Redevelopment of Ballston Mall in Arlington, Va

Here is a brand new press release from Arlington County discussing a potential partnership with the owner of the Ballston Mall. Redevelopment of this prime space would be a real boon to the folks that live/work in this area. I could envision something like what was done in the Mosaic district in Merrifield. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Arlington to Pursue Public-Private Partnership to Redevelop Ballston Mall
Strategic investment with mall owner
Facilitating next generation of Ballston redevelopment
Protecting, enhancing past County investments
Site plan process to be completed by end of 2015
The Arlington County Board today instructed the County Manager to explore options for creating a public-private partnership with owner Forest City Enterprises to redevelop the aging Ballston Common Mall. The Board directed the Manager to report back to the Board with an outline of a possible agreement within the next 30 days.

Forest City Enterprises is proposing a strategic partnership with the County to transform the mall, which sits at the heart of Ballston, one of Arlington’s key urban villages, and has been in economic decline.

The developer proposes a $300 million redeveloping of the mall into Ballston Quarter, a more open, dynamic and outward-facing mixed-use development that will include 365,000 square feet of retail and about 400 new residential units. Ballston Quarter will be able to compete regionally for high-quality retailers and serve as a catalyst for the ongoing development and redevelopment of Ballston.

“For decades, Arlington has invested in Ballston Common Mall,” said Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan. “Through public-private partnerships, we transformed the mall years ago from its Parkington origins. We own the mall’s public parking garage, and we brought the Kettler Iceplex there. I believe that a new partnership with Forest City offers us an opportunity to protect and enhance those past investments and make the mall an exciting place that will draw people from across the region to shop, dine and enjoy entertainment.”

Partnership must maximize benefit to the County

The Board voted 5 to 0 to direct the Manager to “ensure that the proposed redevelopment project is consistent with the County’s planning objectives for Ballston and appropriately balances County goals of enhanced economic and place-making benefits with private sector economic feasibility requirements.”

Such a partnership, the Board said, should address:

Economic and place-making benefits to the County
The range of land use incentives (density, height, and modifications to parking ratios), that could be used in combination to achieve the mixed-use, redevelopment vision for the Ballston Common Mall site.
Strategic and measured use of public investment and financing tools, in order to achieve the optimal economic and place-making benefits to the County of this redevelopment project.
Next steps

The Board directed the Manager to promptly convene a conversation with Forest City, County staff, Planning Commission members and adjoining civic association representatives, and to begin a complete and thorough, but also efficient, site plan review process that results in a world-class redevelopment project that reflects the shared goals of the Arlington community and the property owner. All recommendations should be provided so that the County Board can consider the proposed redevelopment by the end of 2015.

Media contact: Cara O’Donnell, 703-228-0854.

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