The board voted unanimously on Saturday to approve the complex, which includes a 13-story building and a 6-story building connected via an elevated glass skywalk. The complex will be located on the block currently bordered by Wilson Boulevard, Fairfax Drive, N. Kansas Street and N. Lincoln Street. The block is currently home to small low-rise office buildings and surface parking lots.
The new complex, tentatively dubbed Virginia Square Towers, will include nearly 13,000 square feet of ground floor retail space, 630 underground parking spaces and a central public plaza with benches and a water feature.
Running through the central plaza will be a new cobblestone street, to be labeled 9th Street N. The street will be narrow, with wide sidewalks, so that bicycles and pedestrians will be “privileged” while cars will only be “tolerated.” One of the project’s designers said he envisioned an “active and friendly” street where people would be comfortable “playing stick ball in the middle of the road.”
Developed by the Dittmar Company, the buildings will include six dedicated affordable housing units and are expected to attain LEED Gold green building certification. The complex will also be “district energy ready,” meaning it could utilize heating and cooling from a central neighborhood source, which is consistent with the goals of Arlington’s new Community Energy Plan.
As part of the conditions for approval, Dittmar agreed to pay up to $36,000 for the installation of multi-space parking meters along the project’s frontage, $75,000 for the installation of a new traffic light at N. Kansas Street and Wilson Boulevard, $75,000 for public art in the Virginia Square Metro station area and $2.2 million to the county’s affordable housing fund.
A few residents of the Virginia Square Condominiums, located across Lincoln Street from the new complex, expressed concern about the new building’s rooftop water tower obstructing their view. Other than that, little concern was raised about the project during the meeting’s public comment period.