County Board Approves New Crystal City Apartments

Published on July 15, 2017

  • 302 new apartments at southwest corner of 23rd Street South and Crystal Drive

  • Advances the vision and goals of the Crystal City Sector Plan

  • More extensive traffic impact analysis included effects of project on multiple means of transportation

  • $1.8 million affordable housing contribution 

The Arlington County Board today approved a site plan amendment, rezoning and other actions for a mixed-use building with 302 new apartments and ground floor retail at 2351 Jefferson Davis Highway. Also known as "Block Q" in the Crystal City Sector Plan, the new building will be constructed above an existing two-story commercial building that will be renovated.

"This is the sort of mixed-use project that has become an Arlington signature," said County Board Chair Jay Fisette. "This building will accomplish one of our key goals — to bring more residents to the heart of Crystal City and provide an even better balance of jobs and residents in this neighborhood. This is a very attractive building, putting state-of-the-art new apartments above upgraded retail space that will enhance the neighborhood's vibrancy."

The Board voted 5-0 to approve the redevelopment.

To read the staff report, visit the County website. Scroll down to Item No. 49 on the Agenda for the Saturday, July 15, 2017 Regular County Board Meeting.

Advancing the Crystal City Sector Plan vision 

[caption id="attachment_12862" align="alignleft" width="236"]rendering of Crystal City apartment tower. An apartment tower is planned for the heart of Crystal City.[/caption]

The site is part of a larger Site Plan No. 65, also known as National Center or Century Center. This multi-building, mixed-use site plan was approved in 1968 and has been amended many times since.

The Crystal City Sector Plan, adopted in 2010, lays out the community's vision to transform Crystal City into a more inviting, lively and walkable community with more ground floor retail, better quality office space and more housing options.

The approved redevelopment aligns with the goals outlined in the sector plan. The new building, 24 stories tall, plus a penthouse, will have a contemporary style with aluminum panels in silver and grey predominant on the north and east sides, with some contrasting color on the south and west. A trellis-like architectural feature will be located at the top of the tower, which meets the sector plan's vision to locate a building with architectural interest at this site.

The development will retain and enhance the existing street-corner plaza, with a design to activate the busy pedestrian crossroads. Six mature trees will be preserved as part of a street level outdoor plaza upgrade.

The existing two-story podium, currently home to a Buffalo Wild Wings, was built in 1976 with infrastructure and an elevator core to support a future multi-story building above. The developer plans to keep existing retail tenants in the ground floor during construction.

Parking will be in the existing underground garage that is shared with other office and residential buildings.

More extensive traffic impact analysis

The applicant conducted a more extensive traffic impact analysis than usually conducted for such a project. The analysis included the effects of the project on multiple modes of transportation, not just vehicle trips. It assessed the development's projected impact on the adjacent street, sidewalk, transit, and bicycle network and took into account additional traffic generated by approved, but not yet built, projects within the study area, and their associated transportation network improvements. The analysis evaluated 14 intersections along Crystal Drive, South Clark Street, 23rd Street South and 26th Street South and concluded that future intersection level of service will remain the same regardless of the development, due to sufficient capacity within the existing Metrorail and bus system for the additional trips generated by the site, and a high-quality environment that exists adjacent to the site for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Community process

The project underwent a community-based review process that included review meetings with the community, civic associations, the Long Range Planning Committee, Site Plan Review Committee, Transportation Commission and Planning Commission.

Project at a Glance

  • Crystal City Century Center — "Block Q"

  • Two-acre site

  • Rezoning from "C-O" to "C-O-Crystal City"

  • 24-story tower plus a penthouse on top of existing two-story podium

  • Renovated ground floor retail; second floor renovation to convert to tenant amenities

  • 302 multi-family residential units

  • 22,000 square feet of ground floor retail

  • Existing below-grade parking

Community Benefits

  • Preservation of six mature trees on site

  • Streetscape improvements, outdoor plaza upgrade

  • LEED Silver certification, Energy Star compliance

  • Transportation demand management

  • $75,000 public art fund contributions

  • $1.8 million affordable housing fund contributions

  • $107,000 utility undergrounding fund contributions

  • In-building wireless infrastructure for emergency communications 

Applicant: Commonwealth Crystal Holdings I, Inc. 

Architect: Cooper Carry

For more information, visit the County website.