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Friday, November 18, 2016

Planning Commission approves e-Loft project for 5600 Columbia Pike

A rendering of the e-Lofts building at the corner of Columbia Pike and Carlin Springs Road. [Novus Residences] 
The Fairfax County Planning Commission on Nov. 17 endorsed a rezoning proposal to convert a vacant office building at 5600 Columbia Pike into an innovative mixed-use concept, where tenants could choose whether to live, work, or do both in their unit.

The e-Loft project, proposed by Novus Property Holdings LLC, goes to the Board of Supervisors for a public hearing Dec. 6.

5600 Columbia Pike in February 2014.
The building would have 157 flexible units ranging from 450 to a little over 1,000 square feet, said attorney Scott Adams of McGuire Woods, representing Novus Residences. Each unit would have a large open space with a kitchen at one end, a bathroom, and an additional room that could be used as a bedroom or office space.

Novus estimate about a half of the units would be residential and half would be used for offices, but the mix could change down the road depending on market conditions.

The company recently completed another, larger e-Loft project in Alexandria near Route 7 and Beauregard Street. The first tenant moved in Nov. 16.

The Bailey’s Crossroads project would include an improved streetscape along Columbia Pike, including a wider sidewalk, bike lane, and bus shelter. Most of the existing surface parking lot would be converted to a public park with an “eco-walk,” gathering spaces, and bio-retention facilities to manage storm water.

Three of the four access points on Carlin Springs Road would be eliminated. The existing parking deck would be retained. There would be 519 parking spaces, which Adams said is more than enough to accommodate the needs of tenants and employees.

Adams described the project’s benefits:
  • As the first project of its type in Fairfax County, e-Lofts “will have a transformative effect on site and will create a gateway presence for Bailey’s Crossroads.” 
  • It offers a solution for dealing with the use of vacant office buildings. The office vacancy rate is 20 percent in Fairfax County and much higher in Mason District.  
  • It will “create a vibrant community,” and by attracting entrepreneurs, it will promote economic success. 
  • The building will generate $475,000 a year in increased tax revenues when fully occupied.
  • It supports sustainability by re-using an existing building. 
  • Small-business owners will save money on rent by being able to live and work in the same place. 
Just one local resident spoke at the public hearing. Laura Koschny said she was concerned about the prospect of e-Lofts tenants parking on her street, Robinwood Lane, but likes the concept, especially the idea of bringing panache to Bailey’s Crossroads and the expectation that most tenants would be childless adults. That’s important because the closest school, Glen Forest Elementary, is overcrowded.

The proposal includes $85,000 in proffers for Fairfax County Public Schools. If the building becomes 100 percent residential in the future, the property would have to be rezoned with a new look at additional proffers. 


  1. This is a great step forward for the Bailey's Crossroads area.

    Now, let's keep this trend going and make the SEQ a classy area that draws revenue into the dilapidated Bailey's Crossroads area.

    No human services building in the SEQ area. Make sure the entire SEQ generates revenue to alleviate pressure on property taxes.

  2. SEQ? Is that an acronym a typical Annandale Blog reader is expected to know?

    I'll guess it refers to a specific area of Bailey's Crossroads.

    If so, ditto.

    1. SEQ=Southeast Quadrant of the County. Thank the Lord for this development. I heard through the development grapevine that the County gave this developer a real hard time and that is why it took so long. Whatever NIMBYs think that Gross in the pockets of developers must be smoking some really good weed.

  3. Longtime readers are MORE than familiar with this reference to the South East Quadrant of the intersection of Columbia Pike with Route 7/Leesburg Pike where the self-aggrandizing Mason "supervisor" has been manipulating the taxpayers and homeless as well to build the PP (penny palace)that is both unnecessary and degrading to the district where one already exists.

    1. The Penny Palace must not be built and will take down all of Mason.

    2. Honestly people give it a break. Run for office if you don't care for the current office holder, but spare us the vitriol you throw at Penny Gross. It's getting really stale.

    3. Agree 100%

    4. Thank you, 10:26! I work with young children, and I don't hear nearly the same level of belly-aching that some commenters crank out here.

      If you really can't stand her that much, fine; but from this point on, either put up or shut up.

    5. All I can say is to all Democrats, start listening up, contain your know it all arrogance and reputation of the middle class and rev up this failing economy and urban decline.

      The continuation of the current degrading policies in Fairfax and Mason District can potentially result in a Trumpian administration here, and that we do not need!

    6. DISagree 100%,it's THIS comment that has gotten stale "Whatever NIMBYs think that Gross in the pockets of developers must be smoking some really good weed". And really, in 2016/17 "good weed" Soooo 60's...

    7. Not so 60's weed is not legal in many places. Maybe the NIMBYs should get some. As bad as Gross is about stimulating our area with non social service's activity the NIMBYs are there thwarting every meager commercial effort put forward. What a mess. Gross+NIMBYs = disaster.

  4. Anon 6:24, if by Trumpian you mean reducing regulations and getting govt. out of the way of business then sign me up. My guess is your meaning was more derogatory than that.

    1. Not necessarily, some gov controlled regs are good, but the BS that goes on in this County tips the scale. Why is that Arlington is growing like crazy and Mason is stuck in a 20 year lull? The metro is a catalyst in Arlington but all the crap that gets in the way here is propagating spiral down economics. Its as if its an untenable convergence of poor leadership, impossible NIMBYs, poor transit options and more poor lower class moving into our neighborhoods. Not a good magnet for young revenue producing residents and businesses to jump start the economy here. Unless the County smartens up we will be like this for another 20 years.

      I hope the eLoft is a success story and spurs additional residential and commercial growth in Baileys/7 Corners and not more social services non-revenue producing land grabbing monsters.