In a one-two punch marking an historic inflection point in the economic development of the City of Falls Church tonight, the F.C. City Council unanimously approved special exceptions for two major mixed use projects that will now move forward to transform the City’s downtown. At 11:43 p.m. tonight, the Council approved the Rushmark project to bring a full-scale Harris Teeter grocery to the 255-301 parcels of W. Broad Street after earlier giving a similar final approval to a Lincoln Properties “Reserve at Tinner Hill” project on S. Maple Street.
Combined, the two projects will bring an estimated $2+ million in annual tax revenues to the City’s coffers, add over 500 new residential rental units and two major grocery stores to the center of the City. As lynchpins about six blocks apart, they will create the conditions for the in-fill with dense predominantly commercial development in between them.
Despite strong pressure from residents behind the Rushmark project against Harris Teeter’s desire to have only one drive aisle placement on W. Annandale Rd. in and out of the project, the Council was able to give its final OK to the project with language calling for further work to resolve the issue for purposes of public safety and traffic flow, although the project’s approval will not be conditional on the solution reached with 30 days of additional deliberation.
The Council went on record in favor of winning VDOT approval for a W. Broad St. left-turn lane entrance into the three-levels of below-ground parking in the project, which could ameliorate the concerns for traffic on W. Annandale, but official VDOT approval of such a plan may take up to six months. A Rushmark spokesman expressed support for the Council’s action.
The vote tonight also finally seals the fate of the historic Anthony’s Restaurant in the 300 block of W. Broad, which had already announced its closing date of June 2.