Ah, development! It brings more money wherever it happens, helping to pay for things like schools, which is why this newspaper likes it so much, usually improves the quality of life and choices (sometimes disputed) and assuming it’s not just for a new prison or government bureaucracy, creates jobs and stimulates overall regional economic activity.
The City of Falls Church is very busy at it now, and for the foreseeable future. The big new news is that HITT Construction has come forward to City Hall with aggressive plans for the mixed-use development of the 2.68 acres it only recently acquired on the southeast corner of the City’s major crossroads, the intersection of Routes 7 and 29 (Broad and Washington Streets).
It was a busy night at Falls Church City Hall Monday night, with the Planning Commission taking public comment on the proposed new 4.3-acre Mason Row project while in two separate “closed” sessions, one with the School Board attending. The F.C. City Council mulled two other major projects in the City, one the Clark Construction plan for development of the George Mason High School campus site and the other the new HITT proposal for the development of the Robertson and adjacent properties at the northeast corner of Broad and Washington.
The News-Press has learned that the HITT project that has been submitted in conceptual form to the Council involves a massive new mixed use development to include over 300 rental apartments, a lot of retail and a proposal for a joint venture with the City on adjacent City-owned land for construction of a major new parking garage adjacent the State Theater.
This was to be the subject of a second closed session for the City Council Monday after its closed session with the School Board on the George Mason High School campus proposal and a short open session that took up the issue of a comprehensive bike and bike share plan for the City.
The Planning Commission will consider a formal recommendation on the Mason Row plan for the intersection of N. West St. and W. Broad Street later this month, and the pundits are calling their vote a close call. But the final decision will be up to the Council which is currently scheduled to vote on its second reading for a final OK on July 6.
The issue with the Clark Construction submission for development of the 39 acres of the school site has to do with the Council and School Board’s process of issuing a request for proposals, or not, given the Clark offer. The Clark offer proposes to build the City a new $100 million high school for no charge, and to commercially develop about nine acres on the site near the East Falls Church Metro in a way that could yield over $3 million in net revenue to the City annually.
On the HITT proposal, it was not known whether or not Hitt will try to acquire the building housing the Clare and Don’s Beach Shack and Argia’s restaurant in addition to what Hitt, which with Rushmark is well into building its W. Broad project in the 300 block that will include a new Harris Teeter, already now owns.
A “topping off” party to celebrate the completion of the roof portion of the project is slated for May 22, and the Lincoln Properties’ Tinner Row development cannot be far behind.