The Falls Church City Council will get a staff briefing and presentation during its work session tonight (Monday) on a proposed One City Center mixed-use development just across the street from the still-pending Broad and Washington project.
The discussion is slated for 9:30 p.m., according to the meeting agenda.
Atlantic Realty Companies is proposing an extensive mixed-use apartment building with space for a grocery store and other retail space, as well as commercial and office spaces. The plan includes creating a new traffic circle at the intersection of S. Maple Avenue and W. Annandale Road and designing a Dutch-style “living street” called a “woonerf.”
According to a Falls Church City staff report, Atlantic is proposing to build a development over 4.6 acres at the intersection of W. Broad and S. Washington Streets that features:
- About 17,500 square feet of ground-floor retail
- A 26,500-square foot grocery store at the corner of Maple Avenue and Broad Street
- 13,365 square feet of retail and commercial space on the mezzanine level
- 43,000 square feet of office space
- 246 apartment units across six stories, 15 of which will be set aside for affordable housing
- 9-10 levels of structured parking with 969 spaces
About 75% of the complex will be dedicated to apartment living, leaving 10% for office space and 15% for retail. Atlantic is seeking a special exception from the council to have apartment units in the complex and allow for a 40-foot height bonus, which would bring the building to a maximum of 115 feet.
Atlantic currently owns and manages all the affected properties: the George Mason Square office complex and two-story parking garage, a BB&T Bank, Matt’s Tailor & Bridal Boutique on W. Broad Street, a vacant parcel at the corner of W. Broad Street and S. Maple Ave., and a five-story office building with a surface parking lot.
Atlantic’s commercial program is based on the need for flexibility to help drive foot traffic to the property, Andrew Painter, the developer’s legal representation, said in a letter to the city.
“Traditional format retail has been challenged in recent years by the rise in e-commerce, and COVID-19 has greatly accelerated this trend,” he wrote. “Similarly, the recent increase in virtual meeting services and the escalated pace of technology adoption is having deleterious repercussions on office demand.”
The existing George Mason Square arcade will be removed and replaced with a pedestrian plaza lined with new fast-casual eateries, retailers, and a pedestrian-oriented “woonerf” between the existing and proposed new buildings that may be periodically closed for special events and fairs, according to Painter’s letter.
This “woonerf” will have “high-quality pavers, overhead accent lighting, landscaping, hardscape treatments, and parallel parking for adjacent retailers,” he said.
Painter wrote that these changes will “anchor the project’s eastern entry, activate George Mason Square’s ground floor area, and provide an updated, modern signature asset to the City’s rapidly evolving downtown.”
He noted that Atlantic is proposing a 30 by 40-foot exterior visual screen, which can be used for “screen on the green” events or coverage of live city events.
Painter added that it “will also keep the George Mason Square development competitive from an aesthetic perspective which, in turn, will energize the Applicant’s leasing program and drive tenant demand.”
The grocery store, he said, will be “a new entrant to the City’s grocery store market.”
As for transportation, the project will include a proposed mid-block crossing and a high-intensity activated crosswalk signal on W. Broad Street.
Painter said the proposed traffic circle will “provide a safer intersection for pedestrians and will, in conjunction with the new public park on the Triangle Parking Lot, transform the intersection into a more attractive urban gateway.”
Photos via Falls Church City