The 2020 Revitalization Activity Update highlights the major development activity and initiatives the Community Revitalization Section of the Department of Planning and Development accomplished in the past year. Use the Table of Contents below to view individual articles within the webpage or you can download the entire Report as a PDF. Reports from earlier years can be found on the Publications Webpage.
2020 Activity Update Table of Contents
Fairfax County Approves Innovative program to spur economic development
Fairfax County adopted a new program on September 15, 2020, that will provide economic incentives to the private sector to purchase, assemble, revitalize, and redevelop property for economic development purposes. Called the Economic Incentive Program (EIP), the program was established by amending the County Code to create a new Article 29.
Fairfax County has had a long-standing policy of encouraging reinvestment in its older commercial areas. However, The County has relied primarily on regulatory incentives and land use polices to facilitate this revitalization. With the adoption of this new program, the County can now offer financial incentives to facilitate revitalization. Specifically, the Economic Incentive Program provides qualified applicants with two new financial incentives: 1) a ten percent reduction of site plan fees, and 2) a partial abatement of the real estate taxes on the difference between the base value of a property and its post-development value, which would include any increase or decrease in the annual assessed value of the tax-exempt portion of the property. To be eligible for the program, the proposed project must meet certain requirements:
The proposed development must be located within one of six designated Economic Incentive Areas in Fairfax County, including: the Commercial Revitalization Districts (CRDs) of Annandale, Baileys Crossroads/Seven Corners, and McLean; the Lincolnia Commercial Revitalization Area (CRA); the Richmond Highway CRD and Suburban Neighborhood Areas, and a portion of the Huntington Transit Station Area (TSA); and the Springfield CRD and TSA (non-single-family portion of the TSA). Maps of eligible areas may be found at Economic Incentive Program webpage.
A proposed development or a repurposing of a building must be for a commercial, industrial, or multi-family residential use, or a mix of these uses.
A proposed development/repurposing of buildings must be a newly proposed assemblage of at least two contiguous parcels that were not previously approved by the County for the same use by rezoning or site plan, and that collectively total two acres or more in size, although the Board may consider modifications to the acreage requirement. Under the ordinance, an “assemblage” means the combination of adjoining parcels, with different owners, into a single development.
The proposed development must conform with the vision, use, and consolidation recommendations that are contained in the Comprehensive Plan.
The proposed development must conform to all laws and policies related to the provision and preservation of affordable housing.
The program is in effect for a period of ten years. However, the effective start date is different among the Economic Incentive Areas. See the adjacent diagram for the economic incentive time periods for the Economic Incentive Areas.
Merrifield Expands Residential Offerings
Development of the Four Seasons at Mosaic project moves forward, with competition of 40 single-family townhouses by Sekas Homes, LTD on Eskridge Road, adjacent to the Mosaic District. Approved in October of 2017 for a rezoning from I-5 to PRM, the project includes a second phase that will add 119 multi-family units in a 5-story structure with 16,040 square feet of retail and services uses, including a childcare center. CRS staff provided alternative site plan configurations during the design phase that offered a more consistent street frontage of townhouses to complement other adjacent existing residential developments, while reducing the amount of internal paved streets by approximately 30 percent over previous iterations. In addition, the new layout improved pedestrian amenities and increased the size of a new pocket park, effectively doubling the amount of open space for the development.
New Residential Development Planned for Annandale
In July 2020, the Board of Supervisors approved a rezoning of 3.8 acres of land at the intersection of McWhorter Place and Markham Street in Annandale to build 43 townhouses. The new townhome community will feature front-loading and rear-loading homes thoughtfully organized around a linear central green space and enhanced landscaping throughout the community. The new development will also result in a new neighborhood park for Annandale located across the street from the new development and a re-aligned McWhorter Place and Markham Street. During the entitlement process, CRS worked very closely with the applicant to create a townhome layout that maximized benefits for future residents and the community.
Streetscape Upgrades in Springfield
In the 1990s, county bonds were used to install specialized streetscape features in the Springfield Commercial Revitalization District (CRD). Over the years, some of those improvements have shown signs of wear-and-tear. To rectify this situation and enhance pedestrian amenities in the Springfield CRD, CRS staff have worked to devise a plan for upgrading the streetscape along three blocks of Bland Street, from Old Keene Mill Road to Brandon Avenue. The plan was developed in consultation with the adjacent property owner, Federal Realty. The project will involve the removal of trees and pavers in order to install 36 new trees and the use of a new technology for a permeable paving surface, which will allow for filtration of water while also providing ADA-compliant paving surfaces. The project is expected to be completed before the end of the 2020 calendar year.
The New Lake Anne House
The Fellowship House redevelopment project will happen in three phases. Phase 1 is underway with the construction of the new 8-story Lake Anne House - a 240-unit affordable senior housing development. Construction of the Lake Anne House is expected to take up to 22 months. Demolition of the existing Fellowship House building will occur in Phase 2. This building will remain occupied until the new multi-family building is completed to ensure no residents are displaced in the redevelopment process.
In Phase III, 36 market-rate townhomes will be constructed on the remaining portion of the property.
The planned redevelopment will create 2.32-acres of passive and active park space including a plaza and terrace containing seating, gardening planters, and other landscaping. The project provides right-of-way to allow for the eventual realignment of North Village Drive, which should afford the Lake Anne Village Center greater visibility from Baron Cameron Avenue.
Multi-Family Development Proposed For Merrifield
The Dunn Loring Transit Station Area continues to attract new investment, with a proposal by Elm Street Development to replace a three-story office building and construct a new multi-family development on Merrilee Drive, adjacent to the Halstead Square development. The proposal to rezone this 2-acre property from I-4 to a PRM District, and construct 239 multifamily dwelling units, with ground floor retail uses, will provide up to 40 Workforce Dwelling Units (WDUs) at an FAR of 2.70. The applicant has proffered a private street that will provide vehicular and pedestrian interparcel access points to future compatible development to the south and west of the site. CRS staff worked with the project developer to enhance streetscape and pedestrian amenities, including new plazas and urban park space, expand ground-floor uses to include community-serving activities, and improve the overall architecture and urban design of the project.
Vacant Skyline Office Buildings to be Repurposed into Flexible Live/Work Units
In September 2020, the Board of Supervisors approved an application to amend the proffers and final development plan to allow three office buildings within the iconic Skyline complex in Baileys Crossroads to be repurposed into flexible “live/work” units. Up to 720 live/work units will be created; one entire building has the option to be set aside as age-restricted live/work units. There also will be a complete re-imagining of the buildings’ ground floors and the site’s grounds. Ground floor uses may include restaurants and retail, tenant amenities, and small-scale manufacturing uses. The plan calls for a new park space and reinvigorated streetscape that will contribute to the activation of the Skyline complex for the enjoyment of residents and the greater community. Learn more about this innovative project at the Skyline Website.
New Residential Development Replaces Aging Office buildings in Seven Corners
Construction continued in 2020 of 6060 Boulevard by Beazer Homes - a new 3.7-acre townhome community in Seven Corners. The project replaced an aging medical office building facility located next to the Target. The development features 37 front-loading and rear-loading townhomes, a unique linear plaza with community spaces, enhanced landscaping, and a publicly accessible playground that utilizes the site’s topography for seating and play elements. The development was approved in 2017 and is slated for completion by October 2020.
Changes to Route 50 Pedestrian Bridge Explored
Fairfax County is exploring design changes to the pedestrian bridge that crosses Route 50 in Seven Corners to address the poor transparency of the stairwells on either side of the current bridge. The Community Revitalization Section (CRS), in partnership with the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services Maintenance and Stormwater Management Division (DPWES- MSMD) and VDOT, have been investigating the feasibility of removing several non-structural concrete panels present in the bridge stairwells and replacing them with more transparent and visually appealing materials to improve the overall visibility, safety and aesthetics of the pedestrian bridge. However, maintaining the structural integrity of the VDOT owned and maintained bridge is the bedrock of any potential option. Once the final options are vetted from an engineering, project cost, and lifecycle maintenance standpoint, the community will be asked to provide input on their design preference, anticipated to occur sometime in 2021.
McLean CBC Plan Amendment Progress
Steady progress has been made on the replanning of the McLean Community Business Center (CBC) over 2020 despite the global pandemic. The McLean Task Force has continued to meet, first in person, and then virtually, to review and edit proposed Plan amendment language. Community members participated in the virtual meetings and could also send written comments on the draft Plan language. Significant discussions centered around building heights, transition zones between the three proposed zones, schools, and streetscape elements. In November, staff held a virtual community open house to share the final draft Plan and to make available various informational boards detailing subjects ranging from open space, transportation, transition zones, and streetscape cross-sections.
It is anticipated that the staff report and draft Plan amendment will go before the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors by spring 2021. For more information about the study, including meeting summaries, meeting materials, other studies and reports, and schedules visit the McLean CBC Study Webpage.
2020 Update on Richmond Highway Transportation Projects
Over the coming decade, Richmond Highway will undergo a major transformation with the construction of Fairfax County’s first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. Project engineering is progressing and the design for the BRT station architecture is well underway. The stations are being custom designed to take into account the comfort of transit riders as well as contribute to the image of the corridor.
While the BRT project will begin in the north, a southern three-mile segment of Richmond Highway from Sherwood Hall Lane to Jeff Todd Way will undergo corridor improvements. Specifically, this portion of the roadway will be widened from four to six lanes, and will include the installation of two-way bicycle tracks, sidewalks, and street trees on both sides of the road, as well as a significant enhancement of the corridor’s stormwater facilities. A sufficiently wide median will be reserved to provide space for the future extension of the BRT system.
There are almost 90 stormwater facilities planned for these combined projects. The facilities range from wet ponds, bioretention areas, and underground tanks to swales. They are being specifically designed to meet both environmental and aesthetic goals so that they may also serve as community amenities. In some instances, these facilities will be incorporated into planned parks and plazas to further enhance the experience for users. Special treatments for the stormwater facilities will include walking trails, educational signs, trees and landscaping, lighting, and seating, among other features. Once constructed, Fairfax County’s Department of Public Works will be responsible for the maintenance to ensure that they remain well kept and attractive.
Fairfax County is leading a branding project to increase the visibility and enhance the reputation of Springfield as a great place to live and do business. The project consists of developing new “gateway” entrance signs to welcome visitors and shoppers into the Springfield commercial area. Previously, the County engaged a branding firm to develop a new logo for the Springfield area that builds upon the local character and modern aesthetic of the community. This logo is incorporated into the design of the gateway signs.
Stakeholder input was solicited by county staff on the design of the logo and new signage. A steering committee was formed to assist with the design, composed of representatives from the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, the Springfield Civic Association, the Monticello Woods Civic Association, the Springvale Civic Association, the Lee District Supervisor’s Office, and the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Following a community workshop to present preliminary concepts to the public on July 17, 2019, an online survey was conducted that received nearly 1,000 responses through the survey and Facebook page comments.
The design team from Merje, a nationally-renown environmental graphic design firm, used the public feedback to refine the concepts for gateway signs, which will be installed in 4 to 5 locations in 2021-2022, with funding support from the Fairfax County Economic Development Support Fund.
New "Live / Work" Building Opens in Bailey's Crossroads
Mission Lofts, located at 5600 Columbia Pike on the eastern edge of Baileys Crossroads, opened in the spring of 2020. This flexible live/work building is the first of its kind in Fairfax County. Previously a vacant office building, it was extensively renovated and converted into 157 live/work units and features community amenities such as a co-working space, a gym, and music practice rooms. It also provides a new green space that includes architectural landscaping and serves as a dramatic gateway into the Baileys Crossroads community. The new green space replaced a surface parking lot at the intersection of Columbia Pike and Carlin Springs Road, and is divided into private space for tenants and a publicly accessible ecological walk directly adjacent to the public sidewalk. During the entitlement process, CRS worked very closely with the applicant and County staff to develop a quality proposal and facilitate this first-of-its-kind project. Visit Mission Lofts to learn more about this innovative live/work building.
New Developments Coming to the Huntington Transit Station Area
Exciting new developments are coming to the Huntington Transit Station area. Ground was broken for The Arden, a 126 unit affordable housing project on Huntington Avenue. The project will include 7,500 sq. ft. of office space that will become home to Wesley Housing’s new main office. The project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2022.
The Board of Supervisors approved a rezoning in July 2020, for the Aventon, a 379-unit multi-family development on a 3.58 acre site located at 5919 North Kings Highway, immediately south of the Huntington Metrorail Station. The Aventon will be seven-stories tall and have structured parking. It will include a large public courtyard and street and streetscape improvements.
A rezoning application for the Huntington Club Condominiums property is moving forward after the Board approved a Comprehensive Plan amendment in January 2018. The proposal for the 19.01-acre site would permit up to 1,400 multi-family and single-family attached dwelling units, 465,000 square feet of office, a 110,000 square foot hotel, and 25,000 square feet of retail space. It will include new public parks along with new streets, sidewalks, and gathering spaces. Its developers are working with WMATA to coordinate plans for the future redevelopment of the Metrorail station site.
The Richmond Highway Design Guidelines Are Complete
The Richmond Highway District Urban Design Guidelines were endorsed by the Board of Supervisors in March 2020, and can now be used by property owners, community members, and county staff to implement the urban design vision for the corridor. The District Urban Design Guidelines provide details on the design of paving, trees and landscaping, streetscape furnishings, building form, and certain parks and plazas. The Guidelines were the recipient of a Virginia American Society of Landscape Architects 2020 Merit Award. Visit the Urban Design Guidelines Webpage to view these and other Revitalization Districts Guidelines.
Annandale Civic Space Advances
Fairfax County continues to work toward implementation of a permanent Annandale Civic Space on county-owned property at 7200 Columbia Pike. The vision for this space resulted from a creative and iterative community engagement process conducted in 2018. In the fall of 2020, a public facility review was conducted and staff presented the design concept for the new park space to the Mason District Land Use Committee. Efforts are underway to conduct the engineering site analysis and obtain the funding necessary to construct the permanent space. Details about the design, community engagement process, and periodic updates are available by visiting the Annandale Civic Space Website. CRS continues to work in close partnership with other county agencies and the Fairfax County Park Authority to bring this innovative park space to fruition.
Made in Fairfax Launches new website and directory
As part of the County’s on-going support of the “Made in Fairfax” initiative, a new webpage has been developed to create a “one-stop-shop” for Fairfax County makers looking for information and support to grow their small-scale production business locally. Building on the progress over the past year to form a networking group of more than 100 local makers and to develop a brand and logo that creates an identity for the County-wide effort, the new online content provides comprehensive resource connections. It also promotes Fairfax County makers through a new Business Directory, where County residents and potential development partners can learn about the diversity of locally-made products. Visit the Made in Fairfax Webpage for more information on this initiative.
The Community Revitalization Section of the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Development facilitates strategic redevelopment and investment opportunities within targeted commercial areas that align with the community's vision and improve the economic vitality, appearance and function of those areas.