The new signs planned for Chesterbrook Shopping Center in McLean won’t point to their corresponding businesses with big, flashing arrows, but that’s essentially the effect property owner Federal Realty hopes to achieve.
Specifically, Federal Realty hopes to add signs on the back of the building at 6242 Old Dominion Drive that’s occupied by the recently opened South Block, Chesterbrook Barber, Chesterbrook Cleaners, Kosmo Nail Bar and Potomac Pilates.
“The application is to create better identification for the tenants of this building and ultimately supporting the enhanced viability of those buildings,” McGuireWoods land use planner Mike Van Atta told the planning commission as the developer’s representative.
Located at the western corner of the shopping center, the building currently only has signage across its front, facing the parking lot. Its rear facade faces Old Dominion Drive, backing up against an elevated drive-thru for the TD Bank in neighboring Chesterbrook Plaza.
That elevation puts tenants in the building at a “disadvantage,” making it difficult for passersby to see their signage, county staff said.
The waiver requested by Federal Realty would double the amount of space permitted for signage from just under 202 square feet to almost 404 square feet.
“There’s limited visibility for the subject building, given that it’s located on the curve of Old Dominion Drive and because the building is oriented with the front of the building facing away from the street and below the grade of the main right-of-way,” Van Atta said. “So, these collective circumstances create a special and unique challenge for the tenants of this building.”
He added that the property owner worked with county staff to ensure the proposed building-mounted signs are “appropriately located, sized and lighted to not have any adverse impacts on adjacent uses.”
The special exception application will go to the Board of Supervisors for a public hearing and vote on Oct. 24.
More tenants on the way?
The sign revisions are part of an $8.5 million renovation of Chesterbrook Shopping Center that has been underway since last fall. Storefront and facade updates are expected to finish this year, and new outdoor amenity spaces will be completed in 2024, according to Federal Realty.
After emptying in the lead-up to the renovation, the shopping center has been gradually filling its tenant roster back up. Recent additions include the clothing store J. McLaughlin, home decor outlet Le Village Marché and a food truck from the popular deli Call Your Mother.
According to the brochure, the cosmetics company has a letter of intent to lease 2,236 square feet in between the Tutoring Club of McLean and a 1,405-square-foot, brick-and-mortar storefront for Call Your Mother. Bluemercury didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The merchandising plan also shows several vacant spaces being designated for restaurants, a salon and an apparel store. The building where Call Your Mother’s truck is currently parked appears to be destined for a bank.
The property owner didn’t comment on the merchandising plan, but it confirmed Starbucks is renovating its coffee shop. Starbucks didn’t return an inquiry from FFXnow by press time.
“Federal Realty is actively transforming Chesterbrook and will have additional new store announcements over the upcoming months,” Senior Vice President of Asset Management Deirdre Johnson said. “The positive response from the community as it frequents our newly opened stores is amazing. Look for Starbucks to complete an in store renovation the first of 2024.”
Hat tip to Mike Whatley
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