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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Combination residences/office space proposed for Bailey's Crossroads

5600 Columbia Pike.
Something new and innovative could happen at the long-vacant office building at 5600 Columbia Pike in Bailey’s Crossroads.

Novus Residences, a subsidiary of Cafritz Interests, is proposing to convert the 10-story building to a mix of residential and office spaces where tenants could live, or work, or do both. The building would have 157 units, which could be residences or workspaces for technology startups, artists’ studios, offices for entrepreneurs, or similar uses.  

“We’ve noticed significant changes in the way people are working and living, based on technology,” Novus Residences CEO Robert Seldin said at a presentation on the “e-Loft” proposal during the Mason District Land Use Committee meeting May 24.

This project, Seldin said, would “attract the creative class and entrepreneurs” and would “fill a significant unmet need.” Novus is developing a similar project in Alexandria.

The 166,000-square foot building at 5600 Columbia Pike already has 10-foot ceilings, large windows, and plenty of parking, which he said would fit in with the company’s e-Loft concept. Novus would provide high-tech conference spaces, a community kitchen, soundproof studios, multitasking zones, and landscaping with sculptural land forms to create privacy.

All units would be designed as lofts and would have kitchens and bathrooms. Tenants would decide whether they want to live or work there or do both. The units would have Italian kitchens, extra-large showers, built-in shelves, and filtered air and water systems. They would be big enough to accommodate a couple without children or a small business with up to 10 employees.

Seldin conceded “zoning is a big challenge.” Existing zoning codes don’t address this type of mixed-use project, but he said Novus has been working with the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning.

A previous plan for an apartment project on that site fell through last year. In 2014, the Foulger-Pratt company proposed tearing the building down and putting up a 433-unit apartment complex on the site. The Board of Supervisors approved a Comprehensive Plan amendment to facilitate that project in March 2015. Foulger-Pratt cancelled the project in July 2015 after it failed to reach an agreement to purchase the property from Government Properties Income Trust.

10 comments:

  1. What a poor replacement to the previous project but I guess it's better than leaving it empty. I don't know if this work/live like a dorm concept has legs. Whatever they do, I hope they significantly upgrade the exterior. It's an eyesore.

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  2. This is the same building that Penny Gross deemed unsuitable for her Palace. I guess we now know who she was saving it for...

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  3. Finally, someone with a brain in their head comes to the table, that is until all the complainers start declaring that this another one of Penny Gross's illegal under the table deals, and that traffic will be nightmare and that this will cause the world to come to an end!

    This office building is not an easy facility to adapt or retrofit to other uses. Creating loft space for a diverse entrepreneurial work/living market may be just the most appropriate adaptive reuse for this vacant property and a unique shot in the arm for Baileys.......bravo, hope we can make it happen.

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    1. I'd like to "like" your comment.

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  4. Without knowing all the details about this, I find it kind of exciting. There is history of many revitalizations being jump started with lofts/studios, and artists as residents ... I like the innovative, flexible thinking of mixing in work/office accommodations as well. I too hope something positive can happen with this site.

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  5. This type of work & live loft lifestyle is appearing in major cities across the county. I'm glad something creative is coming to Mason District, but I wouldn't go so far as giving Penny any credit for this. Let's hope the zoning variance goes through. She can help with that.

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  6. 7 Corners 75/31/16, 8:36 AM

    I am for this and wish them luck.

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  7. Something is clearly better than nothing.

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    1. Be careful what you wish for. 'Something', in a district so lacking in code compliance enforcement, can easily become worse than nothing, and probably will. This could easily be another bait and switch. Then again, with the right Supervisor, it could be a good thing, but as things now are in Mason District, we must continue to expect more of less. Until the community associations and democratic processes are taken off the critical list in Mason, nothing will change. However, there is some progress being made in that regard. Get involved, now.

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  8. exciting to hear that this will happen:)
    hope they go "solar"
    hope they have a roof top restaurant

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