(Updated at 12:10 p.m.) Dozens of law enforcement officers, along with fire department and county government personnel, are on scene of the former Key Bridge Marriott in Rosslyn.
A smaller police presence seen at the nearly 65-year-old hotel building last night grew into a parking lot-filling operation this morning. A drone could also be seen flying nearby, apparently part of the response.
Initial reports suggest that the property is being cleared of squatters, a significant task in such a large building. Arlington County said in a 6 a.m. press release (below) that the building is being condemned.
The press release suggests that the county expects the operation will take most of the day and will include ensuring those living in the building “have a place to go” and are provided “the services and care they may need.”
Arlington County has deemed the former hotel site at 1401 Langston Blvd. as unsafe and unfit for habitation. Due to the risk posed to the community’s safety and health, the County is condemning the building.
The County’s actions are authorized by the Virginia Uniformed Statewide Building Code and the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code, which gives local officials the ability to condemn a structure and secure it to prevent access.
The County has a duty to ensure everyone’s health and safety, including any individuals who have sought shelter inside the building, first responders who may need to respond to calls for public safety assistance, and the community at large.
Using a “whole of government” response, multiple departments across Arlington County, in conjunction with nonprofit partners, are prioritizing the health and safety of individuals at the property, ensuring they have a place to go, and providing the services and care they may need.
The site will then be properly secured.
The property, formerly known as the Key Bridge Marriott, was purchased in 2018 by KBLH LLC (a subsidiary of the owner Woodridge Capital Partners). In March 2020, the County Board approved a site plan project from KBLH to partially demolish and renovate the existing hotel and construct two new residential buildings. In July 2021, Marriott ceased operation of the hotel and the building was closed in preparation for development. The current property owner has not proceeded with the project.
Media briefings are scheduled to be held across Langston Blvd. at Gateway Park (1300 Langston Blvd.), on Friday, March 24, 2023, at both 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Parking will not be available at the 1401 Langston Blvd. property.
The challenging logistics of the operation are not limited to clearing hundreds upon hundreds of rooms. According to scanner traffic, a lack of working bathrooms or portable toilets earlier this morning prompted police to be instructed to drive elsewhere should they need to go.
ARLnow reported in December that the planned redevelopment of the large property, which overlooks the Potomac, “appears to have stalled with no indication of picking back up.”
The redevelopment, approved in March 2020, would have included “the renovation of the hotel — one of Marriott’s earliest hotels, which first opened in 1959 — as well as the construction of three new 16-story residential buildings, with about 300 rental apartments and 150 condo units.”
While the hotel has sat empty, it has reportedly been used as a makeshift shelter for a growing contingent of unhoused individuals. But that has posed challenges for law enforcement; according to records provided to ARLnow, police have responded to the property at least 10 times so far this year for things like trespassing, burglary and suspicious circumstances.
One such incident, from March 6, required a large contingent of officers to search the hotel for a person who said they were injured. That person was not found but a fugitive from Maryland was.
“At approximately 11:20 a.m. on March 6, police were dispatched to the 1400 block of Langston Boulevard for the report of suspicious circumstances. The reporting party stated she was inside the building and was hurt,” APCD spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “Responding officers conducted a search of the building and she was not located inside. While searching the property, officers located an adult male inside the building and determined he was wanted by the Harford County Sheriff’s Office (MD) for a Probation Violation. [A suspect], 36, of Baltimore, MD was taken into custody and held on a Fugitive from Justice warrant.”
The RCA building in Rosslyn could soon be demolished — not with a bang, but mechanically and over the next five months.
“We are awaiting issuance of the demolition permit,” said Greg Van Wie, the senior vice president for McLean-based Jefferson Apartment Group. “[We] anticipate receiving it any day and commencing immediately thereafter.”
The looming demolition work comes nearly two years after the county approved plans to replace the concrete-cladded office building at 1901 N. Moore Street with a 27-story, 423-unit apartment building in June 2021. Construction of the building is expected to take three years.
“We are currently completing the interior demolition and abatement so [we] have not necessarily been delayed, just working through the County requirements for full demolition,” Van Wie told ARLnow today (Thursday).
JAG is leading a joint venture to demolish the building, built in 1969, as well as the skywalk connecting it to the Rosslyn Gateway building. The new structure, comprised of of a north and a south tower joined at the base and at the rooftop with an “amenity bridge,” will have retail and parking across the third and fourth floors and underground.
A letter to residents of JBG Smith-owned mixed-use apartment building Central Place, shared with ARLnow, informed residents that demolition would start Friday.
Van Wie said he is “not sure it will be Friday.”
Residents noticed prep work for the site occurring last fall. At the time, Van Wie told ARLnow he did not yet have a demolition schedule to share, but did say it will be dismantled, rather than imploded, “so there won’t quite be the same show as with the old Holiday Inn, unfortunately.”
The letter to Central Place residents outlined hours of demolition and expected closures over the next five months.
“We are expecting temporary closures of N. Moore Street just north of N. 19th Street,” it reads. “All closures will be coordinated between the developers and Arlington County.”
Per county zoning ordinances, demolition may take place Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on weekends and holidays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., the letter said.
“In our experience, teams will begin working promptly in the mornings, however it is common that activity will slow in the evenings,” the letter continued.
JAG projected demolition would occur in February or March back in December, when the Washington Business Journal reported that a joint venture led by JAG acquired the building for $55.5 million.
Three years ago, JAG took over the plans to redevelop the property from Weissberg Investment Corp., which built the initial building in 1969 and had plans to redevelop it back in 2017. The original plans were later put on hold.
There’s another new urgent care clinic opening, this time in Rosslyn.
Allcare is opening a new urgent care clinic on Wilson Blvd, the company confirmed to ARLnow.
It will be located at the corner of N. Pierce Street and across the road from Fire Station 10. It’s filling a long-vacant space once occupied by Piola Pizzeria, which closed four years ago.
This will be the company’s third urgent care clinic in Arlington, with others in Ballston and Courthouse. The latter is only half a mile from the new one in Rosslyn.
A company spokesperson was not able to provide information about when the clinic might open or why the choice was made to have two clinics so close together.
The spokesperson did confirm, though, that the hours will be the same as the other Arlington clinics: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends.
The location is not yet listed on Allcare’s website.
At least two more clinics are preparing to open in Arlington in the coming months, for both humans and animals.
NOVA Patient Care is opening a second Arlington location, in a former restaurant space at Pentagon Row. Meanwhile, an urgent care clinic for pets is fetching an early spring opening in Buckingham.
A well-regarded corner market in Rosslyn appears to be closed.
When ARLnow stopped by Gallery Market & Cafe at 1800 N. Oak Street earlier this week, the lights were off, chairs were stacked, and the majority of the equipment was cleared out. The phone number is disconnected as well.
It’s not immediately clear when the convenience store, deli, and dry cleaner might have closed at the corner of N. Oak Street and Key Blvd, though a tipster said it happened at the beginning of the year.
ARLnow has reached out to both the property owner and business owner but we have yet to hear back definitive word about the status of the market as of publication.
There are other Gallery Markets & Cafes in Rockville and in D.C., but they are not associated with the Rosslyn location per an employee at the Rockville store.
The small business had been open for more than a decade at least, per Yelp reviews, most of which have been positive.
“Amazing sandwiches and the nicest owners. Love coming here to support local,” reads one from this past March. “Staff is always courteous about making substitutions (: try the club combo!”
Elsewhere in Rosslyn, a newer, higher end twist on the traditional corner market opened earlier this month nearby. Foxtrot, which describes itself as a “boutique” market, cafe, and convenience store, opened its doors at 1771 N. Pierce Street. It’s about a two-block walk from Gallery Market & Cafe.
Hat tip to Matt Sinisca
(Updated at 5:20 p.m.) Two local chefs have been named semifinalists for a prestigious James Beard award.
Rahman “Rock” Harper of Queen Mother’s Fried Chicken on Columbia Pike and Kevin Tien, owner of Hot Lola’s in Rosslyn and Ballston, were both recognized as semifinalists for “Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic” in this year’s James Beard awards. The nominations were announced last week.
Named after the famed American chef, the national award recognizes “exceptional talent and achievement in the culinary arts, hospitality, media, and broader food system.”
The Alexandria native Harper is the owner and head chef at Queen Mother’s Fried Chicken, located inside the local incubator Kitchen of Purpose at 918 S. Lincoln Street, just off of Columbia Pike, in the Alcova Heights neighborhood.
It opened in late 2020 with a menu, as might be expected considering the name, focused on fried chicken sandwiches.
Harper is also an author and winner of the third season of the cooking reality show “Hell’s Kitchen.” He told ARLnow that being named a James Beard semifinalist was a “pleasant surprise” and that the response from critics and diners alike has been “surreal.”
“They remind me that while pursuing my passion for telling Black stories through food, we will be rewarded with positive feedback along the journey,” Harper said via email. “Columbia Pike and Arlington have been incredibly supportive and welcoming to Queen Mother’s and I look forward to being here for many years! I hope this can serve as an example to customers, restaurateurs, elected officials, and developers that the future of Arlington and Northern Virginia dining is pretty bright.”
While Tien was actually nominated for his cooking at D.C.’s Moon Rabbit, he’s also known for Hot Lola’s and its two Arlington locations. The fast-casual restaurant also serves fried chicken sandwiches, but Tien’s blends Sichuan spices with the traditional Nashville recipe, creating his own brand of hot chicken.
The first Hot Lola’s location opened in the Ballston Quarter food hall in 2019, while the Rosslyn restaurant opened this past summer. Another location is coming to Fairfax County’s Lincolnia neighborhood.
Tien told ARLnow that being nominated for a James Beard award is an “amazing accomplishment” and represents “more than just good food and service.“
“It represents the commitment we make to our team, our community, our purveyors that we are cooking with purpose and for a cause,” he said via email. “To have a restaurant in Virginia with two other amazing Virginia chefs, Rock Harper and Joy Crump whom I love so much is incredible. The Arlington and NoVa dining scene is amazing and I am happy to be a small part of it.”
Ruthie’s All-Day chef and owner Matt Hill was named a Mid-Atlantic semifinalist last year as well.
It’s been a big month for local restaurant recognition. Four Arlington eateries were included in Washingtonian’s 100 Very Best Restaurants list for 2023 last week, while Charga Grill on Langston Blvd was named the area’s best casual restaurant by Washington Post food critic Tim Carman earlier in January.
Next month, Arlington County will hold a community event to kick off a three-year parking pilot program that prices parking by demand in a few highly trafficked corridors.
This is the first official step forward since the Arlington County Board accepted a $5.4 million grant from the Virginia Dept. of Transportation for the “performance parking” program.
The pilot would electronically monitor parking space usage alter parking prices based on the day, time and the number of people competing for a metered parking space along the Rosslyn-Ballston and Crystal City-Pentagon City corridors. It would also give drivers real-time information on spot availability and price.
In the meeting description, Arlington County says the three-year pilot project could “improve the user experience for metered parking spaces in two key commercial and residential corridors in Arlington.”
“Join the project team for a Community Kick-Off meeting to learn more about the pilot project, the technology we’ll be using to inform the project, and share your input on the pilot project’s goals to help us understand your priorities for metered parking spaces in the Rosslyn-Ballston and Route 1 corridors,” per the website.
According to the event page, meeting attendees will be able to:
- Learn about the pilot’s background and purpose
- Get briefed on the status of metered parking in the two Metrorail corridors
- Learn what technology will be used and what data will be collected, and how this will inform the project’s next steps
- Get a first look at a demonstration site
Arlington County Board members approved the program in late 2020 after hashing out concerns from some opponents about how this would impact people with lower incomes. Members were convinced by the case staff made that lower-income people are less likely to have one or more cars and could save money on parking by choosing to park on less-popular streets and for shorter time periods.
Ultimately, however, the pilot project is intended to sort out these concerns and “map out any mitigations that are necessary,” parking planner Stephen Crim said at the time.
Project proponent Chris Slatt said at the time that variable-price parking ensures that spots are generally available where and when people want them. He pointed to the city of San Francisco, which found that the program made it easier for people to find parking. This reduced double parking, improved congestion and lowered greenhouse gas emissions.
An online Q&A about the project lists as goals, “Drivers spend less time looking for on-street parking” and “Vehicle miles travelled resulting from on-street parking search or ‘cruising’ are reduced.” That will come at a cost, though, as parking rates are increased in busy areas.
The virtual community kick-off meeting will be held Thursday, Feb. 23 from 7-8:30 p.m.
A 32-year-old man is in jail after being arrested for a second time in less than a month.
Necho Taylor, a D.C. resident, was initially arrested the night of Friday, Dec. 23, after he allegedly shot a woman with a BB gun while riding an escalator at the Rosslyn Metro station. Taylor was taken into custody by Metro Transit Police outside of the Clarendon Metro station, after attempting to flee from officers, and the gun was found in his coat, according to an arrest report.
Taylor spent Christmas in the Arlington County jail on a felony malicious wounding charge but was released on bond by a judge on Dec. 28, according to court records. He is also facing a felony conspiracy charge and a citation for resisting arrest in connection to the case.
The motive for the BB gun shooting was unclear. The victim was treated for an arm injury at Virginia Hospital Center, per the Metro Transit Police arrest report.
Three weeks after being released on bond, Taylor was back in Arlington. Police say he entered a business on the 1000 block of S. Hayes Street — which corresponds with the Macy’s in Pentagon City — and, around noon, fled with stolen merchandise.
He was spotted by Arlington officers and led them on a brief foot pursuit before being taken into custody, according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report.
More from ACPD:
GRAND LARCENY (Significant), 2023-01180108, 1000 block of S. Hayes Street. At approximately 12:04 p.m. on January 18, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined the male suspect had entered the business, selected merchandise and attempted to exit without payment. A loss prevention officer confronted the suspect and he fled the scene on foot. A suspect description was broadcast and responding officers located him walking in the area. An officer gave the suspect commands which he refused to follow and fled the scene on foot. Following a brief foot pursuit, the suspect was taken into custody. Necho Taylor, 32, of Washington, DC was arrested and charged with Grand Larceny and Obstruction of Justice. He was held without bond.
Taylor previously was sentenced to 5 months in jail in Arlington in 2016, for petty larceny, according to court records. He’s currently in the county jail awaiting his next court hearing on Feb. 23, records show.
A man was stabbed inside his apartment in the Arlington Mill neighborhood early this morning.
The stabbing happened after what police described as a dispute between two people who knew each other. A 24-year-old Arlington man was subsequently arrested, charged with Malicious Wounding and held without bond.
More from the latest Arlington County Police Department crime report:
MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2023-01230015, 5000 block of 8th Road S. At approximately 1:28 a.m. on January 23, police were dispatched to the report of a stabbing. Upon arrival, officers located the victim who had sustained serious, non-life threatening injuries and rendered aid until the arrival of medics, during which he was transported to an area hospital for treatment. Additionally, responding officers located the suspect on scene and took him into custody without incident. The investigation determined the victim and known suspect were inside the victim’s residence when they became involved in a dispute, during which the suspect allegedly struck him with a knife.
Also in today’s crime report, police detailed two alleged assaults on police officers. One happened early Saturday morning along I-395 while the other happened in the Rosslyn area Sunday evening.
ASSAULT ON POLICE, 2023-01210052, I-395 South at S. Glebe Road. At approximately 3:24 a.m. on January 21, a patrol officer observed a traffic violation and conducted a traffic stop. During the course of the stop, the suspect exited the vehicle, refused to comply with the commands of officers and continued to approach the suspect vehicle and cruisers. As a result of the investigation, it was determined the suspect would be placed under arrest for Drunk in Public. As the officers attempted to take the suspect into custody, he resisted arrest and assaulted an officer. A struggle ensued and the suspect was subsequently taken into custody with the assistance of additional officers. The officer and suspect sustained minor injuries, the suspect as transported to an area hospital. [The suspect], 43, of Fort Washington, Md. was arrested and charged with Assault and Battery on Police, Obstruction of Justice and Drunk in Public.
ASSAULT ON POLICE, 2023-01220177, 1500 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 5:24 p.m. on January 22, police were in the area on a separate call for service when a lookout was broadcast for a suspect in a larceny in progress. The officers observed the suspect walking in the area and took him into custody. The investigation determined the suspect entered a business, allegedly concealed merchandise in his bag and left without paying. During a search of his person and property incident to arrest, the suspect kicked an officer. [The suspect], 34, of Washington, DC, was arrested and charged with Assault and Battery on Police and Petit Larceny. He was held without bond.
A property between Rosslyn and Courthouse that is home to an office building and two long-time restaurants has been sold to a developer with plans to build apartments and retail.
D.C.-based The Fortis Cos. bought the property at the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Rhodes Street for $14 million.
The site includes a four-story, 48,000-square-foot office building (1840 Wilson Blvd) and the restaurants Il Radicchio and Rhodeside Grill. The office building was the headquarters for the property’s previous owner, the nonprofit National Science Teaching Association (NSTA).
“This is a very familiar and highly visible property within the County and along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, and FORTIS is excited work on a new vision for the site, which will likely be mixed-use multifamily residential over ground floor retail,” Fortis Vice President Matt Bunch tells ARLnow.
In a press release announcing the sale, real estate company CBRE — which represented the nonprofit in the transaction — called the property “one of the last commercial development sites in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor in Arlington.”
Its development potential and quarter-mile distance from the Courthouse Metro Station generated “a high level of interest from prospective buyers,” CBRE Senior Vice President Dean Stiles said in a statement. “We are confident that it will be a valuable asset for Fortis.”
Arlington County has identified this site for mixed-use redevelopment, and Fortis intends to build a seven-story, 85-foot-tall apartment building.
Bunch says that plans for the site are still tentative and there’s no timeline to share — yet.
“We are in the very early stages of exploring design alternatives for the property, but we look forward to working with the County and community this year as we pursue new redevelopment ideas for the block,” Bunch said. “As of the moment, we don’t have a timeline to share but we do intend to seek an extension of the prior site plan this year.”
Last year, Fortis submitted a conceptual site plan outlining its intentions and seeking county feedback on how high it can build. The application laid out plans to file an amendment in the first quarter of 2023 seeking an extension of the site plan until 2026.
This July, an existing site plan that is nearly 20 years old and has been extended several times will expire.
In November of 2005, the Arlington County Board originally approved a site plan that would have retained the NSTA building, demolished the restaurants and replaced them with a new, six-story office building with nearly 62,000 square feet of office space and 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and restaurant space.
In 2008, it granted an extension until 2011 and it was automatically extended until July 2020 by a state statute enacted in the wake of the Great Recession. The County Board subsequently granted extension until July 1, 2023.
This would be the second current project in Arlington for Fortis, which has also reprised long-dormant plans to turn a single-family detached home off of Route 50 near Courthouse into an apartment building.
“[It] is consistent with our strategy to create well-located and walkable transit-oriented redevelopments,” Bunch said. “It is also a testament to what we believe are strong economic fundamentals and demand drivers in the County that will continue for the foreseeable future.”
NSTA said via press release that it was time to let go of its physical presence in D.C. because the pandemic proved the organization could function well remotely.
“The organization was able to continue to function at a high level throughout the pandemic, while staff worked remotely and NSTA members were able to take part in many excellent virtual meetings and professional programs,” said NSTA Executive Director Erika Shugart, Ph.D. “After a long and thorough process and careful consideration, our board of directors decided to sell the property.”
Foxtrot’s newest location in Rosslyn is finally set to open later this week.
The boutique market, cafe, and convenience store has announced it is opening its 4,077-square-foot shop at 1771 N. Pierce Street on Friday, Jan. 13.
There will be an “opening celebration” for the new store from 4-7 p.m. on Friday, per a press release, featuring screen-printed swag, food, and live music from DJ Throdown.
The store markets itself as an upscale corner store, market, and cafe with a focus on delivery. It makes much of its inventory available for delivery in under an hour. The Rosslyn location will “feature the biggest product assortment Foxtrot has available,” reads a press release, including offering a variety of local brands.
ARLnow first reported that the company was coming to Rosslyn last spring. The initial plan was for it to open in “early fall” before getting pushed back to December. Now, finally, in mid-January, the store is finally set to debut.
The store sits on the ground floor of the relatively new Highlands development, basically next door to Fire Station 10.
“Whether it’s a renovation of an older building or a new build, the spaces are designed to blend into the neighborhood and have a sense of place,” a spokesperson told ARLnow last year about the shop’s interior design. “Foxtrot’s new DMV-area stores will continue this model, with each site uniquely designed while still supporting the brand’s day-to-night atmosphere and incorporating signature design elements like concrete floors, hospitality lighting, wood paneling, warm color palettes and local artwork.”
This will be Chicago-based Foxtrot’s sixth location in the D.C. area, including one in Alexandria that opened in early 2022. Two more are anticipating an opening in D.C. this year as well. Overall, there are currently 23 Foxtrot locations nationwide.
This also may not be the last Foxtrot to open in Arlington. When asked if there are plans to open any other locations in the area, a spokesperson that’s the goal.
“We plan to continue to expand further into Northern Virginia and Arlington,” they said. “Foxtrot hopes to have locations we can announce soon.”
Rosslyn’s Barley Mac has changed ownership and diners can expect some changes.
An ownership group that included local dining and nightlife entrepreneurs Scott Parker and Mike Cordero has sold the Rosslyn restaurant to restaurateur Fitzgerald Lewis and his partners, both groups confirmed to ARLnow.
Lewis currently owns about 20 restaurants in the region, including Meridian Pint in Dominion Hills, Crafthouse Arlington in Ballston, and a number of Denny’s.
Parker’s restaurants include Don Tito’s in Clarendon and Nighthawk Pizza in Pentagon City, as well as Bearded Goat barbershop and doggy daycare Playful Pack. Additionally, he’s working on converting the old Forest Inn into a new taco eatery in Westover.
Parker told ARLnow via email the reason the decision was made to sell the six-year-old restaurant was so that the “partners could focus on other projects.”
Lewis took over Barley Mac last month and has already completed minor alterations, including painting, cleaning, and adding more televisions to the bar area.
The plan is to do a larger renovation within the next three months, said Lewis, focused on making the restaurant more “lively,” including updating and adding televisions to the exterior patio. Lewis hopes to attract a sports-watching crowd, showing NFL games every Sunday and mixed martial arts matches.
There will also be more craft beers, pub-style food, and maybe even a wine club.
“That’s where the need is,” Lewis said.
One thing that won’t change is that Mike Cordero is sticking around, per Lewis. He will still be the head chef creator of the restaurant’s recipes. Cordero also runs nearby Taco Rock and is working on opening an “old school” Italian restaurant in Virginia Square later this year.
Barley Mac first opened in 2016 along Wilson Blvd as a bourbon bar serving “American tavern cuisine with an Italian twist.” In 2018, the restaurant received some regional attention when a server saved a diner from choking on cauliflower.