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Decision on MetroWest mixed-use project in Fairfax delayed

CRC’s MetroWest town center development plan (via CRC Companies/Fairfax County)

The Fairfax County Planning Commission will soon decide whether to remove a condition that could allow construction to start on the planned town center at MetroWest.

The proposed buildings would bring up to 900 residential units and retail amenities to the 56-acre community south of I-66 and the Vienna Metro Station.

According to an application submitted in January, developer CRC Companies asked the commission to remove a condition, also known as a proffer, that limits how much a housing developer can build without providing the 300,000 square feet of office space.

The original MetroWest plans were approved in 2006, and the proffer was put in place to guarantee different uses for the space. However, CRC has argued that the real estate market has changed since it was approved, making office space less viable.

The developer also said the proffer hinders the development of retail and open space for existing residents.

During the planning commission’s public hearing on the amendment last week (Oct. 20), McGuireWoods managing partner Gregory Riegle announced that construction on the first phase of the town center would begin soon.

“We are literally within weeks or months of starting to construct the first phase under the governing proffers and understanding that this has always been an important project,” Riegle said. He also briefly explained why developers are requesting a change to the existing proffer.

“The reasons for this change are perhaps self-evident, given well-documented realities about an objective oversupply of office space combined with decreasing demand,” he said.

Riegle noted that the amenities, size and scale, retail, and the required urban design would not change if the proffer were revised.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission deferred the final decision to its meeting tomorrow.

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