- 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.
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.