Image: Hilton via Arlington County
A proposed Hilton Hotel in the Colonial Village neighborhood faced scrutiny from the Site Plan Review Committee Monday night. The plans call to remove the former Colony House Furniture building and replace it with a “Hilton Homewood Suites,” an extended stay hotel.The eight story hotel will have 168 units for guests to stay in and a two-level garage with spaces for guests to rent.
The SPRC had transportation concerns.
The planned hotel would be built at 1700 Lee Highway, the intersection of the highway and N. Quinn Street. The current plan removes an acceleration lane that allows drivers to get up to speed before entering Lee Highway traffic. Accelerating from N. Quinn or while in the travel lanes would be unnecessarily dangerous, committee members said.
The bus stop at the intersection would be altered to pick up pedestrians from the travel lane on Lee Highway if the acceleration lane is removed. Arlington planning staff said that pedestrian safety would not be jeopardized from the change according to studies done by the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Cecilia Cassidy, Executive Director of the Rosslyn Business Improvement District, thought that removing the lane would create an unsafe environment for both motorists and people using the public transportation. Especially during rush hour, she said.
Staff member Dennis Sellin countered, “There is sufficient site distance for cars eastbound on the highway to see a stopped bus, to see the lights on a stopped bus and to be aware to make that stop distance.” Not all committee members were convinced the data being used was accurate.
Planning staff said they would take objections into consideration as the plans develop.
Also of concern was the way guests of the hotel enter and exit the garage.
The hotel’s check-in and pick-up center in front of the building faces N. Quinn St. Guests checking into the hotel would have to pull off of N. Quinn St. and park at the front entrance, check in at the desk and then get back on N. Quinn to access the garage entrance with their room card.
“Does that do weird things on Quinn St.? Is there another way around that?” asked committee member Peter Fallon.
Developers told the committee that because there is not a lot of space on the site they decided to keep the check-in lot and the underground lot entrances separate. This gives the developers more room to design an entrance to the hotel.
The developers are also requesting a modification to the county’s hotel parking garage ratio guidelines. Arlington County calls for a ratio of one parking space to one hotel unit. The applicant is asking for a ratio of a little over half at 0.58 spaces per room.
According to Mary Beth Avedesian of the BF Saul Company, at least three other hotels in Arlington use this ratio.The hotel would provide a shuttle for guests to reach the Rosslyn Metro station, about a half-mile away.
The next meeting is scheduled for Monday June 18 at the County Government Building.