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First phase of stalled Mount Vernon Gateway project advances

An apartment building has been proposed in Mount Vernon at Richmond Highway and Buckman Road (via Fairfax County Government/handout)

The first phase of Mount Vernon Gateway, an approved mixed-use development by Richmond Highway, is moving forward.

Although there has been no movement on the larger project, which was approved in 2005, Elm Street Communities, Inc. has proposed a 280-unit apartment building on the 5.4-acre site.

Elm Street plans to demolish eight homes on the property and build a five-story building with an interior courtyard, grilling area, and open play area. A fitness center and resident lounge is planned inside the building, along with a swimming pool near the intersection of Richmond Highway and Buckman Road.

The pool is intended to be the “focal point” for future Mount Vernon Gateway residents.

In 2005, the county approved Mount Vernon Gateway, a major mixed-use project that consolidated 29 properties into a single 17-acre project.

But the project stalled due to “market considerations,” according to the applicant.

Elm Street says Richmond Highway improvements funded by the Virginia Department of Transportation also resulted in the taking of property along the frontage of the highway and its intersection with Buckman Road.

“The area of the taking exceeds the previously preferred dedications for frontage improvements,” the application notes.

The developer wants to remove its 5-acre portion of the project and rezone the property to allow for the residential building. The balance of the project would remain as previously approved or could be developed with a more contemporary and marketing layout of units, according to the developer.

They hope the proposed apartment building will incentivize remaining owners of the Gateway project to consolidate and develop their property.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposal tomorrow (Wednesday).

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