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Inn of Rosslyn residential redevelopment project plans filed

(Updated 4 p.m. on 10/28/22) JBG Smith is under contract to sell The Inn of Rosslyn, which it purchased nearly two years ago, according to permits filed with Arlington County.

Now, a new developer — “MR 1601 Fairfax Drive Property LLC,” an affiliate of Monument Realty — is proposing to redevelop the site with an apartment building, according to an ownership disclosure statement.

Although designated as an “important” property on the Arlington Historic Resources Inventory list, the property will be demolished. Iconic features of the 65-year-old building in the Radnor-Fort Myer Heights neighborhood will live on in embellishments to the apartment building.

In December 2020, developer JBG Smith purchased the Rosslyn area motel, the Americana Hotel in Crystal City and two apartment buildings, one of which is adjacent to the Inn of Rosslyn. These four buildings were owned by a local family for about 60 years, but surviving members decided to sell after hotel profits stagnated during the pandemic.

And now, the developer is reselling the property.

The plans for 1601 Fairfax Drive, about a half-mile from the Courthouse Metro station, are taking shape as plans for the Americana Hotel have already started moving through Arlington’s review processes. The developer proposes to demolish the motel and construct an 8-story, nearly 80-foot-tall apartment building with 141 units and 87 below-grade parking spaces.

Monument Realty is foregoing retail on the site because of the site’s sloping topography, and “lack of sufficient pedestrian traffic to support retail uses,” writes Nicholas Cumings, the developer’s land use attorney for the project. (Coincidentally, sloping topography is posing logistical challenges for the developer at the Americana Hotel site.)

Despite the “important” historic designation, a 14-year-old redevelopment plan for the area recommends redeveloping the property with a building up to 12 stories and 125 feet tall, with optional retail and a main entrance on Fairfax Drive and loading and parking off N. Queen Street, per the filing.

The hotel site “could accommodate additional density and height, because this area is adjacent to high volume Arlington Boulevard and the sloping topography will minimize the appearance and impact of greater heights,” according to the 2008 Fort Myer Heights North Plan

The plan additionally calls for redesigning Fairfax Drive as a “complete street” serving pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users and drivers, while stipulating that new development should have architecture that mimics the existing neighborhood.

“The architecture of the proposed building will complement and draw from the architecture of the existing building and the characteristics of the surrounding neighborhood,” the plan says. “The Applicant’s proposed building design is partly influenced by the building’s distinctive features, which are honored through the façade cantilevers, recreation of the existing ’50’ sign and balcony railings mimicking the zig-zag design of the existing railings.”

The “50” sign on the Inn of Rosslyn (via Google Maps)

In 2008, when the plan was adopted, the Inn was south of two historic garden apartment buildings and three buildings operated by an affordable housing provider. For this block, the plan recommended saving the historic buildings and one of the three affordable housing buildings. The hotel and two remaining affordable buildings would be consolidated into one redevelopment.

But consolidation didn’t occur. The trio of buildings were redeveloped into the mixed-income Union on Queen (1515 N. Queen Street) building, operated by nonprofit Wesley Housing Development Corporation, which opened in 2017. As an alternative, the plan calls for the preservation of the two northernmost buildings along 16th Street N. and a new building with “a substantial landscaped green space” on the hotel site.

Block 6 of the 2008 Fort Myer Heights North plan (via Arlington County)

Plans show the apartment building covering all of the buildable area, rather than taking up a smaller portion of the site. The plan does, however, include designs for a patio area with a fire pit, lounge chairs, a water element and an outdoor TV.

Monument Realty is committing to community benefits, including committed affordable housing units, in exchange for an additional 59,539 square feet of bonus density, per the filings. Details of the benefits have not been ironed out.

Plans for the Inn of Rosslyn (via Arlington County)

This article was updated to include information that the building is being sold from JBG Smith to Monument Realty. 

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