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Proposed residential development would bring changes to southern Crystal City

(Updated at 7 p.m.) A new apartment building may be coming to a southern portion of Crystal City, and changing some infrastructure in the process.

Developer JBG Smith announced today a plan for a 370-unit apartment building on “Block W” in Crystal City. The site is bounded by Crystal Drive, a National Airport access road, and railroad tracks, and is currently home to a gravel parking lot, an off-ramp from the access road and a small, JBG-owned workout park.

The plans appear to replace to the park and the off-ramp, with a seven-story building fronting Crystal Drive, in line with the circa-2010 Crystal City Sector Plan. According to JBG, the development plan preserves 35,000 square feet of privately-owned open space, including the adjacent sand volleyball courts, and includes some street-level retail space.

Crystal City sand volleyball courts, next to proposed development site (via Google Maps)

“The Sector Plan envisions, as part of the development of Block W, the current airport access road off-ramp be removed to make way for the new developments,” notes JBG’s recent filing with the county. “Furthermore, the Sector Plan envisions Crystal Drive to be a retail-oriented mixed-use arterial street which includes a bike lane on Crystal Drive in Block W.”

The developer — the predominant property owner in the Crystal City and Pentagon City neighborhoods, also known collectively as National Landing — says the proposed development will transform an underutilized, vehicular-oriented area into new apartments and pedestrian-oriented ground floor retail… further connecting the neighborhood. ”

A press representative for the company confirmed the plans to keep the volleyball courts as one part of the 35,000 square feet of open space.

“JBG SMITH has sited the building to preserve the Crystal City Volleyball Courts and looks forward to engaging with the community on any improvements to this open space,” wrote the spokeswoman. She added that “eliminating the off-ramp will allow JBG SMITH to add over 400 feet of new sidewalk and streetscape, expanding the Crystal Drive pedestrian network to the south.”

JBG has several residential developments in the works in Crystal City.

This month, Arlington County is expected to advance a review of the company’s plans to add more apartment buildings to the River House site.

Plans to build two towers on the site of an 11-story office building and the former Jaleo restaurant, meanwhile, are still under review, according to Arlington County’s website. The Americana Hotel is currently being demolished to make way for one apartment tower while construction continues on two pairs of residential towers: one at 1900 Crystal Drive and another at 2001 and 2000 S. Bell Street, with construction expected to wrap up in 2024 and 2025, respectively. 

The press release about the new apartment redevelopment is below.

JBG SMITH (NYSE: JBGS), a leading owner and developer of high-quality, mixed-use properties in the Washington, DC market, has submitted plans to Arlington County for the development of approximately 370 new apartment units and street-level retail at Block W in National Landing.

Located on Crystal Drive, just north of Airport Access Road, the site is currently home to a gravel parking lot and a vehicular off ramp, which JBG SMITH plans to replace with a seven-story mixed-use residential building with 3,000 square feet of retail. The building has been designed by award-winning architecture firm SK+I to achieve LEED Gold certification and is expected to participate in Arlington County’s Green Building Incentive program.

The project will also preserve more than 35,000 square feet of open space, currently home to the Crystal City Volleyball Courts, and further enhance and expand the pedestrian experience on Crystal Drive. JBG SMITH’s plans also call for bike parking and electric vehicle charging stations.

“As we continue to redevelop and revitalize National Landing, we are looking for opportunities to add new housing and neighborhood serving retail,” said Matt Ginivan, Senior Vice President of Development at JBG SMITH. “By transforming this underutilized, vehicular-oriented area into new apartments and pedestrian-oriented ground floor retail, we are further connecting the neighborhood. We look forward to working alongside the county and the community as we usher this project through the entitlement process.”

JBG SMITH’s ongoing placemaking efforts in National Landing have led the charge in creating meaningful places meant to connect communities and enhance the lives of those that live, work, or visit them. Just north of Block W, along Crystal Drive, JBG SMITH is developing Surreal at Dining in the Park by renowned Chef Enrique Limardo of Seven Restaurant Group as well as Water Park, an outdoor community gathering space comprising 11 different food and drink concepts, both of which are expected to deliver this summer.

JBG SMITH also remains on track to deliver 1,583 multifamily units at 1900 Crystal Drive and 2000 & 2001 South Bell Street beginning in 2024. In October, JBG SMITH filed plans to develop a diverse range of new rental and for-sale housing options, public parks, trails, and other outdoor gathering places throughout the 36-acre RiverHouse Neighborhood in Arlington.

Jo DeVoe contributed to this report

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