|The Geico Claims Center at 5885 Leesburg Pike|
The new retail center planned for Leesburg Pike in Bailey’s Crossroads, on the site of the Geico claims center, will have a Smashburger restaurant and a CVS drugstore, said Peter Batten, a principal with Spectrum Development.
Smashburger, based in Denver, is a fast-growing hamburger chain with 256 locations worldwide, including Falls Church, Fairfax, and Vienna. There will be space for about five other tenants at what Batten is calling a “shopping plaza.”
The shopping center won’t be a traditional strip mall, Batten said. It will be “an urban style development” aligned with the design standards in the Bailey’s Crossroads redevelopment plan. It will have two buildings with a patio area facing Leesburg Pike with space for outdoor dining. Parking will be at the rear. Spectrum plans to use upgraded building materials and lots of glass in the façade.
The public can learn more about the project at a community meeting hosted by Spectrum May 8, 7 p.m., at Culmore Methodist Church, 5901 Leesburg Pike.
The shopping plaza will take up the entire space along Route 7 between Washington and Charles Streets. The Geico Claims Center and two older houses will be demolished. Much of the rest of that site is vacant land.
Spectrum had tried to develop the property for the past 15 years but “it was a struggle to fit something in there that would work with the economics,” Batten said. Recently, the company was able to assemble land owned by five separate entities, although the sale hasn’t closed yet. “It took us a long time to work with those owners.”
Batten hopes to bring the proposal to the Mason Land Use Committee later this month. If the rezoning is approved this fall, construction could start as early as spring 2015.