Civic Association Newsletter
April/May 1997 - Volume 20, No. 6
BALLSTON COMMON MALL
The site plan applicant is proposing a significant redesign of a
portion of the approved Ballston Common Site Plan, to
accommodate three floors of restaurants and cinemas, and
eleven stories of office as an extension project which will
connect to the existing mall.
The project would be located at 701 N. Glebe Road, a vacant
site between Hecht's department store and the Ballston Common
Mall's parking deck.
- The applicant is Ballston Common Associates L.P. This is
a limited partnership that is owned and controlled by Forest
City Enterprises. Forest City has been a partner in the Ballston
Common Mall since its inception in 1986. In 1994, Forest City
became the sole owner of the mall.
- Over the last three years, Forest City has spent a lot of
money doing improvements to the mall, both interior and
- The subject site is a portion of approved Ballston Common
Site Plan, known as the office building on Glebe Road.
- The site is Site Plan approved for 261,000 square feet of
gross floor area, which includes a 100,000 square foot
department store and 161,000 square foot office building.
- The applicant is proposing a significant redesign of the
approved building to accommodate one story of restaurants, two
stories of theater, and eleven stories of office as an extension
project which will connect to the existing mall.
- Forest City has been conducting extensive negotiations with
theaters and a theater company has signed a commitment with
- The theater is seen as critical to the project and the mall
for the following reasons:
- The mall has seen decline in sales since the opening of
Fashion Centre at Pentagon City in 1991.
- Ballston Common Mall cannot compete with Fashion Centre and
Tysons Center particularly in fashion clothing business.
- Many of the tenants' original ten-year leases at the mall
have recently expired and have not been renewed.
- There is a concern about the vacancy rate at the
mall at this time, particularly on the third floor.
- Forest City tried to market the approved site plan,
particularly the department store, and found that national
retailers were reluctant to lease space in the mall due to its
declining sales trend.
- The movie theater is seen as an avenue to success for the
mall because it will increase night and weekend traffic which are
the weakest times for the mall.
- The theater has been designed to connect to the third floor
of the mall, which is the floor with the highest vacancy rate.
- Forest City is very confident that the introduction of this
project will revitalize the mall and help strengthen its position
in services, home furnishing and convenience items, thereby
better defining the mall as a neighborhood retail center.
- The application is requesting modification to exclude
pedestrian mall and theater from floor area ratio. Also, the
applicant is requesting a modification for height since the
office building sits on top of the theater.
- Finally, the applicant is asking for a Comprehensive Sign
Plan for prototypical tenant signage.
The Association has invited representatives of the site plan
applicant to make a presentation on the proposal at our
Wednesday, April 30, 1997, Membership Meeting, at the
Arlington Hotel, 2nd Floor Conference Rooms, above the
Ballston Metro Station. If you have any questions or
comments about this proposal, we invite you to bring them to
our Membership Meeting. This item is scheduled for
presentation from 7:00 to 7:30 p.m. The public is welcome
This major site plan amendment will be heard by the Planning
Commission on June 30, 1997, and by the County Board on
July 19, 1997. The Association encourages interested
members to attend both of these meetings and express your views.
Return to the April/May 1997