Arlington Board’s Changes to Approval Practices Will Impact Arlington Commercial Real Estate

2 min

In February 2024, the Arlington County Board is expected to advertise significant changes to Arlington planning and zoning approval practices. In the second phase of the Commercial Market Resiliency Initiative (CMRI), the board seeks to enhance “office conversion, repositioning, redevelopment, tenant support, and placemaking” within Arlington County. The enhancements, which the board will likely adopt this summer, will have long-lasting impacts on the county’s commercial real estate environment. The changes may also act as a model for other updates to planning and zoning regimes throughout Northern Virginia to address office vacancy issues.

In mid-2022, Arlington County set up the CMRI to increase commercial market resiliency through efforts to support a more robust real estate sector and economy in the wake of the pandemic. Following an initial CMRI process, the county said it remains aware of “increasing vacancy” in office buildings. According to a news release, the second phase of the initiative, known as CMRI 2.0, is “designed to address the changing commercial and fiscal reality” and “will focus on five strategic areas: office conversion, repositioning, redevelopment, tenant support, and placemaking.”

Although significant attention has been paid to office-to-residential conversions, county staff has indicated a willingness to revise other elements of its planning and entitlement processes, including updates to its zoning and land use regulations. Feedback from stakeholders will be crucial in determining the scope and priorities of the CMRI.

Discussions on specific improvements to these workstreams are ongoing within the Arlington County government. Zoning, land use, and real estate attorneys at Venable are working actively in advising county staff on how these changes can most effectively impact current and future commercial development within Arlington County.

If you’d like to talk about how the CMRI might affect your organization, contact Ked Whitmore, or any of the attorneys in Venable’s Land Use and Zoning practice group.