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by Ethan Rothstein — December 5, 2014 at 11:25 am 1,872 0

Vornado is planning a new 25-story office tower and a 28-story apartment building at Crystal Drive and 23rd Street S.

The redevelopment plan would demolish the current, vacant office building at 223 23rd Street. In addition to building the two new buildings — which would be two of the tallest in Crystal City — Vornado is planning on building a 13,000-square-foot park on the site, adjacent to the residential tower, and a 4,000-square-foot pocket park along Crystal Drive.

It’s unclear what would happen to Jaleo and Kora restaurants, which currently sit at the corner of the intersection, where the office building and the 4,000 square foot park will go.

The Washington Business Journal reported on the plans this summer, noting Arlington’s Site Plan Review Committee was scheduled to review the redevelopment proposal in “early fall.” According to the project’s site plan coordinator, Samia Byrd, the SPRC process has not yet started and “there are no public committee or commission meetings scheduled.”

A site plan review is one of the steps the proposal must take before being considered for County Board approval.

The buildings are part of Vornado’s plan to overhaul Crystal City as a technology and retail hub, and the office building — closer to the corner — is planned to have two floors of retail at ground level. If approved, it would deliver 658,365 square feet of office space and 28,675 square feet of retail, while the residential tower would have 1,754 square feet of retail and 353 units.

In order to complete the larger park on the side of the residential tower, and to make way for the realignment of S. Clark and Bell Streets, the plan calls for a second phase of the project which would tear down the Crystal Plaza 6 building at 2221 S. Clark Street S.

Crystal Plaza 6 is set to be renovated in order to become microunit apartments from the coworking space company WeWork. The company reportedly has a 20 year lease on the building.

by ARLnow.com — December 3, 2014 at 1:30 pm 3,837 0

Sixteen new townhouses could be coming near the corner of Washington Blvd and N. Stuart Street in Ballston, tearing down several single family homes in the process.

The project, called the Ballston Oak Townhomes,  would build two, eight-unit buildings with four stories and private garage parking between 1124 and 1138 N. Stuart Street. The property’s owner is an LLC registered to Eric Ritland, the owner of home construction company Georgetown Builders.

According to the preliminary site plan, reviewed by ARLnow.com, Georgetown Builders intends to tear down four homes on N. Stuart Street, but leave the Arlington Market — one of the few stores in the area that sells kegs of beer — untouched at its location on the corner of the two streets.

The townhouses are designed to include private patios and a “herringbone brick design.” There are two garage parking spots for each unit proposed, with four guest spaces in the rear of the half-acre lot. No renderings of the design were included with the preliminary site plan.

“The project was envisioned as a ‘series of urban gardens,’ and its design incorporates private trellises, stormwater planters, gardens for residents to enjoy throughout, as well as gardens along the sidewalk to beautify the pedestrian experience, and plans for green roofs with roof decks and interior gardens,” the application states.

The developer proposes incorporating public art into the project or making a donation to Arlington’s Public Art Fund. There’s no word on when the site plan will be finalized and go before the Arlington Planning Commission or the County Board.

by Ethan Rothstein — December 3, 2014 at 12:05 pm 2,440 0

Construction on an apartment building at the corner of Fern and 12th in Pentagon City

In Arlington, when a developer wants to redevelop a property to replace it with a bigger, taller building, the county often receives funding for affordable housing, transportation, streetscape improvements and public art. These “community benefits” from the developer are usually worth millions of dollars.

None of it goes directly to Arlington’s public schools, facing a capacity crisis with no end in sight.

The reason, according to officials, is Arlington’s development approval process, which was codified more than 50 years ago. Builders apply for site plans, and, by state law, community benefits from site plans can only legally be used “to mitigate immediate impacts,” according to County Attorney Stephen MacIsaac.

While a public art contribution is considered an immediate impact for a large apartment complex, for instance, a contribution to schools is not.

What the county is allowed to negotiate are “amenities that are contained within the project, like streetscape improvements, public art, the appearance of the building in general,” MacIsaac told ARLnow.com. “That system does not allow for charges for schools or public safety or running the libraries.”

In neighboring, suburban jurisdictions, developers negotiate benefits like these through the proffer system. In Loudoun County, which has opened 12 new schools in the last five years, the government pegs school costs as high as $37,791 per single family unit, and $11,294 per multifamily unit. Through proffer negotiations, Loudoun asks developers to pay for 100 percent of the estimated capital intensity factors, which includes roads and public safety, according to Loudoun Assistant Director of Planning and Zoning John Merrithew.

The number is typically lower after developers contribute state-mandated affordable housing funds, Merrithew says, but he gave the example of a recent, 70-townhouse development where the builder paid the county $1.3 million, 60 percent of which went directly to school funding. The system works, Merrithew said, because much of the development comes from previously undeveloped land.

“We don’t use the world redevelopment here,” Merrithew said, “because we have very little of it. Most of it is greenfield development.”

Sometimes, developers contribute chunks of land for a new school site. More frequently in the last decade, Merrithew said, Loudoun has bought land from private landowners to build schools. Acquiring land for public uses, including schools, is one of the recommendations the county’s Long Range Planning Committee made last week in evaluating the “Public Land for Public Good” initiative.

The county argues the site plan and special exception system in place has been a major driving force behind Arlington’s transformation over the past half-century, from sleepy suburb to dense urban hub.

“Not only has this zoning structure and this development process worked well in creating today’s Arlington, it’s also resulted in one of the best school systems in America,” Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette said. “If we would have to undo our current structure to be able to replicate what’s done in Loudoun, I think that would be ill-advised. There’s no easy fix for the school growth, but we will address it with the School Board, and we always have.”

There could be some room for debate, however, that the current policy prohibits all funding for schools and other public works. As an example, the proposed 29-story, 393-unit apartment building at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Randolph Street in Ballston is expected to draw a large sum of community benefit money. Fisette and MacIsaac believe none of that money can legally be spent on schools, but MacIsaac didn’t draw a hard line.

“That’s a tough legal question,” he said. “The kinds of impacts that are typically recognized in the courts in Virginia and throughout the country are much much more immediate impacts, like on the surrounding streets and neighborhood. It does not typically involved secondary and tertiary impacts like government services.”

(more…)

by Ethan Rothstein — November 11, 2014 at 12:00 pm 900 0

Central Place construction and 1812 N. Moore StreetDevelopers may have to meet higher environmental standards in Arlington if they want to continue to construct buildings with “bonus density.”

The County Board could approve measures on Saturday to increase the green benchmarks it requires of developers who are seeking more density than zoning allows. The change in the Green Building Program would coincide with the U.S. Green Building Council’s update to its LEED certification system, which raises the standards by which buildings are approved for silver, gold and platinum ratings.

According to the county’s staff report, a working group from the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks, after reading staff’s recommended changes, “expressed concern that the proposed changes will make it more costly to do business in Arlington, claiming that the additional costs will be reflected in residential and office rental rates.”

To achieve LEED Silver status under the new standards, buildings need to maintain an 18-20 percent “energy efficiency component,” a higher standard than the previous LEED system. The energy efficiency component deals with the building’s sustainability once it is already occupied.

“The current proposed changes to the green building bonus density incentive program are intended to incentivize exceptional energy efficient design and construction as well as efficient energy performance post-occupancy, while continuing to focus on holistically designed and constructed buildings,” the staff report states. “An incentive program is needed in Arlington to encourage developers to incorporate high levels of energy efficiency into new buildings and to ensure performance post-occupancy.”

Although the new standards are more stringent for developers, if approved, they also would allow more bonus density than the incentives currently on the books. If a building achieves the LEED Silver level, the developer can request a 0.25 increase in Floor Area Ratio, which is the square feet of the building divided by the size of the plot of land. If the building reaches LEED Gold, the developer can seek up to a 0.35 FAR bonus. If the building can achieve LEED Platinum, the bonus density can reach 0.50 FAR.

In order to receive the bonus density, however, all office buildings must be rated at least a 75 on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Star system, to ensure the building is sustainable once it is already occupied. Residential developments are not required to meet the Energy Star standard, but they can earn additional bonus density if they do.

Buildings that can achieve “net zero energy construction,” as defined by the International Living Future Institute, are LEED Gold Certified and meet at least two other county environmental benchmarks can receive bonus density above 55 percent FAR.

The Green Building Program would be reviewed every three years, or when LEED standards change again. If approved, the new standards would go into effect immediately, but buildings can use the previous Green Building Program standards until Sept. 30, 2015.

by Ethan Rothstein — November 5, 2014 at 5:30 pm 1,436 0

Construction on 193 new apartments — including 78 affordable units — in the Fort Myer Heights neighborhood has begun, and county officials and developers celebrated today with a groundbreaking.

The project, called Union on Queen, will raze three buildings to erect a 12-story tower, which will contain 181 apartments. The two buildings that make up the Pierce Queen Apartments, built in 1942 on the 1600 block of 16th Street N., will be gutted, but preserved and renovated. They will be converted into 12 affordable units.

The project is a public-private partnership among The Bozzuto Group, nonprofit developer Wesley Housing and Arlington County, which is providing debt financing. Construction began a few weeks ago, according to Bozzuto President Toby Bozzuto, and is expected to last two years, putting the project on track for an October 2016 opening.

The process to get the apartments from proposal to site plan approval to construction was not an easy one. The project was deferred by the Arlington County Board before its March 2013 approval for design and parking concerns. It also faced issues securing affordable housing grants from both the county and the state.

The developers and public officials in attendance at this morning’s groundbreaking all noted how tough of a slog the approval process was. Wesley Properties President and CEO Shelley Murphy said the company’s founder called Pierce Queen Apartments “the project from hell” when the company acquired it in 1991.

“This is as good an example of why Arlington succeeds as anything,” County Board Chair Jay Fisette said. “We actually follow through. Follow-through is hard. We all create plans, we all create visions, we write beautiful words, we put it on a shelf. In Arlington, we work really hard to bring the vision to life, to make the investments and the hard calls to make things work.”

Rep. Jim Moran didn’t step up to the podium — “One of the nice things about retiring is that I don’t have to stand up at any more podiums and microphones,” he joked — but said “Arlington County works, and it works because they understand that communities and their economies are a reflection of a collective decision-making on the part of thousands of families.”

Arlington approved $6.8 million in Affordable Housing Investment Fund money toward the project, which also received assistance from the Virginia Housing Development Authority. The state money wasn’t easy to secure, several of the speakers said, partly because the development’s total cost was close to being ineligible for state money. Eventually, the sides struck an arrangement and Fisette said the apartments will be up to the high standards the county has set.

“There are a lot of places that would say, ‘Dumb it down, cheaper, less efficient. It’s affordable housing in there’,” Fisette said. “But that’s not the way this community works. We want every building to be indistinguishable from the next.”

by ARLnow.com — November 5, 2014 at 4:15 pm 1,014 0

Update on 11/6/14 – Board consideration of this apartment building has been delayed until December.

The Arlington County Board is slated to consider a 453-unit apartment building that’s proposed to replace a vacant Pentagon City office building this month.

The Board on Nov. 15 is scheduled to vote on a site plan for a new apartment complex at 400 Army Navy Drive. Bethesda-based developer LCOR has proposed a 20-story building with two towers on one, three-story platform, located east of the planned PenPlace development and west of the Crystal City DoubleTree hotel.

County staff have suggested a number of community benefits from the developer, in exchange for the extra zoning density needed for the project. Among them: affordable housing, public art, park and utility fund contributions; streetscape improvements; and LEED Gold certification. Also, Arlington is considering using of a county-owned parcel in front of the property for a streetcar operations and maintenance facility, but would like the developer to spruce it up in the interim.

The apartment building will replace an aging office building that was formerly home to the Department of Defense Inspector General’s office.

by Ethan Rothstein — October 22, 2014 at 3:45 pm 2,570 0

An apartment building that bills its units as “boutique luxury” apartments says it’s a month away from leasing,

The Hyde, at 3119 9th Road N., is an 18-unit “exquisite rental residence,” according to developer Clark Realty Capital, that is still under construction but is expected to begin taking tenants next month. The apartments range from one to three bedrooms averaging 1,400 square feet each. When construction began, the project was referred to as 9th Road Residences when construction began a year ago.

The apartment building includes 33 parking spaces and ” a dog wash facility, automated package delivery, on-site electric vehicle charging stations, and wifi-enabled Nest temperature programs” as amenities, according to a Clark spokesman.

The rents have not yet been determined, but Clark developer Michael Jiang said they will be comparable to “similar new product in the area,” by square foot. For comparison, a 1,003-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bathroom in the new Beacon Clarendon building cost almost $3,500 a month, according to that building’s website.

by Ethan Rothstein — October 8, 2014 at 4:30 pm 1,084 0

New apartment building proposed for former Crystal City Post Office site (rendering courtesy Kettler)The high-rise apartment building that will replace the former Post Office on S. Eads Street expects to have shovels in the ground by the end of the month.

The building, at 1720 S. Eads Street, is being developed by Kettler and will be called m.flats, the same name of a recently opened Kettler apartment building on K Street NW in D.C.

The development, which was approved by the Arlington County Board last February, will be 11 stories tall with 198 units, comprised almost entirely of one- and two-bedroom apartments. There will be 176 spaces of underground parking, a “gaming area, fitness center, street entry bike room, and an all-season landscaped courtyard with fire and water features.”

“Our m.flats apartments are meeting a growing demand for living spaces within walking distance of work, shops and entertainment,” Robert C. Kettler, chairman and CEO of Kettler, said in a press release. “The thought process around m.flats recognizes the fact that many young people are forming families later in life. As a result, they not only want to enjoy the vibrancy of city life, but live in an apartment that has many conveniences and amenities.”

The construction is expected to be complete in October 2016. There’s no firm date yet on when construction will begin, according to a Kettler official, but the company is “pushing to begin work by the end of the month.”

The building was the first approved under the Crystal City Sector Plan, and Kettler agreed to keep 16 units at affordable rates and achieve a LEED Silver rating. The other 182 units will be marketed as “smaller, luxury units catering to single renters, young professionals and couples looking to share an apartment,” according to Kettler’s press release.

Kettler is currently in construction on the 411-unit Acadia building in the Metropolitan Park complex in Pentagon City.

Image courtesy Kettler

by ARLnow.com — October 8, 2014 at 9:30 am 1,432 0

Rainy fall day in Bluemont Park (Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick)

Civ Fed Votes Against Tall Buildings — The Arlington County Civic Federation has voted to urge the Federal Aviation Administration to adopt stricter rules regarding skyscrapers around airports. Such a rule, intended as a safety measure in the event a plane suffers an engine failure on takeoff, could impose a moratorium on future tall buildings in Crystal City and Rosslyn. [InsideNova]

Walk and Bike to School Day — Arlington Public Schools participated in International Walk and Bike to School Day this morning. Students and parents across the county ditched their cars and made their way to school on foot. [Arlington Public Schools]

Man Steals Skinny Jeans from Mall — A 33-year-old D.C. man has been charged with stealing numerous pairs of skinny jeans from the Hollister store in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall. The alleged crime happened Tuesday afternoon. [NBC Washington]

Slow Start for Gay Marriage in Arlington — Only five same-sex couples applied for marriage licenses in Arlington in the 24 hours following the Supreme Court decision that cleared the way for same-sex marriage in Virginia and a number of other states. Among Virginia jurisdictions, Arlington grants the third-most marriage licenses per year. [InsideNova]

Fairfax Approves Streetcar Design Funds — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved its $4.2 million share of design and program costs for the Columbia Pike streetcar on Tuesday. The Board voted 7-2. Arlington County already approved its share of design funds. The Pike streetcar will run from Pentagon City to Bailey’s Crossroads in Fairfax County. [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

by Ethan Rothstein — September 29, 2014 at 4:45 pm 2,533 0

(Updated at 5:15  p.m.Red Top Cab is exploring redeveloping its two properties in Clarendon as apartment buildings with ground floor retail.

Red Top has occupied those parcels for decades under owner Neal Nichols, who founded the taxi company in 1964. Nichols has partnered with Ballston-based developer The Shooshan Company with the intent of redeveloping its business office and large surface parking lot at 1200 N. Hudson Street and its communications center at 3251 Washington Blvd, ARLnow.com has learned.

According to Tom Miller, a planning supervisor in Arlington County’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development, representatives from the Shooshan Company held “a preliminary meeting” with the county to discuss the plans, but no permits or site plan applications have been submitted yet. The developers also met with the Lyon Village Civic Association to discuss the plans.

The two properties are adjacent to the recently opened Beacon Clarendon apartment project at the corner of Washington and Wilson Blvds.

A Shooshan Company official declined to discuss the plans before they are more concrete. Nichols has owned the 23,000 square foot parcel at 1200 N. Hudson Street since 1969, according to Arlington County property records. Nichols purchased the 13,560 square-foot communications center property in 1993.

by Ethan Rothstein — September 26, 2014 at 1:30 pm 923 0

Rosslyn skyline from the Roosevelt Bridge (Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen)The Arlington County Civic Federation could weigh in on whether continued redevelopment in Rosslyn outweighs potential new safety regulations from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The FAA announced in April that it was considering changing the regulations around airports to accommodate “one engine inoperative” planes — aircrafts that have an engine fail on takeoff and can’t ascend into the air as fast. The new rule, if passed, would restrict the heights of buildings in the area surrounding airports, which could impact redevelopment in Rosslyn and Crystal City.

County Manager Barbara Donnellan sent a letter in July to the FAA stating the county’s opposition to the rule change. In the letter, she wrote “we share the FAA’s interest in ensuring that air navigation in and around airports is safe, with appropriate plans and procedures in place to account for emergency situations.”

“At the same time, Arlington is committed to our long-established smart growth and transit-oriented development policies, which includes creating mixed-use, high-density neighborhoods around investments in transit,” Donnellan continued. “Therefore, we share the view of other potentially-affected communities that the impacts be thoroughly evaluated through the formal rule-making process before any change is made.”

The Civic Federation, a county-wide organization made up of delegates from more than 80 civic and resident associations, could vote on a motion at its meeting Oct. 7 to oppose Donnellan’s letter, made by retired U.S. Navy Pilot Jim Pebley, a Civic Federation delegate. Pebley said Donnellan made only a cursory “head-nod” to safety, instead prioritizing economic development.

“If the FAA delays adopting the proposed rule, buildings in Rosslyn could soon grow past 450 feet,” Pebley said to the County Board this week. “That gives pilots flying a disabled plane two bad choices: try to clear the buildings or turn early and cross over central Arlington… Madam Manager, your letter’s head-nod towards safety and argument about the rule change’s economic impact on smart growth is not the responseI’d hoped my County would make. You know, having a ‘downtown’ airport comes with economic benefits and safety responsibilities.  You can’t have an urban airport and unlimited development crowding airliners.”

Pebley’s resolution would “urge” Arlington County government to work with the FAA on building height safety regulations instead of trying to fight such regulations.

The FAA introduced the change as a “proposed policy,” which, according to Rep. Jim Moran, meant the administration could circumvent the typical rule-making procedures, including a cost-benefit analysis by the federal Office of Management and Budget. Moran said the proposed policy was written to allow airlines to overload plans with cargo and passengers, because a plane hitting a building with one engine out of commission “never happens.”

“The airlines and the airports authority are acting out of greed,” Moran said in May. “It’s self-centered on their part. It’s disappointing and it should be stopped in my view. I’m just asking that they go through the normal, standard rule-making procedure where you look at the real-world impact, but they don’t want to consider what the economic impact would be in surrounding communities because their stovepipe attitude is they exist for the benefit of the airlines.”

The Civic Federation meets Tuesday, Oct. 7. If the FAA policy were passed, buildings already built would not be affected — about 170 in Arlington, Moran said — but, if they were to be redeveloped, they would have to be built shorter than they are now.

Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen

by ARLnow.com — September 19, 2014 at 9:15 am 1,274 0

Taxis queued up at Reagan National Airport

‘Pups and Pilsners’ Photo Contest — Want to sample some brews and make your pet famous? Head on over to Crystal City’s Pups and Pilsners event from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, snap a photo of your pooch and tweet it to us and our sponsors, @CCBID and @BeckysPetCare. Pups and Pilsners is a free dog-friendly event featuring a massive beer garden and food from local restaurants. [Crystal City BID]

Planners: Bank Shortchanges Courthouse — The office building slated to replace the Wendy’s in Courthouse will have a Wells Fargo bank prominently located on the ground floor, and Arlington planners don’t like it. County staff says the bank use is “not appropriate” and should be at least moved so that a more active retail use can occupy half of the plaza area. Developer Carr Properties says the bank must stay, since Wells Fargo owns the land under the existing bank that will be torn down for the project. [Washington Business Journal]

Vihstadt Out-Raises Howze — Incumbent, independent County Board candidate John Vihstadt is out-raising his Democratic opponent, Alan Howze. Vihstadt raised $31,367 in July and August, compared to $20,607 raised by Howze. Vihstadt recently reported $58,746 cash on hand while Howze reported $16,906. [Washington Post]

Fugazi to Release ‘Lost Album’ — Fugazi is planing to release a “lost album” of 11 songs recorded in 1988. The legendary local rockers recorded the songs on the album, First Demo, at Inner Ear Studio in Arlington. [Spin]

Road Closures for Clarendon Art Fest — Parts of Washington Blvd, Clarendon Blvd, and N. Highland Street will be closed Saturday and Sunday for the 2nd Annual Arlington Festival of the Arts. “Over 100 artists will showcase their works including glass, mixed media, paintings, jewelry, and pottery; providing all sorts of opportunities to appreciate — and purchase — art,” according to the festival’s website. [Arlington County, ArtFestival]

by Ethan Rothstein — August 13, 2014 at 3:30 pm 3,632 0

Rendering of the proposed 672 Flats apartment building (image courtesy The Penrose Group) The corner of N. Glebe and Carlin Springs Roads (photo via Google Maps)

The Ballston development boom doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon: a developer has submitted plans to Arlington County for a six-story, 175-unit apartment building on N. Glebe Road.

The Penrose Group has purchased parcels of land on which the Prestige Certified Motors and Macy’s surface parking lot sit, between N. Carlin Springs Road and 7th Street. It also has a contract to purchase the Exxon station at 660 N. Glebe Road, according to Penrose Group Founder and President Mark Gregg. The Washington Business Journal first reported the development.

The building, called 672 Flats, will have 4,400 square feet of retail on the ground floor facing Glebe Road, next to a 725-square-foot bicycle storage area, a lobby, “club room” and fitness center. Andrew Gregg, Mark’s son, told ARLnow.com the number of parking spaces is yet to be determined — the county hopes for 175 while Penrose is angling for fewer — but there will be an underground garage.

Mark Gregg said he expects the site plan process to conclude with County Board approval by spring 2015, and for construction to begin later that fall. Gregg expects the building to be complete in 2017. Along with the building, Andrew Gregg said Penrose plans to put on-street parking along N. Glebe Road for “off-peak hours only,” and build a right turn lane on 7th Street.

“We want to make that intersection safer,” Gregg said. He added there would be no parking in a proposed alley between the building and the townhouses along N. Carlin Springs Road and Tazewell Street, but there could be street parking along 7th Street. According to the WBJ, “The Bluemont Civic Association in February offered its conditional support for the project,” with the conditions including traffic and pedestrian safety improvements.

The Penrose Group is also building the Latitude Apartments in Virginia Square and Pike 3400, coming at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road. Latitude should deliver in 2016, Andrew Gregg said, and Pike 3400 could begin leasing by the end of this year.

With the Rosenthal Mazda dealership on the other side of 7th Street N. from 672 Flats also in line for redevelopment, Gregg said the plot of land is one of the last remaining redevelopment opportunities in Ballston.

“I think that it’s conveniently located for the Ballston area. It’s a block and a half from Metro, and it’s across from the mall” which will be redeveloped, Mark Gregg told ARLnow.com today. “We think the whole Ballston area along Wilson and Fairfax and Glebe will be an area people want to live in.”

Image, left, courtesy The Penrose Group. Photo, right, via Google Maps.

by ARLnow.com — August 8, 2014 at 11:30 am 2,874 0

Houses under construction at Lacey Lane(Updated at 12:10 p.m.) Construction has begun at the new Lacey Lane subdivision at the corner of Washington Blvd and N. George Mason Drive, more than a year-and-a-half after crews first excavated the site in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood.

Work on the first model home first was expected to begin in March 2013, but didn’t actually happen until a few weeks ago. County employees told ARLnow.com last November that the stall had to do with developer The Barrett Companies fulfilling safety obligations in order to receive permits. County staff confirms the developer met all requirements and obtained a building permit this spring.

According to the Evergreene Homes website, the nine properties will be “exquisitely detailed luxury residences.” Renderings of what the finished homes are expected to look like are also available on the website.

The base models originally were said to feature four bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms, at an estimated cost of $1.4 million each. Although preliminary plans are available for the three-level houses, Evergreene Homes Director of Sales and Marketing Rich Rudnicki said the company currently is finalizing the home options and base pricing. He said the company should be ready to put the properties up for sale by September 1.

Rudnicki says details like detached garages, courtyards and sitting areas will make this a unique subdivision.

“It’s a cool location,” he said, “It’s going to be a different kind of community.”

by Ethan Rothstein — July 24, 2014 at 12:15 pm 3,063 0

Courthouse Square Concept A Courthouse Square Concept B Courthouse Square Concept C

(Updated at 2:10 p.m.) The large surface parking lot between the Arlington County Justice Center and Courthouse Plaza appears destined to become open, green space at some point in the future.

Last night, county planners presented three concepts to the community as part of the Envision Courthouse Square outreach process. All of the concepts included using the space the surface parking lot occupies as a sort of town green, with pedestrian and bicycle paths crisscrossing the area in different patterns.

The workshop last night was the last in-person chance the community will have for significant input before staff from Arlington’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development drafts a Courthouse Sector Plan Addendum, to be brought before the community in the fall and presented to the Arlington County Board this winter.

Moving forward, the county will plan on placing parking underground while “retaining minimal surface parking,” according to CPHD Principal Urban Designer and Planner Jason Beske. There are no plans for buildings on the north edge of the current parking lot to preserve the square, and 14th Street and 15th Street between Courthouse Road and N. Uhle Street will both remain open to vehicular traffic.

Three “big ideas” were brought before those in attendance, which included the Envision Courthouse Square Working Group and county staff. The first, Concept A, calls for 3.9 acres of open space, a pedestrian promenade connecting 15th and 14th Streets N. in front of the AMC Courthouse movie theater and converts 15th Street between N. Courthouse Road and Clarendon Blvd into a shared pedestrian, bike and vehicle corridor.

Concept B, pictured above in the center, calls for the pedestrian promenade to be diagonal from the current Strayer Building — viewed as a target for high-rise redevelopment — to the Verizon Plaza building adjacent to the building that contains the Gold’s Gym. This plan calls for 4.2 acres of open space and includes a pocket park between Courthouse Plaza and N. Veitch Street.

Concept C, pictured above on the right, calls for 3.15 acres of open space and a more east-west alignment of paths and streets in the design area.

The plans for building redevelopment vary significantly among the three plans. Concept A calls for the two buildings with 15th Street frontages to be redeveloped at heights of 153-180 feet for the Strayer building — at the intersection with Clarendon Blvd — and 300 feet for the Landmark Block, at the intersection of with Courthouse Road. It also calls for retail in front of the AMC theater and a new building up to 180 feet tall next to it.

Concept B flips the proposed heights for the Strayer and Landmark blocks from Concept A, calls for the redevelopment of the AMC theater into a county or private building up to 180 feet tall and a three-to-five story “cultural building” at the Verizon Plaza site.

Concept C includes the most significant redevelopment: a “market shed” next to the AMC theater, the same proposed heights for the Strayer and Landmark block and two, 10-12 story buildings along 14th Street N., with the option to preserve the current theater or include a separate cultural use. The Verizon Plaza would be the site for a new, 300-foot high-rise building.

“Think of these plans as a kit-of-parts,” CPHD staff wrote in its presentation last night. “All of the big ideas are open for your feedback. Feedback results will inform us of the community’s preferences as we take the next steps to combine ideas and test their feasibility. The goal is to create a single, preferred plan that carries our shared vision forward.”

CPHD officials said an online survey will be posted shortly for community members unable to attend last night to weigh in on the three concepts.

Images via Arlington CPHD

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