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Rosslyn Air Rights Development Challenging, But Worth It

Plans are in the works to construct reinforced decking over Interstate 66 with up to 2.5 million-square-feet of office, residential, and retail developments. The developments would be located in Rosslyn and atop the East Falls Church Metro station, according to Washington Business Journal. The hope for the air rights development is for it to create new jobs, a revenue stream for future transportation projects, and an increase in the tax base. After a yearlong air rights review of I-66, Boston-based architecture, planning, and preservation firm Good Clancy reported that the development could actually harm any efforts to revitalize the neighborhood's core.
According to Good Clancy's study, the development may "thwart [the] County's efforts to revitalize and reinvest in central Rosslyn." While serving as a consultant for Arlington's Realize Rosslyn sector plan, Good Clancy's study also reported that it could take at least 20 years to justify the expenses for the project and that rents will need to increase or decrease by 13 to 16 percent. Despite the challenges and costs of the project, the study also reports that the air rights development may actually be worth it. According to the study, "building over I-66 could be seen as growth boundary, to expand into the future."

Developer JBG submitted massing studies and renderings that have been described as being "the simplest, fastest, and least expensive approach" to the development. The developer suggests reinforcing and repurposing two existing 75,000-square-foot platforms over I-66. Both platforms could support two 300,000-square-foot towers each, but JBG believes the most feasible plan would be to construct three 300,000-square-foot residential towers, one 300,000-square-foot office tower, and one 20,000-square-feet of integrated retail, as reported by Washington Business Journal. To the east of Lynn Street and the west of Nash Street, two platforms could also be constructed to support a 125,000-square-foot hotel and a 300,000-square-foot residential development .

· Air rights development in Rosslyn challenging and expensive, but worth considering [Washington Business Journal]