County Board Approves Courthouse Landmark Block Redevelopment

Published on March 20, 2021

  • 423-unit apartment building
  • Ground floor retail
  • Extensive community benefits

The Arlington County Board today approved Greystar Real Estate Partners' plan to redevelop seven parcels that make up the Courthouse Landmark Block with a 423-unit apartment building. The developer has committed to providing extensive community benefits.

Landmark Block Building Rendering

The project will demolish the site's seven commercial buildings while preserving the facades of the existing Investment Building and First Federal Savings and Loan Building, listed on the County's Historic Resources Inventory. The 20-story apartment building will feature ground-floor retail and an underground parking garage. The nearly one-acre site is bounded by 15th Street North, Clarendon Boulevard, North Courthouse Road, and N. Uhle Street.

"This redevelopment will transform a block of aging commercial buildings while adding housing, including affordable housing, to a site adjacent to the Courthouse Metro Station," County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti said. "The project fulfills much of what the community envisioned for this area, providing a segment of the pedestrian promenade, contributing to the future civic square and affordable housing, and attaining a high level of sustainable design and construction. This is transit-oriented development done right with broad community support—we are looking forward to seeing this plan come to life."

The Board voted unanimously to approve several actions related to the project, including a rezoning of the seven parcels, a new site plan, a vacation for a portion of N. Uhle Street, and the County's conveyance of the Investment Building to the developer.

Pedestrian promenade

The project will provide a portion of the Courthouse Square promenade that the Courthouse Square Addendum to the Courthouse Sector Plan envisioned running between Wilson Boulevard and 14th Street N. along N. Uhle Street.

The promenade was one of the addendum's top recommendations for the area around Landmark Block. The N. Uhle Street promenade, running from Wilson Boulevard to 15th Street N., will be lined with trees, and offer retail shops and plenty of space for community gatherings. It will help realize the Courthouse Sector Plan's vision of a network of interconnected open spaces to serve as a civic square with plenty of open space at Courthouse Plaza, and the main gateway from Clarendon Boulevard into Courthouse Square.

Aerial View of the Landmark Block pedestrian promenade

Affordable housing

The developer will contribute $1.33 million to the County's Affordable Housing Investment Fund to meet the County's base affordable housing requirements. In addition, the developer will provide four one-bedroom and four two-bedroom units on-site that will be committed to remaining affordable for 30 years to households earning up to 60 percent of Area Median Income.

The community benefits package agreed to by the developer includes:

  • Pedestrian promenade along N. Uhle Street, directly adjacent to the site, between Clarendon Boulevard and 15th Street N.
  • Shared street on 15th Street N.
  • Extensive streetscape and transportation improvements along Wilson and Clarendon Boulevards and N. Courthouse Road
  • Preservation and reincorporation of two historic facades plus other historic preservation commitments
  • LEED Gold green building certification
  • 22% energy cost savings
  • Energy Star energy efficiency score for the entire building of 80 out of 100
  • Electric vehicle charging stations for 4% of garage parking, EV-ready infrastructure ready for 15% of parking spaces
  • Eight on-site committed affordable housing units
  • Contribution toward the future development of the Courthouse Civic Square
  • Contribution toward a new public art installation within the Courthouse Sector Plan area

To read the staff report on this project, visit the County website. Scroll to Item No. 33 on the agenda for the Saturday, March 20, 2021 Regular County Board Meeting.

Crystal City Water Park renovation

In other action, the Board voted unanimously to approve a plan to renovate the Crystal City Water Park at 1601 and 1505 Crystal Drive. The approved plan includes adding retail shops, cafes, and restaurants along the edges of the park, upgrading the existing water wall, and adding a new water feature, adding public art and an outdoor bar, and improving the connections to the planned Virginia Railway Express station and the Mount Vernon trail connector. Accessibility and visibility into the park, particularly the upper terrace area, will be enhanced, a performance space added. Landscaping, seating, and trailhead restroom facilities will also be added.

To read the staff report, scroll to Item No. 32 on the agenda for the Saturday, March 20 Regular Meeting.

April Public Hearings Planned on Proposed affordable housing Zoning Ordinance amendments

The Board voted unanimously to advertise public hearings in April before the Planning Commission and the County Board on proposed amendments to the Zoning Ordinance that, if adopted, would allow the Board the authority to consider increased building height for site plan projects in three multifamily residential districts to achieve affordable housing. The advertised proposed amendments would allow the Board, through its special exception site plan authority, to consider up to 60 more feet in building height beyond the maximum permitted in the three districts if 100 percent of a project's units would be affordable to low-or-moderate-income households. The districts typically are found between transit station areas and lower-density neighborhoods. To read the staff report, scroll to Item No. 35 on the agenda for the Saturday, March 20 Regular County Board Meeting.

Videos of all Board meeting are archived on the County website, and on Arlington Television's YouTube Channel.