Arlington, VA

The legacy of Stanley Westreich, the developer who built modern Rosslyn from the ground up, will always cast a large shadow in the neighborhood he helped establish, his son tells ARLnow.

Westreich died at the age of 84 last month at his home in San Diego. For decades, however, he lived in the D.C. area and had an outsized influence on the growth of Rosslyn.

His son, Anthony Westreich, remembers his father for being more than just a well-known developer.

“I think the adjectives that best describe my father are fair, honest, transparent, tough and kind,” Westreich told ARLnow in an email interview. “Everyone, whether it was contractors, brokers or lawyers, wanted to transact with my father. They always knew what they were getting from him.”

Beginning in the 1960s, his company Westfield Realty developed ten buildings in Rosslyn. Perhaps none were more iconic than the former USA Today/Gannett buildings at 1000 and 1100 Wilson Blvd, also known as the Rosslyn Twin Towers. When built in 1981, they were the tallest buildings in the D.C. metro area. Current occupants include WJLA-TV and Politico.

Part of what Westreich’s big bet on Rosslyn work was seeing an opportunity to the leverage its proximity to the District and its relative underdevelopment.

“He saw an opportunity to convert [an] excessive and unused parking structure into office space for government tenants,” Anthony writes. “He knew that unlike many of the great cities of the world, Washington, D.C. did not have development on both sides of its river.”

A native New Yorker, Westreich served in the Coast Guard and graduated from New York University law school. He moved to Rosslyn in 1959, said Anthony, with his family owning an interest in Rosslyn’s only federal housing project.

“In 1959, the only development in Rosslyn was that FHA project,” wrote Anthony. “Unfortunately, that investment was losing money as the project was ill-conceived.”

Westreich bought a big chunk of land and began to build office buildings, turning Rosslyn into a thriving commuter community.

“That vision [was] an immediate financial success for our family and provided my father with a long-term vision for Rosslyn,” wrote Anthony.

Those early but pivotal developments include 1400 Key Blvd — the parking garage of which was where Mark “Deep Throat” Felt met up with Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward to expose the Watergate scandal — as well as 1501 Wilson Blvd, 1515 Wilson Blvd, and 1815 N. Fort Myer Drive.

In 2005, Westreich sold his 2.5 million square foot Rosslyn portfolio to Beacon Capital Partners for nearly $1 billion. A year earlier, Anthony followed in his father’s footsteps when he established New York-based Monday Properties, which built a property portfolio that made it Rosslyn’s preeminent property owner.

The building on N. Fort Myer Drive was torn down more than a decade ago and the site is now home to 1812 N. Moore Street, Nestlé’s U.S. headquarters.

“Interestingly 1812 sits on the exact same site as the first building my father developed in 1961,” wrote Anthony, who himself made a big bet on Rosslyn by building 1812 N. Moore Street — then the tallest office building in the area — “on spec” without any signed tenants.

After years of vacancy, the bet finally paid off in 2017 with Nestlé’s announcement.

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The YMCA has filed some early concept plans with Arlington County sketching its vision for replacing its Virginia Square facility with two structures — a new gym and an apartment building.

This project at 3400 and 3422 13th Street N. represents the last of three developments concentrated within a seven-acre site along Washington Blvd, from N. Lincoln Street to Kirkwood Road.

The first two have been approved: a 270-unit apartment building, “The Kirkwood,” for the southeast corner, where Kirkwood Road and Washington Blvd intersect, and an affordable housing project on the site of American Legion Post 139.

The Y’s proposal is not only the last — at 4.39 acres, it is also the biggest.

According to the planning documents, the YMCA proposes a three-story tall facility with a swimming pool and tennis and pickleball courts, nearly 52,000 square feet of recreation space, and 325 parking spaces across a two-level garage. The apartment building would be seven stories tall and have 374 units, with 330 spots across two levels of parking.

The proposed project is about five blocks from the Virginia Square Metro station — a nine minute walk, according to Google Maps.

Members of the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association have a number of concerns with the project, according to a letter from President Maurya Meiers to the county.

The YMCA development is “the largest project in the mix, will have the most impact on the surrounding community, [and] it most directly and conspicuously abuts the largest number of community residences,” she said.

In the letter, Meiers said the project is too massive, one story too tall and provides too little public green space. She asserted that the project will significantly increase traffic, which they predict will hurt the character of the community, and exacerbate an existing street parking shortage.

“The plan presents two massive, boring structures that encroach and overshadow the neighborhoods around them,” Meiers said. “This was not at all what was presented in the [General Land Use Plan], not at all what we expected, and not at all what we want.”

(A General Land Use Plan, or GLUP, is Arlington’s primary policy document guiding development in specific parts of the county.)

Meiers added that the planners should have explored the option of placing residences above the YMCA facility. Most importantly, she added, they should have considered placing townhouses next to single-family homes, an option that was “totally ignored, even though it would provide the most respectful and effective transition.”

Neither the Y’s legal representation nor the architect were immediately available for comment.

Meiers also said questions remain about the Ball Family Burial Grounds, the gravesite of the family that is the namesake for Ballston. The gravesite has murky ownership and is in need of research and repair, according to a staff report.

“We will be looking forward to see how this project can be leveraged to improve conditions on the grounds,” Meiers said.

The county’s planning division has asked for community input on changes to the 2006 Clarendon Sector Plan in light of these three projects, on the outskirts of the neighborhood, as well as several others in the Clarendon area.

Photos via Arlington County

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(Updated at 11 a.m.) A long-delayed redevelopment at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Barton Street finally appears poised to become a reality.

A new mixed-use building at 2400 Columbia Pike, featuring 120 residential units and ground-floor retail space, will be replacing the current, low-slung 1950s buildings, one of which holds independent cafe Rappahannock Coffee. The County Board approved a modification to the development plan, including adding 15 residential units to the originally-proposed 105, at its meeting last weekend.

Part of the approved proposal included maintaining the current building facades on the ground floor to maintain part of the character of Columbia Pike.

“The façade preservation treatment for the two historic buildings will retain Columbia Pike’s unique setting and scale,” a county staff report said, “while allowing for a more cohesive development to occur, providing for a defined street wall and better efficiencies around underground parking, floor plates, and common areas.”

According to a County press release, the current businesses — Rappahannock Coffee and Cabinets ERA — will be able to stay in place in the new building.

“The proposed development will not only preserve the existing building facades but will also retain space for current retailers and offer transportation improvements contributing to a cohesive and user-friendly network,” the County said.

We tried to reach both businesses to ask about their plans. A person who answered the phone at Rappahannock Coffee hung up on an ARLnow reporter, and a Cabinets ERA employee said the manager did not want to discuss it.

The new development will also come with some improvements to the streetscape and the sidewalk. Six feet of the sidewalk will be designated for pedestrian space, while another six feet could be used for benches, trees, and other amenities.

Provisions are also included for a future transit station on the eastern part of the project. Despite hopes for transit ridership on the Pike, the proposal includes 140 parking spaces in a below-grade garage and 36 spaces in a newly-approved surface parking lot behind the building.

The County Board unanimously approved the project at its meeting on Saturday.

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The old Wendy’s lot in Courthouse, demolished in 2016 for an office building that never came, could be the site of a new development.

For almost five years, the triangle lot at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Courthouse Road has sat vacant. Construction crews working on 2000 Clarendon, a condo project across the street, have used it as a staging area for the last two years.

But now a project is taking shape. Last week, Greystar Real Estate Partners filed a site plan application with Arlington County proposing a high-rise apartment building with ground-floor retail at 2026 Wilson Blvd.

The proposed building, which is 16 stories tall and has 231 units, 74 residential parking spaces and some bicycle parking, is expected to achieve LEED Gold certification. The developer is also proposing a public plaza where Wilson and Clarendon Blvd meet.

“Recognizing the property’s location, topography and prominence in Courthouse, the applicant proposes … to redevelop the property with a high-rise residential building with ground-floor retail and iconic architectural features,” said Nan Walsh and Andrew Painter, attorneys for the land use law firm Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh, in a letter to the county.

The filing comes four months after the company purchased the lot for $19 million from Carr Properties, according to real estate company Jones Lang LaSalle. Back in 2015, Carr was approved to move forward with plans for a 12-story office building.

Greystar made its intentions known in October 2020, when it filed conceptual plans for 2026 Wilson Blvd.

“The building, which will serve as an iconic architectural feature for the Courthouse neighborhood, will retain many of the same architectural design elements of the previously approved office building, including its glass curtain wall design,” the attorneys’ letter said.

The plaza would surround a possible retail entrance at the tip of the Wendy’s site, facing N. Courthouse Road. The Rosslyn to Courthouse Urban Design Study recommends an “activity-based, pedestrian-oriented urban plaza” at that same location.

According to the Walsh Colucci team, the proposed public pedestrian plaza will be approximately 3,279 square feet with movable tables and chairs and space for temporary vendors.

The urban design study also recommends buildings do not exceed 10 stories — unless they accommodate affordable housing or community benefits. This proposal clocks in at 16 stories and 166 feet tall.

Greystar “is open to the provision of on-site affordable housing to further justify the increase in height,” Walsh and Painter said.

The applications offered no further specifics but Greystar’s legal representation said the company “will work with staff throughout the site plan process to develop an affordable housing plan.”

Greystar proposes, generally, to maintain the existing street, sidewalk and bicycle configuration that the County Board approved with Carr Properties’ office building.

There will be no retail parking as a part of the project but Greystar’s development across the street will provide “ample retail parking to support both projects,” the attorney said, referring to the Landmark Block development, which the County Board approved last month.

Images via Arlington County. Hat tip to @CarFreeHQ2.

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The third time may be the charm for a residential development slated to be built in Ballston where a vacated church stands.

McLean-based Jefferson Apartment Group is taking over plans to build apartments and townhomes at the intersection of N. Vermont Street and 11th Street N. The site used to house Portico Church Arlington, which, according to its website, is now found at 800 N. Illinois Street.

The project at 1031 N. Vermont Street has changed hands three times since the County Board first approved a redevelopment plan in 2018. It has also drawn some backlash from neighbors who said the plan added density to an already congested Ballston neighborhood.

The first developer, NVR, proposed to replace the two-story church and its parking lot with a 72-unit condo building and 12 townhouses. Arlington-based BCN Homes took over the development in 2019 and in June 2020, was granted an additional 4,300 square feet to develop.

With the County Board’s approval, BCN proposed a new plan: a 7-story apartment building with 98 units and 10 townhouses across the street. JAG indicates it will not be making major changes to this configuration.

“We plan to move forward with substantially the same plans that the Board approved last June,” the developer tells ARLnow. “We may pursue a few, minor changes related to the interior programming and unit mix but the project will look largely the same.”

The boutique apartment building will have a rooftop terrace, 120 underground parking spaces and 40 bicycle parking spaces, according to JAG.

Meanwhile, the 10 luxury townhomes across 11th Street N. will each have about 2,000 square feet of space, with three bedrooms, three-and-a-half bathrooms, a private rooftop terrace and a private, two-car garage.

“Ballston is one of the most desired submarkets in the Washington, D.C. region,” noted Greg Van Wie, Senior Vice President and Development Partner at Jefferson Apartment Group, in a press release.

The development, he said, “underscores [JAG’s] commitment to create a contemporary, sophisticated boutique apartment building with top-of-the line finishes and luxe amenities and underscores the strength of the housing market here in Northern Virginia.”

A private, Chile-based real estate company, STARS REI, has invested in the property.

“We are thrilled to be working with Jefferson Apartment Group again on this boutique apartment project in this amazing neighborhood,” said Joaquin Canessa, Vice President at STARS REI in the press release.

Construction is slated to begin this winter and is expected to be done in summer 2023.

Photos (1-2) courtesy Jefferson Apartment Group

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The stalled plan to redevelop the site of Rappahannock Coffee on Columbia Pike is going back before the Arlington County Board.

Next week, the Board is set to consider a Use Permit Amendment for the already-approved redevelopment of 2400 Columbia Pike. The amendment “would result in the addition of 6,500 square feet of overall density and an increase of 15 residential units with preservation of existing building facades.”

The changes would also add 36 new parking spaces. The proposal is being made by a new developer, as Columbia Pike-based B.M. Smith is apparently no longer in the proverbial driver’s seat of the long-delayed project, which was first proposed in 2013 and approved in 2016.

“A new entity is now pursuing construction of the 2400 Columbia Pike development,” says a staff report to the County Board. “The new applicant believes the proposed enhancements to the development program are responsive to current market conditions and will facilitate swifter implementation of the project. The design changes, when considered individually may have triggered an administrative change or a minor use permit amendment, but when considered collectively, have been determined to be a major use permit amendment.”

With 15 units added on, the updated project would include 120 total residential units, in addition to 13,000 square feet ground floor space for retail and office, and two levels of underground parking.

The new developer appears to be a small local firm called YW Capital Development, based near Tysons.

“YW Capital Development is a minority-owned real estate development company based in the DC metro area,” the firm’s website says. “Our business focus is development of multifamily and mixed-use projects in urban settings. Our mission is to achieve the most efficient use of land and the best architectural design while maintaining the historic integrity of the neighborhood. Founded at the peak of the housing crisis in 2009, we have successfully completed a dozen projects in the DC metro area.”

The developer’s website touts 2400 Columbia Pike as being “minutes [from the] Pentagon and new Amazon HQ2.” A request for comment sent to an email address listed for the company bounced back as undeliverable.

Nearby residents have previously expressed concern about the proposed development’s displacement of local favorite Rappahannock Coffee, as well as other small businesses. The plan involves tearing down three low-slung commercial buildings, preserving the facades of two.

Another concern, according to the county staff report: noise and light.

“Several residents of the neighboring condominiums expressed concern about potential noise and light impacts from the proposed balconies, loading dock, surface parking area, and outdoor open space located in the southern portion of the site,” the staff report says.

Others are hoping the redevelopment could allow a new bicycle connection on the southern side of the Pike, with Arlington Transportation Commission Chair Chris Slatt recently calling it “a critical opportunity for a bike-able Pike.”

The County Board is set to consider the proposal at its meeting on Tuesday, April 20.

Photos via YW Capital Development

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Responding to increasing storms, flooding and ongoing development, Arlington County will be changing its stormwater management regulations for single-family home construction projects.

The new requirements — and how they came about — have developers worried.

Arlington’s Department of Environmental Services will require developers to use tools such as water storage tanks to ensure new homes can retain at least 3 inches of rain, which will affect applications submitted after Sept. 13, 2021.

Currently, developers are only on the hook to improve the quality of water runoff, using rain gardens, planters, permeable driveways and tree cover.

DES staff tell ARLnow the new system will manage more water, protect downhill properties, reduce plan approval times, and give homeowners stormwater facilities that are feasible to maintain.

In a statement, staff said the change “reflects future-focused and balanced responsiveness to a diverse customer base that includes downhill neighbors, property owners, and builders.”

But some developers who work in Arlington County says the changes blindsided them and they want more input. They predict significant potential cost increases to homeowners and argue that this shifts the burden onto individuals, rather than placing responsibility with neighborhoods or the county itself.

“There is broad concern with the roll-out of this,” said Yuri Sagatov of Sagatov Homes. “There are just a lot of questions and there aren’t a lot of answers. We’re all waiting to get more information from the county to see how the changes might impact properties.”

Staff said these changes were precipitated by the increase in heavy rainfall, the growing intensity of storms, and a sense among residents that the county is not doing enough to protect properties — particularly those that are downhill from development, from the runoff caused by new homes.

A county study last summer found that the soil under new homes is 10 times less permeable than the soil under existing homes, staff said.

With the tanks, which appear to be above ground in photos, the goal is to retain rainwater during flash flooding events like that of July 8, 2019.

“Gravity detention tanks… promote a ‘slow it down and soak it in’ strategy to capture and release runoff slowly as a more robust and reliable way to handle intense rainfall,” says a DES memo.

It seems like a feasible alternative to more expensive underground systems, but the challenge will be blending them in aesthetically.

“They are talking about massive above ground cisterns,” the owner of one remodeling firm told ARLnow. “I would think neighbors would hate this. They’re going to be hideous.”

As for engaging developers during the process, county staff said enhancements to an existing program only require the county to consult with stakeholders. The county surveyed neighbors, home builders and engineers in 2019 and met with engineers early this year.

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A real estate company developing an apartment building in Crystal City is looking to “refresh” its holdings nearby with a new retail plaza.

Lowe Enterprises Real Estate, which owns 2450 Crystal Drive and 2641 S. Clark Street, has applied for a minor site plan amendment to help break up the “mega block” along Crystal Drive south of 23rd Street S. Where a low-slung building space is currently sandwiched between two taller office buildings, Lowe envisions a plaza and retail pavilion, according to application documents.

The application comes nearly four years after the Arlington County Board approved Lowe’s “Century Center Residential” development: a yet-to-be-built apartment building to go on top of the Buffalo Wild Wings at the corner of Crystal Drive and 23rd Street S.

Lowe is now proposing a 10,500-square-foot public plaza with ground-level retail improvements to take the place of a chunk of office space. This change “fulfills the ‘market’ public plaza” called for in the Crystal City Sector Plan, the applicant’s attorney, Kedrick Whitmore, told the county in a letter.

“The proposed changes would substantially enhance the existing condition of the area,” boosting the ability for outdoor gatherings and seating, Whitmore said.

The plaza would be an interim installation until the time when an east-west road between Crystal Drive and Clark-Bell Street can be built. For that to happen, however, additional buildings will need to be torn down, which requires some leases to expire.

Members of the public had the chance to engage with the site plan amendment last week as part of a new community engagement process, Arlington Dept. of Community Planning, Housing and Development spokeswoman Jessica Margarit tells ARLnow.

“For this subset, County Planning staff believe additional community input would be beneficial prior to consideration by the County Board,” she said. “While a majority are in fact minor, at times others can have a significant impact on the public realm or garner broad community interest.”

Examples of these minor plans with major impact include public park improvements or reconfigurations and substantial streetscape or road modifications, she said.

The focus on increasing community engagement for “minor” changes follows problems with a recent site plan amendment from JBG Smith to make changes to the Crystal City Water Park. The County Board initially denied its application in January over potential problems and approved the latest iteration of the project last month. During this process, members said this project revealed how technically minor site plan amendments can be major enough to warrant more public engagement.

Since then, the county has solicited public feedback on amendments to the Reed School Stormwater Facility, to Westpost (formerly Pentagon Row), and now, Century Center, Margarit said, adding that the feedback so far has been “overwhelmingly positive.”

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Brian Hannigan just lost a battle he’s been fighting for the better part of a decade, and all that’s left now is to hope the end result isn’t too detrimental to his neighborhood.

Hannigan, president of the Dominion Hills Civic Association, has been one of the voices for years telling Arlington County that it should purchase the nine-acre Febrey-Lothrop House, at 6407 Wilson Blvd, when it became available.

Formerly home to businessman Randy Rouse before his death in 2017, the property is also known as the Rouse estate. While the house has undergone numerous renovations and expansions over the years, portions of it are believed to date back to before the Civil War.

It’s now being demolished, in anticipation of expected single-family-home development on the site.

The County Board took up the question of whether to designate the property as historic, requiring preservation or, at least, greater archeological efforts and documentation to be performed before development could occur, but the discussion was too little, too late, and a demolition permit for the house was approved administratively before any historic preservation designation could be enacted.

Though disappointed, Hannigan says he’s at least hopeful that the site won’t be up-zoned for denser development.

“I think it’s a done deal,” said Hannigan. “We received assurances from the trustee, the owner, that they have no interest in pursuing a sale that would involve rezoning.”

The potential historic designation is still on the books for discussion at meetings in April, but the house is already partially torn down.

According to the county website, Arlington County Historic Preservation staff were able to access the property prior to demolition. Hearings on the historic designation of a portion of the property are expected to proceed as scheduled at the Planning Commission and County Board, despite the home’s demolition.

It’s unclear what would be targeted for preservation if approved, though some on the County Board previously said possibility of pre-Columbian artifacts on the site, based on records of Native Americans activity in the area, was more compelling than any historical aspects of the house itself.

The designation is scheduled to be discussed at a Planning Commission meeting on Monday, April 5, and at the County Board on Saturday, April 17.

“I’m disappointed Arlington County didn’t step up,” Hannigan said. “Personally, been advocating for the county to target this land and acquire it for years, but those pleas have fallen on deaf ears. Two years ago county did put the site on the Parks Master Plan as generational and unique opportunity for acquisition. The language they used was appropriate, that if it goes on the market it’s gone forever. Well, that’s what happened.”

Hannigan said he hoped the land would be acquired by the county and preserved as open space, but now those hopes have shifted warily towards advocating against any potential rezoning.

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Construction has started on two residential towers at 1900 Crystal Drive in Crystal City, according to developer JBG Smith.

The announcement came nearly one year to the day after the County Board approved the project, which involved tearing down an aging office building.

The new development at 1900 Crystal Drive will have 808 multifamily rental units and about 40,000 square feet of street-level retail across the two towers, each to be LEED Silver certified and approximately 300 feet tall, according to the developer.

A 27-story southern tower will feature 471 apartments, while a 26-story northern tower will incorporate 337 apartments.

Through a spokesperson, JBG Smith declined to comment on when the towers are expected to be completed. Last year, however, when the County Board met and approved the project, a company rep said construction could take 2-3 years.

“The start of construction on 1900 Crystal Drive marks yet another major milestone in National Landing’s ongoing transformation,” said Anthony Greenberg, Executive Vice President of Development at JBG Smith. “The introduction of new residences, restaurants and shops at 1900 Crystal Drive, combined with our recently delivered retail and entertainment district just about a block away will more than double the concentration of street-facing retail amenities on Crystal Drive.”

Residents will have access to private rooftops and green spaces. At the street-level, JBG Smith is planning a pedestrian-friendly street that will connect 18th and 20th Streets S. as well as open park space. JBG Smith will provide a number of community benefits, including enhanced streetscapes, a grand staircase connecting to public open space and bicycle facilities.

JBG Smith, the developer, leasing agent and property manager for the Amazon HQ2 project, anticipates that with Amazon’s arrival, National Landing’s daytime population will increase from 50,000 people to 90,000 in the near future.

The housing and amenities at 1900 Crystal Drive and neighboring developments will be a “thriving, mixed-use environment [that] will allow people to easily walk from their home or office to their favorite restaurants and amenities — cementing National Landing as a destination both day and night,” Greenberg said.

Neighbors and visitors can expect sidewalk closures during construction.

“This exciting project may create changes for our everyday pedestrian routines,” according to an announcement on the National Landing Business Improvement District website. The changes include:

  • The southern sidewalk along 18th Street will be closed; pedestrians should use the north side of 18th Street S. to access Crystal Drive and S. Clark Street.
  • The western sidewalk along Crystal Drive will be closed; pedestrians should use the jersey barrier, protected lane to travel north and south along Crystal Drive.
  • The northern sidewalk along 20th Street S. will be closed; pedestrians should use the jersey barrier, protected lane to access Crystal Drive and S. Clark Street.

Photo (middle) via Arlington County and (below) via National Landing BID

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Arlington County has kicked off the review process for PenPlace, the second proposed phase of Amazon’s HQ2.

For PenPlace, located at the intersection of Army Navy Drive and S. Eads Street, Amazon is proposing 3.3 million square feet of solar-powered office space divided among the lush, futuristic building, dubbed “The Helix,” and three, 22-story office buildings with ground-floor retail.

The 11-acre site, which could accommodate up to 16,000 employees, will also have 2.5 acres of public open space, three retail pavilions and child care. A network of 2,100 parking spaces and loading areas for trucks will all be underground.

And, of course, there will be the “The Helix,” the distinctive building described as “a 350-foot tall spiraling office building that recreates a climb in the Blue Ridge Mountains.”

County officials say there will be numerous opportunities for virtual public engagement and are encouraging people to get involved in the process. The County Board is anticipated to hold a public hearing on PenPlace by the end of 2021.

“We have always had a highly engaged community and we’re proud of the valuable input that we use to fashion the best possible outcomes,” Board Chair Matt de Ferranti said during a meeting last night (Thursday) that kicked off the review process.

He added that Arlingtonians “are civically minded, they’re knowledgeable, and they so often bring us the best ideas that add to original plans that have been put forward.”

County Manager Mark Schwartz said the review process will resemble the process for Metropolitan Park — the first permanent HQ2 phase — which the County Board approved in December 2019 and is set to be complete in 2023. Located near S. Eads Street and 15th Street S., Met Park features 2.1 million square feet of office space across two towers and 2.5 acres of public park space.

“We are starting the process — there’s a road ahead of us,” Schwartz said. “It’s a proposed plan and we’re going to have a lot of conversations with the community.”

John Schoettler, Amazon’s vice president for global real estate, said the public input for Met Park proved valuable as Amazon mapped out PenPlace.

“The PenPlace design plans build on the community input we received during the Metropolitan Park approvals to raise the bar even further on accessibility, design innovation and sustainability,” he said, adding that Amazon is aiming for LEED Platinum certification for its PenPlace buildings.

Over the course of the next 10 months, online engagement opportunities will be held at multiple points in the process.

In April and May, the Long Range Planning Committee will consider how Amazon’s project fits into the county’s plans for future development in the area and will take input from nearby civic associations, property owners and county commissions.

Then, the Site Plan Review Committee will take over, during which time the committee can ask Amazon to make changes based on their reviews and community feedback. After the SPRC, PenPlace will go to the Planning Commission before going to the County Board for approval.

Meanwhile, the Department of Parks and Recreation will lead a review of public spaces in the area as part of a Park Master Planning Process. Community members will also be able to provide feedback on this process during online engagement opportunities and through online questionnaires, county staff said.

At the county’s request, an in-depth multimodal transportation assessment is also ongoing, Gorove Slade Transportation Planner Dan VanPelt said. The principal focus will be weekday rush hour traffic, although some attention will be paid to weekend retail traffic, too, he said.

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