|The aging Fairfax Plaza strip mall is ripe for redevelopment.|
Retail Properties of America Inc. (RPAI) submitted a nomination for a site-specific comprehensive plan amendment in December proposing 626 multifamily housing units, 104,400 square feet of office uses, and an equal amount of retail. The apartments would be in mid-rise buildings of five to eight stories.
A Planning Commission hearing is scheduled for June 21. Providence Supervisor Linda Smyth is expected to begin a community engagement effort on this and other proposed redevelopment projects in Merrifield this spring.
RPAI purchased the majority of the strip mall, 7.7 acres, which it refers to as Merrifield Town Center II, in 2016. That property includes the Unique thrift shop and CubeSmart.
“By nominating the entirety of the shopping center,” RPAI’s Statement of Justification says, “we will have the appropriate tools to create meaningful planning coordination within this last critical site that links the town center to Gallows Road and to the Metro, completing the final piece in the ‘puzzle’ of creating a walkable, transit accessible core of Merrifield.”
The base FAR (floor to area ratio), a measure of density, would be 1.7, with an option to increase the FAR to 1.9.
According to RPAI, the redevelopment will include a street grid connecting the project to Mosaic. There would also be an option for a significant office component, most likely for medical offices in response to the significant Inova investment on the other side of Gallows Road.
The Bisnow website cites the Fairfax Plaza project one of the top five developments coming to Fairfax County. “RPAI is hoping to capitalize and expand on the interest the vibrant Mosaic District in Merrifield has generated,” Alec Berkman wrote in Bisnow Jan. 30. “The Mosaic District town center transformed a relatively sterile area into a burgeoning community combining the walkability of a small town with the storefronts and cosmopolitan vibe of a major city.”
The other projects on the list are the St. James sports complex in Springfield, the Huntington Club Condominium near the Huntington Metro station in Alexandria, the Herndon downtown development, and the Promenade at Reston Station.