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CRYSTAL CITY, VA-The Crystal City Planning Task Force meet for the first time on Thursday afternoon. The highlight of the afternoon was provided by a Silver Spring-based development consultant retained to assist Crystal City as it prepares for the departure of several military and defense related agencies after the Department of Defense’s Base Realignment and Closure Commission in 2005.

The consultant team described several possible directions for the submarket, according to Terry Holzheimer, director of economic development for Arlington County. One interesting scenario, Holzheimer tells GlobeSt.com, was the suggestion that the Jefferson Davis Highway, the main thoroughfare in Crystal City, could model itself after New York City’s Park Avenue.

Planners in this submarket have been thinking about Crystal City’s future ever since BRAC announced its plans to redeploy its military assets. Earlier this summer, Arlington County’s BRAC Transition Task Force issued a report noting that 76.8% of all office space in the Crystal City submarket will be affected. Other submarkets that will lose military and defense tenants include Rosslyn (12.8%), Ballston (8.5%), Pentagon City (1.8%) and Court House (0.1%), according to that report. This same task force suggested Crystal City form a planning task force.

“The BRAC decision led us to conclude that we have a lot of older buildings that are reaching an end of useful life and we have to make the transition to an economy that relies on the private sector,” Holzheimer says.

One recent proposal, put forth by Vornado Realty Trust, under consideration is the conversion of an existing office building into a multifamily unit, Holzheimer says.

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