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Rosslyn High Rise Owner Rolls Out ‘Flexible’ Leasing Options to Lure Government Contractors

The owner of a Rosslyn office building is changing up how it leases out some of its space, in a bid to be more flexible and responsive to the needs of government contractors.

Washington Real Estate Investment Trust announced today (Wednesday) that it’s rebranding some of its space at the Arlington Tower (1300 17th Street N.) as “Space+.” The firm acquired the property, located just across the street from Dark Star Park, back in January for about $250 million.

The program is designed to offer prospective tenants “high quality office space that can be customized and configured to be as large or small as a business needs at any given time,” according to a press release. The developer is marketing a variety of spaces in the building that resemble traditional coworking offices, but can also be customized to suit each business’s desires.

In all, about 22,000 square feet of the building’s 398,000 square feet of space will be reserved for the “Space+” offerings, according to spokeswoman Liz Wainger. The space will be available for lease right away, she added.

“Space+ reflects our willingness to be creative on lease term and structures, all to accommodate tenants who are grappling with rapid change in their industries,” Wainger wrote in an email. “Our bread and butter are smaller growing enterprises and contractors with immediate needs.”

Primarily, the company is hoping to ride a projected surge in new federal business in the area. Though many property owners in Rosslyn, in particular, have struggled with high vacancy rates in recent years, the developer doesn’t expect that trend to last much longer — particularly with Amazon coming to town soon.

“According to an analysis of government contracts awarded in the six zip codes in and around Arlington Tower, the data shows that nearly 370 contractors have been recently awarded or imminently expect to be awarded contracts that will notch a greater than 10 percent funding increase in 2018, with continued hikes in year-over-year funding in 2019,” the company wrote in the release. “With the ability to meet company demands — regardless of size — Space+ availability at Arlington Tower answer[s] the anticipated demand with straightforward pricing and fast move-ins to single offices, collaborative work spaces and furnished suites.”

Several other firms offering coworking offices and other flexible spaces have also opened in Rosslyn in recent months, including WeWork, Spaces, Convene and Eastern Foundry.

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Custis Trail Narrows Temporarily for N. Lynn Street Project in Rosslyn

Starting this week, construction to improve the intersection of Lee Highway and N. Lynn Street in Rosslyn will significantly narrow a portion of the Custis Trail.

The Custis Trail will be restricted to six feet wide for the section between N. Fort Meyer Drive and Lynn Street, as crews work to transform one lane of Lee Highway into additional trail width and buffer space.

The trail narrowing will last for nine to 10 months while construction takes place on the south side of the trail.

Construction on the two-year, $9.3 million project officially kicked off in May and will happen in phases to reduce impacts on pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers, according to the county.

Workers will add wider sidewalks, on-street bike lanes and improved curb ramps as the northbound and southbound sections of Lee Highway meet Lynn Street.

The project will also include improvements to the Custis Trail as it runs alongside Lee Highway, including bicycle and pedestrian facility upgrades, lane reconfiguration and widening of the trail.

For street beautification efforts, the “Corridor of Light” public art installation will get added to each of the four corners of the Interstate 66 bridge.

The county is helping to fund the construction. The project, expected to wrap up in spring 2020, will require some lane and sidewalk closures.

Photo via VDOT and rendering via Arlington County

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Teacher Feedback Company Wins ‘Startup Arlington’ Competition

Startup Monday header

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.comStartup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

EdConnective isn’t an Arlington startup, but starting early next year, it will be.

The Richmond-based company was chosen from 64 applicants as the winner of this year’s “Startup Arlington” competition. That means the firm will earn a temporary stay in the county, as well as some exclusive mentoring.

EdConnective’s mission is to provide virtual coaching and customized feedback for teachers. The startup launched in 2015 and has since worked in more than 30 schools throughout Virginia and surrounding states. More than 1,400 coaching sessions have been held with 70 coaches.

“EdConnective is thrilled to have been chosen as the winner of the Startup Arlington competition,” said Erik Skantze, Chief Operating Officer of EdConnective, in a press release. “Having a base of operations in Arlington will provide an enormous opportunity for us to grow our client base and to engage with investors. We look forward to an exciting and productive four months and beyond.”

According to the EdConnective website, participating teachers record a clip of their classroom instruction and share it with a coach, who shares feedback via Skype. These sessions are held twice a week for four to six weeks.

Pricing for the service ranges from $99 per session to $130 per session, depending on the package selected.

According to Arlington Economic Development, EdConnective will receive four months of rent-free lodging at Residence Inn Rosslyn and incubator space in Rosslyn at Spaces, a coworking space located in The Artisphere. The company staff will also receive transportation passes and exclusive mentoring.

The company is scheduled to start its Arlington operations next month.

Image via Startup Arlington

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Morning Notes

Rosslyn Lands Trump HQ2 — President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign will be opening a satellite office to its Trump Tower headquarters at a Rosslyn office building. Arlington has previously been home to a number of presidential campaign headquarters. [Politico]

Popular Popcorn Purveyor Opens at DCA — Chicago’s Garrett Popcorn Shops now has a second location in Arlington. Garrett’s new shop is now open in the pre-security section of Reagan National Airport near Terminal C. [Twitter]

New APS Weather Plan — “Superintendent Patrick Murphy on Dec. 6 announced a new plan for dealing with tricky-to-forecast winter storms, after the school system kept schools open for an unexpectedly potent November snowfall, a decision that sent many parents into spasms of outrage… If inclement weather threatens for the following day, Arlington school officials will announce a two-hour delay by 6 p.m. the previous evening.” [InsideNova]

Jamestown No. 1 on Best Teacher List — Arlington’s Jamestown Elementary School is No. 1 on a new list of “Greater Washington’s best public school teachers.” [Washington Business Journals]

APS Fails to Get Easement for Construction Crane — “Arlington School Board members on Dec. 20 are slated to approve an increase in the construction contract for the new elementary school being built adjacent to Thomas Jefferson Middle School totaling just over $292,000. The project initially assumed that the contractor would be able to use a tower crane on the site, but the school system was unable to come to terms with nearby property owners for the necessary easements.” [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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ACPD Investigating Stabbing in Rosslyn

A woman was stabbed Saturday night on Fort Myer Drive, roughly between the Rosslyn Metro station and the Iwo Jima memorial, and police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a suspect.

Police say the woman was stabbed by a man who approached her and then ran off, but the motive for the attack is unclear. She was rushed to a local hospital and is expected to be okay.

More from ACPD:

Arlington County Police are seeking the public’s assistance identifying a malicious wounding suspect captured on surveillance image.

At approximately 6:47 p.m. on December 8, police were dispatched to the 1600 block of Fort Myer Drive for the report of an assault. Upon arrival, it was determined the female victim was walking in the area when she was approached by an unknown male suspect. The suspect brandished a knife and stabbed the victim before fleeing the scene on foot. The victim was transported to an area hospital in stable condition.

The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’10” and weighing 160 pounds. He was wearing a long black trench coat and a white hat at the time of the incident.

Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact Detective G. Seibert of the Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4199 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers Hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

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Ruby Tuesday in Rosslyn Office Building Shuts Down

The Ruby Tuesday restaurant in Rosslyn has closed.

The eatery, located on the first floor of an office building at 1300 Wilson Blvd, now has signs posted informing would-be diners that the location has shut down.

The signs encourage people to head to the chain’s location in Bailey’s Crossroads, at 5880 Leesburg Pike, instead. The restaurant’s website also shows two locations in Alexandria.

A tipster first informed ARLnow of the restaurant’s closure yesterday (Wednesday), saying that employees in the building noticed that the Ruby Tuesday “closed suddenly” this week.

County permit records don’t show any applications for new businesses in the space, as of yet.

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Proposed Rosslyn Hotel Redevelopment Could Transform Neighborhood’s ‘Gateway’

The proposed redevelopment of the Rosslyn Holiday Inn could not only bring hundreds of new apartments and revamped hotel rooms to the area, but also lead to a major transformation of the neighborhood’s appearance.

The Vienna-based developer The Dittmar Company has submitted plans to the county calling for a total overhaul of the hotel, located at 1900 Fort Myer Drive. As first reported by the Washington Business Journal, the proposal calls for two new towers of 26 and 38 stories on the site, totaling about 73,200 square feet of residential, hotel and retail space.

In all, the plans call for 490 apartments, 327 hotel rooms, 275,000 square feet of conference and event space and 13,400 square feet of ground-floor retail. Dittmar is asking for a site plan amendment and some zoning changes to complete the work, requiring a lengthy county approval process, but is aiming to kick off work by 2020 and open up the development in 2023.

“Though the hotel remains active and profitable, with very low vacancy rates, redevelopment will be of significant benefit to Arlington County and the surrounding community,” Nan Walsh, a land use attorney representing Dittmar, wrote in an Oct. 19 letter to county planners.

While the redevelopment would see the demolition of a hotel that’s been a part of the neighborhood’s skyline since 1972, it could also prompt a host of other aesthetic changes for the heart of Rosslyn.

Dittmar would demolish the hotel’s sky bridge over Fort Myer Drive as part of the construction, removing a main pedestrian path over one of the area’s busiest roads. However, Walsh argues in her letter that such a change largely meets the vision of the updated “Rosslyn Sector Plan,” which pushes for a move to more street-level pedestrian walkways after “execution of the skywalk concept fell short of expectations.” Plans for the development do call for a new “east-west” pedestrian path through the site, but that would connect N. Nash Street to Fort Myer Drive.

Walsh also argues in her letter that the new development’s design would help meet the sector plan’s vision of “creating a gateway to Rosslyn from Lee Highway and the Key Bridge.” The building’s offerings could also contribute to “the transformation of Rosslyn from an office-oriented downtown to a true mixed-use community with 24/7 activity,” she wrote.

To that end, Dittmar envisions using about 7,700 square feet of the development to offer a “full-service restaurant,” most likely located closest to Lee Highway to the property’s north. The remain 5,700 square feet of retail space could go to a commercial tenant, or be set aside for “civic space to be used by the county” — the plans suggest a public library could be a decent fit in the space.

Dittmar also plans to contribute cash to the county’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund as a condition of the development, and could even send the county enough money to complete its long-debated “Corridor of Light” public art project in the area.

As for the hotel portion of the development, Walsh envisions the new establishment as a “four-star, full service hotel.” Of the building’s apartments, 70 will also be set aside as “short term rentals,” designed for people looking to stay for 30 days or less.

The 38-story tower would also include a “6,000-square-foot event space” on its top floor, complete with panoramic views of the area. Rosslyn has increasingly become home to buildings marketing a similar view of the D.C. skyline.

The towers would also sit on top of three levels of underground parking and another four above ground, with 858 parking spaces available in all. A traffic study prepared by Dittmar’s consultants estimates that the project would only create “minor increases in delays” in the congested section of Rosslyn.

The county has yet to schedule any review of the proposed development, but it could eventually require work from the Site Plan Review Committee and Planning Commission before heading to the County Board.

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‘Good Sweat’ Cycling Studio Set to Open in Rosslyn Next Year

(Updated at 9:40 a.m.) Good Sweat, an indoor cycling studio, is set to open in Rosslyn’s Colonial Village Shopping Center in early 2019.

Alessandra Hashemi, the founder of Good Sweat, told ARLnow that she is aiming for a March opening.

More than 180 people helped Good Sweat raise roughly $26,000 in 21 days, surpassing the studio’s goal of $25,000 in 25 days, the company posted on Facebook on Oct. 21. The money will fund the opening next year at 1711 Wilson Blvd.

A portion of the money from the campaign was donated to Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network to sponsor its “Sixth Annual Happy Hour Benefiting Veterans” on Nov. 7, Hashemi said.

The studio plans to have metered bike and offer classes in the mornings throughout the week and in the evenings on weekdays, according to a brochure sent to ARLnow.

“I have been indoor cycling for over 10 years, and I have seen it all (the good, the bad, the underwhelming),” Hashemi, said in the brochure. “Indoor cycling classes can be cathartic if you have amazing coaches, music and motivation.”

The brochure says that a percentage of every purchase will get invested in the community by hosting subsidized rides for low-income individuals and donating to a different local nonprofit every month, including Urban Alliance, A-SPAN Doorways for Women and Families and Arlington Food Assistance Center.

Good Sweat held two pop-up events earlier this year — a yin yoga class in February and a body weight boot camp in August.

The studio is currently selling discounted packages, some of which include pre-opening access, ranging from one drop-in class to unlimited access for three months.

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Morning Notes

Rosslyn Shooter Sentenced — “A man who worked as an investigator for conspiracy theorist Jack Burkman will serve nine years in prison for shooting and wounding his ex-boss” in a Rosslyn hotel parking garage. [Washington Post]

Marijuana Arrest Disparity — “African Americans were more than eight times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana crimes in Arlington from 2010-2016.” [Bacon’s Rebellion]

More on Long Bridge Plan — “New plans call to double the number of railroad tracks over the Potomac River between DC and Arlington, and to build a new pedestrian/bicycle bridge between Southwest Washington and Crystal City.” [Greater Greater Washington]

New Gym Coming to Arlington — “Blink Fitness is gearing up to expand into Northern Virginia with five new locations in Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax. Northern Virginia-based Cove Fitness LLC inked the 10-year agreement with the New York fitness chain to bring gyms to the region that will create about 70 jobs and occupy 90,000 square feet.” [Washington Business Journal]

Crystal City Still in Spotlight — “I spent a day in Crystal City, Virginia — and it’s easy to see why Amazon picked it for its new HQ2 headquarters.” [Business Insider]

Most Elaborate Cubicle Xmas Decoration Ever? — At WJLA in Rosslyn, a TV director named Mason Herndon has converted his office cubicle into a log cabin complete with fake snow, a fake fireplace and Christmas lights. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler

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Morning Notes

Police Investigate Stabbing Near Alexandria BorderUpdated at 2:45 p.m. — Arlington County Police are investigating a stabbing that happened last night at S. Arlington Ridge Road and S. Glebe Road. The incident, which started when the victim asked for help finding a ride, was initially believed to be a shooting, but was later determined to be “the result of a sharp weapon.” The victim was found with non-life threatening wounds just across the border in Alexandria. [Twitter, ACPD]

Major Redevelopment in Rosslyn — The Dittmar Co. has filed a preliminary site plan to redevelop the Holiday Inn hotel in Rosslyn, building 26- and 38-story towers housing 490 apartments and 327 hotel rooms. The proposal includes a 6,000 square foot event space on the top floor of the taller tower and the demolition of a skybridge crossing Fort Myer Drive. [Washington Business Journal]

Leonsis Says Build the Gondola — In a joint WaPo op-ed, Caps and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, JBG Smith CEO Matt Kelly and former GOP Congressman Tom Davis say the proposed Georgetown-Rosslyn gondola would be a “forward-looking and innovative” investment in our transportation infrastructure. [Washington Post]

Local CEO Buys Rosslyn Buildings — “Affiliates belonging to Cogent Communications Holdings Inc. CEO Dave Schaeffer, one of the region’s highest-paid chief executives, have acquired a pair of Rosslyn office buildings (1550 and 1560 Wilson Blvd) recently renovated to include upgraded common-area space and a new boutique boxing-oriented fitness facility.” [Washington Business Journal]

Sheriff’s Office Raises Money for Prostate Cancer — The Arlington County Sheriff’s Office helped to raise money for prostate cancer treatment at Virginia Hospital Center during the month of November via its “Beards with a Badge initiative.” [Virginia Hospital Center, WJLA]

November Sets Weather Record — Last month was the wettest November on record for the Washington area. It was also the second-wettest meteorological fall on record for the area, according to the National Weather Service. [Twitter]

Police Searching for Missing Man Last Seen in Georgetown — Police are still looking for David Stern, a D.C. accountant last seen at Dixie Liquor on M Street in Georgetown. The 29-year-old, who is engaged to be married, hasn’t been seen since buying a bottle of Crown Royal at the store this past Tuesday. [Fox 5]

Photo courtesy @wwwchris

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Crime Report: Man Arrested for Allegedly Groping Woman in Rosslyn Elevator

A Maryland man is facing charges after he allegedly groped a woman in a Rosslyn elevator on Sunday (Nov. 18).

Arlington police say 29-year-old Walter Alexander Guillen of Gaithersburg, another man and a woman boarded an elevator in a building along the 1300 block of Wilson Blvd around 2 a.m. Sunday.

The trio struck up a brief conversation, but eventually “exited the elevator and went separate ways,” police said.

But then, police believe Guillen “changed directions and approached the female victim and engaged her in conversation.” The woman tried to walk away, but Guillen “followed her back into the building and onto the elevator, where he allegedly touched her buttocks,” police say.

The woman was able to get away from Guillen and reported in the incident to the building’s security officers. Police arrested him soon afterward.

Guillen is now facing a charge of sexual battery. He’s set for a hearing in Arlington General District Court on Nov. 29.

Full details from a county crime report:

SEXUAL BATTERY, 2018-11180027, 1300 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 1:45 a.m. on November 18, police were dispatched to the report of disorderly male. Upon arrival, it was determined that the female victim was in the elevator when two unknown males got on the elevator and engaged the victim in conversation. The victim and subjects exited the elevator and went separate ways. One male then changed directions and approached the female victim and engaged her in conversation. The victim attempted to walk away, but the male followed her back into the building and onto the elevator, where he allegedly touched her buttocks. The victim fled out of the elevator and reported the incident to security, who located the male suspect based upon a description provided by the victim. Walter Guillen, 29, of Gaithersburg, Md., was arrested and charged with Sexual Battery.

And here’s a look at some other notable incidents from the past week of crime reports:

ROBBERY, 2018-11180197, 2100 block of 15th Street N. At approximately 6:35 p.m. on November 18, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that an employee heard suspicious noise inside a business and then observed the suspect concealing merchandise in a bag. The employee approached the suspect and told him to drop the bag, however, the suspect refused to comply and fled the store in possession of multiple pieces of merchandise. The employee shouted for help and to call the police while the suspect was fleeing the business. The suspect then stopped, brandished a knife at the employee and fled on foot. The employee was not injured. The suspect is described as a tall, older black male with a gray beard, wearing a black jacket, gray sweatpants, a black hat and black shoes. The investigation is ongoing.

ATTEMPTED BURGLARY, 2018-11170032, 2300 block of N. Pershing Drive. At approximately 1:40 a.m. on November 17, police were dispatched to the report of a burglary in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined that two male suspects were observed allegedly attempting to force entry to a business unsuccessfully just prior, causing damage. The suspects fled the scene prior to police arrival. A lookout was broadcast and the Fairfax County Police Department’s Helicopter Unit responded. Approximately one hour later, an officer on routine patrol located two subjects matching the suspect descriptions a in the area. One suspect was stopped and determined to be involved in the incident. The second suspect fled, but, with the assistance of the Alexandria Police Department, was later located returning to a residence in Alexandria. Tykeece Simms, 18, of Alexandria, Va., was arrested and charged with Attempted Burglary, Possession of Burglarous Tools, Conspiracy to Commit Larceny, Wearing a Mask in a Public Place and Possession of Marijuana. He was held on No Bond. Jalen Ford, 25, of Alexandria, Va., was arrested and charged with Attempted Burglary, Possession of Burglarous Tools, Conspiracy to Commit Larceny, Wearing  a Mask in a Public Place, Possession of Marijuana and Destruction of Property. He was held on no bond.

BURGLARY (late), 2018-11180133, 800 block of N. Glebe Road. At approximately 1:15 p.m. on November 18, police were dispatched to the late report of breaking and entering. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 1:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. on November 18, an unknown suspect(s) gained entry to a business and stole items of value and an undisclosed amount of cash. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

ATTEMPTED BURGLARY, 2018-11140142, 4700 block of 24th Road N. At approximately 3:00 p.m. on November 14, police were dispatched to the report of a suspicious person. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was inside her residence when she heard multiple loud bangs on the door and observed an unknown male suspect on the front porch allegedly attempting to gain entry unsuccessfully. The suspect fled prior to police arrival. Arriving officers canvased the area with negative results. The suspect is described as a male wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, dark jeans and white shoes. The investigation is ongoing.

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Podcast: Talking Social Media with Justin Bensan of the Rosslyn BID

Facebook has been making headlines lately for all the wrong reasons, so we checked in with Justin Bensan, Social Communications Specialist at the Rosslyn Business Improvement District, to talk about what’s going on in the world of social media.

This episode was recorded prior to Amazon’s HQ2 announcement, but we asked Justin about what it means for a place like Rosslyn nonetheless.

Listen below or subscribe to the podcast on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher or TuneIn.

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New Commuter Bus Route Set to Provide First Direct Link Between Haymarket, R-B Corridor

Commuters to, and through, Arlington from Northern Virginia’s western suburbs will soon have a new bus option.

The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, commonly known as PRTC, is starting up a new bus route to connect Haymarket to stops along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor. Starting Dec. 17, buses will stop at four locations in Haymarket, including a soon-to-be-completed commuter parking lot, and five stops in Arlington.

The new “OmniRide” route, approved by PRTC’s governing board earlier this month, will provide the first direct link between western Prince William County and Arlington’s urban core. PRTC currently runs buses connecting Woodbridge to Rosslyn, Ballston and Crystal City (and one route linking Gainesville to the Pentagon), but commuters along I-66 previously had to hop on Metro or another bus to reach the area.

“New routes always start with four trips in the mornings and four trips in the afternoons/evenings, and this route will follow that pattern,” PRTC spokeswoman Christine Rodrigo wrote in an email. “As ridership grows, additional morning and afternoon/evening trips can be added.”

Stops in Arlington will include:

  • The intersection of Fairfax Drive and N. Taylor Street, near the Ballston Metro station
  • The intersection of Fairfax Drive and N. Kansas Street, near George Mason University’s campus
  • The intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Herndon Street, near the Clarendon Metro station
  • The intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Veitch Street, near the Courthouse Metro station
  • The intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Kent Street, near the Rosslyn Metro station

Del. Danica Roem (D-13th District) expects that the new bus route will be incredibly meaningful for her constituents in her western Prince William district — so much so that she says she was “over-the-moon ecstatic” when she heard the news that the route was becoming a reality.

Not only does she expect it will help Haymarket residents commuting to the Pentagon or other jobs around Arlington, but she sees plenty of local benefits too. The PRTC bus will provide yet another option for people traveling between Rosslyn and Ballston, and could ease some of the relentless traffic pressure on I-66 around Arlington.

“Arlington and Prince William County don’t exist in a vacuum without each other,” Roem told ARLnow. “We are connected. My constituents routinely work in and commute through Arlington. And Arlington relies on our highly skilled workers, just as they rely on Arlington to provide them with high-paying jobs to make those long commutes worth it… so I’m hoping this linking bus will enhance our connectivity, not just in terms of mass transit, but also in encouraging stronger working relationships between eastern Northern Virginia and western Northern Virginia. We need to realize we really are in this together.”

With no small degree of pride, Roem notes that the new bus route wouldn’t be possible had the General Assembly not acted to set a floor on the region’s gas tax this year, providing a stable source of funding for PRTC for the first time in years. Without that provision, included in the sweeping deal to provide dedicated funding for Metro, Roem expects PRTC wouldn’t have been able to afford the Haymarket-Arlington connection until next September.

However, she notes that new money will only get the new route “off the ground,” not fund it in perpetuity. Money from the I-66 tolls will eventually help keep the service running, but PRTC will still need to scrounge up additional funds until the toll money arrives, according to the transit service’s documents.

Even still, Roem has every confidence that PRTC will find a way to make the math work, especially because she fully expects to be popular among riders. She notes that many commuter lots in western Prince William are already thoroughly overcrowded, so there should be a constituency for the new route right away.

Additionally, Roem notes that Arlington Transit plans to honor PRTC’s tickets, allowing riders to easily connect from Rosslyn and Ballston to the Pentagon, or even Crystal City.

“Now, you’ve got yourself a commute connecting Haymarket all the way to the Pentagon,” Roem said. “And with Amazon coming in, we’re going to need a lot more mass transit going out to Crystal City. This is a small step in that direction.”

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Biking, Boating Changes Approved for Theodore Roosevelt Island

(Updated at 2:45 p.m.) Parks officials have signed off on some big changes at Theodore Roosevelt Island, including the rehabilitation of a troublesome section of the Mt. Vernon Trail and the addition of several new landing spots for small boats and kayaks.

The National Park Service announced yesterday (Monday) that it will move ahead with a variety of construction projects on the island, located off the George Washington Memorial Parkway near Rosslyn, after settling on some final designs and certifying they’ll have minimal environmental impacts on the island.

Some of the changes will be relatively small, like the addition of some new signs and markers detailing Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy — the island is home to the lone memorial to the nation’s 26th president in D.C. Others will be more substantial, such as the total overhaul and realignment of a boardwalk-style bridge on the Mt. Vernon Trail, which runs from underneath the Roosevelt Bridge to just south of the island’s parking lot.

The park service’s plans call for a “replacement of the bridge deck and railing to provide a smoother riding surface.” That will likely come as good news to area cyclists, who have nicknamed it “the Trollheim Bridge” for its treacherous surface — TheWashCycle blog described it as a the “notoriously slippery part of the Mt. Vernon trail that has caused literally thousands of crashes” in a post last year.

The main, 1,400-foot-section of the bridge also meets an additional 90-foot section toward its north end, creating an awkward “T” intersection for cyclists. The realignment work will eliminate that intersection, creating a new left turn lane as well.

Other walking trails on the island will see some improvements under the plans as well. The NPS is hoping to improve connections between the pedestrian bridge and the island’s Memorial Plaza and create “universal access to the entire Swamp Trail, including access to the comfort station.” That small rest stop is also set to see a refresh under these plans.

The NPS is also hoping to add a total of four landings for canoes, kayaks and row boats on the island. Each one will be about 12 feet wide, and provide “access for approximately 4-5 kayaks/canoes,” according to the park service’s documents. The plans also call for the construction of a roughly 100-foot-long “floating dock” for larger craft, to be located at the island’s northeast corner, once the home of a ferry landing.

The park service noted in an environmental analysis of these proposed changes that, currently, “boaters and kayakers anchor or beach their non-motorized watercraft on unmarked areas along the shoreline.” Officials fear that the “practice impacts natural and archeological resources and has the potential to expose boaters and kayakers to underwater hazards in shoreline areas,” reasoning that the new landings should alleviate that issue. The area could also be in line to see increased boating activity, should the NPS’ plans to build the long-anticipated Rosslyn boathouse continue to advance.

Additionally, the park service wants to add some more vegetation and trees to the largely wooded island. Some new shrubs will be designed to cover up existing “social” bike trails on the island’s north shore line; other tree plantings will replace the roughly 200 ash trees the NPS had to remove last summer due to an “emerald ash borer infestation.”

The NPS says it’s still searching for funding for the entire range of projects on the island, but some will move ahead in the near term. The Mt. Vernon Trail bridge improvements, for instance, are currently out for bid by federal officials and could be completed by sometime in 2020.

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‘Common Ground’ Food Hall in Rosslyn Pushes Opening to Next Spring

Hungry diners in Rosslyn will need to wait a bit longer for a new food hall slated to open in one of the neighborhood’s new skyscrapers.

Social Restaurant Group, the same company behind Clarendon night-life spots Bar Bao and Pamplona, plans to someday open the “Common Ground” food hall in the Central Place building at 1800 N. Lynn Street. However, SRG co-founder Mike Bramson told ARLnow that the company is currently targeting the “end of spring 2019” to open its doors, despite previously hoping to do so before the end of this year.

The main hold-up in moving forward on the project is the permitting process, Bramson said, a common complaint among Arlington restaurateurs.

“We are at the mercy of the permitting office,” Bramson said. “We will move quickly once we receive those.”

Bramson hasn’t revealed many details about the new eatery, but he says it will be located on the second floor of the massive skyscraper across from the Rosslyn Metro station, “above the McDonald’s overlooking the plaza.” The building sits directly across from the CEB Tower, a 31-story structure rapidly attracting businesses and retailers of all kinds, and is already home to ground-floor restaurants The Little Beet and Sweetgreen.

SRG is also working to open the new “The Lot” beer garden in Clarendon, another project it’s hoping to wrap up this spring.

Photo 2 via Google Maps

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