Arlington County Takes Steps to Address Rising Office Vacancy Rates

April 22, 2024

On April 20, 2024, the Arlington County Board considered several policy changes designed to address the rising office vacancy rate in the county. The board’s attempts are part of the county’s efforts to revitalize the commercial real estate industry through the Commercial Market Resiliency Initiative (CMRI).

The board specifically took the following actions.

  • Adaptive Reuse: The board approved a request to advertise (RTA) zoning ordinance amendments to potentially revise the entitlements process for adaptive reuse projects. Adaptive reuse projects involve keeping an existing office building and changing the use from office to residential or hotel. The board could adopt the zoning changes as early as September 2024.
  • Rosslyn Density: The board also approved an RTA to allow certain Rosslyn projects to exceed the 10.0 maximum floor area ratio (FAR) permitted in the C-O Rosslyn District. The intent is to allow certain parts of a project that were approved as density exclusions to be repurposed even if this results in the project exceeding 10.0 FAR. The board is scheduled to consider the Rosslyn density zoning ordinance amendment at its July meeting.
  • Compact Car Parking: The board approved a zoning ordinance amendment to allow compact car parking spaces for hospitals, hospital-related medical and healthcare facilities, medical offices, retail sales, service uses and guest/visitor parking. Currently, compact car parking for these uses is not allowed to count toward a project’s parking requirements. The board will consider additional zoning ordinance amendments in May to expand the use of off-site parking and onsite parking.

The county will also consider additional zoning ordinance amendments throughout 2024 to combat the rising office vacancy rates.

Please stay tuned for additional updates throughout 2024.