The county’s oldest McDonald’s is slated for a facelift.
At Wednesday’s Planning Commission meeting, commissioners voted to approve a significant refresh of the McDonald’s at 6729 Arlington Blvd in West Falls Church.
It’s the county’s oldest McDonald’s, first built in 1958, and, possibly, the second-oldest in Virginia. This McDonald’s is run by franchise owner Rajesh Sainani, who owns a number of other McDonald’s in Northern Virginia.
The planned improvements for the fast food restaurant in the Mason District include adding a drive-thru, something that this location has never had. Other work also to be completed includes renovating the interior, modernizing the exterior, adding space to the freezer section, and reconfiguring the parking.
The project is now set to go to the Board of Supervisors for a public hearing, but a date has not yet been set for that.
This recommendation from the commission came after they initially deferred a decision last month. This was due to some concerns about pedestrian safety, the drive-thru line, and protecting the forested area between the parking lot and the nearby stream Tripp’s Run.
In the intervening several weeks, staff noted that the applicant – Sainani – addressed these concerns. One was by reducing the number of parking spaces to allow for additional landscaping that would create more of a buffer between the restaurant and Tripp’s Run.
Additionally, the applicant made a commitment to add a high-visibility crosswalk to “ensure pedestrian safety.”
There were also some questions about how crowded the drive-thru might get since it would have an entrance and exit to a main thoroughfare (Arlington Blvd).
But, per a department of planning and development staff member, the applicant has agreed to work with county staff on mitigation efforts if the queue does end up impacting the access point. The applicant will provide a reliable contact to Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross’s office if any complaints do arise.
Overall, the commissioners were pleased with the updates and noted that the improvements coming to this McDonald’s could be a model for others along Arlington Blvd.
“I’m very happy about the high visibility crosswalks. I hope other projects follow suit, like other drive-thrus I see coming up,” said Mason District commissioner Julie Strandlie. “I do think.. the way this is laid out and the traffic patterns, this will be a better circulation pattern than at least other McDonald’s drive-thrus on Arlington Blvd.”
The restaurant sits right off Arlington Blvd with its distinctive golden arches, which date to the 1960s per Annandale Today. Those arches are currently not scheduled to be impacted by the renovation.
Another piece of local fast food history also came up during the discussion. The McDonald’s on Leesburg Pike in Bailey’s Crossroads, which is also planning a revamp, was the site of the first Roy Rogers ever, according to that fast food restaurant’s website.
“We are trying to figure out how to mark that at a competitor’s site since Roy Rogers is still in business,” she said.
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