Press Club

Construction begins on revamped Crystal City Water Park and courtyard along Crystal Drive

Construction has started on major renovations to the Crystal City Water Park, JBG Smith announced Monday.

JBG Smith will update the existing, 1.6-acre park at 1601 Crystal Drive with new restaurant kiosks and seating areas, a full-service restaurant, new water features — including a “water wall” with a bar perched on top — and a stage.

The Arlington County Board approved plans for the park in March 2021, after deferring an earlier proposal that members predicted would lead to unsafe pedestrian and cyclist interactions.

The privately-owned park has long hosted small food and drink vendors. The new kiosks will highlight local, minority- and women-owned businesses, “local favorites” and “renowned names,” JBG Smith says.

“We are particularly excited about the Water Park kiosks, which will serve as incubator spaces where up-and-coming chefs and [restaurateurs] can experiment and grow,” JBG Smith Senior Vice President of Retail Leasing Amy Rice said in a statement.

In addition to decorative water features, the revamped park will also feature public art installations and a building with public restrooms and bike facilities near the entrance to the Mt. Vernon Trail. JBG Smith says it is working with Virginia Railway Express to build an accessible connection to the future entrance of the relocated VRE station.

The Water Park is not the JBG-owned public space getting upgrades. Two blocks south at 2121 Crystal Drive, a lightly used private park space in front of an office building will see renovations and the construction of a 5,587-square-foot restaurant. Work on that project also started recently.

The restaurant, named Surreal, will be led by Chef Enrique Limardo and his team, which are behind Seven Reasons and Imperfecto in D.C.

JBG Smith expects to complete both the Crystal City Water Park and Surreal in 2023.

“We see these both as inviting public spaces where families will enjoy a sunny day and colleagues can gather after work for a drink, a bite to eat and live music,” said JBG Smith Executive Vice President Bryan Moll in a statement.

Visitors will be able to keep their drinks in hand as they walk these open spaces. Last year, the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority gave the developer the go-ahead to establish a “sip and stroll” zone within the boundaries of Crystal City Water Park and the courtyard.

It will be Arlington’s third “sip and stroll” zone, after the Village at Shirlington and Westpost (formerly Pentagon Row).

These two projects, plus Amazon’s second headquarters and other redevelopment projects by JBG Smith, will triple the number of retail businesses in Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard, dubbed National Landing, the developer says.

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