Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Founder's Square Approved


The Arlington County Board approved late Saturday The Shooshan Company's plan to turn an Arlington bus garage, Shell gas station, recycling drop-off center, and Super Pollo restaurant into a five-building, mixed-use real estate project that will expand Mosaic Park and bring retail, residential, and office space to the Ballston Metro area. A far more sightly use of the land, the county anticipates that the project will bring increased green space and revenue to the county as the current bus garage paid no property taxes.

The 5.35 acres, bounded by North Randolph Street, Wilson Boulevard, and North Quincy Street, will host 26,000 s.f. of ground-floor retail, two residential towers with 362 units, and a single story, relocated Super Pollo. The residential buildings will climb to twelve and seventeen stories, one office building will rise fifteen stories, and the final office building - a secure building built to house defense-related facilities as part of the 2005 BRAC - will rise to thirteen stories with an 82-foot setback.

Designed by global design firm, RTKL Associates, Inc., the project is planned to achieve LEED certification and position the highest buildings on the north and west sides of the site - farther from the Ashton Heights neighborhood and closer to the Ballston Metro Station.

As part of the usual county-developer negotiation process, Arlington will expand the now 1.08 acre park onto the development site, a concession that will give the developer bonus density. According to the board, the ability to retain federal defense contractors and the ability to expand open, public space was well worth the trade.

Other community benefits include sidewalk improvements, nineteen units of affordable housing, and pedestrian access through the site. Groundbreaking is anticipated for late 2009.

The architects are also responsible for the FDA Headquarters in White Oak Maryland, Downtown Silver Spring and Reston Town Center. The Arlington-based developer is responsible for several buildings in the Ballston area including One and Two Liberty Center.

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