Is a greener, more walkable Pentagon City on the horizon thanks to Amazon’s HQ2?
Arlington County set a public hearing for February 22 to hear comments about adopting the Pentagon City Sector Plan, which outlines creating a “dynamic downtown” and a “more urban and less car-centric” neighborhood–a plan put in place to try to transform the neighborhood to be more welcoming and accommodating to Amazon HQ2 and the employees and new residents who will come along with it.
The plan spells out how it will support a growing population “where everyone is welcome and able to live regardless of race, income, age, and immigration status,” and if the area will need to add new county facilities to support its existing and future residents. The county board will also consider several amendments to zoning ordinances and transportation and land use plans that Arlington County staff say are needed. Other projects are outlined in the plan that would be in development through 2041, including the Transportation Security Administration headquarters, the Drug Enforcement Agency building, an additional Regency Care rehab building, and infill developments at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City and Westpost (a rebrand of the former Pentagon Row shopping center).
All these discussions are raising concerns of how Pentagon City will accommodate future growth. Open space is the vision for the area, but, since the stalled construction of almost 1,000 units to RiverHouse Apartments on the west side of Pentagon City, these concerns about growth and pressure on county facilities are resurfacing.
County staff’s response to concerns are detailing how potential strains on county facilities will be addressed in the plan, including the potential to add an elementary school and fire station. A new elementary school would be necessary if more families flock to the area, with the potential site at the location of the Aurora Hills Library and Community Center. The new fire station would serve the west neighborhoods along Columbia Pike, including Columbia Heights, Penrose, Arlington View, and Arlington Village. Pentagon City’s existing Fire Station 5 already had a “high demand for service” in 2019, so an additional fire station would make sense for the plan for the city. Dominion Energy is also ready to meet growing demands by expanding, remodeling, and adding public artwork to its substation at S. Hayes St. and S. Fern St.
How will all of this be paid for? The short answer is county funds will need to be raised, but exactly how and how much wasn’t spelled out in the plan.
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