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Apartments, Grocer Proposed for Bergmann’s Site

by ARLnow.com February 13, 2012 at 12:14 pm 8,502 53 Comments

A development proposal being examined by Arlington’s Site Plan Review Committee tonight would build a new apartment tower and a new grocery store on the Bergmann’s Cleaning site on Lee Highway.

The proposed buildings would replace the former Bergmann’s dry cleaning plant, at the corner of Lee Highway and N. Veitch Street, and five early 20th century houses across the street from the plant. The homes are also owned by Bergmann’s.

In place of the plant, Chicago-based McCaffery Interests proposes to build a 26,000 square foot, single-story “specialty grocery store.”

In place of the houses, which are located between N. Uhle Street and I-66, the developer is proposing a 10-story, 166-unit, LEED Gold-certified apartment building, complete with a fitness center and swimming pool on the penthouse level. The apartment building would have a mostly-glass façade, with white vertical concrete columns.

Planners have expressed reservations about several aspects of the development plan. County staff oppose the grocery store plan, which would require a partial exemption of the allowed retail density for the site. Arlington County has a policy of making exceptions for grocery stores, which are seen as a net positive for the community, but staff notes that density exemptions have only been granted for full-size grocery stories.

“While [Arlington Economic Development] considers the area around Bergmann’s underserved by full-service full size grocers for everyday shopping (stores like Safeway or Giant), they consider this area well-served by specialty grocers (Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s),” a planning document says.

Concerns about the height of the apartment building, and the stark transition between the single-story grocery store and the ten-story apartment, have also been raised. Another likely topic of discussion: the fact that all parking for the combined project (226 spaces) will be located in a garage below and on the roof above the grocery store. Apartment tenants will have to walk across N. Uhle Street after parking.

The developer, McCaffrey Interests, is responsible for a number of notable local developments, including Georgetown Centre in D.C. and Market Common Clarendon in Arlington. The company’s Washington office is located in Courthouse.

Following tonight’s Site Plan Review Committee meeting, the project is expected to be considered by the Arlington Planning Commission and County Board no earlier than June 2012.

  • Well

    Screw the apartment, make the entire lot a Wegmen’s!

    • Autoexec.bat

      I would KILL for a Wegmans. Literally, but in a good way.

    • choogirl


    • Burger

      As much as I would want a Wegman’s that close, the footprint is not even close to big enough for what Wegman’s desires for building a new store.

    • Ivy

      Absolutely!! I would give ANYTHING for Wegman’s

  • Bob the Builder

    This idea is awful. Can’t we just build another Starbucks and get on with our lives?

  • nunya


  • Richard Cranium

    I’ll sure miss that historic Bergmann’s building.

  • Brian

    Three grocery stores in three blocks — Safeway, Giant, and X

    • FrenchyB

      It’s about a mile from Bergmann’s to the Safeway – those are some long blocks!

    • Southeast Jerome

      well that safeway and giant are both terrible.

      self checkout is missing at both. its 2012. hello.

      Still not sure why the Lyon Village contingent allows that Giant to suck so bad compared to the one in Va Square.

      • Burger

        the safeway might just be the worst safeway of all time.

  • CourthouseChris

    How about a Mom’s Organic Market? I’d love an alternative to Whole Foods for top notch produce.

    • CourthouseChris

      Or a Co-op; Takoma Park has a great one, it’d be neat if Arlington could get the same.

      • nom de guerre

        Does anyone remember the Uncommon Market, aka Arlington Cooperative that was on S. Edgewood Street near Columbia Pike? It closed in 2006 due to a lack of business.

    • Ben

      I’m guessing maybe a fresh market

      • Kim

        HOPING for a Fresh Market! I make the trek to the Vienna store but would LOVE having one closer!!

  • JimPB

    Demolish the homes for development there, too;
    go for a full service grocery;
    locate the bulk if not all of parking under, above and adjacent to the development;
    retain apartment homes with a possible increase in number.

  • DarkHeart

    That is a historic Bergmann’s, at least when it comes to the FBI.


    • Clarendon Cruiser

      “Hey Joe, can you clean the smell outta this rug and dispose of this nameless feller?”

      Hmmm, me wonders if the agent is under the basecourse of I-66?

  • Confused

    How is the whole area not a Superfund site? Does that explain why Bergman’s owns the houses? Why else would they? Anyone know?

    • bergmans house of pancakes

      they used those houses for the people that worked at the cleaners. low cost housing….and ensuring workers got to work on time.

      • Yup

        Metro 29 and others do that also be it own or rent a property… many metro 29 employees live in townhouses and apartments within walking distance in order to open in extreme weather, etc.

  • bred

    Just doesn’t seem right for a grocery store.

  • John

    The proposed building actually looks good and is a break from the traditional faux-historical, bland boxes that are built by developers. ARLnow should be able to get an image of the rendering of the proposal.

  • Good Grief

    DISLIKE! Keep big development on the Rosslyn-Ballston line. Leave Lee Highway out of it. Even though the road gets close to metros, it needs to stay a residential focus.

    • Southeast Jerome

      are apartments not residences?

    • Burger

      aren’t there two big apartment buildings two blocks over on Adams?

  • Good Grief

    They absolutely are but adding more and more of these complexes increases traffic and takes away the ‘residential’ vibe of these communities. This would be the 5th apartment/condo addition in 2 years. We have the 5 year Bromptons project, Lyon Hill, whatever the new addition on Veitch, and the development next to Safeway. The 3a bus can only hold so many people.

    • SomeGuy

      Maybe Lee Highway needs a trolley too!

      • C Z future

        Hmmm… why didn’t I think of that? Great idea!

    • Josh S

      Given the pretty serious commuting that goes on on Lee Highway, I fail to see how this location has much of a “residential vibe.”

      • Good Grief

        You really need to turn onto the many residential roads that intersect with Lee Highway. Lee Highway is far more residential than Glebe and Columbia Pike. I’m not saying its better, I am saying that it is far less Urban.

        • Southeast Jerome

          They can always add another bus run or two for the 3A if the density really shows they need it.

          Plus- all those other developments you initially mentioned are very small. Hardly enough to cause issues with traffic and the 3A.

  • dcvelobrew

    How about a World Market?

  • DSS10

    Boy, what a walkable Neighborhood! I’m sorry. I’d slit my wrists if I ended up living there….

    • CourthouseChris

      It’s four tenths of a mile from Courthouse Metro…

  • Peter

    Has anyone else noticed the guy living out of his RV right by those abandoned houses?

    • nunya

      i think that’s the RV that eats lil Hansel und Gretel. scary.

  • DayTripper

    They should turn it into a hippy commune!!

    • nunya

      chickens. we need more chickens!

    • SomeGuy

      Is that your subtle way of suggesting a new Dr. Dremo’s?

  • South Awwwlington

    How about this…South Arlington will trade you: One new affordable housing complex and even throw in two Check Cashing stores for your one high end grocer and market rate housing. Come on, you can’t beat this 2 for 3 deal!!! Do your part too — you too can be apart of the Affordable Housing movement!!! It’s good enough for our neighborhood, surely it’s good enough for yours too – located next to I-66 (except when we complain and you extol guilt).

    • Keep It In Your Hood

      Why in the world would want to trade…it’s easier to let you handle it. Besides it allows for the relief of guilt on this side of the fence, undue burden on yours…perhaps.

  • CW

    Ugh, the intersection at Veitch sucks enough as it is, with the hills on Veitch and eastbound Lee so steep as to be blind, and the split on Lee right there. I’d think it would make for some messy traffis.

  • Bergmann neighbor

    We’ve been living near Bergmann’s for ten years. Even though a supermarket and apartments would be a vast improvement over boarded up houses, the creepy RV guy, and a disfunctional dry cleaner, a ten-story apartment building and a large supermarket will destroy the quiet neighborhood. The additional traffic will require additional stop lights, and I can only imagine that guest parking will eat into our street parking across the bridge on Veitch/21st Street.

    Maybe they can come up with a compromise that doesn’t result in such a huge increase in car traffic…

  • Iliveincourthouse

    So what is happening with Bergmans? Are they staying in business and moving?

  • susan

    These decisions are made by people who don’t live in Arlington: County Staff, out-of-state planners, out-of-state developers. When will the County Board listen to Arlington residents?

    • southarlington

      Don’t you know they allow way to get the board’s attention is to vote them out of office if you really want a change vote someone else in office in the special election….I do not mean someone that has been on the schoolboard ….someone else…..

    • bemused bystander

      Susan — you sound like an escapee from another blog!

  • MC

    There is little reason to think a location on Lee Highway within spitting distance of Georgetown will be quiet. People expecting such a life are mistaken, and are living in the 1950s. I’m happy to see the location be Arlington centric, instead of a dry cleaner that was built to serve people who lived in DC but didn’t want the dry cleaner in their neighborhood.

    • Southeast Jerome

      now THATS the Arlingon way. WOOOOO.

    • Bergman neighbor

      Then you must not live in the neighborhood — it’s pretty quiet on the north side of Lee Hwy.


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