Arlington County Board Approves Plan to Redevelop Marymount University's “Blue Goose” Site

  • Expanding Marymount's Ballston presence
  • On-site affordable housing
  • Plaza, auditorium, ground floor common area publicly accessible
  • Developer contribution to help fund new Ballston-MU Metro entrance
  • LEED Gold

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Arlington County Board today approved a plan to replace Marymount University's eight-story “Blue Goose” facility at 1000 N. Glebe Road with two new, more energy efficient buildings. The development will allow the university to maintain and expand its presence in Ballston, while adding apartments, ground floor retail and a public plaza to the two-acre site.

Shooshan Company, in partnership with Marymount University, plans to demolish the 1963 “Blue Goose,” built in Modern Movement architectural style, and build an office building that will front on Fairfax Drive and a residential building at the corner of N. Glebe Road and the site's northern boundary. A 7,600- square-foot public plaza will anchor the corner of the site at Fairfax and N. Glebe Road. A public walkway will run east-west through the site and interior courtyard. Both buildings will sit atop three levels of underground parking. Marymount University initially plans to use the first six floors of the office building, and eventually the entire building.

“Marymount University is an important institution in Arlington, and it is great to see it expanding its presence in Ballston,” said Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette. “The new buildings will be attractive and energy efficient, and will come with many benefits for our community, including affordable housing, a public plaza, and a significant contribution to building a western entrance to Ballston Metro.”

The Board voted unanimously to approve the Site Plan Amendment. To read the staff report, visit the County website. Scroll down to Item #41 on the Regular County Board Meeting Agenda for January 25, 2014.

Developer to contribute to Ballston-MU Metro Station western entrance, Ballston Pond
The developer will contribute $5.7 million to offset additional density that the County is allowing for the office building. Some of those funds will help fulfill the County's long-term goal of building a western entrance to the nearby Ballston-MU Metro Station, a benefit that will serve thousands of Metro riders daily. The project is included in the County's FY2013-FY22 Capital Improvement Program, but not fully funded. Some of the funds will be used to help improve nearby Ballston Pond, and to extend the Custis Trail immediately west of the site. The developer also will build a two-way, 10-foot wide cycle track on the north side of Fairfax Drive, and widen the sidewalk there. The cycle track will extend the Custis Trail connection to the intersection of N. Glebe Road along Fairfax Drive.

On-site affordable housing
The plan includes eleven units of affordable housing in the 267-unit residential building that will be committed to remain affordable to low-and-moderate income residents for 30 years. Eight of the units will have two bedrooms and three will have one bedroom, with six units being fully accessible. The developer also will contribute $275,565 to the County's Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF), a revolving fund that helps finance affordable housing in Arlington.

LEED Gold Certification
Both the office and residential buildings would be certified under the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) program at the Gold level rating. Under County ordinance, the developer received bonus density for agreeing to achieve LEED Gold.

Preserving some “Blue Goose” elements
The “Blue Goose” was designed by architect John M. Walton and built by locally prominent builders M.T. Broyhill and Sons in 1963. Its geometrically arranged, polychromatic blue metal panels earned it the “Blue Goose” nickname. Marymount University bought the building in the early 1990s. It has retained all its original external features. Several elements will be incorporated into the new office building and public plaza. The plaza will have blue seating, blue lighting and benches with panels that will depict the history of the building, re-using blue and white panels from the existing building. The office building will incorporate a blue panel design at its base that will be reminiscent of the “Blue Goose,” and a horizontal blue spandrel glass band at the top of the second story.

Underground parking, transportation management
The site's current 202-space surface parking lot will be replaced with three levels of underground parking offering 317 spaces for the office building and 265 spaces for the residential buildings in separate garages. The developer also will implement a Transportation Management Plan to encourage transit use, walking and cycling to the site.

Community process
The Site Plan Review Committee reviewed the proposal six times. The proposal also was reviewed by the Transportation Commission, the Housing Commission and the Planning Commission.

To read the full staff report on this item, visit the County website. Scroll down to Item #41 on the January 25, 2014 Regular County Board Meeting Agenda.

Project at a Glance


  • Marymount University at Ballston Center
  • Location: 1000 N. Glebe Road
  • 9-story office building, 15-story, 267-unit multi-family residential building with ground floor retail
  • Three-level underground garage; 317 parking spaces for office building, 265 residential building parking spaces


  • Marymount University and The Shooshan Company


  • Gensler (Office Building)
  • SK&I Design (Residential Building)


tel: (703) 527-8600 x 229 email:

LEED Scorecard


Community Benefits

  • LEED Gold certified office and residential buildings
  • 11 on-site units of affordable housing
  • $257,565 contribution to the County's Affordable Housing Investment Fund
  • $105,615 Utility Underground Fund Contribution
  • $75,000 Public Art Fund Contribution
  • Sidewalk, curb and gutter, streetscape, infrastructure improvements, and undergrounding of aerial utilities around the site
  • $302,767 Transportation Demand Management contribution for 30 years for the office building
  • $267,782 Transportation Demand Management contribution for 30 years for the residential building
  • Public use and access to approximately 10,600 square feet of plaza open space on-site and east-west pedestrian walkway through site
  • Public and County access to and use of 6,172 square feet of auditorium and auxiliary space in the office building
  • $5.718 million contribution toward improvements to Ballston Pond, Custis Trail and west entrance for the Ballston-MU Metro Station

Arlington Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the “10 miles square” parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. Slightly smaller than 26 square miles, it is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, and one of only a handful with the prized Aaa/AAA/AAA bond rating. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods and quality schools, and has received numerous awards for Smart Growth and transit-oriented development. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world — including the Pentagon — Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.