County Board to Examine Rosslyn Gateway Development Plan

by Katie Pyzyk July 19, 2012 at 1:35 pm 6,978 40 Comments

(Updated at 3:00 p.m.) The County Board will take up a set of issues at its meeting on Saturday, July 21, regarding the Rosslyn Gateway project — a plan for the re-development of a block just south of Rosslyn Gateway Park.

Developer JBG is seeking approval to redevelop the 2.2 acres of land bounded by N. 20th Street on the north, N. Moore Street on the east, N. 19th Street on the south, and Fort Myer Drive on the west. The plan is for the construction of a 26-story residential and hotel building, and a 25-story office building. The residential/hotel building would have its first 11 floors occupied by the hotel, and the remainder occupied by residential units.

An existing 12-story office building — Rosslyn Gateway North — would remain, but is expected to eventually be replaced with a 20-story residential tower as part of a second phase of the project. Among the businesses impacted by the redevelopment is Continental Pool Lounge (1911 Fort Myer Drive), which sits on the ground floor of what would eventually become the residential/hotel tower, according to architectural documents.

As part of the redevelopment, the County Board would have to approve two ordinances for vacating certain easements and public rights-of-way owned by the county. JBG would pay compensation to the county for the vacated areas, listed at about $7.5 million. County staff recommends the Board approves the ordinances.

As part of the plan, the internal loop roads bordering portions of the block would be eliminated. The county staff report indicates removing these roads is consistent with ongoing plans to re-develop Rosslyn and for transforming some of the area’s traffic patterns.

The developer is also required to present a plan regarding the relocation of all utilities on the vacated land. It’s an extensive process expected to take from three to five years. The Department of Environmental Services will have to approve the plan.

Surrounding property owners have been informed of the request for the proposed vacations, and there has been some community opposition. The complaints primarily focus on the possibility that the placement of the new development would block the view of Georgetown currently available to residents of nearby buildings.

  • novasteve

    Do you think they could make Rosslyn even more boring than it already is? Why not rename it to the Artisphere Neighborhood?

    • Kiffee

      Careful now, Novasteve – them’s fightin’ words! I love my rizzle-dizzle… 🙂

  • Elmer

    Sorry neighbors. You’re gonna lose this fight. The Arlington Way is now ever higher, deeper and denser. The developers rule. Got it?
    The county board’s idea of “urban village” is becoming more urban and less village everyday.

    • xtr657

      Good…there is nothing wrong with that. They have allowed for a good balance of urban and suburban. If it weren’t for the fact that Arlington is known as a suburb of DC, the distinction “urban village” would be nothing. Arlington would be a city anywhere other than Virginia.

    • JohnB2

      Arlington is urban:

      The U.S. Census Bureau defines an urban area as: “Core census block groups or blocks that have a population density of at least 1,000 people per square mile (386 per square kilometer) and surrounding census blocks that have an overall density of at least 500 people per square mile (193 per square kilometer).”

      “The population density was 7,323 people per square mile (2,828/km²), the highest of any county in Virginia.”

      (both from wikipedia)

  • Aaron

    No, not Continental! Won’t someone think of the slugs? And what will happen to the crazy bicycle-junk sculptures where the Circulator and GUTS buses pick up their passengers?

    There is very little downside to greenlighting the conversion of this block of Rosslyn to something more useful.

  • Daniel

    Argh… Not Continental! The one real bar in this area and it appears to be on the chopping block. Now mind you those buildings are old and need to go, but hopefully we get a few more bars down here..

    • JohnB

      For more bars you need more people.

      • Rosslynite

        There are many people in Rosslyn. We just aren’t the teenagers in Clarendon. Meaning, we like to go out and don’t need to wait for an extreme happy hour price to do so. Yes, we need more bars.

        • Kiffee

          Preach it, Rosslynite!

      • JohnB2

        When I worked in Rosslyn we often had to go over to Foggy Bottom or Courthouse for happy hours because of the limited selection of bars in Rosslyn. I’m sure there’s enough market for 1-2 more.

        • TT1881

          yes well it sounds like you don’t work there anymore so you might not realize that there are a lot of people living in Rosslyn with a lot of disposable income. these people would like very much to walk out the door of their lovely condo building and enjoy some wine and music and decent food that may be full price.

    • Aaron

      I was really hoping that Turnberry Tower would have a worthy retail establishment on the ground floor, because Continental suffered more than it benefited from being so isolated from any other equivalent nightlife options.

      Its demise will open up an opportunity for someone else in the immediate area, if only to capture the demand for lifeless corporate manda-fun happy hours by the Deloitte/CEB crowd.

      • B-Rad

        They are eliminating anything fun to do around there so that people have no choice but to go to Artisphere.

  • Tre

    Any change in Rosslyn is a good change

    • wat

      And when you walk by people they will ask you for it.

      • UA


      • Tre

        …the catch is, the change is to pay for their Waterview and Turnberry tower mortgages.

  • Bob

    That rendering left out the 30 middle eastern guys smoking outside.

    • meh meh meh

      You can’t tell if they’re middle eastern, black, Greek, Latino or Ethiopean.

      • Sherriff Gonna Getcha

        if they arent working, they are probably greek

    • R

      Afghan, actually. I work in that building, they’re good guys.

  • South Awwlington

    “It blocks our view of Georgetown.” For serious? Guess you’ll have to move…into the new building!

  • Opie

    JBG? The same JBG that can’t drum up enough money to build the other two massive towers behind the CEB building in that rendering? Whatever.

  • other side of the river

    The slug lanes will have to move in this redevelopment.

  • Eric

    The plan includes to replacing the pedestrian bridge to Gateway Park with a mid-block crosswalk with stop light on eastbound Lee Highway. Mad-dash commuters to the Key and Roosevelt bridges are going encounter one more obstacle and chance to ruin their morning.

    • Elmer

      Putting the peds at street level to be mowed down by the zoom-zoom crowd.

      • Sherriff Gonna Getcha

        sorry for driving ever

  • Replicant

    I kind of like it

  • Mary-Austin

    The existing 12 story office building needs to go…that thing is hideous. All it does is take away from the project.

  • TCE

    … wait until the National Park Service hears about it… they already want to tear down all of Rosslyn because it ruins the DC skyline…

  • karzai

    The existing buildings are butt-ugly and need to go. this is a vast improvement. The combined half hotel/half condo concept is still a bit weird, and I’m not sure it has worked that well in the Waterview complex right nearby this thing.

    The Waterview is nice, but none of the units have any outdoor space, which in my book makes them undesirable. This planned project looks to be much the same – great views, lots of glass, but no balconies or terraces.

    • JB

      So if you have a condo in the hotel/tower can you just charge stuff to your room?

      • Tre

        Yes, but you have ~$900 condo fees

        • Sherriff Gonna Getcha

          I am sure a company like JBG has done their mkt research and they know whether or not it can be done.

  • JnA

    Seven hundred seventeen (717) parking spaces in and under the buildings. That has to be a new record for parking spaces one small site.

  • Rosslyner

    The terrible planning for Rosslyn continues. The area is exploding with new residential towers, but they’re randomly scattered in with office high rises and hotels (and of course the Artisphere. With no central retail/commercial “town center” the thousands of residents will all continue to go to Georgetown or Clizzle Dizzle for shopping and entertainment, and Rosslyn will remain a concrete canyon dead zone after 6pm.

    Sad! If Arlington would work to open up more access to the water front, and the BID created a pedestrian friendly retail/restaurant zone, Rosslyn could be a really decent area.

  • Roz Res

    One of my major concerns is the lack of transparency on the community benefit package from this huge project. How much of the 7+ million for the vaccating the street will go back to making life better for Rosslyn residents? The loss of the loops road, and its multiple uses, will clog other already congested streets in Rosslyn. Not to mention the years of planned disrubtion to construct the new buildings. Gateway park was to be part of thebenefit package, but it has disappeared from the discussion. Rosslyn has many needs to improve the life of its 8,000 residents and 40,000 workers. This project should not go ahead unless it helps to make Rosslyn a more livable community.

  • John

    For once, a decently designed building in Rosslyn that does not eat up the entire block with an oversized blank facade.

  • Elmer

    “One of my major concerns is the lack of transparency on the community benefit package from this huge project.”

    Wow! Deja vu all over again. Are you ever going to get a lecture.
    The last time I raised a simple question about developer cash contributions and “community benefits” I received several multi-paragraph rants accusing me of being “white bread” and stuck in the ’50s.


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