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Ballston Development Comes to Life in Arlington

Fri April 13, 2018 - National Edition
Jennifer Rupp – CEG Correspondent

The 750 N. Glebe Rd. development site formerly housed multiple surface parking lots, a Rosenthal Mazda dealership and an Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
(David M. Schwarz Architects photo)
The 750 N. Glebe Rd. development site formerly housed multiple surface parking lots, a Rosenthal Mazda dealership and an Enterprise Rent-A-Car. (David M. Schwarz Architects photo)
The 750 N. Glebe Rd. development site formerly housed multiple surface parking lots, a Rosenthal Mazda dealership and an Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
(David M. Schwarz Architects photo) The Saul Center development will consist of 490 residential units, including 22 affordable housing units. (David M. Schwarz Architects photo) The Silver Diner, a nostalgic casual restaurant with a modern twist, will occupy 6,700 ft. of retail space on the first floor. (David M. Schwarz Architects photo) The buildings will taper from 12 stories at Wilson Boulevard and N. Glebe Road down to a five-story townhouse unit at N. Tazewell Street. (David M. Schwarz Architects photo)

Mixed-use developments are trending in major cities across the United States. The affluent community of Arlington County's Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor will see its newest edition to this market in 2020 at 750 N. Glebe Road. This $275 million Saul Centers project is located at the intersection of North Glebe Road and Wilson Boulevard in an effectual 3-mi. stretch of commercial and residential developments. The property is situated across from the Ballston Common Mall and three blocks from the Ballston Metro Station, served by the Orange and Silver lines.

The 2.8-acre site plan approval was granted from Arlington County for the development of a 12-story complex housing approximately 490 residential units and 62,000 sq. ft. of retail space. Three retail clients have already signed leases — the Silver Diner, Target and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. The buildings will taper in height from 155 ft. at Wilson Boulevard and N. Glebe Road down to 53 ft. along N. Tazewell Street. Parking will be provided with 733 below-grade parking spots. Construction commenced in summer 2017 with a delivery date of early 2020.

Population and income were contributing factors for this development. In a 5-mi. radius around the new complex, the population is close to 600,000 with an average household income of $131,721. Glebe Rd. sees an annual average daily traffic of 29,000 and Wilson Blvd. is around 14,000.

“This redevelopment will add new homes and a full-service grocery store just three blocks from the Ballston Metro,” County Board Chair Libby Garvey said. “It will enhance the vibrancy of one of the County's most successful urban villages, and offer residents easy access to transportation options, lively outdoor cafes, shopping and more.”

This project is in line with the goals of the 1980 Ballston Sector Plan which called for the rehabilitation of the neighborhoods within the 250-acre Ballston Station area. The Plan suggests a mix of residential, office and commercial land use. The opening of the Metrorail in 1976 and I-66 in the late '70s provided an impetus for renewal of an area that had declined due to obsolescence and age.

Arlington's Center for Urban Design and Research has shaped the overall character of Ballston in the four categories of coordinated streetscape, commercial facilities, neighborhood preservation and urban open spaces and plaza.

Neighboring landmarks to 750 N. Glebe Rd. also were design features adopted from the original 1980 Sector Plan. Stuart Street Walkway is a wide path constructed along Stuart Street between the Ballston Metro Station and Wilson Boulevard with street trees, paving, street furniture and pedestrian lighting. A second-story enclosed pedestrian bridge above Stuart Street connects Ballston Common, Stafford Place, and Ballston Metro Center.

A second original design feature is the Fairfax Drive Boulevard Concept. The landscaping treatment of Fairfax Drive was designed to provide a transition between the high-density mixed-use development around the Metro station and the primarily residential areas north of Fairfax Drive. Fairfax Drive also provides an opportunity to create a distinctive gateway into the Ballston area from 1-66. Today, Fairfax Drive includes trees along the sidewalks and median areas, thoroughfare lighting, pedestrian lighting, underground utilities and coordinated paving materials.

Prime contractor Clark Construction, headquartered in Bethesda, Md., is quite familiar with this stretch of road. Clark built a retail/commercial building at 800 N. Glebe Rd.; a facility for Virginia Technical Foundation at 900 N. Glebe Rd.; and the Westin Arlington Gateway at 901 N. Glebe.

Developer Saul Centers Inc. of Bethesda, Md., earned bonus density by committing to provide 22 onsite affordable housing units above County Zoning Ordinance requirements, and for a commitment to achieve LEED Gold and Energy Star certifications. The community will further benefit from the developer's $75,000 public art contribution and $56,000 toward the installation of a bikeshare station on or adjacent to the property. Additionally, Saul Centers will add to the Utility Underground Fund Contribution, provide streetscape and utility improvements and a wireless infrastructure.

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