|An illustration of the proposed shopping center viewed from Washington Drive and Leesburg Pike. [Spectrum Development]|
More details have emerged on the shopping center proposed for Leesburg Pike in Bailey’s Crossroads, as representatives from Spectrum Development outlined their plans before the Mason District Land Use Committee (MDLUC) May 27.
The retail center will take up the entire block between Washington Drive and Charles Street. A Geico claims center, two houses, and a garage will be demolished.
|This house at 3425 Charles Street will be demolished. It was built in 1946, says Paul Byers, who bought it in 1991.|
The 2.7-acre site will have three buildings: One will be a stand-alone CVS with a drive-through pharmacy. Another building will have several tenants, and third smaller building in the interior of the property will have one or two tenants.
The two larger buildings have brick and glass facades and will be close to Leesburg Pike (Route 7). A wide sidewalk will extend across the front of the property with areas for outdoor dining. The main entrance to the shops and restaurants will be in the interior of the project, with the goal of encouraging people to walk from one to another.
There will be a seven-foot tall brick wall at the rear property line plus trees and shrubs to buffer the center from the Courtland Park neighborhood.
Only two local residents came to the MDLUC meeting, Brian Lowit and Gwen Doddy Lowit, who had concerns about traffic, noise, and trash. A couple dozen residents of Courtland Park had attended a meeting hosted by Spectrum earlier this month at Culmore United Methodist Church on Charles Street.
The Lowits said there is too much speeding on Washington Drive, people use it as a cut-through between Route 7 and Columbia Pike, and it’s already difficult to turn left from Washington Drive onto Route 7.
Batten suggested when the new shopping center is built, people would be able to cut through the parking lot from Washington Drive to Charles Street where’s there’s a traffic light making it easier to access Route 7. The only access points to the center will on Washington and Charles; there won’t be an entrance on Route 7.
|The site of the proposed shopping center viewed from Charles Street.|
Members of the MDLUC raised some concerns about deliveries, access, drainage, and trash. Batten assured the committee that there would be plenty of room for an 18-wheel truck to make deliveries to the CVS and said deliveries would be restricted to off-hours. The drive-through pharmacy window would be parallel to Charles Street.
He also said an underground drainage system would be installed under the parking lot, and dumpsters would be located out of site near the rear wall. A management company would oversee trash collection, landscaping, and maintenance.
The MDLUC will discuss the shopping center proposal again June 24. The Fairfax County Planning Commission will have a public hearing on it July 17, and it will go to the Board of Supervisors July 29.
The Planning Commission will consider a request to rezone the entire site under the C-6 commercial zoning designation Sept. 10, and the BoS will vote on rezoning Oct. 7. Part of the property is currently zoned commercial C-2 and part is zoned residential R-3.
A plan to develop an office building on part of that site was proposed some 10 years ago, and that piece of the property was rezoned for commercial development then, but that plan wasn’t economically feasible. There is no market for new offices, and the site was too small for a retail center. Now that Spectrum was able to purchase the adjoining property, it’s going ahead with plans for a shopping center in line with the plan approved by the BoS in 2010 for revitalizing Bailey’s Crossroads.
Spectrum Development is also proposing a 500,000-square foot mixed-use development on Broad and West streets in Falls Church with an extended-stay Hilton Hotel, condos, and apartments.