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Joint Penn Daw fire station, homeless shelter aims for 2024 construction

The former Hybla Valley Nursery will be replaced by a fire station and homeless shelter project (staff photo by David Taube)

Fairfax County staff are moving ahead with a project to relocate the Penn Daw fire station and Fort Belvoir’s Eleanor Kennedy Shelter.

The combined project, which stirred some controversy at community meetings last year, looks to provide temporary and permanent housing for those in need.

The new facilities will be built on the site of the former Hybla Valley Nursery (2801 Beacon Hill Road), which the county bought for $3 million in 2020, meaning the existing fire station would move one block south.

“[W]e are currently in the process of contract negotiations with an architectural firm, so concepts have not been drafted yet,” Fairfax County public works spokesperson Sharon North said in an email Tuesday (April 5). “We are currently planning for zoning approvals in Spring 2023 and permit approvals in Spring 2024.”

Construction could start in late summer 2024 and be complete at the end of 2026, county staff said.

The project is being funded by approved bond money, including $10 million from a public safety bond in 2015. A total of $15.4 million has been set aside for the fire station, according to the county’s proposed fiscal year 2023 budget. A 2016 approved bond included $12 million for the Eleanor Kennedy shelter.

The county has said the new shelter will have 50 emergency shelter beds and 20 single-occupant permanent supportive housing units. The new fire station will accommodate 23 staff.

The planned facilities reflect the county’s push for more robust development along the Richmond Highway corridor, including in the Penn Daw Community Business Center. In February, the county board approved a private housing development by Shields Avenue to the north, and the branding for a planned bus rapid transit service was unveiled.

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