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Preliminary review wraps up for new apartments planned near Courthouse

Apartments proposed along Arlington Blvd, near Courthouse, have cleared the next hurdle on their way to final approvals.

Fortis Companies is proposing to remove a lone, single-family detached home, a “significant tree” identified in neighborhood planning documents, and two surface parking lots. In their place, it proposes a nearly 125-foot tall building with 166 new units and 120 residential parking spaces.

This proposal takes over previously approved plans to build a 104-unit, 12-story building on the site.

With this plan, Fortis intends to achieve LEED Gold certification for the building’s sustainability features, to set aside some on-site units for affordable housing and contribute cash to the Arlington County Affordable Housing Investment Fund in exchange for additional density.

In addition, Fortis proposes to make streetscape and sidewalk improvements to three of the streets bounding the site: N. Fairfax Drive, N. Troy Street and 13th Street N. Part of the changes to Fairfax Drive include turning it into a cul-de-sac and expanding the planting buffer between the Arlington Blvd Trail and Fairfax Drive.

The project at 2025 Fairfax Drive has undergone preliminary review by citizen commissions.

Through this process, Fortis made some tweaks to the overall design of the site and agreed to increase how much vegetation it will plant on a proposed courtyard so that it feels more like an “urban forest,” land-use attorney Andrew Painter said in a mid-May meeting.

“This is a really nice, elegant and lushly planted solution,” architect Jeff Kreps said at the time.

Final approval meetings by the Planning Commission and Arlington County Board have not been set yet.

If approved, Fortis expects construction to start in mid-2024 and last 24-30 months, with a completion date in late 2026, per a presentation it made in the May meeting.

The developer says it will conduct quarterly outreach meetings with the surrounding community. The 1.8-acre site is bordered by the Woodbury Heights Condominiums to the north, Taft Towers condominiums to the east, Arlington Blvd to the south and the Arlington Court Suites hotel to the west.

The historic Wakefield Manor and Courthouse Manor garden apartment complexes, built in the early 1940s, are also part of the site proposed for redevelopment. An easement was granted over these significant apartments to protect them for perpetuity.

In exchange for protecting these apartments, developer Greystar was able to increase the density of its apartment being built on the former Wendy’s in Courthouse.

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