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Morning Notes

Pentagon Declares War on Scooters — “The Pentagon hates your little scooters, too. In fact, DoD would like you and your ride-sharing company to know that if you leave your rental scooters or shared-bicycles anywhere on Pentagon property, they will be impounded, right quick.” [Defense One]

ACPD Ticketing Bike Lane Blockers — Arlington County police have been ticketing delivery truck drivers who block protected bike lanes — including the new bike lanes on N. Quincy Street in Ballston — as part of an “enforcement and education” effort. [Twitter]

Ballston Farmers Market to Extend Season — “Arlington County Board members on Sept. 22 are expected to vote to permit the Ballston Farmers’ Market to operate through the end of November each year, an extension of one month from earlier years.” [InsideNova]

Stuck Window Washer Rescues Self — A large fire department response to a report of a window washer trapped outside the sixth floor of a high-rise building in Rosslyn turned out to be for naught; the worker was able to “self-extricate” before the technical rescue team arrived. [Twitter]

Reminder: Free ART Bus Rides Today — “In celebration of ART’s 20th Anniversary, we’re letting everyone ride ART for free on Thursday, September 20! It’s our way of saying thank you to our loyal customers for riding ART and also an invitation for those who have never been on ART to give it a try.” [Arlington Transit]

Photo courtesy Dennis Dimick

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Morning Notes

Flash Flood Watch Issued for Arlington — Arlington, D.C. and points west are under a Flash Flood Watch today, starting at 10 a.m., as the remnants of Hurricane Florence drop heavy rain on the area. [Twitter]

New Food Distribution Site in Ballston — “The Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) has joined with the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) to open a new food-distribution site at The Springs, an apartment complex in the Ballston area. The site will distribute food on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 5 p.m., and will serve eligible residents from the apartment as well as neighboring APAH communities.” [InsideNova]

Rosslyn Fire Station Leveled — Rosslyn’s Fire Station 10 has been demolished as construction proceeds on a new fire station on the ground floor of a new development. [Twitter]

‘Coffee With a Cop’ Planned — “Wednesday, October 3 is National Coffee with a Cop Day and the Arlington County Police Department is hosting two events with our Community Outreach Teams to celebrate. Community members are invited to join police at this informal event to ask questions, voice concerns, get to know their neighbors, interact with the Community Outreach Teams and meet officers from other sections of the department.” [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Wilson School Construction Moves Forward Ahead of Fall 2019 Opening

According to Arlington Public School (APS) officials, construction is on track for the new secondary school at the Wilson School site in Rosslyn (1601 Wilson Blvd).

In August, much of the steel and concrete work on the site was completed. Throughout September, construction will be occurring on the following, according to APS documents:

  • Façade wall framing will begin.
  • Curtainwall installation will begin.
  • Door Frames and Interior Framing will begin.
  • MEP rough-in (ductwork, electrical, plumbing) will continue.

Meanwhile, Washington Gas will continue replacement of a gas main on Wilson Blvd to allow for the construction of a new electrical vault under the road.

The $100 million building is set to open in fall 2019, and will someday be home to both the H-B Woodlawn and Stratford programs.

Photos via APS

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The Great Eatery in Rosslyn Has Permanently Closed

A long-time restaurant inside the 1000 Wilson Blvd food court has closed its doors for good.

The Great Eatery was a cafeteria-style restaurant offering convenient, casual dining to those working in the office tower. It had been located inside 1000 Wilson Blvd for 30 years.

According to Monday Properties, the owners of the restaurant decided to retire.

For over 30 years, The Great Eatery has been an essential part of our daily routines. The Moon Family has dedicated their time to serving us our breakfast in the mornings and welcomed everyone in the Rosslyn community for lunch. However, at the end of August, Mr. Moon will retire, and The Great Eatery will discontinue doing business.

Monday Properties has certainly valued the warmth and hospitality from The Moon Family over the years, and we congratulate them for over three decades of hard work. The Great Eatery was the first dining option to open here at the towers, and we are thankful for many memories. We wish everyone at The Great Eatery all the best.

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Morning Notes

Memorial Bridge Closure Delayed — “Work on Arlington Memorial Bridge was scheduled to close all lanes this weekend, but with the expected arrival of Hurricane Florence, the National Park Service announced that the closure has been pushed back. Now, instead of Friday, the temporary closure of both sidewalks and all six lanes on the crumbling bridge is planned for 7 p.m. on Sept. 21 through 5 a.m. on Sept. 24.” [WTOP]

Economist Food Truck Comes to Rosslyn — Today The Economist is scheduled to bring its food truck to Central Place Plaza in Rosslyn from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. The truck offers “a taste of the future,” including free meatless burgers. Also offered: a 12-issue subscription to the magazine for $12. [Rosslyn]

Bezos and Amazon Board in Town — Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and the Board of Directors of his $1 trillion company are in town for meetings and a much-anticipated speech at the Economic Club of Washington Thursday night. Some speculate the board is helping to evaluate the D.C. area as a possible location for Amazon’s second headquarters, while the company has denied rumors that Bezos will be making an HQ2-related announcement during his speech. [Washington Post]

AFAC Asks For More Cash — “The Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) has announced a special appeal to its donors, volunteers and the public to raise $50,000 to offset the funds lost when the Arlington government reduced its support… In fiscal years 2017 and 2018, the county government provided $50,000 in addition to the base grant of $477,925 to address a spike in families needing food assistance. The additional funding was not included in the fiscal 2019 budget.” [InsideNova]

Iota Book in the Works — The co-owner of the late, lamented Iota Club is trying to raise money online to compile a book showcasing memorabilia from the former Clarendon music venue. More than $1,000 of a $90,000 goal has been raised so far. [GoFundMe]

Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler

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Rosslyn Jazz Fest Returns Saturday, Prompting Street Closures

The Rosslyn Jazz Fest returns tomorrow (Satuday).

The annual festival, expected to bring in over 10,000 people to Arlington’s Gateway Park (1300 Lee Highway), will run from 1-7 p.m.

The festival will feature jazz music from artists like Cory Henry and The Funk Apostles, Orquesta Akokan, True Loves, and Aztec Sun. The Rosslyn Business Improvement District put together a playlist to give attendees a sampling of the music.

In addition to the live music, bar areas will be set up to serve wine and beer, and several local food trucks will be set up in the area.

The festival is also accompanied by several street closures. According to Arlington Police:

  • Eastbound lanes of Lee Highway, between Fort Myer Drive and N. Lynn Street, will be closed from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Detour signs will be posted.
  • N. 19th Street, between Fort Myer Drive and N. Moore Street, will be closed from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM.
  • Exit 73 from Eastbound Rt. 66 to Rosslyn will be closed from 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
  • Eastbound Lee Highway will be closed at N. Rhodes Street from 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Drivers are highly encouraged to use N. Veitch Street or N. Rhodes Street as alternate routes to access the Courthouse or Rosslyn areas.
  • DETOUR: Local traffic within the closure zone wishing to access Rt. 66 or the Key Bridge by way of Lee Highway EAST should exit Lee Highway at 1) N. Veitch Street, 2) N. Rhodes Street, 3) N. Quinn Street, or finally 4) Fort Myer Drive and use Wilson Blvd to access N. Lynn Street.

Attendees of the event are encouraged to use Metro or other forms of transportation to get to the event. Street parking in the area will be restricted, with motorists encouraged to keep an eye out for temporary “no parking” signs.

Photo via Rosslyn Business Improvement District

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JUST IN: Firefighters Extinguish Rosslyn Condo Fire

(Updated at 4 p.m.) Arlington firefighters extinguished a kitchen fire at a Rosslyn condo building this afternoon (Thursday).

The fire broke out around 2:45 p.m. today at 1530 Key Blvd, home of the Atrium Condominiums, per scanner traffic.

It started in a home on the seventh floor and firefighters were able to extinguish it shortly afterward.

No word yet on any injuries.

Photo via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Vida Fitness Eyeing Second Arlington Gym — Vida Fitness has signed a letter of intent to open a gym and a “Sweatbox” boutique fitness studio in western Rosslyn, likely by the end of 2020. The company is expected to open its first Arlington location in Ballston in late 2019. [Washington Business Journal]

Beyer: If Impeachment Comes, It Must Be Bipartisan — “U.S. Rep. Don Beyer is no fan of Donald Trump. But he’s against moving forward with impeachment of the president unless it becomes a true bipartisan effort. ‘I don’t believe impeachment should ever be partisan – it should be done together,’ Beyer (D-8th) said at a campaign forum.” [InsideNova]

Warning About Swollen Streams — After an almost disastrous incident yesterday, the Arlington County Fire Department tweeted: “Remember, even a few inches of rushing water can be deceivingly powerful.” [Twitter]

Cemetery to Hold Expansion Dedication — “Arlington National Cemetery on Sept. 6 will formally dedicate a 27-acre expansion that will provide more than 27,000 additional burial spaces… The expansion will provide for 10,882 in-ground burial spaces and 16,400 above-ground niche spaces for cremated remains.” [InsideNova]

Mongolian School Fights Fee Increase Proposal — “The Arlington school system’s proposal to vastly increase rental fees charged to the non-profit Mongolian School of the National Capital Area has outraged supporters of the school and led to predictions it might have to close if the increase isn’t reduced or rescinded… The proposal to jump the facility-use charge to $28,000 a year would be ‘devastating to our children and hard-working families,’ said Jane Batsukh, president of the Mongolian School Parents Association.” [InsideNova]

New Metrorail Cars Coming — Metro has kicked off the procurement process for its next-generation 8000 series rail cars. The transit agency plans to purchase hundreds of such cars and to put them into service as soon as 2024. [WMATA]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Police: Man Exposed Himself to Woman at Rosslyn Business

Arlington police are searching for a man who allegedly exposed himself to an employee at a Rosslyn business last week.

County police believe the man struck up a conversation with a woman working in a shop along the 1800 block of N. Oak Street last Wednesday (Aug. 29), then “began touching himself inappropriately and exposed himself.” The area is home to businesses including a cafe, a Subway and a hair salon.

Police say the man fled the store before officers could make it to the scene.

They describe him as a “dark-skinned black male in his early 30s, with dreadlocks, wearing a white tank top, black shorts and carrying a black backpack,” and are still investigating the incident.

Full details from a county crime report:

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2018-08290258, 1800 block of N. Oak Street. At approximately 11:10 p.m. on August 29, police responded to the report of an indecent exposure. Upon arrival, it was determined that an unknown male suspect entered a business and engaged a female employee in conversation. The suspect then began touching himself inappropriately and exposed himself, before fleeing prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a dark-skinned black male in his early 30’s, with dreadlocks, wearing a white tank top, black shorts and carrying a black backpack. The investigation is ongoing.

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Report: Crystal City Leads D.C. Region in Winning Business Relocations

Crystal City has convinced more businesses to move to the area from elsewhere in the D.C. region than any other neighborhood since 2014, according to new research.

New data compiled by the commercial real estate consulting firm Jones Lang LaSalle shows that Crystal City has convinced a total of 32 office tenants to move to the area over the last four years, including 20 previously based in D.C. and the remaining 12 from other parts of Northern Virginia.

The Rosslyn-Ballston corridor wasn’t far behind, luring a total of 28 businesses to relocate, with 21 from D.C. and seven from Northern Virginia, the firm found. In all, the two Arlington neighborhoods far outpaced other contenders like Tysons Corner or Old Town Alexandria, winning a combined 60 of the 113 commercial office tenants to move around the D.C. region since 2014. Even still, the corridor and Crystal City alike have grappled with persistently high office vacancy rates over the last few years, squeezing the county’s coffers.

Rob Sapunor, JLL’s senior research analyst for Northern Virginia, found that Crystal City won a total of 580,174 square feet of new tenants over the last few years, with 367,597 square feet worth of businesses coming from D.C. alone. Of those companies to make the jump, he found that five were nonprofits and 11 were professional associations.

He noted that three buildings earned the bulk of those new tenants — 1400 Crystal Drive, the Presidential Tower at 2511 Jefferson Davis Highway, and 251 18th Street S. The analyst attributed Crystal City’s relatively low rent prices to helping lure businesses out of D.C., predicting that it will “continue the trend of cost-conscious tenants exploring this market.”

Sapunor added that the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor added 482,545 square feet of new businesses, including 314,443 square feet from D.C..

“Among tenant types, no one particular industry dominates, a sign of the corridor’s shift away from a heavy reliance on government agencies and contractors,” he wrote. “New tenants include tech, media, lobbying, education, consulting and nonprofit.”

He predicts that the area will remain an “attractive market” for businesses looking for “monument views,” but he also expects competition from elsewhere in Northern Virginia to ramp up in the coming years. In particular, he foresees Tysons and even Loudoun County becoming more formidable competitors for businesses moving out of D.C. as Metro wraps up some of its long-awaited expansion work.

“As the market increasingly becomes increasingly transit-accessible with Phase 2 of the Silver Line opening in 2020, migrations within Northern Virginia will favor on-Metro relocations,” Sapunor wrote.

File photo. Chart via JLL

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County Hands Over Half of Cash Incentives Promised to Nestle for Rosslyn Move

Nestle is now in line to earn half of the $4 million in local grants Arlington promised the company in exchange for moving to Rosslyn, after meeting the county’s targets to qualify for the incentives.

In all, the packaged food giant will receive $12 million in cash and infrastructure improvements after agreeing to relocate its corporate headquarters to 1812 N. Moore Street last February. But the money did come with some strings attached, forcing the company to prove that it will create 748 new jobs with an average annual salary of $127,719 in the county and lease at least 205,000 square feet of office space by the time 2020 arrives.

Only $4 million will come from the county itself, through a “Economic Development Incentive” grant, while a $6 million state grant and $2 million in nearby infrastructure construction round out Arlington’s deal with Nestle. Even still, the grants have become a hot-button political issue around the county, with plenty of observers questioning whether the incentive money might’ve been better spent elsewhere.

So far, at least, the company seems to be holding up its end of the bargain. According to documents released through a Freedom of Information Act request, Nestle has created and maintained 358 new jobs at the Rosslyn office, and has leased 229,000 square feet of space in Rosslyn through June 30. Daniel Nugent, chief legal officer and general counsel for the company, signed a July 18 affidavit attesting to those statistics.

That means the company has well exceeded its office space requirement to earn the grant money, but fell just short of the 374 new jobs it needed to create by the time June 30 rolled around.

However, Cara O’Donnell, a spokeswoman for Arlington Economic Development, noted that the company only needed to hit 90 percent of the grant’s requirements to earn the money. Accordingly, the county will now release $2 million to Nestle.

“This year, Nestle achieved 95 percent of its new jobs target and 111 percent of its facility lease target, well above the 90 percent required in each category,” O’Donnell told ARLnow. “They are currently meeting targets as required.”

Josh Morton, a spokesman for Nestle, added that the discrepancy in the job figure is because “the number is always changing as more people are hired in Arlington.” In July and August alone, he says the company hired another 125 employees.

Though she generally remains “skeptical” of such relocation incentives, County Board Chair Katie Cristol thinks “it’s great, but not a surprise to know that Nestle is performing consistently with those expectations.” She attributes that to the work of county staff to “develop an incredibly conservative incentives program where we can see a very clear and really significant return on investment in any incentive we make.”

“We’re not going to do something speculative where we’re giving away the public’s money without a lot of confidence that we’ll see that money return to us well in orders of magnitude beyond what we invested,” Cristol said.

Cristol is well aware what kind of controversy the Nestle incentives kicked up after the Board approved them last year, and how the prospect of similar grants going to Amazon to bring HQ2 to Arlington has roiled the community.

So while she does remain “a little uneasy” about the prospect of “a community like Arlington, that has so much else to offer, seeking to offer cash incentives,” Cristol thinks the Nestle deal does show that these grants can work, if managed properly.

“We’re delighted to have Nestle here, they’ve been a great partner in the community already,” Cristol said. “And in the long term sense… we’re going to be really gimlet-eyed about continuing to look at all over those targets and looking at the return on investment over the life of any deal we put together.”

Nestle will next report back to the county on July 15, 2019 to affirm that it’s indeed created all 748 jobs it promised for the Rosslyn office.

File photo

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New Protected Bike Lane Opens Connecting Rosslyn and Courthouse

Arlington’s opened up another protected bike lane, this time connecting Rosslyn and Courthouse.

This newest lane runs along Wilson Blvd, between N. Quinn Street and N. Courthouse Road near the post office in the area. The county previously built a protected lane between N. Oak and N. Quinn Streets back in 2016.

In the early going, at least, the new lane seems to be a hit for cyclists and scooter fans alike.

The county’s added several new protected bike lanes this summer, including one along N. Veitch Street near this latest addition, as part of summer paving work around Arlington.

Photo via @juddlumberjack

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Report: Residential Development Surged in Arlington This Spring

Arlington added more homes this spring than it has during any three-month period dating back to last summer, according to a new county report.

Between April 1 and June 30, the county saw construction work wrap up on a total of 278 new homes, including 236 apartments and townhomes and 42 single-family homes. The county totaled up these latest numbers as part of a quarterly analysis of development in Arlington.

That number far outpaces the 103 homes that became available over the same time period a year ago, and represents the most new homes to hit the market since the third quarter of 2017, stretching from July 1 through September 30. The county added 456 homes, including 411 in multifamily structures, during that period, according to county data.

The latest spike in new homes was largely generated by the completion of the 672 Flats project on N. Glebe Road in Ballston, a project that included 173 new apartments. The Key and Nash development in Rosslyn also wrapped up work this quarter, adding 63 new condos.

The completion of the Central Place project in Rosslyn accounted for the bulk of the rest of the construction to wrap up in Arlington this spring. The massive new building includes roughly 570,500 square feet of office space and roughly 11,000 square feet of retail space as well.

The 672 Flats project also included 4,300 square feet of retail space underneath the new apartments. The addition of nearly 4,600 square feet of office space at 383 N. Cathedral Lane, just off S. Glebe Road, rounds out the list of projects completed this spring.

The county’s data show that another 3,700 homes are currently under construction around Arlington, in addition to 910,000 square feet of office space and 334,000 square feet of retail space. During the same time last year, the county projected about 2,025 new homes on the way, with 67,500 square feet of retail and 1.4 million square feet of office space.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the bulk of the new development on the books is concentrated in Ballston and Rosslyn, with Crystal City and the Columbia Pike corridor not far behind.

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Police: Bikers Steal from Rosslyn Gas Station, Assault Employee

Arlington police say the large group of ATV and dirt bike riders that rolled through D.C. last night (Sunday) stole merchandise from a gas station near Rosslyn before assaulting an employee and smashing the station’s door.

Police believe dozens of bikers stopped at the Exxon station at 1824 Wilson Blvd around 6 p.m. Sunday, and began stealing from the station’s convenience store soon afterward. An employee tried to confront the group, and they promptly shoved him aside.

Police say the employee then locked the store’s doors to keep more bikers out, and “several suspects kicked the door, causing the glass to shatter.”

The bikers left the station before police arrived, and witnesses reported seeing them cross the Key Bridge into D.C. Police there impounded one bike after a rider ran into a light pole.

Full details from a county crime report:

ROBBERY, 2018-08190195, 1800 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 6:00 p.m. on August 19, police were dispatched to the report that a large number of ATVs and dirt bikes had entered Arlington County. The riders arrived at a gas station in the 1800 block of Wilson Boulevard and allegedly began stealing merchandise. An employee was shoved by one of the suspects when he attempted to confront the group. In an attempt to prevent future thefts, the employee locked the doors of the business. Several suspects kicked the door, causing the glass to shatter. The suspects fled the area prior to police arrival with witnesses reporting observing ATV and dirt bike riders cross the Key Bridge into Washington, D.C. The investigation is ongoing.

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TRAFFIC ALERT: Downed Traffic Light Closes Lee Highway

The westbound lanes of Lee Highway near N. Oak Street in Rosslyn are now closed, after a traffic light collapsed and fell on the roadway.

County police have now set up a detour in the area and are advising drivers to follow posted signs around the section of the road.

The road was first closed around 10:30 a.m.

Photo via @ArlingtonVAPD

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