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Arlington board approves Crystal City tower

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Local,Virginia,Taylor Holland

The Arlington County Board approved construction of what will be the tallest building in Crystal City with hopes that it will help the area thrive despite the departure of several government agencies over the past few years.

The 24-story office building is the first to be designed under the new Crystal City Sector Plan, which was established to help transform the area from a canyon of office buildings housing thousands of commuters to a more walkable neighborhood that includes more apartments and condos.

Despite concerns from neighboring residents, the board approved the development in a 4-1 Saturday. It will be built at 1851 S. Bell St. and renamed 1900 Crystal Drive. Board member Chris Zimmerman cast the lone dissenting vote.

"We are beginning to see the community's vision for a more vibrant, walkable and transit-oriented Crystal City take shape," said Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes.

In addition to working alongside the county to develop a park on the same block as the building, Developer Vornado/ Charles E. Smith agreed to contribute $75,000 in art, $20,000 in parking meter improvements and $65 pre-loaded Metro SmarTrip cards to the building's employees, among other benefits.

"1900 Crystal Drive will be a catalyst for the sort of redevelopment that will reinvigorate the area with quality office space and more retail, and help ensure this area remains one of the region's premier neighborhoods for decades to come," Hynes said.

To accommodate commuters, the board also approved construction of a five-level, 732-space parking garage.

tholland@washingtonexaminer.com

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