Thursday, December 27, 2007
DC-based Georgetown Strategic Capital (GSC) is drafting a mixed-use development at the intersection of N. Glebe and N. Pershing Drive in Arlington. The retail-oriented project will create roughly 45,000 s.f. of commercial space replacing a number of existing stores currently on the site, which GSC has vowed to bring back to the new property, sans Glebe Market. Although figures have yet to be ascertained regarding the residential components, sources indicate that the numbers being contemplated by the developer are likely to drop.
GSC presented their design plans to the Historic Affairs and Landmark Review Board (HALRB) in Arlington last week, but no decision is being sought, yet. Board members gave largely disapproving feedback on the concept design plans, mostly finding dissent in the density, massing and size of the project, all but calling for the numbers to be reduced. The developer and architectural team, Cunningham + Quill Architects, to modify their proposal before the next meeting.
Arlington's historic review process makes such informational sessions routine, giving developers a chance to vet their projects before formal submission. GSC plans to sit in on sessions through 2008 in order to prepare a strong application for a Certificate of Appropriateness, the Historic Board's proverbial thumbs-up. Rebeccah Ball, a Historic Preservation Planner with HALRB, implied that the approval process is quite tedious; hence developers allocating months of foreplay for the board.
The project plans call for the destruction of several commercial buildings west of Glebe Road, including Glebe Market and a CVS, among others; replacing them will be a set of four-story structures with an undetermined amount of apartment units and workforce housing, and retail. Although GSC has development rights on all four corners, the majority of redevelopment will be taking place on the two sites that front Glebe Road: between N. Pershing and 2nd Rd. N, and between N. Pershing and 3rd Rd. N.
"HALRB made broad brush recommendations about how they would like to see this change, to be more compatible with the neighborhood in terms of massing, scale and design. These are recommendations the board is putting forward at this time, to make this a better project," Ball added. Despite the seemingly beneficial qualities of a better retail for the Buckingham Historical District, sources indicate the the impact on the neighborhood would be large, but the developer has taken a methodological approach to resolve the board's issues, presenting pieces of the project one at a time. HALRB expects to discuss the project again very soon.