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Demolition Starting at Landmark Block in Courthouse

The “revolution” in urban living set to take place in the Landmark Block in Courthouse is currently being fomented.

Residents who pass the site near the Courthouse Metro station can see preparations underway to tear down some of the low-slung retail buildings along the 2000 block of Wilson Blvd.

Demolition work is starting on the site’s aging brick retail buildings, as Bisnow reported earlier this week. John Clarkson, the managing director Greystar Real Estate Partners, told the site that work began last week, and the developer aims to deliver a 20-story apartment building by the third quarter of 2023.

The Landmark Block site is one of two projects — the other is a 220-unit building on the vacant Wendy’s lot — that Greystar is overseeing in Courthouse. Clarkson said the developer is focused on this neighborhood because it has the demographics, schools and walkability that make Clarendon attractive but less of the growth.

“We really want to establish a sense of place,” Clarkson tells Bisnow. “With some real density, some real scale it will feel like we have filled in that hole in the doughnut between Rosslyn and Clarendon, so we’re very excited about [the] upside of that submarket.”

Seven commercial buildings on the Landmark Block site will be demolished, including the former Summers Restaurant. The façades of the First Federal Savings and Loan Building (2050 Wilson Blvd) and the Investment Building (2049 15th Street N.) will be preserved, according to the county. The buildings, constructed in 1946 and 1948 respectively, are identified as “important” on the county’s Historic Resources Inventory.

The County Board approved the project at 2050 Wilson Blvd, featuring 423 apartment units, ground-floor retail and an underground parking garage, back in March. For proponents, the building and accompanying community benefits will make Courthouse Square “the civic and cultural heart of Arlington,” and will be “where the revolution begins,” as phrased in a county planning document.

One of the features the county said will usher in changes for Courthouse is a pedestrian promenade.

“The promenade was one of the addendum’s top recommendations for the area around Landmark Block,” the county said in March. “The N. Uhle Street promenade…will be lined with trees, and offer retail shops and plenty of space for community gatherings.”

Greystar will provide a portion of the Courthouse Square promenade that is envisioned in the Courthouse Square Addendum to the Courthouse Sector Plan. The full promenade would run between Wilson Blvd and 14th Street N. along N. Uhle Street.

An architect’s rendering of the pedestrian promenade on N. Uhle Street (Image via Arlington County)

The county said the promenade will be “the main gateway from Clarendon Boulevard into Courthouse Square.”

Meanwhile, the long-vacant Wendy’s site will no longer look on while other sites are developed around it. Greystar’s plans for the triangular site at 2025 Clarendon Blvd are going through entitlements, Clarkson tells Bisnow.

The developer expects to break ground on the 220-unit building by the second quarter of 2022. For the last two years, construction crews have used it as a staging area while building a condo project across the street at 2000 Clarendon.

The old Wendy’s site has sat vacant since it was demolished in 2016 for an office building that never came. Greystar acquired the property from Carr Properties in January, according to real estate firm JLL.

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