Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Arlington Boulevard Development Ready to Break Ground with New Owners


In January of 2008, the Arlington County Board approved plans to redevelop two "decaying old" strip malls at 2201 N. Pershing Drive into a mixed-use development consisting of 188 residential units over 35,000 s.f. of ground floor retail space. The project plans were originally developed by Abbey Road Property Group and anticipated to break ground in late 2009. But like so many development plans approved in 2008 just before the market rolled southward, the property has idled for the last two years. That may change. Equity Residential acquired the property and the accompanying development plans earlier this spring, and now the project looks set to move forward. In September, developers held a preliminary meeting with the Lyon Park Citizens Association, during which the attending public was informed of impending construction. Currently in the process of securing final building permits, and looking to award a general contracting bid next week, the development team expects to break ground on the project by December of this year.

Designed by SK&I, the traditional composite of brick, stone masonry, glass, and Hardie paneling (brick-like "cementitious" fiberboard product) will be set back several feet atop the glassy ground floor retail facade. The project consists of two buildings, each utilizing the same materials and rising four and five stories, designed to be LEED certified. Of the 188 units, 18 will be designated as affordable dwelling units. Structured parking behind each building will service retail shoppers, while a one level below-grade garage will provide parking for residents. Each building will hug its own small, central, landscaped courtyard, outfitted with benches, trees, shrubbery, and a small water fountain.

The Washington Smart Growth Alliance lists "reusing older shopping centers as a key smart growth strategy," making this development an apparent choice for its "Recognized Smart Growth Project" designation despite not being adjacent to a metro station (Clarendon Metro is about 7 blocks or three quarters of a mile). But adjacency to major bus routes makes the project a better example of urban in-fill. The influx of new restaurants and shops set to occupy the future retail spaces will make for an more walkable living experience for residents given the lack of immediate options. To further encourage public transit and green transportation alternatives, and garner more green points, over 85 bicycle spaces are being included in the design.

Pedestrians in Arlington may find it difficult to recognize any semblance of a recession on the street, but residential developments that were once popping up like spring tulips have been largely absent since the financial collapse. But clearly, Equity senses a barometric change. By investing in what is currently a relatively isolated block across from Ft. Myer, Equity Residential seems to be banking on a widening of the dense but narrow Ballston to Rosslyn corridor. While many projects remain on ice, signs of a thaw are significant. With such major local projects now on the docket such as 1812 N. Moore's speculative build out, Rosslyn Commons, and Skanska's Rosslyn office project, indicators of increased construction are apparent. Or perhaps Equity is enjoying the greater DC market, having signed leases with 182 new tenants within its first 90 days at its recently acquired 425 Mass Ave apartment, and is hoping for the same kind of success across the river.

Arlington, VA Real Estate Development News

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Two mistakes: There is no "Arlington County Planning Board". There is a Planning *Commission*, but they have no power to approve developments, they are advisory only. The "Arlington County Board" approved the development. the ACB is what other Virginia Counties call the Board of Supervisors.

Anonymous said...

From the looks of those renderings, one would believe everyone in Arlington drives hatch backs and wagons.

 

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