Arlington County Closes on $27M Purchase of Thomas Building
Two of the building's seven floors will be used for a comprehensive year-round homeless shelter.
Arlington County now owns the Thomas Building, the seven-story office building on the corner of Courthouse Road and 14th Street North.
The Arlington County Board approved buying the property, at 2020 14th St. N. in the Courthouse community, for about $27 million on Saturday. The county closed on the deal today, according to a news release.
County leaders want to renovate the building and use two floors for a year-round homeless service center, plus county office space and storage. In all, acquisition and renovation is projected to cost $46.2 million over the next five years.
The homeless shelter, in particular, has drawn the ire of neighboring residential property owners who have expressed concerns about their safety and, in some cases, property values. They've also been frustrated with the so-called Arlington Way, the process of public participation in decision-making. The county first announced its intentions just before Thanksgiving last year.
The board approved the purchase — made under the threat of condemnation — from Toronto-based owner, BREOF Thomas REO, on Saturday despite protests from the neighborhood.
Advocates of ending homelessness in Arlington see the purchase as the next step in realizing a long-term goal and necessary to take care of those who have fallen on hard times.
Three public meetings will be held at Key Elementary School in hopes of mitigating some of the community's concerns, including safety concerns. The first one is at 7 p.m. Dec. 5.
The three ground-level retailers, including Ragtime restaurant, will remain. The businesses on the upper levels will be forced to move. The county will provide financial assistance to those who must leave immediately.