Crystal City to Get ‘Sparkling’ New Southern Entryway

by ARLnow.com September 26, 2011 at 1:46 pm 5,028 40 Comments

A drab piece of vacant land that serves as the decidedly unspectacular southern entryway to Crystal City will soon be getting a new look.

The 30,000 square foot, triangular lot at the intersection of Crystal Drive and Jefferson Davis Highway will be getting “a large-scale lighting and landscape enhancement that will create a truly enticing gateway experience.”

“The project adds new turf, 28 trees, and beautiful LED lighting features laid out in an interesting and attractive geometric pattern that continues up the façade of the southernmost building in Crystal City,” according to the Crystal City Business Improvement District. Nearly 50,000 drivers per day pass by the entryway. The revamped look will communicate “the excitement and vibrancy of Crystal City,” according to the BID (see illustration, below).

A groundbreaking will be held on Monday, Oct. 3. Construction is expected to wrap up by Thanksgiving.

Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.

  • Swag

    That looks stupid.

  • 1980

    Was that rendering done on a Commodore 64?

  • D’oh

    “communicate ‘the excitement and vibrancy of Crystal City'”?

    Sorry. Crystal City is Arlington’s poop chute.

    • Stoneride

      If it was next to Donaldson Run.

      • Arlingtonian

        Donaldson Run? Is that even part of Arlington anymore?

        • Cate

          Not since it was washed away.

  • Burger

    I am sure all the business that pay into the BID’s taxes are real happy about this use of money.

    • drax

      You think the businesses prefer an ugly empty lot?

      • burger

        Most business owners probably did even notice it..

        I’d wager most business owners would rather keep their money than pay funds into a quasi-government group that likes has numerous conflict issues in the way it spends money and was purelyt created to support its own self-interest.

        • drax

          As long as you acknowledge that you’re just speculating and don’t actually have any actual insight on what those businesses think, fine.

          • Burger

            This is the internet, right? Why would I confuse any issue with facts.

  • I’m surprised some sort of paved-over structure isn’t going there.

  • Scott

    Maybe putting in a TGIFridays would convey Crystal City’s “vibrancy” even better.

  • CW

    This is an excellent example of turd-polishing.

  • arlingtonian016

    I like trees. Thumbs up, says I.

    • MC


    • steve85

      putting those trees there is a waste of the property

      • drex

        What would you prefer?

  • Crystal Dykie

    The revamped look will communicate “the excitement and vibrancy of Crystal City”

    That shouldn’t be too hard.

  • Michael H.

    I think it’ll be an interesting addition. The nearby area (Crystal City/Potomac Yards) will continue to be developed. The new hotels opened up a couple blocks to the north. On the south and east of that park, new office and apartment buildings have been built in recent years. The currently empty parking lots will also be developed.

    As for Crystal City, I’m not sure why so many people here think “the streets are completely empty after 5 pm”. Makes as much sense to me as the guy who complains about Donaldson Run getting overlooked in weather reports.

    • drax

      Crystal City was a complete death zone after 5 pm years ago (except for the Crystal City Restaurant and a couple of joints on 23rd St, of course) but now 23rd St is better and there are some decent places on Crystal Drive.

  • V Dizzle

    The turf 28 new trees will make for way more excitement once they decide to develop there and plow them all down.

  • ArlingtonResident13

    Our tax dollars hard at work! There 100 other things that could have been put on that lot…all of which would have been better than another light/sculpture garden. What a waste!

    • RosRes

      Read the article. Your tax dollars aren’t paying for this. The BID is funding it which means the moeny is coming from local businesses in Crystal City. And yes, the whole point of a BID is to do things like this to improve the neighborhood.

      • Davdz

        shut the tax police up on that one!

    • drax

      Such as? Name some things that could go there that are better, and how much they would cost.

  • Jason

    I don’t understand why so many people complain about Crystal City or call it such absurd names as the “poop chute” of Arlington….I love Crystal City…it is a very nice area with good restaurants to walk to and great people and very easy access to DC via metro and it’s right next to DCA….the only thing missing is a grocery store that I can walk to, but other than that, Crystal City is awesome to me.

    • RosRes


    • Ali


      Lived here for 5 years and don’t want to leave.

    • Tre

      dearth of Froyo-Cupcake-Flipflop-Pizzaburger density

      • Jason

        Tre, that is in any “suburb” area of DC or any metro area….those are the foods that are populuar now and what is being built and Crystal City is no different than any other area for that. Where do you live? Somewhere without froyo, cupcakes, flipflops, pizzas, and burgers…gah I would hate to live where you live.

        • Jacques

          @Jason — “dearth” means “lack”.

    • OX4


      I worked in CC for 10 years and I’m glad I left. I will admit there are a few things that CC is really good for: dry cleaning, salad bars, and cubical spaces for writing memos.

  • CarsSuck

    When I read the article title, this is the first thing that came to mind. I’m sure we can articulate something similar.

    • drex

      Except we don’t have the gambling and legal prostitutes.

      • JR

        Neither does Las Vegas…no legal pros in Vegas…gotta go outside the county for that.

  • Charles

    So what are they waiting for, to open the road from south Crystal City to the Potomac Yards shopping area? The road and bridge have been complete for months, but it’s blocked off for no visible reason.

  • Well, trees and walkways and sculptures are better than what is there, now. But … that is no place to stroll among trees and sculpture. With those roads on both sides, it is a noisy and quite frankly dangerous narrow strip of land. Maybe putting in some picnic tables would at least make it a destination for office tenants looking for a place to eat lunch. But that rendering doesn’t show any tables or benches – just walking paths in a place that no one wants to walk to. Maybe it will be OK. But a community garden for residents of C-City might have been nicer and cheaper.

  • Rayne

    Negatively bashing the city is only perpetuating the argument that Crystal city is unattractive- it doesn’t have to be this way if you allow it to come to fruition. Crystal City -can- be better if little things like this went towards improving it. The park may seem like nothing but in the future we’ll actually be -appreciating- little things like this that add to what makes Crystal City a great place.

    There’s plenty of propensity to turn Crystal City into a vibrant locale, it’s already made strides towards that in the last decade with the many street shops that have opened and is continuing to do so by connecting to the Potomac Yard development.

    This park is tiny, but its just a slice of what can improve the whole. It’ll take a lot of little slices over time to make it better. I’m sure businesses that live on the block realize that. I’d happily pay money to help make my place more attractive for customers if it makes the area surrounding my property a bit more positive, I’m only increasing the opportunity to draw in customers.

    For people that live down on the Eclipse in Potomac Yard, I’m sure they’d be happy to make use of the open space as well.

    This park will have a use, even if it’s not apparent to the people that don’t live in the area.

    The design may be a bit simple, but I wholly welcome the endeavor.

  • Arlingtron

    Please, no more “gateway” named places. There are many places (parks and hotels) from Rosslyn to Crystal City and many locations in between with the word “Gateway” in the name. Makes it confusing as to where you are directing people. If you must use the word please call this new park the “Gateway to the Gateways.”


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