The Arlington County Board last week instructed the county manager to explore options for creating a public-private partnership with owner Forest City Enterprises to redevelop the aging Ballston Common Mall. The board directed the manager to report back to the board with an outline of a possible agreement within the next 30 days.
Forest City Enterprises is proposing a strategic partnership with the county to transform the mall, which sits at the heart of Ballston, described as one of Arlington’s key urban villages, and has been in economic decline. The developer proposes a $300 million redeveloping of the mall into Ballston Quarter, a more open, dynamic and outward-facing mixed-use development that will include 365,000 square feet of retail and about 400 new residential units. Ballston Quarter will be able to compete regionally for high-quality retailers and serve as a catalyst for the ongoing development and redevelopment of Ballston.
“For decades, Arlington has invested in Ballston Common Mall,” said Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan in a county press release. “Through public-private partnerships, we transformed the mall years ago from its Parkington origins. We own the mall’s public parking garage, and we brought the Kettler Iceplex there. I believe that a new partnership with Forest City offers us an opportunity to protect and enhance those past investments and make the mall an exciting place that will draw people from across the region to shop, dine and enjoy entertainment.”