Storage facility for classic cars could motor into Vienna warehouse

A classic Cadillac red convertible (via Ryan De Hamer on Unsplash)

A Vienna warehouse recently vacated by the U.S. Postal Service is being eyed as a potential storage site for classic cars.

Roadhouse Development Company LLC is seeking to lease the existing, 34,241-square-foot warehouse at 831 Follin Lane SE for indoor car storage, according to a certificate of occupancy application scheduled to go before the Town of Vienna Planning Commission tonight (Wednesday).

The USPS exited the warehouse earlier this year after utilizing it “on an irregular basis when mail loads are high,” town staff said in a report to the commission.

“This is an opportunity for owners of classic and exotic vehicles to store their vehicles in a climate-controlled environment and use them as desired,” Walsh Colucci lawyer Lynne Strobel said in a statement of justification for the applicant.

Dating back to at least the 1960s, the warehouse is located at the rear of the site where it backs up to the Washington & Old Dominion Trail. The parcel also has an office building that’s currently occupied by the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, according to town staff.

Designated by the town’s comprehensive plan as a corporate office park, the site has been approved for additional office development, but staff concede that that vision is unlikely to materialize soon.

“The market for such office development is weak, and the location of this building is particularly challenging in terms of marketability as it is not easily visible from any major transportation corridor,” the staff report says.

Roadhouse Development has proposed operating the storage facility as an interim use until the future office development moves forward.

According to the application, the business will operate daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Vehicle owners will be required to provide 24-hour notice for deliveries and pickups, and only the approximately four on-site employees will be allowed to actually drive the vehicles into and out of the building.

Owners can park other vehicles on the site for up to 48 hours while using their stored car. Storage contracts will be available on a monthly or annual basis.

In addition to storage, the warehouse will have an interior detailing bay and provide maintenance services, such as weekly tire pressure checks and battery monitoring, according to Roadhouse.

The application says only “cosmetic” improvements are proposed to the building’s exterior, and no road or driveway changes are needed.

Even though the business is focused on vehicle storage, it’s expected to have “little to no impact on the surrounding road network,” because most trips will be scheduled outside of peak traffic hours, according to Strobel.

“Owners typically want to use their vehicles on weekends or for a specific trip and not on a daily basis,” Strobel wrote. “Given the requirement of 24 hours advance notice…the Applicant can easily stagger arrivals as needed. It is anticipated that the proposed use will generate tax revenue for the Town and will also bring people to the Town who will patronize restaurants and businesses.”

Town staff said they concluded the proposal is a “reasonable” use for the site. However, after getting the planning commission’s recommendation, it must be approved by the Vienna Town Council because warehouse storage isn’t a permitted use in the property’s current zoning district.

Photo via Ryan De Hamer on Unsplash

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