Two more Cosi locations have closed in Arlington.
The Cosi restaurants in Crystal City (2011 Crystal Drive) and Virginia Square (3503 Fairfax Drive) appear to have closed.
As of today (Monday) the Cosi in Rosslyn was still open.
No work is happening yet, but there are signs that plans to replace the Highlander Motel in Virginia Square with a new CVS store are getting closer to fruition.
A permit application was filed last month for the property at 3336 Wilson Blvd for a new building, to house CVS. Thus far no permits have been issued.
The application follows years of legal wrangling between Arlington County and local businessman Bill Bayne. In 2018 the Virginia Supreme Court cleared the way for Bayne to redevelop the 56-year-old budget hotel, after the county refused to allow him to use the parking lot behind the motel for store parking.
Bayne subsequently sued the county in federal court for alleged civil rights violations, but that suit was dismissed in October, with the judge citing Arlington County’s sovereign immunity as a reason for the dismissal.
Bayne told ARLnow that the legal fight cost him at least $250,000, if not more.
“It’s over… it is what it is,” he said.
As of Monday morning, no bookings were available online for the Highlander’s $69/night rooms past January, but Bayne told ARLnow that was an error that would be corrected; rooms could be booked past then if you call the hotel, he said.
Bayne said the hotel is planning to stay open for at least another year and there’s no set closing date, though he acknowledged that he’s continuing to pursue the redevelopment.
Bayne is also the owner and co-owner, respectively, of two other long-time local businesses: the Crystal City Restaurant gentlemen’s club and Crystal City Sports Pub, both on 23rd Street S. Changes may be on the way for the former — Bayne said he’s considering changing the name of Crystal City Restaurant to “National Landing Strip,” given the new branding for the collective Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard area in the wake of Amazon’s HQ2.
“I’ve thought about doing it… it’s certainly crossed my mind,” Bayne said of the possible name change.
The only thing keeping Bayne from changing the name, he said, is sentimentality. Bayne’s father bought the business in 1963 and renamed it “Crystal City Restaurant” from “Arlington Luncheon” to reflect what was then the new name for the neighborhood along Route 1.
Flickr pool photo (1) by Maryland Nomadic
“The funds will dramatically drive down the rental rates” for ten units at the 160-unit development, located at 3445 Washington Blvd, according to the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH).
“We are so honored that the Foundation and Amazon chose APAH for the initial gift. This contribution will go a long way in making this special project even more impactful,” said APAH President and CEO Nina Janopaul in a press release. The grant is being made via the Arlington Community Foundation, which is managing Amazon’s $3 million gift.
The site has been formally dubbed Terwilliger Place, after a couple who also made a hefty donation towards the project earlier this year.
“Thanks to today’s gifts we can increase the number of Terwilliger Place homes that will be affordable for those living in the lowest income bracket — families living on minimum wage,” Janopaul said.
In 2016, APAH bought the 1.3-acre property, and the County Board in February approved a plan to tear it down in 2020. In its place will go 160 units of housing with a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, all at different levels of affordability. Half of the units will go towards housing low-income veterans, and plans to open to residents on a first-come basis are set for summer 2022.
“We are adding much-needed affordable units to our inventory, and many of them are large enough for families,” County Board Chair Christian Dorsey wrote in a statement earlier this year.
APAH also plans to build a brand-new, modern 6,000 square foot facility in Terwilliger Place for Legion Post 139, with amenities such as private counseling spaces, community activity rooms, and a computer lab.
In addition to Amazon’s June donation, the company has announced it will match employee donations to select housing- and homelessness-related nonprofits in and around Arlington, including AHC Inc., APAH, Carpenter’s Shelter, and more.
The County Board will vote on a zoning amendment next week for Amazon’s upcoming HQ2, which includes a $20 million donation towards Arlington’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund.
The grant announcement from APAH is below, after the jump.
The expansion of George Mason University’s campus in Virginia Square is envisioned as a gleaming glass-and-steel tower with the school’s distinctive “M” emblazoned on top.
That’s according to a new concept design for GMU’s planned Institute for Digital Innovation, released as the university announced $235 million in new funding from the state to expand the campus and develop more tech talent. The new building will be built atop the long-shuttered Kann’s Department Store, on the west side of the Fairfax Drive campus.
Gov. Ralph Northam announced the funding for GMU and ten other Virginia universities on Thursday, citing Amazon’s HQ2 in Arlington as a key reason why the Commonwealth needs more tech workers.
“Virginia will invest in the Commonwealth’s tech talent pipeline to create 31,000 new computer science graduates over 20 years, under agreements he signed with 11 universities,” the governor’s office said in a press release. “The Tech Talent Investment Program will benefit students and tech employers in every corner of the Commonwealth. It grew out of Virginia’s proposal to Amazon, which will locate its second headquarters in Northern Virginia.”
In its own press release, below, GMU said the state funding — along with an expanded Arlington campus — will help it produce 16,000 more undergrad and master’s graduates in tech fields over the next 20 years.
The press release says additional information about the new Institute for Digital Innovation facility will be revealed at an event on Wednesday, Nov. 20, which will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Arlington campus, which currently includes includes the Antonin Scalia Law School, the Schar School of Policy and Government and other departments, mostly focusing on graduate and professional programs.
The full GMU press release is below, after the jump.
Updated 10:50 p.m. — The fire alarm has stopped and residents are returning to the building.
First responders are on the scene at 3601 Fairfax Drive where dozens of residents have been evacuated from Latitude Apartments after reports of a fire.
Residents on multiple floors of the building reported seeing and smelling smoke coming out of the building.
Nate and Kelli, two residents of the building, said the alarm went off around 10 p.m. They were on the roof when the alarm went off and they could smell smoke.
As of 10:30 p.m. firefighters were still working through the building.
Airey and Vernon Miles contributed to this story
A parking lot in the Virginia Square has a new owner, and potentially, a new future.
Swedish developer and construction company Skanska announced today (Tuesday) that it had bought the site at 3901 N. Fairfax Drive from an affiliate of of the Bernstein Management Corporation and intends to make long-stalled development plans a reality.
The site, near Quincy Park, once housed the Arlington Funeral Home before it closed in 2011 after 55 years in business. The property later became a parking lot for the nearby Mercedes-Benz of Arlington dealership. Today, the parking lot is enclosed with chainlink fences and hosts a billboard advertising the “trophy office” to come.
Skanska said today it will build the nine-story office building with 184,036 square feet of office space and will aim for LEED Gold certification planned for the site. The company also noted that the building will come equipped with 10,280 square feet of ground floor retail — a feature some other buildings have struggled to fill in Arlington.
The original site plan included a $3.7 million, 12,985 square-foot black box theatre, however it was removed in later revisions and replaced by ground floor retail space, per Skanska’s Mark Carroll, who works as the executive vice president for the company’s D.C. area commercial developments.
“We plan to keep the general building design but may make minor modifications,” he told ARLnow in an email.
He added that the amenities Skanska is currently eyeing in the new building include:
- A 4,000-square-foot outdoor rooftop terrace with a 1,600-square-foot indoor amenity space
- A 1,700-square-foot second floor terrace
- A state-of-the-art fitness facility
- 10,280 square-feet of ground-floor retail
- The property targeting LEED® Gold certification
- Floor-to-ceiling windows on all four sides, which will welcome ample natural light and unobstructed views into the office spaces.
“The Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor has long been the epicenter of mixed-use development in Northern Virginia, and the 3901 North Fairfax site will be a welcome addition to this vibrant, pedestrian-friendly community with easy access to public transit and a plethora of retail options,” he said earlier today in a statement.
“This acquisition is significant as the site represents one of the last ground-up, Metro-accessible development opportunities along the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor,” said the company in a press release, noting the property proximity to the Virginia Square and Ballston Metro stations.
Across the street from the site construction is still underway for the 22-story, 330-unit J Sol Apartments complex.
Nearby, Virginia Square and Ballston is also host to several other new developments, including an affordable housing developments at the American Legion Post and a church, as well as a new YMCA and a historical cemetery with an uncertain future.
Skanska previously developed the 1776 Wilson Blvd office building in Rosslyn before selling it in 2014. It also owned an 11-story office building near Nationals Park in D.C., and another 11-story “trophy office” building on Pennsylvania Avenue, among other projects.
Image 2 via Google Maps
It’s Columbus Day — Despite the federal holiday, all Arlington County government offices, courts, libraries and facilities will be open today. Barring breaking news, ARLnow will be publishing on a limited schedule today. [Arlington County]
Theft from Casual Adventure — From an Arlington County Police crime report: “At approximately 11:35 a.m. on October 10, police were dispatched to the late report of a larceny. Upon arrival, it was determined that an unknown suspect entered a business at approximately 5:30 p.m. on October 9, selected numerous fleece jackets before fleeing the scene without paying.” [Arlington County]
ACPD Warns of Phone Scam — “Residents have reported receiving unsolicited phone calls from individuals fraudulently claiming to be technicians with Dominion Energy. These individuals accuse the victims of having overdue bills which must immediately be paid, or their power will be disconnected. The caller then provides a fraudulent claim number and phone number where the funds may be paid and often requests payment using a prepaid debit or gift card.” [Arlington County]
Governor Issues Drought Watch — “Governor Ralph Northam today announced a statewide drought watch advisory for the Commonwealth of Virginia. A drought watch is intended to increase awareness of current conditions that are likely to precede a significant drought event.” [Press Release, Capital Weather Gang]
Circus Returns to Rosslyn — Updated at 3:45 p.m. — Conservative provocateurs Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl are holding yet another press conference this week outside Burkman’s Rosslyn townhouse. The duo say they will be joined by a “longtime drug dealer” for prominent Democratic members of Congress. [Twitter]
Nearby: Four Mile Run Trail in Alexandria to Reopen Soon — “A bridge spanning the last gap on the Alexandria side of the Four Mile Run Trail has been put into place, but the trail remains impassable for pedestrians.” [ALXnow]
(Updated at 2:45 p.m.) Firefighters are on scene of an apartment fire at the Quincy Plaza apartments in Virginia Square.
The fire was first reported just after 2 p.m., on the 12th floor of the apartment tower at 3900 Fairfax Drive. The fire is reported to now be out, controlled at least in part via a sprinkler system.
Firefighters are now checking for additional fire, smoke and water damage in adjacent apartments. Water can be seen streaming down the side of the building near where the fire was reported, and “extensive” water damage is being reported in parts of the building, according to scanner traffic.
No word yet on what caused the fire.
Police are also on the scene, helping to provide traffic control with the eastbound lanes of Fairfax Drive closed by the emergency response.
Small fire reported at 3900 block of Fairfax drive. Units from Ft Myer and Fairfax County assisting. Fire is under control and contained to one unit. No reports of injuries at this time. More details to follow. pic.twitter.com/XVcqGPkALB
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) October 4, 2019
INCIDENT: Fire Department Activity
LOCATION: 3900 Block of Fairfax Dr.
IMPACT: EB lanes of Fairfax Dr. closed at N Quincy St. Seek alternate routes. pic.twitter.com/qs1ikXgGEe
— Arlington Alert (@arlingtonalert) October 4, 2019
(Updated at 8:40 p.m.) An “electrical emergency” — reportedly a utility pole being burned by a malfunctioning power line — has prompted an extended road closure in Virginia Square.
Police have closed 14th Street between N. Lincoln Street and N. Kirkwood Road, near Arlington Science Focus Elementary School, to both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
“It was just called in and it is a very dangerous situation,” a firefighter could be heard telling a resident along N. Kirkwood Road around 4:30 p.m. “We don’t know how long it will be closed. It could take one hour or six, we don’t know.”
Dominion Energy crews are on scene to work on the line and the pole.
As of 8:30 p.m., 26 Dominion customers in the neighborhood were reported to still be without power.
Electrical Emergency – 3400 block of 14th St North (bet Lynbrook Dr and Kenmore St) will be blocked for Emergency Electrical line work. Power may be affected in the area. Please stay clear until crews are finished. pic.twitter.com/REcWX5AiMb
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) September 30, 2019
Map via Google Maps
Sometimes, however, the Type A-ness that helps make Arlington Arlington produces negative side effects. A prime example one might cite? More-impatient-than-average drivers.
Video posted by ACPD shows an undercover police officer, wearing a brightly-colored t-shirt, walking across Fairfax Drive at N. Kansas Street in a crosswalk as two vehicles approach. Neither stop nor appear to slow down, narrowly missing the officer, who then signals for each to be pulled over and cited.
The law, however, requires drivers to yield to pedestrians in such cases.
In all, 25 summonses for Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian in the Crosswalk were issued this morning during the enforcement action, police said.
“Remember that the streets don’t belong to any one of us, they belong to all of us,” police said in a tweet shortly after the campaign concluded. “Share our roadways with all travelers by being a PAL: Predictable | Alert | Lawful.”
Remember that the streets don't belong to any one of us, they belong to all of us. Share our roadways with all travelers by being a PAL: Predictable | Alert | Lawful.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) September 26, 2019
More: NHTSA advises the total safe stopping distance for a 30mph roadway is 119 feet. ACPD extended the safe stopping distance to 130 feet from the crosswalk at this location. The pedestrian enters the crosswalk at or before the vehicles reaches the marked safe stopping distance.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) September 26, 2019
Screenshot via ACPD
GMU to Expand Va. Square Campus — “George Mason University wants to transform its Arlington campus into an ‘innovation district’ as it kicks off an Amazon-inspired overhaul… Mason expects to use the expansion to add 3,000 to 4,000 graduate students to the campus by 2024.” [Washington Business Journal]
Man Arrested For Assaulting Police in Ballston — “At approximately 8:32 p.m. on September 11, police were dispatched the report of a disorderly subject inside a restaurant who had allegedly been throwing items and threatening staff. Upon police arrival, the business staff requested the subject be banned from the property. While speaking with the subject, he threatened an officer and took a defensive stance. While placing him under arrest, the subject became combative, kicked and spit at the officers.” [Arlington County]
Home Inventory Tight in Arlington — “New listings in Arlington declined 16.5% in August compared with last year, said Chris Finnegan, vice president at Bright MLS. The median sale price for all home types in the 22202 ZIP code, where Amazon is building and staffing up HQ2, was $749,000 in August. It’s a 23% jump since the company made its HQ2 announcement in November 2018.” [Washington Business Journal, InsideNova]
Tech Company Picks Arlington for U.S. HQ — ” Varjo, the technology leader in industrial-grade VR/XR headsets, today announced the opening of its U.S. headquarters… in Arlington, Virginia, located just outside of Washington D.C.” [Varjo via Potomac Tech Wire]
Potomac Kempo Now Open — Martial arts studio Potomac Kempo yesterday held a grand opening ceremony for its fifth location, at 3650 S. Glebe Road, in the Potomac Yard area. The studio started holding classes on Aug. 31, we’re told. [Facebook]
Video: USS Arlington Crew Welcomed at Fire Station — “Crew members from the USS Arlington were welcomed at Arlington’s Fire Station 5 before running in the The Arlington Police, Fire & Sheriff 9/11 Memorial Race. The USS Arlington honors the 184 victims and the thousands of emergency, fire and rescue personnel of Arlington County and localities in the National Capital Region who provided critical emergency assistance after the attack on 9/11.” [YouTube]