Committee to Discuss Proposed Ballston Hotel Tonight

by ARLnow.com October 4, 2010 at 10:54 am 5,143 30 Comments

In due time, the big hole in the ground next to Ballston Common Mall will be filled with development and the view from the soon-to-open Rustico will be even less rustic.

Founders Square, located across Wilson Boulevard from the Liberty Center development (also owned by the Shooshan Company), will consist of two high-rise office buildings, one high-rise residential building, a large hotel, and a smaller building reserved for retailers.

Among the Founders Square office towers, one will be a secure building with a single tenant: the Defense Advanced Research Projects agency, which is relocating from Virginia Square. DARPA signed its lease more than a year ago. The other office building is still leasing.

The hotel, meanwhile, is expected to be a Residence Inn, at least according to architectural sketches. It was originally intended to be a residential building, but its use has since been switched to a hotel by the developer. The change still needs to be approved by the county.

The county’s site plan review committee will discuss the hotel proposal at a meeting tonight in Rooms 109/111 at Courthouse Plaza (2100 Courthouse Road). The county board is expected to take up the site plan amendment necessary for the hotel’s approval in December.

Developers argue that the Ballston area is in need of more hotels.

All told, Founders Square will consist of 1.1 million square feet of office, residential, hotel and retail space. The development could be ready for occupancy as soon as 2012.

  • terri

    any green space on that huge development project? everone is in love with concrete. what about soil, trees, birds…? arlington certainly doesn’t need anymore gigantic development projects. i for one am sick of the paving and sidewalks and huge buildings and multiple houses on small plots of land.

    • Frog

      Yes there is. The DARPA building has landscaping an setbacks that also provide a level of security

  • Frog

    Also keep in mind this site was the Metro bus yard in Ballston. It was hardly a pristine natural site.

  • cj

    This project will have two major open space benefits. The site itself will have public plazas, walkways and seating areas between the buildings. The larger benefit will be the expansion and development of Mosaic Park on the east side of Quincy Street. Land swaps for the project have consolidated the county’s ownership of the park site. Shifting density from that property to Founders’ Square, primarily to the office building, will generate over $4 million for development of a major park with areas for lunchtime relaxation, childrens’ play and active recreation. It’s a great benefit for the community.

    • terri

      open space and seating and walkways are not the same as grass, dirt and trees.

    • terri

      all the “benefits” you claim are for people, nothing for birds, squirrels, earthworms…you know the fundamental creatures that make a healthy environment

      • Frog

        Pigeons aren’t birds?

  • Josh

    Will the shell gas station be going away?

    • charlie

      sadly, no.

      • david

        Are you sure? I thought that it was originally slated to be destroyed. Did things change?


        The approved development will replace the current Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Arlington Bus Garage, Shell gas station, Super Pollo restaurant and Arlington County recycling drop-off center with:

        * 13-story secure office building with an 82-foot setback for security requirements
        * 15-story office building
        * 17-story residential building
        * 12-story residential building
        * Single-story retail building (to house relocated Super Pollo restaurant, additional retail)
        * Publicly accessible, landscaped 20-foot open space path that opens to a wider plaza between the north office building and the north residential building

        • charlie

          corrected i sit. the shall station goes in phase 3, which may still be a bit. not sure what they have as lease also.

  • charlie

    We need another hotel in Ballston for competition. Not enough places for family and out of town guests to stay.

  • Let’s Be Free

    Good luck negotiating the Quincy St./North Glebe Rd. intersection after this sucker and its neighbors get built. Once again, Arlington County uses its anti-car animus as an excuse to authorize intensive, overwrought development without making needed improvements to the road system. The County Board and their zombie supporters live in fantasy land.

    • Let’s Be Car Free

      That’s what walk/don’t walk signals are for.

    • JR

      So the vision of mixed use urban villages, hotels for my out-of-town guests, decent restaurants, a lively streetscape with plazas and parks is a fantasy? And in Ballston, no less? I call it the new reality. I’m a resident and I love it.

      • Let’s Be Free

        Actually my kids use Mosaic park do yours? Yes, in your fantasy I’m gonna pay to put my family on public transportation ($10-$15) round trip to do something simple like park and play, for a half hour of good clean fun.

        • Let’s Be Car Free


  • Parkington

    Car free is bad for small business that can’t afford the $$$ rent of living on the metro path. And besides, this all done for profit, not to benefit residents.

    • JR

      Really? Then why is Ballston such a desirable place to live? People like these amenities. And the more density we have the better it will be for businesses. I’m not sure why we should care that some don’t make it so long as others take their place.

    • reader

      Have you seen the stores in the Ballston Common Mall? I really can’t imagine that the rent is all that high there given the stores and their probable sales volume…

  • Greg

    Looks cool. Hopefully the quality of Ballston Commons will improve as neighborhood density rises.

    • Arlington

      That would be nice. Unfortunately the Mall as a concept has probably passed its prime. Best thing to do with the Commons would be to tear it down.

  • Reader

    I am a resident and nearby property owner. I agree with JR on the nice benefits of the project. It is a shame that small business may get squeezed out but on the flip side it INCREASES home owner property values.

    • Arlington

      For what its worth, I don’t see much evidence of small businesses being squeezed out. Ballston seems more diverse than ever. I’m no fan of chain stores (save for Marvelous Market) and chain restaurants and could use a few less of them, but I can’t think of any business of particular value that’s been forced to shut down in Ballston because of higher rent.

      • Lou

        It would be nice to have a bookstore. Anything with a good book and periodical selection would be welcome.

        • Clarendude

          There used to be be a Kramerbooks in the NSF building. I agree, Ballston could use one. With Darpa, ONR, NSF, VA Tech SciTEc center, I’d like to see a Reiter’s.

          • Dan

            ” I’d like to see a Reiter’s.”

            It just about broke my heart to see what the downtown Reiter’s has been reduced to….I don’t think that they will be opening branches anytime soon.

  • MC

    Pity that the former residential building concept is now slated to be a hotel. Many recent projects originally slated as residential are now being recast as commercial or offices. I’d rather see more condo owners in Ballston. The place is transient feeling as it is, with several short term rental towers and a couple of big hotels. A hotel like this doesn’t exactly contribute to a sense of community.

    • Realtor

      Condos are overbuilt.

  • Reader

    What did the county’s site plan review committee discuss about the hotel proposal during the meeting, anyone go or know ?


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