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Residential Redevelopment in Rosslyn Under Review

A proposed development for the Xerox building in Rosslyn is under review by county planning staff.

Building owner and financial services company TIAA, along with its real estate management arm, propose to tear down the building at 1616 Fort Myer Drive and build a 30-story, 691-unit apartment tower in its place.

“Recognizing the Property’s location and topography, this application envisions the transformation of the property into an exciting multifamily residential development with world-class architecture,” the applicant’s legal representation Nan Walsh and Andrew Painter wrote in a letter to the county in June.

The office building on the site, which neighbors a condo complex, a hotel and another office building (recently home to President Trump’s re-election headquarters), opened in the 1970s. After housing Xerox for many years, it has recently seen some vacancies, the Washington Business Journal reports.

The new 1616 Fort Myer Drive “will serve as an iconic architectural feature for Rosslyn’s southern gateway,” said Walsh and Painter, lawyers with land use firm Walsh Colucci.

They say both the height and the architecture would tick a box in the Rosslyn Sector Plan stipulating that a development should “consider its appearance as a gateway to the Rosslyn area.”

TIAA’s tower would be 290 feet tall, the maximum height allowed in the sector plan. Residents will have access to a semi-underground parking garage that the lawyers say will be “tucked into the property’s natural grade,” which slopes from north to south. There will be 437 parking spaces, for a ratio of 0.63 spaces per unit.

Above-grade parts of the garage “will be fully screened through architectural treatment and residential uses,” they wrote.

TIAA may use more than a third of the apartment units for short stays while the building works on getting longer-term tenants.

“The applicant is considering designating up to 250 residential units for a temporary hotel use and short-term rental during the initial lease-up period for a limited period of up to five years,” Walsh and Painter wrote.

That’s a revenue stream other area developers want to tap into, and one that the County Board has recently deliberated. Some community members have raised concerns about the impact such a policy would have on housing affordability.

Staff from the Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development say they intend to study the issue. For now, per a recent staff presentation, the division will consider temporary hotel use requests for up to two years.

As for community benefits, the developer aims to achieve LEED Gold sustainability certification, contribute to Arlington’s underground utility fund, contribute to public art in Rosslyn, and make streetscape improvements. Plans for additional affordable housing contributions are being developed.

A preliminary review of the project is underway. After its full site plan application is accepted by county staff, dates will be set for public meetings ahead of a County Board vote. Staff anticipate bringing this project to the board prior to July 2022, per the presentation.

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