(Updated at 4:25 p.m.) An excavating crew has begun clearing land in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood where a new subdivision will be built. The space at the northeast corner of Washington Blvd and N. George Mason Drive is private property and was one of the few remaining undeveloped pieces of land in the county.
The Department of Environmental Services recently reviewed and approved dividing the property into nine residential lots. This was done as a matter of right, which means the County Board does not have to give approval if the applicant meets all requirements.
During the preliminary review and approval of the subdivision proposal, the applicant, Lacey Lane Land Company, L.C., had to send notification to all adjacent property owners as well as those across the street. The president of the neighborhood’s civic association also had to be notified, along with the neighborhood conservation representative. The notification was to inform neighbors of a possible new development in their area, and to give them a chance to speak with county staff about the proposal.
The developer had to submit design plans for the site to ensure all the development’s infrastructure would be adequately designed and built. As with any public infrastructure to be built and be turned over to the county for operation and maintenance, this one had to be guaranteed by a public improvement performance bond and agreement. The applicant also had to meet requirements in the Zoning Ordinance regarding landscaping regulations and tree removal.
Arlington County Urban Forester Vincent Verweij says the developer was sent a letter suggesting preservation for many of the 150 trees on the land. However, Verweij noted it was only a suggestion because private land owners can cut down whichever trees they choose on their own property once receiving the initial land disturbance permit for the site. He believes the excavators left about five trees on the property.
Verweij believes the remaining trees are too exposed and may be unstable in storms or on windy days.
“I fear they may fall into houses now, because a forest is much stronger than individual trees,” said Verweij. “Most of the support and strength comes from being rooted outward and that’s going to be cut significantly by these houses.”
Under the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance, the developer must preserve, or in this case re-plant, 20 percent of the trees that stood on the site. The county will not award certificates of occupancy for the homes until those standards are met.
Lacey Lane Land Company, L.C. recently applied for a construction permit for one of the homes, which will be built at 1312 N. Evergreen Street. That permit could be approved in about 30 days. The developer will have to apply for individual permits for every additional home and each will have to be reviewed by the county. Currently, there is no estimate on when the subdivision will be completed; it will depend on the developer’s timing for submitting the additional eight permits and beginning construction those houses.
The large-scale PenPlace development proposed for Pentagon City is now going on its 10th Site Plan Review Committee (SPRC) meeting, but the project is expected to reach the Arlington County Board for a vote as soon as May.
Developer Vornado is proposing five buildings for the project: two secure office buildings, two standard office buildings, and one 300-room hotel, on a currently vacant parcel of land along Army Navy Drive, near the Pentagon. The 9.2 acre parcel is large enough that it was once considered as a possible site for the Nationals baseball stadium.
The buildings would be between 16 and 22 stories, and in all, the project would consist of 1.8 million square feet of office space and 25,000 square feet of retail space, mostly along the future extension of 12th Street S. between Eads and Fern Streets.
It appears likely that there will be more SPRC meetings on PenPlace even beyond the 10th meeting, scheduled for Feb. 4. The SPRC will eventually make non-binding recommendations to the Planning Commission, which will then consider and vote on whether to recommend the project for County Board approval. We’re told the Board is likely to take up the matter in May or June.
While actual Pentagon City residents have been relatively quiet about PenPlace, members of the nearby Arlington Ridge Civic Association (ARCA) are among the project’s biggest critics. The project is not within the civic association’s boundaries, but residents there have circulated petitions, held meetings and posted flyers listing various objections to the project.
ARCA’s compaints include building height (nearly 300 feet); the proposed number of parking spaces (2,235) and the potential for increased traffic; a lack of public open space and insufficient community benefits; and the security measures necessary for the secure office buildings.
“Build a community not a compound,” said an ARCA presentation given on Nov. 15, 2012. Project critics say the secure office buildings will prevent full “activation” of the area for public use. They call for reducing the number of secure office buildings in the project to one, and placing that building along Army Navy Drive instead of the middle of the parcel.
ARCA has also proposed shorter buildings (<200 feet), replacing an office building with a residential building, and limiting parking. The association is also calling on Vornado to include an acre of contiguous public open space on the site, including a play area for children, recreation ares for adults and a dog park.
Molly Watson, who has been leading ARCA’s opposition to PenPlace, said jokingly at a SPRC meeting in December that she would prefer a baseball stadium to PenPlace as proposed. ARCA fought a proposal in 2003 to build the new Nationals baseball stadium on the current PenPlace parcel, which was vacant at the time and has remained so since.
“I would take the baseball stadium with only 80 games per year” over the traffic PenPlace would generate on a daily basis, she said.
The development of 5.3 million square feet of office, 836,543 square feet of retail and 7,572 residential units in Arlington has been approved by the county but is not yet under construction, according to the 2012 Arlington County Government annual report. That’s up from last year’s annual report, when 4.3 million square feet of office, 813,479 square feet of retail and 5,839 residential units were approved and awaiting construction.
As of Sept. 30, approximately 1 million square feet of office, 150,000 square feet of retail and 1,380 residential units were under construction, up about 50 percent, 70 percent and 20 percent year-over-year, respectively.
The figures are a reflection of continued developer interest in Arlington County, despite economic competition from D.C. and the new Silver Line corridor.
“The increased competition from the Silver Line construction certainly exists, and our team is working diligently to showcase the opportunity that exists in Arlington,” said Arlington Economic Development spokeswoman Cara O’Donnell. “Developers are continuing to plan new and exciting projects in Arlington, and our BizLaunch program works with as many as 3,000 entrepreneurs and small businesses every year.”
Still, some believe that the Silver Line may take some Metro-oriented development away from Arlington, particularly after the first section of the rail line — running from Reston and Tysons to Arlington and D.C. — opens in late 2013 or early 2014.
Most of the projects not yet under construction in Arlington were approved in the past 5 years, although some date back to the 1990s and one dates back to 1981. All told, there is about 40 million square feet of office space in Arlington, plus 43,000 residential units along Metro corridors and 105,000 residential units countywide, based on the county’s 2012 profile.
The developments approved but not yet under construction (as of 11/1/12) include:
- Rosslyn Gateway Phases 1 & 2 — 1901 Ft. Myer Drive — 490,056 sq ft office / 26,376 sq ft retail / 273 residential units / 148 hotel rooms
- Rosslyn Commons Townhouses — 1500 Clarendon Blvd — 25 residential units
- Central Place — 1801 N. Moore Street — 570,549 sq ft office / 44,554 sq ft retail / 374 residential units
- Wakefield Manor — 2025 Fairfax Drive — 188 residential units
- 1919 Clarendon Blvd (Hollywood Video Site) — 1919 Clarendon Blvd — 24,657 sq ft retail / 198 residential units
- The Tellus — 2009 14th Street N. — 10,674 sq ft office / 4,354 sq ft retail / 254 residential units
- Washington View – 2001 Clarendon Blvd — 32,840 sq ft retail / 154 residential units
- NTSA Office Site — 1840 Wilson Blvd — 107,920 sq ft office / 10,000 sq ft retail
- Demar Office Building — 2311 Wilson Blvd — 100,328 sq ft office / 4,906 sq ft retail
- 3001 Washington Blvd (Penzance) – 3001 Washington Blvd — 284,012 sq ft office / 22,479 sq ft retail
- Beacon at Clarendon West (formerly The Waverly) — 1200 N. Irving Street — 18,299 sq ft retail / 195 residential units
- 3901 Fairfax Drive – 3901 Fairfax Drive — 178,131 sq ft office / 3,200 sq ft retail
- Virginia Square Towers – 3440 Fairfax Drive — 12,815 sq ft retail / 540 residential units
- 3803 Fairfax Drive Expansion — 3803 Fairfax Drive — 43,045 sq ft office
- 650 N. Glebe Road (Goodyear Site) — 650 N. Glebe Road — 2,203 sq ft retail / 163 residential units
- Founder’s Square North Office — 707 N. Randolph Street — 418,810 sq ft office / 7,670 sq ft retail
- The Place (Founder’s Square North Residential) — 4000 Wilson Blvd — 9,035 sq ft retail / 256 residential units
- Peck/Staples/AHC Townhouses — 815 N. Woodrow Street — 28 residential units
- The Spire/Fairmont — 4420 Fairfax Drive — 9,200 sq ft retail / 237 residential units
- 1900 Crystal Drive — 1900 Crystal Drive — 719,704 sq ft office / 11,290 sq ft retail
- Boeing Site — 608 S. Ball Street — 453,422 sq ft office
- Potomac Yard Land Bays C & D — 3001 Jefferson Davis Hwy — 1,064,298 sq ft office / 73,696 sq ft retail / 691 residential units
- Lofts at Crystal Houses — 1900 S. Eads Street — 252 residential units
- Crystal City Retail Phase II – 2010 Crystal Drive — 84,034 sq ft office / 92,920 sq ft retail
- Airport Plaza IV — 2600 Crystal Drive — 198 residential units
- Pentagon City PDSP Parcel 3 — 501 15th Street S. — 64,231 sq ft retail / 1,172 residential units / 300 hotel rooms
- Pentagon City PDSP Parcel 1D — 1197 S. Fern Street — 930 residential units / 582 hotel rooms
- The Acadia (Three Metropolitan Park) – 1201 S. Fern Street — 16,345 sq ft retail / 411 residential units
- Pentagon Centre Phases 1-3 – 1201 S. Hayes Street – 776,982 sq ft office / 327,070 sq ft retail / 600 residential units / 250 hotel rooms
- Pike 3400 — 3400 Columbia Pike — 15,443 sq ft retail / 301 residential units
- Axumite Village – 1100 S. Highland Street — 36 residential units
- Columbia Place — 1100 S. Edgewood Street — 2,960 sq ft retail / 22 residential units
- Buckingham Townhomes Village I — 424 N. George Mason Drive — 68 residential units
- Greenbrier Village Phase II — 2251 N. Greenbrier Street — 4 residential units
- 705/707 N. Barton Street – 705 N. Barton Street — 2 residential units
Three aging, affordable garden apartment buildings will be replaced with a new, 12-story residential tower as part of a planned mixed-income development in the Rador-Ft. Myer Heights neighborhood.
Wesley Housing Development Corporation is partnering with Bozzuto to redevelop the five-building, 50-unit Pierce Queen Apartments, built in 1942 and located on the 1600 block of 16th Street N. The developers have proposed to tear down three of the buildings in order to build a new 186-unit apartment tower, while renovating the remaining two garden apartment buildings.
As reported by the Arlington Mercury, however, the county’s Site Plan Review Committee expressed reservations about the project at a meeting on Monday.
SPRC members questioned various aspects of the project’s design and one member said flatly that he was “not comfortable” with the overall design. Members also questioned whether parking fees for market-rate apartments (parking will be free for affordable apartment residents) would send cars onto neighborhood streets seeking free parking.
The project’s McLean-based architect countered that his firm followed the county’s sector plan for the area “almost to the exact T,” the Mercury reported.
The county’s Planning Commission is currently expected to take up the Pierce Queen development in January, with a County Board vote expected in “early 2013.”
The Arlington County Board decided not to make a decision yet on approving a new high-rise apartment building at 1720 S. Eads Street. The developer, Kettler, has asked for more time to work around issues surrounding a part of the building plan.
The site currently houses a post office that was built in 1969 and closed last year when a new post office opened nearby. The Crystal City Sector Plan allows for the site to be rezoned for development into a medium or high density residential building. County staff recommended approving the rezoning, which Board members also favored.
However, county staff was not on board with two other aspects of the redevelopment plan — specialized pavers on the sidewalk near the building entrances and a pool deck on the roof.
The Board would need to approve a special exception for the building height if a rooftop pool were to be added. The plan includes a raised pool deck, a lifeguard room and restrooms. Under the current plan, buildings are allowed a maximum height of 110 feet; the rooftop pool would put the proposed building over the limit by four feet.
“Some say the applicant had a choice to take this into account earlier and they didn’t. They’re getting an awful lot as it is. The flip side is, so who’s bothered by it in the long run?” said Board member Jay Fisette. “It’s a nice amenity on the roof, and all the rest. But the rules are the rules.”
The developer pointed out that the roof area is not rentable space, but merely an amenity. Board member Chris Zimmerman disagreed, saying that technically the developer is asking for an extra floor in the building. He believes that making an exception to the rule would set a precedent, especially considering this would be the first development under the new Crystal City Sector Plan.
“The trouble is that we went through a whole process to develop the plan to establish what the heights would be. And if we make this exception, which it’s clear the ordinance was designed to not allow us to do, then we’d be changing the definition of height throughout the Crystal City plan,” Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman further stated that limiting the amount of space for each building directly controls density, and making changes would have a larger impact on developments and density throughout the county.
As far as the pavers, most of the Board members didn’t oppose the idea. Hynes was the only member not in favor of approving the specialized pavers.
“I walk a lot and these clear paths are very important to me,” said Hynes. “I certainly can support the alternative treatments around the clear zone, which is what the sector plan calls for, but I must say I’m not intrigued by doing it sort of randomly at entrances of buildings.”
As a whole, the Board agreed that the only remaining issue is the rooftop pool.
“I just want to say, apart from this basically one in particular issue that we focused on, I think this is a really nice project,” said Zimmerman.
The Board ultimately granted the developer’s request for the matter to be deferred until the January meeting to allow for more time to examine the concerns surrounding the rooftop pool deck.
The Arlington County Board rebuffed the county’s Planning Commission Saturday afternoon, approving a new apartment development on Lee Highway after a strong showing of public support for the project.
Last month, the Planning Commission voted against the project, which includes a 10-story apartment building and a retail and residential complex that will include a MOM’s Organic Market grocery store. The development will replace the aging Bergmann’s dry cleaning plant, at the corner of Lee Highway and N. Vietch Street, less than half a mile from the Courthouse Metro station. The Planning Commission voted ‘no’ due to concerns about building height and the precedent the project might set for development on Lee Highway.
The Lyon Village Civic Association, which represents residents across Lee Highway from the proposed development, agreed with the Planning Commission. Civic Association President James Lantelme told the Board that the association supports redevelopment of the Bergmann’s site in theory, but couldn’t support a building higher than 6-8 stories.
Lantelme worried that project approval could inspire other developers to propose higher buildings along Lee Highway. He said existing garden apartment buildings and the National Pawnbrokers building at the corner of Lee Highway and Kirkwood Road could be redeveloped in the near future, making the Bergmann’s development “a real live issue right now.”
Lantelme was in the minority at Saturday’s Board meeting, however. More than a dozen residents spoke in favor of the development, 10 stories and all — a fairly rare showing of support at Board meetings where proposals to construct high buildings are usually greeted with a chorus of disapproval from neighbors.
The North Highlands Citizens Association — which represents some 1,800 households and businesses north of Lee Highway, including the Bergmann’s site — voted 70 percent in favor of the project. Residents told the Board that the proposed development, especially the grocery store, is welcome in the neighborhood. Until the recent addition of the now-busy Burger 7 restaurant, the only retail store in North Highlands was a 7-Eleven.
“As a resident in the actual neighborhood, I think the positives would far outweigh the negatives,” said one resident. “High rises are just a fact of modern life in Arlington.”
“I think this will help us become a more cohesive community,” she said. “I would enjoy shopping there. I would enjoy neighbors living there… I love the building, it’s filled with light. This has an aesthetic appeal and a design that contributes to people getting to know each other.”
Anita Machhar, co-president of the North Highlands Citizens Association, criticized the Planning Commission’s stance that the county should produce a comprehensive development plan for Lee Highway before approving the Bergmann’s project.
“It is unfair to hold our community hostage while it takes years for a master plan to be developed,” she said. “We don’t want a rundown dry cleaner as our community landmark.”
Republican activist Robert Atkins, a frequent critic of the county at Board meetings, also spoke in favor of the development, urging the Planning Commission to “return from their parallel universe, return to planet Earth.”
In the end, the County Board voted 5-0 to approve the development.
Arlington County staff are recommending that the County Board approve a proposed mixed-use development for the Bergmann’s Dry Cleaning site on Lee Highway.
Last month, the county’s Planning Commission voted against the project, which includes a 10-story apartment tower. The commission said Arlington should have a development plan in place for Lee Highway before any big, potentially precedent-setting developments are approved.
The Planning Commission’s vote was cheered by some residents, who think the 10-story building is too tall, and jeered by other residents, who like the grocery store component of the development plan (MOM’s Organic Market has signed on to the project) and who think the 1950s era Bergmann’s plant is an “eye sore.”
The development proposes a total of 202 residences, including apartments and row houses, and 13,257 square feet of retail space. In addition to the height of the building, some residents also worried about increased traffic.
While expressing some reservations about building height, county staff said the development is appropriate for the area — located at the corner of Lee Highway and N. Veitch Street, near I-66, 0.4 miles from the Courthouse Metro station — and will benefit the community thanks to its “placemaking” retail and affordable housing components.
“Placemaking involves providing a vibrant space that meets the needs and desires of a community,” said the staff report. “In this instance, the proposed project will provide for a broader mix of uses on a site occupied by a former dry cleaning plant and [vacant] single-family houses. The proposed grocery store and potential ancillary retail space would provide a retail component lacking in this area that residents in the surrounding neighborhoods could easily access on foot or by bicycle.”
While staff said that an 8-story building might be more appropriate for the area in the general, they said 10-stories is appropriate for this specific development.
Staff believes that the proposed height of the East block is appropriate for the site for the following reasons:
- The general area of the proposed site plan, Lee Highway west of Rosslyn and east of Cherrydale, consists largely of medium density apartment and townhouse residential development, with a few pre-World War II frame single family houses dispersed throughout. The general area had been almost entirely rezoned for apartments between the 1940s and 1960s. The tallest apartment building in the vicinity, Potomac Towers (located at 2001 N. Adams Street), was constructed by-right in 1961, and is approximately 90 feet in height and has 10 stories.
- Similarly, the Circle Condominiums constructed in 1964 at 2030 N. Adams St., varies in height from eight (8) stories and 12 stories (due to the sloping grade). Most of the development surrounding the Bergmann’s site is of older garden apartments of generally no more than eight (8) stories, and townhouses of more recent construction (1980s- present) of no more than four stories or 40 feet.
Therefore, for the above reasons staff believes that, in general, the appropriate maximum height in the neighborhood would be no more than eight (8) stories. However, staff can support a building of 10 stories on this particular site, because it is unique within the area for the following reasons:
- The site for the proposed East building is the only location on Lee Highway within a half-mile radius from a Metro Station, outside of East Falls Church and Rosslyn, that is bordered on two sides by a major highway and a major arterial: I-66 and Lee Highway. The site for the proposed 10-story building is located on a full block, separated from other uses by the Interstate 66 right-of-way on the east and north (approximately 230 feet), the Lee Highway right-of-way to the South (150 feet in width including a 45-foot landscaped buffer area acquired as Lee Highway right-of-way but not used), and will be buffered on the west by the retail/mixed use block, transitioning down to the townhouses on the west. Furthermore, the grade at this site is lower than in the immediate vicinity.
- Most of the Lee Highway corridor is more than one-half-mile from the nearest Metro station.
- The applicant is proposing bonus dwelling units for the provision of on-site affordable housing, under the provisions of Section 36.H.7 of the Zoning Ordinance, where the applicant is permitted additional density of up to 25% of the base number of dwelling units, and up to six (6) stories of additional height. The applicant is requesting 33 bonus dwelling units, eight (8) of which will be on-site committed affordable dwelling units, 24% of the total number of bonus units, which is similar to recent site plans, and exceeds the County’s adopted target of 20% of the bonus. Each floor of the 10-story East building has 16 dwelling units. Staff believes the proposed East Building as an eight (8) story building with two (2) stories of bonus height, accommodating the 33 bonus units. Again, it is important to note that 10 stories is the maximum height for apartment buildings, exclusive of possible bonus height, in the “C-O-1.5” Zoning district.
The Arlington County Board is set to vote on a new office building proposed for the Courthouse neighborhood.
The planned 8-story “Clean Technology Center” building at 2311 Wilson Boulevard will replace two small buildings containing three restaurants, including Listrani’s Restaurant and Bar. It will be located next to a 10-story Archstone apartment building and the two-story “Superstar Tickets” office.
County staff is recommending the Board approve the building, after the developer modified its plans to address the concerns of nearby residents.
“The proposed height and mass of the building facing the neighborhood was a major outstanding issue due to the lack of sufficient taper proposed on the north façade of the building, as well as concerns regarding the need and accessibility by the community to a proposed conference center,” staff wrote in a report to the Board. “The applicant has provided a revised design of the north façade that addresses the Planning Commission direction at its September 4, 2012 meeting and County Board’s comments at its October 23, 2012 meeting.”
With an increased taper on the neighborhood-facing side of the building, resulting in a floor area reduction of 4,249 square feet, the structure will now contain about 158,000 square feet of floor space, including 7,842 square feet of retail, 6,800 square feet of childcare, a 2,300 square foot fitness center, and a 2,000 square foot conference center that will be available for community use.
The south (Wilson Boulevard) side of the building will have an all-glass façade.
As part of its application, the developer is agreeing to make a $1.6 million “community facilities contribution” for improvements to the Courthouse Station Metro elevators, and to construct the building to LEED Gold sustainability specifications. The rear of the site will contain a publicly-accessible open space, located between the new building and the parking lot for Key Elementary School.
The Board is expected to consider the site plan for the building at its Saturday meeting. So far, there’s no indication as to when demolition of the existing buildings would start should the site plan be approved.
The family that owns Mario’s Pizza House is selling the 16,000 square foot parcel of land on which Mario’s and the Carvel Ice Cream shop sits. Mario’s has been in business at that location, 3322 Wilson Boulevard, between Clarendon and Virginia Square, since 1958.
The land — much of which sits fallow as a surface parking lot — was originally listed for sale for $3 million. After apparently not finding a buyer at that price, the land is now going up for auction.
“This property is located in one of the only prime development areas remaining in Arlington, VA,” according to the auction website. “It… consists of 3 parcels totaling 16,073 square feet. The 2,400 sf retail building is currently home to Mario’s Pizza and Carvel Ice Cream and produces $12,500 per month in rental income.”
The auction is set to take place on Thursday, Dec. 20, but the winning bidder will not necessarily be allowed to purchase the property.
“This sale is subject to our motivated Seller’s approval,” the auction listing notes.
We’re told that there are still 12-15 years left on the leases for Mario’s and Carvel. (Though owned by the same family, the land owner and the restaurant are separate business entities.) The stores are likely to remain open until the land buyer, if there is one, manages to get a redevelopment plan approved by the county.
One possibility is that a developer might buy this property, then attempt to buy the adjacent Pio-Pio restaurant and Highlander motel properties. That could allow a large high-rise development, given the proximity to the Orange Line. Either way, both Mario’s and Carvel are here to stay, says Mario’s owner Alan Levine.
“Both leases are long term and convey,” Levine told ARLnow.com. “There will be no interruption of operations for either business. It is just time to allow others to put this block together properly for the future and Mario’s and Carvel have first rights to go into any new development.”
Photo courtesy (top) Timothy D. Image (bottom) via Google Maps. Hat tip to various tipsters.
Commission Says No to Lee Hwy Project — The Arlington Planning Commission has voted against a developer’s plan to build a 10-story apartment building and a MOM’s Organic Market grocery store on the current Bergmann’s Dry Cleaner site on Lee Highway. The commission expressed reservations about approving the project when there’s no overarching county development plan for Lee Highway. Some neighborhood residents who supported the development said they were disappointed with the commission’s vote. The County Board will have the final say when they consider the matter on Dec. 8. [Arlington Mercury]
Arlington GOP Still Trying to Stop Streetcar — The Arlington County Republican Committee is trying a new tactic to halt the planned Columbia Pike streetcar. The GOP is asking state lawmakers to pass a measure that would require Arlington County to have a voter referendum before selling bonds to fund the streetcar. [Sun Gazette]
Ballston Bar Crawl to Benefit Sandy — Eight Ballston-area bars are hosting a bar crawl to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy. The bar crawl will start at noon on Saturday at Front Page (4201 Wilson Blvd). The event also includes a poker competition for prizes, like Redskins and Capitals gear. [Clarendon Nights]
Developer Vornado is in negotiations to bring a new Whole Foods grocery store to Pentagon City.
The store would located on the ground floor of Vornado’s planned Metropolitan Park apartment building at the corner of S. Eads Street and 12th Street. The building, currently in the Site Plan Review stage, will replace a dilapidated warehouse and is part of a larger effort to turn 12th Street into a mixed-use commercial corridor.
Vornado’s Metropolitan Park building will the fourth in the overall Metropolitan Park development. The development will also result in an extension of 12th Street between Eads Street and Fern Street. Vornado’s planned, 2 million square foot PenPlace office and hotel development will be located across the future 12th Street, which is now a pedestrian path.
Met Park 4-5, as the Vornado apartment building is being called in planning documents, is expected be up to 22 stories tall, with two connected towers, and will contain just shy of 699 apartments. A 37,000 square foot grocery store space on the ground floor is being incorporated into the building with the express purpose of attracting Whole Foods, though no lease or letter of intent has been signed yet, we’re told.
An official with the Crystal City Business Improvement District told us the organization is “thrilled” with the prospect of bringing Whole Foods to the area. Currently, Whole Foods’ only location is the perpetually-crowded Clarendon store at 2700 Wilson Boulevard.
Developers hope the building plan will go before the County Board at some point mid-2013. No word yet on how long construction would take.
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Friday afternoon for 1776 Wilson Boulevard, one of the county’s newest office buildings.
The $33.5 million office building includes four floors of office space, 30,000 square feet of ground floor retail space, and 231 garage parking spaces. With environmental features like a green vegetated roof, solar panels, electric vehicle chargers and water use reduction systems, developer Skanska USA is seeking LEED Platinum sustainability certification.
The building is located in Rosslyn at the intersection with N. Quinn Street. The project included the construction of a new section of N. Quinn Street to connect Wilson Blvd to Clarendon Blvd.
Attendees at Friday’s ribbon cutting included representatives from Skanska USA, County Board members Jay Fisette and Chris Zimmerman, Rosslyn BID Executive Director Cecilia Cassidy, and George Contis, the doctor who sold the property to Skanska in 2010.
The building still being leased out, but confirmed tenants include CRDF Global and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. Skanska has also established its new regional headquarters in the building.
Dems Planning for the Next Campaign — “The campaign for 2013 begins tomorrow,” the chairman of the Arlington County Democratic Committee told local Democrats at the committee’s meeting Wednesday night. Next year there will be a gubernatorial election in Virginia and House of Delegates races in Arlington, among other races. Arlington Democrats ran the table on Tuesday, winning every race, with the exception of a state constitutional amendment question. [Sun Gazette]
Bergmann’s Discussion Deferred — The Arlington Planning Commission was forced to defer consideration of a proposed 10-story redevelopment of the Bergmann’s Dry Cleaning site after Hurricane Sandy delayed the mailing of notices to local residents. The Waverly Hills Civic Association, located about a mile from the development, has expressed opposition to it. [Arlington Mercury]
Tech Tutoring at Library — From iPads to social networks to computer software, the Aurora Hills Branch Library is offering 45-minute one-on-one tech tutoring sessions for residents. Appointments are now being taken for Monday, Dec. 3. [Arlington Public Library]
Election Board Calms Election Fraud Fears — Don’t worry about election shenanigans in Arlington, says the Arlington Electoral Board. The board is made up of two Republicans and one Democrat. At the Arlington County Republican Committee meeting on Oct. 24, Republican board member Scott McGeary said the county’s election staff will “make certain we have the utmost ballot integrity.” Local Republicans have been fearful of a “stolen election” in recent days, given the release of a video depicting Rep. Jim Moran’s son discussing ways to fraudulently cast ballots. [Sun Gazette]
Proposed Courthouse Office Building Still in Limbo — The ‘Clean Technology Center‘ — a new office building proposed for the 2300 block of Wilson Boulevard in Courthouse — had a vote on its site plan postponed by the Arlington County Board on Tuesday. The Board and local residents have been critical of the building’s design and its purported lack of public benefits. [Arlington Mercury]
Zimmerman Joins National Smart Growth Council — From a county press release: “Arlington County Board Member Chris Zimmerman is one of 22 leading local officials from jurisdictions around the country to join the Advisory Board of Smart Growth America’s new Local Leaders Council , a nonpartisan group of local officials.” [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Maryva2
At 24 stories and 719,704 square feet, the building — 1900 Crystal Drive — will be second only to the Pentagon in Arlington in terms of floor space.
(Alhough 1900 Crystal Drive will be the tallest in Crystal City, the 580,000 square foot, 35-story office building currently under construction at 1812 N. Moore Street in Rosslyn is still expected to be the tallest countywide.)
The building includes 11,290 square feet of ground floor retail space, plus a five-level, 732 space parking garage and nearly 150 bicycle parking spaces. Vehicle parking will be available to the public on weekends, holidays and after 6:00 p.m. on weekdays. Some residents expressed concern about extra vehicular traffic as a result of the building, but it won approval from the county’s Transportation Commission by a vote of 9-0.
Vornado, the developer of 1900 Crystal Drive, agreed to a number of community benefits in exchange for the extra zoning density required for the project. Among the benefits:
- $3 million contribution to the county’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund
- $75,000 contribution to the county’s public art fund
- $154,000 for Arlington utility fund, $20,000 for multi-space parking meters
- Various improvements to 18th Street S.
- $1.4 million for Arlington County Commuter Services and $65 Metro SmartTrip cards for building employees (to encourage transit commuting)
- $2.76 million for a temporary half-acre park
- $2.56 million for a four-pipe hydronic heating and cooling system, part of the county’s plan to encourage a district energy system for Crystal City
Though resident concerns about the building were largely assuaged, thanks to the addition of low-reflection glass and a 900 square foot community meeting room, Board member Chris Zimmerman voted against the project. (It passed 4-1.)
Zimmerman said that the community benefits associated with the project were relatively small for a building of its size, but ultimately his ‘no’ vote came down to his view that the building’s site plan does not pave a sure-fire path to the construction of a proposed, adjacent “Center Park.” Instead, the site plan just requires Vornado to work with county staff “to prepare an implementation plan for guiding the achievement of Center Park.”