New Ballston-Area Apartment Building Approved

by ARLnow.com May 21, 2012 at 1:30 pm 9,023 82 Comments

The Arlington County Board voted unanimously over the weekend to approve a site plan for a new apartment building at 650 N. Glebe Road, across from Ballston Common Mall.

The six-story, 163-unit apartment building will replace a Goodyear tire store and service center. As part of the site plan, developer Crimson Partners agreed to build a 220-foot long extension of N. Tazewell Street to help break up what’s described as “one of the County’s largest blocks” — and to provide resident access to the building that doesn’t interfere with traffic on Glebe.

The new building will include 2,200 square feet of ground floor retail space along N. Glebe Road. County Board members said adding new residential and retail options will help add to the vibrancy of the area.

“This project continues the transformation of Glebe Road to a boulevard with a mix of retail, office and residential buildings that is a safer, more welcoming place for people to stroll, shop and dine,” County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement. “This vision, now well on its way, is far cry from the funnel for fast-moving cars that we’ve experienced through the commercial heart of Arlington for many years.”

Originally proposed as a five-story building, Crimson was granted extra density in exchange for building to LEED Silver sustainability standards and for constructing the extension to N. Tazewell Street. Crimson also agreed to contribute nearly $500,000 to the county’s Affordable Housing Investment fund, $75,000 to the county’s public art fund, and $42,000 to the county’s utility fund.

Though the building will have 164 underground parking spaces, Crimson agreed to a number of “transportation management measures to encourage residents and retail tenants to live and work car-free.” It was previously reported that the developer was hoping to begin construction this year and wrap up by mid-2013.

  • JamesE

    more retail and housing how dare they!

    • An alternate idea

      Instead of “Crimson also agreed to contribute nearly $500,000 to the county’s Affordable Housing Investment fund, $75,000 to the county’s public art fund, and $42,000 to the county’s utility fund”, why didn’t the county instead wrangle out a whole-first-floor school where they pay the developer $1 a year for rent? Then they give the developer an extra floor to boot. They could have the affordable housing for the teachers on top of it, and they have the bocce ball park nearby for recess. All easily do-able and wouldn’t cost the taxpayers $150m or more for a new school. They could easily do this in a few more blocks in the area, and that would make the whole school overcrowding issue go away.

      Or was this really about patting themselves on the back to “address” affordable housing?

      • Not the Arlington Way

        You must be new? That is not the Arlington Way. Tax, Borrow, and Spend as if tomorrow will never come. Neither the school board or the county board can think creatively.

        • I don’t think so

          That’s not the Arlington Way, that’s the lame Republican whiny ingrate version. Taxes are low, government is well-run, schools are top-notch, people are generally happy. Keep spinning though.

  • cool architecture, will bring some much needed glow to that part of the ‘hood.

    • *howls*

    • JamesE

      The new buildings on that stretch of glebe are all very nice, some complain about them creating a death ray from the morning sun but I have yet to experience it yet.

      • CW

        When we don’t see any posts out of you for a couple days, we will know what happened.

  • Car free diet to the bocce courts across the street

  • Southeast Jerome

    Where is Corey at? He is always saying they are never building enough housing

    • drax

      I’m right here.

    • Corey

      Yes, because one building totally disproves the idea that there isn’t enough housing to meet demand in the area.

      • ronfrom22207

        Hold on. I think you are the one with the new theory that bears the burden of proof. Very sly what you just did there.

      • What??

        Yes, but this one is at least two ‘Josh Ess’ blocks from the metro, so that messes up your other point about never building more than one block away.

        • Josh Ess


          Dang, you messin me up, dogg.

  • MC 703

    I may just trade in my Shirlington location for this. And one of me and my wife’s cars.

  • ARLwahoo

    “transportation management measures to encourage residents and retail tenants to live and work car-free.” = $250/month parking spaces

    • SamW

      And the removal of another car repair shop. Some of us need a car and it’s becoming increasingly harder to maintain one in Arlington.

      • MC 703

        There are plenty on Four Mile Run. AutoStop seems pretty decent and ethical.

        • ballstoncmyk

          Northern Virginia Automotive on Four Mile Run gets my vote.

      • JohnB2

        Joyce Motors in Clarendon is good.

        • D'oh!


  • Arlington, Northside

    So where will we finally say the edge of the high rises are? I thought that side of Glebe was going to stay low?

    • Southeast Jerome

      is six stories a high rise now? Isnt that the same height as the retirement community building over there off Carlin Springs?

      • nom de guerre

        The Carlin is 10 stories and Hyde Park is 12.

    • Ashton Hts resident a/k/a Voice of doom and gloom

      Yes, six stories qualifies. The more we pack into Arlington, the more we increase the smog in our kids’ lungs and the traffic that slows us down and clogs up the existing parking and roads. Unless you think concrete is better for the environment than trees, the only ones who want more buildings are developers.

      Developers seem to always convince the county council to do what they want, as long as they provide extra low income housing. After years of this, I don’t expect our council to ever put a stop to development. Right? Do they have a stopping point at all? They always seem to be accepting more growth than is on earlier plans.

      Due to smog and light pollution, my kids cannot see the stars I saw growing up the same distance away from DC (in Maryland). Apparently we in NoVA should not aspire to see the sky.

      • ACDC Hack

        Who needs to have stars at night when we can bask in the glow cast off by the likes of Jay, Zimmy, Jose etc. ??

        If you don’t worship the ground, then move !!!

      • ronfrom22207

        High-rise in terms for firefighting regulations is 75ft from the fire department access to the highest occupiable level. At 6 stories I doubt this building is that tall.

      • Corey

        Density is green. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/01/the-comparatively-green-urban-jungle/

        Also, LOL at the idea that everyone should pay higher rents because your kids “can’t see the stars”.

        • Ashton Hts resident a/k/a Voice of doom and gloom

          I don’t even understand that connection. Are you saying the residents of the low income housing near us would not also appreciate a less polluted airspace for their children? The air is smoggy and it’s because too many people are here now. People bring cars and cars add pollution.

          I’m naturally sympathetic to all who have difficulties affording housing. Perhaps rental taxes are climbing like property taxes over the last decade, despite the direction of the housing market and incomes. I suppose if property taxes ultimately drive our working family with children out of our home, we would move to Annandale or D.C., and that is not an option for the numerous people who can only live in Arlington and thus we must build more housing for them. I guess. Or maybe I am rationalizing like a builder.

          • Josh S

            Microecon 101:
            Chapter One: Supply and Demand.

    • John

      It was supposed to be lower, but the area was always zoned for high densities, which was a surprise to many in the neighborhood.

  • novasteve

    Those poor retail tenants, hoping for their customers to be car free?

  • Jacob

    Extorting the developer to support county services like “affordable housing” and road construction is just a tax on the relatively affluent tenants, but they’re not on the books as a tax. And I find it alarming that the county would blackmail the developer for daring to increase housing density, when the county claims to support “car free” living and walkable neighborhoods. If anything, the county should be subsidizing increased density in developments, not taxing it.

    • MC 703

      Is it “extortion” when Loudoun County requires developers pay for infrastructure improvements when a tightly-packed hood pops up with rural sewer and utilities supporting the site?

      • DK

        If the county was asking for infrastrudture support it wouldn’t be extortion. this certainly smacks of it though.

    • Urbanist

      The county seems to get criticized both by the NIMBYISTs for allowing density, and by the Libertards for actually asking for concessions for additions beyond as of right zoning. Sounds to me like they must be doing something right.

      • drax

        Can we drop the “tard” thing already?

        • Dude

          It’s not an insult directed at developmentally disabled people. That would offend me too. But this suffix packs such a punch. Next time you’re in traffic and someone cuts you off, yell out “do–etard! or “f—tard” and see how satisfying it is. I’m someone who, if I see someone picking on a DD person, WILL physically confront the aggressor.

          • drax

            The suffix is clearly an insult directed at developmentally disabled people. It uses them to represent an undesirable insult.

            I’m someone who, if I hear someone using “tard” as an insult, WILL physically confront the insulter.

      • Josh S


        Small upward curl at the corners of my mouth……

      • Jacob

        Since when is allowing a building that’s responding to market forces (nice units near the orange line) a “concession”? Why is the natural state of things you can’t do anything unless you submit to the Arlington County Wishlist of Nice Things for Liberal Rich People like LEED and other nonsense? And county officials wonder why housing is so expensive. It’s because of cumbersome rules like this that only result in expensive buildings getting put up.

    • Arlington, Northside

      They need to provide the infrastructure that their project is going to require in the long run. If the project adds to the road congestion, they need to either add the appropriate lanes servicing the project or add to the raod fund. If they are going to add more kids to the school system, they need to contribute to the schools. Isn’t it the project taxing the existing residents if they don’t?

  • South Side Chris

    Car free is silly. It’s just pre-planned congestion. I have one space on south-side where I live and one space on north-side where I work. When out on errands no matter where I end up, it’s always in a parking space so IDEALLY there ought to be two parking spaces for every car registered in Arlington. That won’t happen but the powers that be should try a little harder on parking.

    I spent a bit over 20 minutes on Sunday looking for a legal place to park in three of the Shirlington garages. Eventually I just gave up and drove to Bailey’s Crossroads for my grocery shopping.

    • John Fontain

      Sounds like a Wal-Mart in Shirlington would help ease the congestion at Harris Teeter.

    • drax

      “Car free is silly. It’s just pre-planned congestion.”

      Someone actually typed this.

      • True

        100% true. Ask any TOD advocate how high a priority the smooth passage of auto traffic should be in road planning. They will tell you it’s way behind “vibrancy.” They look at roads like N George Mason and Lorcom Lane as failures, because nothing happens on them except people getting where they want to go. But they view Clarendon Blvd. and King Street as the pinnacle of success.

        • drax

          Um, you don’t get how “car free” encourages the smooth passage of auto traffic?

    • Corey

      So, public policy should be designed to fit your lifestyle. Noted.

      • Ashton Hts resident a/k/a Voice of doom and gloom

        Public policy should be designed to fit the lifestyles of those who live and work in an area. The commenter lives and works in this area. The news item is on a blog; people’s comments are by nature individual and anecdotal. Surely you can think of a better criticism than that?

        • drax

          Obviously there are multiple lifestyles here, which require multiple services. What is lost is that they affect each other sometimes.

          Making it easier to walk and bike and take public transportation, for instance, helps people who drive by reducing traffic.

    • Mary-Austin

      Agreed the parking is terrible in Shirlington.
      Somehow I dont think building a streetcar line to Columbia Pike is going to solve it. Kind of how the multimillion dollar bus stop does very little to alleviate parking in the area.

      • ShirliMan

        Really? Evenings and weekends, all the spaces reserved for the offices are open the public. Plenty of free parking to be found.

  • Richard Cranium

    How DARE the County Board let the Big Bad Developers tear down that Historic Goodyear! Next thing you know they’ll allow The BBD’s to start developing the Historic used car lot sites!!!

  • Blackmail?

    It’s not called “blackmail” if the developer is willingly negotiating for something of great value, or they wouldn’t agree to these every time, over and over again.

    Likewise, the county’s long-term plan is not called “density at all costs,” though some old-timers – I’ve only been here for ten years – might disagree. 🙂

    There’s a balance to be struck, and that’s the intent of these trade-offs.

  • Bill Joseph – TEAR DOWN THE MALL

    This is beautiful new development. Now all that’s left is for they Tear Down the Ballston Common Mall: http://www.arlnow.com/2012/04/03/ask-adam-ballston-common-mall

    “One of the County’s largest blocks” is also the behemoth across the street from this beautiful new development. How can the county and developers continue to sink money into the awful and unsalvagable Ballston Mall?

    Break up the mall and see how incredible the development south of Glebe Rd in Buckingham and Bluemont becomes.

  • Aurora Hills

    Keep those apartments off my lawn!

  • asdf2323asdf23

    Yay, more traffic on 66 west! It used to be driving out to Fairfax for work was a reverse commute. Often looking worse than those driving east into DC.

    • Corey

      Complain about my troll posts all you want, but people really say stuff like this.

      • Josh S

        No doubt, but it still doesn’t make it funny.

  • Bye Bye Goodyear

    Thank god that Good Year is gone… such a rip off. They suck! The only place worse than them is the Midas at the corner of Glebe and Columbia Pike.

    Yeah I know this is off topic, but this had to be said.

    • Arlington, Northside

      That GoodYear treated my old Jeep great for many years. Sorry that you did something to piss the guys off there, they have always been great to me.

  • APSnumberone

    I hope the Goodyear can relocate nearby. Have used their services for years and they are wonderful. Some of us are still not “car-free”……..and plan to stay that way.

    • MacTieran

      Agreed. They did some good work on my EEC-IV module and fuel injection system several years ago when nobody else seemed to be able to figure it out.

  • Don Draper

    LEED Silver sustainability standards= bad A/C and high rent

    • Mary-Austin

      Yea giving developers bonuses for this is a joke. LEED Platinum I could see but certified or silver is pretty meaningless.
      A lot of this is mandatory in DC already (until congress finds out about that anyway)

  • Ashton Heights

    Love the transformation of Glebe road. Can’t wait until all the cash checking/kabob/pawn/icky foodmart stores are gone!

    • DCBuff

      I have to disagree with my AH neighbor on this one. I know there are problems with the Glebe and Pershing locals, but closing down the businesses in that location seems unlikely (the buildings at the intersection are historic and will stay), the kabob place is actually a highly-rated cheap eats, and those are the businesses that service the subsidized housing that isn’t going anywhere, thanks to current ArlCo board policies, our ever rising taxes, and the strong arming (isn’t that better than “blackmail?”) of developers.

      • Ashton Hts resident a/k/a Voice of doom and gloom

        Ravi Kabob house I has great food, mango lassis, and fresh flatbread baked in front of you in the stone oven. We do takeout due to lack of atmosphere, but the food is worth it. El Paso is still a good hangout even though they stopped making their chips in-house. Check out yelp on those places. Sure, the exterior of the kabob strip needs to look better, but that is the fault of signage and the ugly if historic strip mall buildings, not the store owners. By the way, I live in AH too.

        • True

          Thai Curry is also excellent.

      • Josh Ess

        What exactly would be wrong with “strongarming” developers? They are going to profit over a substantial change to the county’s built environment which will last for many decades. As representatives of the residents of the county, I would think the county government would be extraordinarily negligent if they did not take advantage of the very high demand to build here and seek to obtain some more public goods as part of the process.

        If this is East Bumbleburg, TN, then the local government there falls all over itself giving things away to attract development. We have the opposite situation here.

  • Ballston Irish

    As a N. Tazewell resident, I’m curious, does anyone know what they mean by extending the street? It dead ends at the Goodyear now, are they planning on running it behind the building a bit now?

    • North Tazewell Resident

      I think what they are referring to is the parking lot access behind Goodyear will become part of Tazewell (it is to the right of the rental house between the retirement building and Goodyear). I’m looking forward to the new development but not the additional traffic on Tazewell… it already is a drag strip for people trying to beat the light taking a left @ Glebe, not to mention the knucleheads at Mazda… can’t wait for them to go the way of Goodyear. Kids live on our street which no one seems to care about… gotta beat that light or pull that MX-5 around at light speed.

  • ry

    More Smart Growth? Bonus density awarded for another energy inefficient building? Neighbors will drive to where to get the tires and brakes serviced?

  • larry

    Who checks out the claims that some retail establishment is a rip off? Or a restaurant’s food isn’t good? Who posts that stuff, anyway? Developers who want to drive away customers and redevelop the site?

  • MC

    Great improvement architecturally. But the community benefit extracted is misguided. The County wants to build a new high school costing hundreds of millions of dollars, and even wants a $42 million swimming pool. What makes affordable housing more important than these big ticket items that will require new bonds?

    • Not the Arlington Way

      I don’t think you are new here, so I am surprised by your insightful comment. This is Arlington and under the Arlington Way, the County Board will tax, borrow, and spend endlessly because they do not believe in making choices. We can have everything. And, thankfully, all of our children are above average, our schools are all tops, and our parks are all better than average. It’s a wonderful place to dream, so please do not let reality creep in to your comments.

      • Josh S

        Please post evidence of recent ARlington County bankruptcies, bond rating downgrades, budget deficits, fiscal imbalances, etc. Also, if you have evidence showing that in the forseeable future Arlington will have difficulty making its debt payments, that would also be very illuminating, I’m sure.

      • drax

        Our taxes are low, our government is good, our schools are excellent, our people are happy, and you are the one who is completely out of touch with reality.

        • Ricardo

          I don’t call an average bill of over $4K a year “low,” and you’ve got to be joking about the schools. I attended Wakefield for a year and it was completely useless. I switched to a private school the following year and I was way behind everyone else.

  • ArlingtonWay

    Not bad. It would be better if they had demanded that the developer include a Bocce Ball court. For low income residents.


Subscribe to our mailing list