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New Office Buildings Planned for Clarendon

by ARLnow.com June 17, 2011 at 2:13 pm 12,970 129 Comments

New details have been released about a major office development in Clarendon.

Real estate investment firm Penzance says it’s about to complete its final site plan filing with Arlington County for the block bordered by Washington Boulevard, 11th Street, N. Highland Street and N. Garfield Street. Penzance wants to turn the block — which currently contains a bank, a bar, a used car dealership, a cemetery monument manufacturer and other small businesses — into a 300,000 square foot office development, complete with a 10-story office building, an 8-story office building, ground-level retail and a four-level underground parking garage.

The development, Penzance says in a press release, is consistent with the Clarendon Sector Plan.

Penzance has completed the preliminary 4.1 site plan filing review process and is submitting this week its final filing with Arlington County for a 300,000 square foot office development in the bustling community of Clarendon. The project is bounded by N. Washington Boulevard, N. Garfield Street, N. Highland Street and N. 11th Street and has two addresses, 3001 and 3003 Washington Boulevard. The parcels that comprise the site were assembled by Penzance over the last few years.

“3001-3003 N. Washington Boulevard will be an important addition to both the vibrant Clarendon community and the R-B corridor,” said Victor K. Tolkan, Penzance managing partner and founder.

“Working with the architecture firm, Noritake Associates, our team has created a development that provides welcome commercial office with ground floor retail space in a predominately high-rise residential area to reinforce Clarendon’s status as a true live-work-play urban environment. The project conforms to the Arlington County Clarendon Sector Plan that calls for a building that steps back from N. Washington Boulevard and N. Highland Streets as well as maintaining and restoring two existing building facades identified by the sector plan to be preserved. The building design allows for a wide range of floorplate options for our potential tenants. Situated in the heart of Clarendon’s commercial district, this project will add to the vitality of what has long been Arlington’s ‘downtown’,” said Tolkan.

The development is designed to function as two separate buildings with shared common services, such as the 4-level below-grade parking deck and loading dock. 3001 N. Washington Boulevard will be a 10-story, 200,000 square foot office building with typical floor plates containing approximately 20,000 square feet. 3003 N. Washington will be an 8-story, 80,000 square foot office building with typical floor plates ranging from approximately 8,000 – 10,000 square feet. The two buildings with complementary and unique architectural details will feature approximately 28,000 square feet of ground floor retail space with an expansive sidewalk area to accommodate café tables and outdoor seating. 3001-3003 N. Washington Boulevard is being designed to a minimum standard of LEED Silver, working toward the highest designation possible. Pending County approval of the site plan, 3001-3003 N. Washington Boulevard is scheduled to break ground in spring of 2012. Jones Lang LaSalle has been retained to market the project.

Penzance has demonstrated its commitment to Arlington County for many years, owning and managing 1500 Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn, 2000 N. 14th Street in Courthouse and developing in 2003, and owning and managing Ballston Gateway (3865 Wilson Boulevard), a 2010 TOBY award winner. The company also plays a leadership role in the County’s urban arts center, Artisphere, through its active involvement in the Rosslyn BID.

Another rendering of the new buildings, after the jump.

  • doodly

    Your lack of architectural imagination and courage is pathetic, Penzance.

    • I have to agree, though not so rudely. Clarendon risks becoming Ballston with every passing day, and every new office building development.

      However, private enterprise is private enterprise. The idea of citizens dictating architectural choices (through government intervention) is frightening. So please, Arlingtonians, don’t go there.

      Also ask yourself: Do people in Manhattan complain about new office buildings this way? Despite wondrous architecture in the Big Apple, most of her office buildings are just as bland or worse. What makes a difference is ground-floor retail. Let’s hope for anything other than banks and cellphone dealers.

      • JamesE

        God forbid it turn into Ballston, I suggest people move to Fauquier country if they are worried about large buildings.

        • Really?

          People moved to Arlington in the 1940s because they didn’t want the noise/traffic/congestion/crowding of DC proper.

          Now the little neighborhood shopping areas–intended to serve the nearby residents–have been taken from them and replaced by these behemoths.

          When does it stop?

          • JamesE

            It never stops, I seriously laugh out loud when Clarendon people complain it will turn into Ballston when Ballston is 1/2 a mile away.

          • Thes

            I believe it stops when either the U.S. population stops growing, or Arlington is old enough to become a historic tourist attraction.

          • Arl

            Why would Arlington become a historic tourist attraction? There is not alot to see here now and what is left will be torn down too eventually. The County Board would like to get their developer buddies in at the National Cemetery if they could! Progress…..

          • doodly


            People moved to Northwest DC in the 1880s for the same reason.

            And the people before you – the farmers – complained about the city people moving to Arlington too.

            It never stops, because its the natural progression of a growing city.

          • Steve

            I’m sure there were folks living in Arlington in the 1940s who were complaining about people building houses and driving out the farmers and the cows.

            Be happy you live in a place that other people want to live in too.

          • Agent Michael Scarn



          • Josh S

            Wait, what? You can’t possibly be serious. You’re making comparisons to what the place was like SEVENTY years ago? The people who moved to Arlington in the 1940s are DEAD. Their expectations are moot. And nothing whatsoever has been taken from them.At least not recently.

          • doodly

            Nobody’s comparing what it’s like today with the 1940s or the 1880s or whatever. The point is that things change. Arlington has changed before and it will change again, and that’s to be expected.

          • Josh S

            It sure sounded like that’s what “Really?” was doing.

            “People moved to Arlington in the 1940s because they didn’t want the noise/traffic/congestion/crowding of DC proper.

            Now the little neighborhood shopping areas–intended to serve the nearby residents–have been taken from them and replaced by these behemoths.

            When does it stop?”

      • doodly

        I didn’t say anything about dictating architectural choices.

    • Clarendude

      I think the triangular building is great. The glass building is pretty ho-hum but I think the main purpose of the light glass is to make it not so obvious.

    • Lou

      Penzance did not design the building.

    • Eponymous Coward

      True, not an exceptionally inspired design, but look at the mixed use developments going up in DC at Foggy Bottom and the old convention center space: not exactly Calatravas there, either. Every building can’t be an IM Pei.

      Widening sidewalk width on the Wash. Blvd. side would be a big plus.

      • DSS10

        “Every building can’t be an IM Pei.”

        I wish at least one was…… If you look at New York, London, Amsterdam, you will see that a city does not have to look like it was built by the Toll brothers.

        • Eponymous Coward

          London and NYC have 13 million and 20 million people. DC has 4. Hell, Philly is bigger than DC. DC isn’t exactly in that league. And if you’re willing to consider government buildings, memorials, and museums, DC still would rank high on any architectural significance scale.

          Also, breaking out of the norm doesn’t always get you beauty. You might get Brutalism. Another FBI Building, anyone?

          • dss10

            Actually the DC metro area is pretty close in size to Amsterdam, Philadelphia, and London….

            Washington Metro 5,476,241
            Amsterdam (Noord Holland (Amsterdam to Den Haag)) 2,606,584
            Philadelphia metropolitan 6.1 million
            London Metro (inside ringway 3) 7.5 million

            I still think that it would be good for the area to take some chances and try to build buildings that don’t look like an airport Sheraton hotel from Texas. As to L’enfant plaza and Crystal City they are destinations for architects looking to study both brutalism and urban planning (FWIW Harvard business school uses Crystal City as a case study for real estate development and urban development).

          • Thomas Quigley

            And if you combine the DC and Baltimore metro areas together (the cities are only 45 miles apart) it’s actually 8.5 million people by the most recent census.

          • Erin

            I’ve never thought that lumping these two together makes sense. As far as I know there’s not very much living in one, commuting to another to work that would justify it.

          • doodly

            So you say “no” to Brutalism too. Easy.

      • Thes

        Prediction: They will widen the sidewalk on Washington Boulevard to 28 feet, and then a restaurant will put up a fence to use 24 feet of it.

        • Eponymous Coward

          LOL. That would be bad, yes.

        • charlie

          it would match Lyon Hall. How did that happen, btw?

        • Lee-n-Glebe

          Hey, at least we know there won’t be any signs on it.

      • Michael H.

        L’Enfant Plaza wasn’t well-served by having an IM Pei design there. I wouldn’t want anything like a L’Enfant Plaza in Arlington or another one in DC.

  • Suburban Not Urban

    Quick get that site plan done, before you get yanked into a district energy plan.

    • doodly

      What is wrong with district energy? It can save you alot of money.

  • Ian Luria

    This project isn’t enough for me….10 stories is too little for this location, I would prefer buildings of maybe 20-30 stories this close to a Metro stop. Arlington is way too conservative with it’s urban planning, ultimately Arlington and it’s stinginess will be bypasses in favor of Tyson’s Corner, IMO.

  • Ian Luria

    This project isn’t enough for me….10 stories is too little for this location, I would prefer buildings of maybe 20-30 stories this close to a Metro stop. Arlington is way too conservative with it’s urban planning, ultimately Arlington and its stinginess will be bypassed in favor of Tyson’s Corner, IMO.

  • CW

    Negative – I will likely live next to a construction site for the next couple years.

    Positive – maybe that will keep my rent down, since other people won’t want to??! Cross fingers.

    • TGEoA

      You can always move


      • CW


        If they keep my rent steady, I will gladly live next to a construction site. The site at washington and 10th is only another block from me, and that’s been relatively innocuous so far.

        • Hah

          “if they keep my rent steady”

          stilll laughing.

          All the managed buildings in Arlington have been pushing 15% rent increases to people trying to renew leases.

          Its too bad paychecks arent going up 15% a year. Theres no inflation tho, because an Ipad 2 costs what an Ipad 1 used to cost.

  • ClarendonDweller

    I live on the next block and have been eagerly awaiting this news. Not gonna lie – I’m pretty disappointed in the renderings…unimaginative, no character, and seems very out of place for a block that is surrounded by residences. I see some reflection of other local buildings in the 8-story building but the 10-story behemoth – yikes.

    • CW

      Yeah, the first 4 floors of the 8-story building are somewhat similar to the west Clarendon Center building. The top 4 floors and the 10-story monster scream “HELLLLOOOO, ROSSLYN!”

    • Lou

      It has some OK elements, but way too much going on. Starting with the squashed down USA Today Building, and then what you would expect to find on some new college campus attached to it, with another newer looking building jammed down into that.

      • ClarendonDweller

        Yes! I knew the glass building reminded me of something – and it’s the USA Today building.

    • ae

      The developer did a presentation recently and their answer to a local resident who raised a similar concern was that Arlington County officials specifically requested office space as part of the project. This strikes me as fairly reasonable.

      • ClarendonDweller

        Thanks, ae. I don’t have an issue with there being office space – I have an issue with the design (the glass building, specifically.) Do you know if the design of that building came up at the presentation?

        • ae

          It did. The comment was, to paraphrase, “We believe buildings should look like what they are.”

          The person who was most concerned about the building wanted the developers to use bricks. Personally, while I am not necessarily in love with the steel and glass building, I think the area is in danger of becoming inundated with large block-sized brick buildings.

          Part of what the developers said they were trying to do was break up the large site so that it looks like two buildings (although functionally they are one project).

          • Clarendude

            I think each building has it’s own elevator core and main lobby so in that sense they are independent. Same garage structure though. Not sure about HVAC.

          • Lou

            It says they have two addressed, which I take to mean legally they are two buildings. You can’t have electrical, HVAC or fire alarm/suppression cross from one building to another. That’s the code.

          • doodly

            The code says that if you have two addresses, you are two buildings, even if you’re not?

          • Lou

            You have it kind of backwards. I’m assuming these are two buildings since the article headline says “buildings”, and the press release says “two buildings”, and they have two addresses. That is usually the tipoff that they are two buildings. That is important for many things, including that the tax assessment will record the land value plus two improvements. Once it is established that they are two buildings, that is how they will have to be considered when interpreting the code for what can cross between them.

            In other words, the code does not say that if you have two addresses you have two buildings, rather it is the land and real property records that determine how many buildings are there.

          • Clarendude

            It seems to me that the only thing being shared is the garage and its entrances – although there may be a way to move between the two buildings above ground. I wish they would do more of this where they build a full-block garage under ground (for efficiency) and then develop multiple buildings on the above ground. You could even hire multiple architects for each above ground building and make it like the more traditional city block development (but now I’m just dreaming).

      • Lou

        And of course, the developer will listen to what the County wants because they are transferring density from a few nearby “historic” sites into this site to allow upzoning above the allowed FAR, without having to go through the normal legal wrangling of changing the zoning.

        • BerryBerryCold

          Ah, so the county does have some weight here and this is not by-right.

          So who’s pockets are the developers lining?

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Ain’t that the truth, BBC!

        • Thes

          Isn’t the transfer provision itself IN the zoning?

          • Lou

            The statute that allows TDR’s was passed in Richmond in 2006. The County can adopt a TDR ordinance and call it anything they want. And you probably know that.

            My point, put another way, if the County announced public hearings to amend the zoned density on this parcel and allow bigger buildings, they would face a lot more scrutiny.

          • Thes

            That’s exactly what the County will do on this site — advertise public hearings to consider a zoning amendment in the form of a site plan approval.

      • doodly

        Nothing wrong with office space, but there are SOOO many other, better possibilities for an attractive, and more original, design than this. This is so modular and boring and same.

        • Ballstonia

          Will Doodly & Co. Architecture Associates soon be publishing their portfolio of better, more attractive, more original designs for this lot?

          • Josh S


  • SoCo Resident

    Where are we supposed to buy our tombstones now? And, another BB&T gone.

    • Clarendude

      BB&T will be in the new project, I believe.

      • Joe Hoya

        Maybe they can build it with machine gun nests and bulletproof glass so it’ll be the one BB&T that avoids getting robbed.

    • Arlwhenever

      You won’t need the tombstones. Columbia Gardens Cemetery wants to develop as well.

      • Loocy

        What do you mean? My plot is there.

  • BerryBerryCold

    Before they start, Arlington needs to narrow these streets further.

    • Hah

      Or expanding the entrance/exit to the Clarendon Metro stop would be a nice help……

  • Hello?

    25 comments and nobody has brought up the most important issue: What cupcake, pizza, and froyo shops will be going into the retail space?!

    • doodly

      There will be a BGR, a BRGR, a BRGRRR, a BURGR, and a WTFBRGR.

      • CW

        And a “[version of the word “burger” but missing some vowels] [random punctuation] [synonym for “dwelling”]”

      • CatWoman

        Will there be a Purr-gerrr ?

      • Lee-n-Glebe


        Next to it will be a Ray’s, the Prices

    • Bluemontsince1961


  • Clarendude

    More renderings at the architects site


  • jan

    …”designed to a minimum standard of LEED Silver, working toward the highest designation possible”

    What does that mean? Why start at the minimum?

  • cj

    This project will be going through the Site Plan Review Committee, followed by public hearings at the Planning Commission and County Board. All you architecture critics should mark your calendars, show up and share your views.

    • DSS10

      Will it have parking for more than 25 % of the occupants?

  • Paco

    How about a deal–this yawn of a building can go up as long as someone knocks down the “Bumstead” Building?

  • Andrew

    No! They can’t get rid of Potomac Crossfit! argh

    • The owner of Potomac Crossfit has said hat they will move if they have to, but they will remain in business. He also said he’s confident he’ll be able to find an available space nearby.

      • BerryBerryCold

        And if he really has to, he will email his customers asking for an investment in the new location.

        • Andrew

          Did he do that when he was starting the second location in Ballston or something?

  • Claytron9

    How about it sucks, because it’s not like there are more roads, more parking, more electricity. Instead the Developers are (irresponsibly) piling more and more load into an area that is bursting at the seams. How about a few more parks and greenspace instead of another ********** building?

    • Bluemontsince1961

      +10, Claytron9

    • Eponymous Coward

      No more parking, other than, uh, the “4-level below-grade parking deck”. But other than that, yeah.

    • Ballstonia

      That’s called “density.” You’ll often find it in urban areas adjacent to public transit.

      If you’d like to live amidst abundant parks and greenspace with nary a ******* building in sight, there is plenty of land available far away from the city.

      • Erin


    • John Fontain

      I’m sure the developer would be willing to turn the property into parks if you are willing to pony up the price they will realize from developing the property to it’s highest and best use. Seriously, if you feel strong enough about having a park there, gather your buddies and cough up your change.

  • mapchick

    I’m going to miss the late night drunken calls from friends in Clarendon who couldn’t find their way and ended up “in a cemetery” on Washington Blvd.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      LOL, that’s a good one!

    • Lou

      Do they call you because you’re the mapchick?

  • Terry

    Oh good, another boring 10 story building. Can’t wait.

    • BerryBerryCold

      It’s almost DC.

      • Hah

        10 stories, wowzers. Crazy density!!!!

        Tulsa, any city in Ohio, Winston Salem, Charlotte, Richmond, Balitmore and plenty more 3rd rate cities have much taller buildings.

  • Thomas

    That is the very model of a modern major office building.

    • Eponymous Coward

      ba-dum. +1 internets to you, sir.

  • ArlForester

    ArlNow could post a picture of puppies with the headline “look, puppies” and some people here would still find something to complain about.

    • Thes

      Let’s try.

      • ArlForester

        Thes is a white puppy supremacist!!

        • charlie

          and those two puppies are so gay.. are they running TO pizza or FROM cupcakes?

          • Josh S

            That sh*t’s FUNNY!!

    • Smilla

      True dat.

      Throw the phrase “illegal immigrant” into the post and ArlNow is guaranteed to break the 100-comment mark within an hour.

      Maybe they’ll post a photo of a day-laborer on a bike, eating a cupcake in front of Artisphere with Chris Zimmerman and/or Walter Tejada in the background discussing taxes. They’ll break the all-time record for comments!

  • TuesdaysChild

    This reminds me of the line from the Amadeus movie. Where the king(?) says Mozart’s music has too many notes. This building has too many notes. Way too much going on.

    But I am glad it is not condos. Too many condos. Need more office buildings and day workers in the area.

  • db

    They should allow a much taller building at this site, and in the area generally. The main reason why the buildings in Ballston/Clarendon are so boring is because demand for space so far outstrips what Arlington will allow to be built. With such tight restrictions on density in such a desirable area, developers would be crazy not to maximize every square inch of floorspace they can get into these short buildings, hence boring cubes all the same size.

  • PeterKeating

    Who knew ArlNow had so many Howard Roarks to thumb their noses at “boring” architecture.

    You guys are probably the same elitests who feel superior because you “get” modern art. Take a risk? Seriously? It’s an office building, for crying out loud.

    • Lou

      Some of us actually are architects. It’s just opinion.

    • doodly

      Yes, I thumb my nose at boring architecture. I don’t feel elitist or superior, I just don’t like boring architecture. Deal with it.

  • MC

    Noritake Associates has an uninspiring track record designing nice buildings, specializing in office park speculative offices. It is always hard to get a true sense from computer renderings, but the design looks much too simple for such a scale, without having any obvious purity of form.

    On the plus side, much more ground level retail, maybe even one less unnecessary bank.

    • Lee-n-Glebe

      I believe Arlington mandates ground floor retail. We have so much of it that developers almost have to give it away. Hence the absurd numbers of tanning salons, laundromats, etc. on the ground floors of office buildings. The Crossfit guy will most certainly be able to find space.

      • John Fontain

        Give it away? Do you have any idea what space rents for?

  • NOVApologist

    Arlington has an I.M. Pei. 1001 19th St in Rosslyn. It’s got the trademark pyramids and everything.

  • Karzai

    Let’s not forget we will be getting rid of the very rundown auto repair shop that closes, then opens, then changes its name etc etc. Very unsightly. Outdoor restaurants lining the block, if that happens, would be a dramatic improvement of that block. Hopefully Eleventh street will be given preference to rent in the new building.

  • John Andre

    I’d have a BIG issue if the Clarendon Ballroom were ever torn down for some office building or other development.

    Perhaps, in that event, the Tuesday night swing dances could be moved to the Artisphere. However it still would be less convenient & more costly for me, since I’d have to take the less convenient, more costly Metrorail rather than the more highly convenient ART 41 bus [notwithstanding the current ART operators’ strike]–unless the ART 41 were extended to run from the Courthouse to Rosslyn at some future date!

    • metro

      If you look at the Clarendon master development plan, all of the facades by the Ballroom and O’Sullivan’s are slated to be preserved, so presumably any development would integrate those businesses, regardless of the size behind the facades.

  • John Andre

    Then again–there’s always the possibility that Tom & Debra could discontinue or cancel the Tuesday night swing dances before the Clarendon Ballroom [along with Spider Kelly’s and two or three additional establishments] were ever demolished to make way for office complexes. I have to remember that when my pre-retirement employer, NRECA, moved to Ballston in the mid-1990’s, it meant the end of the line for the Putt-Putt miniature golf course at that site.

  • bred

    looking at the rendering it seems that the little building which was once an ABC store, then a post office and now some sort of sporting goods store and the adjacent location which is now called (I think) the 11th Lounge will survive the redevelopment.

  • Black Flag

    Clarendon was sold a long time ago. awful. You get want you sold. Condos, pizza and office buildings.

    • doodly

      Whereas Clarendon was so awesome before.

  • birds will die

    building with lots of glass kill birds by the billions each year all over the world. sometimes they find as many as a dozen or more dead birds each day at the foot of these buildings. hopefully they put film on the windows so the birds won’t crash into them.

  • DD

    Where will I get my tombstones now?

    • Tre

      Fedex Kinkos or Target

  • Clarendon Bill

    There’s a certain cohort of folks in this thread whose comments reflect a fatalistic approach to all this: “Density is inevitable,” “the market dictates this,” and “if you want greenspace, move to Loudoun County.” But what these folks are missing is that the density of high-rises threatens to throw out of balance the nice mix of residential, commercial, low-rise and high-rise that makes Clarendon so attractive. This is troubling from an aesthetic sense (namely, Ballston and Rosslyn are pretty ugly) and from an economic one. That balance is precisely the reason Clarendon real estate commands a premium over its neighbors. Clarendonians are right to bemoan and to fight this continued “Ballstonization.”

    • doodly

      Bill, your comments about specific density in Clarendon are understandable. Most people who bemoan the complaints about density are reacting to more general comments, i.e. from those who pounce on density or development at every turn, in Clarendon or elsewhere.

  • karzai


    The Trader Joe’s that is supposed to open is near these proposed buildings. However, there is no evidence of any construction work whatsoever inside the Trader Joe’s site.

    Does anyone on this comment board know what is happening with Trader Joe’s? We’re waiting anxiously for it to come to Clarendon, and now it seems still far away.

    • Lou

      They are having all sorts of problems getting a building permit, zoning approval etc. Including the case of their stock room being in a different building and needing to have a different address.

      • UnlimitedCustoms

        Is this the storefront facing Garfield St?

    • Thes

      @Karzai. Check out this linkto last month’s Arlnow story with the details.

  • tom smart

    Think for a moment. If Arlington had stayed the same, more than likely, very few of the people making comments here would even be living here. change happens and we have interested parties here to try and hammer out what is acceptable growth for the community. i remember the days when arlington turned dark at sundown and you couldn’t find anyone on the streets. now we have some nice places to enjoy the evening hours. and i for one would never want it to return to what it was. it’s becoming an urban area; it is no longer that sleepy suburb of washington. there will always be disagreements about growth..is it too much? too little? etc. the only thing that I bemoan is the traffic that is created. but what can we do about that? If anything, Arlington Government should force developers to offer reasonable pricing for parking after hours, at the very minimum, so we don’t end up like Georgetown. and perhaps offer discount parking for an hour or two for locals so they can take care of business during the day. arlington is a great place to live notwithstanding the bloated government budget and heavy handed taxes. but the population continues to vote them in, so what can you do.


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