Arlington County May Help Fund Ballston Quarter

by Dan Lesniak

Ballston Common Mall is on its way toward becoming Ballston Quarter. Once it is completed, the Orange Line will see new shops, public space, as well as new housing units. To help ensure the new plans are fully realized, the Arlington County Board is looking to help invest in the new development being completed by the owner, Forest City Washington. Approximately $10 million is expected to come from direct investment by the County. Another $45.5 million will come from approval of a tax increment financing district (TIF), the first ever of its kind for the county. These funding options will help fill in a financial gap of $55 million toward the completion of the project. The new tax would be structured through a Community Development Authority, resulting in bonds issued, which will be repaid incrementally from increased tax revenue, which is expected as a result of the Ballston Quarter development. The green light is expected to be given at the next County Board Meeting on November 17th.

The plans for Ballston Common mall go beyond renaming the structure. There is to be a 406 unit residential tower built, with over 66,000 square feet of retail space added to part of the currently existing building. There will be new street level shops and restaurants along Wilson Blvd and Randolph Street, and a new pedestrian plaza with open air shops. In addition to all this, the current pedestrian bridge, which connects the mall to Stafford Place I on the other side of Wilson Blvd, will be replaced with a new one. For Arlington County’s part, the funding provided will pay for infrastructure and transportation improvements, including the county parking garage which is connected to Ballston Mall. There will also be a redesign to Wilson Blvd, narrowing the street and removing the median which is in front of the mall.

By providing the TIF funding, Arlington County will help Ballston Quarter be realized to its full potential. Tax revenues are expected to grow substantially due to the additional properties and businesses which will be a part of Ballston Quarter. It has been estimated the development could bring in an estimated $152- $167 million in revenue. It is this potential increase in tax revenues which has appealed to the county. If there is not additional funding provided, the end project of Ballston Quarter would be scaled down significantly, which would in turn reduce the potential tax revenue the county is looking forward to receiving. The new development is expected to see construction begin in May 2017, with a plan to reopen by April 2018.

When Ballston Quarter is done we will have a new, revitalized space for all of Arlington County to enjoy. It is encouraging to see the county seeking ways to help bring the outdated Ballston Common mall to fruition, and I am excited to see the end results. If you are ready to buy or sell your property, myself and the Orange Line Living team, are here to provide you with our unique and specialized services so you can turn your dreams into reality. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us directly at 571-969-7653 or at [email protected]

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