|The Annandale Kmart will close later this month.|
The policy applies to commercial buildings, such as stores, gas stations, auto service centers, daycare centers, and low-rise banks.
|Babies R Us on Columbia Pike in Bailey's Crossroads closed earlier this year., along with Toys R Us on Leesburg Pike.|
The measure is an add-on to a Comprehensive Plan amendment approved last December to facilitate the repurposing of vacant or underutilized office buildings in activity centers by allowing those projects to be carried out without a specific site plan amendment. In May, the board expanded that policy to include office buildings in suburban areas.
There are plenty of opportunities to convert empty retail buildings in Mason District, including Kmart, which is closing this month, and the antiques center in Annandale; Toys R Us, Babies R Us, and H.H. Gregg (which has been used as a temporary Spirit Halloween store) in Bailey’s Crossroads; and Staples in Pinecrest Plaza. More are expected, as Sears and Best Buy are among the major retailers that are closing stores around the country.
|The H.H. Gregg on Columbia Pike closed in spring 2017.|
Retail vacancy rates average 2 percent in Fairfax County, which is lower than the 4.6 percent rate nationally and 4 percent rate in the D.C. metropolitan region. Still, Fairfax County has about 719,000 square feet of empty retail space.
The areas with the most retail vacancies is Herndon (about 23 percent), followed by Lincolnia (18 percent), and South County (16 percent). Annandale, Bailey’s Crossroads, and Seven Corners have vacancy rates of less than 5 percent.
One in five neighborhood shopping centers in Fairfax County, which are often anchored by a grocery store, have one or more empty storefronts.