The Marriott hotel near the Key Bridge closed almost two years ago, but a recent uptick in service calls about people living there prompted Arlington to condemn and clear the building.
Police, fire and EMS worked to get almost 20 people out of the deteriorating building on Langston Boulevard in Rosslyn, moving them to county housing services.
"We have not been looking to criminalize anyone for seeking shelter,” Deputy County Manager Aaron Miller said. “There have been no arrests made, no enforcement action taken. Our number one priority is their safety, their health and their wellbeing."
Since the first of the year, Arlington County Police have responded to 13 different calls to service there, and a recent medical call sent EMS inside to find dozens of people living in a building the county says is too dangerous to be inside.
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“Once they started breaking into the building, that's a very unsafe thing to happen, and we as neighbors could notice that they were breaking through the windows and doors," said Jolie Bain Pillsbury, who lives nearby.
“You could tell it was getting chaotic and unsafe,” she added.
A California-based developer bought the building several years ago, and Arlington approved a site plan to redevelop the area in March 2020, but the development stalled.
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In addition to helping people find more appropriate shelter, condemning the building gives Arlington legal leverage against the developer.
The old Marriott – built in 1959 – is a stark contrast to the shiny, modern Rosslyn skyline. Now the county can place a lien against the developer to recoup the taxpayer dollars used there and potentially help advance a future project.
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