Board Approves Westmont Shopping Center Redevelopment

Published on September 21, 2019

  • 250 apartments

  • 22,500 sq. ft. ground floor retail

  • Commercial Form Based Code project

A new six-story apartment building and ground floor retail will replace an aging shopping center and surface parking lot at the northeast corner of South Glebe Road and Columbia Pike, under a plan approved today by the Arlington County Board.

The extreme makeover of the aging, single-story Westmont Shopping Center will add 250 market rate apartments to Columbia Pike's housing stock, built above about 22,500 sq. ft. of new retail space. Parking on the 1.8-acre site will be pushed to an underground, two-floor parking garage.

"Private investment continues to complement County investments in infrastructure to transform Columbia Pike into a livelier corridor with a better mix of housing, restaurants and shops," Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey said. "Remaking this site with a mix of housing and ground floor retail will bring new energy to this key intersection."

The Form Based Code project, designed to comply with updated architectural standards adopted in 2017, lies with the Columbia Pike Special Revitalization District, at 3233-3263 Columbia Pike.

[caption id="attachment_22875" align="alignright" width="150"]Rendering of approved mixed-use building at Columbia Pike-S. Glebe Rd. intersection. Rendering of approved mixed-use Westmont redevelopment.[/caption]

The Board voted unanimously to approve the Special Exception Use Permit requested by developer Westmont Properties, L.C. To read the staff report, visit the County website. Scroll to Item No. 60 on the agenda for the Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019 Regular County Board Meeting.

The apartment building will feature a private interior courtyard for the use of residents. The underground parking garage will provide parking for 343 vehicles, including 60 shared spaces for visitors and employees and customers of the retail establishments, along with spaces/racks for 104 bicycles.

Adjacent to the project, the County will build a new transit station along the Pike and add two new bus shelters to replace the existing one along South Glebe Road toward the intersection at Columbia Pike. The developer also will put a Transportation Demand Management plan in place and will make improvements to the streetscape along the South Glebe Road and Columbia Pike perimeters of the new building.

Community review

The project was reviewed by the Columbia Pike Form Based Code Advisory Working Group and presented plans for the project at a community meeting in June 2019. The Planning Commission reviewed the project on September 11, and unanimously recommended approval of the Use Permit.

About the Form Based Code

Arlington enacted Form Based Code alternative zoning along Columbia Pike as a tool to transform one of the most heavily traveled corridors in the region into a walkable community anchored by a "main street." The 2003 adoption of a Form Based Code for the Pike's commercial centers, followed by the 2013 adoption of the Neighborhood Form Based Code, has helped create a more vibrant mix of housing options suitable for residents with a mix of incomes; offices; restaurants, shops and great public spaces. The Form Based Code defines and illustrates requirements for building heights, building and parking placement, historic facades, windows, balconies and other architectural features. It also provides standards for public sidewalks, street trees, parking and parks, civic greens and town squares. Together, the two Form Based Codes have delivered nearly 3,000 residential units, more than 700 of which are committed affordable units, along the Pike. The Code has also brought two grocers, a community center, about 14,000 sq. ft. of office space, more than 323,000 sq. ft. of retail space, new streets, urban plaza and parks to the Pike.