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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Bailey's Crossroads redevelopment in the works

This property, seen from Moncure Avenue, is slated for redevelopment.
The Weissberg Co. is going ahead with a rezoning application for a 7.4-acre property at Columbia Pike and Moncure Avenue in Bailey’s Crossroads, even though it has not yet secured a developer. The project, called Columbia Crossing, would include a 378-unit apartment building.

John McBride, an attorney with Odin Feldman Pittleman, explained the new conceptual plan for the Southeast Quadrant at a community meeting May 4 at the Mason Government Center.

The Board of Supervisors approved a land swap allowing Weissberg, which owns an adjacent property on Columbia Pike to exchange it for a property owned by Fairfax County which it wants to develop. The county would gain the property currently occupied by the Bailey’s International Center (the Landmark building) at 5827 Columbia Pike for construction of a county human services building.

The apartments would be built on the site of the Bailey’s Crossroads Community Shelter, which is moving to a new facility to be built at 5818 Seminary Road.

This deal is similar to one approved by the BoS with AvalonBay, which fell through last September. Avalon Bay was also going to build an apartment building on Moncure Avenue, but withdrew from the project just before it was scheduled to close on the land swap because it decided the project was no longer financially feasible. 

Having the rezoning approved first will make the project more attractive to a developer, McBride said. Weissberg doesn’t want to wait two years until the new shelter is completed and the old shelter building is torn down before they start improving the site.

“We’re committed to it. The county is committed to it,” he said.

The conceptual plan calls for a five-story multifamily building – most likely with rental units rather than condos – and a five-story parking deck on the property that would be acquired by Weissberg. Three or four townhouses would be built on the east side of that building.

Nothing would happen on that site, however, until the Bailey’s Crossroads shelter is relocated. Construction is expected to start in spring 2018 and the new building, and it would be ready for occupancy in fall 2019.

Development of the county office building, on the site of the Landmark Building, would happen later. It would house health and other services programs for local residents  currently in leased spaced in Annandale. A new county office building for this area is in the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan, although Mason Supervisor Penny Gross said the facility could end up being county-owned, privately owned, or a combination.

When asked why the county needs a new building when there’s a lot of vacant office space in the Bailey’s Crossroads area, Gross said the county prefers the stability of owning its own building rather paying rent.

Existing buildings on the redevelopment site would be torn down, possibly as early as late October 2018 to prevent vandalism and allow for interim uses on the property, McBride said.

That includes the Landmark office building, the now vacant building that used to be the Safari Restaurant, and an automotive business. Interim uses could include a privately-run farmers market or outdoor entertainment space.

McBride hopes a partner for the residential development will sign on in 2018 and construction could start in 2020.

The Bailey’s Crossroads Plan Amendment, approved by the BoS in 2010, calls for a town center concept in that area. In keeping with the recommendations in that plan, McBride said redevelopment would include a new grid of streets, wide sidewalks, a park, and a landscape buffer adjacent to the Ellery Place townhouse community. A traffic light at Columbia Pike and Moncure is also a possibility if warranted by a traffic analysis.

The Comprehensive Plan also calls for a new road connecting Seminary Road with Columbia Pike, but that is not part of the Columbia Crossing project.

A public hearing before the Fairfax County Planning Commission is tentatively scheduled for June 28.  There will be presentations on the project at the Bailey’s Crossroads Revitalization Corporation meeting June 16 and at the Mason District Land Use Committee meeting June 27. 

6 comments:

  1. "Gross said the county prefers the stability of owning its own building rather paying rent." Fine. So, has anyone considered purchasing an existing office building? That's how Upper Bailey's came into existence.

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    1. That is only good for kids not Penny's Palace. She loves spending the county money which is your money for no good reason.

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  2. That would indicate financial prudence which has been sadly lacking in this quadrant from the beginning. The County paid more than the assessed value for the land, has wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars on plan revisions and paid dearly by not acting more promptly to purchase the Seminary Road project for the new shelter.

    Let's hope that whatever is built will be true revitalization, rather than just another County edifice and an apartment building.




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    1. It will be an apartment building and a county services building, and they will call it "revitalization".

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  3. IMHO The simple solution is to have the developer demolish the Landmark BlDG, Safari club and auto shop so they can begin construction as soon as possible.

    The county Bldg. could still be built in the current timeframe on the Moncure Ave. parcels.

    I personally wouldn't want to live across the street from the NOT 7-11 convenience store.

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  4. My understanding is that funding for the new shelter is in the place. Why can't the construction for it start sooner?

    Also, I hope seminary road extension to Columbia Pike is still in the works.

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