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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 tagged Arlington County.
How is the Local Office Leasing Market Doing a Year After the Amazon HQ2 Announcement?

The Northern Virginia office market had a total vacancy rate of 18.3% in the fourth quarter of 2019. This represents a continuing gradual strengthening of the market as it was the eleventh consecutive quarter with positive net absorption. That said, vacancy rates are still higher than before the great recession ten years ago. Much of the positive absorption recently is from the transportation corridor (Route 66 from Arlington to Tysons, and then along the Toll Road to Dulles), but there has been a positive but slow rebound for off-Metro locations as well. 

What will be the Impact of Amazon HQ2 to the Hotel Industry?

The second headquarters for Amazon in Arlington, VA is obviously a hot topic in local commercial real estate. Much of the focus so far has been on projected residential price increases and increased commercial leasing. But, let’s not forget about the hotel industry. The forecast for much higher hotel traffic in the area was the reason the Transient Occupancy Tax was included in the incentive package negotiated by the state and local governments. 

Arlington County Reviews Residential Parking Working Group Proposals

The Arlington County Board held a work session on July 11th to review and provide feedback on the Residential Parking Working Group’s recommendations for parking minimums in the Rosslyn-Ballston and Jefferson Davis Highway corridors.

The group recommended establishing parking minimums in these corridors based on the residential project’s proximity to the Metro. The parking minimums are as follows:

  • 0.2 spaces per unit for buildings located up to 1/8 of a mile from the Metro
  • 0.3 spaces per unit for buildings located up to 1/4 of a mile from the Metro
  • 0.4 spaces per unit for buildings located up to 1/2 of a mile from the Metro
  • 0.5 spaces per unit for buildings located up to 3/4 of a mile from the Metro
  • 0.6 spaces per unit for buildings located in the Rosslyn-Ballston and Jefferson Davis corridors that are more than 3/4 of a mile from the Metro.
Arlington County Board Passes New Zoning Ordinance Amendment on Size of Signs

On June 17th, the Arlington County Board approved an amendment to Arlington’s Zoning Ordinance allowing greater aggregate sign area for certain properties with retail.

The adopted amendment—which applies to buildings with comprehensive sign plans in commercial/mixed-use zoning districts—would increase the allowed aggregate sign area for retailers facing publicly accessible plazas. It would also increase the maximum size of blade signs.

April 3, 2017
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The Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects (“the Board”) is reopening its regulations for general review. The Board is only at the notice of intent stage of the process, so it is unclear at this time which regulations will be revised. The goal of the review is to “ensure the Board’s regulations are clearly written and easily understandable; reflective of changes in technology and training; and representative of current professional and industry standards.” We will continue to monitor these potential regulations, but please feel free to submit comments to Kathleen R. Nosbisch, Executive Director at apelscidla@dpor.virginia.gov by April 19th if you would like to participate in the process. For more information, you can visit the Virginia Register here.

On February 25th, the Arlington County Board unanimously approved Penzance’s 1555 Wilson Boulevard 4.1 Site Plan project.  The applicant, represented by Matt Roberts, proposed to rezone the properties and submitted a 4.1 Site Plan application to permit approximately 1.2 million square feet of mixed-use development in the West Rosslyn area.  The project, approved at 10 FAR, will deliver roughly 30,000 square feet of retail space and 892 units, including 105 condominium units, in two buildings spanning the site. The project will also deliver vital community benefits called for in the West Rosslyn Area Plan, including a new Fire Station No. 10 in the project’s East Building, an extension of North Pierce Street through the site, and a redeveloped Rosslyn Highlands Park.  For additional information, you can read the project’s staff report here.

Arlington County Board Unanimously Approves Clarendon West

On October 20, 2015, the County Board of Arlington County unanimously approved The Shooshan Company’s 4.1 Site Plan Special Exception application for Clarendon West, a mixed-use residential and retail project. Represented by Jonathan C. Kinney and Matthew G. Roberts, the project introduces over 580,000 square feet of new development at the current site of the Red Top Cab company in Arlington County’s Clarendon neighborhood. With this approval, The Shooshan Company will build up to 580 multi-family residential units and approximately 3,500 square feet of retail space in three separate buildings. The multi-phase project includes substantial public benefits, including multiple transportation and traffic improvements along 13th Street North and Washington Boulevard, the delivery of land for a public park envisioned by the Clarendon Sector Plan and on-site affordable housing, among others.

Further details about the approval can be found on Arlington County’s website.

Arlington County Board Approves the Retail Action Plan

On Saturday, July 18, the County Board approved the Retail Action Plan by a vote of 4 to 1, with direction to further amend some facets of the proposed plan. Board Member Libby Garvey voted against the Plan.

During a rather extensive discussion which focused a great deal on the feedback that Board Members and Staff received calling for more flexibility within the Plan, the Board ultimately decided to broaden the “red” category to permit more uses. Many critics of the Plan believed the red category was too restrictive. The use category of Services and Repairs will now also be permitted within the red category.

The Board also voted to incorporate the Process document released by AED within the Plan itself to help aid Developers and the Board in applying the Plan to future and existing site plans. This document, originally requested by Chairwoman Hynes at one of the working sessions, was designed to aid the analysis of a site plan when there were other conflicting policy documents. In essence, the Process document helps to demonstrate when the retail action plan may stand up to or yield to existing policy documents like sector plans and the like.

The Arlington Economic Development staff will be updating the Plan to incorporate the latest revisions made by the Board. There was no timeline specified as to when that may be final, however, the Plan has been approved.

In addition to approval, the Board decided a periodic review of the plan was needed, as retail trends change quickly. With this end in mind, they requested that the Plan be reviewed on a periodic, ongoing basis.

For our previous coverage of the Retail Action Plan, take a look at our original postupdate one and update two.

Original image courtesy of Brett VA – changes made

Arlington’s Retail Action Plan: Further Discussion

The debate about the new Retail Action Plan ("The Plan") continued earlier this month as the Board held another work session to discuss the progress on ongoing efforts to update the Plan.

Much of the discussion focused on the so called "red streets" within the Plan. These streets are designated for pure retail uses, including: retail sales, food and drink establishments and entertainment establishments exclusively. Further, under the new plan the red streets would require certain design standards be met both internally and externally to the first floor of any building constructed or redeveloped on a red street in order to permit a retail use.

Update on the Arlington County Retail Action Plan

On April 22, 2015, Jill Griffin of Arlington Economic Development shared with NAIOP the progress being made on the update to the Arlington County Retail Plan (the “Retail Plan”). Following the County Board work session in January, the Retail Plan has undergone some further refinements. The number one theme which emerged during the County Board work session was “flexibility,” as the Board felt it was critical that the Retail Plan be able to adapt to fast-changing trends in retail.

Taking that to heart, Ms. Griffin explained that the draft Retail Plan was reorganized in hopes of making it more user-friendly and the six broad principles of retail (as defined in the plan) remained at the core of the policy.