Contractor Vacates County-Owned Four Mile Run Drive Property

by ARLnow.com November 22, 2010 at 3:58 pm 4,404 54 Comments

Believe it or not, this run-down building at 3600 South Four Mile Run Drive has only been vacant for a couple of weeks.

Alberici Constructors, which recently wrapped up its work on the expansion of Arlington’s Water Pollution Control Plant, had occupied the building and the surrounding lot and the  for nearly four years. Although the property is now vacant, it’s still leased through early next year, when the plant’s final construction phase is expected to conclude.

The building and a large, adjacent lot have been owned by Arlington County’s Parks Department since July 17, 2002, when it was purchased with bond money for $3.6 million, according to county media relations manager Mary Curtius.

Curtius says a decision has not yet been made on what will happen to the 75,000 square foot property once it’s returned to the Parks Department. The property is across the street from an existing park, the county’s 22.4 acre Jennie Dean Park.

  • Thirsty

    Let’s expand the Weenie Beanie into a Sonic-like drive-in.

    • Empanadita

      I like you’re thinking, Thirsty 😉 Or, someone should open up an empanada shop! The closest Argentine restaurant is in Rockville!?

    • Sonic lover

      Sonic, Sonic please….

  • el fat kid

    speaking of dremo’s and quarterdeck….

  • Sparlington

    It is an incredibly unsightly area that is so close to Shirlington that you’d think something good could come out of it. Please not another dog park…

    • Todd

      Amen on the dog park!

    • Arlington, Northside

      It is not unsightly, it is industrial! I hope that some sort of real industry returns to the area, keep to the roots of that stretch of Four Mile Run! Even if it is just a Marble Countertop/Stone Cutter Shop for all of us redoing our kitchens and patios! As long as it is not a dog park or more condos……

  • DT

    I’m thinking mixed use condos with a Trader Joes in the retail space. I am a city planning genius!

    • Lou

      Throw in a Cosi or Panera for good measure.

      • BoredHouseWife


    • Mittendorf

      Yes to the Trader Joes, no to condos. Aren’t there enough in the area? It would be nice to have a business to serve people patronizing the park and trail. I vote for trades school or art center or a drug store – other than Harris Teeter’s pharmacy, there isn’t one near there unless you walk/drive to Bradlee Shopping Center’s RiteAid or CVS on Quaker Lane.

  • KalashniKEV

    That actually looks like a much better, larger location to house our Street People than the current one at Courthouse Metro.

    It looks like the 3 garages and loading dock could be used to teach trade skills, and I’m willing to bet the interior has large open areas suited to billeting (probably former cube farm space). It’s also on the same block as Arlington’s Food Assistance Center.

    • DT

      Its also on the same block as the shelter the county built to protect illegal workers from the elements.

      • KalashniKEV

        Let’s be serious for a minute… it’s also near the Community College. You could incentivize support by having students volunteer as grad credits (I did tax prep for poor folk in NOLA), you could send over the guys from the Bus Terminal near Glebe and Rte 1 to teach automotive skills during low periods, or maybe even as overtime, Army-Navy country club could probably use some additional labor…

        The only downside to this location is the park next door which would require increased policing to prevent vagrancy.

    • South Arlington

      I think Courthouse is a great place to house the down on their luck homeless. No need to bring them down south county.

    • Jim

      keep them in courthouse… it’s metro accessible.

  • MCM

    Cool mid-century building. They’ll probably tear it down like they have all the rest.

    • Burger

      Old doesn’t mean good. That building is a dump.

      • Arlington, Northside

        The building is solid as they come and of a classic design. The wireing and plumbing are probably in need of replacement, but keep the bones and skin of the place, PLEASE!

  • Suburban Not Urban

    Let me guess a big shiny new mixed use building, bringing much needed density to Arlington

  • G

    Another dog park is obviously not needed, but would love to see this property developed into something nice. Everyone knows four mile run could use it. Though it may seem convenient to house the homeless here, this area already hosts the day laborers, and food assistance center. The street is also host to several ugly car repair shops and contractors. We don’t need anything else that will depress this area more than it already is.

    • Kevin


      The Auto Stop has the best mechanics in the area.

      • G

        Yeah I know some of these places are useful… I frequent several of these businesses myself since I live in this area, but just saying the street could use some more color rather than more grey. The county didn’t help in this cause when they covered the dog mural. I suppose the mural was worse than the grey cinder blocks behind it.

    • KalashniKEV

      “this area already hosts the day laborers, and food assistance center.”
      “The Auto Stop has the best mechanics in the area.”

      This is starting to sound TOO PERFECT!

  • Mark

    Keep 4 M Run industrial! There are a lot of good auto repair shops there. Not everything block in Arlington needs to be shiny and shrink-wrapped. We all need a reminder that there is real, gritty work to be done in the world, and FMR drive reminds us of that. And anyway, who wants to have to drive to Fairfax to get your car fixed?

    • G

      Easy for you to say. You probably don’t live on four mile run

      • Todd

        Agreed. I live on Four Mile Run and industrial doesn’t have to equate nasty dump. You can have auto shops like Curry’s that don’t look like a junk yard.

        • G

          Was this contractor the one who parks all the huge trucks on 4 mile run?

    • Jim

      let’s move these “real, gitty work” shops to Lee Hwy and see how you feel.

      • Mark also

        far as I know, the industrial zone has been there long before all the residential upgrades. There already is screening along the W*OD and could be more. So where, exactly, are businesses like this supposed to operate? Trader Joes and Bed Bath and Beyond don’t fill all needs.

        • Arlington, Northside

          B-I-N-G-O! Keep around some of what made Arlington into what it is! Without these industrial areas, Arlington would not have had the base to become what it is. It is our history!!!!

          • KalashniKEV

            Clearly no one on this thread has ever played Sim City… or if they did they built a bunch of dog parks and not enough industry and power plants. = )

        • Jim

          as i said, lee hwy would be a great place for these places… enjoy the crime that comes with them.

  • Let’s Be Free

    Ooooh! Great location for Artisphere South! The County can use part of the school bond to pay for it.

  • DT

    To be serious for a moment, the area is zoned industrial so there would have to be a reason to change that. Its incredibly valuable land though so the county should probably build offices there or let someone develop it into a more aesthetically pleasing warehouse facility.

  • FoMi

    Like my new neighborhood acronym? We got SoCo BEAT!!!
    but isn’t there an industrial study for this area on a shelf somewhere. I recall a future R&D park…

  • Runaway Train

    I live on S Four Mile Run Dr. That building is awesome, I would like to see it remain. It would make a great restaurant or market if redeveloped. A farmers market or something similar to Eastern Market in DC on Capitol Hill would get my vote. Another thought would be a hardware store like Strosniders or a nursery.

    My biggest complaint about S Four Mile Run is the commercial parking. The dump trucks and other commercial vehicles that park on S Four Mile Run are not associated with the businesses on it.

    • G

      Great ideas… I live on 4 mile run also and the lot would be a great space for a much needed farmers market to serve the shirlington area. The dump trucks drive me nuts. Hopefully they belonged to this outgoing contractor.

    • S. Arl.

      Hardware store and garden center!! – yessssss

  • Tree

    How about turning it into a help center for all the people that are losing affordable apartments due to revitalization/gentrification?

    • G

      you can buy a place in this area for less than the cost of rent

  • John Antonelli

    Whoa boys. No can do re homeless shelter (we have one in S. Arlington thank you) no can do re development. This money was purchased with park bond money and must be used for the use in which it was approved by the voters and that means parks.

    The big question is why was a public works contractor in it for so long. Seems the county thinks of bond money as funny money and no this is not the first time Arlington was caught with its pants down using parks bond money for wahtever it wanted.

    • Josh

      I believe they were their for the completion of significant work at the water treatment plant. Having rode my bike by there many times over the last year, I can say that quite a bit of work has been done.

    • SamsontheCat

      If it has to go for parks, why not something to support the parks. How about a bike co-op to allow people to repair and build and sell bicycles. It’s right off the trail.

      Or keeping with the industrial feel of the area I’d love to see an industrial artwork (welding, metal sculpture, etc) program take up residence there.

  • Debbie

    Being near the bike trail, how about a healthy outdoor eatery type place with picnic tables in a park-like setting? The farmer’s market and nursery were great ideas that may fit a park use. The hardware store would be great as there are none close by, but, it sounds like this is not allowed.

  • Anon

    A new Brewery!

    • Burger

      Now this is thinking.

  • Bringmetheyuppies

    There is already a hardware store two blocks from this place. ABC distributors. open to the public you should check it out. Real mom and pop shop. I vote for a drive through. Sonic would be great.

    • Arlington, Northside

      Yup, a great place! They just could use a better name and signage, but a name change would put them lower down the list in the Phone Book.

  • Set the controls

    You think this looks bad, you should have seen the atrocity of a junk heap the county let Alberici “build” at the corner of South Quincy and South 19th (Fort Barnard), literally a stone’s throw from my old back door. Alberici locked up a former open space (same zoning designation as any park) people used to walk their dogs in and sled, and treated the neighborhood to three or four years of beep-beep-beep-beep, turning the lot into a quagmire, not to mention the road shoulders all around, dinging up nearby trees, and creating a godawful eyesore, just to make it easier and more cost-effective for Alberici to do their work at the poop plant. It’s part of the reason we moved out of Douglas Park. ‘Course Alberici never would have moved in to the neighborhood if the county hadn’t overbuilt Shirlington and taken away all the industrial storage space. Just gotta have one more Harris Teeter in Arlington. Careful what you wish for, taking away land zoned for industrial use-whack-a-mole.

  • KathyColumbiaPike

    I think there is already a bike shop on Four Mile Run drive: Phoenix Bikes

  • Lou

    I would imagine the County would look at selling the property. Eight years ago they sunk $3.6 million of debt money into it, and their only return on investment has probably been a reduction in the construction contract cost, since they provided staging space to the contractor, which otherwise the contractor would have had to procure themselves. I would hope the contractor was paying the utilities while they occupied it. Since they say there are no plans for the space, I would imagine it was purchased for the sole reason of leasing it during the construction project. FWIW, its current assessment is just under $3.5 million, down from previous years.

  • The orbital welding technique was actually invented in excess of 50 years ago. In recent years the technology and tools have become quite affordable.


Subscribe to our mailing list