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Development at 1716 Wilson Blvd Moving Forward

by ARLnow.com September 17, 2010 at 10:20 am 5,307 27 Comments

Say goodbye to Arlington Motorcar Service, Medical Service Corporation International and the Fashion Dreams tailor. The three small buildings on the 1700 block of Wilson Boulevard are expected to be torn down by the end of the year to make way for a new office building.

Last week Skanska USA applied for a demolition permit at the site. Barring any major obstacles, the buildings are expected to be gone by the end of the year.

In its place, Skanska, the American division of the Swedish construction conglomerate, is building a five-story office building that will include ground-level retail and 230 underground parking spaces. The project will also include the construction of a new road — an extension of Quinn Street that will break up the long block and connect Wilson Blvd with Clarendon Blvd.

The original developer, who sold the project to Skanska this summer, had originally hoped to attract a small grocer and a restaurant or two. It’s not clear if a grocer would be interested in the space, but Skanska will have to fill 28,000 square feet of retail space somehow.

Skanska says the building should be completed by mid-2012. The company is trying to obtain a minimum of a LEED Gold environmental certification.

Despite challenging economic conditions nationwide, Skanska says it’s moving ahead with the project based on the strength of the Arlington market.

“We firmly believe in the strength and long-term value in Arlington,” Skanska regional manager Rob Ward said in a statement. “This area is one of the best sub markets in the country, with low vacancy rates and high demand.”

  • Well fudge, Arlington Motorcar was my go-to car repair for the last few years. Now that they’re moving out, anyone know of a decent mechanic around those parts?

    • Lou

      I’ve had pretty good success with the Goodyear guys at Glebe and Carlin Springs.

    • charlie

      soon you won’t be able to buy nor service nor gas a car in arlington.

    • Orange Line

      Arlington Autocare (at 10th and Wilson) and Joyce Motors (down the street on 10th by the fire station) are good.

  • RestonRunner86

    I really like the artist’s rendering of this proposed structure. It’s a very aesthetically-pleasing building that seems to mesh well with the surrounding neighborhood. UNDERGROUND parking is always a perk, as this frees up ground-level space for retail purposes. Given the fact that there’s already a Harris Teeter in Ballston and a Whole Foods (and upcoming Trader Joe’s) in Clarendon I don’t really think another grocery store would be needed, although a “niche” one like Dean & DeLuca might work given the upscale demographics of the area.

    • Dave

      A specialty store like Dean & DeLuca or Ballducis might succeed, but there’s also a Safeway JUST down Wilson (0.2 miles away) from this location.

      • Thes

        That Safeway is the worst grocery store between the Potomac River and the Prince William County line.

        • shirley

          Thes, since you appear to know everything and let everyone know when they don’t, I feel extremely obligated to point out that
          Prince William County is ON the Potomac. So to suggest that this is the worst Safeway between the Potomac and Prince William is to suggest that this the worst Safeway between adjacent points which makes absolutely no sense.
          Which of course makes it clear that you suffer from Elitist Arlington-centricism and you think everything else is not worthwhile. Well those people who live on the Potomac in Prince WIlliam are the ones who want to drive their HOT Lanes thru our County. Wake up dude/dudeette. There is more to Northern Virginia than 22201.

          • AF

            hah-pretty funny random anger. Have you gone to this Safeway? It’s pretty horrible. everytime i buy veggies, they are rotten within a few hours. seriously gross. I hope a new grocery comes into the neighborhood. The whole foods is a zoo – so is all of clarendon. so, an option in rosslyn would be wonderful.

      • Orange Line

        Some competition from an adjacent specialty store might be the best thing that could happen to that Safeway.

  • bob

    Arlington Motorcars are a bunch of thiefs. Glad to see them go. Personable, yes. Idiots who overcharge you, also yes.

  • el fat kid

    try Baird on Wash Blvd near GMU. It’s a small shop, honest rates, really good mechanics.

  • Loggie

    I’ve always been happy with Joyce Motors.

  • Jim

    After looking at those buildings for 22 years I’m delighted to see them go. But I wish it were residential rather than commercial.

  • MC

    The building design is rather formulaic – too many Arlington buildings looking like this one, there is a strong aversion to modern architecture here. But good to see the block broken up, and the existing buildings don’t work for the site any more.

    The tailor is very good — hope she is able to stay in the area.

    • Thes

      I agree we need better architecture in Arlington. I wonder how we can get it.

    • shirley

      MC; Yep. it could be just about anywhere.
      Arlington has great citizens but they don’t know anything about design.
      Majority of progressive communities (like Arlington) make sure that the political hacks that get appointed to things actually have academic or world experience in issues that come before the advisory boards.
      No one on the Planning Commission, which is the primary arbiter of design, has any background in planning or design. On ocassion one might, but the voices are quickly drowned out. Same with the Transportation Board, no one is actually knoweldge about transportation issues. They have great on the job training but that is it.
      Look at other places and you’ll see that good planning process yields good design. We don’t have that.
      And, of couse, both fisette and zimmie think they are architects and they aren’t even close. go watch a board meeting you’ll see.
      so to anser THES, we need to ditch the citizen boards and have a professional review board over see projects instead of overworked citizens who are asked to do stuff that they cannot do.

      • Don’t Call Me

        Somehow you managed to blame all Arlington citizens, its volunteers, its commissions, its public process and its leaders in your response. Was that planned, or by design?

        The only people you managed to avoid are staff — why aren’t they doing the work of a ‘professional review board?’ They have urban planning and urban design degrees too.

        • shirley

          i don’t blame staff at all. we have excellent staff.
          unfortunately they aren’t allowed to do their jobs because citizen input is so sacred in arlington. staff are constantly cut-off at the knees. constantly. most of the volunteers on the boards are good people with excellent intentions. a handful of blowhards and people who are no fulflilling their lusts for power in their day jobs are really who is to blame.

          • Dezzi

            So the problem is that staff is too prevented from doing their jobs by residents who pay their salaries? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

        • charlie

          Methinks DONT ALL ME is THES.,

      • Thes

        No, DCM is not my sock puppet. I use “Thes”.

        My question about how to get better architecture in Arlington was sincere.

        It appears Charlie (and his latest alter ego, Shirley) wants us to believe the way to get better architecture is to create an expert panel to review and control what developers and builders do. Maybe that would work, but it does seem contrary to Charlie/Shirley’s past concerns about tiny self-selected groups of people, or elected officials, “micromanaging” and “controlling” how other people live.

        No one should be surprised at the momentary contradiction, though, since Picador Charlie ultimately does little but throw darts at his targets, indiscriminately and without much sincerity. In his comments he has created an unaccountable and inconsistent universe in which, for example, he regularly parks on neighborhood streets when he shops at Whole Foods, but also never shops at Whole Foods. His regular travel patterns miraculously take him by train, bus, car and bike through whatever neighborhood is being discussed. He routinely defends his points of view as a “loyal” Democrat, while spending countless hours on this and other blogs denigrating local Democrats from Congress to school board (with time left over to defend the honor of the Tea Party, and to praise Republicans.) And so on.

        In the moment, Charlie will claim to be whatever (e.g., a man or a woman, married or unmarried) he thinks will be most helpful to disrupting the community discussion generally or in aiming his attacks at specific others. He will then claim his prior comments were either passionately serious or obviously joking, often depending on whether they are challenged by genuine, sincere participants.

        Why does he do this? He has actually provided his own explanation, through his body of posts on ArlNow. He is angered by his belief that there is a club of people (not unlike the group of elite architects he just now seems to propose) who currently “run the County,” without inviting him to join. This is the only “fact” that is real to him — the one consistent theme in all of his posts, which otherwise are spent defacing and destroying, relentlessly. In the process, he has forfeited his credibility both on today’s question and in general. Increasingly, he has also lost the attention of most readers.

        • charlie

          and people wonder why i think Thes is an arrogant blow hard know-it-all.
          Thes is definitely letting her slip show today.
          i got FOUR whole paragraphs of hate today. I think it is time to go to church and say my thanks.

          • charlie

            thes, you are correct you asked a very sincere question. And i provided you with a sincere answer. Yet i’m not berating you, am I? grow up.

          • Don’t Call Me

            So you ‘provided a sincere answer’ when you were… writing as Shirley?

            Looks like it’s your slip that’s showing. Sorry, Charlie.

          • charlie

            all my responses are sincere. that’s all.

  • Arlington

    Ahhh, another beige building built curb-to-curb as a giant rectangle. It is beautiful. Score!

    So nice to see that the County Jail has inspired so much architecture in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.


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