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Why Is It Called ‘National Landing’? The Skinny On The D.C. Area’s Newest Super-Neighborhood

    The Arlington neighborhoods of Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard are connected not just by geography, but by a new name: National Landing

    The name first sprang into the public consciousness last fall, when Amazon announced its decision to locate its second headquarters in Northern Virginia. While that announcement shone an international spotlight on the region’s positive attributes, including its abundance of transportation offerings, highly educated talent pool and diverse population, it also left more than a few local residents scratching their heads about where the term “National Landing” came from, and what it means for the future of the area. 

    Explore the slideshow below to learn about how the name came to be, what it represents and how the unification of three distinct neighborhoods could further elevate the Arlington community.

    Who came up with the name National Landing? 

    While many people assume that Amazon came up with the name National Landing, the term was actually coined by economic development officials from Arlington and Alexandria as they worked on the joint proposal for Amazon HQ2.

    “These local professionals recognized that their vision for a tech-oriented office and innovation hub would span all three of these interconnected neighborhoods, and they needed a name to describe and unify the collective area,” said Tracy Sayegh Gabriel, president and executive director of the Crystal City Business Improvement District.  

    Why National Landing and not something else? 

    Efforts to identify a new overarching name for the unified downtown actually predate the Amazon search by years. In county planning documents, the area has been referred to as the Jefferson Davis Corridor, but officials believe that name does not reflect the values or the community of Arlington as a whole, particularly after a successful push to rename the critical thoroughfare Richmond Highway.

    “A long list of other names was explored over the last two years, including through the BID’s Strategic Plan, but none have resonated quite the way National Landing has, perhaps due to all of the positive publicity generated by Amazon’s decision,” Gabriel said. 

    Will National Landing replace the existing neighborhood names?

    "Not at all," Gabriel said. "Crystal City, Potomac Yard and Pentagon City are each unique and vibrant neighborhoods with distinct identities and their names are here to stay. There is a lot of community pride in our existing names. National Landing is simply meant to serve as an umbrella term for the greater urban district." 

    If National Landing is not replacing the neighborhood names, then why is it necessary at all? 

    As a major urban center and Virginia’s largest walkable downtown, community stakeholders believe it is important to give this area a name that conveys a cohesive identity and speaks to interconnectivity.

    There are several new infrastructure developments that are in the works to ensure that the area’s connectivity lives up to its new name, including a proposed intermodal link that would make it possible to walk from downtown Crystal City to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and several new mixed-use developments designed to create a pedestrian-friendly live-work-play environment. 

    Gabriel added that it also makes sense for the many organizations that are active in all three neighborhoods, including the Crystal City Business Improvement District itself. 

    “Our own organization needs a new name now that we have been approved to expand our boundaries to include parts of Pentagon City and Potomac Yard,” Gabriel said. “At present, we see National Landing BID as the leading contender and have taken formal steps to make this change.” 

    This feature was produced in collaboration between the Bisnow Branded Content Studio and Crystal City BID. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.