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Construction on Rosslyn Apartment Tower May Begin This Year

by ARLnow.com — June 11, 2012 at 10:14 am 5,673 67 Comments

The JBG Companies will ask the Arlington County Board this weekend for permission to change the order of its massive Central Place project in Rosslyn.

The project consists of two 390-foot towers — one office tower, one residential tower — both built across from the Rosslyn Metro station, between N. Lynn Street and N. Moore Street. JBG is asking the Board for the option to build the residential tower first, even though the developer’s original site plan called for the office tower to be built first.

The Board is expected to consider a site plan amendment on Saturday that would transfer the community benefits timed to coincide with the office tower construction — including the construction of a public plaza between the two planned buildings, a $3.5 million contribution for the construction of a new Rosslyn Metro entrance, and $5.4 million to the county’s affordable housing fund — to the timeline for the residential tower’s construction, presuming the residential tower is built before the office tower.

According to a staff report, JBG has yet to decide whether to start construction of the office or the residential tower first. Regardless, the developer plans to start construction on at least one of the buildings by the end of this year.

The project has been delayed because JBG “has encountered difficulties financing the construction of both buildings,” the staff report says.

The Central Place residential tower will consist of 350 apartments and will replace what is currently a McDonald’s restaurant and a small park.

  • RK

    Aw man, I love that little park. It’s one of the only nice places to sit outside and eat lunch in Rosslyn.

  • CW

    Interesting if this can be read into as much of an indicator. I’ve heard that financing for all residential projects is still really tight, especially condo projects (not the case here). The reports I read also have folks in the CRE world very bearish on office projects too, especially given the govt office space lockdown. Tough to think about when things are roaring along at the current pace, but it seems everyone is assuming a big slowdown – not really surprising given the politics these days.

    • Elmer

      “Tough to think about when things are roaring along at the current pace, but it seems everyone is assuming a big slowdown – not really surprising given the politics these days.”

      Yes, That’s a good argument for the county to slow down on its own spending and borrowing. This is still a one company town -dependent on federal government hiring, contracting and spending.

      • Corey

        “This is still a one company town -dependent on federal government hiring, contracting and spending.”

        The federal government is at very little risk of shrinking in any serious way.

        • Alex

          The Federal government just exceeded 100% debt-to-GDP and we are reaching a mathematical limit on how much money can be continued to pour in to the economy with new hiring and projects. In addition, the only thing that is supporting that continued spending is artificially low interest rates. If those rates climb, spending will have to be cut just to support the interest on the debt. More importantly, however, is just how much this unprecedented debt will hinder our future economic prospects. Is it really worth it to spend so much money now by borrowing prosperity from tomorrow?

          • Corey

            “The Federal government just exceeded 100% debt-to-GDP and we are reaching a mathematical limit on how much money can be continued to pour in to the economy with new hiring and projects.”

            No, we aren’t.

            “In addition, the only thing that is supporting that continued spending is artificially low interest rates.”

            What makes them “artificial”? The Fed isn’t doing any QE right now. From where I sit, bond markets are assessing sovereign debt and declaring the US to be the best investment available. What’s more, where else can capital go? To equities? To China? To the Eurozone? C’mon.

            “If those rates climb, spending will have to be cut just to support the interest on the debt.”

            Awfully big if.

            “More importantly, however, is just how much this unprecedented debt will hinder our future economic prospects. Is it really worth it to spend so much money now by borrowing prosperity from tomorrow?”

            First, it’s not “unprecedented”. Second, what makes you think that US debt is reaching “dangerous” levels in the short-to-medium term? From where I stand, the economy has more to fear from long-term unemployment and crumbling infrastructure – stuff that’s a problem right now – than the far-off fear of longer-term debt.

          • speonjosh

            Kapow!

          • PrefersLiquiditiy

            there’s nothing artificial about low interest rates at a time when there is little demand for loanable funds due to low aggregate demand. If anything, the zero lower bound artificially keeps rates above their equilibrium level

          • speonjosh

            Shazam!

          • Justin Russo

            The Federal government just exceeded 100% debt-to-GDP

            So what? Japan’s is 229% and they still have one of the highest standards of living on the planet.

          • Southeast Jerome

            AND

            Japan has much lower interest rates than we do

          • speonjosh

            How is this possible?

            Oh yeah, because Japan has *negative* interest rates…..

          • speonjosh

            Zing!

          • CourthouseChris

            Even the poster boy of fiscal restraint and health, Germany, has a debt-to-GDP greater than that (140%).

          • speonjosh

            Blamo!

      • CW

        I don’t disagree with that. But, conversely, I do think that sometimes big capital projects would be warranted to grow the area – and maybe diversify it beyond what you describe.

  • bob

    How about some money to make up for 3 years of construction on the Metro station? Some shade for the bus riders? Water? Cooling?

  • Elmer

    Is anyone the least bit troubled by or even curious about the continuing influence these developers can buy with the county board, i.e., $3,500,000.00 “contribution” for another metro entrance and $5,400,000.00 for the “affordable housing fund” in exchange for ??
    Apparently not..

    • drax

      How is that any different from taxes, really?

      • Elmer

        “How is that any different from taxes, really?”

        You don’t see a difference between taxes which are set after public hearings, are publically budgeted and are mandatory and developer cash “contributions” to gain special benefits for their own private projects.

        • drax

          Approval of development projects is also made after public hearings, and are mandatory.

        • Michael H.

          Metro is not a private project. A 2nd entrance will benefit many residents and workers, not just a few members of the board or their friends.

    • speonjosh

      Not sure what you’re getting at? Are you implying personal financial benefits to board members?

      • Elmer

        No.
        Just curious what the developers get from the county in exchange for the announced $8,900,000.00 in cash and any other “beenies.”
        I wasn’t born under a cabbage leaf.

        • Thes

          They get extra density. It’s very clearly discussed in all the public documents, the public hearings, and the zoning ordinance. No mystery about it.

        • SoMuchForSubtlety

          Elmer – They get additional density, which makes the development more profitable for them even with the community benefits they are required to pay into. Question answered.

      • Thes

        Seems to me that’s what Elmer is implying. The premise we’ve seen in this kind of approach is that the County Board is corrupt, and so we have to figure out what the “bribe” is. First we look for actual in-the-pocket bribes. No evidence of that. Then we look to campaign contributions, and find that Arlington is just about the only place in the US where County Board members don’t accept developer contributions (except when they run for State Senate). So, grasping at straws, the claim is made that offering developers more density in exchange for public improvements like metro station entrances and affordable housing is not really “for” the community, but is rather “for” the members of the County Board. The latest term used for this is “pet projects”.

        It’s a bit like the explanations in 1200 AD for why the planets have these weird curling, looping paths in the sky. Since the premise was that the Earth was as the center of the universe, you had to imagine these weird reasons for those strange paths. Turns out there was a simpler explanation: the Sun is the center of the solar system and all the planets travel in near circular paths around it.

        Likewise, if you drop the *premise* that the County Board is corrupt, you will see that what they are doing is demanding that developers help contribute to a richer community overall, and help out the middle class who wants an affordable apartment, good public schools, accessible transit, diverse parks and recreation etc.. In other words, the County Board is doing exactly what the voters elect them to do.

        • CW

          Yeah, that’s the thing, the people who do the complaining don’t want the County to move forward. They want it to be 1957, where everyone lives in little brick houses (probably built with govnerment money during the War), and all the kids have paper routes and there are car dealerships on every corner. To them, apartment buildings, public transit, the arts, these are all manifestations of corruption. Anything other than white bread and apple pie means we’re going down the tubes.

          • Neutrino

            Nobody wants these things! These are all corrupt pet projects of the board! Real Arlingtonians want to drive from garage to garage to garage (and no damn backyard chickens)!

          • Clarendon

            Probably the same people that complain about the pie being too expensive (regardless of how awesome the pie is).

          • CW

            Idk, that pie was pretty expensive.

          • Mike Hunt

            But this isn’t 1957. You can’t have 1957 pie prices – that would reflect corruption.

        • Smellmer

          I don’t care about facts, I just want to complain that “government is the problem”.

          • speonjosh

            A fat target, to be sure. And about as complex as many people can handle.

          • Elmer

            Its truely amazing what you guys can read into a simple question.

        • Elmer

          “Seems to me that’s what Elmer is implying.”

          Another “mind reader” eh?
          Ask a simple question-get a three paragraph rant.

          • speonjosh

            Try not to be so disingenuous – it’s not becoming on you.

            Were you expecting perhaps “no” as an answer to your open-ended question?

        • Plunkitt of Clarndon Blvd

          Getting pretty close to “outing yourself” here Thes old boy…

    • Clarendon

      Often when I go to visit my folks in Hampton Roads, VA I read about the government paying developers to build a building. I’m pretty happy that here the developers pay.

      http://hamptonroads.com/node/230011

    • Harry

      This is a pretty common practice in urban areas. The local government leverages things like increased density and build height in exchange for community improvements and public spaces.

  • CourthouseChris

    The loss of that McDonald’s is the biggest win here.

    • TryTheTacos

      Especially after To Catch a Predator used it as a location to bust one guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bZHujMc_cI#t=1m13s

      • drax

        I remember that episode. That guy’s the biggest loser ever born. Didn’t notice it was that McDonald’s.

      • http://purple.com/purple.html Captain Pup McPuppo

        i just came to get something to eat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Neutrino

      Wait… what? Screw that. I’m off to protest now.

    • Michael H.

      Didn’t that used to be a Burger King? I don’t go to Rosslyn that often, maybe a few times a year. (Not counting the Metro station.)

      • Eric

        The Burger King (formerly Hardee’s, formerly Roy Rogers) location is where they’ve dug a hole in the ground for the new Metro elevators, which they ad to do before decommissioning the old elevator which runs through several floors of the new office building parking.

  • kevin

    Whats going to happen to the mcdonalds?..

    Only place open late to get drunk food at :)

    • Tre

      The developers should have to pay for a new top of the line Taco Bell to take its place…. Affordable Nutrition Program

      • Benj

        Dude, you have a Taco Bell obsession and need an intervention. I used to like Taco Bell too, and lived next to one when I was in college. Then one day, I saw a delivery with boxes of something called “potted meat product”, and that’s pretty much when I started associating Taco Bell with nausea. Now that you have the knowledge, I can’t help you if you want to keep on eating dog food.

        • CW

          False, Taco Bell is the food of the gods; I worry for your soul.

          • JR

            I doubt the gods like to eat diarrhea

        • drax

          So you don’t eat burgers either, huh Benj?

          Sure you do.

          • Benj

            Not fast food burgers brah – I can honestly say that I pretty much don’t eat that stuff at all anymore.

  • Vinh An Nguyen

    The alleged Harris Teeter would be better in this development, as opposed to the other one it is rumored to be going into.

  • YTK

    Rosslyn is the L.O.U.B. – Land Of Ugly Buildings. So now One More UB is going up? Wheee…whee whee wheeee. As for shade? Sure, it’s there — if you like being shaded by Concrete, with all that heat bouncing off the adjoining walls.

  • DeportEmAll

    I understand the McDonald’s will be replaced.

    • Burger King

      You are correct. It will be replaced by a highrise residential tower of 350 apartments.

  • Stu

    The site is cursed by the ghost of Orleans House.

    • Tom Sarris

      I will cause a salad bar shaped like a steamboat to arise in the lobby of this new building.

      • HighViewPunk

        I will be sorely disappointed if this doesn’t happen.

      • Michael H.

        LOL

  • JohnB

    Looks like a great addition.

  • Mc

    The picture is of the office tower, not the residential tower. Hope this will improve restaurant options in Rosslyn.

  • Eric

    In the original construction order, the new McDonalds was going into the ground floor of the office building before the current McD would be demolished for the residential tower construction. How can Rosslyn survive without a 24 hour McD?

  • http://www.mymatemark.co.uk Bob

    Cooling towers have been most talked about in recent times as they cater to many large scale industrial applications. While setting up a factory for the manufacturing of heavy weight industrial processes, installation of such a tower is a must. These towers are basically heat removal devices that release process waste heat into the atmosphere. The circulating cooling water system within the tower absorbs all the heat from inside and thus contributes towards giving out a cooling effect. This function, compliments its usage in industries such as petroleum refineries, petrochemical and chemical plants, natural gas processing plants and nuclear power plants. Towers such as these enable the saving of time and energy and are a onetime investment so it’s always wise to invest in them from the start up itself. The size of these towers depends upon the different industrial processes; however standard size is 200 meters long, with a width of about 100 meters.

  • karzai

    The residential tower will hopefully add street life/traffic to Rosslyn which still, even after all this development, lacks restaurants and retail and basically closes down at 5 PM (except the southern edges of Rosslyn approaching Courthouse).

    We moved from Rosslyn to Clarendon seven years ago for precisely this reason. Even with all its foibles and quirks and drawbacks, I’ll take my Clarendon over Rosslyn any day….

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