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Pentagon City Metro Stop - Blue and Yellow Lines - 1250 S. Hayes St., Arlington, VA 22202
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Pentagon City
 is an unincorporated neighborhood (also called an "urban village") located in the southeast portion of Arlington County, Virginia, near The Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery. Due to its proximity to Washington, D.C., this community of residential, office, and retail complexes is a major tourist stop.  Pentagon City is less than a mile from the Potomac River, which separates the Commonwealth of Virginia from Washington, D.C. It is located on the Blue and Yellow Lines of the Washington Metro, and the Pentagon City Metro station is one of the busiest in the metrorail system during peak and off-peak hours. It is also one of the few metro stations to have SmarTrip-only lanes.

The Pentagon has parking lots on both sides of nearby Shirley Memorial Highway (I-395), on the North edge of Pentagon City. The neighborhood of Crystal City borders Pentagon City to the East along Jefferson Davis Highway (U.S. Route 1), separating Pentagon City from National Airport. To the South is the neighborhood of Aurora Highlands and the Virginia Highlands Park. To the West is the neighborhood of Arlington Ridge. Washington Boulevard (State Route 27), Arlington Boulevard (U.S. Route 50), Columbia Pike (State Route 244), and State Route 110 are nearby major thoroughfares.

History

Office buildings in Pentagon City

The area was formerly known as "ReLee." The land was undeveloped through World War II. In the post-World War II era, the land was held by the Cafritz family pending future development, as empty fields and commercial warehouses. A Western Electric telephone manufacturing facility occupied the structure now redeveloped as "Pentagon Centre." In the 1960s, high-rise apartment buildings were erected on Hayes, Fern, and Joyce Streets.

On July 1, 1977, the Pentagon City Metrorail station opened on the Blue Line. Although the new station bordered a large empty field, the station stimulated high density development.

Washington Tower, designed by RTKL Associates, located above the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City

In the 1990s, MCI Communications had a major presence in Pentagon City, with the company's Consumer Markets headquarters occupying Washington Tower, a 12-story office building that sits atop the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. MCI also occupied two of the four office towers immediately across South Hayes Street, known as Pentagon City I & II (often abbreviated "PCY").

In 2003, the Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority proposed five Northern Virginia sites as possible locations to host the relocating Montréal Expos. Pentagon Centre, shopping mall, was one of three sites in Arlington County. The other two proposed Arlington sites were a plot of undeveloped land closer to the Pentagon and a site in the neighborhood of Rosslyn. The issue was highly divisive and some Pentagon City residents launched a visible campaign against it. After the Arlington County Board opposed a stadium in Arlington, the final Virginia bid featured a site near Dulles Airport instead. Major League Baseball finally announced in the fall of 2004 that the Expos would move to the District of Columbia as the Washington Nationals.

Commercial

Pentagon Row shops

The area includes a multi-level indoor shopping mall, the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City (also known as the Pentagon City Mall). On the west side of the Fashion Centre is the mixed-use development of Pentagon Row, which includes a grocery store and many smaller specialty stores and restaurants in the midst of high-end apartments. Pentagon Row features an outdoor ice rink during the winter and a free outdoor concert series on the plaza in the summer. Additionally, a third shopping facility, Pentagon Centre, is located to the east of the Fashion Centre across Hayes Street.

Pentagon City also is home to the DEA, TSA, and other office buildings housing various other businesses. Given the proximity to The Pentagon, many are Defense-related businesses. The DEA Museum is nearby on Army Navy Drive.

Residential

Within Pentagon City there are many high-rise luxury apartments and condos. Around the Fashion Centre Mall complex are several apartment buildings including The Metropolitan at Pentagon Row, Pentagon Row, and Park View. Across from the Pentagon City Mall and Costco is the four-story Southampton Condominium townhouse community. Also on that block are Claridge House, and Potomac Center Genesis Care; both residences for retired as well as disabled residents.

There is an open eight phase construction site next door to Costco on Fern St, where the new Metropolitan Park development is being constructed. Kettler, real-estate development and property management company, razed warehouses that were a portion of an older industrial park for the project. The first phase of the project, completed in late 2007, consisted of The Gramercy at Metropolitan Park high-end rental apartments. Phase two of the project is scheduled for completion in late 2009 and consists of The Millennium at Metropolitan Park, a second high-end rental apartments. Both phases were architecturally planned by Robert A.M. Stern and include ground floor retail spaces suitable for any use. A two-and-a-half-acre park, with commissioned art, is also being constructed at the center of the project.

Virginia Highlands Park, located immediately south of the central retail area, provides a lush green space as well as basketball, tennis, soccer, and softball/baseball facilities. Adjacent to the park are the Aurora Hills branch of the Arlington Public Library system and a firehouse. The suburban neighborhood of Aurora Hills, which consists primarily of single-family detached housing, extends due south of Pentagon City.

Photo: Pentagon City buildingsYou might not expect one of Arlington's freshest and most fashionable neighborhoods to be so close to the Pentagon, but that's exactly what you'll find in this urban village. Most people in the Washington/Arlington area know the shopping mall Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, and that surely is a highlight of the area, but there is a lot more.

Upon leaving Pentagon City Metro station, one undeniable first impression is the crisp feeling of an almost shiny newness that surrounds the area. From brand new shopping centers, high-rise apartments and office buildings, and the beautifully landscaped greenspaces that surround them, to the crowd of busy 20- and 30-somethings who live, work, and play here, Pentagon City just exudes the fresh buzz of 'new.'  And indeed, this area has seen the bulk of its development in the last two decades, with development still ongoing.The regional Capital Bikeshare program has bike stations nearby, making for an easy bike ride into D.C. or around the area.

Pentagon City apartment dwellers take walking paths through expanses of finely-manicured lawns and landscaping to public transportation and a wide array of retail services. 24-hour grocery stores, hip bars and nice restaurants make Pentagon City a self-contained community.

The community feeling extends beyond the immediate surroundings of the Metro as well. Less than two blocks from the Metro station lies Virginia Highlands Park, an immense public space with playgrounds, basketball courts, tennis courts, baseball diamonds, footpaths, and a soccer field. Just beyond this, you'll find lower-density residential neighborhoods characterized by single-family homes and two-car garages.

But of course, it's hard to ignore the shopping that makes Pentagon City famous. To the residents of the Arlington and Washington area, Pentagon City is first and foremost a retail destination, with what is probably the finest collection of shops, cafes, and restaurants inside the beltway. Macy's, Nordstrom's, and Abercrombie & Fitch are among the favorites of the more than 150 shops and restaurants in the sky-lit Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. Flanking the Fashion Centre are several other high-quality outdoor shopping centers, offering showcase stores, such as Costco, trendy eateries, and designer coffee shops. And in an unexpected bonus, an outdoor ice rink in the center of one of the outdoor shopping centers offers another great outdoor activity.