|6565 Arlington Blvd.|
The congregation, led by Rev. John Yates, had defected from the Episcopal Church in 2006, but continued to occupy the historic building until they were forced out in 2012 following a lengthy court battle. Their dispute was mainly against more progressive elements in the Episcopal Church, including the election of an openly gay priest as a bishop.
Yates’ group bought the five-acre property containing a five-story office building and two-story parking deck on a five-acre parcel on Arlington Boulevard near the South Cherry Street intersection for about $31 million. That is far more than the property’s assessed value of $19 million, Mason Supervisor Penny Gross told the News-Press. Construction of a new sanctuary and other facilities would cost an additional $23 million, according to a brochure produced by the group.
The conversion of a commercial property to a non-profit use will result in the loss of approximately $207,000 in tax revenue for the county.
The project will present other challenges, too, around land use regulations, the impact on surrounding neighborhoods and businesses, and traffic on already-congested Route 50, Gross said.
The Falls Church Anglican has no immediate plans to tear it down, says church spokesperson Susan Fertig-Dykes. The staff will move into the building later this year, and the church will continue to hold services at space leased at Bishop O’Connell High School until it can build a sanctuary.
According to a statement issued by the Falls Church Anglican, the church will join a variety of medical practices and other tenants leasing space at 6565 Arlington Blvd. “We are glad to have these important services available alongside us. In fact, a number of our members are patients of the doctors or clinics there,” Yates said.
“The church will now be able to bring staff together in one location after several years of operating from places several miles apart,” added Senior Warden Whit Jordan. “We are excited about being in a vital Fairfax crossroads along a major highway and hope to contribute to the neighborhood in useful ways.”