Colony House Furniture to Become Hotel

by ARLnow.com May 26, 2011 at 9:36 am 8,057 44 Comments

The Colony House Furniture store at 1700 Lee Highway is set to be torn down to make way for an extended stay hotel.

The recognizable building has been sold to the B.F. Saul Company, the Bethesda-based developer behind the recent Clarendon Center project. Last week representatives from Saul presented their redevelopment plan to the North Rosslyn Civic Association. Under the plan, an eight story extended stay hotel will be built on the 1.2 acre site at the corner of Lee Highway and N. Quinn Street. The hotel will include eight stories of guest rooms on top of two stories of above-ground parking.

(The parking must be built above ground since the site sits on solid rock. The building will technically be ten stories high from the Lee Highway side, but will only be considered eight stories due to the steep elevation near the rear of the site.)

Saul told residents that they’re in negotiations with two companies to operate the hotel — Marriott’s Residence Inn and Hilton’s Homewood Suites. They’re aiming for a LEED Silver certification for the building.

The company says zoning allows them to build an 88-room hotel on the site by right. Saul, however, will be seeking County Board approval later this year to build a 154-room hotel with 96 parking spaces. After presentations to the Rosslyn Business Improvement District, the North Rosslyn Civic Association, and three Colonial Village associations, Saul’s Mary Beth Avedesian says the company has yet to hear any neighbor opposition to the project.

Avedesian credits the positive reception thus far to the use. An extended stay hotel, with guests that stay for several days or weeks at a time and with a free shuttle to Rosslyn Metro and Reagan National Airport, will presumably result in less traffic and less neighborhood parking than, say, an apartment building. The hotel, meanwhile, will have the same basic footprint as the Colony House building, with much of the greenery preserved on the south side of the site.

The Colony House Furniture store is expected to remain in business at the site through much of the rest of the year, as Saul conducts a land use study and prepares to ask the County Board to approve the project. Colony House owner J.R. Diffee has said that he will try to find a new location in Arlington where he can move the store to before the new owner takes over the property.

  • Steve

    Damn, I thought even though a crappy location, they could have put Dr. Dremos there.

  • bob

    maybe because the only neighbors are all renters at Rosslyn Heights?

  • Rosslyn

    Aren’t there two Marriott Residence Inns within a mile of there already? Can it have a rooftop bar?

  • Rockman

    Can’t put parking underground because it sits on solid rock ? Midtown Manhatten’s bedrock starts at 10 feet (or less) below grade and they figured it out.

    • dynaroo

      They figured it out because it was worth the money in Manhattan. Spending the money to blast out rock for a hotel in Rosslyn probably ain’t worth the return on investment.

      • Rockman

        Of course that may be the case. They should say then, “it costs too much and we can’t make enough profit on the site if we do that”. By saying just that the parking “must” be built above ground because the site is on rock, makes it seem that there is a technical reason. There isn’t, and basements and underground garages have been built all over the world in solid rock. They have the option to build a by-right hotel if they want so this is just one of the factors. Given where this is, I’m not sure if we care if the surroundings are degraded by parking garage walls, but if it were in central Rossyln it would be a big issue I hope.

        • NOVApologist

          The parking garages in central Rosslyn are mostly above ground,

        • Thes

          In “downtown” Rosslyn, builders have indeed blasted through the bedrock for parking, though they have also been given dispensation for above-ground parking as well. The key from the perspective of the neighborhood is that the one or two floors at ground level are not blank walls. Also, at this location, no one walks by anyway.

    • Jezebel

      No, our rock is much harder than the rock in NYC.

  • Cyrus

    I hear there’s a sale going on now at Colony House Furniture…

    • Yes, this was on TV last night.

      • Cyrus

        Sorry, that comment was meant to be tongue in cheek. There’s been an ongoing “clearance sale” at Colony House for at least 10 years.

        • JR

          Seasonal clearance events have been a part of the business for most of the 74 year history at Colony House.

    • Larchmont

      There was some dude twirling a “SALE” sign out front the past several days, sometimes personally for me as there were a few times when I was the only car on Lee Hwy in front of the store. I saw it stuck in the ground with no one in sight the other day. Money better spent on a TV commercial I guess.

  • LyonSteve

    Does Arlington really need more Marriott brand hotels?

    Crystal City has so many Marriott Brand hotels you could call it Marriott City.

  • yequalsy

    Tourists are going to have a heck of time getting to that.

    • dynaroo

      Get off at Courthouse Metro, walk east 3 blocks to Quincy St., turn left and then left on Lee Highway.


      • Aaron

        That’s N. Quinn, not Quincy.

        I do hope there are some improvements forthcoming made to the sidewalk so that the residents would at least consider going up that hill past some of the most wretched tenements in Rosslyn in order to get to the Metro and Hellburger. It’s a terrible location if Rosslyn/Courthouse/Georgetown aren’t readily accessible by foot or bus.

        • dynaroo

          Oops – guess I’m not hired to be the hotel direction-giver.

          “Wretched tenements in Rosslyn?” That’s almost an oxymoron. You’ve got to be kidding.

          • bob

            don’t get out there much, do you. The place is a crap-hole. N. Quinn has had more crime than South Arlington this year.

            Turn it into a trader joes.

      • david

        I think you mean Quinn St not Quincy. While it’s doable I wouldn’t say it’s as easy as staying down in Rosslyn or at the Hilton/Residence Inn at Courthouse. There would be nothing fun about heading up that hill on Quinn St in the summer.

      • bred

        Sorry to tell you but Quincy is 3 blocks east of the Ballston Metro station.

  • cj

    “Extended stay” hotels aren’t aimed primarily at tourists.

  • John Fontain

    I like the non-commercial ad appearing today. Happy anniversary to Meghan (whoever you are) and her husband!

  • DSS10

    Another crappy building (see the clarendon center web site linked above), and I bet it’s parking will be just as well thought out as the Mark Center.

    FWIW: Manhatten bedrock is not always 10 feet below grade. In central park the “bed rock” is above grade (you can actually see the north-south glaciation marks) and in other parts of the city (upper east/west side midtown and down town you have to dig quit a distance to set foundations for a large building.

  • Stew Magnuson

    Weird location for a hotel. But it was a weird location for a furniture store, too. Those staying there will find a rather boring neighborhood. Better to stay up at the extended stay hotel in Courthouse.

    Meanwhile, what is this obsession with a new Dr. Dremos? Hey, I miss it too. But give up people. It ain’t never coming back. And if they owners open up a new place with the same name, it simply won’t be the same. You can bet well funded developers have their eyes on the same dumpy locations that are continuously being mentioned in these discussion forums. Condos, office buildings and Starbucks, that’s what we’re getting. Arlington has no room for dives anymore.

    • Josh S

      Does anyone intentionally open a dive? I thought they just got that way through years of vomit, smoke and testosterone.

      • Novanglus

        Not all start that way, but Dremos (and Bardo before it) were intentionally opened as dives. Anyone else remember Bardo’s communal urinal-in-the-round?

        • FrenchyB

          That was a sink, not a urinal.

          • Novanglus

            You mean I was washing my hands in the real urinal?

          • ArlForester

            Apparently it was both. HA

    • bred

      I would guess that the furniture store was there long before I-66.

  • CW

    Side note: did anyone else think from the title that the furniture store and its building was actually, physically going to get transformed into a hotel? It’s a funny mental image.

    • Stu Pendus

      Just put up some walls and doors around the current furniture in the showroom and call it a day. Bathrooms are out back by the dumpsters.

      • CW

        The dumpsters ARE the bathrooms!

  • TGEoA

    Like most extended stays in the area, this will attract road warrior consultants and prostitiutes.

    Whore friendly

    • Curious George

      Isn’t that redundant?

      • Dan


  • nearly unfurnished

    I stopped caring about Colony house when they took my money and didn’t deliver my furniture for 10 1/2 months, but told me, every week for a month, to wait at home because it was “on the truck.”

    • JR

      So not true!! Be fair with your online comments.

  • CEW

    Another missed opportunity for a Waffle House!

  • Blur

    Extended stay hotels attract the riff-raff. There goes the neighborhood.

  • MC

    Awkward space will attract people who won’t complain but will pay hotel taxes to County. Would still be nice if some sort of sidewalk level community accessible retail were available, if only a sundry shop or coffee shop.

  • Failed Again

    Put an Artisphere Part Deux in place of the Colony House. Arlingtonians know that there is a need for more tax payer waste. Better yet just make Colony House a bee colony, for the bee tourists!!!! FML I can’t believe how many hotels there are in Arlington, really another one???


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