County Set to Triple the Density of RiverHouse Apartments

Comments At Planning Commission Meeting, February 2, 2022.

There’s been a lot of community opposition to the latest Pentagon City Sector Plan. With good reason. When the plan is built out, there will be no place for the foot traffic let alone car traffic. Another concern is absorption. The Pentagon City residential vacancy rate is about 6 percent right now. What will it be when the density is tripled?

In recent ARLnow commentary Suzanne Sundburg described the situation in Ballston which currently boasts a vacancy rate of 6.7 percent:

“Not only are existing apartment complexes experiencing continued high vacancy rates, but the new “Class A” apartment buildings aren’t getting leased up. . .

“John Shooshan couldn’t lease enough units in the Rixey (the Marymount site in Ballston) and sold it back to Marymount in 2019.

“And now Marymount cannot lease enough of the units to its students and staff so it wants to convert apartment units into hotel units.

“This follows the conversion of 175 of [Forest City’s] 405 Ballston Quarter’s apartments into short-term WhyHotel units.

“Some of this persistent vacancy problem could be attributed to the astronomical asking rents . . . and some could be attributed to the dumping of thousands of new units onto an already oversaturated market.

“And then there’s the ‘boomeranging back home’ of 42% of Northern Virginia’s young people, who cannot afford these asking rents.

“For now these buildings are continuing to swing it . . . but at some point, the party ends. . . The fallout from the pandemic and the overbuilding spree may be delayed but it won’t be denied forever.”

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