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Crystal City Changes Have Businesses Seeing Dollar Signs

If the sea of suits at the Bisnow “A Whole New Crystal City” conference at the Crystal Gateway Marriott was any indication, local businesses are quite interested in the neighborhood’s future.

With the newly-passed Crystal City Sector Plan calling for more housing, more offices and more ground-level retail, money-making opportunities abound. And for the representatives of non-profits in the audience, the dollars flowing into Crystal City also present cultural opportunities.

On Tuesday the board has approved the financing mechanism for $207 million in infrastructure improvements around Crystal City, raising the green flag for major private investments.

Speaking at the conference, the head of Crystal City’s biggest private property owner said he has two new projects in the planning stages. Mitchell Shear, president of Vornado/Charles E. Smith, said that the company is planning two mixed-use developments to replace two BRAC-impacted office buildings.

The plans would likely call for the demolition of the existing buildings. One such building was thought to be 223 23rd Street, which housed the G-40 street art exhibit earlier this year.

Shear also brought up the possibility of making Crystal City more “green” by implementing a district energy system (centralized heating and cooling plants serving numerous buildings). District energy, he said, would be consistent with the county government’s energy goals, as stated in the current draft of the county’s community energy plan.

Despite all the changes planned for the neighborhood, officials said that some things would not change.

Crystal City Business Improvement District President Angela Fox told that audience that the famous Crystal City Underground (or, in the preferred local parlance, “interior walkways”) will be a part of the “new” Crystal City. She said local residents have expressed a desire to keep the walkways — which provide shopping options in addition to a means to get from place to place comfortably in bad weather.

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The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.

The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.

Former participants have this to say:

_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._

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Learn about the new assessment of Arlington’s urban tree canopy and the many ecological and social benefits trees provide. Staff from the Green Infrastructure Center (GIC) will share study results and compare canopy cover for different areas of Arlington.The webinar will include assessments of ecosystem services such as stormwater mitigation, air quality, carbon uptake, and urban heat islands. For background on Arlington trees see the “Tree Benefits: Growing Arlington’s Urban Forest” presentation at

Please register in advance to assure your place at the webinar,

About the Arlington County Civic Federation: The Arlington County Civic Federation (“ACCF”) is a not-for-profit corporation which provides a forum for civic groups to discuss, debate, inform, advocate and provide oversight on important community issues, on a non-partisan basis. Its members include over ninety civic groups representing a broad cross-section of the community. Communications, resolutions and feedback are regularly provided to the Arlington County Government.

The next meeting is on Tuesday, February 21,2023 at 7 pm. This meeting is open to the public and will be hybrid, in-person and virtually through Zoom. Part of the agenda will be a discussion and vote on a resolution “To Restore Public Confidence in Arlington County’s Governance”. For more information on ACCF and this meeting, go to

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Matt Ruby, Headliner

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