTOP]
Ethiopian Restaurant Coming to Courthouse — Chercher Ethiopian restaurant is expanding from the District to a new location at 2000 14th Street N. in Courthouse. It will be the first Virginia outpost for the acclaimed Ethiopian restaurant. Its owner says he chose Courthouse because the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor lacks Ethiopian dining options. [Washington Business Journal]
Tornado Drill Today — Yesterday was the first day of spring and today, at 9:45 a.m., Virginia is holding its annual statewide tornado drill. The drill is “a yearly opportunity to prepare Virginians for tornado emergencies and to test public warning systems.” [Virginia Dept. of Emergency Management]
Va. Pols Speaking at Arlington Dems Dinner — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Perriello and state Attorney General Mark Herring will be the headline speakers at the Arlington Democrats’ annual “Blue Victory Dinner,” formerly known as the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, on April 8. The other Democratic candidate for governor, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, “had a conflict and will not be able to make it.” [InsideNova]
School 5K to Close Streets — Roads will be closed in Arlington’s Williamsburg neighborhood Saturday morning for the second annual Discovery/Nottingham Friendship 5K. [Arlington County, Discovery Elementary School]
Flickr pool photo by Bekah Richards
The CVS Pharmacy atop the Courthouse Metro station entrance may be getting bigger.
A permit application filed Monday for the property at 2121 15th Street N. references a planned “second floor expansion” for CVS.
No other details were immediately available. The building also houses a Strayer University campus.
Hat tip to Chris Slatt
The TargetExpress store in Rosslyn is getting a facelift.
Two sections of the store — an area next to the women’s apparel aisle and the Starbucks — are currently blocked off by plastic sheets. Large pieces of construction equipment and tools were spotted in those sections.
Though several Target employees told ARLnow.com they weren’t sure what kind of work is being done or when those areas might reopen, one said a new beer and wine section might replace the shuttered Starbucks. A media representative for Target did not immediately respond to requests for more information.
(Luckily, Rosslynites needing a caffeine fix will not have to go far to find another Starbucks.)
The 23,000 square foot store, located at 1500 Wilson Blvd, sells groceries, beer, wine, personal care items, clothing, gadgets and other goods. It opened less than two years ago.
Police Warn of Jury Duty Scam — The Arlington County Police Department is again warning about a jury duty telephone scam targeting Arlington residents. The fraud involves a caller claiming to be a law enforcement officer and claiming that the call recipient failed to appear for jury duty. The scammer then demands the payment of a fine over the phone. [Arlington County]
Plow Plows Into Bus — Updated at 2 p.m. — One lane of Lee Highway was blocked for a period of time during last night’s evening rush hour after a minor accident involving an VDOT snow plow and an ART bus. [Twitter]
Vihstadt Speaks Out Against Gondola — County Board member John Vihstadt is not a fan of the potential gondola from Rosslyn to Georgetown. “Now is not the time to spend upwards of $90 million on a Disney-like gondola to Georgetown while current modes of public transit need significant new investment,” Vihstadt said earlier this week. [InsideNova]
Crystal House Renovated — Crystal House is a big apartment complex in Crystal City that has been around for a long time. Chances are, someone you know has lived there at one point or another. The 825-unit complex recently completed the first phase of a major renovation project and is showing it off via video and press release. [PR Newswire, YouTube]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Shirlington smoothie stop Robeks has closed, apparently to get an interior upgrade.
The windows of the store at 4115 Campbell Avenue have been papered over, and a sign on one of the windows says the store is closed for remodeling.
The newly-remodeled store will reopen tomorrow (Thursday), the sign says.
Teardown Business Booming — Arlington is one of the Northern Virginia areas that continue to see significant home teardown rates following the recession. The high land values make it more economical for many builders to tear down old homes and construct new ones rather than renovating existing structures. [Wall Street Journal]
Tech Company Moving to Arlington — Online stock video business VideoBlocks says it is moving from its long-time home in Reston to Arlington in 2017. The tech company’s growth is making the current 7,500-square-foot space too cramped, so the goal is to find an approximately 20,000-square-foot space in Arlington. [DC Inno]
Ninja Moves Prompt Police Call — Police responded to Paisano’s on N. Pershing Drive yesterday afternoon for a report of a man performing “ninja moves” outside the restaurant. There were no reports of anyone being harmed or of any arrests. [Twitter]
Free NYE Metro Rides — Metrorail and Metrobus rides will be free after midnight on New Year’s Eve (Saturday), courtesy of a sponsor: Miller Lite. Metro will stay open until 3:00 a.m. on New Year’s Day (Sunday). [WMATA]
Free Cab Rides Through Sunday — SoberRide will continue its seasonal free taxi service through Sunday. Users can call 1-800-200-TAXI for a free ride home, up to a $30 fare.
County Facilities Closed Monday — Like the federal the government, Arlington County will close its facilities on Monday in observance of Sunday’s holiday. Parking meters will not be enforced but trash and recycling collection will continue as usual.
(Updated at 3 p.m.) Arlington County is moving forward with construction plans for Stratford Park.
The current park has picnic tables, a youth baseball/softball field (which has also been used by adult team sports), two lighted tennis courts, a rectangular field and a lighted basketball court.
The new park, which is in the final design stages and is expected to go out to bid in the first quarter of 2017, will include upgraded fields, courts, landscaping and site furnishings.
Among the planned changes: the new diamond field will be fenced in, with dugouts, batting cages and bleachers added.
While the fence around a soon-to-be-upgraded diamond field in Bluemont Park prompted a neighborhood outcry this fall, since largely resolved by removing portions of the fence, thus far there has been little public protest about the Stratford Park fence.
Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish said the field’s primary purpose will be to host organized baseball and softball activities, though other uses will be allowed when the field is not otherwise being used.
“The approved plan does include fence around the diamond field, as the field will primarily be used for diamond sports (permit takes priority),” she told ARLnow.com, via email. “The fence entrances will always be open to allow people access to the area when the field is not in use.”
The parks department sent an email to residents who live near the park last month, updating them on the project’s progress. An excerpt of that email, detailing some of the changes, is below.
Construction of the park upgrades is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2017 and wrap up within the first three months of 2018. The overall design, management and construction budget is $1.7 million.
In early 2015, the County worked with the community to develop a concept plan for the site. The concept plan is a tool to inform the County, APS and the community on how new school access routes and other changes to the school site within the park boundary could impact the plan for park improvements. DPR worked closely with APS in order to coordinate pedestrian accessibility from the park to the school. In addition, a restroom facility will be provided at the school for park users. DPR may make some minor changes to the concept as final costs for the improvements are determined in order to ensure the project remains within budget.
The approved project scope includes replacing and bringing existing features to current standards and adding new amenities to the park. Below is a breakdown of each one.
Existing to be Replaced:
- Tennis Courts
- Basketball Court
- Court Lighting
- Diamond Field
- Players Benches
- Fencing (split rail)
- Stairs and Walkways
- Trash Receptacles
- Trees and Shrubs
New to the Park:
- Drinking Fountain
- Pedestrian Lighting
- Batting Cages
- Outfield Fence
- Retaining Walls
- 50/70 Intermediate (50/70) Diamond Field Layout with Irrigation
- Additional Trash Receptacles and Seating
- Picnic Area
- Storm Water Management Facility
- Additional Landscaping
The DMV office on Four Mile Run Drive closed Thursday night and is not expected to reopen until Jan. 9.
“Upgrades to the office include four additional service windows and a new countertop design that will allow for a more efficient customer flow and minimize customer wait times,” the department said in a press release (below).
The Arlington DMV Customer Service Center (CSC), located at 4150 South Four Mile Run Drive, will temporarily close at 5 p.m. on December 1 for an interior renovation. The CSC is expected to reopen January 9 at 8 a.m. Upgrades to the office include four additional service windows and a new countertop design that will allow for a more efficient customer flow and minimize customer wait times.
During the renovation, customers are encouraged to conduct transactions online at dmvNOW.com. More than 40 transactions are available online including vehicle and driver’s license renewals, address changes, license plate purchases, and reinstatement fee payments.
Customers who need to conduct in-person transactions can visit the new Arlington DMV Metro at Virginia Square, located at 3434 Washington Blvd., accessible via Metrorail Orange and Silver lines at Virgina Square-GMU, Metrobus 38B or ART 52. Limited paid parking is available in the area. Customers may also visit the Alexandria Customer Service Center at 2681 Mill Road. Vehicle-related transactions such as a registration renewals, title issuances or replacements, and license plate purchases, can be conducted at the Arlington DMV Select at 2100 Clarendon Boulevard; Lorton DMV Select at 8210 Cinderbed Road; or Fairfax City Select 10455 Armstrong Street.
A ribbon cutting ceremony for the park’s playground and volleyball court, located at 1021 N. Quincy Street near Arlington Central Library and Washington-Lee High School, is scheduled to take place Saturday from 1-2 p.m.
The revamped park features a “universal design” playground — Arlington’s first — with a play environment that’s accessible for users of all ages and physical abilities. Among the amenities are swings, picnic tables, a slide, a “climbing tree” and other play equipment.
The sand volleyball court, located adjacent to the playground, was created with adult after-work sports leagues in mind.
Though the ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for this weekend, the playground and the volleyball court are currently open to the public. Despite some earlier rain, at least a dozen kids and caretakers were taking advantage of the playground and its picnic shelter when ARLnow.com visited Wednesday afternoon.
The Sweetgreen at 4075 Wilson Blvd in Ballston is closed for renovations.
New equipment was being brought into the restaurant Friday night when ARLnow.com stopped by. A sign on the door of the trendy salad shop directed customers to nearby locations in Clarendon and elsewhere.
“We’re refreshing our Ballston location so we can’t do our thing for a few weeks,” the sign said.