Board Approves Rosslyn Ames Center Redevelopment

Published on January 23, 2021

  • First large-scale Rosslyn project to include on-site affordable housing

  • Project will provide crucial 18th Street corridor link

  • $5 million Rosslyn transportation improvements contribution

The Arlington County Board today approved a mixed-use redevelopment that will add 740 new housing units, including on-site affordable housing, to the Rosslyn neighborhood.

The Board approved developer Snell Properties' plan to build two residential towers with ground-floor retail and office/retail flex space at 1820 and 1830 Fort Meyer Drive in Rosslyn. The triangular site currently is home to the Ames Center office building, Arlington Temple United Methodist Church, and Sunoco gas station. Under the approved plan, both the church and the gas station will be rebuilt on the site, located at 1820 and 1830 Fort Myer Drive in Rosslyn.

"This project achieves some key goals of the Rosslyn Sector Plan," County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti said. "Significantly, it is the first large-scale project in Rosslyn — one of the most expensive rental markets in the County -- to commit to building on-site affordable units. This not only will increase affordable options in Rosslyn but also furthers our goal of preserving and building affordable housing across Arlington. It also will provide a key link for the 18th street corridor that will better link Rosslyn's destinations and open spaces, and $5 million to off-site transportation improvements in the neighborhood."

The Board voted unanimously to approve the project.


Affordable housing contribution

In addition to creating on-site units that will be affordable to households earning up to 80 percent of the Area Median Income for 30 years, the developer has agreed to an additional contribution to affordable housing of $2.4 million to the County's Affordable Housing Investment Fund, or more on-site or off-site affordable units.


Extension of 18th Street Corridor

The developer will create an open space between the two residential towers that will help achieve the Rosslyn Sector Plan's goal of extending the 18th Street corridor east from N. Quinn Street as a new central spine that better links open spaces and destinations in Rosslyn. The plaza will be owned and maintained by the developer and open to the public. Its design will include a woodland garden with biophilic elements.


Transportation contribution

The developer has agreed to a $5 million contribution for off-site transportation improvements that will achieve Rosslyn Sector Plan goals, including the removal of elevated skywalks and completion of a major segment of the 18th Street Corridor. The developer also will remove two pedestrian bridges and will improve the streetscape to enhance the pedestrian and bicycling network around the site.


Sustainable design

The towers will achieve LEED Silver certification, under the U.S. Green Building Council's green building program. The developer has committed to 15 percent energy savings and Energy Star certification. Two percent of on-site parking spaces will have electric vehicle charging stations, with the capacity to convert many more parking spaces.


Arlington's Vision for Rosslyn

The Rosslyn Sector Plan, a 25-year public planning document adopted by the Board in 2015, is the guiding long-range plan for public and private development in Rosslyn. Its goal is to transform Rosslyn through a combination of public and private investment into a more walkable, dynamic urban center. The plan encourages a better balance of residential and commercial development, better building design, better transportation options and a more cohesive, functional network of parks and open space. Learn more about the Rosslyn neighborhood.

To read the staff report, visit the County website. Scroll to Item No.41 on the agenda for the Saturday, January 23, 2021, Regular County Board Meeting.

In other actions, the Board:

  • Voted unanimously to approve a multi-agency agreement to realign a segment of Columbia Pike as part of the planned southern expansion of Arlington National Cemetery. The project will realign Columbia Pike from east of South Oak Street to Washington Boulevard, modify the South Joyce Street intersection and Columbia Pike/Washington Boulevard interchange, and replace Southgate Road with a new segment of South Nash Street. It also includes a new multi-use trail adjacent to the cemetery, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, and a new tunnel between the cemetery and its new maintenance compound. Scroll to Item No. 43 on the agenda.
  • Voted unanimously to endorse VDOT's proposed Boundary Channel Drive-I-395 interchange project's major design elements. The project will improve connections for pedestrians and bicyclists and improve traffic safety along I-395, Boundary Channel Drive, and Long Bridge Drive. Boundary Channel Drive will be reduced from four lanes to two, and two crossroad ramps along the drive will be converted to roundabouts. VDOT will build an 8-foot-wide sidewalk on the south side of the drive and a 12-foot shared-use path along its north side. A trail will connect to the Mount Vernon Trail and to a new loop trail around the Arlington County Aquatics and Fitness Center to the Long Bridge Park esplanade. Scroll to Item No. 42 on the agenda,
  • Voted unanimously to approve the award of an approximately $1 million contract, including contingency, to widen the Columbia Pike Bridge over Four Mile Run's sidewalk to improve accessibility for pedestrians and bicyclists. Scroll to Item No.23 on the agenda.
  • Voted unanimously to approve the award of a $547,000 Neighborhood Conservation Project contract, including contingency, that will improve North Highland Street between 1st Road North and Arlington Boulevard in Lyon Park. Scroll to Item No. 24 on the agenda.