Key Bridge Marriott redevelopment wins OK

Rendering shows the Key Bridge Marriott (center) surrounded by new development approved by the Arlington County Board on March 24, 2020.

The 592-unit Key Bridge Marriott – a landmark on the local scene for more than six decades – will see major changes following recent Arlington County Board action.

Parts of the hotel will be demolished (and the remainder renovated) while three new residential buildings will be added to the site, under a plan approved 4-0 by County Board members on March 24.

“This plan adds much-needed housing in Rosslyn, new public open space and a major renovation of the Marriott Hotel, greatly enhancing the aesthetics and functionality of this highly visible site in Rosslyn,” County Board Chairman Libby Garvey said in a statement after the vote. (The 4-0 tally represents the absence of Erik Gutshall, away on long-term medical leave.)

As part of the plan, a total of 445 hotel units will be renovated, and the 5.5-acre parcel will be augmented by a trio of 16-story residential buildings comprising 445 units, two to the immediate east of the hotel and the third atop the existing hotel parking garage to the west. The entire parcel is nestled between Lee Highway and the Potomac River.

The development plan includes creation of two new streets that will open to a public esplanade on the north end of the site. The hotel renovation will include an on-site restaurant and café, which will be open from both the interior of the hotel and the esplanade. Private terraces for the renovated hotel ballroom and new restaurant will face the esplanade.

A crescent-shaped park is planned for the site’s Fort Myer Drive frontage, offering improved pedestrian and bicycle access to Key Bridge.

County school officials estimate that the new residential development will generate 14 elementary-school students, five middle-school studens and five high-school students, although in recent years the number of students living in urban areas of the county (such as Rosslyn) has been growing. Currently, the parcel is within the attendance areas of Taylor Elementary School, Dorothy Hamm Middle School and Yorktown High School.

As part of the March 24 vote, the developer received permission to have fewer parking spaces than otherwise would have been required for the residential portion of the project, which has been the case for a number of recent redevelopment projects.

The Key Bridge Marriott opened in 1957; Debbie Marriott, then the 2-year-old daughter of Bill and Donna Marriott, cut the ribbon on the complex. It was for many years the oldest continually operated property of Marriott Worldwide, but then changed hands several times while plans for development of the parcel evolved. It currently is owned by California-based developer KBLH LLC.

Before becoming home to the hotel, the parcel in question was zoned for use as heavy industry, a not unusual usage in the mid-20th-century for what is now seen as prime real estate. Among its earlier uses: a laundry service, print shop, brewery and bottling plant for Cherry Smash soda.

Despite what might be seen as its historical and architectural provenance, the hotel is not part of a local historical district.

(1) comment


How many hospitality workers employed on-site will be able to live in the taxpayer-subsidized 'affordable' housing to be constructed with the developer's contribution for 'affordable' housing? Will any?

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