Crystal City is an urban community located in Arlington County, Va., just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. Crystal City is the state’s largest walkable downtown. One of the most interesting characteristics of this city is its extensive network of underground corridors, affording pedestrians the option to travel between buildings without going outside.
About 70,000 people are employed in Crystal City, which is home to a long list of well-known organizations. The United States Marshals Service has its headquarters in Crystal City. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), various offices of The Pentagon, and the United States Department of Labor are all in Crystal City. Technology companies PBS, American Public Power Association, and TechShop operate here as well. Perhaps most notably, Crystal City recently was chosen as the site for Amazon’s HQ2.
What Our Brokers Say About Crystal City Office Space
Crystal City is located along Jefferson Davis Highway south of The Pentagon, west of the Potomac River, and northwest of the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Nearby neighborhoods include Pentagon City, Clarendon, Rosslyn, and Ballston. Crystal City’s business improvement district website notes that Crystal City is an important economic engine for Arlington County and is on the same level as other major business districts like Austin, Indianapolis, and even Miami.
Arlington County, which contains Crystal City, contains everything from tech startups to internationally known corporations. Aerospace & defense; cybersecurity; medical technology; media & publishing; and education technology are a few of the county’s most lucrative industries. Arlington boasts a high percentage of workers between the ages of 25 and 34, low taxes, and unmatched transportation options. Crystal City in particular has a high number of defense and technology companies. Besides housing the aforementioned tech companies, Crystal City also has WeWork, Eastern Foundry, WeLive, SinWave Ventures, and TechShop. The recent arrival of Amazon’s HQ2 is expected to solidify Crystal City’s place on the map as a creative and tech hub. The tech giant has signed leases renting 537,000 square feet of office space over three different buildings. Amazon will officially begin its move to Crystal City in 2020 and employ more than 25,000 people.
Transportation in Crystal City is nothing short of stellar, according to the City of Arlington’s website. With such an impressive network of underground walkways, Crystal City is already a pedestrian’s dream come true. Locals and visitors can shop, eat, and even get their hair cut in the underground mall, which Washingtonian writer Noah Lanard compares to walking through an airport that doesn’t have gates. Then, of course, the nearby Jefferson Davis Highway and the George Washington Parkway make getting around by car pretty easy, too. Crystal City also has its one Washington Metro station, the Crystal City station. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) provides Blue and Yellow Line service through this station. The Virginia Railway Express (VRE), a commuter rail, has a station called Crystal City Station in the neighborhood as well. The Arlington Transit Service (ART) provides bus services in the area. Reagan Airport is so close that people could walk there from Crystal City.
Crystal City isn’t all business. Once you decide to establish or grow your business alongside The Pentagon, Amazon’s HQ2, and Washington, D.C., it’s time to see what else Crystal City has to offer. Most employees will venture out of the office fairly early on to see what they can find for lunch. Enjoy some Spanish tapas at Jaleo, classic items like burgers and salad at Highline RxR, some premier seafood at McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant, or some steaks at Ruth’s Chris Steak House.
Crystal City Commercial Space For Lease | By the numbers
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Office Space | Crystal City Lease Data & Trends
Crystal City houses more than 10.6 million square feet of office space, and plenty of it is open and available to new renters; the neighborhood has a 19.5 percent vacancy rate. On average, office spaces in Crystal City cost $43 per square foot to rent. Pricing in Crystal City is similar to that of other popular areas in Northern Virginia, such as neighborhoods Virginia Square and Ballston.
Crystal City has Class A, Class B, and Class C office spaces available, with more Class B spaces than either of the other two types. The Class B offices cost an average of $44 per square foot to rent. The Class C spaces cost just under $39 to rent. There are a few Class A spaces; office space seekers can rent these for an average of just over $47 per square foot.
Crystal City Neighborhood History
Arlington County almost became the site of the nation’s capital. It was not chosen for that purpose, but the county, along with part of the City of Alexandria, did used to be part of the District of Columbia. However, Congress gave Alexandria County back to Virginia in 1847. In 1920, “Alexandria County” was renamed “Arlington County.” Interestingly, Arlington’s government performs both city and county duties.
Today, Arlington contains very little farmland and open space, but back in the day, many parts of the county were sparse. In the 1930s, Crystal City was a “hodgepodge of junkyards, low rent motels, and light industrial uses,” Andrew D’huyvetter writes. That was before Charles E. Smith Co. began developing the area. Crystal City isn’t a planned community, though some of its characteristics suggest that it is. The neighborhood got its name from a crystal chandelier in an apartment building from 1965, which is actually still standing in the neighborhood.
Crystal City’s economy began to take off around 1977 with the arrival of the metrorail. Also around that time, the Crystal Underground shopping mall opened with 40 stores. Eventually, Crystal City had connections to ART, Metrobus, Metrorail, the VRE, and the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, earning its reputation as a multimodal transportation hub.
Future plans for Crystal City involve stipulations for building location, an emphasis on improving walkability, the establishment of more public open spaces, and the generation of funds to improve streets and transit.