Yesterday's Urban Design Committee meeting treated a number of items that are particularly relevant to our group:
Newseum -- As you may or may not know, one site condition community benefit for Monday Properties' recently approved office tower 1812 North Moore Street was a rent-free lease on the space occupied by the former Newseum. Rosslyn Renaissance/Rosslyn BID gathered together a group of people representing the community and local interests to provide a recommendation to the county on desirable future uses of the space from the community's perspective. It appears, however, that the county intends to move ahead with as little community involvement as possible. Specifically, a meeting of the community group had to be cancelled because the county blocked briefing on various proposals it received. A public meeting is scheduled for the Arts Commission meeting (April 3 at 7:00 PM at 3700 S. Four Mile Run) where the proposals will be presented. I would encourage you to attend this public meeting. According to Rosslyn Renaissance, the county has received two serious proposals for use of the site. The proposal by the Corcoran Gallery for use of the facility as an annex (rumored to be for classroom space primarily) is favored by the county because it would be relatively "turn key." The second serious proposal is from county cultural affairs and would be for arts usage -- the performing and visual arts. Other proposals apparently were received. None of the details of any of these proposals has yet been made public.
Spectrum -- The Charles E. Smith companies owns the block situated generally between Arlington Ridge Road and Kent Street in Rosslyn. The complex includes some office and apartment buildings and, most notably, the Spectrum theater. The entire block will be redeveloped, with plans being presented in late spring or early summer. the community benefits package associated with the redevelopment will total approximately $50 million. The Urban Design Committee is in the early stages of discussing how these community benefits dollars would best be spent (required contributions to the Rosslyn Fund and Affordable Housing will be made, so the discussion of community benefits is separate from these items). Charles E. Smith has stated that if the community desires the Spectrum facility to be replaced in the new development, a clear directive must be put forth unambiguously, as this would be a community benefit -- and an expensive one at that. The latest statistics for the Spectrum are that the facility was used on 207 days (presumably out of 365), including 148 performances. The facility had 34 clients, of which 19 were county-subsidized performing arts groups. Proximity to the Newseum was seen as an opportunity to link the two facilities, depending on programming.
Rosslyn Commons -- The developer has followed county direction to increase density on the site by adding a second high-rise tower. A limited number of townhomes are still on the site, located between the Belvedere and these new buildings. Public green space is in the center of the lot, surrounded by the towers and townhouses, so it's not clear how "public" this area would be. RAFOM is taking the lead on comments for this development since it is in their civic association area. RAFOM appears to be supporting the plan (although seemingly somewhat less enthusiastically than the prior less dense layout of the parcel). Note that there is now a proposal on the table to rezone the parcel RA 4.8 which would allow some retail use. Those of you who have been following this saga will no doubt recall that there was an earlier plan to incorporate a Trader Joe's on the site, which was prevented because of existing zoning. There appears to be no plan to resuscitate that idea.
Note that since the previous posting, the Arts Commission Briefing respecting the Newseum (previously scheduled for April 3) has been cancelled. The Newseum briefing before the Arts Commission has been rescheduled for April 23 at the Four Mile Run location.