|Seven Corners Task Force members during the charrette.|
The Seven Corners task force has been meeting monthly over the past few months, studying development possibilities for the Seven Corners area and hearing presentations from Fairfax County staff and other experts on the area’s demographics, real estate, transportation, economic conditions, recreational resources, and quality of life issues.
Task force members spent the afternoon and evening of June 27 in a charrette, an intense planning session involving multiple stakeholders, in an attempt to put everything together from those previous sessions. The task force was split into three groups, with each one concentrating on what type of development would work in a specific sub-area of the Seven Corners revitalization district.
|Heading westbound on Leesburg Pike in Seven Corners.|
They also proposed an overpass over Route 50 and a traffic circle. And they suggested a new regional park be established, with athletic fields, that would be connected to Upton Hill Regional Park in Arlington.
When that plan was presented to the whole task force, several people said the area needs to have a larger population base, including people with higher incomes, to support additional retail.
Joanne Fiebe, a planner with the Fairfax County Office of Community Revitalization (OCR), said there would be room for a new elementary school in that area, although the task force didn’t spend much time discussing schools during the charrette. All the other elementary schools in the vicinity are either overcrowded or are projected to be over capacity in a few years.
The group looking at the area occupied by the Seven Corners shopping center, between Routes 50 and 7, called for mixed-used buildings with retail at street level and residential units on the upper floors. Townhouses, for sale not rent, could be part of the mix. They suggested an office tower would work on the spot closest to the intersection of routes 7 and 50, although it isn’t financially feasible now. That group also suggested getting rid of the service lanes on Route 7 and putting a streetcar line along the middle lane.
The third group looked at the land on the other side of Route 7—currently occupied by Sears and several office buildings. They suggested five or six-story buildings closest to Route 7 with three-story townhouses behind them, and a park between Sears and the existing single-family houses.
“This could end up being even better than Merrifield. If the town center happens, it will transform the whole area,” said task force co-chair John Thillman.
Task force member David Corini, vice president of investments at Regency Centers, which owns the Willston I and II shopping centers, said he is open to the idea of developing a town center.
The OCR staff will refine the proposals developed in the charrette and present a report at the task force’s September meeting for further review. The next meeting of the task force, scheduled for July 11, will focus on transportation.