News

Large Scale Mixed-Use Project 1st New Submission in 5 Years

Above and beyond good news of better-than-projected growth in revenues for the first three months of 2012 (see story, elsewhere this edition), officials at Falls Church City Hall this week are welcoming the first completely new proposal for a large scale mixed use project in the commercial corridors of the City in five years.

mckeeverbldgrenderA DIGITAL RENDERING of the proposed “McKeever Building” at 300 South Washington Street in Falls Church. (Illustration: Courtesy Bob Young)

Above and beyond good news of better-than-projected growth in revenues for the first three months of 2012 (see story, elsewhere this edition), officials at Falls Church City Hall this week are welcoming the first completely new proposal for a large scale mixed use project in the commercial corridors of the City in five years.

A six-story mixed use building that would go at 300 S. Washington, at the southwest corner with Annandale Road, is designed with architectural tulip features on its corners, symbolizing a thaw and new springtime in Falls Church development.

Developer Bob Young, who has announced his plans to relocate his home from McLean to Falls Church in the coming months, wants to build the new project, adding 52 small, one-bedroom apartments above a ground floor of retail (such as two new restaurants) and a second floor of office space.

A total of six floors, the building would by 75 feet tall, and would be called “The McKeever,” in honor of the late and popular Falls Church city manager Dan McKeever.

The apartments would be in the $1,200 to $1,500 per month price range, affordable to persons in the 80 to 100 percent range of regional median income.

Young has added an optional additional component to the project, a level of underground parking that would be 100 percent open for public use. He said that the City would have to ante up the funds for it (out of monies designated for a parking component to the now near-defunct City Center plan), but it would give the City something it’s wanted in the downtown area for a long time – namely, more public parking. At a cost of about $2 million, it would be open “24/7” to the public.

Young told the News-Press this week that his project does not gain or lose from the underground public parking option, as his plan includes sufficient parking for the needs of its prospective tenants. However, he conceded, calculating the parking numbers could be the biggest issue for getting the plan OK’d.

He said the building would be along the same lines as his popular “Flower Building” at 800 W. Broad, whose “art nouveau” design has established it as a regional landmark and is, more importantly for City revenue purposes, fully occupied.

Young’s proposed new project overall is 33 percent retail/commercial, in accordance with City wishes, and will need a special exception approval and Comprehensive Plan revision approval from the City Council to go forward. All the financing is lined up for it, Young said.

There are no residences immediately impacted by the development, and neighboring business should be encouraged by the addition of new customers from the 52 rental units, he said.

The building would have a bike sharing station, and work in tandem with a multi-modal transportation hub that is still planned for construction two blocks away.

Young had made a first proposal for the new project that was five stories, but was told by Planning Department officials it would need more commercial. He said he was happy to learn from his architects that another floor could be added “using the same construction type” as his first plan.

It is unlikely to come to the City Council before the new Council members are sworn in on July 1. As for another project Young has been involved with, the Hilton Garden Inn plan for W. Broad, Young reported that the financing for it is “somewhere between 99 and 99.9 percent lined up,” and it should also be moving forward soon after July 1.

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