The soon-to-be-revamped Crystal City Water Park is set to become Arlington’s third “sip and stroll” destination.
The privately-owned, 1.5 acre park at 1601 Crystal Drive has long hosted a small food and drink vendor. Thanks to a pending “Commercial Lifestyle Center” permit from Virginia ABC, that vendor — Peruvian Brothers — will soon be able to offer park-goers alcoholic beverages that can be consumed anywhere in the park.
“The overall goal is to cultivate an inviting setting where local residents, office workers and visitors are encouraged to hang out, relax and interact,” said JBG Smith Vice President Taylor Lawch, in a statement. The company owns the park and numerous nearby buildings, including those housing Amazon’s growing HQ2 workforce.
The Arlington County Board recently approved a plan to add five new vendor kiosks, a performance stage, and a bar to the park, in addition to planned upgrades to its water features.
“There will be places for parents to sip on a glass of wine while their kids go for ice cream nearby; a couple to meet for a date where they can hear live music and grab a beer at intermission; or coworkers to gather for an informal outdoor happy hour right outside their office,” Lawch said.
The initial sipping and strolling will take place this spring and summer, before the park is temporarily closed during the cooler months for construction. It is expected to reopen in the spring of 2022.
The park will join a pair of Arlington retail centers — the Village at Shirlington and Westpost (formerly Pentagon Row) — in allowing legal, on-the-go outdoor alcohol consumption on privately-owned property.
“The creation of a Commercial Lifestyle Center is in keeping with JBG SMITH’s vision for National Landing as a vibrant 18-hour environment where people want to live, work and visit,” a company PR rep said. “This licensure enables JBG SMITH to take great existing and planned areas of the National Landing neighborhood and make them even better.”
Additional JBG-owned property in National Landing — the collective term for Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard — may eventually be added to the permit.
“JBG SMITH is looking on a case-by-case basis to identify other areas within National Landing for future activations,” the rep tells ARLnow. “As of right now, they are focusing on this initial designation at Water Park.”
Making the Water Park into a more active destination for hanging out is part of the neighborhood’s evolution away from being known as a sleepy, concrete-filled office corridor.
“National Landing continues to evolve into an exciting destination complete with diverse dining options and growing entertainment venues,” National Landing Business Improvement District President Tracy Sayegh Gabriel said in a statement. “Enhancing and activating our outdoor public spaces for community use is more important than ever, and we are thrilled that National Landing has been approved as a Commercial Lifestyle Center. JBG SMITH’s initial activation at Water Park will create a desirable new way for area residents, workers and visitors to gather and support our local businesses in a safe environment.”
The Water Park will continue to host BID-organized events, she added. The BID obtained temporary Virginia ABC permits to allow alcohol consumption at the park for previous events.