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County grants developer more time to finish public improvements in Courthouse

A reconfigured 15th Street N. in Courthouse along one edge of the “Landmark Block” development (staff photo)

A slate of public improvements associated with the construction of a new apartment building in Courthouse are experiencing slight delays.

A year and a half ago, developer Greystar agreed to take on public improvements on behalf of the county in exchange for more units at its redevelopment project. The 423-unit, 20-story residential building dubbed “The Commodore” also has 17,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and an underground parking garage.

The upgrades include pavement, sidewalk, curb and gutter improvements to public streets and the sidewalk adjacent to the California Tortilla, Brooklyn Bagel and Ireland’s Four Courts.

Greystar also agreed to improve and relocate traffic signal equipment and install parking meters — or pay to cover the costs of these upgrades — and install historic markers and a communication conduit.

Designing and constructing these upgrades has progressed on a separate track from the apartment building, and the developer and county staff are still working on getting a civil engineering plan approved, according to a county report.

The long approval timeline could have jeopardized when tenants would move in because the initial agreement conditioned occupancy permits on these street upgrades getting done, the report said. This weekend, the Arlington County Board relieved the developer of this requirement so it can open the apartments this fall and complete the projects on a new schedule.

County staff say the civil engineering plan could happen later this summer.

One reason for the slow progress, per the report, is that Greystar has to coordinate with its other Courthouse development project on the nearby Wendy’s site, which will deliver “similar, though not as extensive” public improvement projects.

“This has resulted in the applicant being delayed in completion of the Off-Site Improvements work in a timely manner, as delays related to design work are compounded by the long lead times required for delivery of materials and installation of the improvements,” it says.

“The Commodore” redeveloped a site that once had a series of single-story commercial buildings called the Landmark block. Together, the two projects are set to realize a significant part of Arlington’s vision for Courthouse’s development.

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