Arlington, VA

If you want to remain in the dark about the contents of the mysterious Ballston time capsule, which is set to be opened next year, read no further.

Melinda Schaedig, who was a third grader at Taylor Elementary School in 1988 when the capsule was buried, approached ARLnow with details from when the capsule was put into the ground.

“In 1988, it seemed like 2020 would never arrive, but here it is in the blink of an eye,” Schaedig said. “I just turned 40 and the time capsule is all that I have been thinking about as I have been waiting for this day for a long time.”

In the 31 years between the time capsule was buried and now, Schaedig said some of her memories from the burial have grown hazy, but she reached out to her third grade teacher to help put more details together.

“It was a big deal at the time,” Schaedig said. “I’ve always thought about it. I recall a couple months ago I was driving in the car with my mom and kids and I said ‘2020 is coming, is there anything on the building?'”

Schaedig saw the plaque and inquired inside the building, eventually being directed to the top floor where the building’s owners told her what a spokesperson for WashREIT told ARLnow yesterday: the capsule is there and but the company has no idea what’s inside.

But Schaedig remembers.

“I remember seeing a steering wheel with an airbag, which was new at the time, and maybe some Redskins memorabilia,” Schaedig said.

An article in the Northern Virginia Sun said a signed baseball, old coins and a postcard from an Arlington auto dealership were included as well. The article notes that Schaedig — then Melinda Foulke — added a poster showing how America has changed since the Constitution was signed.

The poster selected via a competition for local elementary school students.

“The contest presented local teachers with an opportunity to review Ballston’s evolution from farmland in the 1800s to the retail, business and retail center county planners forsaw when they wrote the Ballston Sector Plan in 1980,” the Sun noted.

Foulke said she dug up old news footage her mother had kept around, in which the building owners talked about how Ballston was poised to become the new downtown of Arlington.

“They talked about how in the future, there were unlimited possibilities because of the number of corporations moving in,” Foulke said. “They were predicting that with growth between Rosslyn and Ballston, [Arlington] would have more office space than Miami.”

(That turned out to be true: as of 2018, Arlington had 41.7 million square feet of office space compared to the Miami area’s 35.6 million square feet.)

The video does show some items being placed in the capsule, confirming Foulke’s memories of a steering wheel and a Redskins pin.

WashREIT said they were unsure how to open the time capsule. One of the old clippings shows Schaedig and the late County Board member Ellen Bozman holding a key to the capsule. Schaedig says she doesn’t know where the key is now.

“I hope to go when they open it,” Schaedig said. “It’ll be exciting to bring my kids and my family. It’s silly, but it’s been a part of my life.”

Newspaper photos courtesy Melinda Schaedig

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A time capsule in Ballston that has been largely forgotten to time is set to be opened at some point next year, and no one seems to know what’s inside.

An inconspicuous plaque on the side of the Fairgate office building (1005 N. Glebe Road) announces the time capsule.

“A time capsule celebrating Arlington County and the building of Ballston, placed by the Rouse and Associates in 1988, to be opened in 2020,” the plaque reads.

A lot has happened since 1988, however. For one, Rouse and Associates no longer exists. In 1994 it was sold and the company, based in suburban Philadelphia, is now known as Liberty Property Trust.

“Oh wow, that would be us [behind the plaque],” says Jeanne Leonard, vice president of Liberty Property Trust. Over the phone, she detailed how Rouse and Associates did have a Northern Virginia office at one point, but it was shuttered several decades ago.

“We developed this office building in 1986,” Leonard said, confirming the site of the capsule. “But we have not owned it in many years. Unfortunately, there is no one here now who was with our Northern Virginia operation back in the 80s. I’ve got no idea what could be in it.”

Per county records, the building was sold in 2012 to WashREIT, a D.C.-based real estate company. Deanna Schmidt, a communications official at WashREIT, confirmed that the firm knows about the capsule and said they are exploring the best ways to celebrate the capsule come 2020.

They aren’t quite sure how to go about opening it and said they will update their plans once that detail is figured out.

As for what’s in there?

“No idea,” said Schmidt.

A reader first tipped ARLnow off about the plaque, which can be seen from the corner of 11th Street N. and N. Vermont Street. Representatives for the Ballston Business Improvement District, Arlington County and Arlington Public Library’s Center for Local History were similarly unable to find any information on the time capsule.

“I’ve probably walked past that plaque 100 times without noticing,” said Peter Golkin, spokesman for the Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services.

Update on 9/20/19 — We now know at least some of what is in the capsule.

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Don’t tell the Caped Crusader, but someone swiped the name of his family’s estate for use as the name of a small garden apartment building in Arlington.

“Wayne Manor” may conjure up images of Batman, but it’s also the name of the apartments at 500 S. Wayne Street in Penrose, according to county property records.

The apartment building was built in 1963, 24 years after the Dark Knight first appeared in comic books. The “Wayne Manor” name doesn’t seem to appear on apartment rental websites, but it was prominently featured on a commercial property sale listing from 2011.

Wayne Manor Apartments is a four-story, 15-unit, walk-up apartment building situated in the Penrose neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia. Built in 1963 and continually renovated over the years, the subject property has a history of consistently high occupancy levels with rental rates that have seen substantial growth over the last few years. Situated on a 19,250-square foot parcel of land, Wayne Manor Apartments totals 11,925 square feet of net living area… A majority of units have been updated with new kitchens including microwave ovens, bathrooms, and flooring, providing tenants with a modern living space. Due to the property’ s superior unit conditions, ample on-site parking, and the neighborhood’s recent growth and new development, top rents for one and two-bedroom units have immediate potential for growth.

Located in the Penrose neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia, the DC MSA’ s most desirable sub-market, Wayne Manor Apartments is in close proximity to public transportation, areas for recreation, new development, educational facilities, dining, entertainment, and employment hubs.

Unfortunately for Bruce Wayne wannabes with similarly deep pockets, the apartment building is no longer listed for sale.

Photo via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Arlington Man Sentenced for Hate Crime — “A 61-year-old Arlington man has been sentenced to 60 months in prison for committing a hate crime. William Syring was sentenced Thursday after threatening employees of the Arab American Institute ‘because of their race and national origin,’ the Department of Justice said in a press release.” [WUSA 9]

Westover Water Main Update — “The leak beneath 5800 block of Washington Boulevard was fixed overnight but per policy, two galvanized service lines need replacement. Friday night expect detours both directions beginning 8pm. Water service shutoff in the area after close of business.” [Twitter]

Man Who Survived on Coke Talks — “From his bed at Virginia Hospital Center, reluctant newsmaker Glenn Smith gave me his version of his widely reported mishap. The 77-year-old homeowner on N. Trinidad St. in the Williamsburg area made local TV and online news last week after he suffered a fall in his kitchen and survived alone on the floor for five days — taking nourishment from his nearby stash of Coca-Cola.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Arlington Firms on Inc. 500 — Four Arlington-based firms are on the Inc. 500 list of fast-growing U.S. companies. [Washington Business Journal, Inc. Magazine]

Case of the Misplaced Door — “Someone decided to leave this large structure reclined in the entrance of my house 2 days ago. My HoA manager @Associa is not providing any help. Can @planArlingtonVA come to the rescue?” [Twitter]

Rosslyn Startup Expanding — “Hungry, the Arlington-based food technology startup that has drawn investments from celebrities such as Usher and Jay-Z, is expanding into Boston.” [Washington Business Journal]

Citizen’s Police Academy Applications Open — “The Arlington County Police Department is now accepting applications for the 23rd Citizen’s Police Academy (CPA). The CPA is an educational program designed to create better understanding and communication between police and the citizens they serve.” [Arlington County]

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(Updated at 3:15 p.m.) It’s not clear how they got there, but thousands of blank Virginia Lottery tickets are currently littering 10th Street N. near Clarendon.

The lottery tickets — unplayed Pick 4 and Cash 5 tickets — are spread across a five-block span of 10th Street, from N. Barton Street to Washington Blvd. They’re in the street, on the sidewalks and piled atop the medians.

Thus far, as of 2 p.m., no one seems eager to pick up the tickets — traffic is driving by and people are walking past the ticket-strewn roadway as usual. An Arlington County Police spokeswoman said police are aware of the situation and county crews will be cleaning up the mess soon.

“At approximately 12:18 p.m. police were called to a traffic complaint for trash in the roadway at the intersection of 10th Street N. and N. Daniel Street,” said ACPD’s Ashley Savage. “Upon arrival, the trash was determined to be blank… lottery tickets. The Emergency Communications Center contacted the Virginia Lottery who advised the tickets were not sensitive. The Department of Environmental Services was contacted and will handle trash pickup.”

John Hagerty, a Virginia Lottery spokesman, stressed that the tickets are merely “play slips,” which have no value.

As best as lottery officials can tell, a nearby business deposited a box of the slips in a dumpster, he said. But once a truck came to empty the dumpster’s contents, the play slips flew everywhere.

The business has now notified the waste management company of the slip up, Hagerty added.

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Police were called to the Arlington Mill neighborhood, north of Columbia Pike, over the weekend for a report of a man standing around with his pants unzipped.

According to Arlington County Police, a resident of the 800 block of S. Frederick Street spotted the man standing in the woods, staring with him, around 6 p.m. on Saturday. The man’s pants, according to the resident, were unzipped.

Ten minutes later, the same man was spotted “exhibiting the same suspicious behavior,” prompting the call to police. By the time officers arrived, the man had zipped out of the area and could not be located.

More from an ACPD crime report:

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2018-10200181, 800 block of S. Frederick Street. At approximately 6:24 p.m. on October 20, police were dispatched to the report of a suspicious person. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was in the parking lot of his residence when he observed an unknown male suspect in a wooded area staring at him with his pants unzipped. When the victim returned approximately ten minutes later, he observed the same male exhibiting the same suspicious behavior and called police. Arriving officers observed the male in the area, however, he fled on foot. The area was canvased with negative results. The suspect is described as a white Hispanic male, in his 40’s, approximately 5’6″, with an average build, dark hair with a receding hairline, wearing jeans and a light grey and black sweatshirt. The investigation is ongoing.

Map via Google Maps

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(Update at 4:25 p.m.) After this article was published, Carol Fuller, president of the Crystal City Civic Association, reached out with some clarity on the origin of the street art:

The art projects are the work of JBG Smith, the major developer in Crystal and Pentagon Cities.  They have so many projects in the works, including PenPlace where the bikes are now located on the wall, that they wanted to “beautify” the project areas. They did this as a “small mini intervention” project to link Pentagon and Crystal Cities and create some “buzz” for their development projects in an interesting and more attractive way. The work was done by Ground Swell, a company of architects, landscapers, and artists from Philadelphia.

The mysterious street art cropping up around Pentagon City and Crystal City seems to be evolving.

Readers first alerted to ARLnow to a series of spray-painted flowers popping up all along 12th Street S. and S. Eads Street earlier this month. Several colorful bikes adorned with flowers appeared on street corners soon afterward, though no one in the county government or local business community had any idea who was responsible for the art.

This week, the bikes remain, but have migrated slightly. Many are now mounted on the wall of a bike and pedestrian trail running along 12th Street S., between S. Fern Street and S. Eads Street, not far from the Pentagon City Metro station. Others are affixed to walls alongside S. Eads Street itself.

Some readers say they’ve spotted a pick-up truck full of workers dropping off the bikes, though it remains unclear who is backing the public art effort. Reader Christine Brown was able to snap a picture of the truck, which is labeled “The Property Coach.”

State records show no indication of any business with such a name, and an internet search was fruitless as well.

https://twitter.com/cmoye/status/1044928343374798849

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For the last few days, an electronic sign meant to inform drivers about some upcoming roadwork in the Shirlington area has displayed a different message instead: “Ligma.”

A prankster seems to have reprogrammed the sign, located near the intersection of S. Walter Reed Drive and S. Arlington Mill Drive, sometime in the past few days. A tipster told ARLnow the sign’s been changed since at least this past Wednesday (Aug. 22).

The word itself seems to be a reference to a popular meme among fans of the video game Fortnite — its origins are perhaps best not explained on a family website.

When informed of the vandalized sign by ARLnow, county transportation spokeswoman Jessica Baxter explained that it belongs to a contractor working on improvements to S. Walter Reed Drive as part of a bid to “alert the public of the start of upcoming work.”

“The sign is supposed to reference the upcoming construction and date range of work,” Baxter said. “We’ve alerted our contractor to correct the sign as soon as possible.”

Construction on that work is supposed to start in early September, and last for close to a year after that.

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Someone placed a mannequin alongside a busy road near Ballston this morning.

The female mannequin was wearing a knit hat, a t-shirt and a sign about being a “DoD based experiment,” a tipster told ARLnow. It was placed at the corner of N. Wakefield Street and N. Carlin Springs Road.

The sign on it referenced Secure Planet, a Ballston-based biometrics and facial recognition technology company. A phone number printed on the sign rings through to a company executive, though it was not answered when an ARLnow.com reporter called Friday afternoon.

At some point, someone placed another typed sign on the mannequin, criticizing the company for alleged privacy violations.

The mannequin, signs and all, appears to have been moved just before the end of the morning rush hour.

“Very bizarre,” the tipster concluded.

Update at 6:30 p.m. — The person who put the second sign on the mannequin discussed it on Twitter yesterday.

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Linda’s Cafe is an unassuming, long-time diner at 5050 Lee Highway in Arlington, serving a clientele that includes families and senior citizens.

The restaurant is not active on Facebook and doesn’t have a website that we could find. On Yelp, diners are mostly satisfied with the service and the food — “the service is good and the staff is nice,” is a typical comment. A sign in the window touts “excellent burgers.”

But on Twitter — at least over the past year or so — Linda’s Cafe has a much different personality: quarrelling with customers, warning of speed traps along Lee Highway and saying “f*** the pilgrims” on Thanksgiving.

One long-time customer who contacted ARLnow said the Twitter account is not befitting the character of the restaurant nor the values of its customers.

“Their servers, chefs and other employees have been spouting profanities, talking about… controversial subjects on their restaurant’s official Twitter account,” said the customer, who did not want to be named.

Reached by phone, an assistant manager who said his name was Luciano seemed confused when asked about the Twitter account, saying he was aware of its existence but not the content. He declined further comment. The restaurant’s owner was traveling and not available for comment, we were told.

Photo and screen shots via Twitter

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A woman walking down the street witnessed a man wearing a mask, lying atop a car and pleasuring himself last night in the Courthouse area, according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report.

The incident was reported around 10 p.m., on the 1900 block of Wilson Blvd. The masked man fled on foot after the woman screamed. Police were called but officers were unable to find him.

More from ACPD:

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2017-11280270, 1900 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 10:00 p.m. on November 28 police were dispatched to the report of an indecent exposure. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 9:45 p.m. a female victim was walking in the area when she observed a male suspect wearing a mask laying across the hood of a car masturbating. When the victim screamed, the suspect fled on foot. The suspect is described as a male, with light skin, wearing light brown pants, black shoes, a black sweater and a black mask. Officers canvassed the area with negative results. The investigation is ongoing.

The rest of this past week’s crime report highlights, including some that we’ve already reported, after the jump.

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