Arlington, VA

A store in the Virginia Square area was robbed by a man with a gun early Wednesday morning.

Police say a masked man walked into a business on the 3500 block of Wilson Blvd, brandished a firearm and demanded cash from the register, before fleeing “with an undisclosed amount of cash.” The only business on that block that would have been open at the time was a 7-Eleven store.

Responding officers were unable to locate the suspect. More from Arlington County Police:

ROBBERY, 2019-05150009, 3500 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 1:05 a.m. on May 15, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 12:56 a.m., an unknown suspect entered a business, approached an employee at the counter and brandished a firearm. He then went behind the counter and demanded the employee provide cash from the cash register. The suspect fled the business prior to police arrival with an undisclosed amount of cash. Arriving officers canvased the area with negative results. The suspect is described as a black male, wearing a blue hoodie, black pants, wearing gray and white shoes and a black mask. The investigation is ongoing.

Photo via Google Maps

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An Arlington man has been arrested and charged with three counts of Attempted Malicious Wounding after police say he tried to hit several people with a hammer.

Police say they were dispatched to an apartment on the 3800 block of Washington Blvd, in the Virginia Square neighborhood, around 3:45 p.m. this past Saturday after a man became irate over a missing item. The encounter then escalated to attempted physical violence, according to police.

More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

ATTEMPTED MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2019-05110181, 3800 block of Washington Boulevard. At approximately 3:45 p.m. on May 11, police were dispatched to the report of trouble unknown. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 3:30 p.m., the known suspect approached the victims inside of a residence and became verbally irate over a missing item. The encounter escalated and the suspect and one of the victims became involved in a physical altercation. The suspect then produced a hammer and began swinging it at the victims. The suspect fled prior to police arrival. None of the victims were injured during the incident. Arriving officers located the suspect walking in the area. Kemoh Sesay, 27, of Arlington, Va., was arrested and charged with Attempted Malicious Wounding (x3). He was held on no bond.

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

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Kirkwood Road is closed between Washington Blvd and 14th Street N. due to a significant water main break.

Crews have been working on the break since last night and “scores of customers could be affected,” said Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services. Among those reported to be affected by the water outage is George Mason University’s Arlington campus.

Video posted of the scene shows a large hole in the roadway filled with roiling, cloudy water.

More via Twitter:

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Morning Notes

County Officials Defend Amazon FOIA Deal — “The Arlington government’s top attorney says there’s nothing improper about part of the county’s incentive deal with Amazon that gives the company notice of Virginia Freedom of Information Act filings related to the agreement.” [InsideNova]

Pedestrian Struck in Virginia Square — Police, firefighters responded to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle on Wilson Blvd at N. Oakland Street Tuesday morning. The vehicle was turning and struck the pedestrian, who suffered minor injuries, we’re told. In Arlington, pedestrian-involved crashes like this are common, occurring almost every day, though most — like this incident — result in non-life-threatening injuries to the victim. [Twitter]

Smoke Fills Lee Highway Building — Firefighters responded to an under-construction commercial building on the 5800 block of Lee Highway yesterday afternoon to investigate smoke in the building. It was determined that the smoke came from a malfunctioning HVAC unit. [Twitter]

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This week Arlington is hosting conference dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs in the Greater Washington area.

The We Thrive Women Entrepreneurs’ Conference will be held on Thursday at Founders Hall at George Mason University’s Arlington campus (3351 Fairfax Drive) from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and aims to provide business growth and social media training and opportunities to network for female entrepreneurs.

Keynote speakers include Melinda F. Emerson of the Pennsylvania-based marking consulting firm Quintessence Group who will share lessons from her 20 years growing and advising small businesses. Other keynote speakers include attorney Nicole Cober and Jen Pilcher of MilSpouseFest.

The all-day event includes break out sessions on topics like raising your capital, federal contracts, marketing tips, and pitching.

Arlington Strategy CEO Jennifer Mulchandani will moderate a workshop on marketing tips. The workshop will also include panelists Romona Foster, a social media consultant, Evelyn Powers who co-founded website design company Design Powers, Inc., and Maritza Lizama of brand developer LiMon, LLC

Tickets sell for $150 and those interested in attending can register here.

Also happening Thursday in Arlington is East Coast VentureCON 2019, which is billed as a conference for “VCs, angels, and entrepreneurs on the East Coast” looking to network, attend events, and check out the an “innovation showcase” with speed pitches from startup companies.

The conference is being held at Marymount University in Ballston (1000 N. Glebe Road) and ticket prices range from $159 to $3,000.

Photo via Flickr user Marco Verch

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Arlington officials could soon approve additional rollbacks to the number of parking spaces required for new apartment developments along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.

Right now, the County Board is barred from allowing new developments along certain sections of the corridor if they don’t have at least one parking space for every unit planned for the new building. The Board is now considering removing that restriction, which would specifically impact properties zoned as “R-C” districts.

About 105 properties are currently zoned “R-C,” according to a staff report prepared for the County Board, and they’re generally located around the Ballston, Virginia Square and Courthouse Metro stations.

The Board approved similar reductions to parking minimums for apartment developments along the R-B corridor and in Crystal City and Pentagon City in fall 2017, in a bid to increase walkable and transit-accessible development, and staff suggested that this change would be a logical next step for the county.

“In general, the proposed amendment could potentially facilitate multifamily residential projects in the future and that the amendment would provide the County Board the same flexibility it has when considering modifications to minimum parking ratios in other Commercial/Mixed Use Districts on a case-by-case basis,” staff wrote in the report.

Those 2017 changes generally targeted properties in the immediate vicinity of Metro stations, and the newly targeted “R-C” districts are slightly different.

Staff describes the zones as a “transitional mixed-use zone between higher-density mixed-use areas and lower-density residential areas,” and the county’s zoning map shows that the affected properties tend to sit a block or two away from major arterial roads like Wilson Blvd or Fairfax Drive.

Allowing the Board to approve similarly reduced parking minimums on those areas as well would provide “consistency” with those previous changes, staff argue.

Officials have already relied on the tweaked parking requirements to allow smaller parking garages at developments around popular Metro stations on the R-B corridor. Other cities have even taken the more drastic step of banning parking minimums entirely.

The Board will consider this proposal for the first time at its meeting Saturday (March 16). Members are scheduled to set a Planning Commission hearing on the matter for April 8, then hold a public hearing and vote on April 23.

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County leaders have now given the green light to plans to redevelop the American Legion post in Virginia Square into an affordable housing complex, a project widely hailed as an innovative effort to provide reasonably priced homes to veterans.

The County Board voted unanimously Saturday (Feb. 23) to approve plans from the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) to replace the Legion’s current home with a new seven-story structure. The building will have room for 160 apartments — half will be set aside specifically for veterans, and all of them are guaranteed to be affordable to people of more modest means for the next 75 years.

The development, located at 3445 Washington Blvd, will also include 8,000 square feet on its ground floor for American Legion Post 139 to stay on the property. The Legion has owned the roughly 1.3-acre property since the 1930s, but opted to sell it to APAH in 2016 after the nonprofit sketched out plans for a new complex decided to helping local veterans.

“Unfortunately, the high cost of housing has put Arlington out of reach for many,” APAH Board of Directors member Rich Jordan wrote in a statement. “But we are excited that this project, the first collaboration of its kind, will welcome more veterans home to our community.”

The building will include a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, all at varying levels of affordability. Most will be designed to be affordable to people making 60 percent or 80 percent of the area median income — that works out to a yearly annual salary of $49,260 and $65,680, respectively.

However, some will be set aside for people making 30 percent of the area median income, a level of affordability that projects around Arlington only rarely achieve. Someone would have to make around $30,000 a year to qualify for the homes.

“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.

The project will also include an underground parking garage for residents, with a total of 96 spaces. Of those, 20 would be set aside to serve the Legion post specifically.

That represents a smaller number of parking spaces that the county’s zoning laws would typically allow at a development of this size. But county officials opted to sign off on the plans anyway, reasoning that many people living at the building will likely rely on the area’s Metro station and bevy of available bus stops to get around.

Even still, parking was a key concern for some neighbors. Some local leaders worry that the building’s larger apartments will attract families, who will bring cars and take up street parking in the neighborhoods adjoining the development.

The Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association and Lyon Village Citizens’ Association both floated the idea of tweaking zoned parking limits in the area — the streets surrounding the development, like N. Kansas Street and 12th Road N., are currently off-limits to people without permits from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Some neighbors proposed a 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. limit instead, but county officials weren’t inclined to grant that request.

In a staff report, the county noted that it’s still in the middle of a lengthy review of the residential parking permit program, with a moratorium on most changes to parking zones while that review moves forward.

That’s now set to wrap up sometime early next year, and county staff told the Planning Commission that they’re hesitant to make any zoned parking changes in the area until then — the County Board did, however, roll back some contentious restrictions in the Forest Glen and Arlington Mill neighborhoods earlier this year.

“In the future, if parking increases along 12th Road N. by non-Zone 6 permit holders, the hours of the RPP restriction could be evaluated based on the program’s guidelines at that time,” staff wrote in the report.

APAH also plans to construct a new section of N. Kansas Street running north-to-south between 13th Street N. and Washington Blvd, a move that staff hope will break up the area’s “superblock” feel. The new road will include some dedicated space for pedestrians and cyclists, and the developer is also planning to widen Washington Blvd near the project.

Eventually, the county also hopes to see 12th Road N. extended to provide an “east-west” connection across the property as well, though that will likely be finished only once the adjacent YMCA redevelops that property to allow for a new recreational facility and some new apartments on the site. A developer is also hoping to add 255 new apartments near the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. Kirkwood Road in the coming years.

APAH expects to fund the bulk of the $78.4 million project with federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit cash, though the nonprofit will also work to raise $3 million in private financing.

The Board also approved a $5.79 million loan for the project Saturday from the county’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund, a key tool designed to spur affordable development in Arlington. APAH expects to ask for another $5.375 million loan from the fund next year.

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A new Asian fusion restaurant is now open for business in the base of a Virginia Square office building.

Thai Treasure opened its new location at 3811 Fairfax Drive this week, moving into the space formerly occupied by the Water & Wall restaurant.

The eatery offers a menu with all manner of Asian dishes available, from pad thai to banh mi to a variety of curries. The restaurant also boasts a full bar.

The location is the second in the Northern Virginia area for Thai Treasure, which also operates a restaurant of the same name in Vienna. Owner Nui Bumrungsiri is hoping to offer a bit more expansive menu at the Arlington location, however, with dishes from a variety of different countries.

Bumrungsiri also told ARLnow that she’s hoping to hold a grand opening event for the restaurant sometime in the near future.

Water & Wall closed at the space in February 2017, after roughly three and a half years in business. Burgerim recently opened a new location in the same building as well.

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Plans to redevelop several small businesses in Virginia Square into a new apartment complex are coming into focus, in a section of the neighborhood long targeted by the county for a bit of revitalization.

A developer is firming up plans to build a seven-story apartment building on a 1.7-acre property at 1122 N. Kirkwood Road, near the road’s intersection with Washington Blvd. Documents submitted to county planners late last month show that Eleventh Street Development is angling to add 255 one- and two-bedroom apartments to the site, complete with two floors of underground parking totaling 190 spaces in all.

The entire area is line for some big changes in the coming year — the American Legion post nearby is set to become a new affordable housing development, while the YMCA is set for big upgrades as well — and Arlington officials have spent months now sketching out new planning documents to guide the area’s evolution.

Eleventh Street Development has long contemplated adding apartments to the site, which will displace three businesses on the property: Zolly Foreign Car Specialists, a State Farm insurance office and Slye Digital Media Systems. But the developer has, at last, kicked off the “site plan” process with the county, in order to secure the necessary permissions to get construction moving.

Notably, Eleventh Street seems to have abandoned plans to include any space for retail on the ground floor of the site, according to the plans. However, county officials “would like to continue the discussion” about that change, they wrote in a memo to the developer last January.

In general, the county signaled in the planning documents that it’s broadly satisfied with the initial plans. One of the few concerns officials expressed, however, is that the redevelopment might not meet some of the road re-design standards laid out in the long-range vision for the area approved in 2017, known as the “General Land Use Plan Study and Concept Plan.”

Specifically, the county wants to see a new “east-west connection” through the property, connecting 12th Road N. to N. Kirkwood Road.

Officials urge the company to consider “how the subject site would be designed or modified to facilitate circulation as envisioned,” and the developer acknowledged that request. However, the company does plan to add some streetscape improvements along both Washington Blvd and Kirkwood Road.

The project is now set to head to the county’s Site Plan Review Committee, though the group has yet to put the development on its agenda just yet.

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(Updated at 9 p.m.) An SUV crashed and flipped on its roof near Rosslyn this morning, injuring one person.

The crash happened before 9:30 a.m. According to police, the SUV was on I-66, heading toward D.C., when it careened off the side of the highway and landed along Route 110 — near a construction zone where Route 110 splits off to westbound I-66 and Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn.

One person suffered non-life-threatening injuries, according to the Arlington County Fire Department. The northbound lanes of Route 110 were closed for an extended period of time, but reopened shortly before 10:45 a.m.

It was a busy morning for ACFD, which also responded to a call for smoke that filled a one-story commercial building — reported by one witness to be the 7-Eleven store — in Virginia Square.

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As plans advance for the redevelopment of the American Legion post in Virginia Square, neighbors are raising a familiar question for developers in Arlington’s densest areas: what about parking?

The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing hopes to eventually buy the 1.3-acre property at 3445 Washington Blvd and transform the current home of American Legion Post 139 into a building with 160 affordable apartments. The nonprofit would set aside space on the ground floor of the development for a new Legion post, and it even plans to reserve half of its homes for veterans.

APAH has been working to make the project a reality since the American Legion agreed to these plans back in 2016, and the proposal is very nearly ready to earn some key county approvals — the county’s Site Plan Review Committee will scrutinize the project at a meeting for the third time tonight (Monday), and the group could soon advance the proposal to the Planning Commission.

But it seems the nonprofit has yet to allay the concerns of nervous Ballston and Virginia Square neighbors worried that the new development will bring more cars parking on their streets.

“We are concerned that given the number of 2- and 3-bedroom apartments planned, the expectation that families will live in them, and the fact that our neighborhood does not have access to walkable elementary or middle schools, it’s not feasible to assume residents without a car or that even one car per unit will be sufficient,” Cara Troup, the treasurer of the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association, wrote in a Dec. 7 email to county staff.

APAH plans to build a one-story underground garage with 96 parking spaces in total, and the developer does acknowledge that it’s providing less parking than the county’s zoning standards demand.

However, the nonprofit believes that the development’s proximity to public transit options should mean that most residents won’t rely on cars. A transportation study of the site commissioned by APAH points out that the property may not quite be along a Metro corridor, but does sit “directly across” from the busy Fairfax Drive and its nearby Virginia Square Metro station.

APAH also sought to reassure the SPRC that it generally restricts residents to one car per household and will offer them reduced rates on bikeshare memberships, according to notes from the committee’s Dec. 10 meeting.

The nonprofit plans to set aside 20 spaces to serve visitors and staff for the American Legion post specifically, so it doesn’t expect that the group’s new headquarters (set to include new space for a variety of support services for veterans) will put a strain on parking on the area. But neighbors remain convinced that there just isn’t enough room for the people who will live in the new building, perhaps prompting more cars to push for space in the neighborhoods behind the development on 13th and 14th Street N.

Many of the streets in area are already subject to parking restrictions under the county’s permit program. But zoned parking in the county only bars unauthorized cars from neighborhoods from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays — the program was originally designed as a way to bar commuters from D.C.-adjacent areas.

That’s prompted Troup to push for new parking restrictions running from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day, in order to ensure that APAH’s new residents don’t simply drive their cars to work and then park them on nearby streets at night. She even envisions that change coming as a condition of the county approving the development.

County officials are currently eyeing changes to the residential parking program as part of a two-year study of its efficacy, likely making any such change an uphill battle. But, until that work wraps up later this year, neighbors are adamant that they want to see more parking required for developments like APAH’s new building.

“Arlington’s zoned parking regulations need to be updated to reflect these present day conditions to include restricted parking into the evenings and on weekends,” Lyon Village Citizens’ Association  President John Carten wrote in a letter to county planners. “It may be the case that lifestyles and transportation options today are such that the parking ratios for certain projects do not need to be what they were in the past. However, until county parking policies are updated to increase restricted parking hours beyond the outdated business hours approach, Lyon Village and similarly situated neighborhoods are being put in a very difficult position when [asked] to support projects with parking ratios lower than historical norms.”

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