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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Sale of retail center supports Mosaic District expansion

Unique and CubeSmart to be redeveloped.
Retail Properties of America Inc. (RPAI) announced Jan. 25 that it purchased “Merrifield II,” part of the Fairfax Plaza shopping center on Gallows Road next to the Mosaic District, for $45.7 million, smoothing the way for redevelopment.

The 138,000-square foot property acquired by RPI includes the part of the shopping center occupied by the Unique thrift store and CubeSmart Self Storage (the old Levitz Furniture building). The previous owner is listed as Fairfax Plaza LLC.

RPAI plans to develop a mixed-use project on that site, which it says will be “integrated with Merrifield I and serve as a complement to the adjacent Mosaic District.” Merrifield I, which RPAI purchased in January 2015 for $56.5 million, consists of the two mixed use residential/retail buildings on Gallows Road on either side of Strawberry Lane.

What will most likely be built on the site are apartments with ground floor retail and a plaza or other open space, says Mike Wing, the land specialist in Providence Supervisor Linda Smyth’s office.

“Though we have not finalized the redevelopment plan for Merrifield II,” RPAI CEO Shane Garrison said, “the compelling demographics, adjacency, trade area, and structure of existing leases provides us the opportunity to leverage our robust, local operating platform and knowledge to redevelop and densify the property over the next several years.” RPAI, a real estate investment trust based in Oak Brook, Ill., owns 201 shopping centers.

The rest of Fairfax Plaza, the part occupied by Great Wall Supermarket, Gold’s Gym, Five Guys, and other stores, is owned by Edens, which also owns the bulk of the Mosaic District.

The Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan envisions mixed use development and transportation improvements on the Fairfax Plaza site as part of a broad plan for revitalizing Merrifield. Eventually, the whole site will become part of the Mosaic District.

The Comprehensive Plan won’t need to be amended, but Edens and RPAI would have to coordinate development plans and submit rezoning applications, which would take “many months” to review, Wing says. Nothing has been submitted to the county yet.

The plan calls for a new road cutting through the site where Five Guys is located that would connect District Avenue in the Mosaic District to Gallows Road at the existing traffic light. Another new street would run parallel to Gallows Road connecting to Strawberry Lane.

More development is also planned in the Mosaic District next to the Angelika Film Center and townhouses. That spot has already been rezoned, allowing multifamily housing with ground-floor retail. It won’t happen right away, as “developers don’t want to depress the market with too much coming on line at once,” Wing says.

Additional mixed-use redevelopment is also projected for Merilee Drive on the other side of Lee Highway on the site of the Alliance Center office condos. According to Wing, Merrifield (including Inova and Fairview Park) is the third-largest employment center in Fairfax County, after Tysons and Dulles.

47 comments:

  1. Sad to see Unique going but Merrifield is growing by leaps and bounds. Crazy to think what everything is going to look like in 5,10,15 years!

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  2. Sounds intriguing. I endorse.

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  3. I would love to see what has happened at Merrifield to come to Bailey's. We need to get on with route 7 transit and whatever is gonna replace Columbia Pike Streetcar and make Bailey's a transit hub with appropriate development.

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    1. Can't have a Merrifield at Bailey's because of all the anti-growth people. Complain about everything. Happy to see DMV defeated. Yes we need look at roads and schools but the only way our area will become a Merrifield is to SUPPORT DEVELOOMENT.

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    2. Anon 12:50, you hit the nail on the head.
      We don't have metro, we must have modern, rapid transit.
      Think gondola proposal for Georgetown to Rosslyn?

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    3. I can't imagine it will move , may be find another place in DMV.

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  4. If only we had people looking to invest in developing Mason District...oh, wait--we do. Maybe we could not reflexively oppose EVERY SINGLE PROPOSAL?

    Nah...too easy...

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    1. No one is trying to build anything remotely resembling this in Mason. Not that this area needs another faux town center, but I certainly don't want what developers and the county are proposing and implementing - gluts of townhomes, apartments, office buildings, penny's palace, CVS, Longhorn Steakhouse...etc. etc.

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    2. Not of that scope, true. But if they were, folks here would oppose that, too. Don't believe me? See the comment from another Anon (3:15 pm, just below)...

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    3. No one wants to build anything in the "Dump" between the complainers who complain if you suggest even an igloo, and the fact that this place is a dump.

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    4. So, until the development comes, why can't we clean up the area? All it would take is to start enforcing the zoning codes again. Wouldn't developers be more
      comfortable building in a district that is able to enforce the existing laws on building maintenance, graffiti, parking, over crowding, signage, trash, etc.?

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    5. Although I'd like to see the "Dump" cleaned up, I am not sure that would incentivize developers to build here, however shutting up the complainers, good public transit options and schools that that could attract millennials and young families would be a motivator.

      So I'll just keep dreaming that the dump will someday be paradise, probably when I am dead. Maybe Baileys has a chance if the Avalon project could get jump started.

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    6. Bravo, Anon 7:22 pm
      Also keep in mind: Merrifield (including Inova and Fairview Park) is the third-largest employment center in Fairfax County, after Tysons and Dulles.
      Bailey's/Seven corners will never again be an employment center as long as the current barrio (I mean garden apartments) remains.

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    7. I'm guessing the Klan members posting here are happy to see low income retail and housing go away.

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    8. The one-track mind critics to Penny Gross oppose every single new development and even many new stores that open up in Mason District because these critics are beyond arrogantly stupid.

      Propose renovating an abandoned office building into an apartment building - we oppose that; we can't have more people living here. More people living here would be terrible.

      Longhorns Steakhouse building a new restaurant next to Olive Garden - we oppose that, but it is happening nonetheless - well, we hope it fails, we will never go there, but we need development and we really support development, but the "right" type of development.

      CVS Pharmacy opening a brand-pharmacy less than a mile near the current creepy old dirty CVS pharmacy - we oppose it - CVS is a rapacious no good greedy, profit-driven company and developer, we don't need or want them; but we want new development and it's all Penny Gross' fault it's not happening.

      An apartment building and school on Bailey's Crossroads on land filled with an abandoned eyesore and an anachronistic 50-year old under-maintained office building - oh, hell no, we definitely oppose that, and it's all corrupt Penny Gross' and the greedy developers fault; but we support development, the "right" type of development.

      An apartment building and new Fairfax County Office Building on the same chuck of land that is one of the worst eyesores and neglected spots in Fairfax County; oh hell no, we don't have space for more children in our schools, and Fairfax County doesn't need a new office building when there are plenty of underutilized or unused anachronistic, undermaintained, 50-year old office buildings Fairfax County can buy or lease and renovate at a far higher cost; but we support development, the "right" type of development.

      How about the DMV moving into an storefront in a shopping center that is having trouble keeping and maintaining tenants? In a storefront that has been empty for over two years? Oh, that is all the shopping center owner's fault for being stupid enough to invest in Mason District. We much prefer the shopping center owner lose money than have the storefront filled by DMV, because that would cause nothing but trouble for us. But we support development, we sure do, but just not any development proposed or contemplated, it must be the "right" type of development. Listen to us and you will learn that it's all Penny Gross' fault.

      Oh yeah, we all know that Penny Gross rolls over for the developers and lets them build whatever they want where ever they want, and she gets big payoffs for doing so, that corrupt two cents gross. This explains all the imaginary massive construction projects taking place in Mason District according to the clinically deranged minds of many of the critics who use the comments section of this blog to express their derangement.

      For the most part, the critics of development on this website are a bunch of cranks who will never be happy.

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    9. 408 and I need to get a beer together at Cue.

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    10. Oh boy, if you are a Penny supporter, you may want to take your meds before your next post. Penny must be losing her mind if she has sanctioned this statement.

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    11. 8:22 you said it. Only attacks are from Penny's people.
      4:08 "according to the clinically deranged minds of many of the critics who use the comments section of this blog to express their derangement."
      11:28 "I'm guessing the Klan members posting here are happy"

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    12. 408 is spot on with that statement

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    13. Nothing but applause for 4:08 from me. Thanks for pulling together all the cognitive dissonance in one place!

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    14. Yes, I will oppose development that I think is not in the best interest possible, within reason, of my community. I have no qualms about that whatsoever, 4:08, and that sentiment is something hardly unique to Mason District.

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    15. Adam 6:29, if you and 408 get a beer at the cue, you're voting with your wallets for the "old decrepit" Mason.

      "The one-track mind critics to Penny Gross oppose every single new development and even many new stores that open up in Mason District because these critics are beyond arrogantly stupid."

      Shouldn't you two be rooting for a micro brew instead of the DMV?
      I could support that! However, the beer would cost a pretty penny (no pun intended)

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  5. LEAVING SOON: Sensible, affordable shops and eateries

    COMING SOON: More lets-play-Beverly-Hills yuppie trash

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    1. have you actually been to mosaic? I feel like you're basing this on that one expensive kid toy store. Maybe exit your shell and give it a chance.

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    2. Get a grip. YOU are the problem and why we can't become a Merrifield with LOW CRIME, nice housing for ALL income levels, good roads and families invested in their school.

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    3. I'm not sure who you are talking to 714

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  6. Ugh, more gentrification, upscale, ugly mosaic architecture.

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    1. I think fairfax was gentrified in the late 40s bro.

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    2. Gentrified, Upscale and Ugly Architect2/3/16, 7:05 AM

      Those are great news!

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    3. To, Anonymous 2/2/2016, 6:48 PM and other critics:

      Right, because when I see the "Unique" storefront the first thoughts I have are "beautiful, well-maintained, architecture." What a load these critics of change are; get a grip. I presume getting a life may be too much to ask, but at least get a grip.

      Geesh!

      You: "Honey! I can't believe it! Their going to close and redevelop the "Unique" store on Gallows Road, that fabulous, beautiful to look at thrift store we absolutely adore honey! Oh my God! I don't know what we've going to do. Our lives will never be the same! Sob...sob...sob....

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    4. Where's Frank Lloyd Wright's ghost when you need him?

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    5. Not even Frank Lloyd Wright can stop the decline of Bailey's. I say bring back the circus!

      Now all the stores are vacant next to Christina's Bakery and the Papa John's. Since I have lived here I have never seen so many stores pack up and leave. And I can assure you if the DMV had moved in it would have caused all the other businesses in Barcroft Plaza to shutter there doors. And don't let anyone kid you, Harris Teeter put the kibosh on the deal.

      Mason seems to be in a spiraling down self destruct mode.

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  7. they should do this over in that Seminary Road area off Route 7. Big enough area to do something cool. My guess though is another CVS will end up there instead.

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  8. I'd like to see Baileys redeveloped in a long range, cohesive manner, with thought given to what the area needs now and in the future to keep it viable/sustainable. I thought that was why there was a comprehensive plan. I'm not opposed to development and change - just want it to make sense in the large picture and not be done by exception to the plan. If the plan is not working, then make sweeping changes to the whole plan.

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    1. Yes, THIS. SO THIS. Comprehensive plans are actually followed in other districts in Fairfax County.

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    2. Anon 10:45 here, here

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  9. When are we getting a monorail?

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    1. Are you kidding me, you are thinking like a progressive. We can hardly get good buses or dedicated bus lanes. But a monorail would be very cool, the millennials would flock to Mason if we had such good public transit that could get them to DC quickly. Even I would fall in love with Mason again. The Pike would become nationally famous. Don't get your hopes up, there is not in a political leader in Arlington or Fairfax willing to take such risk. You saw what happened to the streetcar.

      Cheer up we have white vans and Donald Trump when he becomes president will build a wall around Mason, so no one will need to be concerned with its demise.

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  10. AMEN to the above conversation. The Anti-Penny "firebreathers" have done irreparable harm to Mason District, by standing in the way of good development just to spite their duly-elected Supervisor.

    Shame on them!

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    1. The "firebreathers" were not running Mason District into the ground for the last 20 years. That would be Penny. Firebreathing, or popular resistance to the rampant corruption here, is something new to Mason District, and long overdue.

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    2. Have you researched out the Residential Studio Units Penny was promoting to put in the Mason District? Apartment building could be into the house right next to you. Single Family Homes, Townhouse with or with out a HOA. Take time to learn about Penny before you get upset at those who have zero respect for her.

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    3. Penny was "duly elected" by only 15% of registered voters, with the help of 20 years of the entanglements and cronyism of incumbency and, of course,the over $300,000 in 'reported' "contributions".

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    4. Anon 6:15, 11:46 and 1:25 have salient points, IMHO

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  11. Anon 11:28. You can't attract thriving businesses by being the center of section 8 housing.
    when developers come in they expect a profit, pricing low income residents and mom & pop business out.
    You can't have it both ways.

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    1. Came here to say this. Growth is driven by economics, do the demographics of the area justify the cost to be here. Use the US Census Explorer data, look at the income in area along Heritage Dr. These people do not have much disposable income, so you are not going to get fancy retail.

      http://www.census.gov/censusexplorer/censusexplorer.html

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  12. Penny Gross is not the problem. We are. Bashing each other here as pro- or anti-Penny is not going to change ONE thing. I'd love to see more discussion of what anyone of us is willing to do to make change happen versus complain or bash each other for our views.

    If we want things to change in Mason District, then we need to get active at the hearings and work our political connections - putting in time and money. We need to band together as a community and work for the change.

    If Penny bothers us, we need to get her out. We need to do a better job of getting the word out that her style of supervising Mason District is not working well and put someone new in to see what they bring to the job - whatever that might be.

    If we want her to stay in, and she did this time around, then it seems that those of us that support her need to rally 'round to make sure she stays in come the next challenge.

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