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Planned Redevelopment Will Demolish Watergate Garage

by ARLnow.com | August 26, 2013 at 2:45 pm | 21,463 views | No Comments

(Updated at 4:10 p.m.) The Arlington, Va. parking garage that played a pivotal role in the Watergate scandal is set to be demolished as part of a redevelopment.

Monday Properties plans to tear down two aging office buildings, at 1401 Wilson Blvd and 1400 Key Blvd in the Rosslyn neighborhood, to make way for a new mixed use development. Before any construction can take place, however, the proposed redevelopment will go through Arlington’s site plan process, which usually takes 1-4 years.

The parking garage below the buildings will be a casualty of the eventual redevelopment. Forty years ago, Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward met a source dubbed “Deep Throat” — later revealed to be FBI official Mark Felt — in the garage, which was chosen because it was considered an “anonymous secure location.” The information Felt passed on to Woodward helped expose the Watergate scandal, which led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974.

A permanent historical marker outside the garage, erected by Arlington County, marks the location. Monday Properties says it expects the marker to stay even after the garage is removed.

“We obviously view the whole Watergate situation as a significant event in the history of our country,” said Monday Properties Chief Development Officer Tim Helmig. “It would be our hope that we preserve that plaque and incorporate it in our redevelopment.”

The marker will likely be removed and stored during the redevelopment, said Cynthia Liccese-Torres, Acting Historic Preservation Program Coordinator for Arlington County.

“Ideally we would want to put the marker back up again when the development is all finished,” she said.

The garage, built in the early 1960s, is nearing the end of its useful life, Helmig noted. Nonetheless, he said the company is receptive to ideas for preserving some part of the garage’s history.

“That will likely come into the discussion as part of the [site plan] process,” he said. “That’s exactly what the process is designed for.”

Monday plans to replace the older buildings with a 32-story apartment or condo building and a 29-story office building. In total, the buildings will have 500,000 square feet of office space, 385,000 square feet of residential space, and 60,000 square feet of retail space, including a planned full-service grocery store, according to Helmig. About half of the land will be used as a public open space. (See photos, above.)

So far, there’s no word on when Monday, which is still actively trying to find tenants for its massive 1812 N. Moore Street skyscraper in Rosslyn, would actually move forward with the demolition and subsequent construction, if and when it receives county approval.

“There’s not really a set timeframe,” Helmig said. “We are really in the early stages. We have a lot of process and community input to go before our project comes to fruition.”

“We’re excited about our application,” he added. “It certainly meets the goals and objectives of the Rosslyn Sector Plan.”

Arlington County’s Site Plan Review Committee is scheduled to hold a meeting about the development proposal on Monday, Oct. 21.

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