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400 N. Washington Office Site Back On for Redevelopment

Falls Church City Planning Director Jim Snyder announced at the work session of the Falls Church City Council Monday that the Wheeler Group, which had abandoned plans to rebuild the all-office building at 400 N. Washington St., has decided to “reactivate their application” for a height waiver at the site.

The news came as the latest in a series of business development updates reported at the meeting and in the City’s Economic Development Office bulletin.

Among the new developments reported are the following:

The popular long-standing Falls Church business, the CD Cellar, has relocated from its cramped location at 709 W. Broad to new digs at for former location of the 7 Stars convenience store at 105 Park Avenue. The new location puts the seller of used CDs, vinyl and more within easy walking distance of the State Theatre regional live music venue as well as Cue Recording Studio in the same building.

CD Cellar’s former location is being filled by Design Frames, relocating from its former 101 Rowell Court location.

Rare Bird Roasters hope to be open in mid to late May at 230 W. Broad, the former location of the Tutti Frutti frozen yogurt shop next to Doodlehopper. Building permit plans have been submitted at City Hall.

Lucki Thai, a few doors down, is set to open at 240 W. Broad, the former location of the ground floor Curves. While preparing to open, the restaurant has not yet requested a final inspection from the City.

The highly-anticipated Northside Social II restaurant at 205 Park Avenue, across from City Hall at the former Blue and Grey building, awaits action by City staff to “wrap up a final review of its revised and final site plan,” with building permits due any day. The demolition of the old site is currently ongoing, and new construction could begin in early April.

Meanwhile, the Kids First Swim Club’s plans to take some of the space now occupied by Staples in the Falls Plaza have been “recently rejected by the City for various issues,” according to the Economic Development Office report, and now “the City is awaiting a response from the applicant to the issues raised.”

Value Vet, a Nashville and Atlanta-based discount veterinary service hoping to expand to Falls Church, has submitted plans that are currently under review at City Hall. It is hoping to locate at 1052 W. Broad (the former Nourish Market in the West End Plaza).

The last remaining retail space has been leased at the new Northgate mixed use project at 450 N. Washington St. to Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. A representative of the business said that Falls Church was chosen for its office “because there are many Better Homes and Gardens magazine subscriptions in the City,” the EDO report indicated.

The expansion, demolition and rebuild of the current Inns of Virginia at 421 W. Broad, incorporating the adjacent 419 W. Broad (Falls Church Florist) site and morphing into a Holiday Inn Express, has achieved the approval of variances by the City’s Board of Zoning Appeals and now awaits site plan approval by the F.C. Planning Commission.

The Lincoln at Tinner Hill large scale mixed use project is steaming ahead toward completion, which it expects to do with milder weather, but apartment leasing will await the completion and opening of its underground garage in a few months. Meanwhile, the project’s chief anchor retailer, Fresh Market, will begin its build out soon, shooting for a September opening.

The 301 West Broad construction also continues apace, with the build out of its ground floor Harris Teeter commencing and the first handful of residences being occupied as of last week.

The Kensington Assisted Living structure going up at 700 W. Broad is currently anticipating opening in early 2017. A unit model showroom will occupy the former ABC store site in Falls Plaza. Falls Church Arts will be leasing ground floor space at the Kensington, and the front corner retail space closest to the Broadway has not yet been leased.

With its recent acquisition of the Southgate Shopping Center on Fairfax Drive, vacant since 2005 when former occupants of the historic Falls Church Episcopal expelled all its tenants, the F.C.-based Young Group is actively pursuing leads for tenants, the EDC reported, and a rendering of the center’s new design, on the model of developer Bob Young’s penchant for Art Nouveau architectural design evident in three other of his buildings in Falls Church – the Flower Building (800 W. Broad), the Read Building (402 W. Broad) and the Tulip Building (301 S. Washington) – shows the same strong influence.

In the Tulip Building, Takumi Sushi has opened as a new tenant a few doors down from Smashburger, joining Koi Koi and Maneki Neko as other sushi providers in The Little City.

In her annual marketing update to the City Council at its work session Monday, marketing specialist Ingrid Racine of the Economic Development Office said that the focus of the past year has been on the development of a “ChooseFallsChurch.org” website, which has had 330 home page views between Dec. 16 and Feb. 18, and a total of 2,000 views overall.

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