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New Developer Proposes Modified Plan for ‘Rappahannock’ Project

The stalled plan to redevelop the site of Rappahannock Coffee on Columbia Pike is going back before the Arlington County Board.

Next week, the Board is set to consider a Use Permit Amendment for the already-approved redevelopment of 2400 Columbia Pike. The amendment “would result in the addition of 6,500 square feet of overall density and an increase of 15 residential units with preservation of existing building facades.”

The changes would also add 36 new parking spaces. The proposal is being made by a new developer, as Columbia Pike-based B.M. Smith is apparently no longer in the proverbial driver’s seat of the long-delayed project, which was first proposed in 2013 and approved in 2016.

“A new entity is now pursuing construction of the 2400 Columbia Pike development,” says a staff report to the County Board. “The new applicant believes the proposed enhancements to the development program are responsive to current market conditions and will facilitate swifter implementation of the project. The design changes, when considered individually may have triggered an administrative change or a minor use permit amendment, but when considered collectively, have been determined to be a major use permit amendment.”

With 15 units added on, the updated project would include 120 total residential units, in addition to 13,000 square feet ground floor space for retail and office, and two levels of underground parking.

The new developer appears to be a small local firm called YW Capital Development, based near Tysons.

“YW Capital Development is a minority-owned real estate development company based in the DC metro area,” the firm’s website says. “Our business focus is development of multifamily and mixed-use projects in urban settings. Our mission is to achieve the most efficient use of land and the best architectural design while maintaining the historic integrity of the neighborhood. Founded at the peak of the housing crisis in 2009, we have successfully completed a dozen projects in the DC metro area.”

The developer’s website touts 2400 Columbia Pike as being “minutes [from the] Pentagon and new Amazon HQ2.” A request for comment sent to an email address listed for the company bounced back as undeliverable.

Nearby residents have previously expressed concern about the proposed development’s displacement of local favorite Rappahannock Coffee, as well as other small businesses. The plan involves tearing down three low-slung commercial buildings, preserving the facades of two.

Another concern, according to the county staff report: noise and light.

“Several residents of the neighboring condominiums expressed concern about potential noise and light impacts from the proposed balconies, loading dock, surface parking area, and outdoor open space located in the southern portion of the site,” the staff report says.

Others are hoping the redevelopment could allow a new bicycle connection on the southern side of the Pike, with Arlington Transportation Commission Chair Chris Slatt recently calling it “a critical opportunity for a bike-able Pike.”

The County Board is set to consider the proposal at its meeting on Tuesday, April 20.

Photos via YW Capital Development

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