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Arlington Board Paves Way for Mom's Organic Market on Lee Highway

New grocery store will be less than a half-mile from Courthouse Metro.

The Arlington County Board unanimously approved a series of measures on Saturday that will allow for the redevelopment of an eyesore on Lee Highway into a 10-story apartment building and bring a new specialty grocery store to the neighborhood.

McCaffrey Interests plans to redevelop the former Bergmann's dry cleaning plant and an adjacent property, including cleaning up the environmentally contaminated site.

The developer plans to lease much of the ground-floor retail space to Mom's Organic Market, a Rockvlle, Md.-based grocer that unabashedly declares itself an "environmentalist."

The store buys local when possible, does not sell bottled water, relies on wind power and composts its biodegradable waste. The grocer would be less than a half-mile from the Courthouse Metro Station, and it would be situated in the North Highlands community — home to more than 3,000 residents.

"I'm not worried about having too many grocers. There's no question about it: I like this," board member Chris Zimmerman said as elected officials settled in to several hours of deliberations about what exactly to require of the developer, building heights and the county's policy on grocery stores in general.

McCaffrey, the developer behind Market Common Clarendon, plans to put 202 apartments and 13,257-square-feet of retail space at 2145 and 2147 Lee Highway. That's between North Veitch Street and Interstate 66.

The east block will feature a 10-story apartment building with 160 residential units. The west block will house a two- to three-story building that includes the ground-level grocer and 42 more apartments.

Through negotiations with the county, the develop committed to maintaining 11 units as "affordable" for 30 years; to contributing $150,000 to the county's Parks and Recreation Department for improvements to nearby McCoy Park; to realign the Custis Trail intersection with Lee Highway; to contributing $75,000 for a new traffic light at Lee and Veitch, along with widening and landscaping the medians and improving bus stops in the area; and providing pre-loaded SmarTrip cards or subsidizing car-sharing membership to apartment residents and retail employees.

McCaffrey, too, will pay $75,000 into the county's public art fund.

A parking garage will provide 242 spaces — more than the county requires.

Vice Chairman Walter Tejada asked county staff to look into the feasibility of putting an outdoor amphitheater at McCoy Park, in which some neighbors have expressed interest.

Jason Spencer December 10, 2012 at 07:22 PM
We had a reader questions about the "affordable" units. Per the county's agreement with the developer, the 11 committed affordable units would be considered affordable to individuals and families making up to 60 percent of the area median income — that's $64,500 for a family of four. Find the complete income guidelines here: http://patch.com/bvepW

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