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F.C.’s 4.3 Acre Founders Row Project Wins Final, Final OK With Unanimous Site Plan Approval

WITH A RENDERING on the wall behind them of what the intersection at W. Broad and N. West Street will look like within three years, in place of the Sunoco station now there, now that Mill Creek has all its final OKs, Planning Commission vice chair Andy Rankin (left) and chair Russ Wodiska talked about the plan before Monday night’s final vote. (Photo: News-Press)

One final gesture of neighborliness exhibited by the Mill Creek developers of the major 4.3 acre Founders Row project was offered at  Monday night’s Falls Church Planning Commission meeting, and it was all it took to ensure a gregarious and unanimous vote, 6-0, for the site plan approval. The final hurdle has now been cleared for the project to begin clearing the site, hold an official ceremonial groundbreaking in early November and, within three years, to present the City with a signature project of housing, senior housing, affordable housing, restaurants, a unique movie complex, a civil space and lots of added retail.

It’s been a long time coming. In the works since late 2011, the plan first came to the F.C. City Council in the summer of 2013 as a project to be anchored by a Walgreens drug store. Now, the assemblage and consolidation of 12 lots into one for the plan is a reality, and as everyone on the Planning Commission agreed Monday, it will be something the City will be proud of that will be a major contributor to the City’s tax base and sense of identity, alike.

Monday’s final concession involved the developers’ decision to forego a logo on top of a tower rising 11 feet above the top of the four and five story project. This was a potentially serious bone of contention, opposed by neighbors to the site and, before the subject even came up, Mill Creek’s Joe Muffler announced that his team decided to ditch the idea.

The Planning Commission’s final approval included a strong recommendation to find a way to put a crosswalk from Grove Avenue to the site and to make the construction management process, once the digging begins, open to the public. Likewise for the decisions that will be made about public art on the site. The art selection process, the Commissioners recommended, should “involve appropriate art-focused organizations.”

With the iconic 7-Eleven on N. West St. already vacated, remaining businesses, in particular the popular Ken Currle Sunoco station, will have until late October to relocate. Currle already has a new Sunoco location in Pimmit Hills behind the Trader Joe’s.