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This blog focuses on real estate, land use and construction-related topics affecting Virginia and the Washington, D.C. metro area. With topics ranging from contract drafting and negotiation to local and regional land use project updates, the attorneys at Bean, Kinney & Korman provide timely insight and commentary on the issues affecting owners, builders, developers, contractors, subcontractors and other players in the industry. If you are interested in having us cover a specific topic, please let us know.

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September 28, 2010
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Arby's RichmondOn the return trip from visiting my brother and his family in North Carolina this weekend, we randomly stopped at an Arby's off I-95.  We were greeted by not just surprisingly good food in a suprisingly clean spot, but also a surprise thought exercise in food, sustainability and the potential for market change.

September 22, 2010
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We are hosting a seminar on the Benefits, Costs and Risks of Green Building.  The class is run through the AIA Northern Virginia as a 3-hour workshop on sustainable projects, examining timely topics including cost/benefit issues, public and private regulations and markets, and potential legal risks. This workshop offers 3 HSW/SD LUs for those interested in AIA continuing education credits.  There is a $30 registration fee (includes Continental breakfast) and pre-paid reservations are required.

September 17, 2010
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We are joined today with a guest post from our colleague, Phil Keating, with a timely report on Arlington County’s newly released Energy Plan issued by the Arlington County Community Energy and Sustainability Task Force. In addition to being Chair of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, Phil is a member of the Task Force and has provided us with some analysis and suggestions:

The Task Force released its draft Energy Plan on September 17, 2010. The plan, truly developed by a group of consultants led by Peter Garforth with input from Task Force members, County Government staff, and other interested parties, is scheduled for a public hearing Thursday, October 21 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Wakefield House School in Arlington. Additional public presentations are scheduled and e-mail comments are being accepted. The schedule for the Task Force contemplates that the Arlington County Board will consider the Energy Plan and move to adopt it in the February to April 2011 time frame.

The Arlington County Board will be deciding whether to approve a series of amendments to Arlington's Comprehensive Plan relating to Crystal City at their hearing at the end of September, after several years of evaluation on how best to react to the loss of approximately 17,000 jobs and over 4 million square feet of occupied office space due to the recommendations of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC).  Specifically, the County Board will decide whether to adopt the new Crystal City Sector Plan 2050, and modify the General Land Use Plan and the Master Transportation Plan.

With Long Bridge Park and the Pentagon to the north, the airport and the river to the east, Aurora Highlands and Pentagon City to the west and Alexandria/Potomac Yards to the South, existing metro and VRE access, Crystal City seems well poised to make a comeback.  Here is an exhibit showing Crystal City's existing conditions.  The plan specifically outlines which sites are expected to be redeveloped, which sites have potential for redevelopment, and which sites are expected to remain for the life of the plan (click here for the comparison). Much like the Tyson's Corner Plan, Crystal City's 260 acres are broken up into proposed "districts" (shown here), including the Northwest Gateway, Northeast Gateway, Central Business, Entertainment, South End and West Side Districts, each with their own respective district-level focus.

July 20, 2010
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ABC-VA HeadquartersAssociated Builders & Contractors Virginia Chapter (ABC-VA) has officially opened its quite impressive new headquarters location.  The building project was managed by J.J. McCarthy as owner's representative, head of its green building committee.  The project featured numerous ABC member contractors and design professionals, including BE&K Building Group as general contractor and Morgan Gick McBeath & Associates, P.C. as architects.

I attended the meeting last Wednesday night regarding the impact of Arlington County's Community Energy Plan on the Arlington development community, held by the County's lead consultant, Peter Garforth, of Garforth International, Jay Fissette, the Chairman of the Arlington County Board, and numerous industry representatives.  I initially blogged about this several months ago (see the post "From Ad Hoc Incentives to a Comprehensive Community Energy Plan") when the Arlington Community Energy and Sustainability Task Force began to develop a forty year energy plan for Arlington County.  It is now unofficially official that the end goal of the task force is to create a new, additional component to the County's Comprehensive Plan to be implemented during the various local land use/special exception processes.  It will therefore have major impacts on the development and capital projects industries, as well as a number of utility companies.

June 24, 2010
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LEED PlatinumThe blogs have been crackling for several weeks with reports and analysis of the LEED "challenge" process.  Chris Cheatham devoted a multiple part series to analyzing the challenge filed and ultimately rejected to the LEED Gold certification awarded to the Northland Pines High School in Wisconsin.  Shari Shapiro has discussed the same and included an interesting interview with the challengers discussing their reasoning for the protest.

Deepwater HorizonFor the first time since we started the blog, I have gotten stuck in place unable to write.  Like everyone, I have watched the oil spewing into the gulf with horror, frustration and a sense of the inevitability of this type of disaster when dealing with extraction and transportation of oil.

TaxLast week, Montgomery County, Maryland passed what has been described as the nation's first local carbon tax.  The tax imposes $5 per ton on any entity that emits more than 1 million tons of carbon dioxide in a single year.  Interestingly, the tax only applies to Mirant Corporation which owns the Dickerson Generating Plant in Montgomery County.  Mirant will reportedly challenge the tax in court.  The county also passed an 85% increase on its energy use tax.

May 17, 2010
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sustainable walmartImproving sustainability does not mean just increasing costs. Indeed, the best thinkers in the sustainability dialogue understand and embrace the need to include economics and profitability into the equation. This is particularly true in the current economic environment.