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Morning Notes

Dark clouds over Rosslyn (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

ACPD Patrolling Trails — Auxiliary officers with the Arlington County Police Department will be increasingly patrolling trails around the county this spring, to help keep pedestrians and bicyclists safe. [InsideNova]

Arlington Transit Survey — Arlington County is conducting an online survey of residents as part of its update of Arlington’s Transit Development Plan. The 10-year-plan is intended to identify transit goals and prioritize improvements. This latest update will include recommendations for future transit on Columbia Pike. [SurveyMonkey]

Blue Goose Mostly Torn DownDemolition of the above-ground portion of the Blue Goose building in Ballston in nearly complete. [Twitter]

Forums Shut Down — Due to an influx of uncontrollable spam and an unresolvable technical glitch with the latest version of WordPress, ARLnow.com has made the decision to shut down our message board indefinitely. Thank you to our forum participants for four years of vigorous community discussion.

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Photos: Blue Goose Demolition Ramps Up

Demolition of Marymount University’s “Blue Goose” building in Ballston is ramping up.

While the building at the corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Glebe Road has been slowly, methodically taken apart for months, today demolition crews seemed to reach an inflection point.

This morning, construction crews were hacking large pieces off the distinctive, blue Marymount University building using high-reach excavators, similar to the ones used to tear down the building across from the Rosslyn Metro station last December.

When the building’s demolition is complete, it will be replaced by a nine-story office building and 15-story residential building. The redevelopment is a partnership between Shooshan Company and Marymount University. Shooshan has a ground lease for the land and is developing the new buildings, while MU owns the land and will occupy six of the nine floors of the new office building, with plans to fill the other three over time.

The buildings are expected to be completed by summer 2017, Shooshan Company Vice President Kevin Shooshan told ARLnow.com in February.

Photos via Twitter and Facebook, as noted

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Photos: Demolition Begins on ‘The Blue Goose’

(Updated at 6:25 p.m.) The distinctive “Blue Goose” building on the corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Glebe Road in Ballston is starting to be torn down.

The building, built in the 1960s, will be replaced by a nine-story office building and 15-story residential building. The redevelopment is a partnership between Shooshan Company and Marymount University. Shooshan has a ground lease for the land and is developing the new buildings, while MU owns the land and will occupy six of the nine floors of the new office building, with plans to fill the other three over time.

The demolition is expected to wrap up May, according to Shooshan Company Director of Leasing and Marketing Kevin Shooshan. The first step of construction will be excavation to create the three levels of underground parking. Shooshan expects the two buildings to be complete in summer 2017.

The entire property — the building and the parking lot in the rear — is fenced off as crews begin to tear out the building’s interior. This morning, workers were tossing pieces of the interior from the fourth floor window onto the ground below.

Panels from the building will be donated to local museums to preserve the building as a model of Modern Movement architecture. Some of the panels, as well as blue elements throughout the 7,600-square-foot public plaza also being built on the site, will be preserved as part of the new development.

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County Board Approves ‘Blue Goose’ Redevelopment

Rendering of proposed development on "Blue Goose" siteThe distinctive “Blue Goose” building in Ballston is heading for the proverbial wrecking ball after the Arlington County Board approved replacing it with an office and a residential building.

The Board unanimously voted to redevelop the 1963 building, allowing the developer The Shooshan Company, in partnership with Marymount University, to build a nine-story office building and a 15-story, 267-unit residential building with 11 dedicated units of affordable housing.

The entire site will sit on three levels of underground parking, with 317 office spaces and 264 residential spaces. There will also be 3,000 square feet of ground floor retail space.

Marymount University will occupy the first six stories of the office building with plans to expand into the final three floors in the future. The office building will front on Fairfax Drive while the residential building will sit on the corner of Fairfax and N. Glebe Road.

In additional to the affordable housing — which includes a $275,000 donation to the Arlington Housing Investment Fund — the Shooshan Company also agreed to contribute more than $4.5 million toward the construction of a west entrance to the Ballston Metro Station and $1.15 million for improvements to the Ballston beaver pond restoration project and Custis Trail. The buildings are expected to be built to a LEED Gold environmental standard.

The developer will also build a 7,600-square-foot public plaza and an east-west pedestrian walkway between the two buildings, a 10-foot-wide cycle track on Fairfax Drive and allow public access to the planned auditorium inside the office building. The “Blue Goose” is considered a model of the 1960s-era “Modern Movement” architecture, and some of its distinctive panels will be preserved and displayed in the new buildings, as well as distributed to local museums.

“The plaza will have blue seating, blue lighting and benches with panels that will depict the history of the building, re-using blue and white panels from the existing building,” according to a press release. “The office building will incorporate a blue panel design at its base that will be reminiscent of the ‘Blue Goose,’ and a horizontal blue spandrel glass band at the top of the second story.”

“Marymount University is an important institution in Arlington, and it is great to see it expanding its presence in Ballston,” County Board Chair Jay Fisette said in the press release. “The new buildings will be attractive and energy efficient, and will come with many benefits for our community, including affordable housing, a public plaza, and a significant contribution to building a western entrance to Ballston Metro.”

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‘Blue Goose’ Redevelopment Includes Funds for Pond, Custis Trail, Metro Entrance

"Blue Goose" building in Ballston (photo courtesy Preservation Arlington)The developer that plans to demolish the “Blue Goose” building in Ballston has agreed to contribute more than $6 million to community improvements for the Ballston area.

The proposed site plan amendment for the project will go before the Arlington County Board at its meeting this Saturday, Jan. 25. The Shooshan Company hopes to bulldoze the distinctive blue building at the corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Glebe Road and replace it with a nine-story office building — to be used to house the Marymount University programs now in the Blue Goose — and a 15-story residential high-rise.

The request for increased density comes with a proposed donation of $1.15 million toward the Ballston beaver pond restoration project and improvements to the Custis Trail, and a $4.57 million contribution to the Ballston Metro west entrance project.

County Planner Samia Byrd said the contributions would connect the Custis Trail to a cycle track that the developer plans to build along Fairfax Drive. The final designs for the improvements “are still under review,” Byrd said, but they could include building a planted buffer between the existing sidewalk and Fairfax Drive and making the sidewalk smoother for pedestrians and cyclists.

Rendering of proposed development on "Blue Goose" siteThose improvements would first have to be approved by the Virginia Department of Transportation, but Byrd said they would effectively extend the Custis Trail to N. Glebe Road.

The contribution to the Metro entrance is just one chunk of the proposed $75 million project. The entrance, which is partially designed and planned for the intersection of Fairfax Drive and N. Vermont Street, still has no timeline for construction, according to Byrd.

The Ballston Pond restoration project is already underway. Logs were removed that were holding the water in the pond and it drained completely by November. Construction on Ballston Pond to improve the habitat for wildlife is expected to begin in the spring.

The redevelopment, and demolition of the infamous building, drew criticism from historic preservation group Preservation Arlington, which named it one of the most “Endangered Public Places.” The developer has since agreed to keep some of the blue panels as elements in the new buildings, while others will be donated to local museums.

The “historical attributes” of the 1960s-era building will be “incorporated into the design of the proposed office building and landscaping in the public plaza and courtyard,” according to the county staff report.

Other community benefits proposed in the site plan include a $75,000 public art contribution, a $106,000 utility underground fund contribution, a $567,000 Transportation Demand Management contribution over 30 years, a public plaza and walkway, a $258,000 contribution to the Affordable Housing Investment Fund and LEED Gold certification.

Construction will remove the surface parking lot on the site and, because the office building will be largely used for education purposes, the Shooshan Company has requested a reduced mandatory parking ratio. The residential building includes 3,000 square feet of ground floor retail and 267 units, some of which will be committed affordable housing.

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