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Envision Courthouse Square Dares to Reimagine Neighborhood

Throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan area there are few neighborhoods that have as illustrious a history or exciting development prospects as the Courthouse neighborhood in Arlington. As a hub of technology business, purveyor of exciting retail opportunities and seat of the county government, Courthouse is not only a wonderful place to venture to, but it is also becoming one of the hottest neighborhoods to live. Now, as the excitement around the neighborhood continues to build, local officials are daring to stake an even bigger claim in the neighborhood by re-imagining the design and layout.

Envision Courthouse Square is a planning effort organized by the local community that intends to help build on the neighborhood’s stellar reputation and status as one of the best in the metropolitan area. Lately, the group has been planning on updating the vision for the community, last outlined in 1993.

Officials hope that in identifying where the neighborhood, its local businesses, and home owners are at now, and putting forth a goal for them all in the future, will help to keep the development and excitement alive in this bustling district.

As momentum builds, the Envision project brings together local government officials, home owners and business owners toward the common goal of making the neighborhood better for all. The group began by looking outward, polling area residents and business owners on their own vision on the use of open space, building use, building location and design, circulation and parking, cultural resources and sustainability.

1993 Plan Set the Stage For Immense Growth

The core initiative of the Envision group is rather integral to the growth of the area in general as the 1993 Courthouse Sector Plan Addendum laid the groundwork for the bustling neighborhood that Courthouse has evolved into through present day.

Back in 1993, officials determined that the success of the neighborhood would depend largely on a state-of-the-art government center and signature public space. As a result, the neighborhood evolved into a high density, walkable urban destination with ample yet important access granted to public transportation.

With the introduction of the Courthouse metro stop in the 1970s, the area diversified its home owning population. Prior to that even, single-family homes dominated the residential landscape, but since then other types of housing have popped up including high-rise condominiums, townhomes, rental apartments and a garden apartment complex that has been inhabited since 1935, called Colonial Village.

Now the neighborhood consists of a lot more businesses based in technology and government. The Courthouse square consists of the Court Square West government building, AMC theater property, the Arlington County Courthouse and Verizon Building plazas.

“It’s going to be a phased change over time to make it a central gathering place” for Arlington, said Jason Beske, principal planner for the county’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development, to The Washington Post. “Courthouse is on the cusp of being reinvented.”

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