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A dental office at the base of an apartment building owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Potomac Yard is gearing up to start seeing patients next month.

This dentistry practice was one of the half-dozen retail-equivalent conversions in mixed-use apartment buildings that the Arlington County Board approved in 2022. Property Reserve, Inc., which owns The Clark building at 3400 S. Clark Street, received approval for the change in May.

“[The space] has been leased to Riverside Dental, who will start seeing patients in their space in January,” said Property Reserve, Inc. communications director Dale Bills, adding that a Subway is serving sandwiches in another retail space while the third is “currently being marketed.”

A retail slump, combined with high office vacancy rates, has led to more of these conversions in recent months to uses such as medical offices and churches, however, the county has approved similar conversions in 2019 and 2014.

Meanwhile, the property group is also preparing to re-configure the building lobby to improve the separation between one approved use, a meetinghouse for Mormons, and residents accessing elevators to their apartments.

“It takes the present large single foyer and divides it into two ‘lanes,’ one heading to the meetinghouse elevator and one heading to the apartment building elevator,” said Candace Harman, a spokeswoman for congregations in Northern Virginia. “This project has been in planning for some time and hopefully should be completed within the next several months.”

The Clark is a real estate venture for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and doubles as a meetinghouse. The Mormon congregation that uses it was originally set to move into the building in March 2020, but that was delayed until the summer due to the pandemic, Harman says.

The move marks an expansion for the Mormon presence in the greater Crystal City area, as four congregations already meet in two office buildings in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood.

“If you aren’t familiar, our Church organizes based on geography,” Harman explained. “A Ward is a congregation that meets together on Sundays with a Bishop who is the local leader of that congregation. A Stake is a group of Wards within a geographic boundary that fall within the stewardship of a Stake President.”

Wards for young singles — those ages 18-30 — meets at 745 23rd Street S. while wards for older single adults meet next door at 727 23rd Street S. The latter building also houses a resource center that Harman says provides free services for immigrants, refugees and others in need to “build hope, develop life skills, and strengthen families.”

Additionally, the LDS church plans to re-fit the vacant third floor of that building to house an office suite for the D.C. Young Single Adults Ward, a project that is tentatively planned for 2023.

The Clark apartment building opened within the few years along with another nearby — The Sur, at 3400 Potomac Avenue.

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The Arlington County Police Department was honored yesterday for its role in defending the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Arlington officers in riot gear helped to defend the Capitol amid the pro-Trump violence at the Capitol. ACPD — along with the Arlington Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police and other regional law enforcement agencies that jumped into action on Jan. 6 — were recognized for that service to the country at a Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony yesterday (Tuesday).

Arlington firefighters also provided assistance on that day and were the first medics on the Capitol steps, treating the injured.

Arlington first responders “answered the call to restore order and aid in the defense of the U.S. Capitol,” ACPD said on social media. “Today and every day, we are thankful for their bravery, courage and unwavering commitment to public safety.”

More on the ceremony, from the Washington Post:

The law enforcement officers who protected lawmakers while defending the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack were awarded Congressional Gold Medals — the highest honor from Congress — nearly two years after the insurrection.

The ceremony took place Tuesday in the Capitol Rotunda, a site many supporters of Donald Trump entered illegally with the hopes of stopping Congress from counting the electoral votes for Joe Biden and overturning the 2020 presidential election.

“Our nation suffered the most staggering assault on democracy since the Civil War,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said during the ceremony, which drew lawmakers, police officers and family members. “January 6th was a day of horror and heartbreak. Yet it’s also a moment of extraordinary heroism.”

The following video shows riot-gear-clad Arlington officers in front of the Capitol the evening of Jan. 6.

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Morning Notes

Rainy day in Ballston (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Uplifting Signs on Local Homes — “If you drive through the Lyon Park neighborhood, you’ll notice something similar about the homes. They all have words of positivity hanging from their homes. ‘It makes us unique right?’ one neighbor said. Rachel Burns is behind the signs… spreading cheer throughout her neighborhood since 2016. She created signs of positivity that took off after she first hung one on the front of her home and now neighbors are taking part.” [WJLA]

GOP Seeking More Local Candidates — “Arlington Republicans are unlikely to be able to field candidates for all the offices on the county ballot next November, but retain hopes they may be able to recruit contenders for about half… Contests for County Board, School Board, constitutional offices and General Assembly posts will be on the 2023 ballot. Among the incumbents – Democrats all – Hurtt predicted ‘about five-ish’ will not be seeking re-election. ‘You could be the new sheriff in town,’ he told the rank-and-file.” [Sun Gazette]

High School Basketball Season Starts — “The high-school basketball season began in full last week for Arlington varsity teams, highlighted by convincing opening victories by the Washington-Liberty Generals and Bishop O’Connell Knights boys squads, the winningest county teams last season, and a 2-0 record by the O’Connell girls.” [Sun Gazette]

It’s Wednesday — Possible drizzle in the morning. High of 59 and low of 50. Sunrise at 7:15 am and sunset at 4:48 pm. [Weather.gov]

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A proposed left-turn lane off of N. Glebe Road in Ballston could be the smallest, yet most scrutinized traffic change in 10 years.

As part of the planned redevelopment of the Ballston Macy’s, Insight Property Group proposes to add a left-turn option at the intersection of 7th Street N. and N. Glebe Road. It will be for drivers going southbound on Glebe who want to turn onto a proposed private drive abutting the planned grocery store, which will be located at the base of Insight’s proposed 16-story, 555-unit apartment building.

“It was the most thoroughly vetted transportation scenario in the time that I’ve been with Arlington County,” transportation planner Dennis Sellin, who has worked with the county for 10 years, told the Planning Commission last night (Monday).

Transportation changes for the Ballston Macy’s development (via Arlington County)

During the meeting, the Planning Commission gave a green light to the redevelopment, which will go before the Arlington County Board for approval later this month.

After the Transportation Commission voted to defer the project solely on the basis of the left turn, Planning Commission members supported a condition for the project that county staff work with Insight and the Virginia Department of Transportation to come up with more pedestrian-oriented options for the intersection.

“I do not think it’s reasonable to hold up the project for this, given that there’s apparently continued good faith work on the intersection to improve its pedestrian-friendliness,” Commissioner Jim Lantelme said. “I want to make clear that the Planning Commission… expects that any option possible to make this intersection more pedestrian-friendly will be pursued.”

Sellin said a half-dozen staffers, including two top transportation officials, have thoroughly vetted the left-turn lane. They published a 64-page memo justifying the turn lane and will study how the grocery store changes traffic before adding any pedestrian mitigation measures.

“There’s a recommendation to not allow any right turns on red at any of the lights in the intersection,” he said. “That’s a movement we’ll take under further consideration. Our primary concern is safety, our secondary concern is operations.”

The left-turn lane is a non-negotiable for the grocer, who has otherwise been “insanely flexible” as the project has changed throughout the public process, according to Insight’s Managing Principal Trent Smith.

“We’ve shrunk their store, changed their ramps, taken away their parking… we changed their loading, we’ve done eight or nine things that took all sorts of reworking and they’ve stuck with us and have been great, reasonable partners throughout,” Smith said.

Insight’s attorney, Andrew Painter, says the unnamed grocer required the left turn based on “decades of experience in urban configurations.” He added that for a decade, the grocer has desired to be in Ballston, which already has a Harris Teeter nearby on N. Glebe Road, a quarter-mile away.

Some Planning Commissioners noted their regret that the project does not do more to provide on-site affordable housing.

“This space here, in the heart of Arlington, in Ballston, where there’s access to transit, and now a grocery store, we have nothing,” Commissioner Devanshi Patel said.

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File photo

Arlington County police responded to a number of notable incidents over the past few days, including a serious stabbing in Rosslyn.

The alleged stabbing took place in the River Place complex around 1 a.m. Friday.

From yesterday’s ACPD crime report:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2022-12020042, 1100 block of Arlington Boulevard. At approximately 1:10 a.m. on December 2, police were dispatched to the report of an assault with a weapon. Upon arrival, officers located the male suspect in his apartment and detained him. The male victim was subsequently located in a separate apartment suffering serious, non-life threatening injuries. He was transported to an area hospital for medical treatment. The investigation revealed the known suspect came to the victim’s apartment and a verbal dispute ensued over a missing cell phone. The suspect then entered the victim’s residence and allegedly stole the victim’s electronics. The victim then went to the suspect’s apartment to help locate the missing cell phone. While inside the apartment, the suspect allegedly assaulted the victim with a knife, causing lacerations. The victim was subsequently able to exit the apartment and yell for help. [The suspect], 48, of Arlington, Va., was arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding, Abduction and Grand Larceny.

Over the weekend, a group of 3-4 suspects rummaged through cars in several locations in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood, near Pentagon City.

They ended up successfully fleeing from arriving officers in cars stolen from Fairfax County and from Arlington’s Lyon Park neighborhood, according to the crime report.

“The investigation is ongoing,” said ACPD.

VEHICLE TAMPERING (Series), 2022-12040058/12040064/12040068/12040078, 2600 block of S. Lynn Street, 1000 block of 21st Street S., 1000 block of 16th Street, 900 block of N. Cleveland Street. At approximately 6:41 a.m. on December 4, police were dispatched to the report of a vehicle tampering in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined the witness allegedly observed three unknown male suspects attempting to open the doors of parked, unoccupied vehicles. The witness yelled at the suspects and they fled the scene in a dark colored sedan. In total, approximately seven vehicles were determined to have been entered and nothing of value was reported stolen at the time of the report. At approximately 7:10 a.m., police were dispatched to the report of a vehicle tampering in the 1000 block of 16th Street S. While enroute, responding officers observed two vehicles flee the scene at a high rate of speed. The vehicles were later determined to have been stolen out of Fairfax County and one stolen out of the 900 block of N. Cleveland Street described as a black Honda Civic with Virginia License Plate: UBV8712. Five additional vehicles were determined to have been entered and rummaged through.

In today’s crime report, five teens — one adult and four juveniles — are expected to face charges after allegedly breaking into a home in Lyon Park, just south of Clarendon.

The incident happened late Monday morning. Residents of the home were away at the time but saw the break-in happening on a video surveillance system, according to scanner traffic.

More from ACPD:

UNLAWFUL ENTRY, 2022-12050077, 700 block of N. Edgewood Street. At approximately 11:37 a.m. on December 5, police were dispatched to the report of a burglary in progress. Upon arrival, officers established a perimeter and took an adult male suspect into custody as he exited the home. Officers then observed additional suspects inside the home, gave them commands to exit and took four juveniles into custody. [A suspect], 18, of Alexandria, Va. was arrested and charged with Unlawful Entry and Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor. He was held on a $1,000 bond. Petitions were sought for the four juvenile suspects for Unlawful Entry.

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Employees at the Courthouse Starbucks went on strike in November (staff photo)

(Updated at 2:25 p.m.) A major rally is being planned for later this week in front of the county government headquarters, in a show of solidarity with recently-unionized Starbucks employees.

The president of the AFL-CIO and Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) are both expected to attend, among others.

The rally is one of ten across the county, organized as part of a National Day of Action by Starbucks Workers United. It’s set for this Friday, Dec. 9, at 5 p.m. outside of the Bozman Government Center at 2100 Clarendon Blvd.

Workers at the nearby Courthouse Starbucks who voted to unionize last month and went on strike a week later.

Organizers say Liz Shuler the president of the AFL-CIO, the largest federation of unions in the country, will be there and speaking. Plus, a number of state and local elected officials are planning to attend, including Beyer, State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-30), and Del. Alfonso Lopez (D- 49).

Several County Board members are also expected to attend, including Christian Dorsey, Matt de Ferranti, and Takis Karantonis.

Speeches are planned from Shuler, Beyer, and several regional union leaders — including Arlington and Fairfax County teachers union presidents, who will say they will be rejecting Starbucks gift cards as holiday presents for this year in protest.

This “Day of Action” is also meant to ask Starbucks to stop “bullying” unionized employees and to highlight its workers’ right to organize.

“The purpose of the Day of Action is for the entire community to tell Starbucks to stop its union-busting and respect its workers’ right to organize,” says a press release.

Dec. 9 marks the one-year anniversary of the first Starbucks union election victory in Buffalo, New York. Since then more than 260 stores have voted to unionize, involving more than 7,000 workers.

Over the last year, the coffee behemoth has been hit with hundreds of unfair labor practice charges, including retaliatory firings, closing union stores, and withholding benefits from employees. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is investigating more than 300 of these accusations.

On Nov. 9, Starbucks employees at the Courthouse Plaza location voted to unionize and join Starbucks Workers United. It was the second D.C.-area Starbucks to do so. Union members told ARLnow at the time they were seeking better pay, more consistent hours, and uniformly enforced rules and regulations.

Employees went on strike shortly thereafter.

“Starbucks has been dragging its feet coming to the negotiation table,” employee and union member Sam Dukore said at the time. “And even when they do, their lawyers stand up after like a minute and a half or so and just leave. And that is not negotiating in good faith.”

Since the strike several weeks ago, “the company is still not coming to the bargaining table” a union spokesperson told ARLnow.

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Arlington County planners say designs for the Days Inn redevelopment on Route 50 don’t pay sufficient homage to the motel’s mid-century modern bones.

Applicant and owner Nayan Patel — doing business as Arlington Boulevard LLC — proposes to replace the 128-unit, 2-story motel across the street from the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall with apartments and 3,000 square feet of retail.

Possible community benefits include a slow-speed, shared-use drive that provides a pedestrian and cycling connection to the Arlington Blvd Trail, protected bike lanes and on-site committed affordable housing units. Residents of the the 251-unit, 8-story building at 2201 Arlington Blvd will have access to an off-leash dog run.

The Arva Apartments will borrow its name from the 67-year-old building’s original name, the Arva Motor Hotel — a portmanteau of Arlington, Virginia. It will feature reconstructions of the hotel’s triangular sign and glassy lobby exterior.

But the county says the project designers, STUDIOS Architects, can do more to emphasize this history.

The Pershing Drive General Land Use Plan study, a 2021 document that outlines the community’s vision for this site, says architectural features should honor the motel’s mid-century design or the history of the adjacent Washington-Lee Apartments. It also says the developer should incorporate the existing triangular sign and the two-story, glassy lobby at the corner of Pershing Drive and Arlington Blvd.

The motel was formerly the Arva Motor Hotel, a portmanteau of Arlington, Virginia

“While the proposal incorporates a recreated sign and a lobby area that resembles the original lobby, the structures themselves are not actually preserved,” county planner Peter Schulz said in a presentation. “Staff also believes that the architecture above the ground level does not do enough to honor either the mid-century design of the existing motel or the historic Washington-Lee apartments.”

STUDIOS Architecture Principal Ashton Allan said in a presentation that the designs embrace the Moderne and mid-century modern styles and blends them with other styles in Lyon Park to do something new.

“As we set out to add our design to this collection, we wanted to draw inspiration from history, but also make our own statement in this chorus of voices,” he said.

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Morning Notes

Rainy day in Rosslyn (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Search for Next Circuit Court Judge — “The Arlington County Bar Association’s judicial-selection committee is gearing up for a Dec. 22 nominating-committee meeting to propose a successor to Circuit Court Chief Judge William Newman Jr., who will retire next year. The committee will accept applications through Dec. 8, then interview candidates.” [Sun Gazette]

Va. Electric Vehicle Charger Stats — “Virginia is slightly trailing the national average when it comes to electric-vehicle-charging stations, but take California out of the mix, and the Old Dominion moves closer to the top. The analysis by CoPilot found that Virginia has a total of 3,301 electric-vehicle chargers, or 38.4 for every 100,000 residents, compared to 39 nationally. Out of all states, Virginia has the 15th most EV chargers per capita.” [Sun Gazette]

It’s Tuesday — Rain throughout the day. High of 53 and low of 37. Sunrise at 7:14 am and sunset at 4:48 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Leaf collection in Westover (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

After a slight weather delay, the second leaf collection pass will start tomorrow (Tuesday).

Arlington County initially posted the second vacuuming could start on Saturday, Dec. 3. Despite the delay, the county aims to finish sucking up dead leaves before Christmas.

“Collection is currently a day or two behind because of recent winds and rain prompting heavy leaf fall but that’s not uncommon and the schedule has some built-in flexibility,” Department of Environmental Services spokesman Peter Golkin. “The end target of Dec. 21 remains on schedule.”

Routes are run Monday through Saturday, according to the county website. Residents can see when their neighborhood is scheduled for services online and can reference an interactive map to track the department’s progress.

Roughly 2,500 tons of leaves were collected during the first pass, which wrapped up Saturday, the DES spokesman says.

“That’s more leaves than the total 2,736 tons for all of last year but less than the 5,706 total tons picked up for all 2020 and the 6,696 total tons in 2019,” he said. “Hard numbers from weighing the leaves won’t be in until the vacuum second pass schedule is completed the second-to-last week of December.”

This year, Arlington County started leaf collection on Nov. 14, a week after last year’s scheduled start, potentially meaning an extra week for curbside leaf piles to get large and soggy.

In response to the change, more than a third of readers said that was too late, according to an unscientific ARLnow poll. On the other hand, a majority said the later start wasn’t a problem: 38% said the current schedule is fine and about a quarter said it should start later.

It appears the later start,  determined by Solid Waste Bureau chief Erik Grabowsky and his team of “tree whisperers,” was not a problem for crews.

“As we say on the website, they use ‘historic data, tree types and density, weather forecasts, state forestry forecasts and resident feedback’ to set the schedule and it works out well,” Golkin said.

DES provided these leaf tips for residents preparing for collection:

  • Leaves need to be waiting at the curb by the date on the orange signs posted throughout each neighborhood and the first date, NOT the end date, for each neighborhood on the schedule
  • Leaves can also go in the green curbside cart (along with food scraps) and paper bags for year-round weekly collection; never use plastic bags for yard waste because those can’t be composted and won’t be collected
  • Free paper yard waste bags are available while supplies last (maximum of 15 per resident) at several County facilities
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Arlington police car (file photo)

A 39-year-old man is in jail after police say he broke into a woman’s home and sexually assaulted her.

The alleged incident happened Friday around 7 a.m. on the 400 block of N. Piedmont Street, in a garden apartment community southeast of Ballston.

The man was arrested later Friday evening about a block away, following an investigation.

More from an Arlington County police press release:

The Arlington County Police Department is announcing the arrest of a suspect following an investigation into a residential burglary with sexual assault which occurred in the Ashton Heights neighborhood. Geoffrey Harley, 39, of No Fixed Address has been charged with Burglary and is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility. The investigation into the incident is ongoing and additional charges may be sought at a later time.

At approximately 7:07 a.m. on December 2, police were dispatched to the 400 block of N. Piedmont Street for the report of a breaking and entering. Upon arrival, it was determined a male suspect gained entry to the victim’s residence, entered her bedroom and sexually assaulted her before fleeing the scene on foot. During the course of the investigation, officers developed a suspect description and obtained a warrant for his arrest. He was subsequently located and taken into custody without incident on the evening of December 2 in the area of 5th Street N. and N. Piedmont Street.

This remains an active criminal investigation and anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact Detective T. McGuire at 703-228-4173 or [email protected] Information may also be provided to the Arlington County Police Tip Line at [email protected] or anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

The Cadence off of Arlington Blvd in the Buckingham neighborhood (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

An affordable housing complex along Route 50 in the Buckingham neighborhood will officially open tomorrow.

The grand opening of The Cadence (4333 Arlington Blvd) on Tuesday, Dec. 6 caps off just over two years of construction. There will be remarks from project partners and local officials, followed by a ribbon cutting, community tour and reception, per the nonprofit behind the project, Wesley Housing.

Leasing began this fall for the five-story, 97-unit complex replaced the former American Red Cross building. The units are all set aside for households with an income at or below 70% of area median income.

“The community will provide safe, quality, affordable housing for low- to moderate-income working families and individuals just 1.2 miles from the Ballston-MU Metro Station,” Wesley said in a statement. “The community will also have a bus stop on-site.”

In its statement, the housing nonprofit extolled some of the community and architectural features of the project.

“With a striking exterior façade, a multipurpose community room, fitness center, free Wifi, and bold style, The Cadence is sure to complement the rhythm of residents’ lives,” the nonprofit said.

The property management arm of Wesley Housing will manage the community, while the nonprofit’s on-site resident services team will facilitate year-round programs and services.

The grand opening comes just after Wesley announced Kamilah McAfee will replace Wesley’s president and CEO of 15 years, Shelley Murphy. In recent years, the nonprofit has added staff to take on more development projects and provide residential services amid a continuing regional shortage of affordable housing.

Buckingham has a significant number of affordable housing units already, which made the project a source of consternation for some neighbors.

A stone’s throw from the apartments, two single-family homes were torn down and replaced with 19 market-rate townhouses. Wesley sold the land for the townhouses to Tysons-based home builder Madison Homes to help finance the affordable housing project, which also received state and county funding, loans and tax credits.

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