|Graham Park Plaza|
The owner, Federal Realty Investment Trust, is proposing a mixed-use development with 248 multifamily housing units and community-serving retail on part of the property of the aging shopping center. The Giant has a long-term lease and would remain as is.
The Planning Commission approved the amendment in October. The Mason District Land Use Committee recommended approval, as does the Planning and Zoning Department staff report. The next step is the rezoning process.
Federal Realty is seeking a rezoning from C-6 with an intensity of .35 FAR (floor area ratio) to PDC (planned development commercial) up to .50 FAR.
During the public hearing, several local residents complained to the Board of Supervisors that they hadn’t been notified in advance about the project.
Supervisor Penny Gross (Mason) noted that she had hosted a couple of community meetings about the redevelopment plans and promised to have at least two more before the rezoning process. She urged residents to email her their contact information.
The shopping center, previously known as Loehmann’s Plaza, “is a little bit tired and can use some energy,” said Allison Williams of Federal Realty. The property needs to be developed because, with a 1950s shopping center that is 28 percent vacant, the status quo is not an option,” said Supervisor John Cook (Braddock).
Several local residents raised concerns about traffic, and issues with noise, illumination, and increased urbanization were also mentioned.
Board Chair Sharon Bulova noted it’s “treacherous” exiting the shopping center and trying to turn left onto Arlington Boulevard. Federal Realty has promised to improve access and install a crosswalk.
Suzanne Hughes, speaking on behalf of the Broyhill Park Civic Association, said it’s impossible to exit the shopping center onto Graham Road due to traffic congestion. The neighborhood was disappointed when the Giant opened a few years ago. “We were nervous about traffic. Every fear we had has come true.”