Whole Foods Is Eyeing Ballston. Here's Where It Might Land
Saul Centers is planning on building one of the largest residential projects in Ballston with a 43k SF grocery store on the ground floor, a potential landing spot for the neighborhood's first Whole Foods.
The developer has submitted preliminary site plans to Arlington County to develop a multi-tiered building that's 12 stories at its peak, on the corner of Wilson Boulevard and North Glebe Road. Arlington deputy economic development director Alex Iams says Saul Centers is planning to put a grocery store in the building, and multiple sources tell Bisnow that the developer is in advanced talks with Whole Foods and other grocers to fill the space. In all, the development would have 68k SF of ground-floor retail along Wilson and Glebe. Whole Foods and Saul Centers each declined to comment for this story.
The building, designed by David M. Schwarz, would have 21 studio apartments, 299 one-bedroom units and 115 two-bedrooms. From above, the structure looks almost like a Command hook, with the four-story stretch along North Tazewell Street extending straight while the nine-, 10- and 12-story tiers curve around the corner from Wilson to Glebe. The building is planned to have three levels of underground parking with 643 spaces. The apartments will likely be luxury units (with some affordable in the building), as the second floor will have a large courtyard with water features, plants and a fireplace. The 10th floor will have an 18-by-50-foot rooftop pool and lounge and there are grills on both the ninth- and 10th-floor roof decks. In all, the building clocks in at just under 500k SF.
Currently, a Mazda dealership sits on the site, which Saul Centers bought last year for $40M. Glebe Road is the hotspot for Ballston development at the moment, with one project under construction (The Shooshan Co's Marymount University project), one recently completed (the 163-unit Maxwell apartment building at the corner of North Carlin Springs Road) and another in the pipeline (a 178-unit mixed-use building across the street from The Maxwell called 672 Flats). That's not to mention the planned overhaul of the Ballston Common Mall, also with frontage on Glebe Road. When Bisnow reported on Saul's purchase of the site, our sources said it was one of the best undeveloped sites left in the RB Corridor.
It's no wonder Saul is planning to develop a building with more units than almost any other in Ballston. And, it's no wonder Whole Foods is sniffing around. Ballston BID CEO Tina Leone says she talked with reps from the organic grocer at ICSC in Las Vegas and they are "very bullish" on Ballston. "It may just be a matter of time before we get a Whole Foods" or its new Millennial concept, she says. Considering the only grocery store in Ballston is a Harris Teeter at the corner of Glebe and Randolph—the next closest is a Giant in Virginia Square—whatever anchor Saul Centers signs is sure to be busy immediately.