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RCA Redevelopment in Rosslyn Gets Green Light

The Arlington County Board unanimously approved a major redevelopment project in Rosslyn on Saturday.

McLean-based developer Jefferson Apartment Group now has the green light to demolish the 13-story, 1960s-era RCA building at 1901 N. Moore Street and build a 27-story, 423-unit apartment building in its place. The structure will feature two levels of retail and 286 parking spaces spread across parking on the third and fourth floors and underground.

“It is a beautiful project,” Board member Katie Cristol said. “I am very excited about this number of units. To site more housing so proximate to transit and in a neighborhood that could really use and be enlivened by residential as well as office [uses], it is the right place to put this number of residential units.”

The aging office building is about one block from the Rosslyn Metro station. As part of an agreement with the county, the developer will remove inner loop roads around it, as well as the skywalk connection between the RCA building and the Rosslyn Gateway building.

The developer will also donate $2.2 million toward improvements within Rosslyn, such as for Gateway Park, and dedicate 4% of its spots for electric vehicles. Another 18% of the spots will be “electric-capable,” meaning they could be converted down the road if demand increases.

The planned 260-foot tall building is composed of a north and a south tower joined at the base and at the rooftop with an “amenity bridge.” The fourth floor will feature a landscaped terrace and the roof will also have garden elements.

JAG is agreeing to provide $1.5 million to the county’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund as well as 12 on-site committed affordable units. It will also make a number of transportation improvements, some of which responded to pushback from cycling and pedestrian advocates, including:

  • Buffered bike lanes on 19th Street N.
  • Protected bike lanes on N. Lynn Street
  • Bike lanes on Lee Highway
  • Colorized asphalt for bus lanes in the travel lane of N. Moore Street
  • A new intersection where 19th Street N. and N Lynn Street meet
  • A new intersection where 19th Street N. and N. Moore Street meet
  • Relocation of the red-light camera at N. Lynn Street and Lee Highway
  • A new Capital Bikeshare station, including the costs to maintain it for two years

Advisory commissions that provided feedback along the way generally supported the newest version of the project. Representatives did mention a number of environmental issues that Board members latched onto as possible, larger-scale conversations needed for future projects: more assurances regarding bird-friendly glass, more electric vehicle charging stations and the possibility of electric-powered HVAC.

“The need for bird-friendly glass comes up all the time, the need to electrify buildings comes up all the time, and the need for more electric vehicle charging stations comes up all the time,” Board member Libby Garvey said. “That’s a larger conversation I’d love for us to figure out how to work through a little more as a government.”

Jefferson could increase the percentage of spots for electric vehicles beyond 22% if need be, representatives said.

Board member Christian Dorsey said that is good news, but the county should avoid pushing developers to make commitments exceeding market demand.

“On balance, this is pushing the ball forward in a lot of ways which we can all be thankful for and support, and I’m pleased to vote for it,” he said.

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