Construction on the mixed-use project in Seven Corners between Arlington Boulevard and South Street could start as soon as the third quarter of 2014, said Michael Skena, development associate at the JBG Cos.
The project will have up to 188 units. Two other major developments in the Falls Church area will bring about 670 more units to the area within the next couple of years. The Avalon Bay project on the site of the old Hillwood Square development will have about 384 apartments (reduced from an earlier proposal for 461), and the expansion of the Monticello apartments behind Loehmann’s Plaza will add about 100 new apartments.
The site planning process for the JBG development is under way now, involving sidewalks, electrical cables, fiber optics, and related systems. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the application to rezone the property from office tower to mixed-use last May.
The first floor of the new building will have nearly 15,000 square feet of retail space facing Route 50, Skena said. No tenants have signed on yet. JBG is seeking restaurants and service retail targeted to employees in the two office towers next door, as well as residents.
On the opposite side, facing South Street, there will be 14 townhouses embedded into the building. Those units would have a patio area in front. Residents would park in an underground garage.
There will be up to 174 apartments on the upper floors. JBG hasn’t finalized the mix, but Skena said about 65 percent of the units will have one bedroom or one bedroom plus a den. The rest will be two-bedroom or two-bedroom plus a den units. “This is all very conceptual at this point,” he said.
“We thought about efficiency units, and might include some,” Skena said. “But we don’t feel this is a heavy studio-unit market. If you can get a one-bedroom for the right price point, people would go for that.”
There are no plans to include “residential studio units” (RSUs) in the project. RSU is a new zoning designation proposed by Fairfax County for tiny efficiencies designed to meet the county’s needs for affordable housing.
“At this point, we’re not planning on building micro-units in Fairfax County,” Skena said. “We don’t think there’s a demand for it.”
The building will have 11 affordable units, however, he said, as required by the county. Those units would be reserved for households earning 70 percent of area median income of less. Another 11 units would meet the county’s criteria for workforce housing (up to 120 percent of AMI). Those 22 units might be smaller than the market-rate apartments.
The project would comply with the county’s requirement for parking, which calls for 1.6 spaces per apartment, 2.7 per townhouse, and 4.3 spaces for every 1,000 square feet of retail. There would be about 50 parking spaces in front of the retail establishments facing Route 50. The rest would be underground.
The proffer agreement with the county calls for JBG to provide a shuttle bus to the East Falls Church Metro station plus $200,000 for traffic and pedestrian improvements on South Street and neighborhood roads and public park improvements in the community.