Forest City carves out new space at Ballston Quarter

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New tenants at the 850,000-square-foot Ballston Quarter are scheduled to
open their doors in September. Courtesy Brandlink

Ballston Quarter, an 850,000-square-foot redevelopment project in Arlington, won’t be a traditional shopping mall, says Will Voegele.

He is senior vice president of development at Forest City, a Cleveland-based developer that is tearing out walls while adding gathering places and restaurant patios at the former Ballston Common Mall.

The redevelopment, which will cost $330 million, includes 360,000 square feet of retail space, 176,000 square feet of office space, a 25,000-square-foot food hall and a new 406-unit residential building.

New tenants, including several making their first appearance in Arlington, are expected to open their doors in mid-September  while leasing for the apartments will begin in the first quarter of next year.

As part of the new look, the retail space includes tenants that offer experiences instead of merchandise.  Forest City refers to them as “experiential and entertainment tenants.”

“Ballston Quarter will become an entertainment focal point, not just for the Ballston neighborhood, but it will also be a one-of-a-kind attraction in the region,” says Emily Cassell, director of Arlington Convention and Visitors Service. “Its unique experiential offerings, like the cooking school, escape room, bowling alley and food hall with local culinary concepts, will make it a destination for locals and visitors alike.”

The cooking school is Cookology. Its 5,700-square-foot space will include five kitchens offering gnocchi workshops, family sushi classes and a course called “Duck 101.” The Ballston Quarter site is Cookology’s second. The first is in Sterling.

The escape room is 5 Wits, an entertainment venue offering a movie-like scenario in which participants must solve a problem in a limited amount of time. The company has locations in Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania. This will be the first Virginia location.

The bowling alley is Punch Bowl Social, which also will have a restaurant, bar and an arcade. This will be the national chain’s first location in Virginia.

The Quarter Market Food Hall will include 18 dining choices and an outdoor plaza.

In addition to its new tenants, Ballston Quarter is home to a Regal Cinemas movie theater and Sport&Health fitness center, which have been undergoing multimillion-dollar renovations.

Voegele says Forest City is collaborating with Arlington County to make upgrades to the Ballston public parking garage, including a smart parking system.

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