Crystal City – Pentagon City Planning at a Glance

NEW! Crystal City – Pentagon City Area Map

The Crystal City – Pentagon City area map provides a look at active projects, private development, and County-led planning efforts. Projects and plans are color coded by phase and filterable to help community members and the public better understand what's currently under construction and what's to come. Take a look at County plans and study areas, discover upcoming projects in your neighborhood, or keep up to date with projects of interest. The Crystal City – Pentagon City area map is updated on a monthly basis. 

We’re working to transform the Crystal City-Pentagon City corridor into a more inviting, lively and walkable community with more ground floor retail, better quality office space and more housing options. Our strategies for realizing this vision include significant public and private reinvestment in the area, encouraging higher density development, improving streets and sidewalks, upgrading open space and increasing public transit options.

Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC): This area of Arlington was hard hit by the federal Department of Defense’s Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. We initiated an intensive community planning effort to address a projected loss of 13,000 jobs and looming office vacancies of 3.2 million square feet as a result of BRAC decisions.

Transportation Improvements: Transportation investments and improvements are needed to accommodate future growth and ensure the continued ease of movement throughout the congested U.S. 1 corridor. This will require a robust combination of transit options and street improvements. The Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway, a joint project between Arlington County and the City of Alexandria, will provide faster, more reliable bus service. Improvements to Crystal City streets will improve safety and access for people who walk, bike, ride transit and drive.

Planning History

Arlington’s smart growth approach to planning and building community has been the backbone of our success for more than four decades. During the early 1970s, Arlington planners began to focus high-density, mixed-use development around what would become the two Metrorail Corridors, with the Pentagon City and Crystal City stations along the U.S. 1 corridor. Comprehensive studies and plans laid the foundation to allow for development while preserving the character of Arlington’s residential neighborhoods in what was the beginning of smart growth and transit-oriented development in Arlington. The vision for Crystal City – Pentagon City aligns with these principles.

A number of plans provide guidance for specific sites and areas, including:

Starting in mid-2020, Arlington County will be launching the Pentagon City Planning Study to define Pentagon City’s capacity for future growth. This effort will evaluate alternative land use scenarios and their resulting impacts on the existing, committed, and planned transportation system, infrastructure, public spaces, and community facilities. The study, expected to last approximately 12 months, will be supported by an on-going transportation analysis that was first initiated in November 2019. Additional information from recently posted materials can be found below:

Urban Design and Guidelines for Future Development

The Crystal City-Pentagon City corridor is the heart of Arlington’s business district, encompassing the roughly 1.5-mile stretch along U.S. 1 from the Potomac Yard on the south to Crystal City on the north. Urban design elements and strategies will enhance the Crystal City-Pentagon City corridor and create a built environment that shapes great streets, sidewalks, and public open spaces. Among these elements are a legible framework of streets and blocks, high-quality parks and plazas, vibrant street-front retail areas, an integrated transit network and a balanced mix of uses.

The Crystal City Sector Plan establishes guidelines for future development and urban design that will transform the area over the next 40 years. The plan will:

  • Transform Crystal City to a more vibrant and walkable neighborhood.
  • Anticipate growth: By 2040, Crystal City and Pentagon City are estimated to add a total of 8,500 more residents, and 35,500 more jobs.
  • Encourage development that will bring more life to the streets, create better public spaces and better street connections.
  • Bring improvements including: new premium bus service; buildings up to 300 feet tall in specific areas; 7,500 new homes; the transformation of U.S. 1 into an urban boulevard linking Crystal City’s east and west neighborhoods; ground floor retail stores and improved design and quality for public open spaces.

Planning Resources

Crystal City

Pentagon City