Crystal City Block Plan G – Metro Market Square
The County received applications from a developer for two site plans and a block plan within the same area in Crystal City. Regulations require the proposed plans undergo review processes.
A block plan supplements Crystal City Sector Plan guidance for development across an entire block, and is triggered when a site plan application proposes a rezoning to “C-O Crystal City.” It establishes that the proposed plan aligns with the Sector Plan vision, as well as ensures proposed new buildings do not preclude future planned improvements.
Block plans depict existing and proposed general building locations, land use mix, tower coverage, public open space facilities, transportation, parking and other infrastructure. They are reviewed by staff, the Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC), the Planning Commission and ultimately the County Board.
The LRPC is currently reviewing a proposed plan for Block “G”, which is generally bounded by 15th Street S. to the north, Crystal Drive to the east, 18th Street S. to the south and U.S. Route 1 to the west.
The Crystal City Sector Plan identified an open space area at the southern edge of this block, known as Metro Market Square. The block also includes proposed Central District Retail site plans and current and future entrances to Crystal City Metro Station.
Related Processes Underway
Within Block “G,” the following site plans are currently under review by the SPRC:
- 1550 Crystal Drive (Central District Retail Phase I) – site plan – proposed new retail, including a theater and grocery store.
- 1750 / 1770 Crystal Drive (Central District Retail Phase II) – site plan and amendment to Site Plan #90 (Crystal Square) – proposed conversion of existing office building at 1750/1770 Crystal Drive to a 21-story residential building. This site plan application triggered the need for a block plan, because of its rezoning request. It proposes a new, privately-owned, retail building at the corner of 18th Street S. and Crystal Drive (“corner retail building”) to activate adjacent open space.
Site plans within a block plan are typically reviewed by the Site Plan Review Committee (SPRC) after the Block Plan review process, however in this case its review will happen concurrently. Block Plan decisions and refinements will inform the site plan. The plans will be considered concurrently at Planning Commission and County Board public hearings.
Timeline & Documents
At the block plan stage, high-level guidance is determined. Specific design details, such as Metro Market Square park features, will be reviewed in a future park master planning process.
Currently, the County does not have funding for the park space at Metro Market Square, nor a timeline of when this will change. If funding is allocated in the future, the County’s Department of Parks and Recreation will lead a robust public engagement process to master plan the park and develop the final design in detail. The County is in the process of developing the next 10-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), to be adopted by the Board in July 2018, which could consider future funding for the park.
Block “G” was previously studied during the Crystal City Sector Plan community process. Adopted in 2010, the Sector Plan outlines the community’s vision for the revitalization of this area, which is to create a more inviting, lively and walkable community with more ground floor retail, better quality office space and more housing options.
The Sector Plan recommended block-level planning analysis, or Phased Development Site Plans (PDSP). When establishing zoning regulations, major obstacles using PDSPs was identified in Crystal City, including fragmented parcel ownership, inability to condition property of others and uncertainty regarding consent. Therefore, a block plan process in lieu of PDSPs were identified as the best tool to provide development guidance and review when rezoning commercial areas to C-O Crystal City. To date, two block plans have been adopted by the County Board.