Local Commentary

Editorial: F.C. Ready for Regional Boom

Now that Mill Creek has come back with a lease of a movie theater chain in hand, ending a year and a half of inaction after being approved for the development of its 4.3 acres at the northwest corner of N. West and W. Broad Streets, the City of Falls Church is in the midst of three pending, very major development projects that will further define a high-quality future, allowing for the retention of a unique quality of life and commitment to the next generations, still free of the kind of explosive urbanization that will surround it in Tysons and Arlington.

After all, right up the street in Tysons there are plans to put up the tallest building in Virginia, a 48-story monolith over 600 feet high, to rise in between buildings of more modest 35-story heights. Defining the region are two huge projects that many experts believe will wind up being located very nearby — the Amazon HQ2 secondary headquarters that will employ 50,000 and an Apple second headquarters that will fill two million square feet of office space and employ over 20,000.

If one or both of these behemoths actually choose this region, the impact will be game-changing to an enormous degree. The spin-off effect of one or both of them anywhere near here — much less right here! — will redefine the potential for future economic growth. The City of Falls Church is very fortunate to be in the veritable driver’s seat amidst all this, pushing ahead with its infrastructure needs (for the school system, primarily) that will also position it to absorb the best of the coming regional development explosion.

Other areas of the region, by contrast, will be caught behind the curve, in no position to meet the challenge because they’ve spent so much energy trying to deter all growth and hopelessly live in a bubble. There were those who wanted that for Falls Church, too, but on the other hand, there has been a visionary leadership which has defined a different, and much more hopeful, future for this 2.3 square miles. They should get the credit they’re due.

Now, all of the pending three major projects — Founder’s Row, the Insight project at W. Broad and N. Washington, and the 10-acre West End prospect — offer the hope of absorbing the potential coming growth explosion with both residential and commercial options while the work is well along being done to ensure they will blend with the special quality of life features of The Little City, which will make it the envy of the entire region.

We’d love to see Tim Cook and Apple show up in town, drive around the tree-laden, happy neighborhoods and decide to drop the Apple development right smack at the City’s West End. The City could accommodate it very well. The benefits for the education of the children and the climate of scientific renaissance would make Falls Church irresistible.