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JUST IN: Developer files plans for Wells Fargo in Clarendon ahead of key County Board vote

Jefferson Apartment Group has filed plans to redevelop the Clarendon Wells Fargo site with offices, retail space and apartments.

The company proposes to build a 128-foot tall, 12-story structure with 238 apartments, nearly 67,000 square feet of office space, about 34,500 square feet of ground-floor retail and 244 parking spaces across a two-level, below-grade garage.

The bank at 3140 Washington Blvd is situated on a parcel bordered by N. Irving Street and N. Hudson Street. Next door is the 97,000-square foot Verizon building at 1025 N. Irving Street.

Jefferson proposes only to redevelop the bank property for now. Wells Fargo — the seller of the property at 3140 Washington Blvd — is requiring the developer to keep the bank open for business during construction.

“The project must take a phased permitting and construction approach, first constructing a new bank branch on the northwest corner of the site, followed by demolishing the existing Wells Fargo building and constructing the new mixed-use building once Wells Fargo is operational in the new bank branch building,” writes Sara Mariska, an attorney for the project.

Including the Verizon site in the overall plan will “facilitate development of the Wells Fargo property, while also facilitating preservation of critical telecommunications infrastructure on the Verizon property,” Mariska continues.

The Verizon site “is not going to redevelop any time soon,” noted Brett Wallace, a county planner, during an Arlington Committee of 100 discussion about Clarendon area development projects on Wednesday.

The new filing comes comes a week before the Arlington County Board is set to consider adopting an update to the 2006 Clarendon Sector Plan, which targets the western portion of the neighborhood. The Committee of 100 panelists discussed the plan and potential changes to the area.

The sector plan update was precipitated by multiple property owners expressing a “strong interest” in redevelopment around the Clarendon Metro station area, Jennifer K. Smith, a county planning supervisor, told attendees.

Forthcoming developments include: the Silver Diner/The LotJoyce Motors and Wells Fargo/Verizon sites, as well as projects proposed by the St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, the YMCA and George Mason University.

Clarendon Sector Plan update area (via Arlington County)

“The process would provide an opportunity to showcase preliminary proposals that were being contemplated and share them in a broad way with all the civic associations and other stakeholders who may be reviewing those individually over time,” she said. “Some of the developers were seeking alternatives that diverged from sector plan guidance and zoning regulations that apply in this area and [Planning Commissioners] wanted to provide forum for review and consideration of those potential changes or divergences from the sector plan.”

She added that the county felt “it was important that we consult with the community on new ideas to meet public facility and public space needs going into the future.”

The plan suggests locating some public facilities on a county-owned site at 10th Street N., between N. Hudson and Irving streets, currently home to Fire Station 4 (3121 10th St. N), the Fire Prevention Office (1020 N. Hudson St.) and Clarendon House, which has been vacant since the county moved the mental health rehab program run by the Department of Human Services to Sequoia Plaza (2120 Washington Blvd) in 2015.

The Fire Prevention Office building will be relocated to county office space at 2020 14th Street N. in Courthouse while Fire Station 4 could be rebuilt on the same property or elsewhere, either as a stand-alone building with a park or co-located with committed affordable housing.

Recommendations for Fire Station 4 (via Arlington Committee of 100)

Other community benefits include a new permanent public space at Fairfax Drive and the expansion of “Triangle Park,” at the intersection of Fairfax Drive and Kirkwood Road, by relocating a Department of Parks and Recreation building and acquiring nearby private parcels.

A green space dubbed ‘Triangle Park’ in the Clarendon Sector Plan update via Arlington County

So far, every commission that has reviewed the sector plan has recommended the County Board approve it, but each vote came with amendments that staff are reviewing, Wallace said.

Meanwhile, all five neighboring civic associations are united in their concerns with the plan, Ashton Heights Civic Association President Scott Sklar told the Committee of 100.

They would like to see a 40,000-square foot park on or around the new Fire Station 4 and affordable housing integrated into the private developments nearby. They would also like the county to ensure that the proposed developments do not create shady streets and wind tunnels.

Sklar said nearby residents also want more street parking options and relief from the noise associated with rooftop bars.

Residents feel that they dedicated years of participation in long-term planning initiatives for the neighborhood only to have them upended at the last minute by the update, said Sklar.

“We sort of are thinking about how much effort can you put in, if you can game the process at the end?” he said. “Arlington really needs to think about that. We need to as a community.”

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