Rosslyn, once again eligible for DoD offices.
On a day when Maryland released renderings of the Purple Line subway in Bethesda, and Arlington got specific on streetcar vehicles, the biggest urbanist news is probably that the Department of Defense has relaxed security rules that effectively outlawed using urban buildings for DoD offices.
After 9/11 the Pentagon established strict security standards for DoD offices. Among other things, those standards required large setbacks from the street, which meant that offices couldn’t locate in the most central urban areas, or in pedestrian-oriented buildings. This pushed a lot of federal workers out of Metro-accessible offices in places like Rosslyn and Crystal City out to more suburban locations.
The new rules, which were announced on December 7 but didn’t hit the public news until yesterday, relax the rules so that DoD offices only have to comply with the same design standards as federal office buildings leased by civilian agencies. This means they can once again locate in urban buildings.
Not only does this eliminate a major advantage that suburban office centers had over urban ones, it also reduces the pressure to build bad suburban buildings in urban places that should be walkable.