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Proposed Ballston Hotel To Include Locally-Run Bars, a Jacuzzi, and a Light Display

Early plans for the new hotel being proposed in Ballston include locally-run bars, a rooftop jacuzzi, an artistic LED light display, and possibly an urban farm.

Vienna-based developer Schupp Companies is proposing to build the 10-story, 180-room hotel at the intersection of N. Randolph Street and 5th Road N. along with a two-story underground parking garage with space for 91 cars, as first reported by UrbanTurf.

The latest plans for the building at 501 N. Randolph Street call for a bar, restaurant, and a lounge area in the 12,829-square-foot ground floor area, according to copies of the documents ARLnow obtained by Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The rooftop is also slated to have another bar with a jacuzzi surrounded with lounge chairs and plants, per the plans.

“The view lines are going to be spectacular,” said Ray Schupp, president and owner of Schupp Companies. “On the roof, a small local bar with good views would be really, really great.” 

“I think local entrepreneurs do the best job there,” he said of the rooftop establishment. “The rooftop will be for sure be a local entrepreneur. We’re looking at someone who really cares about what they’re doing. We’ll just lease the space for them.”

When asked, Schupp said he was also considering dedicating some rooftop space to the growing trend of urban farming, which would make the hotel one of the only buildings in Arlington to feature a rooftop farm. Schupp added a bee hive might be difficult, but growing herbs for the bars or restaurant could be “a great idea.”

The hotel will replace long-time Italian restaurant Tutto Bene which closed in 2014. It was originally slated to have 240 rooms.

Plans lay out several aesthetic plans for the exterior of the hotel, including “multi-colored light” display on a strip of windowless-wall visible from the recently renovated Ballston Quarter mall. Schupp told ARLnow that the design will be modeled after the displays mounted on the company’s Hyatt hotel development in Courthouse, but will be tailored to fit the “high-tech” image of Ballston.

The developer is aiming to paint the Ballston hotel’s a “soft but vibrant green similar to GMU’s Arlington campus building,” per the plans. But on the panels that face N. Randolph Street, the company is considering adding a metallic, shimmering coat to the paint.

“I think a shimmering look will be good as the sun sets,” said Schupp.

As with the Courthouse hotel, Schupp says the panels themselves will be paired with low-reflection glass windows designed to prevent birds from crashing into them — an important feature considering recent reports indicating that North America’s bird populations have dwindled by 30% in the last few decades.

The Ballston hotel itself is designed in a roughly trapezoid shape, with another structure notched into the side of the building.

“The hotel form is an intersection of two masses that creates a distinctive skyline presence and adds a focal point along Randolph Point,” Schupp Companies notes in its early concept plans to the county.

Residents have an opportunity to weigh in on these initial designs during the upcoming meeting with the Site Plan Review Committee, which has yet to announce a date.

The development will stand across from the Ballston Harris Teeter on N. Glebe Road, where developers are planning to build a new Harris Teeter space underneath a new, 732-unit residential building.

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