Arlington to move forward on acquisition of hospital tract

Map shows Virginia Hospital Center-owned parcel along South Carlin Springs Road, which Arlington officials hope to acquire as part of a land-swap agreement. (County government)

[Updated to include vote on July 18.]

Arlington County Board members on July 18 formally affirmed the government’s desire to acquire Virginia Hospital Center’s South Carlin Springs campus as part of a land-swap agreement that would see a county-government-owned parcel delivered to the hospital.

The vote was unanimous.

Under terms of an agreement inked earlier, board members have until mid-August to formally notify hospital officials of the county’s desire to take the 11.6-acre Carlin Springs parcel, currently home to an urgent-care center and the Arlington Pediatric Center.

The land swap would only go through if Virginia Hospital Center officials opt to acquire a county-owned parcel in the 1800 block of North Edison Street immediately north of the hospital’s North George Mason Drive campus. But that is all but a certainty, as the hospital’s leadership long has sought a way to expand its land-locked holdings.

The Edison Street site most recently was valued at $12.6 million; in compensation for delivering it to the hospital, the county government can opt to receive land, cash or a combination, all to be worked out after hospital officials formally notify the county government of their desire for the Edison Street property. The hospital in June received approval from state regulators to expand onto the Edison site, another procedural hurdle needed before the swap could be consummated.

Nabbing the North Carlin Springs site has been supported by the county government’s Joint Facilities Advisory Committee and by the School Board, since it is a rare large parcel of land available for acquisition.

Even if all the pieces of the land swap come off without a hitch, the Carlin Springs parcel will remain in the hands of the hospital until mid-2018, according to the agreement, giving hospital officials time to find alternate locations for the pediatrics and urgent-care facilities.

Depending on how negotiations move forward, the Arlington government also has the option of seeking other hospital parcels, including two small ones near North George Mason Drive and several on Lee Highway.