Proposed Building Purchase Would Allow Year-Round Homeless Shelter

(Updated at 11:50 a.m.) Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan will recommend that the County Board approve the purchase of 2020 14th Street N., a seven-story office building in Courthouse, according to a county news release.

The purchase of the $25.5 million, 70,000 square foot building will allow the county to achieve several significant goals.

Two stories of the building would likely be devoted to a new, year-round shelter for homeless adults. The “comprehensive homeless services center” will replace the current Emergency Winter Shelter on 15th Street N. in Courthouse, which is only open during cold weather months.

The acquisition would also allow the county to consolidate offices space from its Court Square West building at 1400 N. Uhle Street. After the offices are moved and the Court Square West building is torn down, the county would then be able to proceed with a planned redevelopment at Courthouse Plaza. That redevelopment would see the county’s large surface parking lot converted into a mixed-use development with ground floor retail, office and residential space, underground parking and a public plaza.

Existing private tenants at 2020 14th Street N. will eventually be moved out after a county acquisition, with some possible exceptions including street level retail tenants like Ragtime restaurant. Donnellan’s recommendation is expected to be considered at the Board’s Dec. 13, 2011 meeting. The county says it would consider using its eminent domain powers if a “voluntary purchase” is not successful.