Arlington, VA

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Have some unopened boxes of surgical gowns or masks lying around? If so, Arlington is hoping you’ll donate them.

The county is setting up a one-day only drive-through donation drive this coming Friday. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Arlington Central Library parking lot along 10th Street near N. Quincy Street.

The county is seeking unused boxes of nitrile or vinyl examination gloves , N95 or KN95 masks , surgical masks, protective surgical gowns , homemade masks, cleaning products and supplies , and non-perishable food items.

There is a nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment like masks and gowns amid the coronavirus pandemic, which continues to get worse in Arlington.

More from a press release:

Arlington County is seeking donations of unused, unopened containers of essential Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), cleaning supplies, and certain food to assist essential employees, nonprofits and community organizations with coronavirus (COVID-19) response operations.

A drive-thru donation station will be available on Friday, April 3, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Central Library parking lot on 10th Street North. This activity conforms to the requirements of Governor Northam’s Stay-At-Home order, but if you are ill, please do not come or donate supplies.

Requested items include:

  • Nitrile or vinyl examination gloves
  • N95 or KN95 masks
  • Surgical masks
  • Protective surgical gowns
  • Homemade masks
  • Cleaning products and supplies
  • Non-perishable food items, especially heart-healthy items low in sodium or sugar

No other donations will be accepted at this event. 

Upon arrival, donors must stay in their cars until they reach the unloading area. There, donors will place their donation onto a cart and return to their vehicles to ensure proper social distancing. A separate line will be available for donors who arrive on foot or by bike.

All donors are expected to observe the proper physical distance of six feet in accordance with Governor Northam’s Stay-At-Home Order.

If you are unable to drop off donations, many other essential requests from Arlington nonprofits are posted on the Volunteer Arlington webpage. Most nonprofits’ primary need is funding.

People who donate are helping ensure essential supplies get to Arlington health care workers, first responders, and County and community workers whose essential jobs put them at risk of coronavirus exposure. Together, we will protect the health and safety of all Arlingtonians.

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A trio of Metro stations in Arlington will close starting on Thursday, as Metro experiences low ridership and dwindling cleaning supplies during the coronavirus outbreak.

Closing are the Clarendon, Virginia Square and East Falls Church stations, along the Orange and Silver lines. They’re among 17 stations Metro is closing.

More from WMATA:

Metro’s Pandemic Task Force today announced the strategic closing of 17 additional stations, effective Thursday, March 26, 2020, in an effort to conserve critical resources and protect the health and safety of Metro employees and the public. This follows drastic measures already taken to reduce travel on Metro to essential trips only, leading to a Metrorail ridership decline of 90 percent.

These steps will help reduce the risk of exposure to employees and save critical cleaning supplies for the remaining stations. While Metro increased its on-hand warehouse inventory of essential supplies, such as hospital-grade disinfectant, wipes, hand sanitizer, and other items used by Metro’s frontline employees, suppliers are experiencing delivery delays. Metro is taking action to make its current 2-3 week warehouse supply stretch until massive orders placed in late January are received.

Each Metrorail station has multiple escalators, faregates and other high touch surfaces that are being cleaned daily, including some stations with multiple entrances. By reducing the number of entrances, Metro will be able to better protect its workforce and customers and prolong the inventory of these critical supplies needed to keep the system open.

Metro said the Virginia Square station is being closed due to its close proximity to the Ballston station, while the Clarendon and East Falls Church stations are closing due to low ridership — 299 and 239 trips on Monday, respectively.

The Arlington Cemetery Metro station was previously closed due to low ridership.

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George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution has been renamed.

The school, based at GMU’s campus in Virginia Square, is now the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution.

The efforts of the former president and his wife to promote peace around the world is the impetus for the name change, which is also part of a $10 million fundraising campaign. The school is now “dedicating itself to peace and social justice.”

More from GMU’s website:

The name change serves as a tribute to the Carters’ steadfast commitment to peacemaking through nonviolence and the transformative role of dialogue and diplomacy in conflict resolution. It also serves to recognize that the school has grown and changed in reputation and scope since its birth in 1981. The move comes as an acknowledgment that the Carters’ devotion to peace and human rights reflects the values of both the school and Mason as a whole.

“By becoming the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution, we’ll be starting the next phase of our journey as an institution committed to furthering both the research and practice of conflict resolution and peacebuilding,” said Alpaslan Ozerdem, dean of the school. “In this effort, we will be taking the Carters’ unwavering dedication to peace as our beacon and our guide. It’s a great honor to be leading a school named after one of the greatest peacemakers of our times.”

Mason’s Board of Visitors approved the change on Feb. 27. The school plans a series of events  in September that will include  other Mason colleges and schools to celebrate the new phase for the school and the Carters’ legacy on human rights, democracy, gender equality and global health.

George Mason is in the midst of a quarter-billion-dollar effort to expand its Arlington campus. On Feb. 25, GMU held a forum for developers interested in submitting conceptual proposals for the project.

Photo courtesy Jeremy Galliani

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Heavily-armed Arlington County Police officers made what appears to be a major arrest near the Virginia Square Metro early Friday evening.

A SWAT team, police K-9s and plain-clothes officers could be seen near the Metro station and the Virginia Square Towers condo complex, on the 900 block of N. Lincoln Street, around 3:30 p.m. Friday. Two people, a man and a woman, were detained by police outside the Metro station.

Police dressed in tactical gear and armed with assault-style rifles were seen coming in and out of the condo building, as uniformed officers blocked traffic on N. Lincoln Street. A white Cadillac was searched outside the Metro station, as more tactical and plain-clothes officers stood by.

A police spokeswoman described the activity as “a narcotics investigation.”

“[A] suspect has been taken into custody,” ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage told ARLnow. “This remain an active investigation and there’s no ongoing threat to the public. Expect continued police presence in the area.”

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(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) A bevy of new development is coming to Clarendon and Virginia Square, prompting Arlington County to update its plan for the former.

The county’s busy planning division, which is working its way through a crush of post-Amazon HQ2 development applications, is also gearing up to review and perhaps refine the 2006 Clarendon Sector Plan.

In a presentation to the County Board this afternoon on its Fiscal Year 2021 work plan, planning staff is expected to detail a number of initiatives, including a study of the 14-year-old sector plan.

“In anticipation of multiple site plan applications and emerging public facility needs in Clarendon, a staff team will review the recommendations in the 2006 Clarendon Sector Plan (CSP), including those for County facilities, a new park along 10th Street, and nearby private development sites,” the presentation says.

“Given the connection between the Plan and zoning regulations, and the importance of the public facility needs to be achieved in Clarendon, refinement of Sector Plan policies and amendments to the Zoning Ordinance may be necessary,” the presentation continues. “A plan for public engagement on this planning study is being developed.”

Among other things, the 2006 sector plan calls for a new, 50,000 square foot park on the site of the current Clarendon fire station and the Verizon switching station, which is expected to be redeveloped soon. It also calls for the fire station to be relocated.

The presentation notes three major, residential development projects that have already been approved — the American Legion and Kirkwood sites in Virginia Square, and the Red Top redevelopment in Clarendon, all of which are pending construction.

It also lists the proposed redevelopment of the Joyce Motors site along 10th Street N. and the planned George Mason University expansion, plus the following four “anticipated” redevelopment proposals, in making the case for a review of the neighborhood plan.

The Silver Diner and Wells Fargo/Verizon developments are expected to be considered by the County Board by the end of the year, the county says.

In addition to looking at the Clarendon neighborhood plan, the planning division is involved in current land use planning for Shirlington and the Lee Highway corridor. County planners also expect to process 15 major site plan applications during calendar year 2020.

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A young red-tailed hawk that fell out of a tree “like a sack potatoes” near the Virginia Square Metro entrance is being nursed back to health.

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington said one of its animal control officers was able to safely capture the ailing hawk, and it’s now on the road to recovery at a “local bird of prey rehabber.”

More from AWLA’s Facebook post:

Thanks to our community working together, this juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk is now safe and sound! Earlier this week, our officers received a call about a bird that “fell out of a tree like a sack of potatoes” in front of the Virginia Square metro station. Officer Rose was dispatched to the scene, and was able to safely capture him and bring him to one of our local bird of prey rehabbers. They determined that the hawk was young and underweight, and so will care for him until he is back at a healthy weight and can be released back into the wild.

Thank you to everyone who helped get this hawk on the road to recovery!

Photo via AWLA/Facebook

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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.

The closures follow the shuttering of the chain’s Ballston location late last month. Additional Cosi closures have been reported in D.C.

As of today (Monday) the Cosi in Rosslyn was still open.

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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

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A third of Amazon’s $3 million June donation for affordable housing in and around Arlington will go to the redevelopment of the American Legion post in Virginia Square.

“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.

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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.

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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

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