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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

County proposes land swap to facilitate redevelopment in Bailey's Crossroads



The Southeast Quadrant seen from Columbia Pike.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors agreed to hold a public hearing Jan. 12 on a proposed land swap to make the way for a new multifamily housing development and county office building in the “Southeast Quadrant,” an area in Bailey’s Crossroads along Columbia Pike between Moncure Avenue and Radley Acura.

Mason Supervisor Penny Gross will hold a community information meeting on the proposal Jan. 7, at 7:30 p.m., at the Mason Government Center. 


The Bailey's Crossroads Community Shelter.
According to a report by county staff, the land swap calls for the county to exchange about 4.4 acres with AvalonBay Communities Inc., which plans to construct a 375-unit apartment building on the portion of the site along Moncure Avenue currently owned by the county. 

That means the Bailey’s Crossroads Community Shelter, at 3525 Moncure Ave. would have to be temporarily relocated.

During the Dec. 8  BoS meeting, when the board agreed to go ahead with the Jan. 12 hearing, Deputy County Executive Robert Stalzer said the county hopes to provide a temporary modular replacement shelter within a mile of the current shelter, but declined to identify the site. 

The county is in negotiations with the property owner, he said, and anticipates there will be final agreement before the Jan. 12 hearing. Relocating the homeless shelter would cost $2.1 million.

A county office building would be built on the eastern portion of the property. Although the plans are vague, that facility could be used for the East County Human Services Center, which is currently housed in leased space in the Heritage Center on Little River Turnpike in Annandale, and a permanent site for the homeless shelter.

The real estate exchange also calls for the county to purchase 1.4 acres from 5827 Columbia Pike Associates LLC, an affiliate of Landmark Atlantic Inc. The office building at 5827 Columbia Pike, known as Bailey’s International Center, would be demolished to allow for a road connecting Seminary Road with Columbia Pike and Moncure Avenue. The purchase price of the Landmark site is $6.6 million, with $250,000 paid by AvalonBay and the rest by the county.

Several supervisors agreed at the Dec. 8 meeting that Bailey’s Crossroads needs redevelopment that includes market-rate housing, but raised concerns about going forward with the Jan. 12 hearing without knowing where the homeless shelter will be located.

Mason Supervisor Penny Gross expressed confidence that “we are going to move in the right direction. All the pieces will come together. We need a public hearing on Jan. 12 to be able to go forward.”

If the BoS goes through with the land swap, the next step would be rezoning. 

The staff report on the real estate exchange makes no mention of a new school in the Southeast Quadrant. In January 2015, when the BoS approved an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan to facilitate mixed-used development on the site, the amendment called for land to be set aside for an urban-style elementary school or other public purpose.

A long list of community residents who spoke at that BoS hearing, as well as at a Planning Commission hearing in November 2014, opposed a school in that location and urged the county to build a new school at the Willston Center site in Seven Corners instead.

Gross, who had initially supported a school in the Southeast Quadrant, now favors the Willston Center site and is working with the school board to make that happen.

28 comments:

  1. One of the main reasons I voted against Penny is because I knew she'd waste millions on building her palace even though there is a glut of vacant office space in the area. Congrats Penny supporters, you got just what you deserve.

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  2. "make the way for a new multifamily housing development and county office building" - and where will the kids from the new multi-family housing go to school? ENOUGH already!!! The Mason District should not remotely consider additional housing until there is the infrastructure and services to support additional residents. The schools are literally bursting at the trailer seams. The schools that have former outside play areas covered in trailer-classrooms no longer have additional space for additional trailers. What does Penny expect families to want to buy these homes to do education wise?

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    1. There ere supposed to be millions in developer proffers associated with building an elementary school on this site. So, I'll be interested to why there's no mention of that school in the staff report.

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  3. Landmark Atlantic principals are big contributors to both Penny and Sharon Bulova. Smells bad

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    1. this is correct. election payback

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    2. As Penny likes to say "That's democracy in action." At upper rungs of the Board of Supervisors, that smell is what 'passes' for democracy. Pun intended.

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  4. The ballots are in "Penny Palace" Plunders Shelter - there is no end to her deviousness and self worship

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  5. Penny Gross expressed confidence that “we are going to move in the right direction. All the pieces will come together. We need a public hearing on Jan. 12 to be able to go forward.” Since Penny arrived here 20 years ago Mason District has gone in only one direction and that is anything but up. I think the Supervisor's problem is that in her world, the "right direction" is straight down and "forward" means forward into the abyss. BTW Penny, congrats on your most recent dismal victory. You sure gave the democratic process a good thrashing this time. I think you've finally put it out of its misery.

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    1. Penny Gross didn't "thrash" anything. She wisely took advantage of the fact that Mason is a one party state. Although I campaigned for her opponent, I quickly became aware that most of the potential voters I met knew little if anything about matters such as Moncure. Many of those who bothered to vote were content to fill in the Democratic circles on their ballots and call it a day. So, don't blame Penny for grabbing the brass ring. The problem, however, is that those of us who voted against her are now stuck with watching her destroy the prospects for intelligent and cost effective development in Mason. At least we have the voters of Arlington to thank for making sure that Penny's plans for the Trolley Folly fell through.

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  6. Long overdue. Get on with it.

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  7. They're planning on razing old structures and building on blighted property and we're mad why?

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    1. Because the Penny haters really have no intelligent argument or foresight. They are so blinded by their hatred.

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    2. Because Adam,

      1) These people want their children's public schools to be gold-played monuments to higher education, equal to if not better than the education the Richie Rich kids of Falls Church City are "blessed" with; and

      2) These same people want no new neighbors, whether it's million dollar plus houses in Lake Barcroft, or a modern apartment building in place of blighted land where an unsolved homicide occurred not too long ago, these people get so mad they wet their pants, ignorantly attack Penny Gross, and shout No!

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    3. I don't have children and couldn't give less of a hoot about the area schools most days, but I am not happy that this already traffic-jammed area is just going to get more traffic, and nothing of value. It is doubtful that building a myriad more apartments and townhouses will spur anything more than their predecessors of the last 20 years.

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    4. The County built the shelter in 1987. The idea of spending $2.1 million on a structure that is newer than my home is frivolous in my book. I can understand making some upgrades but a complete rebuilt is not nescessary. The question is how much would the temporary building cost as well. Where is the new location located?

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  8. "The office building at 5827 Columbia Pike, known as Bailey’s International Center, would be demolished to allow for a road connecting Seminary Road with Columbia Pike and Moncure Avenue."

    I think a connection can be established between Seminary and Columbia Pike but not also Seminary and Moncure.

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  9. Just to repeat what I've said before. The next step in revitalization should be for FFX to work with Grandview Apartments on Carlin and Columbia Pike. Demolish all of them and replace them with one build with much smaller footprint but some number of units. Use the recoupedland to straighten and widen Carlin Spring roads from Seminary thru Leesburg Pike to Columbia Pike while also improving all three intersections with Carlin Springs. The leftover recouped land along with other adjacent parcels can be used for park space and market rate apartments.

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    1. This seems like a pretty good idea. Carlin gets backed up on that stretch a lot. Though mostly because southbound carlin traffic doesn't realize they have a protected right turn onto pike.

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    2. It gets backup on all three intersections with Carlin Springs. The whole stretch is very inefficient and unsafe for both driver and pedestrians. For drivers and buses there needs to be two lanes with left turn lanes on Carlin Springs. For people on foot there needs to sidewalk on both sides, bus shelters and significantly improved intersection crossing.

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  10. And, 7 Corners Revitalization Chairman gets $6.6m for 1.4 acres from the county. Penny paid him well for ramming the human services buildings down our throats in the Willston deal.

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  11. Note that: Several supervisors agreed at the Dec. 8 meeting that Bailey’s Crossroads needs redevelopment that includes market-rate housing, but raised concerns about going forward with the Jan. 12 hearing without knowing where the homeless shelter will be located.

    Mason Supervisor Penny Gross expressed confidence that “we are going to move in the right direction. All the pieces will come together. We need a public hearing on Jan. 12 to be able to go forward.”

    This is the problem, whether it is Penny Gross or anyone else - going forward to engage the community without information and essentially telling us "trust us, it will all work out for the better." If we had a track record that looked like that, we might indeed have trust in our elected officials.

    It's not like we don't know happens when you engage the community without information about how they will be impacted....or you don't engage the community at all (State of Virginia - DMV).

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    1. The landowner and the county are working together in good faith to work out a mutually acceptable arrangement. The landowner is aware of the upcoming hearing but has its own process it must go through. When the location is made public, this will make more sense.

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  12. A dose of reality. We live in a warren of apartment complexes, currently more than 20, between 7 Corners and the Baileys Crossroads area. The tenants have children and drive cars.

    It would seem logical to address the serious overcrowding of our schools and current transportation problems before adding to them

    Spending millions of dollars on moving the shelter from one location to another and swapping land to benefit the developer hardly seems to be in the best interest of the County or the taxpayers.

    Transparency and community input has been lacking in this process from the beginning.
    There were going to be 250 units, it's now 365. There was going to be mixed use,then a school and now an unidentified County building.

    No wonder there is distrust and concern

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    1. This is a great summation of our issues.

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    2. I agree with you. I have no great love for Penny and realize she will not fade away until she has her name on something. My suggestion would be to name the new homeless shelter for her great efforts

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    3. Penny does have the street named after her in Annandale. On land that was rezoned to allow many townhouses and used to be a single family home.

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    4. I think you should go to the January 12th meeting you put the issues out there in a very concise manner.

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    5. Come to the informational meeting (no word on if the audience can ask questions) Thursday, Jan 7, 7:30 at the Mason District Office Building. Maybe we need posters and signs?

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