Spectrum’s Ambitious Broad & West Project in Bumpy Ride at City Hall

Monday's joint Falls Church City Council and Planning Commission work session. (Photo: News-Press)
Monday’s joint Falls Church City Council and Planning Commission work session. (Photo: News-Press)

At a joint Falls Church City Council and Planning Commission work session in the F.C. City Hall, the Spectrum Development company came out in full force in its first official public appearance Monday night, but concerns for the size of its now-called Broad & West project for 302 small apartment, an extended stay Hilton hotel and 30 percent retail, as well as parking and transportation concerns were expressed by most of the City officials there.

Still, it was recognized as just the beginning of a stage of a process that has been underway, including with meetings with neighbors to the site, for two years. By consolidating four acres of property mostly owned by the Shreve family, the developers have done what the City’s Comprehensive Plan calls for in that area, yet the result was characterized as “too big” by a number of the City officials.

It was also criticized for the size of its mass, but not for the size of what it could bring in new revenues to the City. The development team pointed out that the projected, in numbers worked out in collaboration with the City’s Economic Development Office, could bring in between $1.4 and $1.8 million in net annual tax revenue to the City, compared to $138,000 that comes from what’s there now. Over 15 years, that would be a net $26 million in tax revenues that residential real estate owners would not have to pay, compared to $2.5 million that would come from the area with what’s there now.

Former Falls Church City Manager David Lasso, who was there representing the development team for the project, said after the meeting that he was concerned a first reading for plan not get set back too far. All the tentative contractual commitments on the land and some of the prospective tenants will become void if the project is not finally approved before the end of this year, he said.

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