Virginia transportation leaders drop I-66 air rights plans

WASHINGTON — Virginia transportation leaders laid to rest prospects of selling air rights to developers for projects built above Interstate 66 by saying it just won’t happen.

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Commonwealth Transportation Board, officials from CTP, and the Virginia Department of Transportation said such projects would be both challenging and cost prohibitive to build.

And there may be no developer demand anyway.

“There is a huge glut of office space at the moment, and the cost of building on one of these podiums is significant,” said Commonwealth Transportation Board member Mary Hynes. “I just think everybody sort of thinks the climate is not right, moving forward,” she said.

The only viable air rights project seriously floated has come from Rosslyn, eyed as a patch of development directly over the interstate east of North Lynn Street, adjacent to Rosslyn’s Gateway Park.

“Even in Rosslyn, it wasn’t getting to a threshold where it was viable economically,” said VDOT Commissioner Charles Kilpatrick.

The air rights development idea was added to Arlington’s s six-year-old Realize Rosslyn plan, a vision for Rosslyn’s future redevelopment, in 2014.

VDOT had also considered seeking bids for air rights deals in Fairfax County.

Tuesday’s statement puts an end to any air rights discussions anywhere for now.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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