Sunday, May 23, 2010

Columbia Pike Notches Another Improvement

After years of talking, planning, and building, life on Columbia Pike is looking better. Sure, Penrose Square park has yet to be built; ditto on the overdue trolley lines, but at least private development is moving along. The largest of those, Penrose Square, "giving Columbia Pike its own town center," is underway, if behind schedule. The Halstead (866-464-2578) is built and leasing, new retail is in, and Siena Park Apartments are thriving on the once desolate landscape.

Four years after Woodfield Investments began planning the Siena Park Apartments on Columbia Pike, the building is complete and filling with residents. Four months after leasing began, the development team held a "Grand Opening" and is boasting of renting nearly half the 188 apartments. The former site of a Safeway grocery store now holds a WDG Architecture-designed building with office and considerable retail space.

Construction by Paradigm Construction began in 2007. According to Margaret Smith Ford, a Partner at Woodfield Investments, the team "was fortunate that we had our financing in place before...financing options became so slim." Construction wrapped up at the end of 2009 and leasing began in January Smith Ford estimates that since that time 45 percent of the apartments have been leased. The building boasts a communal pool in the interior courtyard and a rooftop deck; a below-grade parking lot has 410 spaces.

The office and retail space on the ground floor is currently unoccupied, Smith Ford said the owners are "very close with a couple of tenants." Ideally the space would be occupied by restaurants, to include a sit-down full-service restaurant and "a couple of more fast-casual" restaurants. The office space could be occupied for "medical use or small consultants" said Smith Ford, adding that the site is "close" to the Pentagon. Future home of Blackwater? Probably not.

Siena Park is "a critical piece to the overall transformation of the Pike" opined Smith Ford. "Next year, when the Giant opens, it's going to create the critical mass you need to make [Columbia Pike] a destination for people looking for housing." People with cars, that is, until the proposed streetcar line delivers.

The five-mile streetcar line, a joint effort by planners in Arlington and Fairfax County, would run from Bailey's Crossroads (Skyline) in Falls Church, down Columbia Pike to the Pentagon City Metro. Because Columbia Pike is so narrow, the trolley would run on either side of the street with inlaid rails that allow cars to coexist with the tracks. Last year the Arlington County Board approved $3 million in funding and agreements with Fairfax County and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for environmental planning and preliminary design of the Columbia Pike Streetcar. The streetcar, though, is very much still in the planning phase and another year of planning is expected before any actual construction begins.

Arlington, VA real estate development news


Widness on May 24, 2010, 9:59:00 AM said...

I think you mean Giant, not Safeway.

Anonymous said...

The Safeway was demolished to make room for this building. The Giant next door was demolished for the construction site next door, but it will return when that construction is completed.

Anonymous said...

"People with cars, that is, until the proposed streetcar line delivers."

I don't have a car and I do just fine thanks to the robust 16 series PikeRide buses and ART 42 (ART 45 soon as well). The streetcar might be a good thing, but don't discount the value of existing transit on the most bused corridor in Virginia.

Widness on May 26, 2010, 11:05:00 AM said...

I was talking to some one last night who lives in the area and she verified that there was a giant and a safeway in the same strip, which seems ridiculous.

that was the worst giant I've ever seen, so no big loss.

IMGoph on Jun 2, 2010, 10:23:00 AM said...

it's kind of amazing to think that all of this could have had a real-life heavy-rail metro line running underneath if it hadn't been cut from the final plans in the late 60s/early 70s.

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