Arlington, Va.–USAA Real Estate Company has acquired a 1.73-acre site in Arlington, Va., from Zom Inc. and simultaneously strengthened its relationship with the seller, which has already guided the land through the entitlement process for the development of a residential mixed-use project. With USAA as owner and Zom as development manager, the two will create a Class A residential and retail destination, and further solidify the area’s reputation as a leader in transit-oriented development.
According to Arlington County records, USAA paid $18 million for the property, which Zom had acquired in 2006 for approximately $21.5 million. The new mixed-use project carries the address of 1900 Wilson Boulevard, sitting within the Rosslyn Ballston Metro Corridor and less than three miles across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. When all is said and done, the site will become home to 161 multifamily residences and just over 17,300 square feet of street-level retail space.
The Rosslyn Ballston Metro Corridor is a booming mixed-use locale and a harbinger, of sorts, of things to come for the entire country. “My colleagues are working on a report called Finding Certainty in Uncertain Times, and the question is what is certain besides death and taxes?” Edward T. McMahon, senior resident fellow and Charles Fraser chair on sustainable development with the Urban Land Institute, tells MHN. “We think a definite trend going forward, regardless of politics or policies, is transit-oriented development.”
A few factors will propel the development of more and more mixed-use TODs. First off, the country’s population is increasing at a rapid pace, but the number of highways and thoroughfares are not. “The U.S. will add 120 million people by 2050, with the D.C. area adding 2 million,” he says. “The D.C. area is the only really fast-growing area in the Northeast, and because it has a diversified economy and the federal government it is going to continue to be a magnet.”
Another dynamic that will continue to boost the creation of mixed-use TODs is the impending growth in demand for apartment residences. “Consumers are downsizing and they are spending less, but given the fact that people still need a place to sleep in the new era of less, multifamily will be the strongest. As we note in our Emerging Trends in Real Estate report for 2011, only apartments register a good outlook.”
All signs, it seems, point to an increasing embracement of TODs across the country. “There will be more of certain groups that are too old to drive, too young to drive, too infirm to drive or who just don’t want to drive, and developers of TOD projects will have the advantage,” McMahon explains. Multifamily residents are increasingly viewing environmentally friendly elements as a necessity, as opposed to a privilege. “Green is here to stay and TOD is favored by the growing demographic. It is development for this century; stand-alone development is for the last century.”
As for USAA and Zom, the two are well aware of the importance and blossoming popularity of TODs and have teamed up on such endeavors in the past. In May, USAA acquired The Mondrian at CityPlace in Uptown Dallas from Zom. Through its ZRS property management arm, ZOM continues to be involved with The Mondrian, and the company will maintain a link with 1900 Wilson after its completion by spearheading lease-up of the property.