Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Reminder: In-Person School Resuming Updated at 8:55 a.m. — “@APSVirginia elementary schools re-open for preK-2nd grade on Tuesday, March 2, followed by 3rd-5th + 6th (middle school) and 9th (high school) grades on March 9, then all returning students on March 16.” [Twitter, Twitter]

County Buying Fairlington Area Apartments — “A push to redevelop the Park Shirlington apartment complex in South Arlington has fallen through, prompting county officials to take the unusual step of buying part of the aging affordable community. Arlington leaders signed off on plans in late January to purchase about half of the property, located along I-395 near the county’s border with Alexandria. The county will end up paying about $27.9 million for 105 apartments on a 6.3-acre parcel should the deal close in August.” [Washington Business Journal]

New Rosslyn Apartments Start Leasing — “Today, Penzance… announced the start of leasing and the opening of their interactive leasing center for Aubrey, the first luxury apartment tower to deliver at The Highlands, a dynamic mixed-use development project along the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor.” [Press Release]

Amazon Donates to Wakefield HS — “As part of it’s celebration of Black History Month, Amazon presented a $15,000 donation to support Wakefield High School. This is the latest in Amazon’s ongoing work to support education and racial equality initiatives in communities across the country where its employees live and work. The donation to Wakefield High School of $15,000 will include the book Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You by Jason Reynolds.” [Arlington Public Schools]

Food Stand Operators Expand into Alpacas — “What started as just a food truck eight years ago [and later a food stand in Crystal City] has now turned into an expanded business. The Peruvian Brothers are actually selling a new product — selling alpaca poop. Yes, that’s right.” [WJLA]

Jaywalking Now No Longer a Primary Offense — “Though it didn’t garner as much attention as other police reform measures during the special legislative session that ended this fall, a provision to decriminalize jaywalking in a pretextual policing bill from Delegate Patrick Hope, D-Arlington, means that come March 1, police will no longer be able to stop folks for the act of crossing the street outside of a marked crosswalk.” [Virginia Mercury, NBC 4]

Amazon Funds Affordable Housing in Falls Church — “In response to concerns about the anticipated impact of its second headquarters in Arlington on the region’s housing prices, Amazon pledged $75 million over five years to affordable housing in Northern Virginia… Falls Church will get $3.4 million for a new affordable housing homeownership program and $350,000 to extend the availability of nine committed affordable apartments at the Read Building (402 W. Broad Street).” [Tysons Reporter]

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On Jan. 6, a group of ten or so men — at least one of whom was wearing a tactical earpiece — watched the storming of the U.S. Capitol from across the Potomac in Arlington.

Previously unpublished photos taken by ARLnow that day show the men loitering near the Marine Corps War Memorial, with the overrun Capitol in the background. Parked nearby are numerous vehicles, mostly pickup trucks and SUVs with out-of-state license plates.

One pickup truck, with large toolbox in the back, was left running.

The man with the earpiece appears to have been focused on some sort of communications device with an antenna. He was among a group standing outside, in the cold, wearing hooded sweatshirts and other inconspicuous cold weather gear. None were wearing the tactical vests and helmets that militia members who charged into the Capitol that day wore.

Still, the group was deemed suspicious enough that Arlington County police received at least one call from a passerby, concerned about what they were doing there. An officer drove by after the 4 p.m. call but didn’t see anything, according to police department spokesman Ashley Savage.

“At approximately 4:09 p.m. on January 6, the Emergency Communications Center received a report of 9-10 males acting suspiciously and looking around on the Iwo Jima War Memorial property,” Savage said in response to an inquiry from ARLnow. “The United States Park Police was notified to check the park area. ACPD patrol units checked Meade Street and Arlington property, nothing was located and the call was cleared.”

“I have no additional details to provide,” Savage added.

The photos above were taken by ARLnow staff photographer Jay Westcott around 3:30 p.m., just before Gov. Ralph Northam announced that he was sending the Virginia National Guard into D.C.

In recalling the moment, Westcott — a Navy veteran — said the gathering “had the feeling of a rally point.” He shot the scene from a distance with a 600mm lens, reluctant to get any closer due to potential safety concerns.

By nightfall, the men had dispersed, as ARLnow originally reported in an article about the curfew that night.

It’s unclear what the as-yet unidentified men were doing at the memorial that afternoon. Was their presence purely coincidental, or somehow connected to the pro-Trump rally and subsequent violence at the Capitol?

What is known is that somewhere outside of the District that day, according to federal prosecutors, a “quick reaction force” with a stockpile of weapons was allegedly ready to join the fight if ordered to do so by President Trump.

At a Friday court hearing for Jessica Watkins, a member of the Oath Keepers militia from Ohio who is accused of helping to plot the attack on the Capitol, prosecutors told a federal judge that “[it is] our understanding” that the quick reaction force did exist and was stationed somewhere near D.C.

A court document filed on Feb. 11, as cited by The Daily Beast, details the purpose of the quick reaction force, at least according to federal prosecutors.

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The elementary school at the Key site is close to getting a new name, and it will not be after a person.

A naming committee is proposing Innovation Elementary School, or Gateway Elementary School as an alternate, for the school building 2300 Key Blvd. The Arlington School Board will choose a name on Thursday, March 11 ahead of the school opening to students this fall.

“We really feel like Innovation represents a skill and an ideal that we want our children to get from their elementary school experience,” the new school’s principal Claire Peters said.

The new school at the Key site, which is currently used by a Spanish immersion choice program, will be a neighborhood school, and it was created by a controversial swap involving multiple schools.

The school will be populated with students who live in the fast-growing Rosslyn area, including some who were previously zoned for Arlington Science Focus School.

Absent from the top two was the preferred choice among a group of survey respondents — Grace Hopper Elementary School — named for computer engineer and university teacher Naval Rear Admiral Grace Hopper.

Fresh from renaming what is now Washington-Liberty High School, and in the thick of efforts to remove names of Confederate generals and soldiers and slave-owners from Arlington’s roads and parks, committee members and at least one School Board member said they want to avoid people entirely.

“We had a very significant discussion around naming a school after a person, and it was clear from both the comments we received in the survey and comments that our committee brought back from their community that naming a school after a person is a divisive choice,” the new school’s principal Claire Peters recently told the School Board.

School Board member Reid Goldstein concurred.

“I was cringing a little bit when I saw the name because lately, I’ve been shying away from naming schools after individuals,” he said.

School staff said Gateway would reference the school’s location as the gateway to Arlington from Washington and communicate the idea that an education is a gateway to a bright future.

The other suggested names were Polaris Elementary School and Summa Elementary School of Arlington.

The survey generated nearly 400 responses, as well as 74 comments, including a few in Spanish or Mongolian.

More than half of respondents said they were community members, while the rest said they were parents of students going to the new school, parents of students at other schools, APS staff or business owners.

“This was a very small representation of the community that will be served by this elementary school,” Wilson said.

Arlington Science Focus School students also picked their favorite names: Gateway came in first and Innovation in fourth.

Photos via Arlington Public Schools

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Morning Notes

Rosslyn Dog Park Now Open — “Thanks to the support of the Rosslyn Business Improvement District and R-DOGS, there’s a new interim dog park on the western side of Gateway Park. Now that’s something to bark about!” [Arlington County, Instagram]

Arlingtonian Confirmed as U.N. Ambassador — “The Senate voted 78-20 on Tuesday to confirm Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.” The long-time Arlington resident “has promised to restore the U.S. role as a defender of human rights and will look to repair multilateral relationships that fractured under former President Trump.” [Axios]

Crashes on I-395 Yesterday Morning — From the Arlington County Fire Department: “The units from Station 9C ran a three vehicle accident early this morning on 395NB. Upon arrival, they discovered a trapped patient who was quickly extricated. Two patients were treated and transported with non-life threatening injuries.” [Twitter, WUSA 9]

YHS Students to Continue Athletics in College — “A dozen Yorktown High School athletes participated in recent college signing ceremonies to continue their playing careers at the next level.” [InsideNova]

Local Woman Sickened By New Puppy — “An Arlington mother and daughter are warning those interested in purchasing a new pet about a disease called campylobacter. Audrey Glitt was thrilled when her mother, Katrina Metzler, brought home a new puppy named Fernweh as a surprise — but shortly after the dog’s arrival, the excitement quickly faded to worry. ‘I think it was about, a week later after we had gotten her, I started getting really sick and I couldn’t get out of bed,’ said Glitt.” [WDVM]

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A man arrested for what was initially described as the “discharge of a firearm” in Rosslyn early New Year’s morning was heavily armed and determined to confront Black Lives Matters supporters, according to new reporting.

A search warrant affidavit obtained by The Auburn Citizen, a newspaper near suspect Moses Geri’s home in central New York state, suggests that he became enraged after fellow guests in his hotel shouted “Black lives matter” at him.

The initial report of the shooting only said that Geri was drunk and firing gunshots in the air, in what one might have interpreted as misplaced New Year’s revelry.

From an Arlington County police press release on Jan. 1:

At approximately 1:48 a.m., police were dispatched to the report of a person with a gun in the 1500 block of Clarendon Boulevard. While en route to the location, a lookout for the suspect was broadcast and officers observed the suspect on the sidewalk holding a firearm as they arrived on scene. The suspect was compliant and taken into custody without incident.

The investigation determined that the victim was in their hotel room when they heard gunshots outside. Upon looking outside, they observed the suspect outside pointing a firearm upwards towards their window. The suspect then entered their vehicle, retrieved a second firearm, and was observed by the victim pointing it upwards again. Nobody was injured and no damage to property was reported.

Moses Geri, 38, of Weedsport, New York, was arrested and charged with Discharge of a Firearm in a Public Place (x2), Discharge of a Firearm In/Across a Road (x2), Brandishing a Firearm (x2), Reckless Handling of a Firearm, and Drunk in Public. He is being held without bond.

The Citizen reports that Geri, seen smiling in his mugshot, may have had more sinister motives: to confront those who support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Geri told police he fired the shots, according the report, after arguing with several people on a hotel balcony.

According to the affidavit, Geri had drunk a quarter of a bottle of moonshine when, around 2 a.m. Jan. 1, he was seen walking around the Rosslyn hotel with a chrome-plated .44 magnum pistol holstered at his hip. When asked why he was carrying the gun — by individuals the affidavit identifies as “minorities” — Geri gestured at them and said it was to protect himself from them.

Geri then left the hotel, retrieved a rifle from his pickup truck and got into an argument with the same individuals, the affidavit continues. The individuals, who were on their balcony, claimed Geri pointed the gun at them. He then fired at least two rounds into the air, which he later admitted to Arlington County police. When they responded to the scene, they found him in possession of five spent shell casings matching the caliber of the rifle. He was also found in possession of three firearms and several edged weapons, and the search of his truck three days later would reveal more than 800 rounds of ammunition, including 5.56 mm armor piercing, soft point and white phosphorus tracer rounds. Geri possessed a shovel, canteen and tactical clothing as well.

Additional reporting suggests that Geri was in the D.C. area to take part in the pro-Trump protests that would turn into the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. According to The Citizen, Geri told police that he had a snow plow attached to the front of his truck because “You don’t know what you are gonna come across down here… These Black Lives Matter activists are shooting other people and I don’t want to take it anymore.”

According to court records, Geri is pleading guilty to a felony charge of firing a gun within 1,000 feet of a school and is scheduled to be sentenced in Arlington County Circuit Court on April 23.

A police department spokeswoman referred questions about the affidavit to Arlington General District Court, though courts are closed today due to the weather. ARLnow is awaiting further comment from the Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney.

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Seven Arlington Metro stations will be getting new escalators.

This is part of a $179-million, seven-year project that begins in May to replace old escalators and install 130 new heavy-duty ones at 32 stations across the Metro system.

In total, 36 escalators across seven Arlington stations will be replaced.

They are:

  • Rosslyn (8 escalators)
  • Ballston (6 escalators)
  • National Airport (4 escalators)
  • Pentagon (5 escalators)
  • Pentagon City (4 escalators)
  • Crystal City (6 escalators)
  • Virginia Square (3 escalators)

The new escalators will have up-to-date safety features and LED lighting. The contract for the project was awarded to the Finnish engineering company KONE.

The escalators set to be replaced include four in Rosslyn that date back to 1977 and rise nearly ten stories. At 207 feet high, they are among the world’s longest, continuous escalators.

“Replacing these escalators that average 38-years old, will ensure we maintain reliability for our customers today and into the future,” Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld said in the press release.

To install the new escalators, KONE will have to demolish the existing escalators and remove them piece by piece.

No more than 18 escalators will be out of service at any given time, the transportation agency promises.

For the last decade, Metro has made it a priority to fix, rehabilitate, and replace frequently breaking escalators. By the time this project is completed, Metro will have replaced or rehabilitated 84% of its escalators since 2011.

However, Metro has not set forth a timeline beyond the work beginning in May.

The full press release from Metro is below.

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Morning Notes

Love Notes in Rosslyn — “In honor of Valentine’s Day, we created Rosslyn Love, a community-wide free activity where anyone in the DMV could submit a message to be displayed across four temporary murals outside of 1550 Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn. Whether it was for a partner, a friend, coworker, family member, healthcare professional or even just a favorite spot around the neighborhood, we received over 400 messages of love and gratitude.” [Rosslyn BID]

Dems Keep Focus on Equity — “The Arlington County Democratic Committee in early March is expected to make its ad-hoc Inclusion and Equity Committee a permanent standing committee. The goal, deputy party chair Maggie Davis said, was to ‘do better including more people that look like the population of Arlington’ in Democratic Party activities.” [InsideNova]

Local GOP Surveying Members — “The Arlington County Republican Committee is in the midst of surveying its membership in hopes of making the party and its meetings more relevant to the rank-and-file and broader community. ‘Dozens of Arlington Republicans have already taken the time to complete this survey, and their responses are thoughtful and thorough,’ said Matthew Hurtt, the Arlington GOP’s communications director.” [InsideNova]

Police Investigate Sexual Battery in Arlington Mill — “The victim was walking in the area when she noticed the male suspect walking behind her. The suspect approached the victim, grabbed her waist and thrusted himself against her multiple times while making sexual comments. The victim continued walking and, as she approached her residence, the suspect re-approached her and brushed his hands against her breast. The victim was able to enter her residential building and close the door, preventing the suspect from following her inside.” [ACPD]

Air Force Vet Still Standing Up to Cancer — “‘Pat’ Malone, a seven-year cancer survivor, and 20-year Air Force veteran will ‘stand up to cancer’ for 24-hours straight, during his Seventh Annual Stand Up To Cancer® (SU2C) 24-Hour Fundraiser, beginning at 4:26 p.m. on Wednesday, February 10, and ending at 4:26 p.m. on Thursday, February 11, 2021, at Fire Works American Pizzeria & Bar, 2350 Clarendon Blvd.” [The Zebra]

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The Courtyard Arlington Rosslyn hotel (1533 Clarendon Blvd) is now under new management as Sonesta Select Arlington Rosslyn.

Although management under Marriott International, Inc. ended on Jan. 31, Boston-based Sonesta International Hotels has been preparing for the transition since last year.

While other hotels shut their doors in 2020, Sonesta started opening them. In fact, Sonesta acquired the Rosslyn hotel and 97 other Marriott-branded hotels in October because the hotelier had fallen behind on payments to property owner Service Properties Trust (SVC), the trust said.

“This is a momentous time for the company, underscoring the continued growth and amplifying the long-term success of Sonesta and its branded hotels,” according to Sonesta’s website.

Last fall, after it said it attempted and failed to collect $11 million in missed payments from the hotel chain, SVC ended its 26-year relationship with Marriott. The international hotel chain lost 122 hotels, which together had only generated $2.6 million in eight months.

Sonesta, which is 34% owned by SVC, took on the management of 98 of the 122 hotels. The remaining 24 hotels were sold for more than $150 million.

“We believe that the rebranding of these hotels with Sonesta will benefit SVC as an owner of Sonesta, create greater flexibility in managing these hotels through these challenging market conditions and have a positive impact on this portfolio’s performance in the future,” said SVC President and CEO John Murray in a statement last fall.

Sonesta has experienced 350% growth in less than six months, and will soon have 300 operating properties across seven brands operating in North and South America, Egypt and St. Maarten, according to a press release.

The growth comes amid early signs of recovery in the hard-hit hotel industry. Still, travel is not projected to bounce back fully until 2024, according to some projections.

Photo courtesy Sonesta

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These streets are home to Nestle chocolate — but that’s not the sweetest part of this neighborhood! Join us today as we give you a full breakdown of Rosslyn, one of our favorite neighborhoods in Arlington.

No matter where you live in Arlington, there’s something unique to fall in love with! What do you love about your community? Let us know down in the comments below, so we can highlight them in a future Neighborhood Spotlight.

And, as always, if you have any questions about Arlington real estate, please contact the Keri Shull Team, the No. 1 top-selling real estate team in the Washington, D.C. area.

What Makes People Want to Live in Rosslyn?

Rosslyn is ideal for people who want the true urban village experience that is so unique to Arlington. In addition to having tons of entertainment and employment opportunities within Rosslyn itself, residents can also access the rest of the DMV with ease.

So, if you feel like popping over to historic Georgetown for a bit of shopping or a quick bite, living in Rosslyn makes that easy! With a great location on the Potomac River, world-class public transit options and high walkability, residents never have to worry about missing out on what this amazing city has to offer.

The View From the Top

If you’re looking for things to do in Arlington, Rosslyn not only offers you all of D.C. — it also has a lot to offer right in your neighborhood.

Some of our favorite destinations in Rosslyn include the memorials and public art — spots like Dark Star Park, Gateway Park and Roosevelt Island are great places to get some air.

There are also a ton of great places to eat in Rosslyn. Check out our Definitive Guide to Rosslyn, Virginia | Local Streets and Eats video to see some of the best dishes in the neighborhood.

One of the coolest spots in Rosslyn is The View of DC, a 31st-floor observation deck with 360-degree views of D.C. and all of Arlington. The View of DC is open to all Arlington residents free of charge.

A Great Place to Live — and Work!

Living in Rosslyn means living in the gateway connecting D.C. and Virginia, giving you the best of both!

High-rises dot the skyline, many of which are filled with urban, apartment-style condominiums. These homes offer super high walkability, and many of them are perfect for luxury living in Arlington.

Rosslyn also features a thriving job market. Nestle has its American headquarters in Rosslyn, and tech giant Microsoft just signed a lease for a new sales center in the neighborhood.

So, why are homes in such demand in Rosslyn? Here’s just a couple of reasons why:

  • Great public transportation via the Rosslyn Metro Stop
  • Close proximity to DC over the Key Bridge, especially to neighborhoods like Georgetown and Foggy Bottom
  • Stunning views of the District and North Arlington

Given how fast the housing market moves in Arlington, it can be difficult to find and win your dream home in Rosslyn. That’s why it’s so important to work with a real estate team that can streamline your search and help negotiate for you. In fact, the best thing to do is work with a team that can help you find “hidden gem” off-market homes in Rosslyn!

Popular Rosslyn Communities

The Pierce

The Pierce is the newest addition to the Rosslyn skyline — and what an addition it is! This hyper-modern, hyper-luxurious condo community stands at a towering 27 stories. It is still undergoing final construction at the time of recording, but the units are currently for sale.

Floor plans include 1-bedroom with den, 2-bedroom and 2-bedroom with den.

Gaslight Square

The condos at Gaslight Square are some of the most unique in Rosslyn. With soaring ceilings and an old-world aesthetic, these homes offer a distinctly loft-like atmosphere. Each condominium unit features its own private outdoor space, so you can enjoy a slice of privacy in the heart of Rosslyn.

To see the rest of our favorite Rosslyn condo buildings, make sure to check out the expanded Spotlight on our blog.

Bridging the Gap in the Market

The Arlington housing market is already moving fast in 2021. When Rosslyn homes do come onto the market, they tend to sell very quickly and with a lot of competition.

If you aren’t taking the proper precautions, you might have serious trouble finding the right home now — but there is help out there. At the Keri Shull Team, we have access to hundreds of off-market properties that you cannot find online or anywhere else… and we want to give you priority access!

When selling a house in Arlington, it’s more important than ever to make sure you are taking the proper precautions to protect your investment. The best way to do that is to speak with a top-tier real estate agent and create a completely customized home selling strategy.

So what are you waiting for? Schedule a time for a free, no-pressure consultation with one of our Real Estate Needs Analysts!

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Morning Notes

Major Snow Storm Approaching — “At the low end, about 1 to 3 inches or so would fall on Sunday before precipitation changes to a light mix or even plain rain late Sunday into Monday. At the high end, at least 6 to 12 inches would accumulate, beginning Sunday and lasting into Monday night or Tuesday, perhaps mixed with sleet at times.” [Capital Weather Gang, Twitter]

Arlington GOP Eyes Comeback — “It took the election of Donald Trump in 2016 to re-energize and motivate Arlington’s dominant, but at that point somewhat moribund, Democrats. And the election result of 2020 may have had the same caffeinating impact on the Arlington County Republican Committee. ‘I’m super-pumped… by the number [of attendees] and the level of enthusiasm,’ party communications director Matthew Hurtt said at the Jan. 27 committee meeting, which attracted a crowd of about 80 to Zoom.” [InsideNova]

Bigger Comcast Bills Surprise Customers — “Dozens of Comcast Cable Communications customers in Maryland and Northern Virginia have been reaching out to FOX 5 saying, they’re concerned about their internet and WiFi bills going up as a result of hitting the new 1.2 terabyte data threshold.” [Fox 5]

Swooning Over a Woonerf — From WalkArlington: “While still early, we were excited by the idea of a woonerf in Arlington! Woonerf (pronounced VONE-erf) is a Dutch term that means ‘streets for living.’ It describes ‘common space created to be shared by pedestrians, bicyclists & low-speed motor vehicles.'” [Twitter]

Rosslyn CaBi Station Relocated — From Capital Bikeshare: “The 11-dock station at Quinn St & Key Blvd has been moved to Wilson & Quinn Blvd today. Happy riding!” [Twitter]

ARLnow’s 11th Anniversary — ARLnow started publishing 11 years ago today, just before a snowstorm. One year ago, we celebrated the anniversary with a big in-person event.

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