The retail, recreational facilities, and other amenities promised to MetroWest residents are finally on their way.
Developer Pulte Homes received the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ approval on Tuesday (Jan. 25) for its plan to construct five new residential buildings in the 56-acre community south of I-66 and the Vienna Metro station.
The 9-0 vote represented a milestone in the county’s efforts to fulfill a 15-year-old vision of MetroWest as a mixed-use development that would’ve predated the Mosaic District and the recent growth in Tysons, had it materialized when anticipated.
“We want to achieve the community’s objective to finish these last land bays,” DLA Piper attorney Antonio Calabrese said as Pulte’s representative at Tuesday’s public hearing.
Approved by the county in 2006, the original MetroWest plans sought to transform a neighborhood of single-family homes with 2,248 multi-family residences, 300,000 square feet of office space, and at least 100,000 square feet of retail and other commercial uses, including a day care center.
While some of the residences have come to fruition, including senior housing and an assisted living facility, the five buildings where Pulte concentrated its commercial space and a town center planned by developer CRC Companies stalled after the 2008 recession.
With the rezoning application approved this week, Pulte tweaked its plans to raise the day care center’s enrollment cap from 100 to 150 children and requested that the facility be included in the 35,000 square feet of ground-floor, commercial space it has agreed to provide.
The proposed mid- and high-rise buildings will also have 480 residential units, including 52 affordable dwelling units, and a publicly accessible community park with a swimming pool limited to MetroWest residents, among other recreational amenities.
In addition, Pulte will contribute $500,000 for safety improvements at the Royal Victoria and Vaden Drive intersection, according to Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik, who represents MetroWest but was absent for the vote while on maternity leave.
In a statement to Tysons Reporter, Palchik’s office called the revisions “a refinement and improvement” over what was approved in 2006, noting that there were no changes to the density allowed at MetroWest.
“Supervisor Palchik greatly appreciates the cooperative effort by all stakeholders to improve the design of the courtyard, pool, paths and buildings,” the supervisor’s office said. “…[She] looks forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders to see that the MetroWest neighborhood is completed.”
Calabrese told Tysons Reporter that the developer will now begin working on detailed site plans and engineering for the approved buildings, though there’s no clear timeline yet for a possible start to construction.
“Pulte is grateful to Supervisor Palchik for her fortitude and leadership,” he added.
As for CRC’s portion of the project, the developer said this past fall that it had received administrative approvals for the 9.8-acre town center and could potentially break ground in mid-2022, pending the county’s approval of a submitted site plan.
Discussions to resolve reported conflicts between Pulte and CRC are still underway.
“There have been fruitful, ongoing discussions between these major landowners,” Calabrese said. “Everyone associated with MetroWest recognizes the tremendous potential and value of these strategically located sites, as well as the inherent benefits of completing this attractive, successful community.”
Mixed-use development in the MetroWest community near the Vienna Metro station is a step closer to becoming a reality.
The Fairfax County Planning Commission voted unanimously on Wednesday (Dec. 8) to recommend approval of developer Pulte Homes’ applications to construct five residential buildings with 480 units and 35,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.
The plans also include at least 35% open space, a childcare center, a residents-only pool and pool house, a 1,150 square-foot community center with WiFi and meeting space on the ground floor of building 16, and a community park that will be open to the public.
Set for a Fairfax County Board of Supervisors public hearing on Jan. 25, the proposal is expected to revive efforts to bring retail and other amenities to MetroWest more than a decade after the development was originally approved.
“This application is a welcome catalyst for action and will help us realize the [Fairfax County] Comprehensive Plan’s vision for mixed-use, transit-oriented development at the Vienna Metro station,” Providence District Commissioner Phil Niedzielski-Eichner said.
Submitted to the county last December, Pulte’s proposed changes to its development plans and proffers primarily concern the planned daycare center, which was relocated and will now have an enrollment cap of 150 children, up from 100.
The developer also sought to remove a restriction that limited it to a certain number of residences until buildings with non-residential uses are also put in place.
Since the original MetroWest plans were approved in 2006, the 56-acre site has gained 860 dwelling units in the form of townhouses, senior housing in The Atrium, and The Providence, an assisted living facility that opened in March.
However, the plan’s non-residential elements stalled amid a changing real estate market and disputes between Pulte and fellow developer CRC Companies, which is responsible for building a town center on the north side of the development.
County staff said at a public hearing on Nov. 3 that the limit on residential construction was put in place after previous promises of mixed-use development around the Vienna Metro station failed to materialize.
Niedzielski-Eichner said on Wednesday that Pulte has now committed to constructing at least one building with non-residential uses before starting the second of two remaining fully residential structures.
“We’re holding the 4th building to accommodate what we thought was a reasonable request from the Planning Staff,” DLA Piper land-use lawyer Antonio Calabrese, who is representing Pulte, told Tysons Reporter by email. “The County wants to be certain that we have completed the attractive MetroWest swimming pool, children’s play area and large courtyard prior to final occupancy of our 4-building land bay.”
Pulte continued revising its proffer conditions up to the day of the planning commission vote to address lingering concerns about the retail, pedestrian accessibility, the daycare center, and electric vehicle infrastructure.
According to a 16-page memo from Pulte and markups of the proffer agreement that Fairfax County’s planning department shared with Tysons Reporter, the additional commitments include:
- At least 5,000 square feet of non-residential space on the ground floors of buildings 16, 17, and 18 must be “Type 1” uses, including retail sales, food, financial, and personal service establishments
- Parallel parking spaces and tree wells designed with accessibility in mind
- A 9,500 square-foot cap on the daycare center
- Priority access to the daycare for MetroWest residents with an exclusive grand opening, additional marketing, and a waitlist of interested, qualified families
- An increase in parking outfitted for electric vehicle charging from 2% to 4%
The proffers will all be part of the formal proffer agreement presented to the Board of Supervisors in January, the county planning department says.
Niedzielski-Eichner also reported that negotiations to resolve ongoing conflicts between Pulte and CRC “appear on track to finding solutions that will facilitate the full restart of MetroWest development.”
CRC filed site plans for two of its five planned buildings on Aug. 31 that are under review by county staff. The developer has said it anticipates breaking ground in mid-2022.
“We’ve held very fruitful discussions with CRC and look forward to continuing our productive collaboration,” Calabrese said. “Both entities have a vested interest in completing their high-quality plans within MetroWest.”
After 15 years of treading water, the mixed-use development promised to residents of the MetroWest community south of the Vienna Metro station is finally inching closer to becoming a reality.
When it meets on Dec. 8, the Fairfax County Planning Commission is poised to approve revised plans that will enable developer Pulte Homes to construct 480 residential units across five buildings with a resident-only swimming pool, a public courtyard, and 35,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial uses, including retail and a daycare center.
“The overwhelming comment that I’ve heard in a lot of deliberations with the community is, ‘When are you going to be done?'” DLA Piper partner Antonio Calabrese, who represents Pulte, said at a public hearing on Nov. 3. “…We want to see the retail, we want to see the restaurants, we want to see the daycare, swimming pool, the amenities, the courtyard, and other things. So, we’re trying to achieve that objective.”
The planned development will expand on the 500 townhouses and condominiums that Pulte has already built at MetroWest, which occupies 56 acres bounded by Saintsbury and Vaden drives to the north and west and Route 29 to the south.
Pulte has also built 206 units for residents 55 and older in The Atrium at MetroWest, and the developer Silverstone Senior Living added another 154 units with the opening of The Providence, an assisted living facility, in March.
Approved by Fairfax County back in 2006, the existing plans for MetroWest call for 2,248 attached residential units, 300,000 square feet of office, and 190,000 square feet of non-office commercial space.
However, the office buildings and 135,000 square feet of commercial space have yet to materialize, stalled by economic uncertainties and disputes between Pulte and fellow developer CRC Companies, which will construct the four buildings on the site closest to the Vienna Metro station.
As a result, the only dining option currently available to residents within walking distance is a takeout food service that The Providence opened to the public in October.
Though he didn’t elaborate on the conflict, Calabrese said last month that the developers were having “productive discussions” to resolve their issues before the planning commission votes on Pulte’s proffer amendments, which he argued will help advance both Pulte and CRC’s parts of the project.
“To be frank, there are a lot of factors that have held these properties hostage,” Calabrese said, citing the challenges facing the office market as one issue. “I think we now have before us a solution.” Read More
MetroWest residents no longer need to cross I-66 or Route 29 to grab a bite to eat.
With developers’ plans for retail south of the Vienna Metro station still pending, the first dining options in the mixed-use community come from a more unusual source: The Providence, a 154-unit assisted living and memory care facility that opened in March at 9490 Sprague Avenue.
While the facility’s casual dining-focused Wolf Trap Bistro & Lounge is currently only open to members, The Providence recently launched a fine-dining takeout program for the general public that it hopes to eventually turn into a full-fledged restaurant called Great Falls.
Available between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays, the menu features salads, pizza, and sandwiches as well as more high-end entrées like beef filet, shrimp and mushroom marsala, and salmon with chimichurri rojo sauce.
“Creating this all-day menu was an option for us to not only give our members here…more restaurant-like type of food options, but also to incorporate in the restaurant project and have that be available to the public as well,” The Providence Dining Services Director Sabrine Marques told Tysons Reporter.
Previously the general manager of the now-closed PassionFish in Bethesda, Marques developed the Great Falls concept with Executive Director Annamarie Mariani-Huehn at the behest of Silverstone Senior Living and Watermark Retirement Communities, which respectively own and operate The Providence.
Juggling a publicly accessible restaurant with a private assisted living facility has brought a variety of challenges, from meeting state guidelines for both uses to developing a menu that’s affordable to The Providence members and fits their dietary requirements.
The team had hoped to open Great Falls by the end of this year, but that timeline proved impossible due to the additional complications introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the supply chain and staffing issues that have upended retail and service industries across the country.
“I’d rather not do something that is not going to be the way we envisioned and wait until we’re actually ready to do that,” Marques said. “I mean, we want a fine dining experience for people that will be coming here the same way that we’re trying to provide that to our members who live here.”
Given that it serves an older population, bringing heightened COVID-19 risks, The Providence decided to initially limit food service to its residents and those living in The Atrium at MetroWest, which has condominiums for adults aged 55 and older.
When no issues arose, the facility rolled out the Great Falls menu to the public on Oct. 11 as the first phase of its project to establish a full restaurant.
Takeout orders for food and coffee can be placed by phone at 571-396-0500. Orders are made available via curbside pickup within 30-45 minutes, according to The Providence.
While slow at first, Marques says business has started to pick up, including from one neighbor who has already ordered takeout on three different occasions. She hopes the program will find a customer base not just in MetroWest, but also in the wider Fairfax and Vienna area.
“It’s definitely an exciting and challenging project that we have put in place,” she said. “We will continue to work towards [the restaurant], and we are hopeful that we can get that project up and running by next year.”
Capital One Hall Opens — Tysons’ new performing arts venue, which also serves as a corporate event space for Capital One, officially opens its doors to the public today (Friday), with singer Josh Groban putting on the first show at 8 p.m. The theater and classroom facilities will be available to local arts, nonprofit, and charitable community groups at specially negotiated rates by Fairfax County. [Fairfax County Government]
I-495 Lane Closures Start in Tysons Tonight — “The right lane of the southbound I-495 (Capital Beltway Outer Loop) general purpose lanes will be closed along the three bridges over the Dulles Toll Road (Route 267), weather permitting, from 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1 to 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 4 for bridge joint work…The two right lanes of the southbound I-495 general purpose lanes are scheduled to be closed overnight.” [VDOT]
Founders Row Part 2 Moves Forward — The Falls Church City Council voted 4-3 to let a second phase of Founders Row proceed, potentially bringing 2.07 acres of mixed-use development to the corner of S. West and West Broad streets. Supporters cited developer Mill Creek’s affordable housing commitment and other concessions, while opponents expressed concern about the project’s limited commercial component. [Falls Church News-Press]
Vienna Assisted Living Facility Cuts Ribbon — Silverstone Senior Living and Watermark Retirement Communities executives, public officials, and community members held a ribbon cutting ceremony and reception yesterday (Thursday) for The Providence, a 154-unit assisted living and memory care community that opened in MetroWest near the Vienna Metro station in March. [The Providence Fairfax]
McLean VFD Marks Anniversary With Coloring Contest — The McLean Volunteer Fire Department is holding a coloring contest for local elementary school students in honor of its 100th anniversary and to recognize October as Fire Prevention Month. Students can download an image of the fire station, color it, and mail it to the address on the webpage. Selected in a drawing at the end of the month, the winner will get a visit to their street by the department’s antique Pirsch fire truck. [McLean VFD]
Vienna and Herndon Compete in Caboose Challenge — “The Towns of Vienna and Herndon are facing off in a Caboose to Caboose challenge in October. Residents are encouraged to sign up and participate in the challenge: walk or ride along the Washington and Old Dominion Trail from the Vienna Caboose to the Herndon Caboose or vice versa.” [Patch]
A new assisted living community is preparing to open its doors in the Vienna area.
Watermark Retirement Communities announced in a press release yesterday (Tuesday) that it will welcome tenants to The Providence Fairfax with a grand opening in March.
Located at 9490 Sprague Ave., The Providence is part of the MetroWest neighborhood just south of I-66 and the Vienna Metro station. It sits one-tenth of a mile down the road from The Atrium at MetroWest, a condominium complex for adults 55 and older run by Pulte Homes.
According to its website, The Providence features 100 assisted-living residences, along with 30 units for a memory care program designed to support residents with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and memory loss. There are also 24 units for residents in The Bridge program, which serves people who experience mild cognitive challenges.
“The Providence is perfect for anyone searching for the support and connection of a community accompanied by first-class amenities and unparalleled wellness and learning opportunities,” The Providence Executive Director Annamarie Mariani-Huehn said.
Seven stories tall with two floors of underground parking, the senior living complex is structured around a central courtyard. Amenities include a wellness center with a salon and spa, a fitness center, club rooms, a community room, and dining venues, such as a bistro and bar and a formal dining room with an open-hearth oven.
The residences take the form of private studio, one or two-bedroom apartments that are available for rent on a monthly basis. Prospective tenants can arrange tours for tours of the building by appointment.
The Providence is a collaboration with Silverstone Senior Living, which is also planning to bring senior housing to The Boro in Tysons. This is Watermark’s first community in Fairfax County, but the company has been working on a facility in Alexandria that its website says will open in early 2022.
The new senior living facility is the latest addition to the MetroWest development, which spans 56 acres from I-66 to Lee Highway and has been slowly emerging for more than a decade. Plans to bring more housing, retail, and office space to the community are still underway.
Photo courtesy Watermark Retirement Communities
MetroWest residents near the Vienna Metro station might soon finally start to see progress on stalled portions of the planned community, which led the way for mixed-use development in Fairfax County when it was originally approved more than a decade ago.
As the Washington Business Journal reported on Jan. 19, Pulte Homes — one of two developers involved, along with CRC Cos. — submitted an application to the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning on Dec. 23 seeking to update its proffers for the joint project.
The proposed modifications include the removal of a barrier to construction on additional residential buildings with retail, an increased enrollment cap for a planned daycare center, and the replacement of a proposed business center with community space.
“The modest adjustments will allow the Applicant to deliver critically needed housing at market and affordable rates, thoughtful open space and an activated community hub,” DLA Piper associate Kevin MacWhorter, one of the attorneys representing Pulte, said in a statement of justification to Fairfax County Zoning Evaluation Division Director Tracy Strunk.
As of last week, Pulte’s application was still going through the county’s review process, but it is expected to be accepted and assigned to a staff coordinator soon.
The MetroWest development encompasses 56 acres south of the Vienna Metro station from I-66 to Lee Highway.
The original plans approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Mar. 27, 2006 called for up to 2,248 residential units, 300,000 square feet of office, and at least 100,000 square feet of floor area for retail, service, institutional, and governmental uses, according to DLA Piper.
Much of the southern portion of the site has now been built out with homes, including housing for seniors, and the Providence Community Center, a $12 million project that was funded by Pulte and Fairfax County and opened in 2014.
However, construction has yet to start on a four-building parcel from Pulte and the CRC portion of the site, which are collectively supposed to bring retail and hundreds of residential units to the development. Read More