Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Fire Outside Shirlington Apartment BuildingUpdated at 9:30 a.m. — “ACFD working to extinguish a dumpster fire near an apartment building at 3000 S. Randolph Street in Shirlington. ‘Smoke conditions’ reported in portions of the building.” [Twitter, Twitter]

The Cost of Renaming Washington-Lee — “It will cost taxpayers about a quarter of a million dollars to change ‘Lee’ to ‘Liberty’ on the name of Arlington’s oldest public high school. School officials have released an estimate of $224,360 for the name change, with about two-thirds of the total for ‘soft costs’ (uniforms, athletic equipment and the like) and the remainder ‘hard costs’ such as signage.” [InsideNova]

Local Teen Gets Celebrity Shoutout — “When [H-B Woodlawn student] Cole Goco, 17, sits down to draw his comic Billy the Pop, every line and contour is decisive. He uses pen, after all. And, after five years, hundreds and hundreds of strips published regularly to a blog, two self-published comic books, a dedicated following, and — most recently — the recognition of Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, it’s safe to say Goco knows what’s doing.” [DCist]

Rosslyn Startup Gets Another Investment — “Frontier Capital, a Charlotte-based growth equity firm focused exclusively on B2B software, today announced a strategic growth investment in Phone2Action, a digital advocacy platform that connects citizens to lawmakers.” [BusinessWire]

Bomb Squad Investigates Suspicious Car at DCA — “A portion of the daily parking lot at Reagan National Airport was closed [Wednesday] morning after suspicious contents were spotted inside a parked car. Authorities checked out the car ‘out of an abundance of caution’ and nothing hazardous was found, per an airport spokeswoman.” [Twitter]

Local Pedestrian, Bicycle Crash Reduction Effort Honored — “The Arlington County Pedestrian Bicycle Crash Reduction Campaign aims to reduce bicycle and pedestrian-involved traffic crashes through the coordination of education, engineering and enforcement… Arlington County saw a seven percent decrease in pedestrian crashes and a 29 percent reduction in bicycle-related crashes in 2018.” [Virginia DMV]

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After a long renovation, the Windsor at Shirlington Village apartment complex, at 3000 S. Randolph Street, is being rebranded as The Citizen.

The apartment complex is planning a grand reopening celebration on Thursday (May 16) to celebrate the completion of property-wide upgrades at the community. Move-ins for the facility are scheduled to start on May 31.

The Windsor was originally built in the 1990s and was purchased by Chicago firm Waterton for $144 million in 2017, according to the Washington Business Journal.

Renovations include new apartments with new smart home technology, full washer and dryers and new kitchen appliances.

The leasing center, conference area and cyber café were all renovated as well. The small gym in the apartment complex was upgraded into a 7,000 square foot fitness center with a racquetball court and treadmills.

Apartments range from $2,155-$2,800 per month for a one-bedroom apartment. Two to three bedroom units are also available.

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Arlington chef Mikala Brennan is returning to the small screen later this month to battle one of the Food Network’s biggest stars.

Brennan, chef and owner of Hula Girl Bar & Grill in Shirlington (4044 Campbell Avenue), will appear Thursday, May 23 at 10 p.m, on Beat Bobby Flay, where she will test her culinary chops against the Food Network personality.

Flay’s friends Michael Symon and Alex Guarnaschelli will be there, aiming to secure another victory. But before a new grill master can be named, Brennan and chef Armando Litiatco will square off to earn the chance to challenge Flay.

Chefs Michele Ragussis, David Santos and Lourdes Castro will be on hand to judge the kitchen clash.

Brennan has appeared several times in the Food Network arena, including winning Rewrapped in 2014 and competing on Chopped in 2017.

Photo courtesy Food Network

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Morning Notes

A Look at Bryce Harper’s Rosslyn Apartment — “For much of the time that Harper was in a Nationals’ uniform, he rented a two-bedroom, 2,000 square-foot loft condo at the Wooster and Mercer Lofts, a luxury residential development from Abdo Development in Arlington.” [UrbanTurf]

Crash Takes Out Traffic Signal Near Fairlington — Per Alexandria Police yesterday: “Use caution in the 3600 block of King St, the Bradlee shopping center. A vehicle crash caused a traffic light outage. Treat uncontrolled intersections as 4-way stops. Be patient & take turns.” [Twitter]

Car Careens Over Wall in Arlington Mill — A car somehow rolled over a low wall and onto a sidewalk across from the Arlington Mill Community Center yesterday. The circumstances surrounding the crash are unclear. [Twitter]

Big Hole in Road Near Shirlington — A main road between the Shirlington and Fairlington neighborhoods was blocked for a period of time yesterday due to large hole in the road. The closure happened on 31st Street S., where a new sound wall is being constructed, during yesterday’s nightmarish evening commute. [Facebook]

Ballston Startup Gets Funding — MotoRefi, an auto refinance startup we profiled earlier this week, has “announced a $4.7 million seed raise led by Accomplice with participation from QED Investor sand Motley Fool Ventures. Ryan Moore, co-founder of Accomplice, will join MotoRefi’s board of directors.” [MotoRefi]

Service Cut to Metrobus Line — Metro is reducing service to Metrobus Route 2A (Dunn Loring-Ballston), after a ridership drop. Metro increased service to the line a few years ago and that net increase is now being eliminated. [Twitter]

Nearby: Companies Worried About HQ2 — “‘Recently a company was looking to put 600 jobs in this area, and they decided not to come here because they were concerned about getting the workers they need,’ [Fairfax County Economic Development Authority Chair Cathy] Lange said, not identifying the company. ‘Many of the companies are worried that their workers in Fairfax County are going to be hired by Amazon. And they are not going to be able to have their growth plans.'” [Washington Business Journal]

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CVS Pharmacy is planning to open a new store in the Village of Shirlington next year, the shopping center announced this afternoon.

The CVS will open a 10,906 square-foot space at the intersection of Campbell Avenue and S. Randolph Street, apparently in the the former Ping by Charlie Chiang’s and the current Cheesetique spaces.

Ping closed permanently last year. Cheesetique is moving to a larger location in Shirlington at 4024 Campbell Avenue, the former home of Luna Grill and Diner, according to a press release.

There’s still no word about might be coming to an even larger, vacant space in Shirlington — the former Capitol City Brewing location at the corner of Campbell Avenue and S. Quincy Street. A PR rep declined comment today.

Village of Shirlington owner Federal Realty Investment Trust said in this afternoon’s announcement that the new CVS is expected to open in the fall of 2020.

More from the press release:

Federal Realty Investment Trust (NYSE:FRT) announced today that CVS Pharmacy will join the Village of Shirlington at 4060 Campbell Avenue in 2019.

The new CVS Pharmacy location will open fall of 2020 in a 10,906 square-foot space at the intersection of Campbell Avenue and South Randolph Street at the center of the Village. The new store will offer an expanded selection of healthier foods and wellness products in addition to a full-service pharmacy, bringing best in class health and beauty needs to the Village.

Preceding CVS’s arrival, Cheesetique will relocate to a larger restaurant space within the Village at Shirlington at 4024 Campbell Avenue, allowing the locally-grown purveyor to expand its specialty cheese and wine shop, restaurant seating, and private dining offerings.

“We are thrilled to provide the Village at Shirlington with a new amenity that will meet the needs of the surrounding community,” said Dan Corwin, Director of Asset Management at Federal Realty Investment Trust. “We consider the Village to serve as both an entertainment and dining destination to greater Arlington, as well as a local hub for the many individuals living in and around Shirlington, and we believe CVS Pharmacy will provide Campbell Avenue with more conveniences that attract our local customers daily.”

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Morning Notes

New APS Verification System — “For the 2019-20 school year, Arlington Public Schools will implement a new annual online verification process for updating and maintaining accurate student information. This will replace the First Day Packet students used to receive on the first day of school.” [Arlington Public Schools]

Garvey: Board Should Get Full-Time Pay — From Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey, who has previously spoken out about the issue: “To expect 5 Board members to hold outside jobs to supplement our $55k salary while maintaining Arlington’s presence in the region and the Board’s connection to the multitude of civic associations, commissions, and organizations we have is, I believe, unreasonable and not healthy for our County.” [Libby Garvey, Blue Virginia]

Border Wall May Cost Local Projects — Arlington may lose out on more than $50 million in military construction projects — including a road project and Pentagon exterior and security upgrades — if the money is diverted to President Trump’s southern border wall project. In all, nearly a half billion dollars worth of projects are at risk in Virginia. [WUSA 9]

Cyclist Struck in Shirlington — “ACFD on scene of a cyclist struck by a vehicle at the intersection of Shirlington Road at Arlington Mill, in Shirlington. Victim is being transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, per scanner. Several lanes blocked.” [Twitter]

Wardian Does it Again — “Running from south to north, Michael Wardian of Arlington, Virginia has set an FKT on the 631-mile (1,009K) Israel National Trail of 10 days, 16 hours and 36 minutes (unofficially). That’s like running a 100K race every day for 10 days.” [Trail Running]

Ride Hailing Service for Kids Comes to Arlington — “A California transportation service is looking to make life easier for Greater Washington families — by driving their kids. Los Angeles-based HopSkipDrive Inc., whose service chauffeurs kids between school and other activities much like a family-friendly Uber or Lyft, is launching in the D.C. area, now live in Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria.” [Washington Business Journal]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Arlington County and Arlington Public Schools are asking residents to share their thoughts about the Arlington County Trades Center, near Shirlington, as the county prepares to address longstanding space issues.

The online survey asks county residents questions about how close they live to the Trades Center, whether noise from the county-owned industrial site bothers them, asks for their feedback on services offered at the lot, as well as what residents would like to change.

Many county departments stored equipment and operated maintenance facilities on the 38-acre site since the 1950s.  However, the “siting of operations and offices developed when space was abundant. Now, room for growth is limited given the developed surrounding area, while service levels have increased in size and complexity” according to the county’s announcement about the survey

Residents will be able to fill out the survey until Thursday, April 4.

Currently the grounds are home to a bevy of county vehicles and offices including:

  • Arlington Public Schools (APS) buses and vehicles
  • Firefighting training site
  • Animal Welfare League of Arlington
  • Police impound lot
  • Solid Waste and Traffic Engineering offices
  • Road salt storage

The county has discussed ideas to free up space at Trades Center for years, particularly for APS which added 40 buses to its fleet between 2011 and 2016 as enrollment continues to grow.

County staff warned that overcrowding was “impacting service delivery” for APS buses and other vehicles in a 2016 presentation.

Last June the County Board approved a five-year agreement letting APS park maintenance vehicles and staff’s personal vehicles at the county’s “Buck site” property at 1425 N. Quincy Street in Virginia Square instead of the Trades Center. In May, the Board also greenlit a plan allowing APS to park its “white fleet” of special vans and buses at Buck site.

But shifting some APS parking to the Buck site was “not a long-term vision” to solve the chronic crowding at the Trades Center, Board Chair Christian Dorsey said after the 2018 vote.

The county has hired Canadian-based engineering consulting firm Stantec for help surveying Arlington residents and county employees to find that solution.

The Board is scheduled to present potential solutions publicly this summer, and following a several-month review period, is scheduled to present their final plan this fall.

Photo via Arlington County

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Police are investigating how a bullet wound up in a home near Shirlington.

A man found the bullet while cleaning his home on the 4500 block of 28th Road S. last week and called police, believing the bullet had been fired from outside the home. The man also told police that the bullet damaged a hanging picture frame.

No one was injured and the investigation is ongoing, according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report.

MISSILE INTO OCCUPIED DWELLING (late), 2019-03150177, 4500 block of 28th Road S. At approximately 3:10 p.m. on March 15, police were dispatched to the report of suspicious circumstances. Upon arrival, it was determined that on March 14 at approximately 7:00 p.m., the victim was cleaning his residence when he located a bullet on the floor of the living room which is believed to have caused damage to a hanging picture frame. No injuries were reported. The investigation is ongoing.

Below are the rest of the highlights from this week’s crime report, including some we’ve already reported.

ASSAULT & BATTERY ON POLICE, 2019-03190004, 1500 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 12:17 a.m. on March 19, police were dispatched to the report of disorderly conduct. Upon arrival, it was determined that police were summoned for a female subject who was allegedly disregarding the rules of a program center and refusing to leave. The subject refused to comply with the lawful commands of officers to leave the premises and became combative. While attempting to place the subject under arrest for trespassing, she kicked one officer in the chest and struck another in the face. Patricia Davis, 62, of No Fixed Address was arrested and charged with Assault and Battery on Police (x2) and Trespassing. She was held without bond.

ROBBERY (late), 2019-03170184, 1700 block of N. Moore Street. At approximately 2:45 p.m. on March 17, police were dispatched to the late report of a robbery by force. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 1:35 p.m., a store employee attempted to prevent two alleged shoplifting suspects from leaving the business. The suspects pushed the employee and struck him in the face before fleeing the scene on foot. The victim refused medical attention. Suspect One is described as a tall black male, in his 20s – 30s, wearing a dark blue jacket, dark colored jeans, dark shoes and a backpack. Suspect Two is described as a shorter black male, wearing a blue and red jacket, blue jeans and a backpack. The investigation is ongoing.

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2019-03150030, 2900 block of Clarendon Boulevard. At approximately 2:09 a.m. on March 15, officers on routine patrol were approached by a victim suffering from a superficial laceration to the neck. The victim did not require medical attention. Upon investigation, it was determined that the victim’s friends were speaking with two unknown males when the victim approached them and told them it was time to go. The unknown male suspects began following the group and following a verbal altercation, one suspect produced a blade and struck the victim in the neck. The suspects fled the scene prior to police notification. Suspect 1 is described as a white male, bald with tattoos, between 5’8″ – 5’9″ tall and approximately 140lbs. Suspect 2 is described as a white male, approximately 5’8″ with an athletic build. He was wearing a short sleeve black shirt and light colored jeans at the time of the incident. The investigation is ongoing.

UNLAWFUL ENTRY, 2019-03160029, 4100 block of 3rd Road N. At approximately 2:30 a.m. police were dispatched to the report of a possible unlawful entry into a vacant apartment. Upon arrival, officers located a suspect inside the residence who allegedly entered through an unsecured window. Alberto Bollera, 34, of Hyattsville, MD was arrested and charged with Unlawful Entry and Drunk in Public.

ATTEMPTED BURGLARY, 2019-03160302, 4100 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive. At approximately 11:39 p.m. on March 16, police were dispatched to the report of a suspicious person. Upon arrival, it was determined the victim was inside her residence when she observed the door handle to her residence moving. The suspect fled the scene prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a black male, 40 – 60 years old, wearing a camouflage jacket, light colored sweatshirt and light colored pants. The investigation is ongoing.

ATTEMPTED ROBBERY, 2019-03130240, 1700 block of Crystal Drive. At approximately 10:55 p.m. on March 13, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery by force. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was walking in the area when he was approached by an unknown suspect who attempted to steal his wallet. The victim shouted at the suspect and he fled the scene on foot. The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’7″-5’8″ with a beard, wearing a dark zippered jacket, khaki pants, and a striped beanie hat. The investigation is ongoing.

RECOVERED STOLEN AUTO, 2019-03140086, 3400 block of N. Inglewood Street. At approximately 10:49 a.m. on March 14, police were dispatched to the report of a Grand Larceny Auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect entered the victim’s garage and stole a vehicle with the key left inside. The vehicle was located unoccupied in Washington D.C. Warrants for Grand Larceny Auto and Grand Larceny were obtained.

BURGLARY (late), 2019-03120045, 4100 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive. At approximately 8:15 a.m. on March 12, police responded to the late report of a burglary. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 2:10 a.m. on March 12, an unknown suspect entered a residence through an unlocked door and stole numerous items of value. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

BURGLARY, 2019-03130242, 4100 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive. At approximately 11:07 p.m. on March 13, police were dispatched to the report of a burglary in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim heard noise originating from outside his patio door. Upon investigation, the victim observed an unknown male suspect outside the door. The suspect fled the scene on foot prior to police arrival and a canvas of the area returned with negative results. The suspect is described as a black male with dark complexion, in his late 30’s to early 40’s, approximately 5’9″ tall and weighing 200 lbs. He has short hair, a mustache and a beard. He was wearing a dark colored jacket, red hoodie, and navy pants at the time of the incident.

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Morning Notes

More on Seven Corners Death Investigation — “Detectives from our Major Crimes Bureau are investigating after a body was found… in the 6100 block of Arlington Boulevard in Falls Church. Officers found a 49-year-old Hispanic man lying unresponsive in an alley near the intersection of Arlington Boulevard and Patrick Henry Drive.” [Fairfax County Police]

D.C. Area Adds Fewer Jobs Than Expected — “The Washington region added 35,300 jobs in 2018 based on data released yesterday from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 16,800 fewer jobs than indicated by the preliminary releases.” [George Mason University]

Home Sales Continue Trend — “Year-over-year home sales across the Washington region have now tumbled each of the first two months of 2019, but the median sales price rose for the 29th consecutive month, according to new data, while inventory levels tightened slightly as the winter market segued into spring.” [InsideNova]

Dudley’s Opening at Last — Nearly four years after it was first announced that a new sports bar called Dudley’s Sport and Ale was coming to the former Bungalow space in Shirlington, the long-delayed sports bar is finally planning to open to the public on Friday. [Facebook]

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County officials could soon change how they sign off on major zoning alterations, sparking some pushback from the county’s business community over fears that the new process could make large redevelopments more difficult.

The county is currently mulling an overhaul of its methods for reviewing applications for special “General Land Use Plan” studies.

The GLUP is Arlington’s primary policy guide guiding development around the county, and property owners and developers can request a special study of a specific area if county leaders have yet to adopt zoning standards for a property, or if they’re proposing changes outside the scope of what the county envisioned for the area. A GLUP study most recently charted out changes in Virginia Square, clearing the way for the planned addition of a new affordable housing complex and new apartments along Washington Blvd.

But county staff have had trouble handling the workload of special GLUP studies requests recently, which has been particularly impactful for one prominent shopping center: the Village at Shirlington. The development’s owner, Federal Realty Investment Trust, has hoped for a study since December 2017, with the eventual goal of adding more density on the property. The company is also weighing putting a new apartment building on the parking lot at the corner of S. Arlington Mill Drive and S. Randolph Street.

But the firm would need an amendment to the county’s land-use plans to make those changes happen, and that will only come with a special GLUP study. Accordingly, the process has been closely watched by county developers eager to learn more about how it might change.

In a Jan. 22 meeting of the county’s Long Range Planning Commission, Arlington staff laid out a series of proposed changes to GLUP study applications. In a bid to make the process “more efficient and streamlined,” cutting down on staff time devoted to the issue, applicants would have to provide more detailed information on proposed changes up front, including 3-D models of the property and a more robust analysis of transportation impacts from the development.

Staff also hope to limit study applications to June 1-Sept. 1 each year, with the goal of passing along reports on the study requests to the County Board by the following February. Applicants would also be required to pay an “initial review fee” before even filing a full GLUP application.

But those proposals drew the ire of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, with CEO Kate Bates writing in a Jan. 18 letter to county officials that the changes will “likely have the unintended consequence of hindering economic development in Arlington.”

While she acknowledges that the changes might create “workflow certainty” for county staff, she warned that could come at “the cost of lost opportunities for Arlington” by dragging the process out for too long.

“Arlington prides itself on being a community with a forward-looking, progressive planning policy but this proposal is clearly a step back,” Bates said.

Bates believes that any study proposed in “June of one year could be queued to be heard at the end of the following year and approved in the year after, possibly creating an almost two-year delay before even beginning the site plan process.”

“The chamber is confounded how adding a possible two years to an already lengthy process could be considered efficient,” Bates said. “The chamber also wonders how a process so opaquely envisioned, without soliciting input from affected businesses or citizens, could lead to more inclusivity. Again, this proposed fix is out of scale with the issues it is hoping to remedy.”

Bates is instead urging the county to leave the current GLUP study process in place, but dedicate more county workers to handling the study requests. That could be challenging, however, given the county’s current mix of a hiring slowdown and the elimination of some county positions during a difficult budget year.

The Long Range Planning Commission and Zoning Committee are set to hold a joint meeting on the topic tomorrow (Wednesday), with the goal of advancing the proposal to the full Planning Commission in March and the County Board in April.

Photo via Arlington County

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Drivers on I-395 were alarmed to discover a man walking shirtless and barefoot near the highway’s Shirlington exit yesterday afternoon (Thursday).

Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller told ARLnow that motorists spotted the man walking just south of Exit 6 in the highway’s northbound lanes.

She added that officers first received a call about the incident around 1:30 p.m. Thursday, and a reader tweeted a video of the incident to ARLnow around 2 p.m.

The video shows the man wandering in lanes of traffic, prompting a state trooper and other cars to abruptly stop and pull over.

The trooper and another man eventually guided him onto the shoulder — Geller said the other man in the video was an “off-duty federal agent” pitching in to help.

Geller says the man was subsequently taken to a local hospital “for medical and mental evaluation.”

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