|The Southeast Quadrant, with Columbia Pike at the top and Moncure Avenue on the left. [Fairfax County]|
The BoS will swap a 1.49-acre piece of land it owns on the corner of Columbia Pike and Moncure Avenue with an equal amount of land nearby owned by AvalonBay and will purchase for $6.35 million a 2.94-acre property next to Radley Acura owned by Landmark Atlantic LLC.
Avalon Bay is proposing to build a 375-unit apartment building with market-rate rents. The county will use the land it is acquiring, currently occupied by an office building, for a possible future human services center and a road extension to connect Seminary Road and Columbia Pike. The board held a public hearing on the land swap Jan. 13.
None of the supervisors voted against the land deal. Supervisors John Cook (Braddock) and Linda Smith (Providence) abstained because, while they said they supported redevelopment of the area, they were uncomfortable that there is no agreement yet on where the Bailey’s Crossroads Community Shelter will be relocated.
The AvalonBay apartments would be built on the site of the homeless shelter on Moncure Avenue, and relocating the homeless shelter is a key part of the project.
“The shelter will be relocated in Mason District, not closed,” Mason Supervisor Penny Gross stressed at the BoS meeting.
“We’re absolutely committed to making this deal work with no interruption in services” for the homeless, Robert Stalzer, deputy county executive for planning and development, told the supervisors. “The temporary location will evolve into a permanent site that will include not only the 50 beds that are currently a part of the existing facility but also enhanced services including transitional housing for the homeless community.”
However, there has not been an announcement from the county about where the shelter will be relocated, and possible sites were not discussed at the BoS meeting.
First Christian Church at 6165 Leesburg Pike had offered to host a temporary shelter on its grounds but that deal fell through. Residents of Ravenwood Park raised concerns about the prospect of a homeless shelter next to their neighborhood, as well as other issues related to the land swap, in an open letter to Mason District residents.
“We’re not hosting a homeless shelter at our property. The negotiations have ended,” Rev. Kathleen Kline Moore, senior minister at First Christian Church, told the Annandale Blog Feb. 19. “There simply wasn’t enough time for negotiations to reach the necessary conclusions and also receive public comment and meet the deadlines required by the AvalonBay developers.”
Regarding the value of the Southeast Quadrant, Stalzer said, “Over a five to 10-year build-out period, we’re anticipating the tax base would increase from its current value of roughly $5 million to $150 million.”
A public private partnership to develop a mixed-use project in the Southeast Quadrant was first proposed 13 years ago, Gross said at the BoS meeting. But that project was “sidetracked due to the Great Recession.”
The BoS approved a comprehensive plan amendment last January to facilitate the current mixed-use project and road realignment. The next step is review of a rezoning application.
“In 2010, the county updated the land use plan for the Bailey’s Community Business Center to recommend the development of a ‘town center’ with a mix of uses,” states a Feb. 18 Fairfax County news release. AvalonBay’s proposal helps to advance the broader vision for a revitalized Bailey’s Crossroads.”
According to the news release, the board’s approval of the land deal “doesn’t commit us to building a new human services center.”
“A new human services center will be considered at this location because it will allow the county to consolidate services into a single building,” it states. “We are currently providing services out of leased spaces. The decision to build a new county human services center, or to continue leasing space, will be considered by the Board of Supervisors at a future time.”