The Glebe Center, also known as the Glebe Shopping Center, is a historic shopping center in Arlington County, Virginia’s Ballston neighborhood. Built in 1940, it is particularly noteworthy for being designed by Washington, DC’s legendary architect Mihran Mesrobian. On December 3rd, 2003, it was designated on the Virginia Landmark Register, and on February 11th, 2004, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the Glebe Center is still home to a number of businesses.
Backstory and Context
In the 1930s, Washington, DC and the areas around it, including Arlington, Virginia and others, were experiencing a boom in population growth, largely from government personnel moving to work around DC. Along with this rise in population came the opportunity for increased economic and commercial gain, and shopping centers began to crop up around the area. During the time, the F&W Construction Company was considering building a shopping center in the Ballston neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia. Famed DC architect Mihran Mesrobian pitched the idea of the Glebe Center as a potential shopping center to the company, and they took to the design. Construction on the Glebe Center began in 1940, and it was completed that year and open for businesses.
The Glebe Center was quickly filled with businesses looking to take up residence there. Over the next two decades, it saw a great deal of use by the people of Ballston, though it did receive some criticism around 1960 by critics claiming that parking would be an issue since automobiles were in far more frequent use than before, and there was little room for parking lot expansion. Despite the criticism, the Glebe Center continued to thrive throughout the 1960s and beyond. On December 3rd, 2003, it was designated on the Virginia Landmark Register, and on February 11th, 2004, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The Glebe Center is still currently in business, and in continues to attract patrons and potential businesses on a fairly regular basis.