Arlington, VA

Two shopping centers along Columbia Pike are slated for redevelopment, according to new county planning documents.

Developers want to replace the Fillmore Gardens Shopping Center at the intersection of the Pike and S. Walter Reed Drive with a six-story building with apartments and ground-floor retail, according to a presentation last week to the county’s Form Based Code Advisory Working Group.

Plans indicate the developer would connect S. Cleveland Street to the Pike by building a new road segment for the county as part of the project. The shopping center currently includes a CVS and Metro PCS store, as well as Turkish restaurant Atilla’sthe Salsa Room dance studio, and the beloved Burritos Bros food stand.

A portion of the current CVS parking lot would be ceded to the county to be added to Penrose Square park as part of the redevelopment.

The project is expected to be reviewed in the spring of 2020, according to a preliminary schedule for the working group.

The Fillmore project is similar to plans to tear down the Westmont Shopping Center at the intersection of the Pike and S. Glebe Road and also replace it with a six-story mixed-use building, in a project that include 250 market-rate housing units.

“People are excited and they’re excited to see the Form Based Code in action,” said Kim Klingler, the new leader of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, referring to the corridor’s development guidelines. Two apartment redevelopment projects are also in the works along the Pike.

“Of course with development and change you are going to have hesitancy, and folks really wanted to focus on maintaining diversity as much as possible, safe transportation, and also making sure the neighborhood is well informed,” she said, noting that 15 neighborhood residents who attended last week’s meeting.

Both redevelopment projects are requesting the maximum height (six stories) allowed along most of Columbia Pike per the area’s development guidelines. Both shopping center redevelopments also plan to build only market-rate housing, which was a topic of conversation among residents last week as the county’s stock of affordable housing continues to shrink.

“Staff clarified that based on the neighborhood plan and Form Based Codes those properties do not require affordable housing,” Klinger said.

Documents from last week’s meeting indicate that in addition to the 343 parking spaces for cars, the Westmont development would include 104 parking spaces for bicycles. Ninety bicycle spaces will be reserved for residents. The project will also add two bus stops, one along S. Glebe Road and another along the Pike.

County planners noted in an August report that they believed the Westmont project would only cause “minor increases in delay,” in terms of traffic at the nearby intersections — along a busy route that has seen its share of transportation challenges.

Hat tip to Chris Slatt. Images via Arlington County.

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