A new eight-story, energy-efficient office building that will include a childcare facility and publicly accessible conference room is coming to 2311 Wilson Blvd., about a block from the Courthouse Metro Station.
The Arlington County Board this month approved a redevelopment plan for the site after the developer, Otter Wilson Boulevard LLC, worked with the county, planning commission and two civic associations to address their concerns — primarily, how the building addresses the transition from the bustling, high-rise business heart of the Courthouse community to the nearby Lyon Village neighborhood, which is largely characterized by one- and two-story residences and Key Elementary School.
The board's action actually was to amend a plan for the site that had been approved in 1989.
“This building will be far more energy efficient and offer significantly more benefits to the community than the building that the Board approved nearly a quarter-century ago,” Arlington County Board Chairwoman Mary Hynes said in a statement. “This new plan warrants a carefully considered increase in height and density on the site due to significant community benefits, including a larger on-site daycare center, a fitness center and a conference room available to Arlington civic and not-for-profit groups at least 24 times a year.”
The approved plan also calls for publicly accessible open space and a pedestrian walkway from Lyon Village to Wilson Boulevard.
The Clean Technology Center, as it is called, will contain nearly 150,000 square feet of office space; about 7,800 square feet of ground-level retail space; a 6,800-square-foot childcare facility; a 2,000-square-foot conference center; and a 2,300-square-foot fitness center.
The building will taper down from its top floor to fifth floor on the side facing Lyon Village in an attempt to minimize the impact on the neighborhood — a more than 4,200-square-foot reduction in floor space on the developer's part.
Hynes, who lives in Lyon Village, said figuring out the transition from tall office buildings to smaller residential homes has been the biggest challenge facing that neighborhood for more than 30 years.
Early conversations in the neighborhood treated the block in question as a "gateway" to the community, she said. And they were about protecting the neighborhood, not opening it up.
"The issue of edge isn't going away. We have it all over the county in our older shopping centers," Hynes said at Saturday's board meeting.
"We don't have a lot of room there. And we have to figure it out, because it's critical."
Thoughtful planning of blending different types of buildings and land uses could help the county realize many of its goals over the next decade, said Hynes, whose term as chairwoman concludes this month.
As far as meeting goals goes, the Clean Technology Center will be LEED Gold and Energy Star certified. It's expected energy costs have been cut by 20 percent thanks to various green design features. Plans and trees will help provide rooftop insulation, for instance.
Through negotiations with the county, the developer agreed to contribute $1.6 million toward the cost of improving Courthouse Station Metro elevators. An underground parking garage will hold 265 vehicles and 48 bicycles.
The building's daycare center will be available to anyone in the surrounding community.
Its conference room will be available to Arlington-based nonprofits, the county and civic associations.
The recently approved plan for 2311 Wilson Blvd. replaces a 10-story mixed-use building that county officials had approved in 1989.