Board Approves Rezoning of Rosenthal Site

by Katie Pyzyk May 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm 8,116 59 Comments

(Updated at 5:55 p.m.) The County Board has given the go-ahead for the redevelopment of the Rosenthal Jeep/Chrysler property on Columbia Pike.

At its meeting yesterday, May 22, the board voted unanimously to approve a rezoning and use permit for the property. The site, located at the southwest corner of Columbia Pike and Glebe Road, will be turned into a multi-family residential complex.

The plan includes construction of a six-story building with 245 apartments, 44 townhouses, 12 stacked flats and retail space on the ground floor. Renderings of the buildings were released in January. The development will be split into two blocks by a new road that has yet to be constructed.

Although the development is based on the Columbia Pike Form-Based Code, it required approval of a special use permit because the property exceeds 40,000 square feet.

“The Form-Based Code is beginning to make a real difference in the look and feel of Columbia Pike,” said Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes. “With this, the seventh Form-Based Code project approved by the Board for the Pike, our community’s vision of a revitalized, more vibrant, walkable Pike is becoming reality.”

Efforts will be made to be environmentally sensitive during construction, but the developer will not seek LEED sustainability certification. It was explained that as part of the Form-Based Code guidelines, LEED certification is not required in order to keep construction costs low. Board member Jay Fisette didn’t like that concept.

“I believe that as our standards change we need to simultaneously look at changing the Form-Based Code standards as it applies to that area,” Fisette said.

County staff reached out to residents in the neighborhood during the planning process to get feedback on the site plan. The overall response was positive, according to the county, although some concerns were raised about disruptions due to construction and potentially hazardous traffic patterns. Board members spent time addressing both topics.

As currently designed, residents of the complex won’t be able to make a left on Columbia Pike or Glebe Road. Some worry that problems that could arise from drivers making U-turns in order to go north on Glebe Road or west on Columbia Pike. The Board agreed that further investigation into safety and traffic patterns is necessary, and instructed county staff to tackle the issue.

Of lesser importance is the formal naming of the street that will be constructed through the property. It is supposed to start with an “L” and have two syllables, per county regulations. Some have begun tentatively calling it “Lincoln Street.”

Board member Chris Zimmerman said adhering to naming regulations sometimes seems absurd in an area where streets don’t follow an easy grid design. He suggested not naming the new road Lincoln to avoid confusion with the North Arlington street of the same name. Hynes agreed, but pointed out there’s plenty of time for discussion because the name doesn’t have to be assigned until the street is built.

  • Enough already

    That intersection will be a disaster. Hopefully the County Board mandates one lane of Columbia Pike be a bike lane with no red lights to ease congestion.

    • South 9th Street

      NEWS Flash! It already IS a disaster. The debris from wrecked vehicles left behind is constantly changing like the weather. Remember that this intersection is slated to get its very own red light camera system. Hopefully we can rate the wrecks once the system goes live. Stay tuned for more mayhem.

      • South 9th Street

        My vote for the new street name is, “South Loudly”!
        Because that’s what it’s going to be.

  • Mary-Austin

    How about naming it “South Libby Street” to honor our Board??

    • WeiQiang

      Agreed … let the ArlNow naming contest begin. My input, per the rules:

      Longbridge Drive

      • Mary-Austin

        Or “South Loudoun Street” for the 40 townhouses that look like they belong there

        • PlusSize

          LaneBryant Blvd

          • Mary-Austin

            just loled in my cube.

          • South Awwlington

            just loled in my office.

          • North Arlington

            just loled in my palace

          • Trev

            just loled in my cell.

          • Tre

            I just loled myself

        • WeiQiang


        • drax

          I think they look much more like urban buildings than Loudounish townhouses. But don’t let me spoil the fun.

    • Swag

      Loser Street ftw

  • Trev

    Linkin St, brah

  • Rebecca

    What a completely unique design idea.

    • Cletus Van Damme

      You took the words outta my mouth. I’m just in awe. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before!

  • John

    Street Car Street

    • JohnB

      S Light Rail Road

  • 1234

    The board’s refusal to hold anyone accountable for devising a solution to the traffic issues stemming from this development is very troubling. By deferring decisions on how people will actually get in to and out of this development efficiently and safely, a single window of opportunity is being missed.

    • nerf

      Traffic will be something you will have to describe to your grandkids after the monorail is here!

    • Mr T.

      thats a really long street name.

  • Jj

    Just shows how out of touch the county board is south side….
    There is already and has been a 800 and 900 block of Lincoln street across Columbia pike! Next to the Wendy’s. Zimmerman is a moron.

    • South Awwlington

      Lol and he lives in the neighborhood. Belaboring the point of Lincoln St. It only makes sense to continue it. Geesh.

  • John F

    Chant with me:

    High density, mixed use,
    High density, mixed use,
    High density, mixed use . . .

    • Count von Josh S

      Lies, lies, lies, lies
      Gold, gold, gold, gold
      Guns, guns, guns, guns
      Fire, fire, fire, fire!

      • Josh S


  • For folsk who think that trolley ain’t coming, get a clue.

    These developer WOULD NOT be building out the Pike like this for buses or BRT.

    So, learn to live with it.

    It’s funny b/c MOST (not all) opposition has been from North Arlington commercial and red land owners who 1) don’t want commercial revenue flowing south of 50 and 2) don’t wanna see any part of south Arlington residential real estate on par with SOME of the bland wasteland above Lee Hwy.

    For haters, focus on the word ‘SOME’ and ‘MOST’

    • JMT

      Wrong. There is a demand for new housing in Arlington whether or not the streetcar comes. That is what is driving the rents to artificial high levels.

      • Mary-Austin

        Agreed. Pretty much anything in Arlington County is prime real estate and would attract pricey development. The sad thing is the people moving into these places probably think they’re getting a good deal because it’s Columbia Pike. Like it’s their dirty little secret.

      • Piggybank

        Why do you refer to them as artificial?

        They are real rents. People are really packing through the nose to live in all parts of Arlington.

        The old rule of thumb was that 30% of your income should be devoted to housing.

        In Arlington, it needs to be replaced with 50% of your income + the living allowance your parents give you so you can still shop at Whole Foods and dance at The Guards on the weekend.

        • uh oh

          The rents are real? I’ve been paying mine in monoploy money 🙁

        • Rich Uncle Pennybags

          I’ve been swapping real estate on Boardwalk and Park Place

    • South Arlington

      John has it absolutely right. The gentrification of South Arlington will end up decreasing exclusivity and possibly land values/demand in North Arlington, especially the marginal, off-Metro areas North of Lee Highway.

    • ArlingtonWay

      Sure that’s probably it. It certainly couldn’t be that overtaxed residents see in the trolley the posterboy for this Board’s wasteful ways. But hey. It’s probably not the quarter of a billion dollars being spent on a vanity project. It’s absolutely what you think. The north trying to keep the Pike down.

  • YTK

    MOOORE pollution. More people flushing. More concrete and dust and dirt. Way to go, Arlington!!!

    • sim city

      And why is development in an area where there is existing public transportation networks and other infrastructure more polluting, than, say, paving over woods in Loudon and encouraging long commutes?

      • John K.

        Pssht! Because it’s polluting my “yard” and not some jerk’s in Loudoun.

  • South Awwlington

    I thought one of the commissions really pitched a fit about the materials to be used here. I don’t think they even mentioned it at the Board Meeting.

  • John K.

    So boring to look at… If we’re gonna clear these brah-cages through zoning can we not incentivize some variety in the architecture? It’s bad enough the townhouses down the street repainted beige.

    • AIA

      You could always provide incentive to developers for better architecture when the following happens:
      1) Condos return driving the need for unique spaces to be purchased at high values
      2) Affordable Housing is kicked to the curb.

      Apartments are a commodity product. Design works this way:

      Maximize the amount of units in the box. Keep design as cheap as possible. Make sure its the fastest construction type possible. Make sure that the unit can be rented at a premium to the one that was just built a year ago.

      • JohnB


        The only way you will get good architecture is if the market places a premium price on good architecture.

  • Tired of press releases

    The planning commission voted against approval by 11-1 because of transportation and architecture issues. Read the arlingtonmercury.org story.

    • 5555624

      The County Board does what they want and does not listen to the citizens of Arlington, so why would they listen to the Planning Commission?

      • South Awwlington

        Well one would think because they appointed them…

  • MC

    I thought this design was dinged for using cheap materials, the kind used for highway motels. Considering how visually prominent this development is, at the intersection of two of the busiest roads in Arlington, I think some oversight of design is appropriate.

    • WeiQiang

      It was dinged because there were complaints about using “composite” materials, which sounds cheap. Some people may have thought this was vinyl or aluminum siding. In reality, the composite they were referring to is a concrete fiber composite that has great performance properties. It maintains its shape, it has good fire protection properties, it’s durable, it takes paint well, and it’s available in a number of residential-appropriate finishes. It’s used commonly in upscale single family homes. Some objected on ArlNow because they believed that material used on SFHs wasn’t appropriate for a larger-scale residential product and that more brick or concrete or metal architectural finishes would be more appropriate.

  • Elle

    Alcova Heights and other nearby neighborhoods had better get on the ball with permitted parking in place before this goes up. We already have DC cabs, employees of the new Defense building on George Mason and cars overflowing from the used car dealership taking up space.

  • Glen Carlin NOW

    There’s already a S Lincoln St. It’s across Columbia Pike from the development site, going up to S 8th St.

    Regarding left turns onto Glebe or CP, They could just place new traffic lights on:
    Glebe + 11th St,
    CP + Lincoln St,
    then time these to the main intersection at Glebe + CP.
    This is not a hard problem

  • I’m partial to naming this ” SARDINE STREET “.

    How about a sitting park ?

    But NO. Do not listen to a citizen living nearby for a combined one hundred plus years with spouse.

    There is a Lincoln Ct., you know.

  • The Ruts

    Babylon’s burning.

    • David Gray

      No it isn’t


    As a resident on S. Lincoln Street I can tell you many of us are ecstatic to see this development. We’ll be able to walk to more local businesses AND, no matter what you haters say, this development looks 100x better than the current auto dealership.

    • thegreatGU


      Also glad they approved it, hopefully the new Audi Dealership was just an excuse to make a killing off the land and sells out before they build.

    • Arlington, Northside

      Except now we will all be giving Fairfax or Alexandria our tax dollars when we buy or service our vehicles. I prefer not to have to drive outside the Beltway to buy anything other than things from a farmers fruit stand.


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