Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Virginia is for Lovers (of Height)

A mixed-use commercial project in Rosslyn at 1812 N. Moore Street has been given site plan approval by the Arlington County Board. If the project goes unhindered it will be the third building to heighten the Rosslyn skyline past the official 300-foot limit, continuing a trend started by The JBG Companies with its Central Place (not yet built) just across the street, consisting of two towers, office and residential. New York-based developer Monday Properties is seeking LEED Platinum certification, the highest official recognition offered by the U.S. Green Building Council, making it, potentially anyway, the first building in Virginia to attain such eco-prestige and the third in the DC Metro region, following the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Annapolis and Sidwell Friends Middle School in DC.

Arlington Fresh AIRE Initiative, an environmental task force conceived by Arlington County Board Chairman Paul Ferguson that focuses on reducing ozone-harming emissions by "using the technology, know-how, and practical solutions already at our disposal," played its part to give the gargantuan building its green cred. Fresh AIRE and the County Board offer increased building density "and/or additional height up to 3 stories for special exception site plan requests" to induce potential developers to create energy efficient projects.

Because the project falls into the Central Place jurisdiction (not to be confused with JBG's appropriately-named Central Place project), an area which receives relief from the C-O Rosslyn height limits of 300 feet, developers were allowed to max out building height which almost certainly pleased project architects DCS Design. The Central Place district surrounds the Rosslyn Metro Station in a two-block radius bounded by Lynn st., N. Moore Street, Wilson Blvd. and 19th St., and allows buildings to reach up to 470 above sea level. Because the 1812 N. Moore St. site sits 86 feet above sea level, the new building will measure precisely 384 feet. JBG's Central Place will also rise to 470 feet, and required FAA approval for its height and proximity to the flight path toward Reagan National Airport.

Obviously a project of this magnitude requires ample kowtowing, and Monday Properties has obliged, offering up a slew of fringe perks including an estimated $25 million in community benefits, transportation improvements and affordable housing funds. Another extra is Monday's proposed land lease to the city of its old Newseum Space at 1101 Wilson Boulevard, which Monday is offering to Arlington County free of charge for 10 years, with promises of a $100,000 donation to help lure worthy museums to the site. The Newseum opened its new office in the District last year, leaving the rental space vacant.



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