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This blog focuses on real estate, land use and construction-related topics affecting Virginia and the Washington, D.C. metro area. With topics ranging from contract drafting and negotiation to local and regional land use project updates, the attorneys at Bean, Kinney & Korman provide timely insight and commentary on the issues affecting owners, builders, developers, contractors, subcontractors and other players in the industry. If you are interested in having us cover a specific topic, please let us know.

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Posts in Economic Development.

The Arlington County Board will be deciding whether to approve a series of amendments to Arlington's Comprehensive Plan relating to Crystal City at their hearing at the end of September, after several years of evaluation on how best to react to the loss of approximately 17,000 jobs and over 4 million square feet of occupied office space due to the recommendations of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC).  Specifically, the County Board will decide whether to adopt the new Crystal City Sector Plan 2050, and modify the General Land Use Plan and the Master Transportation Plan.

With Long Bridge Park and the Pentagon to the north, the airport and the river to the east, Aurora Highlands and Pentagon City to the west and Alexandria/Potomac Yards to the South, existing metro and VRE access, Crystal City seems well poised to make a comeback.  Here is an exhibit showing Crystal City's existing conditions.  The plan specifically outlines which sites are expected to be redeveloped, which sites have potential for redevelopment, and which sites are expected to remain for the life of the plan (click here for the comparison). Much like the Tyson's Corner Plan, Crystal City's 260 acres are broken up into proposed "districts" (shown here), including the Northwest Gateway, Northeast Gateway, Central Business, Entertainment, South End and West Side Districts, each with their own respective district-level focus.

The area considered to be inclusive of Fort Myer Heights is basically the down-hill slope from Arlington's Courthouse Sector on the hill above of Route 50 north of Fort Myer, bounded to the north by Clarendon Boulevard and to the south by Route 50, Courthouse Road to the west and Pierce Street to the east.  What makes this area interesting, however, is the plan adopted by Arlington County to try and preserve the area's dwindling stock of aging garden-style apartments, which many find valuable from a historical perspective and others find valuable because of the affordability of these units (whether committed affordable units or as market affordable units).  The County has been unable to prevent the redevelopment of a number of sites in this area because planned densities are not sufficient to induce developers from entering special exception processes, and have instead chosen to move forward with by-right townhouse and condominium projects, effectively omitting the County from the redevelopment process.

I know most people out there who follow land use in the DC metro area are pretty familiar with the Columbia Pike Revitalization Plan and the Columbia Pike Form Based Code.  Then, like many others, you've probably wondered what will happen to the trolley system once Columbia Pike hits the Arlington County line?  Well, instead of continuing to head west down the corridor, it abruptly bangs a left at the county line, and heads south up the hill to Skyline (here is a transit plan showing approximate station locations and here is an aerial transit plan overlay).

A recently completed study by Arlington's Retail Task Force outlined some interesting conclusions for ground floor retail, suggesting something contrary to the status quo of conventional urban planning thought .  Traditionally, in Arlington County, as well as other urban jurisdictions, it has been a moot argument that good urban planning require ground floor space to be used almost solely for retail, or other similar uses that are thought to improve the pedestrian experience and serve the immediate vicinity's every-day needs.  Quite frankly, ground floor retail is simply expected by jurisdictions for almost all urban projects.

Virginia Delegate Mark Cole is up to it again, proposing another amendment to the business, professional and occupational (“BPOL”) tax laws. Delegate Cole sits on the House of Delegates Finance Committee, and represents the 88th District, spanning Stafford, Spotsylvania and Fauquier Counties and the Town of Remington. As you may recall from my last blog post on proposed business tax reforms in the Commonwealth, he sponsored HB 57, which would freeze BPOL tax rates, and prohibit those localities that do not have a BPOL tax from imposing one.

In 2004, 515 Granby, LLC proposed a $180.5 million condo development. With 34 stories and 327 units, Granby Towers would be the tallest building in Norfolk and would revitalize the northern part of the city. The following year, the federal government threatened to condemn the property, causing just enough of a delay for the ebbing economic tide to overtake the Granby Tower project and thwart 515 Granby’s ability to secure financing.

Step 1:  Create Redevelopment and Housing Authority (the "Authority")

Step 2:  Authority  identifies areas of city that it wants to designate as a "blight"

Step 3:  Authority creates a Master Redevelopment Plan for areas of city it has determined are blighted

Step 4:  Authority uses public funds to condemn all the privately owned land in redevelopment area where private property owners are unwilling to sell to the Authority at the Authority's price

Step 5:  Authority sells some of the land obtained from private citizens to private entrepreneurs for sums it deems appropriate, holds surplus land in inventory for no specifically identified public purpose