It’s been coming through Crystal City for the last four years, but at 9:52 AM Sunday the first of 30,000 Marine Corp Marathoners started hearing live music for the first time ever on Crystal Park Drive. The brainchild of BID director Angie Fox, bands played rock, blues, and soul between Mile Markers 21 and 22 for the benefit not only of the athletes but 15,000 spectators (up 25% from last year) who flooded the area for one of the region’s best block parties.
The marathon is a metaphor for Crystal City—that's what it's been running for several years. It now has 5000 residential units, 5500 hotel rooms, 750k SF of retail, and 10M SF of office. 20 months ago PBS pioneered its way in, but BNA brought 1200 employees two months ago, the Consumer Electronics Association bought its own building, the National Cooperative Bank moved in from 1725 I Street downtown, Conservation International came from 1919 M, and both the Council on Foundations and American Management Association migrated from Capitol Hill. And although temporary, one of the hottest arrivals is Arena Stage, which starting December 28 will use the Crystal City Forum while its regular SW venue is being renovated over the next three years.
What is this, Disneyland? Well, yes. We sent Stacey over yesterday to see what Crystal City looks like the day after. Celebrity chef Roberto Donna, left (duh--who else wears a white smock?), whipped up some calamari fritti and caprese salad, making her feel like she was in a magic kingdom. Roberto’s Bebo Trattoria there is doing great, and he’s decided to keep it, but he has just decided to return Galileo to his old DC building in a different form: a 4,000 SF (compared to 10k) all chef’s table restaurant with entrance on L instead of 21st. With him, Vornado/Charles E. Smith’s leasing team (headed by Brendan Owen, right, including Gary Cook, Tod Tailey, Billy Kuntz, Kay Chewning, and Chris Wright) that fills up much of the area with tenants.
And how’s this for an endorsement? After spending 28 years in Georgetown, famed contractor Gerry Sigal, left, said that when someone suggested they move to Crystal City his words were, “What? Crystal City?!” But now with “twice the parking at half the price,” Sigal Construction is glad. Here Kay and Brendan (using us as an excuse to get some more hours off work) join him in front of a sampling of his impressive in-office art collection. 2231 Crystal Dr. is the first LEED rated tenant buildout in Arlington County.
Gerry stands in his office under authentic Brighton Beach train signs that he bought as presents for fellow Brooklyn natives. Being the oenophile that he is, Gerry just got back from a trip to favorite vacation spot Italy last week, where he enjoyed his usual Venetian Pinot Noirs. Hmm, that doesn’t sound very Brooklyn to us.
Above, Brendan shows off the view of the Washington Monument and the Capitol you get from 450k SF of available space at 2121 Crystal Dr—new elevators, lobbies, and garage. By the way, there’s plenty of new residential space, too, like a big new luxury apartment house called the Concord developed by Gould and Abbott.
Rents remain in the $34-40 range full-service v. $40-60 for similar class space in the District. And if you run in the Marathon you’d already be home.