A new vision for replacing the Pentagon Centre shopping center, including the Costco, is coming into focus.
Kimco Realty Corporation revised its plans envisioning the long-term redevelopment of the 16.8-acre site, which were first approved by the Arlington County Board in 2015. Kimco submitted documents articulating these changes — which call for new high-rise residential and commercial buildings — in late December.
“With the redevelopment approvals that have been granted since 2015, and because the Pentagon City Metro Station is contained within the Pentagon Centre block, Pentagon Centre should be part of the intensification of redevelopment — in height, in mix and in overall density — to leverage the significant positive impacts of Metro ridership, job creation and livability here in Arlington County,” per the plan.
Pentagon City has recently been the focus of private redevelopment and county planning initiatives. On the Pentagon Centre site, Kimco has completed the redevelopment of surface parking into an apartment building dubbed the Witmer (710 12th Street S.) in 2019. Another apartment tower, dubbed the Milton (1446 S. Grant Street), is nearing completion.
Elsewhere, the first phase of Amazon’s second headquarters is set to open this summer, and — once economic headwinds change for the company — a second phase with the marquee “Double Helix” building is still planned, though delayed. JBG Smith, meanwhile, plans to redevelop acres of surface parking at the RiverHouse apartment complex into more residences.
Kimco updated its guidelines for redeveloping the Pentagon Centre site because much has changed in seven years. Office demand dropped due to the pandemic, so the real estate company proposes swapping some proposed office space for more apartments. It made changes to align with the 2022 Pentagon City Sector Plan, which guides long-term growth in the neighborhood.
“While we are not part of the sector plan, we thought it was a good time to look at the plan,” Kimco’s Director of Multifamily Development Abbey Oklak told the Arlington Ridge Civic Association during a meeting last week.
The new plans propose two office buildings, down from three, as well as three additional residential towers. Green space increased by about 30%, to nearly three acres, criss-crossed by planted paths, or “green ribbons,” envisioned in the Pentagon City Sector Plan.
Kimco divides the redevelopments into two phases. In the new first phase, S. Grant Street — which currently dead-ends at the southern edge of the mall — will extend through the site as a double-sided retail street.
Existing retail space west of the extended S. Grant Street, including Marshalls, Best Buy and restaurants, would become a pair of towers, one residential and one office, with ground-floor retail and parking.
“We wanted to look at the realignment of S. Grant Street so that Costco could stay,” Vice President of Development at Kimco Greg Reed said. “We’d take the mall down and bring the tenants back if they want to stay, in a different format… and have density above that in the future.”
In the new second phase, the Costco and parking garage on S. Fern Street would become an apartment building, an office tower with a conference center and a mixed-use hotel and apartment building, all with retail at the base.
These changes will not be happening for a while, as Kimco is still signing 10-year deals with retailers in the shopping center with 5-year extension options beyond that, civic association meeting attendees were told.
(Updated at 3:45 p.m.) Plans to redevelop the Americana Hotel in Crystal City with apartments could get final approval next month, Arlington County says.
“The County is targeting April for full Planning Commission and Board review, but that is subject to change,” Dept. of Community Planning, Housing and Development spokeswoman Erika Moore told ARLnow.
JBG Smith proposes to demolish the former hotel at 1400 Richmond Hwy and build a 19-story, 639-unit apartment building with 3,885 square feet of ground-floor retail. If approved next month, construction could wrap up in 2026 or 2027, a company representative said in a Site Plan Review Committee meeting last month.
Up to this point, JBG Smith has overcome sloping terrain and maneuvered future development plans for neighboring sites and Route 1, which the Virginia Department of Transportation plans to lower. Per the meeting discussions, the developer is spending the remaining time before final review ironing out transportation and sustainability elements.
The building will have 188 on-site residential and visitor parking spaces. JBG Smith proposes setting aside 206 spaces for residents at the nearby Bartlett Apartments, which is a quarter-mile away. County code allows property managers to provide spots on other properties they own up to 800 feet away, says Kedrick Whitmore, an attorney for the project.
Some SPRC members differed over whether this would be a burden.
“One of our group members in that situation, they lived in a place and had off-site parking, it was so hard every time they had shopping to get from one place to another,” said Pedestrian Advisory Committee Secretary Pam Van Hine. “How are you going to mitigate that?”
Also speaking from experience, Transportation Commission Chair Chris Slatt said his first apartment after college had off-site parking about the same distance away.
“It was occasionally annoying but otherwise not a big deal,” he said. “We all know how much parking costs to build. If it means you are 100 bucks a month under rent because it’s annoying, I would happily take that if I were fresh out of college.”
Malcolm Williams, an associate with JBG Smith, said the Bartlett garage is three-quarters full and use will likely decrease with additional transit usage.
(The county is expanding bussing in the area via the extension of the Crystal City-Potomac Yard Transitway, while advocates of an at-grade Route 1 want to see more walking, cycling and scooting along the urban boulevard.)
The building will also target younger people working at Amazon or other nearby companies who are less likely to own cars. To Van Hine’s point, however, Williams did acknowledge the need for additional managerial effort.
“Anytime you have shared parking, it’s going to require heavy touch from the onsite property manager to make sure that drop offs and things of that nature are managed efficiently… and it’s legible for people,” Williams said. Read More
The RCA building in Rosslyn could soon be demolished — not with a bang, but mechanically and over the next five months.
“We are awaiting issuance of the demolition permit,” said Greg Van Wie, the senior vice president for McLean-based Jefferson Apartment Group. “[We] anticipate receiving it any day and commencing immediately thereafter.”
The looming demolition work comes nearly two years after the county approved plans to replace the concrete-cladded office building at 1901 N. Moore Street with a 27-story, 423-unit apartment building in June 2021. Construction of the building is expected to take three years.
“We are currently completing the interior demolition and abatement so [we] have not necessarily been delayed, just working through the County requirements for full demolition,” Van Wie told ARLnow today (Thursday).
JAG is leading a joint venture to demolish the building, built in 1969, as well as the skywalk connecting it to the Rosslyn Gateway building. The new structure, comprised of of a north and a south tower joined at the base and at the rooftop with an “amenity bridge,” will have retail and parking across the third and fourth floors and underground.
A letter to residents of JBG Smith-owned mixed-use apartment building Central Place, shared with ARLnow, informed residents that demolition would start Friday.
Van Wie said he is “not sure it will be Friday.”
Residents noticed prep work for the site occurring last fall. At the time, Van Wie told ARLnow he did not yet have a demolition schedule to share, but did say it will be dismantled, rather than imploded, “so there won’t quite be the same show as with the old Holiday Inn, unfortunately.”
The letter to Central Place residents outlined hours of demolition and expected closures over the next five months.
“We are expecting temporary closures of N. Moore Street just north of N. 19th Street,” it reads. “All closures will be coordinated between the developers and Arlington County.”
Per county zoning ordinances, demolition may take place Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on weekends and holidays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., the letter said.
“In our experience, teams will begin working promptly in the mornings, however it is common that activity will slow in the evenings,” the letter continued.
JAG projected demolition would occur in February or March back in December, when the Washington Business Journal reported that a joint venture led by JAG acquired the building for $55.5 million.
Three years ago, JAG took over the plans to redevelop the property from Weissberg Investment Corp., which built the initial building in 1969 and had plans to redevelop it back in 2017. The original plans were later put on hold.
(Updated at 5 p.m.) Proposed infill development for the RiverHouse site in Pentagon City is coming into focus with more renderings from the developer.
Reprising long-envisioned intentions to redevelop the expansive property, JBG Smith filed plans last year proposing apartments, senior housing, condos and townhomes on the surface parking lots on the RiverHouse site. Existing apartment towers will stay and more units within them will be set aside for affordable housing.
Arlington County has yet to officially accept JBG Smith’s application, a step that would kick off a formal community engagement and review process, which the developer anticipates will culminate in Arlington County Board review by the end of 2023.
On Thursday, more than 100 residents, neighbors, other community stakeholders attended an open house, in which JBG Smith shared renderings showing how it proposes shorter and fewer buildings than what is allowed in the Pentagon City Sector Plan, a document guiding decades of development in the area.
“As our design team has developed our plans for the RiverHouse Neighborhood, we have benefited from the active participation and input from existing residents, neighbors, and other community stakeholders,” JBG Smith said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to collaborate in the coming months as we advance a shared vision for our neighborhood.”
After the meeting, residents tell ARLnow they are hoping for more collaboration to improve “livability” on the site and in the surrounding area, through more community benefits and supporting infrastructure, per the Arlington Ridge Civic Association President Kateri Garcia and the local group Dense That Makes Sense.
“How do we know the infrastructure in place is going to be enough to meet the demand of all these additional people?” Garcia said. “What are the benefits we most need in this area? … We already have a community center and library that is out of date. How can we use the investment to improve those facilities to right-size them for the future population?”
Some Arlington Ridge residents welcome, for instance, the lower heights. Before the Arlington County Board adopted the sector plan in February 2022, some residents rallied against the height maximums the plan would allow on the RiverHouse site, potentially blocking the skyline view some enjoy in the condos and homes that line Arlington Ridge Road.
“The October 2022 plan is a more reasonable plan than what Arlington County’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development (CPHD) proposed in its Pentagon City Sector Plan that was accepted by the County Board at its February 12, 2022 meeting,” according to Dense That Makes Sense, a group of residents who organized on this issue.
That said, the group said it does not endorse the 2022 plan, nor does it necessarily endorse plans JBG Smith put forward in 2019, which it says is the best of the three visions for the site. It argues that further study of the site is needed to figure out what supporting infrastructure is needed before JBG Smith moves forward.
The owner of a hotel in Green Valley is signaling interest in building apartments.
Capital Second Investments, which owns Hotel Pentagon at 2480 S. Glebe Road near I-395, has filed a conceptual site plan application envisioning a 467-unit apartment building and 36 townhouses. Some entities take this step before filing a formal site plan application to get early feedback on the feasibility of their proposal.
The concept from Capital Second Investments situates the housing on a site that currently houses the Hotel Pentagon — which used to be a Best Western, and consists of a standalone structure and a trio of long, two-story buildings — as well as the Comfort Inn Pentagon City, a single tower next door.
Both hotels are listed at 2480 S. Glebe Road, which is at the corner of 24th Road S. and S. Glebe Road, surrounded by I-395, the Lomax AME Zion Church, some auto body shops and two apartment complexes.
Capital Second Investments proposes to fill the 467-unit building with:
- 99 “junior 1-bedroom” units, which are studios with a small space that can be separated off
- 191 1-bedroom units
- 59 1-bedroom units with dens
- 118 2-bedroom units
- 608 underground parking spaces
- A pool and an amenity deck
Across a tree-lined path from the complex would be two rows of stacked townhomes, with a typical floor area of 2,425 square feet, and parking.
Conceptual site plan applications are preliminary by nature — a step some take before submitting a formal site plan application, which would be reviewed by staff and Arlington County’s various citizen committees.
“This application, and its administrative review process, is intended to provide guidance to prospective applicants in the preparation of land use development applications,” the application says.
Prior to becoming the Hotel Pentagon, the Best Western on S. Glebe Road was the scene of prostitution-related run-ins with law enforcement. In one publicized case, a man who forced a 16-year-old girl into prostitution at the motel later pleaded guilty to sex trafficking a minor.
Over the weekend, the Arlington County Board approved two redevelopment proposals, one in Clarendon and one on Columbia Pike.
It greenlit an apartment complex for the Joyce Motors site at 3201 10th Street N. in Clarendon and one for the Bank of America office building at 3401 Columbia Pike.
The Clarendon proposal includes a site plan to construct an 11-story apartment building with ground-floor retail. It includes nine on-site committed affordable units, including five “family-sized units” as well as the relocation and preservation of the historic Joyce Motors façade and the full building preservation of the Clarendon Barbershop building several blocks away.
“For historic preservation purposes, the Board also approved transferring developmental rights from the Clarendon Barbershop Building to the Joyce Motors site, allowing unused density to be used toward the proposed 11-story [mixed-use] building,” per a County Board press release.
The developer committed to installing new sidewalk, building portions of 10th Road N. and a new alley, as well as LEED Gold certification and nearly $1 million in cash contributions for transportation and public spaces.
“It’s really a big win for staff, the community, the project development team, I’m really thrilled to see it manifest this way,” said Board Chair Christian Dorsey. “It’s a testament to the fact that, I know developers are often considered the enemies in society, they are also the conduit to the implementation of the plans that the community wants to create.”
“It’s not going to happen if we don’t have people who are willing to put together and take on all kinds of risks to get things done,” Dorsey continued. “The beauty of that is we can have win-wins, where you have a development team that hopefully has a successful project but the community, for generations, has something that reflects the plans they come up with.”
On the Pike, the Board approved the construction of a six-story, 250-unit apartment building and about 5,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and commercial space, at the busy corner of S. Glebe Road and the Pike.
Normally, these kinds of projects are supposed to receive administrative approvals via the Columbia Pike Form-Based Code. This project, however, required County Board approval in part because the developer, Marcus Partners, requested relief from height restrictions on a portion of the property.
“This is a strong project, I do… appreciate a little bit of architectural diversity coming forward, I think it will add a lot to the neighborhood,” said Board Member Katie Cristol. “I appreciate our staff’s efforts to make sure compliance with the code is a floor in terms of fulfilling the vision of the neighborhood as well as thorough, additional work to mitigate impacts that may be happening and maximizing the positives.”
Arlington County has received a $1.2 million federal grant to move people experiencing homelessness into permanent or temporary apartment housing.
Approximately 55% of the grant will be for housing — mostly one- and two-bedroom affordable rental units — and the remainder “is for supportive services and staffing,” says Dept. of Human Services spokesman Kurt Larrick.
This project provides permanent housing in existing, but unoccupied, committed affordable units in Arlington to people either living outside or in one of the county’s four emergency shelters, operated by Bridges to Independence, Doorways, New Hope and PathForward.
In federal government speak, this is known as “rapid rehousing,” says Larrick.
It is part of Arlington County’s “housing first” approach — one in which people are housed without stipulations, says Adele McClure, a candidate for the second district of the House of Delegates, who has worked for many years in Arlington tackling homelessness after experiencing it herself in Fairfax County.
“It’s breaking down the barrier to housing,” she said. “I am a product of those stipulations growing up. When I was in transitional housing, we didn’t have ‘housing first’ model, it was really, really tough for our family. I am thankful Arlington and all of Virginia engages in that.”
The funds will also pay for master-lease agreements with nonprofits to move people into apartments temporarily before moving to permanent housing, Larrick said.
This grant has a three-year term. It is a new funding source and a new U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) project type for Arlington.
“But the work is not new to Arlington and will be a mix of non-congregate shelter and Rapid Rehousing services for people experiencing homelessness,” Larrick said. “Arlington has a long history of winning competitive HUD funding opportunities across a range of programming areas though.”
McClure says Arlington is well-positioned to address homelessness because of its “continuum of care” model that brings together nonprofits, affordable housing providers and public and private service providers to oversee everything from subsidy programs to street outreach.
The funding will help replace early Covid relief federal funding through the CARES Act, which is coming to an end, she noted.
The grant comes as the county is working on its next strategic plan to help households at risk of homelessness keep their housing and help homeless families quickly regain stable housing.
Arlington County adopted a 10-year plan in 2006. Data over the last decade show that during the out-years of the plan, the population of people living in shelters and outdoors dropped sharply. That rate of decline has since slowed and possibly plateaued.
“We started off really strong and we had that sharp decline, but once you get down to the lower numbers we have, we’re going to get down to the folks who are hardest to serve: those are the folks who don’t necessarily stay sheltered,” McClure said. “I know, here in Arlington, we are concerned about losing that momentum and progress.”
A three-year plan was adopted in 2018. The plan was extended due to Covid, but now, the county is reprising its planning. This round is focused on addressing inequities for people of color, immigrants and seniors.
“Arlington struggles with the availability of resources, funding and stock of affordable housing,” McClure said. “There are large and systemic root causes that perpetuate homelessness… Arlington is trying to address those systemic root causes.”
Interested community members can attend any of the following informational sessions.
- Understanding the Role of Racial Equity in Arlington’s Continuum of Care — Friday, Feb. 17 from 12:30-2:30 p.m. at the Arlingotn Central Library Auditorium (1015 N. Quincy Street)
- Domestic Violence & Homelessness — Saturday, Feb. 18 from 10 a.m. to noon at the DHS Lower Level Auditorium, Sequoia Plaza 1 (2100 Washington Blvd)
- Family Homelessness — Wednesday, Feb. 22 from 5-7 p.m. at the Central Library Auditorium
- Single Adults Experiencing Homelessness — Thursday, Feb. 23 from 12:30-2:30 p.m. at the Central Library Auditorium
- Youth and Young Adult Homelessness — Monday, March 6 from 5-7 p.m. at the DHS Lower Level Auditorium
- Virtual Open Listening Session — Friday, March 10 from noon-2 p.m.
A residential redevelopment planned for a four-story office building, bank drive-thru and parking lot on Columbia Pike is now heading to the Arlington County Board.
On Monday night, the Planning Commission unanimously voted its approval for a project that would tear down the Bank of America building at 3401 Columbia Pike, at the northwest corner of S. Glebe Road and the Pike, next to the Wendy’s. It will now head to the Arlington County Board, which is slated to consider the project at its meeting next Saturday, Feb. 18.
The property falls within the Pike’s Commercial Form-Based Code, which provides a streamlined process for developers provided they meet certain guidelines. The project needs Planning Commission and County Board approval because of its size, according to Commissioner Stephen Hughes.
“Otherwise, the goal is for it to be a by-right development subject to the Zoning Administrator, if every checkbox is met,” he said.
The developer, Marcus Partners, proposes a 250-unit, six-story apartment building with 4,500 square feet of ground floor retail and 287 parking spaces across a 2.5-level underground garage. It will have 172 one-bedroom, 39 two-bedroom and 38 studio units.
“I for one am excited to see this building get built because it’s different,” Hughes said. “The materiality and the architecture of it are something we’ve yet to see on the Pike, and so I think we’re a little excited to see that.”
As part of the project, Marcus Partners will make streetscape improvements, revamp an existing alley for parking and loading and build a 7,800 square-foot private open space. It will landscape a small triangular lot to create more of a buffer between the building and a single-family home to the north.
Throughout the review process, people have been sensitive to how close the proposed building will be to this home and have recommended ways to minimize impacts on residents, said county planner Matt Mattauszek.
“This is not the first, nor will it be the last time, that a form-based code has an adjacency to a low residential development zone and it is always shocking to me… the embracing of the density that goes on with my neighbors on the Pike,” Hughes said.
The proposed building will round out development of this prominent intersection, says Lauren Riley, a land use lawyer with Walsh Colucci. It is flanked by three form-based code projects: Pike 3400 to the south, Gilliam Place to the west and the under-construction Westmont project to the east.
Riley assured anyone who banks with Bank of America that the branch — which was set to close late last year — will move across the street to the former Capital One building.
“No need to worry, you’ll still have your bank services across the street,” she said.
The form-based code comes with height restrictions: three to six stories for what it designates as main streets, two to five stories for avenues and two to three stories for local streets. Developers are able to extend or retract these designations up to 50 feet to make their project work.
Even with this workaround, Marcus Partners would have had to make a small section of its building three stories shorter, which county staff agreed would be unworkable. The developer is asking the County Board for relief from the tapering requirement.
“The transition from a higher density to a single-family home had been well thought out on the form-based code and the unique instance of this site and the way the site was assembled warrants this change,” said Commissioner Leonardo Sarli. “But the transition from main street to residential is a really good approach and one that benefits the community as a whole.”
A developer is setting aside $25,000 for the installation of a historical marker to describe the importance of the Joyce Motors site in Clarendon.
The sum raised eyebrows among some Planning Commission members last night (Monday) during their discussion of a proposed redevelopment of the auto shop at the intersection of N. Irving Street and 10th Street N.
“I think people often complain about the cost of building things and doing things so for my own benefit, when people ask me about this, I want to drill down a little bit,” Commissioner Daniel Weir said. “When you buy a plaque to give to one of your coworkers who’s retiring after 30 years of service, it costs $40 from the guy you buy tchotchkes from. So distinguish these two things for me, please.”
Commissioners were told the $25,000 is budgeted for the hard costs of installing a sign or plaque or embedding the explanations in concrete under-foot.
Without much other discussion, commissioners unanimously approved the plans from Orr Partners to build a 241-unit apartment building with 3,600 square feet of ground-floor retail.
The project required the developer to work with nearby businesses to divy up the triangular lot bounded by Wilson Blvd, 10th Street N. and N. Irving Street lot into three parcels. Orr Partners will build an alley through the middle of the site from which residents can access underground parking.
Orr Partners will preserve another nearby property deemed historic — 1411 N. Garfield Street, which housed a barber shop — from future development using the county’s transfer of development rights tool.
The approval comes more than three years after the developer submitted its site plan application in 2019. Arlington County accepted the site plan in spring of 2020 but put it on hold for two years while staff completed an update to the Clarendon Sector Plan, which guides development of the neighborhood.
“We have made substantial changes over the past three-plus plus years as we’ve been at this,” said Andrew Painter, a land use lawyer with Walsh Colucci, representing the developer. “We’ve shown the ability to be creative by partnering with neighbors on the alley [and] the land swap, by partnering to preserve historic façades and construct a building that will be able to solve so many planning goals.”
Changes to the 2006 sector plan were prompted by several redevelopments, including Joyce Motors, as well as on the Silver Diner/The Lot and Wells Fargo/Verizon sites, and projects proposed by the St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, the YMCA and George Mason University.
While the $25,000 budget for a historical marker gave some commissioners sticker shock, others thanked Orr Partners for delivering a project that provided nine on-site committed affordable units, including five family-sized ones.
“I just wanted to say thank you for including larger-sized units that can fit families,” said Commissioner Tenley Peterson.
Two 30-story apartment towers proposed for Crystal City received a green light from the Arlington County Board on Saturday.
The proposal from JBG Smith will redevelop a block at the intersection of 23rd Street S. and Crystal Drive that is currently home to a vacant office building from the 1960s and, until demolition started earlier this year, a strip of one-story retail that included the restaurant Jaleo.
The west tower (223 23rd Street S.) will have 613 units and 8,000 square feet of retail. The east tower (2250 Crystal Drive) will have 826 units and 14,929 square feet of retail. A north-south vehicular access will run between the two towers and is intended to take parking and retail loading off the nearby streets.
This project also includes an approximately 8,025-square-foot interim public green space, which the Crystal City Sector Plan envisions becoming a 13,000-square-foot open space.
A 5,574-square-foot walkway lined with planters and seating will run east to west and connect pedestrians to a relocated entrance to the Crystal City Shops, an underground mall, as well as retail at the base of the 2250 Crystal Drive building.
JBG Smith will rebuild 23rd Street S. from Crystal Drive to Richmond Highway, adding 1,600 new linear feet of protected bike lanes across Crystal Drive and 23rd Street S. The developer will also add a mid-block crossing where the north-south connector intersects with 23rd Street S. and floating bus stops on either side of the street.
The project is set to achieve LEED Gold certification. JBG Smith will contribute more than $8 million to affordable housing and set aside 34 off-site affordable units at one of its existing Riverhouse apartment buildings in Pentagon City. Open space in the development is set to be redeveloped in the near future.
References to Missing Middle — which was the next item for discussion — broke into comments from County Board members.
“The big picture here is 1,400 additional units that are in one of our transit corridors. This is an example of the type of project that across perspectives, most everyone supports,” said Board member Matt de Ferranti. “This is part of smart policy to prevent further ex-urban development. It’s part of good policy for our community.”
Board member Takis Karantonis hailed it as “a very good project.”
“This is between one of the nation’s most vibrant innovation districts, [Amazon’s] HQ2, the anchor, and everything that comes around it, and the Virginia Tech campus a few blocks down the street,” he said.
He went on to connect the project to the Missing Middle housing proposal, which was discussed in public comments for more than five hours after Board members voted on JBG Smith’s redevelopment plans.
“These people will live there and after a while, we would like them to have more opportunities to stay in Arlington and continue to be productive residents at the core of our economic growth machine,” he said.
Board members and Planning Commission representative Jim Lantelme applauded JBG Smith’s plans to reuse unoccupied parking garage spaces for residents.
“That’s something we encourage and would like to see more of,” Lantelme said.
Staff and Lantelme mentioned changes JBG Smith made in response to comments from advisory commissions and staff. They said these changes improved the pedestrian experience by setting the height of the towers farther back from the street and redesigning the larger public plazas to include more plantings and a pet relief area.
Board Vice-Chair Libby Garvey thanked JBG Smith the changes made.
“The fact that we don’t have a lot of speakers here to tell us how bad the plan is shows that the work has really been well done, ” he said. “Arlingtonians are not shy about letting us know if there’s something they don’t like.”
A property between Rosslyn and Courthouse that is home to an office building and two long-time restaurants has been sold to a developer with plans to build apartments and retail.
D.C.-based The Fortis Cos. bought the property at the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Rhodes Street for $14 million.
The site includes a four-story, 48,000-square-foot office building (1840 Wilson Blvd) and the restaurants Il Radicchio and Rhodeside Grill. The office building was the headquarters for the property’s previous owner, the nonprofit National Science Teaching Association (NSTA).
“This is a very familiar and highly visible property within the County and along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, and FORTIS is excited work on a new vision for the site, which will likely be mixed-use multifamily residential over ground floor retail,” Fortis Vice President Matt Bunch tells ARLnow.
In a press release announcing the sale, real estate company CBRE — which represented the nonprofit in the transaction — called the property “one of the last commercial development sites in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor in Arlington.”
Its development potential and quarter-mile distance from the Courthouse Metro Station generated “a high level of interest from prospective buyers,” CBRE Senior Vice President Dean Stiles said in a statement. “We are confident that it will be a valuable asset for Fortis.”
Arlington County has identified this site for mixed-use redevelopment, and Fortis intends to build a seven-story, 85-foot-tall apartment building.
Bunch says that plans for the site are still tentative and there’s no timeline to share — yet.
“We are in the very early stages of exploring design alternatives for the property, but we look forward to working with the County and community this year as we pursue new redevelopment ideas for the block,” Bunch said. “As of the moment, we don’t have a timeline to share but we do intend to seek an extension of the prior site plan this year.”
Last year, Fortis submitted a conceptual site plan outlining its intentions and seeking county feedback on how high it can build. The application laid out plans to file an amendment in the first quarter of 2023 seeking an extension of the site plan until 2026.
This July, an existing site plan that is nearly 20 years old and has been extended several times will expire.
In November of 2005, the Arlington County Board originally approved a site plan that would have retained the NSTA building, demolished the restaurants and replaced them with a new, six-story office building with nearly 62,000 square feet of office space and 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and restaurant space.
In 2008, it granted an extension until 2011 and it was automatically extended until July 2020 by a state statute enacted in the wake of the Great Recession. The County Board subsequently granted extension until July 1, 2023.
This would be the second current project in Arlington for Fortis, which has also reprised long-dormant plans to turn a single-family detached home off of Route 50 near Courthouse into an apartment building.
“[It] is consistent with our strategy to create well-located and walkable transit-oriented redevelopments,” Bunch said. “It is also a testament to what we believe are strong economic fundamentals and demand drivers in the County that will continue for the foreseeable future.”
NSTA said via press release that it was time to let go of its physical presence in D.C. because the pandemic proved the organization could function well remotely.
“The organization was able to continue to function at a high level throughout the pandemic, while staff worked remotely and NSTA members were able to take part in many excellent virtual meetings and professional programs,” said NSTA Executive Director Erika Shugart, Ph.D. “After a long and thorough process and careful consideration, our board of directors decided to sell the property.”