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This report summarizes the development capacity, existing development, and unbuilt capacity remaining in Arlington's seven Metro station areas (Rosslyn, Court House, Clarendon, Virginia Square, Ballston, Pentagon City, and Crystal City) as of June 30, 2002. Because the Arlington County Board has adopted a land use policy of concentrating high density development in the Metro corridors while preserving lower density in residential areas in the rest of the County, these corridors are the County's most rapidly developing areas. Each of the Metro station areas was defined as the area within a quarter-mile radius from the Metro entrance, a distance easily traversable on foot. This report includes tables and graphs that compare the Metro station areas and provide an overview of the types of remaining development (commercial, residential or hotel) in each station area. Map 1 (PDF Format) shows the locations of Arlington's Metro station areas.
Development capacity, or "build out," refers to the total commercial, residential, and hotel development potential given the County's current General Land Use Plan (GLUP), zoning, area sector plans, and phased development site plans. Unbuilt capacity is calculated by subtracting the sum of existing development and projects under construction from estimates of development capacity. Forecasts of future potential development are based on interpretations of the GLUP and zoning ordinance by Planning Division staff. For sites with remaining density that are planned for a mix of uses (e.g., residential and hotel), planning staff projected future development of the expected density of each use based on current market trends. Unbuilt development capacity is generally located on sites that are currently developed below the allowable or preferred density. Where existing development is at or near capacity and redevelopment is unlikely (e.g., a new building exists on the site), the existing density was determined to be equal to the capacity.
Previous estimates of development capacity were completed as part of a major round of cooperative forecasting coordinated by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. These prior estimates included development forecasts for the entire County.1 The current development capacity estimates have been prepared outside of the cooperative forecasting process, using a different methodology and focusing solely on the Metro corridors.2
The commercial development capacity in the Metro corridors is 55.4 million square, of which 26.1 percent is undeveloped.3 In the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, there is 33.9 million square feet of commercial development capacity and currently there are commercial projects completed or under construction totaling 24.5 million square feet. Thus, the remaining unbuilt commercial development capacity in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor is about 9.5 million square feet, or 27.9 percent of the maximum capacity. In the Jefferson Davis corridor, which includes Pentagon City and Crystal City Metro station areas, the commercial development capacity is 21.5 million square feet and 16.5 million square feet are either completed or under construction, leaving 23.3 percent unbuilt.
The development capacity figures reflect a shift toward residential construction over the last few years. The residential development capacity in the Metro corridors is 57,960 units. In the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor, the residential development capacity is 41,590 units and 25,563 units are either built or under construction, leaving 38.5 percent unbuilt. In the Jefferson Davis corridor, 38.2 percent of the residential capacity is unbuilt. The residential development capacity in the Jefferson Davis corridor is 16,370 units and 10,112 have been built.
The hotel development capacity in the Metro corridors is 12,079 rooms, with 26.6 percent of that total currently unbuilt. In the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, there is capacity for 4,207 hotel rooms and 3,415 have been built or are under construction. Thus, the unbuilt hotel development capacity is 18.8 percent in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor. In the Jefferson Davis corridor, there are currently 5,453 hotel rooms existing or under construction, meaning 30.7 percent of the hotel development capacity is unbuilt.
TRENDS IN DEVELOPMENT IN THE METRO CORRIDORS
As previously mentioned, the Arlington County Board has adopted a land use policy that concentrates high density development within the Metro corridors and preserves lower density residential areas in the rest of the County. This land use policy was put into place as Metro expanded out from DC into Virginia in the mid- to late-1970s. In July 1975, the Metro Blue Line opened from National Airport to Stadium Armory, which included the two stops in the Jefferson Davis (JD) corridor in Arlington (Crystal City and Pentagon City), as well as Rosslyn. Four years later, in 1979, the Metro Orange Line began service to the rest of the Rosslyn-Ballston (R-B) corridor-Court House, Clarendon, Virginia Square, and Ballston.
The opening of Metro in Arlington and the County Board's land use policy are largely responsible for the physical character of Arlington's Metro corridors today.4 However, the timing of development differed in the two Metro corridors, reflecting the timing of the opening of Metro stations, as well as the market demand for commercial space. In addition, different types of development (i.e., commercial, residential, and hotel) occurred at different times in the corridors, largely a result of changing market conditions and demand for different uses in the County and the region.
Commercial development occurred more rapidly in the 1960s and 1970s in the JD corridor, particularly Crystal City, compared with the R-B corridor. Between 1960 and 1979, almost 30 percent of the commercial development capacity in the JD corridor was built, compared with just 17 percent in the R-B corridor. Much of the commercial development in Crystal City at this time was built for federal contractors, particularly those working for the Department of Defense, as well as government agencies themselves.
Both the JD and R-B corridors experienced substantial commercial development during the real estate boom of the 1980s. By the 1990s, the R-B corridor had become the primary market for new office construction in Arlington. About 17 percent of the total commercial development capacity of the R-B corridor was built between 1990 and 2002, compared with just 9 percent in the JD corridor. As of June 2002, about 28 percent of the total commercial development capacity in the R-B corridor and 23 percent in the JD corridor remains unbuilt.
Residential development followed similar patterns in Arlington's Metro corridors. About 36 percent of the residential development capacity in the JD Corridor was built before 1980, compared with 21 percent in the R-B Corridor.
Over the last two decades, the R-B Corridor has experienced tremendous growth in residential development. Between 1980 and 2002, about 40 percent of the residential development capacity was built. Given assumptions about future residential construction trends, it is estimated that about 38 percent of the total residential development capacity in the Metro corridors remains.
In contrast with commercial and residential development, the construction of new hotel rooms has not accelerated in recent decades. In the JD corridor, about 58 percent of the total hotel development capacity was built before 1990 and only 12 percent was built since 1990. In the R-B Corridor, 69 percent of the hotel capacity was built before 1990 and just 11 percent thereafter. As of June 2002, the hotel development capacity in the R-B corridor is about 81 percent built out. In the JD corridor, about 70 percent is built out.
COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT CAPACITY
Arlington County's Metro corridors have a maximum commercial development capacity of 55.4 million square feet, with 33.9 million square feet in the R-B corridor and 21.5 million square feet in the JD corridor. Within the R-B corridor, approximately 24.5 million square feet had been built or was under construction as of June 30, 2002, representing 72.1 percent of the development potential. Site plans have been approved for 3.3 million square feet of additional commercial gross floor area (GFA). In the JD corridor, 16.5 million square feet had been developed or was under construction as of June 30, 2002, accounting for 76.7 percent of the total development capacity. Site plan projects have been approved for an additional 1.3 million square feet of commercial GFA.
The Rosslyn Metro station area has capacity for 11.9 million square feet of commercial space.5 Currently, 8.7 million square feet have been built or are under construction and another 925,000 square feet have been approved. Additional commercial development potential exists where the current development is below the 10 FAR permitted through the site plan process, specifically in the blocks adjacent to the Metro station. (See Map 2 - Potential Development Sites in the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor(PDF Format) .) Ballston is also a large commercial submarket, with 9.6 million square feet of potential commercial development capacity. Currently, 7.1 million square feet have been built or are under construction and another 1.1 million square feet have been approved but are not yet under construction. Some potential future commercial development sites in the Ballston Metro station area include parcels along North Glebe Road. Clarendon has about 1.3 million square feet and Virginia Square has about 1.6 million square feet of unbuilt commercial capacity. Court House has 876,800 square feet of remaining commercial capacity, and all but 275,000 square feet of that is part of approved site plan projects that are not yet under construction.
At 17.4 million square feet of commercial development capacity, the Crystal City Metro station area is the largest commercial submarket in the County. While most of the area in Crystal City between Crystal Drive and Jefferson Davis Highway is at capacity (at present, 13.2 million square feet of commercial GFA exists in Crystal City), there remains the potential for 4.1 million additional square feet of commercial development in the Metro station area. Almost 3 million square feet of commercial space is planned for the Potomac Yard South Tract, located east of Crystal Drive, as outlined in the phased development site plan (PDSP). Additional unbuilt capacity also exists in the south part of the Metro station area, west of Jefferson Davis Highway, and in other smaller sites in Crystal City. (See Map 3 - Potential Development Sites in the Jefferson Davis Corridor(PDF Format) .) Pentagon City has 4.2 million square feet of commercial development capacity, with 3.3 million square feet already built. There are no approved, unbuilt commercial site plans in the Pentagon City Metro station area. Areas for potential re-development at higher densities include the current Pentagon Center site, which is developed below optimal use.
RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT CAPACITY
The total capacity for residential development in the Metro corridors is 57,960 units, with capacity for 41,590 units in the R-B corridor and 16,370 units in the JD corridor. Currently, there are 25,563 residential units built or under construction in the R-B corridor, which comprises 61.5 percent of the total residential capacity. There are site plans approved for an additional 2,283 units. In the JD corridor, there exist 10,112 residential units, meaning 61.8 percent of the residential capacity is built out. In addition, 534 units have been approved by site plan, but have not yet been built.
Over the last few years, residential construction in Arlington County has accelerated considerably. New development in the Metro corridors is now more likely to be residential than commercial as a result of a fluctuating commercial market and a strong housing market. Assuming these market trends continue, there is significant potential for future residential development in the R-B and JD corridors. In the Rosslyn Metro station area, there is capacity for 12,338 residential units. Currently, there are 7,067 residential units built or under construction, leaving the potential for 5,271 additional units in Rosslyn. The majority of these new units would be built on sites that allow for 10 FAR, as well as areas south of Clarendon Boulevard. (See Map 2 (PDF Format) .) New residential construction in Clarendon and Virginia Square has been particularly rapid in the last couple of years. Currently there are 1,629 residential units built or under construction in the Clarendon Metro station area, with another 309 approved but not yet under construction. The residential development capacity in Clarendon is 4,219 units. Potential sites for residential projects include parcels along Wilson Boulevard and Washington Boulevard. In Virginia Square, there are 3,370 residential units built or under construction, with another 499 approved, leaving the capacity for 1,972 additional residential units in that Metro station area. Sites along Wilson Boulevard have potential for future residential development. In Court House, where there are 6,371 residential units existing or under construction, the development capacity estimates indicate the potential for 2,633 more. Potential sites for residential development in Court House are somewhat dispersed in the Metro station area.
The Pentagon City Metro station area has 4,279 residential units. There are 319 units that have been approved as part of the Pentagon Row project that are not yet under construction. Capacity remains for 4,697 additional residential units. Crystal City Metro station area has 5,833 residential units with 215 approved but not yet under construction. There is potential for 1,561 additional units in Crystal City, including the 800 anticipated as part of the Potomac Yard PDSP.
HOTEL DEVELOPMENT CAPACITY
Arlington County's Metro corridors will have 12,079 hotel rooms when built out. Currently, there are 8,868 hotel rooms existing or under construction (73.4 percent of the hotel development capacity). Most of the remaining hotel capacity is in the JD corridor. There are 5,453 hotel rooms existing or under construction in the JD corridor, or about 69.3 percent of the total hotel development capacity. In the R-B corridor there are about 3,415 hotel rooms built or under construction, comprising 81.2 percent of total hotel development capacity.
In the R-B corridor, there is remaining hotel development capacity in Rosslyn, Court House and Ballston. In Rosslyn and Court House, hotel projects have been approved that will meet this capacity. In Ballston, there is unbuilt hotel development capacity for 353 units, of which there is a site plan approved for 336 rooms.
The hotel capacity in Crystal City is 6,240 rooms. Currently, there are 4,788 hotel rooms existing or under construction and another 828 that have been approved. Based on the development capacity estimates, there is potential for an additional 1,452 hotel rooms in the Crystal City Metro station area. Potential sites for hotel development include the 625 hotel rooms planned for the Potomac Yard South Tract. (See Map 3(PDF Format) .) Pentagon City has 665 hotel rooms with the potential for 967 more.
The following six estimates were generated for each Metro station area (see Tables 1 through 3):
Total density (i.e., GFA, units, or rooms) possible given the current GLUP, zoning, sector plans, and/or PDSPs. Does not include potential bonus density except within the Rosslyn Coordinated Redevelopment District.
Density of existing buildings (as of 6/30/2002).
Density of projects under construction (as of 6/30/2002).
Approved, Not Built
Density of site plan projects that have been approved by the County Board but have not yet begun construction (as of 6/30/2002).
Calculated by subtracting Existing Development and Under Construction from Capacity.
% Remaining Capacity
Calculated as Remaining Capacity divided by Capacity Forecast.
Total development capacity and existing development figures were calculated separately. The development capacity of each block in each Metro station area was estimated based on the area of the block and the land use and/or zoning district associated with the block.6 In cases where the land use allowed for more than one type of development (e.g., commercial, residential and hotel), market trends and other factors were taken into consideration to determine which use (or uses) was most likely in the future for that particular site. The block-level estimates for each Metro station area were reviewed with members of the Planning staff and the figures for each block were summed to get a station area development capacity estimate. Separately, the amount of existing development in each Metro station area as a whole was determined by using figures from the previous development capacity estimates as a base (see PIR #32, 1995) and adding in all of the new construction and site plan approvals between 1995 and the present.
In the past, development capacity estimates were done as a part of a major cooperative forecasting round (e.g., Round 5) and capacity forecasts and existing development figures were generated simultaneously at the block level. With this method, it was possible to compare the maximum development capacity estimate with the existing development for each block and easily identify underdeveloped sites. Because this report was produced outside of the cooperative forecasting process, precise block-level data of potential development sites are not available. Rather, potential development sites are determined using more ad hoc guidelines. The development capacity estimates presented in this report will be revised and updated as part of the Round 7 Cooperative Forecasts which will be completed over the next few years.
The potential development sites maps (Maps 2 and 3) (PDF Format) were developed in coordination with the data generated for this report. The purpose of the maps is to give general locations of sites where development (or redevelopment) is likely to achieve the allowable densities and best uses according to the GLUP or current zoning. Attention is given to sites closest to Metro stations where relatively large-scale projects are possible; lower density residential areas in the Metro station areas are not considered potential redevelopment sites.
Places where site plans have been approved but are not yet under construction are mapped with a separate symbol. It is assumed that these site plans will be developed at some point in the future and represent the maximum development capacity on those sites.
It is important to note that these maps do not represent a desire on behalf of the County or its staff to promote the redevelopment of any of these sites. Citizen participation through the planning process and market conditions will be the primary factors that contribute to the future character of sites in the Metro corridors. These maps are intended to simply direct attention to sites that are either undeveloped (e.g., vacant lot, surface lot) or have a significant amount of density remaining under the provisions of the County GLUP and zoning code.
1 See PIR #32, dated September 1995, for the last published estimates, which were based on the Round 5 Cooperative Forecasts.
2 See the Methodology section at the end of this report for more details.
3 Commercial development figures include private office, retail and industrial gross floor area (GFA).
4 These policies are also largely to credit for the maintenance of Arlington's many high quality, lower density residential neighborhoods.
5 Estimates of development capacity in Rosslyn take into account the higher densities (10 FAR) allowed through the site plan process in the Rosslyn Coordinated Development District. (FAR, or floor area ratio, is a method of measuring building density by means of the ratio of gross floor area (GFA) permitted on a specific parcel of land to the area of the parcel. Thus, a permitted FAR of 10 on a 20,000 square foot lot would allow a building with a total GFA of 200,000 square feet.)
6 The exception is blocks designated as Low Residential (1-15 units/acre). The existing density was set equal to the development capacity.