Downtown McLean hasn’t changed much in 20 years, perhaps longer. A renewal may be coming, led by Washington Real Estate Investment Trust and the JBG Cos., owners of two key properties.
But McLean will not be “Tysonized,” said Bob Elliott, WRIT’s director of development, in response to comments from Sally Horn, president of the McLean Citizens Association.
“This is the most dense part of the McLean, the tallest part of McLean,” Elliott said. “When you look around, nothing has happened for the last two decades.”
WRIT has owned the Ashby, a 256-unit, 12-story apartment complex located on Beverly Road, since the mid-1990s. It’s pitching an addition of 216 units (192 in a new, 10-story building and 25 units converted from existing retail spaces), new retail along Beverly Road, up to 58 percent green space and underground parking to replace surface lots.
The effort, Elliott said, is meant to “get rid of the old suburban-style feel” and “create an amenity for McLean,” the “kinds of things we think McLean wants.” The Ashby is located in the heart of downtown McLean, between Beverly Road, Route 123 and Old Dominion Drive.
“We’ve owned the property for nearly 20 years,” he said. “We look at this in the long term, trying to do the right thing. We don’t see this as ‘Tysonizing.'”
It’s still very early in the process. WRIT will need to have the Comprehensive Plan amended, the site rezoned and its site plans approved before any work can get started. And it faces opposition, based on Horn’s comments, from the citizens association — though the McLean Chamber of Commerce and other community leaders are willing to at least consider the proposal.