The National Landing Business Improvement District in Northern Virginia has outlined plans for creating what it says will be the most “well-connected downtown in the country,” following its selection as home to Amazon HQ2.
In a recent report, BID showcased several public-private partnership projects, with costs totaling $4 billion, that will improve transit in National Landing, outside of Washington, D.C., which encompasses parts of Virginia’s Crystal City, Pentagon City, Arlington County neighborhoods and the Potomac Yard neighborhood of Alexandria. The moniker “National Landing” was chosen when Amazon selected the area for its project.
Construction on Amazon HQ2 began in January 2020 with the demolition of the previous structures. The project team — including development partner JBG Smith, general contractor Clark Construction and ZGF Architects — is building two, 22-story office towers in the Metropolitan Park site in Pentagon City. The current phase is scheduled to be complete in 2023.
The transit projects, many of which are directly related to Amazon’s decision to build its second national headquarters in National Landing, will be developed over the course of the next decade. They include following:
Second Metrorail station in Crystal City
The new Metrorail station entrance project was one of five included in Virginia’s Memorandum of Agreement with Amazon. The $90 million project will construct a second entrance for the Crystal City Metrorail station, and be paid for with a combination of local, state and federal funding. JBG Smith is designing the station in a public-private partnership with Arlington County, and the station entrance is anticipated to open by the end of 2023.
Transitway North to South
An extension of the existing Crystal City to Potomac Yard transitway to Pentagon City is also part of Amazon’s agreement with Virginia. The road project, expected to be complete in 2022, will extend dedicated bus lanes, increasing high-capacity bus service to Pentagon City.
Potomac Yard-Alexandria infill Metro station
The city of Alexandria is constructing the Potomac Yard Metro station, to service the neighborhood that is expected to grow to include 7.5 million square feet of new offices, homes and retail destinations, according to the report. The new station, which is scheduled for completion in 2022, will anchor an urban corridor from Old Town Alexandria to Pentagon City.
Crystal City to National Airport Multimodal Connector
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is less than a third of a mile from National Landing’s main retail area. The Crystal City to National Airport Multimodal Connector will create a pedestrian walkway between National Landing and Washington National Airport. Estimated for completion in 2028, the project’s funding will come from Virginia, Arlington County and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority. Additionally, connector will make National Landing the first downtown within walkable distance of an airport, the report says.
Route 1 removal and replacement
Route 1 bisects downtown National Landing. The Virginia Department of Transportation plans to remove and replace the highway with a new “unifying, urban boulevard” by 2028. The project's funding still has to be determined, though it was highlighted as a key project in Virginia’s agreement with Amazon.
New Long Bridge
The new Long Bridge project will add a two-track rail bridge across the Potomac River between Virginia and the district. The current bridge, built in 1904, creates a bottleneck in the region’s rail network. When finished in 2030, the bridge will significantly expand passenger rail service and double the existing Amtrak service in Virginia.
The new structure, which will be funded by Amtrak and Virginia, will also include a bicycle and pedestrian bridge, creating a walkable link between National Landing and Southwest Washington, D.C. The number of daily Virginia Railway Express trains will increase — from 29 trains per day to 53 — when the Long Bridge is finished.
New Virginia rail station
Virginia Railway Express is designing a passenger rail station in National Landing, with an expected completion in 2024. The station will be built on land owned by JBG Smith, and the company will work with VRE to design and fund the entryway to National Landing. Additionally, the station will service Amtrak and Maryland Area Regional Commuter service and will be designed for a potential connection to the airport.
MARC and VRE are separate commuter lines, though “through-running” the lines would allow for a single ride from Virginia to Maryland for the first time, the report says. That will expand the services to 765,000 additional people within commuting distance across 97,000 additional homes, it notes.
Project Journey terminal
Project Journey is Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s $650 million program to construct a 14-gate terminal and two security checkpoints at National Airport. Scheduled for completion this year, the project is not intended to result in increased flight capacity, but rather reduce crowding in the airport.