After just one month of the start of construction work on this summer’s Metro’s three-year Platform Improvement Project, WMATA announced plans to restore Silver Line service and open six stations in Fairfax County on Sunday, Aug. 16—weeks earlier than originally planned.
Since starting work on the deteriorating station platforms on May 23, crews have been able to make significant progress as ridership remained extremely low due to the coronavirus pandemic, giving them full access to the stations that needed repair, WMATA stated in a press release this month. Currently, Metro ridership continues to be down about 90% compared to this time last year.
Earlier this year when the coronavirus caused WMATA to shut down the majority of its stations and make changes to its system, the organization took advantage of the historically low ridership, combining Orange Line platform reconstruction and Silver Line signal integration into a multi-month shutdown of nine stations west of Ballston. Now, crew members are on track to open Silver Line stations—McLean, Tysons Corner, Greensboro, Spring Hill and Wiehle-Reston East—plus one Orange Line station, West Falls Church, in August. If Metro continues its work at this current pace, the remaining three west-of-Ballston stations—Vienna, Dunn Loring and East Falls Church—would open around Labor Day.
“We appreciate the patience of our customers and the business community as we have worked to complete these projects as quickly and safely as possible,” said Metro Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Wiedefeld in a statement. “By combining the schedules of our two biggest capital priorities in Virginia during a time of historically low ridership, we believe we have positioned Metro and the region for a strong recovery.”
Come summer, after a few months of social distancing and at-home isolation, Northern Virginia residents are going to be more than ready for a getaway. And you’re in luck, as the historic, Irvington-based Tides Inn has recently unveiled the result of its multimillion-dollar renovation, set to open to the public at the end of May.
The waterside resort refined all aspects of the space, refreshing its 66 guestrooms, adding four luxury suites, inputting new equipment into the fitness center and elevating the public spaces for guests.
Last year, the Tides Inn debuted coastal eatery Fish Hawk Oyster Bar, and plans to showcase several other changes to its dining experiences this season, including an outdoor terrace with tableside cocktail service at its Chesapeake Restaurant, as well as interactive programming and cooking classes led by executive chef Alex Pasco. Plus, one of the original rooms from 1947 has since been redesigned into an elegant bar space overlooking the water.
Throughout its 73 years, the Tides Inn has prided itself on delivering experiences to new and repeat guests, which have since been updated as a nod to Virginia’s artisan community and the resort’s history. This summer, guests can choose from a variety of programs and activities to participate in, such as the addition of a fleet of bikes available for complimentary use, a new maker space for artistic programming—think pottery wheels and literary events—a premier sailing school and more.
While currently set to reopen for the 2020 season on Thursday, May 21, this date may change as the nation continues to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus. // Tides Inn: 480 King Carter Drive, Irvington
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After nearly two years since it was first proposed, Prince William County is on track to build a new elementary school on part Rosemount Lewis Park’s land.
Located in Manassas and scheduled to open in 2022, the long-planned elementary school, with the proposed title of Rosemount-Lewis Elementary, is part of the county’s efforts to alleviate school overcrowding within the designated school zone.
The existing park is located at 11000 Crestwood Drive and will remain intact following construction, however 12.4 acres of the county land (as well as 18 separate, adjacent acres) will be allotted to the new school. In its entirety, according to Prince William County Public Schools, the multistory building will consist of 105,000 square feet, with the intention of accommodating 924 students.
According to documents from Prince William County Public Schools, three-storied Rosemount-Lewis Elementary will be split into grade houses, with kindergarten on the first floor, primary on the second and intermediate classrooms on the third. As for design elements of the proposed space, there will be a media center located on the second floor for centralized access, a “learning stair” containing a tiered seating area and extended learning rooms found in each grade house designated for small group collaboration or project work.
To accommodate traffic, the school division has proposed a single entrance, and it is also considering the addition of a possible left-turn lane on Crestwood Drive and a right-turn lane on Ashton Avenue. With the addition of Rosemount-Lewis Elementary, set to open in September 2022, overcrowding would be mitigated for at least five elementary schools in the region.// 11000 Crestwood Drive and 8200 Ashton Ave., Manassas
As a homeowner, the internet is flush with information about buying, selling, designing or building a home. You can watch YouTube videos, join Facebook groups or even follow your favorite HGTV celebs on Twitter, but what about really putting yourself to work?
Arlington Public Schools offers adult-level courses for homeowners of all ages and experience levels. You can learn how to go about buying your first home, how to invest, flip and hold properties, or even how to build the foundation to your house.
Find upcoming spring courses below. All registration is available online, and spots fill up fast, so be sure to get your seats soon.
Introduction to Homeowner Masonry Saturday, April 18, 10 a.m. Doing your own housework may seem impossible, but if you’re truly interested in learning to lay your own pavement, bricks and more, this introductory course will give you the confidence you need. Learn to create your own backyard patio, build block foundations or install brick veneer. // Career Center: 816 S. Walter Reed Drive, Arlington; $109 Arlington resident, $119 non-resident
Furniture Repair and Refinishing Wednesday, April 22, 7 p.m. If antique shopping is your forte, it may be time to try to refinish all of that cool furniture you’ve collected, or bypassed because it was too chipped, dented or broken. Bring your own projects to this hands-on course and you’ll learn how to repair, color, finish and more. // Career Center: 816 S. Walter Reed Drive, Arlington; $219 Arlington resident, $239 non-resident
Designing a Purposeful Garden Space Thursday, April 23, 6:30 p.m. The warmer temperatures are on their way and you can’t wait to enjoy your outdoor space. But if it’s time for a revamp, including a potential fire pit, gorgeous flowers or just a spruce for the new season, this workshop will help you bring your ideal outdoor space to life. // Syphax Education Center: 2110 Washington Blvd., Arlington; $89 Arlington resident, $99 non-resident
Over 55 Housing Decisions Saturday, April 25, 9 a.m. It’s not quite simple enough just to tell your friends and family that you want to downsize. When it comes to making your next decision on where to move and what to do in your retirement years, you might need some help. From finding living communities to moving closer to family, find out what’s best for you at this local course. // Syphax Education Center: 2110 Washington Blvd., Arlington; $69 Arlington resident, $79 non-resident
Two-Hour Homebuying Workshop Saturday, April 25, noon Buying a home is a long process, from the time you put up the for sale sign, to the day you sign the final contract. At this course, gather with individuals of all buying experience levels and learn the best practices and procedures for homebuying in the DMV. // Syphax Education Center: 2110 Washington Blvd., Arlington; $69 Arlington resident, $79 non-resident
Invest, Flip or Hold Income Properties Saturday, May 2, 9 a.m. So you’ve seen Flip or Flop, and now you’re interested in investing in your own income properties. To truly learn the ins and outs of the process, including remodeling, financing and more, attend this local workshop to find out if the practice is right for you. // Syphax Education Center: 2110 Washington Blvd., Arlington; $59 Arlington resident, $69 non-resident
Understanding Your Home: How to Spot, Correct & Avoid Defects & Keep Everything Running Thursday, May 14, 7 p.m. This may just be the be-all end-all of home classes, so you should consider booking your spot if you’re looking for the best way to learn how to identify structural, mechanical and cosmetic defects in new and old homes. Not only will it make you a better homeowner by having a basic understanding of your house and its potential flaws, but will also provide additional information on construction, trade practices and environmental factors. // Career Center: 816 S. Walter Reed Drive, Arlington; $59 Arlington resident, $69 non-resident
Hardwood Flooring – Installation and Maintenance Thursday, May 21, 7 p.m. No more vinyl flooring in your fixer-upper, it’s time to install your own hardwood flooring. Learn from an experienced local installer how to get the tools, materials and techniques to recreate the flooring in your home, as well as a few tricks of the trade to really get you through the project. // Career Center: 816 S. Walter Reed Drive, Arlington; $59 Arlington resident, $69 non-resident
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Older adults of Northern Virginia may soon have a luxury living option available in the city of Alexandria, following review from the City Planning Commission next month.
The proposed Aspire Alexandria—formerly labeled as Aspire at Old Town North—is a 133-unit, six-story, resort-style apartment community for local seniors located several blocks from the Braddock Road Metro Station.
Within the complex, residents will have access to a wide array of amenities, including a spa with hair and nail service, a fitness center with senior-focused equipment and meeting rooms for private gatherings or dinners of up to 10-12 people. Residents will also have the opportunity to participate in daily curated programming, such as fitness classes and game nights.
The developer of the project, Arlington-based Bonaventure Realty Group, specializes in developing senior housing communities of similar stature throughout Virginia.
“Alexandria provides a convenient location for seniors to live near their family and friends while having quick access to Alexandria’s vibrant retail neighborhood and the historic, cultural, and entertainment offerings of Washington D.C.,” says Samantha Tricoli, the director of senior living for Bonaventure.
In addition to resident-only features, the ground level of the apartment community will be home to a 4,550-square-foot restaurant available to the public.
Updated plans for Aspire Alexandria are set to be approved by the City Planning Commission on Feb. 4, followed by an expected consideration by the City Council on Feb. 22, according to Bonaventure Vice President of Investments, Jeremy Moss. If approved, the apartment complex would take the space of Tony’s Auto Service, which has been at the location of 1112 First St. in Alexandria for more than 70 years.
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Arlington County is home to a variety of neighborhoods that have their own variants of population and personality, ultimately impacting the overall look and feel of each one. And while new homes, business-focused buildings and apartment complexes pop up all the time throughout the region, only a select few are recognized for their design.
This December, five projects were honored in Arlington County’s biennial DESIGNArlington Awards for excellence and architectural diversity, ranging from a cemetery to a school.
To be considered for the Award of Excellence, projects must have been in existence since 2000 and fall into seven categories: residential, commercial, open space, sustainable design, historic preservation, institutional or public art. After submissions are collected, a panel of distinguished judges with design experience vote for the best projects.
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While 13 total sites were recognized, below we share the details of the five projects that were given Awards of Excellence in 2019.
What: In 2019, the first expansion of the Arlington National Cemetery in 40 years was officially completed. The Millennium Project added approximately 27 acres and an additional 56,000 burial spaces in and above ground for those who have actively served in the United States military. Owner: U.S. Department of the Army Architect: Jacobs Design and Construction Manager: Jacobs
What: While the Ballston Common Mall opened in 1951, the entire complex received a complete renovation and name change to become Ballston Quarter this past year. The building—now consisting of a 23-story, mixed-use tower and open-air layout—is home to a food hall, high-end dining options, shopping and entertainment for the local community. Owner: Brookfield Properties, QIC Architect: CallisonRTKL Contractor: Clark Construction Group
What: In 2014, the Arlington County School Board approved the construction of a new school on the property of 1601 Wilson Boulevard, and this past September, it officially opened for local students. The building is a five-story urban school, equipped with outdoor classrooms, advanced technology and several other amenities that go above and beyond in terms of design. Owner: Arlington Public Schools Architect: Leo A. Daly Contractor: Gilbane Building Company
What: The Manifold House, located in the Clarendon neighborhood, is inspired by one couple’s passion for repairing small-scale engineering parts. It has been recognized by the Northern Virginia Design Awards for its intricately detailed structural frame, weathered steel louvers and overall uniqueness. Within the home, there is a family room, dining room and kitchen on the first floor, as well as a master suite and two bedrooms on the top floor, plus rooftop access. Owner: Heather and Billy Buck Architect: David Jameson Contractor: Sagatov Design + Build
What: This past year, home owner Greg Rubio completed a two-story rear exterior addition to his own home in Arlington, pairing modern design with a classic, 1940s base. The new addition is curved with extended window paneling, glass block and nautical elements. Owner: Greg Rubio Architect: DW Ricks Architects Contractor: Ralph Carder Company
A 1.35 million-square-foot development project near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station has been recommended for approval by the Fairfax County Planning Commission, leaving the final decision up to the board of supervisors on Tuesday, Oct. 15.
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The initial proposal was submitted in April of 2017 and since then, the applicant—New York-based development company TF Cornerstone—and Fairfax County have revised the project proposal to better balance overall design, transportation improvements and residential and non-residential use, according to a recent county addendum. The entire project is designed by architect Cunningham Quill and landscape architect LandDesign Inc.
The mixed-use property, entitled Campus Commons, consists of two existing six-story office buildings that will remain part of the development, as well as the addition of two residential buildings and one new office space. Between the two residential sites, there will be a total of 655 dwelling units available.
While 59% of the property will be residential, 41% will go toward office space and retail. At the private residences, amenities will include a rooftop pool, cabanas, outdoor grills, a dog run and several other recreation areas. As for the nearby offices, there will be outdoor work spaces available, as well as event and meeting space within the buildings.
The site also includes five publicly accessible park spaces integrated into the design, each serving a different purpose, such as a public art space and sports recreation.
According to the Sept. 25 county meeting document, “The Wiehle Station TOD District is envisioned to evolve into an educationally focused urban neighborhood with residential areas that are well-connected to transit via multiple new pedestrian-oriented streets.”
This piece will be updated following the Tuesday, Oct. 15 meeting held by the county’s board of supervisors.
Pack up your floor plans and write down your questions, you’re headed to the right place.
The Log & Timber Home Show is coming to Chantilly from Oct. 25 to 27, and is prepared to get every attendee face time with local vendors, problem solvers and construction professionals in order to make your planned wood home a reality.
Attendees can peruse the showroom for ideas, or attend expert workshops that can assist any newcomer through the process of building a custom home. Workshop topics and supporters have yet to be announced, and vendors are all within the local area.
Areas of focus include log home builders and manufacturers, log home maintenance, timber frame home builders, log home maintenance, rustic furniture designers, home remodeling and more.
If attendees would like to take their knowledge to the next level, the event is offering a Log & Timber Home University Course ($95 per person, $129 per couple), which is a half-day course held on Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. that is designed to address your concerns, prepare you for decision making and offer unbiased advice about log, timber frame, hybrid or custom home building. // Dulles Expo Center: 4320 Chantilly Shopping Center, Chantilly; Oct. 25-27, 1-4 p.m.; $15-$188, free admission with military ID
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It’s summertime, which means everyone has one thought: let’s jump in the pool. While there are plenty of public pools in the region, many people prefer to have a familiar outdoor environment, perfect for lounging in the day and entertaining guests at night, whether that be at your home or your next door neighbor’s. But have you ever thought about the process that goes into building your favorite summer hangout? Here, owner of State of the Art Landscape in Loudoun County Greg Powell, tells us exactly what it’s like.
First, talk to me about your company and why it’s unique. I worked for design firms in Philly and this area since 2002, where swimming pools were usually part of that. Unfortunately, most pool companies don’t really have a design team, so in 2010 I went out on my own and started a design-build firm. About a year or two after that, we started building pools internally. Usually, landscape design firms don’t build their own pools, they contract a company or refer a pool company to the homeowner, and then they build the environment around it. We do it all ourselves.
What do you usually see when people come to you for a new pool and how do you create that? It’s a fairly typical design process, in that the client has usually seen something at a vacation spot, resort or friends home—that’s usually the catalyst that gets them started. Or, they are looking for a pool for their kids. I would say that 90% of the conversations around the swimming pool designs have nothing to do with the features. It has to do with the shapes, having a cover, all that. It used to be that you had to build a fence no matter what to keep people out or for safety issues, etc. But with the new regulations, an automatic pool cover can be put in without having a fence around the property. So, to build an automatic cover on a pool, it has to be a rectangle or a square.
I would say at this point, one in 10 pools are not rectangles, they have an organic shape. When you go in, it’s not, “I want curvy lagoons,” it’s not like that at all anymore. It all has to do with the fence. So now it’s all about, how do we make a rectangle look fun, attractive, natural and all that. So that’s step one.
Then we do budgeting so the client understands what level of magnitude their getting into followed by a 3D design, which is all extremely interactive. We can make live changes in meetings, we can change the materials and make the house in the background look just like their house. We can even show them exactly where the sun will be on a given day. Then we present the idea and an updated budget, and then we try to get them engaged on the design. It typically takes about two to three weeks.
What is unique about designing a swimming pool here in Northern Virginia? I would say mostly that it’s trying to expand the shoulder seasons, meaning the beginning and end of swimming season. We try to expand those so clients can get five months of swimming instead of spending $2,000 to $3,000 to get 90 days—it’s not worth the investment. We try to create environments—like darker interiors so it heats up better in the sun, creating a sunnier atmosphere—trying to get as much time as we can out of the pool. And then it’s wrapping the rest of the outdoor environment in. People here want water, fire and cooking. Then we move to light and sound, whether they want colored lighting outside, etc.
Is there a trend in this area that you’ve noticed people tend to want? Everyone wants an outdoor kitchen or a fire feature, it seems universal. Everyone wants the ability to cook at a station where friends and family can join around, so the chef isn’t isolated in the corner. We also do a lot of shade structures, people like to have the pool in the sun but also like to be hanging in the shade with the fans. Everyone is looking for either some type of fire, cooking or both.
When is the best time to build a pool? The best time to call is late summer or early fall to start the process so we can construct it and have you swimming the following summer season. A swimming pool process can take a while based on the county. Fairfax, for example, is sometimes a minimum of 90 days just to apply for the permit.
What is the biggest challenge you face in this industry? The biggest challenge is having everybody’s goals and wishes fit into a budget for them to afford. Especially in this area, they are usually moving from other areas. We don’t find a whole lot of native Northern Virginia people, they tend to come from warmer areas so they are surprised by the price. Here, you don’t usually get a really nice pool for under $100,000. A typical pool for us with nice finishes is around $100,000 and then when you add the other elements of walls, landscaping and that type of stuff, you’re north of $200,000. Now that we have the 3D, we can really show everyone what they’re going to get. We are looking for, “Oh ,I love that,” or the, “Oh, I hate that.”
If you could design your ideal swimming pool, how would you go about it and why? For me, I have young children. It would definitely be a rectangle with an automatic cover, it would have an infinity edge on the long side of the pool. The reason is because they are extremely fun to build and be in. You get the sound, the safety of the automatic cover; it kind of pulls everything together. And then I would get color-changing LED lights in there, some water play with waterfalls, all that.
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