Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Man Sentenced for Drunken Gunfire — “The Weedsport [New York] man arrested for publicly firing a gun in the Washington area days before the Jan. 6 Capitol attack was sentenced April 28 in Arlington County Circuit Court. Moses Geri, 39, was sentenced to two years in prison, with one year and eight months suspended… His sentence was issued days after the court rejected a previous plea agreement that would have made all 12 months of Geri’s probation unsupervised.” [The Citizen]

VHC Now a Level II Trauma Center — “Virginia Hospital Center (VHC), a community-based hospital providing medical services to the Washington, DC metropolitan area for 75 years, is proud to announce that it has received a Level II Trauma Center designation from the Commonwealth of Virginia, filling a critical community need.” [Press Release]

County Hosting Virtual ‘Healing’ Conference — “The Child and Family Services Division (CFSD) announces Building Healing Communities: Conversations on Mental Health, Resilience, and Equity… The free, four-day virtual community conference — offered with simultaneous Spanish translation throughout — kicks off on Thursday, May 20 at 6 p.m.” [Arlington County]

New Apartment Tower Now Leasing — “Leasing has begun at Aubrey, the first of three high-rise residential buildings at the Highlands, a mixed-use development in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor in Arlington, Va. Under development by Penzance, the 23-story-tall Aubrey building at 1788 N. Pierce St. includes 331 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Evo, the second apartment tower, is anticipated to begin leasing this summer. The third tower is the Pierce condominium, which is selling now.” [Washington Post]

Big Motorcycle Rally Back On — “Things are coming together for a major Memorial Day weekend motorcycle rally. It now has an official starting area and it looks like more bikers could be coming. ‘At the very last minute, the mayor came through for us,’ said Joe Chenelly, executive director of AMVETS. The veterans service organization is arranging the ‘Rolling to Remember’ event, which is the successor to ‘Rolling Thunder.'” [WTOP]

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Looking to be closer to the government and defense fields, Boston-based Northeastern University is eyeing some space in Rosslyn.

The university is looking to convert the 14th floor of Arlington Tower (1300 17th Street N.) into a teaching space for graduate-level classes and a research space that will house The Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security.

Matthew Weinstein, a land use attorney with McGuireWoods who represents Northeastern University, said in a letter that the university “seeks to establish an operation at the property as a central location for mission-driven programs including defense-based programs, benefitting from close proximity to government customers.”

Arlington County’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development has determined the research use still classifies as office use, according to a letter included in a staff report. To use the other half of the 14th floor, totaling 8,500 square feet, for teaching, NU needs the approval from the County Board.

The County Board is scheduled to review the school’s request during its regular meeting this Saturday.

Currently, the 18-story, 411,679-square-foot Arlington Tower is zoned for commercial uses, not including higher education, according to the staff report. But converting the space will only involve minor interior renovations, according to the county.

“No objections from the community nor staff have been expressed,” the report said. “As the proposed conversion is not located on the ground floor, it does not remove any retail spaces nor have any impact on the exterior appearance of the building.

The report added that the offshoot of Northeastern will bring “new visitors to the Rosslyn area during off-peak hours, potentially creating new customers for Rosslyn-based business.”

Most of the classes will be held Monday through Friday evenings and Saturday mornings and early afternoon, according to the county.

The 14th floor of Arlington Tower was most recently home to former President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign office, which was temporarily shut down last summer due to a coronavirus outbreak. Trump previously bragged that the lease on the office space “was a steal.”

Image via Google Maps

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A lot happens on N. Oak Street between Clarendon Blvd and 17th Street N. in Rosslyn.

To the east is an office building where the internet was invented. It now serves as an annex for the State Department. To the west is a very busy, standalone Starbucks.

What the block lacks, at least on the west side, is a sidewalk.

A new project set to kick off next week aims to rectify the lack of a pedestrian walkway, with a makeshift path along the road. More from an Arlington County transportation update:

During the week of May 10, weather permitting, the County will create a pedestrian pathway along the west side of North Oak Street between Clarendon Boulevard and 17th Street North.

Currently, there is no sidewalk on the west side of Oak Street. After receiving a request from the community, County staff conducted a traffic investigation for this location and determined that adding a pedestrian treatment would help improve safety and access.

The pedestrian pathway will be installed by adding a barrier between the travel lane and the curb. This will slightly narrow the southbound lane, but access for vehicles, including the driveway to the coffee shop, will be retained.

What to expect during this work:

  • Once installation begins on the pathway, we anticipate completion within 1 week.
  • The installation will be done during work hours, generally 8 am to 2 pm, Monday through Friday.
  • During installation, there may be some impacts to the southbound travel lane on North Oak Street.

Photos (1) via Arlington County, (2) via Google Maps

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The legacy of Stanley Westreich, the developer who built modern Rosslyn from the ground up, will always cast a large shadow in the neighborhood he helped establish, his son tells ARLnow.

Westreich died at the age of 84 last month at his home in San Diego. For decades, however, he lived in the D.C. area and had an outsized influence on the growth of Rosslyn.

His son, Anthony Westreich, remembers his father for being more than just a well-known developer.

“I think the adjectives that best describe my father are fair, honest, transparent, tough and kind,” Westreich told ARLnow in an email interview. “Everyone, whether it was contractors, brokers or lawyers, wanted to transact with my father. They always knew what they were getting from him.”

Beginning in the 1960s, his company Westfield Realty developed ten buildings in Rosslyn. Perhaps none were more iconic than the former USA Today/Gannett buildings at 1000 and 1100 Wilson Blvd, also known as the Rosslyn Twin Towers. When built in 1981, they were the tallest buildings in the D.C. metro area. Current occupants include WJLA-TV and Politico.

Part of what Westreich’s big bet on Rosslyn work was seeing an opportunity to the leverage its proximity to the District and its relative underdevelopment.

“He saw an opportunity to convert [an] excessive and unused parking structure into office space for government tenants,” Anthony writes. “He knew that unlike many of the great cities of the world, Washington, D.C. did not have development on both sides of its river.”

A native New Yorker, Westreich served in the Coast Guard and graduated from New York University law school. He moved to Rosslyn in 1959, said Anthony, with his family owning an interest in Rosslyn’s only federal housing project.

“In 1959, the only development in Rosslyn was that FHA project,” wrote Anthony. “Unfortunately, that investment was losing money as the project was ill-conceived.”

Westreich bought a big chunk of land and began to build office buildings, turning Rosslyn into a thriving commuter community.

“That vision [was] an immediate financial success for our family and provided my father with a long-term vision for Rosslyn,” wrote Anthony.

Those early but pivotal developments include 1400 Key Blvd — the parking garage of which was where Mark “Deep Throat” Felt met up with Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward to expose the Watergate scandal — as well as 1501 Wilson Blvd, 1515 Wilson Blvd, and 1815 N. Fort Myer Drive.

In 2005, Westreich sold his 2.5 million square foot Rosslyn portfolio to Beacon Capital Partners for nearly $1 billion. A year earlier, Anthony followed in his father’s footsteps when he established New York-based Monday Properties, which built a property portfolio that made it Rosslyn’s preeminent property owner.

The building on N. Fort Myer Drive was torn down more than a decade ago and the site is now home to 1812 N. Moore Street, Nestlé’s U.S. headquarters.

“Interestingly 1812 sits on the exact same site as the first building my father developed in 1961,” wrote Anthony, who himself made a big bet on Rosslyn by building 1812 N. Moore Street — then the tallest office building in the area — “on spec” without any signed tenants.

After years of vacancy, the bet finally paid off in 2017 with Nestlé’s announcement.

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Arlington County firefighters answer the call when someone is in need of help in Arlington. This weekend they provided an assist to a group of legendary Rosslyn area residents cast in bronze.

Friday’s windstorm tangled the flag atop the Marine Corps War Memorial, also known as the Iwo Jima memorial. To help fix it, the fire department at neary Fort Myer requested the assistance of ACFD and its extra-long ladder truck.

“Captain Shawn Pendo, officer in charge of Tower 104, was called on Sunday morning by the Fort Myer Fire Department requesting assistance to fix the flag at the Marine Corps Memorial in Rosslyn,” fire department spokesman Taylor Blunt tells ARLnow. “Captain Pendo quickly rounded up his crew for the special mission.”

“Once they arrived, Firefighter Kristin Pardiny positioned the bucket for her crew to disentangle and inspect the flag’s halyard,” Blunt continued. “The operation was done in under 30 minutes with no damage found.”

It’s not the first time ACFD has been called upon for such a task. But it’s never routine and always an honor, Blunt said.

“Captain Pendo recalled only one other time that Tower 104 was requested to assist with the flag,” said Blunt. “[Pendo] and his crew were honored to fix our nation’s colors at such a hallowed landmark.”

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1812 N. Moore Street in Rosslyn.

Territory Foods, a meal delivery service that lets consumers personalize to their diet, recently announced it raised $22 million in a recent funding round.

Territory delivers its healthy meals directly to consumers through “a decentralized back-end marketplace” that partners with local chefs in the communities served by the company.

The Rosslyn-based startup caught the interest of investors that have put their money behind companies such GoPro, the online consignment service thredUP, the vegan “meat” alternative Beyond Meat and the fast-casual salad chain Sweetgreen. Two retired sports celebrities, soccer player Abby Wambach and NFL tight end Vernon Davis, also invested.

Territory Foods has enjoyed 250% year-over-year growth and is poised to increase its footprint nationwide, according to Rick Lewis, a general partner of U.S. Venture Partners, the investment group that led the funding round.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Territory Foods, a mission-driven brand who has built an incredibly distinctive business model by tapping local chefs who make healthy-eating attractive, tasty and attainable to consumers around the country,” Lewis said in a statement. “More than ever, we need true innovation in the food space.”

The new round of funding will allow Territory to expand the number of chefs it works with and provide customers more meal options, said CEO Ellis McCue.

“We go to great lengths to create optimized, personalized meals for each consumer and empower our chefs with data about our customer’s taste and nutritional preferences so they can tailor each meal, ultimately providing more variety than other delivery options out there,” McCue said in a statement.

The startup has raised $44 million to date, which Territory Foods said is the most venture funding raised by a female-led company in the ready-to-eat food category.

According to the company, Territory’s meals are made from scratch using responsibly-sourced ingredients.

“Territory’s ever-rotating, regionally curated menus always feature fresh non-inflammatory ingredients that optimize whole-body health, support a wide variety of dietary preferences, and have minimal to zero environmental impact,” the company said.

The startup launched in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria in 2012 but the company now lists its headquarters as being based at the WeWork in Rosslyn (1201 Wilson Blvd). Territory Foods has grown to serve over 20 major U.S. markets from coast to coast.

Partner chefs and restaurants hail from all over the U.S., and D.C.-area customers will recognize one partner restaurant — local restaurant chain Founding Farmers. Of Territory’s partner food-service companies, McCue said that 42% are women-owned and 38% are led by people of color.

Territory Foods also partners with Feeding America, donating proceeds, meals and volunteer hours to fight food waste and hunger in the U.S., according to the website.

Territory announced last winter that it was recognized as a Best Company for Women and McCue a Best CEO in a 2020 awards competition from the startup Comparably. The awards recognize workplaces that are good for women, have a diverse workforce and promote work-life balance, among other categories.

Photos via Territory Foods

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A 22-year-old man was arrested last night and charged with attacking and strangling a woman as she walked through a neighborhood near Courthouse.

The attack happened along a path on the 1800 block of N. Uhle Street, in the Colonial Village community, at around 7 p.m.

Police say the man put a cord around the woman’s neck, pulled her to the ground and then tried to strangle her with his hands. He ran off “when two witnesses arrived in the area,” according to police.

Detective work led police to a suspect who was subsequently arrested on the 1500 block of N. Pierce Street, in the Rosslyn area.

“Following the April 13 incident, detectives launched a thorough investigation which included canvassing for information, reviewing crime scene evidence, interviewing witnesses and following up on investigative leads,” Arlington County police said in a press release. “As a result, detectives identified [Marquis] Holmes as a suspect and sought a warrant for Strangulation.”

“On the evening of April 21, officers responding to the report of a suspicious person in the 1500 block of N. Pierce Street located the suspect and took him into custody without incident on the outstanding warrant,” the press release continued. “Following an interview with detectives, an additional charge of Abduction with Intent to Defile was obtained.”

The abduction charge implies that police believe the suspect intended to have some sort of forcible sexual contact with the victim.

The police department is asking anyone with additional information about the case to contact them.

“This remains an active criminal investigation and anyone with additional information is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4180 or [email protected],” police said.

Photo courtesy ACPD

Restaurant space at 1850 Fort Myer Drive in December 2017

An long-vacant, off-the-beaten-path restaurant space in Rosslyn appears to be getting a new tenant.

Yuraku Japanese Restaurant is coming to the ground floor of the high-end Turnberry Tower condo building at 1850 Fort Myer Drive, according to permit filings and the restaurant’s website.

According to filings, the space will remain largely as-is, with the addition of a sushi bar and some kitchen alterations.

Yuraku has an existing location in Germantown, Maryland. Its website says it was founded in 1998. The restaurant’s 12-page menu includes sushi, soups, salads, tempura, noodle dishes, and dozens of specialty rolls.

The restaurant space is located at the corner of Fort Myer Drive and N. Nash Street, a block from the Rosslyn Metro station and two blocks from the main N. Lynn Street drag.

Somewhat hidden behind some trees and bushes, and on the quieter side of two busy roads, the space proved challenging for its previous occupants. A restaurant serving Chinese cuisine, Secret Chopsticks, closed in 2016 after only three months in business. Its successor, Pancho Villa Mexican Cuisine, was open for a year-and-a-half before it closed in December 2017.

There’s no word yet on an opening day. The new location is only listed as “coming soon” on Yuraku’s website.

Hat tip to Chris Slatt

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Morning Notes

Final Departure for Gate 35X — Reagan National Airport’s notorious Gate 35X served its last unhappy passengers last night. A newly-built, fully-indoor concourse opens today. [WTOP, Twitter, Twitter, The Points Guy]

Rosslyn Resident Makes Big Donation to UNC — “The University of North Carolina at Pembroke… has received a $6 million planned gift — the second largest in the university’s history — from former trustee Mary Ann Elliott to name the McKenzie-Elliott School of Nursing.” Elliott is a Rosslyn resident and former aerospace executive. [Yahoo]

Thursday Is Earth Day — “It might be easy to overlook Earth Day this time around, even in Arlington. Vaccine progress indicates better days ahead; in-person classes are returning; the air is visibly cleaner, and winter failed to freeze growth in bike sales and trail use. But Earth Day, April 22, has always offered a good pause to note long-term progress and dig below the surface. Just ask the periodical cicadas, due to reappear any moment after 17 years of silence.” [Arlington County]

History of the Pentagon’s Waterfront — “Today it’s home to the Pentagon, but around the turn of the 20th century, the riverfront area just north of National Landing was a seedy district known as Jackson City. A haven for drinkers, gamblers and daredevils, its attractions included, among other things, a half-mile-long racetrack near the foot of the 14th Street Bridge used for horse racing, and later, drag racing. Some even referred to it as a ‘Miniature Monte Carlo.'” [Arlington Magazine]

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Morning Notes

Covid Testing Unit Coming to Marymount — “The mobile testing unit, operated by Quest Diagnostics, will operate at the university in the parking lot by Reinsch Library, from April 19 – May 7, open Monday-Friday from 9 AM – 4 PM. It will offer no-cost, no-appointment COVID-19 testing to the general public, as well as Marymount students, staff and faculty.” [Arlington County]

School Board Candidate’s Emails FOIAed — “Arlington School Board candidate Mary Kadera said a political opposition-research effort is unlikely to turn up any dirt on her. In a note to supporters, Kadera (one of two candidates in the upcoming Democratic caucus) noted that a local resident had submitted a request under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act in order to gain access to all the e-mails she has sent to School Board members over the past two years.” [Sun Gazette]

Wakefield Alums Push for Accountability — “Members of the Wakefield High School community are pushing for more accountability and action in the wake of a March 5 football game where players on George C. Marshall High School’s football team allegedly used racial slurs against Wakefield players. In a letter sent Wednesday, alumni, parents and staff members at Wakefield — one of four public high schools in Arlington County — said they were ‘horrified’ by the events that occurred at the March 5 game.” [Patch]

Rosslyn Developer Dies — “Stanley Westreich, a commercial real estate developer whose projects helped define and shape Rosslyn’s skyline, died April 11 at his residence in San Diego. His cause of death was not disclosed. He was 83. Westreich and Westfield Realty… helped establish the Arlington neighborhood with 10 projects, most notably the Gannett and USA Today towers, now known as the Towers at 1000 and 1100 Wilson Blvd.” [Washington Business Journal]

No Founding Farmers at DCA Yet — “It turns out that Founding Farmers won’t open a restaurant inside Reagan National Airport’s new 14-gate concourse, though it is still weighing one elsewhere within the complex. The Kensington-based company has scrapped plans… [it] was expected to join other restaurant and retail tenants there including Elevation Burger, Mezeh Mediterranean Grill and Timber Pizza Co.” [Washington Business Journal]

Nearby: Murder Outside Skyline Target — “A man was found dead this morning inside a parking garage in Bailey’s Crossroads. Officers responded around 3:30 a.m. to the 5100 block of Leesburg Pike after 58-year-old Hernan Leiva, of Falls Church, was found suffering from apparent stab wounds and blunt force trauma to his upper body… [a 22-year-old Alexandria man later] returned to a parking lot near the scene and turned himself into police.” [Fairfax County Police, Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by C Buoscio

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Morning Notes

Most Library Branches Still Remain Closed — “Arlington officials say it is no longer public-health concerns, but budget issues, that are keeping most of the county’s libraries locked up tight. And it’s likely most of them will stay that way for months to come. ‘Community health metrics are not the driving factor in regard to opening additional locations and services,’ library officials said in an e-mail to patrons last week. ‘The county [government] has been under a hiring freeze for more than one year. Libraries cannot open additional locations or services with current staffing levels.'” [Sun Gazette]

Rosslyn Startup Raises Millions — “Arlington meal delivery service Territory Foods has raised $22 million in fresh funding, the startup announced Tuesday… The company creates specialty meals that cater to a wide variety of specific diets, including paleo, Whole30, keto, vegan, low carb and low fat, among others. Customers can order the meals delivered in bulk once or twice a week.” [Washington Business Journal]

County Board Meetings Stay Virtual — “It could be summer before Arlington County Board meetings return to an in-person venue. The board schedule currently anticipates meetings through May will be ‘virtual’-only, as they have been since the spring of 2020 when the pandemic took hold.” [Sun Gazette]

Flower Market Coming to Rosslyn — “Roses are red, violets are blue, if you’re looking for fresh flowers, Rosslyn is here for you! With spring in full bloom, the Rosslyn BID is continuing Rosslyn Refresh with a series of outdoor flower markets. Rosslyn Flower Market will bring local plant, herb, and flower vendors to Central Place Plaza, Saturdays April 24-May 8.” [Rosslyn BID]

New Development to Host Temporary Hotel — “The developer of another new apartment complex is seeking permission to use some of the units as hotel rooms for a period, but is quibbling with county staff over how long that period should be. Arlington County Board members on April 17 will be asked to approve a proposal to permit up to 100 residential units in one of the two towers in ‘The Highlands’ to be used as hotel space.” [Sun Gazette]

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