Arlington, VA

The Salsa Room is moving out next month, and other tenants are being put on short-term leases.

All signs point to the planned redevelopment of the Fillmore Gardens Shopping Center, on Columbia Pike just east of Walter Reed Drive and west of Penrose Square, starting soon.

The plan is to replace the aging, single-story commercial buildings — housing CVS, H&R Block, Atilla’s restaurant, the Salsa Room, and the Burritos Bros food stand — with a six-story apartment building featuring ground-floor retail. Work could start as soon as 2021, though merchants are also being told it could be 2-3 years from now.

“Hopefully something will come together as early as mid-next year,” said Harald Mangold, president and CEO of Scott Management, which operates the shopping center and the adjacent Fillmore Gardens Apartments. “It depends on lots of things… ounty approvals, the economy, and so on.”

Mangold said the redevelopment plan, presented last year to the county’s Form Based Code Advisory Working Group, remains the same.

The Salsa Room, meanwhile, is moving to Tysons in March. Co-owner Victor Villarreal said the owners of the shopping center “have been really honest with the tenants that they are actively seeking to redevelop.” All leases end in October and will then go month-to-month, he said.

Villarreal said he regrets moving out of Arlington but feels the club had little choice.

“It’s hard to find a building, build it out and do all that stuff. It takes time,” he said. “We’re going to miss the space a lot. I really feel that we contributed to the growth of that area and we’ve held a lot of fundraisers… It’s a nice location. It’s close to D.C. and everything. I wish we could stay there forever, but unfortunately [could not].”

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

Catherine Moran contributed to this report.

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