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New Apartment Building to Replace Crystal City Post Office

The 11-story building will feature a rooftop pool and other amenities.

The vacant Crystal City Post Office will be replaced by an 11-story apartment building with rooftop pool.

The Arlington County Board approved the necessary requests from a McLean developer this weekend to pave the way for the U-shaped new tower.

The developer, Kettler, has spent much of the last three months negotiating with the county so that the pool and the associated bathrooms and lifeguard room satisfy Arlington's building height requirements. The residential building will be 208,899 square feet and hold 198 studio, one- and two-bedroom units, a slight decrease from the 203 units originally proposed.

The project, at 1720 S. Eads St., is the first residential building to be approved since the county adopted the 40-year Crystal City Sector Plan in 2010 — a plan developed specifically in response to the thousands of Arlington jobs lost thanks to Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC.

"This project, one of the first approved under the Crystal City plan, fulfills the community’s wishes to see homes — including affordable units — built on this site, within walking distance of Metro and other public transit," Arlington County Board Chairman Walter Tejada said in a statement. "I believe it will serve as a catalyst for redeveloping Crystal City into the more walkable, vibrant neighborhood that the community envisions."

The developer will be obligated to maintain 16 units as affordable for the next 30 years. In this case, that means the units will be affordable to a family of four making $64,500 annually, or 60 percent of the area median income.

Through negotiations with the county, Kettler also agreed to pay more than $460,000 to the county's Affordable Housing Investment Fund.

The board voted 4-0 on Saturday to approve the project. It will replace a defunct post office that was built in 1969.

The site is bordered by 12-story residential buildings to the north and west, along with the 15-story Marriott Hotel and 17-story Gateway Place Apartments to the east.

It's walking distance from the Crystal City Metro and Crystal City Shops.

The building will be LEED silver, achieving an estimated 18 percent energy savings using features such as a landscaped roof with ground covering, shrubs and trees; energy-efficient appliances; and recharging stations for electric cars, according to a county staff report.

The developer will pay for about $5.3 million in community benefits, including the affordable housing contribution.

Kettler's contributions include $75,000 toward public art; more than $272,000 into a county fund dedicated to creating and improving open space in Crystal City; and $39,000 to bury utilities.

The developer also will pay for a new bus stop shelter on South Eads Street, traffic signal upgrades at South Eads and 18th Street South, and upgrades on both sides of 18th Street South to the Crystal City Metro, including a new sidewalk and streetlights.

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