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Developer Seeking Permission to Add 15 Apartments to Va. Square Project

Some changes might be made to a planned redevelopment project in the Virginia Square area.

The Arlington County Board is set to consider a request to add 15 apartment units to the 7-story building approved by the Board last June. The project, which has yet to start major construction, will replace a State Farm insurance office and other small commercial buildings near the corner of Washington Blvd and N. Kirkwood Road.

The developer says it can squeeze in the additional apartments by reconfiguring the courtyard and parking garage, and making some minor changes to the building facade and rooftop area.

“While the height, building footprint and massing remain unchanged, approximately 8,649 square feet of gross floor area (GFA) will be added as a result of a minor reduction of the internal courtyard and more efficient use of space previously allocated to parking and mechanical uses,” a county staff report says.

In exchange for adding the new apartments, the developer has agreed to designate four additional units as committed affordable housing. The plan has critics, however, notably residents of the townhouses across the street.

“Issues raised by members of the community, including the Bromptons at Clarendon Homeowners Association (HOA), include concerns around additional density, increased parking demand on local streets, reduction of on-site greenspace and the design of the corner façade,” said the staff report.

County staffers are recommending approval of the site plan amendment. The Board is expected to take up the request at its upcoming Saturday meeting.

More from the staff report, below.

The applicant is requesting a site plan amendment to make interior and exterior modifications to accommodate an additional 15 dwelling units, a revised parking garage layout, minor changes to the building façade and changes to the rooftop area. While the height, building footprint and massing remain unchanged, approximately 8,649 square feet of GFA will be added as a result of a minor reduction of the internal courtyard (from approximately 8,000 square feet to approximately 7,380 square feet) and more efficient use of space previously allocated to parking and mechanical uses (Figure 4). To further accommodate the additional 15 units, the average unit size based on total GFA will decrease from 1,021 square feet to 994 square feet. The number of one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units will all increase, with the number of studios remaining the same.

The applicant is proposing a revised parking garage layout with changes to both below-grade parking levels and ramps. The parking garage entrance will remain in the same location but will be reoriented with a maximum slope of 20%. While the total number of parking spaces (including tandem spaces) for the site is reduced from 198 spaces to 194 spaces, all 20 tandem spaces will be converted to non-tandem spaces. The number of parking spaces increases from 63 to 99 spaces on garage Level 02 and decreases from 135 to 95 on garage Level 01. Overall, the parking ratio increases from 0.64 spaces to 0.67 spaces per unit, not including visitor spaces. The visitor parking ratio remains at 0.05 spaces per unit. The site will also accommodate 114 bicycle spaces at the same bicycle parking ratio as previously approved.

To accommodate the new units on the ground floor along the north and west alleys, there will be changes to the façade including replacing the louvers and mechanical vents that previously served the parking garage ramp with new windows (Figures 5, 6, 7, 8). The applicant is also proposing minor modifications to the layout of the rooftop amenity space and decreasing the size from approximately 920 square feet to approximately 850 square feet.

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