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A long-dormant plan to redevelop an aging office building and two restaurants between Rosslyn and Courthouse has been revived.

D.C.-based The Fortis Cos. has filed a conceptual site plan application to build a seven-story, 85-foot-tall apartment building at the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Rhodes Street.

It would replace an office building at 1840 Wilson Blvd belonging to a nonprofit organization, the National Science Teachers Association, as well as Il Radicchio (1801 Clarendon Blvd) and Rhodeside Grill (1836 Wilson Blvd).

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.

Three years later, the County Board granted an extension on the project until 2011. A state statute in the wake of the 2007-2009 Great Recession automatically extended the validity of the site plan amendment until July 1, 2020. The County Board has since granted another extension until July 1, 2023.

Fortis intends to file a site plan amendment in the first quarter of 2023 seeking another extension of the site plan until 2026, according to the application.

“It is anticipated that the property’s nonprofit owner NSTA will remain as a tenant on the property until the redevelopment occurs,” the application says.

Meantime, the applicant is seeking feedback from the county on a number of aspects of the plan, including the building’s proposed height.

Land use attorneys who filed the application say the proposed seven-story building complies with the maximum 16-story height limit for apartments developed in this zoning district, but it is taller than recommended in the Rosslyn-to-Courthouse Urban Design Study.

“While the Study recommends 5 stories/55 feet at this location, the proposed height will provide a visually appropriate bookened for this block in a manner that is in character with the surrounding development and helps meet the county’s development goals,” the application says.

The study allows for height flexibility in exchange for affordable housing commitments, community facilities, special design considerations and new streets, it continues.

This is the latest proposal to switch from a proposed office building to an apartment building, as office vacancies deepen and developers continue pursuing housing developments.

And this is not the only long-dormant project Fortis has reprised this year. The Washington Business Journal reported in September that the company is taking on a stagnating apartment project at 2025 Fairfax Drive, a half-acre parcel in the Radnor-Fort Myer Heights neighborhood.

Fortis has seen to completion other apartment buildings in Clarendon, Rosslyn and Pentagon City, as well as the Residence Inn in Courthouse.

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St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Clarendon has filed conceptual designs for a new three-story church and parish center and a 10-story apartment building.

The mid-century church sits on two-and-a-half acres of prime property between the Clarendon and Virginia Square Metro stations, much of it is dedicated to parking.

Under the proposal, which has been in the works for a few years now, the 429-unit apartment building will have a courtyard in the center, a rooftop pool and ground-floor amenities. The church will be connected to the parish center, with meeting rooms and an event space, by cloistered gardens.

Parking will move underground and the two structures will be connected by an enhanced alley. Fairfax Drive will be redesigned as a walkable plaza, and there will be a new “West End Plaza” located in front of the church on a county-owned parcel.

But the plans include design elements that could conflict with streetscape design guidelines stipulated by the update to the Clarendon Sector Plan adopted earlier this year. Because of this, the church is seeking the perspective of county planning staff.

“The Applicant desires County feedback on the proposed conceptual plan, and particularly would like to discuss various recommendations of the Clarendon Sector Plan relating to ground-floor transparency, clear walkway zones, and sidewalk grade,” per a letter to the county included in the filings. “Existing site conditions and the programmatic needs of the proposed religious institutional use may complicate full achievement of certain Sector Plan recommendations relating to streetscape design.”

In other words, some elements of the proposed St. Charles Church — which reflect a centuries-long tradition of church architecture — may not align with the sector plan design guidelines for frontages along Washington Blvd and Fairfax Drive.

The streetscape guidelines, aimed at creating an attractive walking experience, call for sidewalks and store entrances to be the same level, without steps, and for storefronts to have mostly transparent windows unobstructed by blinds, fabrics and shelving. These are typified by the streetscapes of The Crossing Clarendon shopping center.

Former Iota Club space at The Crossing Clarendon (staff photo)

“Transparency is a key factor influencing the pedestrian experience: visual access, views to and from interior spaces, and interesting shopfront lighting and displays add visual interest and opportunities for the informal surveillance of public spaces,” per the sector plan.

Like many Roman Catholic churches throughout history, the renderings of St. Charles show an outdoor staircase, doors and a lobby (narthex) separating the sanctuary from casual pedestrian view.

The façades, meanwhile, include stained glass, which typically depict biblical stories and saints. These embellishments are not at pedestrians-scale; rather, they follow in the architectural tradition of drawing the eye upward to aid the worshipper in contemplating heaven.

While the county reviews the designs, the church is bringing a developer partner on board, according to a September church bulletin. The church will lease the land underneath the proposed apartment building to the developer in order to finance the project.

“We continue to refine our cost estimates for the project, but we anticipate that most of our total costs will be met by the proceeds from a long-term lease with our development partner,” parish priest Don Planty writes in the update. “Parishioners will be called upon to contribute to help cover immediate financial needs during planning and in support of sacred art for the new St. Charles church.”

Planty said the planning team estimates further planning, entitlement and permitting will take two years, followed by another two years for construction.

Renderings of St. Charles Catholic Church in Clarendon (via Arlington County)
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Early site work appears to have started at the long-vacant former Wendy’s lot in Courthouse.

Greystar Real Estate Partners is building an apartment building at 2025 Clarendon Blvd, about a block from the Courthouse Metro station, where the fast food spot and a bank used to be.

And this week, people nearby have observed that a fence has gone up and digging has started.

This June, Greystar has applied for permits for sheeting and shoring work as well as for construction of a two-level underground parking garage and the 16-story apartment building with an in-ground, rooftop pool, according to Arlington County permit records.

Those plans are still being reviewed.

Permits for 2025 Clarendon Blvd (via Arlington County)

Representatives from Greystar were not able to respond by deadline to comment with a construction timeline.

Greystar will turn the 0.57-acre lot into a 16-story apartment building with 231 residential units and 4,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. Residents will have 75 vehicle parking spaces and one bike parking spot for every unit.

As part of the project, Greystar is adding a public plaza at the tip of western edge of the site — in a prominent location a block from the Metro station, where N. Courthouse Road and Wilson and Clarendon Blvd intersect — as well as an alley along the eastern edge.

Before and after Greystar removed columns on the ground to open up the plaza proposed for 2025 Clarendon Blvd (via Arlington County)

The planned building will be taller than what plans for the neighborhood recommend. Greystar was able to nearly double the number of units and increase the building height by six stories by transferring development rights from Wakefield Manor, a small garden-apartment complex deemed to be historic, less than a half-mile away.

The Wendy’s and bank were torn down and initially set to be replaced with a 12-story office building, which was never built because the developer, Carr Properties, couldn’t find a tenant.

For years, the lot sat vacant. It most recently was used as a staging area for 2000 Clarendon, a condo project across the street, while Greystar bought the site and worked up apartment plans.

Meanwhile, construction continues across the street at “The Commodore” apartments. Construction crews officially broke ground on the project in October 2021 and has been adding floors at a relatively quick pace as of late.

“The Commodore” replaces low-slung brick commercial buildings that housed Jerry’s SubsCosiBoston Market and Summers Restaurant. Completion of the 20-story, 423-unit building is expected next fall, Greystar previously said in a press release.

The Commodore’s ground floor retail space is close to being leased out, according to CBRE. Five businesses have struck preliminary agreements to move into the building, while one retail space is still available for leasing.

The real estate company says it’s focused on attracting “a mix of local and regional food & beverage offerings as well as daily goods & service offerings, from conveniences to luxuries, for the [Courthouse] and Clarendon communities.”

The project, located in the “Landmark Block” in Courthouse, is poised to realize a significant portion of a 2015 vision to redevelop a portion of the neighborhood dubbed “Courthouse Square” and centered around the county’s surface parking lot.

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(Updated 4 p.m. on 10/28/22) JBG Smith is under contract to sell The Inn of Rosslyn, which it purchased nearly two years ago, according to permits filed with Arlington County.

Now, a new developer — “MR 1601 Fairfax Drive Property LLC,” an affiliate of Monument Realty — is proposing to redevelop the site with an apartment building, according to an ownership disclosure statement.

Although designated as an “important” property on the Arlington Historic Resources Inventory list, the property will be demolished. Iconic features of the 65-year-old building in the Radnor-Fort Myer Heights neighborhood will live on in embellishments to the apartment building.

In December 2020, developer JBG Smith purchased the Rosslyn area motel, the Americana Hotel in Crystal City and two apartment buildings, one of which is adjacent to the Inn of Rosslyn. These four buildings were owned by a local family for about 60 years, but surviving members decided to sell after hotel profits stagnated during the pandemic.

And now, the developer is reselling the property.

The plans for 1601 Fairfax Drive, about a half-mile from the Courthouse Metro station, are taking shape as plans for the Americana Hotel have already started moving through Arlington’s review processes. The developer proposes to demolish the motel and construct an 8-story, nearly 80-foot-tall apartment building with 141 units and 87 below-grade parking spaces.

Monument Realty is foregoing retail on the site because of the site’s sloping topography, and “lack of sufficient pedestrian traffic to support retail uses,” writes Nicholas Cumings, the developer’s land use attorney for the project. (Coincidentally, sloping topography is posing logistical challenges for the developer at the Americana Hotel site.)

Despite the “important” historic designation, a 14-year-old redevelopment plan for the area recommends redeveloping the property with a building up to 12 stories and 125 feet tall, with optional retail and a main entrance on Fairfax Drive and loading and parking off N. Queen Street, per the filing.

The hotel site “could accommodate additional density and height, because this area is adjacent to high volume Arlington Boulevard and the sloping topography will minimize the appearance and impact of greater heights,” according to the 2008 Fort Myer Heights North Plan

The plan additionally calls for redesigning Fairfax Drive as a “complete street” serving pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users and drivers, while stipulating that new development should have architecture that mimics the existing neighborhood.

“The architecture of the proposed building will complement and draw from the architecture of the existing building and the characteristics of the surrounding neighborhood,” the plan says. “The Applicant’s proposed building design is partly influenced by the building’s distinctive features, which are honored through the façade cantilevers, recreation of the existing ’50’ sign and balcony railings mimicking the zig-zag design of the existing railings.”

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Work is underway to take down the aging RCA building in Rosslyn — but a demolition schedule has yet to be set.

The forthcoming residential redevelopment for 1901 N. Moore Street, by McLean-based developer Jefferson Apartment Group, was approved in June 2021.

Sixteen months later, JAG Senior Vice President Greg Van Wie tells ARLnow that “the crews are removing cell tower equipment from the roof in preparation for demolition.”

As of now, though, there is no set date for the demolition, Van Wie said.

“We will have more updates on the schedule in the coming weeks,” he said.

A reader noted to ARLnow that he noticed the cell towers were gone in late September. This month, he described a large crane clearing the roof of HVAC units and other equipment, while down below, N. Lynn Street was closed down to one lane.

Before cell towers, circled in red, were removed from the roof of the RCA building (courtesy of anonymous)

Those who were hoping for a dramatic implosion may be disappointed.

“We will be dismantling the existing building rather than imploding it so there won’t quite be the same show as with the old Holiday Inn, unfortunately,” Van Wie said.

One December morning in 2020, the 18-story hotel in Rosslyn came down during a controlled demolition that closed local roads and I-66. A new development with a 25-story residential tower an a 36-story hotel tower are being built in its place.

After taking apart the 13-story, 1960s-era RCA building, JAG will build a 27-story, 423-unit apartment complex. The planned 260-foot tall building is composed of a north and a south tower joined at the base and at the rooftop with an “amenity bridge.”

The fourth floor will feature a landscaped terrace and the roof will also have garden elements. There will be two levels of retail and 286 parking spaces spread across garages on the third and fourth floors and underground.

As part of the project, the developer will remove inner loop roads around the Rosslyn Metro station, as well as the skywalk connection between the RCA building and the Rosslyn Gateway building.

The developer will also donate $2.2 million toward improvements within Rosslyn, such as for Gateway Park, and add a mix of buffered, protected and unprotected bike lanes, colorized bus lanes, new intersections, a relocated red-light camera and a new Capital Bikeshare station.

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A year into new stormwater requirements for single-family home projects, homebuilders and remodelers say even the improved process is laborious and expensive, costing homeowners extra money.

On the other hand, Arlington County says that permit review times have shortened and that the program will be evaluated for possible improvements.

Before September 2021, builders had to demonstrate that a given property had ways to reduce pollution in stormwater runoff to comply with state regulations aimed at cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay.

Last year, the county began requiring projects that disturb at least 2,500 square feet of land to demonstrate the redeveloped property can retain at least 3 inches of stormwater during flash flooding events through features such as tanks, planters and permeable paver driveways. Builders must also refurbish the soil with soils that increase water retention.

Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman Peter Golkin says improvements like these “are vital as we continue the work toward a flood resilient Arlington,” especially as “the pace of single family home construction in Arlington remains strong.”

But the regulations are fairly new and could change, Golkin said.

“The first projects in LDA 2.0 are now coming to construction, and the County is entering the phase of evaluation to identify potential adjustments and improvements,” he said. ”The County expects to have more information about any LDA 2.0 updates by mid-2023.”

The updates were intended to address increasing infill development and rainfall intensity, and the downstream effects of runoff and impacts to the county’s aging storm drains and local streams.

Builders and remodelers say the changes have caused new headaches and resulted in projects shrinking in size.

“It only gets more complicated, costs more, and takes longer,” says architect Trip DeFalco.

Andrew Moore, president of Arlington Designer Homes, said he’s avoided this process in many projects after telling the clients about the potential costs and permitting time.

“People are motivated to think, do I need that bump-out to be 14 feet? I can live with 12 feet,” he said. “It saves you $50,000 and 3 months.”

Despite the hassle, permit applications are still coming in at a clip of, on average, 20 per month.

Responding to redevelopment

In the wake of the destructive July 2019 flash flood, residents has discussed and voted on ways to address stormwater mitigation in Arlington, while the county has put more funding toward stormwater improvement projects.

The issue of runoff has figured into debates about how to protect streams and the impacts of allowing the construction of two- to eight-unit “Missing Middle” houses in Arlington, though such projects could only occupy the footprint currently allowed for single-family homes on a given property.

In the wake of the flash flooding, the county introduced new regulations for what it says is one of the biggest runoff contributors: new single-family homes.

“Ensuring more robust control of runoff from new single family homes, which create the majority of new impervious area from regulated development activity, remains a top County priority as part of the comprehensive Flood Resilient Arlington initiative,” Golkin said.

An average of 167 single-family homes have been built and an average of 155 torn down annually over the last 11 years, according to Arlington’s development tracker tool. Demolitions peaked in 2015 and completed projects in 2016.

Single-family detached demolitions and completed projects (via Arlington County)

A past of pollution

DeFalco, who spent a few years as a builder, too, says the “county’s hands are a little bit tied” on this issue because they have to meet state requirements aimed at curbing pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.

Runoff brought fertilizer into the bay, causing algae and plants to grow quickly and then die, sink to the bottom, where they decayed and used up oxygen, says civil engineer Roger Bohr.

“The state is pushing on the county and the federal government is pushing on the state,” DeFalco said. “But the implementation on the homeowner level is pretty onerous… I don’t think the residents have any idea what’s going in their side yards.”

Golkin compared the transition period right now to when new state stormwater management requirements took effect in 2014.

“Staff and the building and engineering community ultimately came up to speed,” he said.

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(Updated at 4:25 p.m.) Sixty-some years ago, developers paved paradise in Pentagon City and put up parking lots to serve residents of the RiverHouse apartment complex.

And after a few stops and starts, property owner JBG Smith is poised to reach its longtime goal of redeveloping the vast parking expanse along S. Joyce Street, which at this point is only partially utilized by residents. Today (Monday), the developer officially filed its plans to turn parking into apartments with ground floor retail, condos, townhouses and senior living facilities.

JBG Smith plans to preserve the three existing buildings along S. Joyce Street and add 1,668 new units and nearly 28,000 square feet in retail. The proposed development of the 36-acre property will increase density on the site from 49 to 91.3 units per acre.

This filing comes eight months after the Arlington County Board adopted a new sector plan intend to shape development within the 116 acres comprising Pentagon City. It replaced a 45-year-old document that reached the end of its life in the shadow of Amazon’s under-construction second headquarters.

“Following the County’s adoption of the Pentagon City Sector Plan, our team has had the opportunity to meet with local residents, neighbors, County Staff and other community stakeholders,” JBG Smith Senior Vice-President Matt Ginivan said in a statement. “We are grateful for their time, insight and input, which have helped shape our proposed plans for the RiverHouse Neighborhood. We look forward to continuing to collaborate in the coming months as we advance a shared vision for our neighborhood.”

Not all that engagement was positive. Last fall and winter, the plan reignited old concerns about redeveloping the surface parking lots and open spaces surrounding the complex. The density the plan envisioned at the RiverHouse site prompted a group of nearby residents to form a movement criticizing the county for a lack of community engagement and petitioning the County Board to moderate its approach to growth.

An illustrative site plan of the existing RiverHouse high-rises and the proposed infill redevelopments (courtesy of JBG Smith)

Currently, RiverHouse has three apartment buildings:

  • 13-story “James” building at 1111 Army Navy Drive, with 452 units
  • 16-story “Potomac” building at 1400 S. Joyce Street, with 647 units
  • 16-story “Ashley” building at 1600 S. Joyce Street, with 571 units

It also has six tennis courts, a private outdoor dog park, picnic tables, two outdoor swimming pools, a jogging trail and a community garden, according to the complex’s website.

JBG Smith proposes development divided into three parcels:

  • A “north parcel” between James House and Potomac House with:
    • two 7-story, 80-foot tall apartment buildings, one with 401 units and 13,079 square feet of retail and another with 551 units and 14,680 square feet of retail
  • A “central parcel” with:
    • an 88-foot-tall condo building with 164 units
    • a 97-foot-tall building for seniors, with 185 units with options for independent and assisted living and memory care facilities
    • an 84-foot-tall apartment building with 102 units
  • A “south parcel,” located south and west of Ashley House, with:
    • 265 units of three- and four-story townhomes, with two to four bedrooms and a mix of private and communal outdoor spaces

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1550 Wilson Blvd (via Google Maps)

A private secondary school in Ballston is looking to move to Rosslyn.

The Sycamore School, which has operated at 4600 Fairfax Drive since it began in 2017, will soon lose its home to a residential redevelopment. So it is asking Arlington County for permission to relocate to 1550 Wilson Blvd, near Fire Station 10, offices, apartments and an Arlington Public Schools building

The Sycamore School proposes operating a private school for up to 140 students grades five through 12, along with 40 staff members and teachers, according to a county report. Its campus would comprise 14,000 square feet on the third floor, divided into seven classrooms, a canteen, an art studio, an exercise room and other administrative rooms and amenities.

“The Applicant provides a valuable educational service to the County’s residents by serving a diverse cross-section of students,” writes land use attorney Andrew Painter. “As part of its personalized learning approach, The Sycamore School offers small class sizes at a ratio of one teacher to six students, and provides individualized instruction with self-paced learning and a focus on student choice.”

The Sycamore School floor plan (via Arlington County)

The Sycamore School’s proposed opening hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with classes occurring Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Occasional school-related and community-based events may occur in the evenings, and are required to conclude by 11 p.m.

Meanwhile, the County Board approved a new childcare tenant in a nearby office building last month. The Gardner School will set up in the ground-floor retail space of an office building at the corner of Clarendon Blvd and N. Quinn Street (1776 Wilson Blvd).

The Gardner School has locations in seven states, the closest being in Herndon, Virginia.

The child care center will take up about 17,670 square feet, divided into 13 classrooms for preschoolers, toddlers and infants, playrooms and 400 square feet of outdoor play area. There will be up to 28 staff and up to 186 enrolled children.

But with two schools moving into an area with offices, apartment buildings, Arlington Public Schools’ H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Program, and Fire Station 10, the Rosslyn Business Improvement District expressed some concerns about transportation management.

The Rosslyn BID encouraged the county to “take a holistic approach” to evaluating APS’s transportation management plans for its two programs against those of the new daycare and private school.

Doing so, the BID said, could “help mitigate potential logistical and safety impacts, particularly during pick-up/drop-off hours,” per the report.

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Ground floor of the planned Hilton hotel in Rosslyn (courtesy Hilton)

A 36-story, 331-room “state of the art” Hilton hotel is coming to Rosslyn.

The hospitality giant this morning announced the signing of an agreement to operate the high-rise hotel on the former Holiday Inn site. With rooms overlooking D.C. and the Potomac River, the hotel will also feature a rooftop event space and 28,000 square feet of meeting space.

More from a press release:

Today, Hilton announces the signing of Hilton at The Key, Arlington-Rosslyn, providing even more options to travelers looking for a state of the art, full-service hotel just minutes from Washington, D.C. Located at the foot of the Potomac River’s historic Francis Scott Key Bridge in Arlington, Virginia, the 36-story, 331-room property is surrounded by numerous corporate headquarters based in Rosslyn’s business district and minutes from the 11-acre riverfront Fort Bennett Park and Palisades Trail.

The modern hotel is under development as part of The Key, a project that includes a destination restaurant, street-level retail, and 517 luxury apartments with panoramas of the water and the nation’s capital. Once completed, Hilton at The Key will feature approximately 28,000 square feet of flexible and modern meeting spaces, including an event space on the 36th floor with sweeping 360-degree views of the Washington, D.C., skyline, the Potomac River and Arlington, Virginia.

“Dittmar Company is proud to partner with Hilton as we bring a true destination meeting and event facility to Arlington, Virginia, and the surrounding DMV area,” said Greg Raines, an executive at Dittmar Company.

The 18-story, 50-year-old Holiday Inn was imploded two years ago to make way for the massive new development, which has since been dubbed The Key. A construction update last month noted that crews were preparing to pour concrete for the tenth floor of the building.

Implosion of the Rosslyn Holiday Inn hotel in Dec. 2020

The development’s 500+ unit rental apartment building has been christened “Rosslyn Towers.”

“Rosslyn Towers is the latest in the Dittmar Company portfolio of Arlington Luxury Multi-Family deliveries,” says The Key’s website. “The residences will have first class finishes to rival the unmatched location and views present at this iconic location.”

The apartment’s “uplifting live/work/play environment” will feature “an amenity package that is second to none.”

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JBG Smith is asking the Arlington County Board for more time to negotiate a lease with the county for a library inside one of its new buildings.

In May 2021, the Arlington County Board approved JBG Smith’s plans to replace Crystal Plaza One (2050 and 2051 S. Bell Street) with two multifamily towers, an “East” and “West” tower, and shift S. Clark Street to the east to create a new S. Clark-Bell Street.

As part of a residential redevelopment project, JBG Smith agreed to financially support a new 7,200-square-foot library branch located in an existing building at 1901 S. Bell Street.

As of now, the developer is predicting it will not make a deadline set as part of conditions for its redevelopment, according to a county report. The conditions require the lease for the library space to be executed when a specific building permit, known as a footing-to-grade permit, is issued as construction progresses at the Crystal Plaza One site.

According to the report, JBG Smith and the county “have been diligently working to complete the lease agreement,” but they won’t be ready before construction reaches the footing-to-grade milestone.

“The result would potentially cause a work stoppage and prolong the construction timeline,” the report says. “To prevent construction delays and allow more time to complete the lease agreement, the applicant proposes to move the deadline for lease execution back to the final building permit for the second building (West Tower). This would provide approximately five months of additional time to complete the lease execution.”

County staff recommend requiring the lease to be executed when the final building permit for the second building is issued, or by April 1, 2023, whichever occurs first.

Additionally, JBG Smith has agreed to revised conditions ensuring it will begin contributing payments for the library’s operations before the footing-to-grade permit is issued.

JBG Smith previously agreed to contribute $250,000 per year, for five years, for a total of $1.25 million, beginning concurrent with the lease execution, per the report. These revisions will allow the payments to begin while the lease is being finalized.

Currently, people who live and work in the area have to cross busy Route 1 to reach the nearest library, the Aurora Hills branch located a few blocks from the Pentagon City mall. Previously, Crystal City residents also had access to a temporary, “pop-up” library.

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The Penske truck rental location on Columbia Pike — which once had an ART bus crash into it and stay there for a month — has closed.

And the replacement for the storefront and expansive parking lot, at the Pike’s intersection with S. George Mason Drive, may be something completely different.

The site is expected to figure into plans from Jair Lynch Real Estate Partners to revamp the neighboring Barcroft Apartments over the next decade. It sits at one edge of the sprawling garden apartment complex, next to a 7-Eleven store, and was purchased by the developer around the time of the buzzy housing acquisition.

Jair Lynch also purchased the small strip mall with the South and Central American eatery Cafe Sazón and a Goodwill location at 4704 and 4714 Columbia Pike, respectively.

“The Penske Truck Rental Mart location at 4110 Columbia Pike in Arlington has permanently closed as of Sept. 30,” Alen Beljin, a Penske Truck Leasing spokesperson, told ARLnow. “Our company had leased the building, so we did not have the opportunity to renew when the property was sold.”

While Penske packed up, the local nonprofit Arlington Community Foundation (ACF) wrote a report that shows how Jair Lynch could set aside some units for residents making less than 30% of the Area Median Income (AMI), using the commercial site and county development tools. Jair Lynch has pledged to set side 1,344 apartments for people making 60% or less of AMI for the next 99 years, supported by loans from Amazon and Arlington County.

“Our vision is that in perpetuity, 30% AMI households can live there,” said Michael Spotts, an Arlington resident who runs the consulting firm Neighborhood Fundamentals, and a co-author of the ACF report. “Barcroft has been a place where people at those income levels can call home. As this neighborhood redevelops, we want to ensure people can continue to call that neighborhood home.”

ACF published the analysis ahead of the Master Financing and Development Plan Jair Lynch is expected to file with Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz at the end of October. This plan will spell out how the developer plans to renovate existing apartments, build new housing and keep down rent for lower-income residents.

“The plan is part of the financing agreement with Amazon and Arlington County,” David Hilde, Vice-President of development for Jair Lynch, told Arlington’s Tenant-Landlord Commission last month. “It goes through how to maximize the investments Arlington and Amazon made, whether that’s baseline preserving affordability, or exploring options to deepen affordability.”

The developer did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story.

What ACF recommends

Jair Lynch could build a standard market-rate, mixed-use apartment building on the Penske lot, per the ACF report, as developers who follow the Columbia Pike Commercial Centers Form-Based Code are not required to provide affordable units.

But, using the commercial sites, the tools ACF laid out and another $20-30 million, the developer could set aside 255 units for low-income households earning 30% AMI or less for the next 30 years, ACF says.

“We think this is going to be challenging to accomplish and it’s going to require a lot of commitment from stakeholders,” Spotts said. “We’re optimistic, based on conversations we’ve had, that this can be pulled off.” Read More

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