Arlington dignitaries were on hand for a ribbon cutting and champagne ceremony at the new 168-room Hyatt Place hotel in Courthouse Thursday afternoon.
In addition to rooms with modern furnishings and comfy beds, the hotel, at 2401 Wilson Blvd, features a 24-hour gym, 24-hour meal service, free hotel-wide WiFi and a “coffee to cocktails bar.”
There’s also a curated art collection in the lobby and a newly-unveiled original sculpture — of a stylized, blue high heel shoe that doubles as a bench — outside, at the corner of Wilson and N. Adams Street.
At the ceremony, officials lauded the hotel as an economic asset for Arlington that was built with the support of local residents, thanks to a focus on public outreach by developer Schupp Companies.
The Crystal City Shops shopping center at 2100 Crystal Drive hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning for one of its newest tenants: an Arlington Public Library branch.
The temporary, pop-up library is located near TechShop, a high-tech workshop that’s popular with startups, students, hobbyists and tinkerers. Dubbed “The Connection,” the compact, one-room library has adopted a tech and tinkerer theme, with free WiFi internet, books about coding, puzzles and games for rent, and gadgets like GoPro cameras and iPads for online magazines.
There will be weekly programs like book clubs, a lecture series, storytelling for children and strategy gaming, according to the library.
“The Connection is a temporary pop-up project designed to integrate the Library into the daily lives of Arlington residents,” the library said in a media advisory. “The pop-up library will serve residents east of Route 1, which runs through Crystal City and poses a physical barrier to access for many people to the nearest community library.”
That nearest library — Aurora Hills, near Pentagon City — is also slated for interior renovations.
Today’s ribbon cutting was scheduled for 10 a.m. and, wasting no time for pomp and circumstance, the ribbon was cut at right 10:01 a.m. Attendees included local residents, representatives from property owner Vornado, Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz, Arlington Public Library director Diane Kresh and other county officials.
The pop-up library is expected to be open at least until next summer, though it could remain open beyond that if it receives additional funding in next year’s budget. It is currently scheduled to be open 38 hours per week, Tuesday through Saturday.
All of the ramps, lanes and bridges for the interchanges of Route 50, N. Courthouse Road and 10th Street N. are open and finished.
Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette, Del. Patrick Hope and local and state transportation officials were on hand to cut the ribbon on the $39 million project that has been more than a decade in the making.
“My first County Board meeting in January 1998, in the first Board packet, the design of this interchange was in that packet,” Fisette said. “Really good things take time and partnerships. Hopefully we will continue to get these types of outcomes.”
The new interchange includes two new bridges at Courthouse Road and 10th Street, each with LED-lit metal grillwork displays, although the LED lights aren’t ready to be turned on yet. It includes a left-exit from eastbound Route 50 onto N. Courthouse Road, and turning lanes from westbound Route 50 that are separated from the three lanes of fast-moving traffic.
“Everyone who drives on Arlington Blvd every single day is going to have a much better experience,” Hope said.
In addition to the new traffic patterns and LED lights, the sides of the new highway have custom-designed concrete panels. The grillwork and panels were both designed by artist Vicki Scuri. The LED lights and landscaping along the highway are the only two components of the project that are not yet finished.
The project also included new bicycle and pedestrian paths along either side of the highway, with striping for two-way travel, between N. Pershing Drive and Courthouse Road on the westbound side, and Pershing and N. Rolfe Street on the eastbound side.
“This project represents the values we hold in Arlington. it’s about safety, it’s about travel choices,” Arlington Director of Transportation Dennis Leach said. “What an incredible difference this is if you are walking or biking.”
(Updated at 3:50 p.m.) Officials cut a ceremonial ribbon in Crystal City this morning to celebrate the Arlington launch of the mobile parking app Parkmobile.
At the ceremony in front of Charlie Chiang’s Restaurant, county Director of Transportation Dennis Leach and Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette spoke about Parkmobile’s partnership with the county and the convenience Parkmobile will bring to residents. Parkmobile debuted in Crystal City on July 18 and in Shirlington July 17.
“People are not shy about embracing new things here,” Leach said. “I believe we’ve had 1,500 transactions so far this week in Arlington.”
Parkmobile’s mobile parking apps are available with iPhone, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry smartphones. The county said it plans to bring Parkmobile to Arlington’s other corridors in phases, with Pentagon City in the fall, and Ballston and Clarendon by the winter. By spring 2015, Courthouse, Rosslyn, Columbia Pike and the rest of Arlington’s 5,329 metered spots are planned to have Parkmobile.
“It’s all about making it easier,” Leach told ARLnow.com this morning. “I take transit, I walk and I bike almost everywhere, but I can appreciate it for all the residents, workers and visitors who may need to drive. If I were to drive, this is a great app.”
All drivers need in order to register is a smartphone, a credit card and their license plate number, although paying at traditional meters or pay-and-display meters is still an option. Parkmobile has been in use in the District since 2010.
“Over the last 10, 20, 30 years there has been quite an amazing metamorphosis and transition here in Arlington,” Fisette said. “You have a seamless system between the District of Columbia and Arlington with a single app, just like you can take your Capital Bikeshare across the river.”
Fisette said that Parkmobile is important for Arlington and its place in the regional economy. Parkmobile became available city-wide in D.C. in 2011 and collects 56 percent of the District’s parking revenue, according to Parkmobile CEO Cherie Fuzzell. Through mists of rain at the ribbon cutting, Fuzzell and Crystal City Business Improvement District President Angela Fox also spoke of the app’s benefits.
“Parkmobile is a great solution not only for consumers, but also for the county,” Fuzzell said. “They have had a 20 percent increase in their parking revenue. Why? Because people pay if you make it easier to pay.”
Fox said Parkmobile is a perfect service to have in Crystal City because it’s in keeping with the area’s focus on accessible transportation.
“We have this original neighborhood that’s metro oriented with an airport you can walk to,” Fox said. “Anything that builds on that base of accessibility, we get excited about.”
Arlington County, which rarely misses an opportunity for a ribbon cutting event, will be holding one this week to kick off the county’s first pay-by-cell parking system.
Arlington will be rolling out the smartphone parking app Parkmobile over the next year — with the service first available to pay for street parking in Shirlington and Crystal City starting later this month.
The service will be expanded to Pentagon City this fall, Ballston and Clarendon this winter, and the rest of the county in the spring.
(Parkmobile is also currently used for pay-by-cell parking in the District of Columbia.)
The county will be holding a ribbon cutting to mark Arlington’s Parkmobile launch on Thursday, from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m., in front of Charlie Chiang’s Restaurant in Crystal City (320 23rd Street S.).
Those expected to help wield the giant pair of scissors include County Board Chair Jay Fisette, Arlington Director of Transportation Dennis Leach, Crystal City BID President and CEO Angela Fox, and Parkmobile CEO Cherie Fuzzell.
(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) Comedian Bill Cosby joined Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette and other local notables in helping to open the new Ben’s Chili Bowl in Rosslyn this morning.
Cosby’s jokes and antics drew laughs from the large crowd of media and spectators that gathered to see the ribbon cutting for the iconic U Street eatery’s first stand-alone, brick-and-mortar expansion. Other attendees and speakers included the Ali family, which owns the restaurant; the ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago, late founder Ben Ali’s home country; WPGC DJ Shack Nd Pack; and Rosslyn BID President Mary-Claire Burick.
Cosby joked that as an aging Navy veteran, he was glad to have a Ben’s Chili Bowl near Arlington National Cemetery.
“The reason why this establishment has decided to open here is for me,” he said. “I’m 76-and-a-half years old. I’m going to have my 77th birthday in July… I spent four years in the Navy, which means I am eligible for a military funeral. Now, my can ghost make the trip here instead of flying over to U Street.”
“Over in that cemetery there is no cholesterol,” he continued. “There are no triglycerides. Eat as many as you like. Double down on the cheese and fries. A lot of people may not go to heaven, because this is heaven.”
Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette presented Cosby and Virginia Ali, Ben’s widow, with keys to Arlington. Cosby quipped that he would use it to get out of parking tickets.
“Whoa, who put me on stage after Bill Cosby?” Fisette said, to which Cosby shot back: “your mother did.”
“Thanks for choosing Arlington… for your second spot,” Fisette said. “As I’ve always said, chili for breakfast, chili for lunch, chili for dinner and a half smoke for dessert.”
Customers flooded into the the restaurant following the ribbon cutting, leaving a large crowd outside the doors, waiting to get in. Hundreds showed up to the Colonial Village Shopping Center parking lot to see Cosby speak and get some of the first tastes of chili, half smokes, hamburgers and milkshakes after standing outside in near-freezing temperatures.
The restaurant is located at 1725 Wilson Blvd, in the former Ray’s Hell Burger space. It’s owned and operated by three sons, Nizam, Kamal and Sage, and one daughter, Vida. The family said during the ribbon cutting that the restaurant plans to stay open until 4:30 a.m.
“The chili will sober you up,” Cosby said of Ben’s likely late night customers.
It’s been about a year and a half in the making, but today marked the ribbon cutting for the newly revamped Clarendon Central Park.
County Board members Mary Hynes and Jay Fisette joined county employees for the ceremony, including many from the Department of Environmental Services and the Department of Parks and Recreation directly involved in planning the renovations. Hynes was one of the speakers and thanked all the people involved, from planners to construction workers, for bringing the idea to fruition.
“It addresses so many different goals,” Hynes said. “That great collaboration has led to this amazing space, which will be well used by not only the people who live nearby, but all of the people who come and enjoy our restaurants and the other amenities that Clarendon offers. It’s going to, I think, be a great addition to this neighborhood for many, many years to come.”
Improvements to the park and Metro plaza include new bike shelters, landscaping, irrigation, tables and chairs, lighting and ADA-compliant pavers. The plaza was designed to have more open space for events, such as the farmers market, and for easier pedestrian access to the Metro.
In May of 2012, the County Board approved a contract for the first phase of the project, worth more than $760,000. Workers completed the first phase — the eastern portion ending near the Clarendon Metro elevator — last December, and an additional $197,000 was requested at that time to complete the rest of the park.
County officials believe the hard work and long process involved in this project are worth the end result: an improved “gateway to Clarendon” that thousands of people pass through each day.
“This has been a little bit of a long, torturous journey,” said Dennis Leach with the Department of Environmental Services. “But I think the result is pretty phenomenal.”
The store had been closed since May 2012 after being flooded with raw sewage. It reopened this morning following an extensive clean-up process and a complete renovation.
Harris Teeter employees held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 8:00 a.m.
The 44,000 square foot store will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It features a redesigned pharmacy, in addition to “all new flooring; new drywall and paint; updated equipment; wooden display cases; new fixtures; an expanded seating area; an expanded floral department; new prepared food stations including pizza, an Asian hot bar, and a made-to-order sandwich bar; and sustainable décor elements.”
Harris Teeter’s insurers are currently suing Arlington County for more than $1 million to recover losses caused by the sewage backup.
Photo courtesy Catherine Becker/Harris Teeter
The Harris Teeter store near Potomac Yard, which has been closed since May 2012 after being flooded with raw sewage, will hold its grand reopening in two weeks.
The store, at 3600 S. Glebe Road, will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23. Events will also be held that weekend in honor of the reopening.
The store will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
From a Harris Teeter press release:
The 44,000 square foot store, part of The Eclipse luxury mixed-use development, underwent a complete renovation including: all new flooring; new drywall and paint; updated equipment; wooden display cases; new fixtures; an expanded seating area; an expanded floral department; new prepared food stations including pizza, an Asian hot bar, and a made-to-order sandwich bar; and sustainable décor elements. The Company also re-designed its pharmacy to feature an open floor plan that will allow our pharmacists to better serve their customers.
In each of its stores, including its location at Potomac Yard, Harris Teeter considered sustainable building design throughout its re-design process. The refrigerated cases will feature motion detection lighting; the company will also install doors with LED lights on the refrigerated cases as well as LED spotlighting throughout the store to reduce energy consumption. Harris Teeter originally installed both an energy management lighting system and a heat reclamation system in this store and will continue to utilize these technologies to reduce energy waste.
Harris Teeter’s insurers are currently suing Arlington County for more than $1 million to recover losses caused by the sewage backup.
Metro Keys Stolen from Arlington Fire Truck — Two men wearing masks and black clothing stole keys to secure areas of the Metro system from an unattended Arlington County fire truck last week. The theft happened during a medical call in Crystal City, and the thieves also stole a forcible entry tool called a Hydra Ram. [NBC Washington]
New Wakefield Aquatics Center Debuts — A ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the new aquatics center at Wakefield High School on Sunday. The center is expected to draw a larger crowd than the aging, existing Wakefield aquatics facility it replaces. The cost of entry is up to $5.50 per day for Arlington residents. [Sun Gazette]
Ft. Myer Heights Playground Opening Imminent — A new playground in Ft. Myer Heights, with slides made to look like hollowed-out logs, is set to open as soon as Wednesday. The playground also features a sand pit and picnic benches. [Ode Street Tribune]
New Poll Shows McAuliffe With Lead in Gov. Race — Democrat Terry McAuliffe is leading Republican Ken Cuccinelli 47-39 among likely votes in the Virginia governor’s race, according to a new Washington Post poll. Cuccinelli had a 10 point lead in a poll conducted this spring. [Washington Post]
Lt. Gov. Debate in Arlington Tonight — The candidates for Virginia lieutenant governor — Republican E.W. Jackson and Democrat Ralph Northam — will face off in a live debate in Arlington tonight. The 90-minute debate will take place at 7:00 p.m. at George Mason University’s Founders Hall Auditorium in Virginia Square. [George Mason University]
Flickr pool photo by ddimick
A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for a new park in Ballston.
The park, at the corner of Glebe Road and N. Randolph Street, quietly opened to the public in July. Located adjacent to the Ballston public parking garage, the park features a pair of bocce courts, numerous benches and landscaped green space.
Construction on the tiny park started this past winter. A ribbon cutting is planned for Thursday, Sept. 19, according to Laura Lazour, Sports and Recreation chief of Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation .
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the new sprayground at Virginia Highlands park yesterday evening.
Surrounded by a group of children patiently awaiting the water to be switched back on, Arlington County Board Chair Walter Tejada thanked those involved in the park’s creation, and touted the water-saving features of the water park. The sprayground saves 82,000 gallons of water per month by employing a water recirculation system, he said.
After his speech, Tejada joined County Board member Chris Zimmerman and neighborhood representatives in cutting a ribbon hastily tied to the sprayground equipment. The ribbon survived earlier attempts by the children to use it as a makeshift backrest — an effort that was repeatedly foiled by a diligent county staffer.
The sprayground, adjacent to a picnic area in the southeast corner of the park, features water jets, showers, dumping buckets and rotating water cannons. It’s scheduled to be open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. through Labor Day.
County Invests in Supportive Housing — Arlington County has matched a $500,000 grant from the Arlington Community Foundation to convert 10 units at the Marbella Apartments in Rosslyn to Permanent Supportive Housing. The apartments will be offered to the county’s most vulnerable homeless residents at a rate affordable to those making about $22,500 per year. [Arlington County]
Spring Athletic Achievements — Sportswriter Dave Facinoli recounts some of the most notable achievements of Arlington teams and athletes this spring. [Sun Gazette]
Advertising Firm Moves to Rosslyn — Local ad agency LM&O Advertising is moving to Rosslyn. The 94-person company signed a 10-year lease for the top floor of the new office building at 1776 Wilson Blvd, which will also soon be home to Pier 1 Imports and 100 Montaditos. LM&O plans to move from its current office in Courthouse in December.
Ribbon Cutting for New Apartment Complex — A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 9:30 this morning for the new Sedona and Slate apartment complex at 1510 Clarendon Blvd in Rosslyn at 9:30. According to developer JBG: “Sedona is 271 units, and is about 70 percent leased. Slate is 203 units and will begin leasing soon; delivery is expected in July.”
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
Tonight (Friday), starting at 6:00 p.m., an opening celebration will be held for the newly-renovated High View Park, located at 1945 N. Dinwiddie Street, within the boundaries of the John M. Langston Civic Association.
Renovations to the park include new play areas, an ADA accessible route from Cameron Street, new benches, and a picnic area.
The event will include moon bounces “for all ages,” face painting, balloon art and refreshments. The ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 7:00 p.m.
On Saturday, Arlington County will celebrate the restoration of Carlin Hall (5711 4th Street S.). Dating back to 1892, Carlin Hall is currently used as a preschool, a community meeting facility and a recreation center. It recently underwent an extensive structural restoration.
A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for Carlin Hall at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday. The ceremony is part of the annual Glencarlyn Day festivities, which include a pancake breakfast, a parade, a fun fair and a home and garden tour.
Photo via Arlington County
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Friday afternoon for 1776 Wilson Boulevard, one of the county’s newest office buildings.
The $33.5 million office building includes four floors of office space, 30,000 square feet of ground floor retail space, and 231 garage parking spaces. With environmental features like a green vegetated roof, solar panels, electric vehicle chargers and water use reduction systems, developer Skanska USA is seeking LEED Platinum sustainability certification.
The building is located in Rosslyn at the intersection with N. Quinn Street. The project included the construction of a new section of N. Quinn Street to connect Wilson Blvd to Clarendon Blvd.
Attendees at Friday’s ribbon cutting included representatives from Skanska USA, County Board members Jay Fisette and Chris Zimmerman, Rosslyn BID Executive Director Cecilia Cassidy, and George Contis, the doctor who sold the property to Skanska in 2010.
The building still being leased out, but confirmed tenants include CRDF Global and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. Skanska has also established its new regional headquarters in the building.