Press Club

Construction starts on a pair of apartment towers in Crystal City

Construction has started on a pair of multifamily towers in a corner of Crystal City experiencing a bevy of development.

The two towers by developer JBG Smith, located at the intersection of Richmond Highway and 20th Street S., will add 775 apartment units and nearly 27,000 square feet of retail, and will be separated by a new S. Clark-Bell Street.

Demolition of the office building that the towers will replace began last spring, after the project was approved by the County Board in May 2021. JBG Smith expects the project will be completed in 2025.

The West tower (2000 S. Bell Street) will be 25 stories tall and glassy with 355 units and 15,000 square feet of street-level retail. Coming in at 19 stories and 420 units, the East tower (2001 S. Bell Street) will feature “a bold, green-glazed brick façade” and 10,000 square feet of retail, the developer said.

In addition to the new S. Clark-Bell Street, the project will add a tree-lined pedestrian passageway along the East tower and an enclosed, climate-controlled underground connection from 12th Street S. to 23rd Street S.

The underground connection responds to concerns from neighbors who wanted assurances that JBG Smith would protect a network of tunnels known as the “Underground” when building residential parking.

The project also includes funding for parks and open space for a new library at 1901 S. Bell Street — made possible through another under-construction project from JBG Smith at 1900 Crystal Drive.

The developer is currently overseeing the construction of 1,583 apartment units and has another 1,760 units planned for near-term development.

These projects are intended to meet an anticipated influx in housing demand created by Amazon’s HQ2 in Pentagon City and the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus in Potomac Yard, the developer says.

“The start of construction at 2000 and 2001 South Bell Street is a major milestone in National Landing’s ongoing transformation and delivers on our pledge to build new housing in lockstep with Amazon and Virginia Tech’s growth in the neighborhood,” said Bryan Moll, JBG Smith’s executive vice president of development, in a statement.

The first phase of Amazon’s HQ2 is still on-track to be completed in 2023 and the Virginia Tech facility will be done in 2024, according to JBG Smith’s announcement.

When complete, 2000 and 2001 S. Bell Street will be a stone’s throw from a stretch of recently revamped dining and retail spaces, named Central District Retail.

The retail development, also by JBG Smith, has an outpost of New York City-based taqueria chain Tacombi, which opened last month, NYC bakery Mah-Ze-Dahr and a CVS.

There’s also a forthcoming, mysterious, grocery store — possibly an Amazon Fresh location — that could fill Crystal City’s longtime need for a grocer.

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