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Thursday, October 20, 2016

E-loft projects offer flexible units for living or working

A unit in the e-loft building in Alexandria furnished as an office.
An e-loft building, offering flexible spaces for people who want to live or work there, is now open for leasing in Alexandria’s West End.

For far, four tenants have signed leases and plan to move in in November. The former office building, at 4501 Ford Avenue, has 200 units on 14 floors. It had been vacant for six years since the only tenant, the U.S. Department of the Army, moved to the Mark Center.

The office unit has work spaces for five employees.
The developer of the e-loft project in Alexandria, Novus Residences, is hoping to create the same concept in a vacant office building at 5600 Columbia Pike in Bailey’s Crossroads.

The Bailey’s Crossroads/Seven Corners Revitalization Corporation (BC7RC) endorsed the project Oct. 17. There will be public hearing on it before the Fairfax County Planning Commission on Nov. 17. The Board of Supervisors hearing is scheduled for Dec. 6.

The lobby has spaces for business meetings or social gatherings. 
The building at 5600 Columbia Pike next to Carlin Springs Road would have 157 e-loft units. Tenants would decide if they want to use the space for living, working, or both. The rent would the same for either use. Three sizes of units would be available – 700, 1,000, and 1,200 square feet.

A unit at the Alexandria e-loft building furnished as a residence.
Each unit would have a large open space, a galley-style kitchen, bathroom, a separate room that could be a bedroom or office, large closet that could be used for clothes or office equipment, and filtered air and water. Tenants would have access to meeting rooms and other shared spaces.

A home in an e-loft unit.
Providing flexibility in how the units are used offers the prospect of “rapid occupancy,” said Scott Adams of McGuire Woods at the BC7RC meeting. Novus won’t have to wait for a tenant willing to lease out a whole floor, and that is especially important in the current climate of high office vacancies.

The bedroom in a residential e-loft space.
As an innovative project, the e-loft building would serve as a gateway presence in Bailey’s Crossroads and would encourage more revitalization, Adams said.

That property already has a large parking garage, so the existing surface parking lot would be turned into park with sculptured mounds and a environmentally sustainable “geo-walk” with plantings and benches. There would be a bike trail and bus shelter on Columbia Pike.

The outdoor area at the Alexandria e-lofts building.
Having a mix of uses in the building would spread out the traffic during the day and weekends, Adams said. A traditional building would be busy during regular weekdays and empty during the weekend. Vehicle trips would be 17 percent less if the building were converted to an e-lofts concept than if it were used as a traditional office building, he noted.

Novus is proposing having just one access point on Carlin Springs Road, rather than the four that are there now.

When the e-loft concept was proposed for Alexandria, city officials were helpful, as they wanted to lure technology start-ups, Adams said. The site plan process only took one month in Alexandria, but could take as long as nine months in Fairfax County.

The e-loft building on Ford Avenue in Alexandria.
In Alexandria it was a by-right project, but the Bailey’s Crossroads property would have to be rezoned from commercial to PDC (planned development commercial).

If the project is delayed by red tape, Novus Residences will drop it, said CEO Robert Seldin. A long delay means “it will become so difficult and so expensive it’s not worth it,” he told the BC7RC.

The pet salon.
If the approval process goes smoothly, he said, construction could start at the end of 2017 and the building could open at the end of 2018.

The e-loft project in Alexandria is still undergoing some finishing touches, said Melanie Domres, Novus executive vice president, during a tour of the building. Of the four units already leased, two will be used for living, one will be an office, and one will be a combined living/working space.

Places to work or hang out in the lobby. 
A 995-square foot model unit furnished as an office has a large open space with workstations for five employees at one end and a kitchen at the other. Like all the units in the building it has a wall of windows, a bathroom with two sinks and a large shower, a walk-in closet, and a full-size washer and dryer. A sliding door separates another room that in this unit was furnished as a private office. The rent would $2,400 a month, not including utilities.

The lobby.
A 1,062-square feet unit ($2,650 per month) was furnished as a residence for a single person or couple, with the separate room serving as a bedroom.

The building’s ground floor has a fitness center, several large rooms that could be used for anything from a business meeting to a baby shower, a kitchen, booths for one-on-one-meetings, and other areas for working and socializing.

One floor down from the lobby there are a couple of sound-proof rooms for music practicing and a pet washing room with two large sinks. In the building’s “backyard” there are plenty of seating areas, including hammocks and lounges for sunbathing.

5600 Columbia Pike.


  1. Cool concept! Hope it takes off and that Fairfax County doesn't botch this opportunity up.

  2. Will there be any upgrades to 5600 Columbia Pike, the facade and the exterior parking in general. Maybe the service road parallel the bus stop on Columbia Pike can be eliminated and the bus stop, which is heavily used, can be expanding.

    1. The surface parking in front of the building is being replaced by a public park. A new bus shelter with additional seating is also proposed.

  3. This first project is actually in the City of Alexandria, not in Fairfax County, though it is only a short walk to the edge of Mason District

    1. They want to do the same e-loft concept at 5600 Columbia Pike, which is in Mason District.

    2. This tax record clearly shows this property is in Fairfax County, not the city of Alexandria...
      Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, Inc.

      Tax ID #: 62-1-1- -7 FAIRFAX - Select this listing
      5600 COLUMBIA PIKE, FALLS CHURCH, VA 22041 Public Record

      Legal Subdivision: Baileys Crossroads Condo/Coop Name: Media Center
      Incorporated City: No Photos
      Owner Name: Absentee: Yes Tax Neighbor Photos
      Additional: Company: GOVERNMENT PROPERTIES INCOME TRUST Virtual Earth Maps

      Mailing Address: 400 CENTRE CT, NEWTON, MA, 02458 Resource Center
      Property History
      Community Information

      Fairfax County GIS Assessor Maps
      Legal Description: Baileys Crossroads .1880 Ac In Arl Fairfax Tax Website
      Mag/Dist #: 5 Lot: Block/Square:/
      Election District: Legal Unit #: Grid: Tax Map: 0621 01 0007
      Section: Subdiv Ph: Addl Parcel Flag/#: Map:43805D
      Map Suffix: Suffix: Parcel: Sub Parcel:
      Historic ID: Agri Dist: Plat Folio: 621 Plat Liber:

      Tax Year 2016

      TOTAL TAX BILL: $94,274 City Tax: Tax Levy Year: 2016
      State/County Tax: $81,740 Refuse: 0 Tax Rate: 1.3
      Special Tax: $12,189 Homestd/Exempt Status: Exempt Class: 00
      Front Foot Fee: Tax Class: NON-EXEMPT Mult Class:


      Year Assessed
      Total Tax Value
      Land Use

      2016 $7,233,630 $2,028,820 $5,204,810
      2015 $7,047,840 $2,028,820 $5,019,020
      2014 $20,726,830 $2,028,820 $18,698,010

      DEED Deed Liber:20428 Deed Folio: 1850

      Transfer Date
      30-Apr-2009 $ Hub Realty Funding Inc Government Properties Income T
      05-Apr-1996 $13,456,734 Hub Realty Funding Inc
      16-Feb-1994 $4,108,452

      Year Built: 0 Zoning Code: 496 Census Tract/Block: /
      Irregular Lot: Square Feet: 165593 Acreage: 3.801 Property Card #:
      Land Use: Commercial
      Property Class: 431 Plat Liber/Folio: /621

      Zoning Desc: Comm (W/Mix Of Comm Zoning) Quality Grade:
      Building Use: OFFICE Xfer Devel. Right:
      Lot Description: COMMERCIAL RANK 2 Site Roofing:
      Stories: Units: Year Remodeled: # of Domers:
      Style: Model/Unit Type:
      Total Building Area: 168915 Living Area: 168915 Base Sq Ft:

      Patio or Deck Type/Sqft: / Porch Type/Sqft: /
      Balcony Type/Sqft: / Pool Type/Area: /
      Attic Type/Sqft: / Roof Type:

      Rooms: Fireplace Type: Fireplaces:
      Bedrooms: 0 Bsmt Type:

    3. The article highlights two properties - one in Alexandria, one in Bailey's Crossroads.

  4. I wonder if the advertisement for these units to lure millennials reads: pump it up, live in the dump. Grab a white van to Van Dorn and take an hour to get to work.

    1. It's closer to Ballston if you are talking about metro. But Carlin Springs rd is a parking lot during peak times.

    2. None the less, Mason has no metro access and crappy bus service that gets stuck in traffic. That is why you don't see any millennials here, just a bunch of white vans.

    3. Mason District is served by a good number of bus lines, including several express lines that I know of. Bus transit would be a lot smoother without so many single occupancy vehicles clogging the road, which you are undoubtedly a part of.

    4. Nope I take one of those glorious bus lines everyday; and express or not, these routes get stuck in traffic because of the Oldsmobile crowd that running this County. Take an hour plus to go 11 miles, way third world.

    5. Arlington and Fairfax need to run metro down Columbia Pike. Not the metro is so great, but not having anything other than surface transit makes Mason District less attractive to commuters and young professions that work in Arlington, Tysons and DC where the jobs are. Just puts more cars on the road.