The Crystal City Metro Station Area encompasses approximately 390 acres of land on either side of Jefferson Davis Highway, from I-395 to the north of the City of Alexandria to the south. Until the early 1960s, much of the land in Crystal City was devoted to low-intensity industrial uses. The area associated with the RF&P Railroad right-of-way was largely vacant.
Crystal City’s location adjacent to Washington, D.C. and Washington Reagan National Airport stimulated significant office, retail, residential and hotel development beginning in the mid-1960s. Between 1968 and 1977, a series of plans and studies were developed in an effort to provide a unified long-range planning approach to redevelopment. The opening of the Metrorail blue line in 1977 created opportunities for major development projects in Crystal City. In the 1980s alone, over 4.5 million square feet of office space; 2,000 residential units; and 1,872 hotel rooms were built.
While a few projects were built in 1990 and 1991, there was very little development activity in Crystal City during the 1990s, due in large part to the relatively few remaining development sites.
The development potential in Crystal City changed radically in 2000 when the Potomac Yard Phased Development Site Plan (PDSP) was adopted by the Arlington County Board. Coordinated efforts were made to increase development capacity in the South Tract (generally bounded by the Airport Viaduct, George Washington Parkway, Crystal Drive, Jefferson Davis Highway, and Four Mile Run) and to create opportunities for open space and recreational uses in the North Tract (generally bounded by Old Jefferson Davis Highway, 6th Street South, and the waterfowl sanctuary). The Potomac Yard PDSP includes 2.94 million square feet of office/commercial development, 1.0 million square feet of residential and 469,835 square feet of hotel uses. The site is divided into six land bay areas, which will be developed in phases. Although several projects including One Potomac Yard are under construction, it is anticipated that full build-out of the PDSP will take approximately 15 to 20 years.
Crystal City is currently home to a number of Arlington’s major employers, including Lockheed Martin, the Boeing Company and US Airways. Almost half of all of the hotel rooms in the County are located within the Crystal City Metro Station Area. There are numerous restaurants and retail shops along 23rd Street and in Crystal Mall. The recently completed Crystal City retail project and One Potomac Yard (under construction) will add almost 165,000 square feet of retail and more than 720,000 square feet of office space. Also, under construction are The Camden Potomac Yard and The Eclipse on Central Park, which will add 865 new residential units and more than 84,000 square feet of retail.
Department of Community Planning, Housing & Development