The Rosslyn-Ballston corridor in Arlington has lost many of its long-time small and unique businesses in recent years as one- and two-story buildings and surface parking lots are replaced by mixed-use developments.
Remember Tom Sarris’ Orleans House restaurant in Rosslyn, famous for large steaks and an immense salad bar? It closed in 2008, was torn down and has temporarily been turned into a public seating area while developer JBG finalizes plans to build what might be the area’s tallest office building there. (Note to salad bar fans: you can still buy Orleans House matchbooks on eBay.)
Such businesses are natural victims, so to speak, of incredible interest in the corridor from condo, apartment and office builders looking to capitalize on the Orange line Metro stations. One of the latest is Arlington Funeral Home, which just recently relocated from its longtime home at 3901 Fairfax Drive, between the Virginia Square and Ballston Metro stations, to 4510 Wilson Boulevard. Readers may have noticed that even the funeral home’s parking lot has been periodically closed off.
So what’s going on with the original Arlington Funeral Home?
A number of developers have proposed plans for the site in recent years, but the latest is from Herndon-based developer Crimson Partners, which bought both the funeral home building and the parking lot next door and have just submitted a site plan to the county for approval to build a 173,728-square-foot office building, 3,199 square feet of shops and a 9,939-square-foot “black box” theater.
Terry Holzheimer, director of Arlington Economic Development, said the developer would provide space for the theater and an operator would be chosen later on. “It’s not going to be fully fitted out as a theater.. that will negotiated with a theater operator,” Holzheimer said.
All the needed approvals are nearly lined up. The Arlington County Planning Commission approved the project Jan. 11 and the county board of supervisors is expected to consider it on Jan. 24.
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