The Arlington County Board has unanimously approved a request by the American Association of School Administrators for $3.5 million in industrial revenue bond financing to renovate and expand its office at 1801 N. Moore St.
According to the association's executive director, Dr. Richard Miller, the board's action will enable the group to afford needed renovation and not make it necessary for the organization, which represents nearly 18,000 educators around the country, to move to another area in Northern Virginia.
"We feel this is a very ideal location," Miller said, who added that the Rosslyn Metro station across the street is a "tremendously valuable asset."
He said that the approved reduced-rate financing "enables us to develop a national headquarters for the conduct of business as well as having a building our membership can be proud of."
Miller, who said the group moved to the four-story office building in 1973, said the need to renovate the nearly 25-year-old building has been clear for several years. He said the building is not energy efficient and regulating the temperature is almost impossible.
"From the waist up, you'll be very warm and from the knees down, you'll be freezing," he said. "In the summer it's just the opposite."
The renovation project, which is scheduled to begin this summer, is expected to take a year.
It involves gutting the existing building on Moore Street and building another structure on the old foundation.
The new complex will be the same height as the current building but the first floor will be expanded by about 4,400 square feet and will include a restaurant and another retail business.
Miller said the association, which has about 70 employes in Rosslyn, will move into offices on the second, third and fourth floors.
While construction is going on, he said, the group will work out of a temporary office on Wilson Boulevard.
Board members said they have been conservative about authorizing industrial development bond financing, tending to approve the applications of groups really in need of lower-rate financing. They said the American Association of School Administrators, a private nonprofit organization, is the kind of group they believe should be eligible for such financing.
Furthermore, they said, the association is a group they want to remain in the county.
"It's a good organization that's been in Arlington for a number of years," said board vice chairman Mary Margaret Whipple. "We would like to have them stay."
"It's a nationally recognized organization," said board member Albert Eisenberg.
"It involves an interest that everyone has -- public education. We're happy to have an organization like that locate in Arlington. It sends the message to others that Arlington is an attractive place to do business."
Board members also said they are happy about the renovation itself, particularly when the new complex will include first-floor retail space, which county officials agree is badly needed in Rosslyn.
Rickie McKenzie, a staff member in the county's planning division, said the project will also result in some improvements to the surrounding sidewalk area, including the planting of trees.
"It's going to look a lot better," she said.