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In Clarendon, Silver Diner project crystallizes as sector plan revisions enter home stretch

Plans and a possible construction timeline for the proposed Silver Diner redevelopment in Clarendon are crystallizing.

Late last month, property owner TCS Realty Associates and developer Donohoe Cos. filed their application materials for the “Bingham Center” project on a triangular parcel of land bounded by Wilson Blvd, 10th Street N. and N. Irving Street, across from Northside Social.

One half of the project would replace the Silver Diner and a retail building (3240 Wilson Blvd) with a 224-room hotel, featuring a rooftop bar, gym and terrace. The other half would see a 286-unit residential building with 16,000 square feet of retail replacing The Lot, two brick structures called “The Doctors Building,” an auto repair facility and surface parking.

The sites for the hotel and apartment buildings by TCS Realty Associates and The Donohoe Cos. (via Arlington County)

The review process for the project could take upward of seven months, TCS Realty Associates President Tom Shooltz tells ARLnow. Construction, which Donohoe will oversee as general contractor, could start in the first or second quarter of 2023 and wrap up about two years later.

“We’re getting to the goal line now,” he said.

The filings come as revisions to the Clarendon Sector Plan are set to be finalized in the next four months. In response to a bevy of expected near-term projects in Clarendon, Arlington County embarked on a review of the 2006 plan last year.

This includes the Silver Diner/The Lot site on Clarendon Circle, as well as the Joyce Motors and Wells Fargo/Verizon sites and redevelopment projects by St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, the YMCA and George Mason University.

“Currently, staff is preparing the draft Clarendon Sector Plan Update document,” Arlington County Planner Brett Wallace told ARLnow in a statement. “Staff posted materials online in early December that include draft recommendations, updated sector plan text and maps, and potential land use scenarios for the 10th Street County-owned properties.”

Staff will next meet with the Zoning Committee in two weeks to review proposed zoning amendments before Planning Commission and County Board public hearing dates are set.

Progress on the Silver Diner redevelopment project hinged on sector plan revisions.

“The Clarendon Sector Plan is very important to the whole development of Clarendon,” Shooltz said. “There are a few other projects in the pipeline for that immediate part of Clarendon, so it only made sense that the county and stakeholders stepped back to make sure the Sector Plan reflects what we want to see for Clarendon.”

Despite COVID-19 delays and a timeline dictated by the sector plan, Shooltz says getting to this point has been smooth.

“We’ve got a very sophisticated citizen group who has been through this process many times,” he said. “It’s been a pleasure to work with them and Clarendon is going to be a beneficiary of the review process.”

In addition to building Clarendon’s only hotel, the project would “create a new gateway into Clarendon and more closely tie this area with neighboring Virginia Square,” writes P. David Tarter, a land use attorney with Tarter Nova Law, representing the developers.

The project includes the construction of a new 10th Road N., intended for community events, streetscape and infrastructure improvements and a new park next to the hotel, Tarter said.

On the same triangular lot, Orr Partners intends to replace the Joyce Motors Company building with 240 apartments and nearly 3,500 square feet of ground floor retail. County planners expect a County Board review of this project before this July.

St. Charles Church, meanwhile, plans to build a new church with underground parking and lease part of its property to a development partner for apartments and a ground-floor preschool. In September, Pastor Don Planty said work continues on concept designs and cost estimates so the church can start looking for a developer.

He said planning and permitting should take about two years, followed by about two years of construction.

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