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Developers seek to expand Mosaic District’s vibes to more of Merrifield

The Prosperity Business Campus owner has suggested turning it into a mixed-use neighborhood (via Fairfax County)

The Mosaic District has been declared a rousing success by Fairfax County, but between that mixed-use neighborhood and the Dunn Loring Metro station to the north, vestiges of Merrifield’s more industrial past remain.

A trio of new redevelopment pitches promise to further the county’s efforts to revitalize Merrifield by replacing older properties with housing that’s more closely integrated with retail, offices and other commercial activities.

Advanced by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday (Dec. 6) as part the Site-Specific Plan Amendment process, which considers land use changes to the county comprehensive plan for individual properties, the proposals could collectively pave the way for some 4.7 million square feet of development, most of it residential.

Prosperity Business Campus

Calling for up to 2.7 million million square feet of development, property owner Link Logistics‘ proposed transformation of the 41-acre block of warehouses and offices along Prosperity Avenue between I-66 and Hilltop Road is the largest of the nominations.

The amendment would allow five mid-rise, multifamily residential buildings and two blocks of townhouses, though the southernmost building could be left as office.

The residences would be supported by ground-floor retail and private amenities, parking garages and nearly 12.9 acres of publicly accessible park space, including a central park across Prosperity Avenue and the retention of Long Branch stream valley to the west.

Under the name B9 Sequoia Prosperity Owner LLC, Link Logistics has proposed extending Merrifield Avenue through the site to Prosperity and adding two new local streets as well as a service alley.

“The proposed street grid and public park space will allow for the transformation of the existing office park into a porous and inviting community offering new pedestrian connections for the existing adjacent communities to the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metrorail Station,” the application says.

Merrifield at Dunn Loring Station

Built in 1968, the existing 706-unit apartment community at 8130 Prescott Drive could be replaced by 1.5 square feet of mixed-use development over eight blocks, including four low to mid-rise residential buildings and two residential high-rises ranging from 10 to 14 stories tall.

A concept plan to redevelop the Merrifield at Dunn Loring Station apartments (via Fairfax County)

The other blocks consist of two-over-two stacked townhomes back up to the existing Providence Park townhouses and an up-to-five-story building that could have housing, a hotel, or office space with ground-floor retail.

Site owner and developer Malkin Properties says it would create a 2-acre urban park by expanding on the Fairfax County Park Authority’s planned Hartland Green Park, which has been scoped out but not yet constructed.

A ring road shown in the Merrifield Suburban Center comprehensive plan would be built as a connection between Pleasantdale/Hartland Road and Park Tower Drive. Intended to help neighborhood traffic reach Gallows Road and Route 29, the road would have transit lanes and on-street parking to accommodate public transit, such as the Relay shuttle, and ridesharing.

“The Merrifield at Dunn Loring Station SSPA proposal complements the attractive and successful development at the Dunn Loring -Merrifield Metrorail Station at a compatible scale to surrounding residential uses, and furthers Fairfax County’s goals of creating vibrant, transit-oriented communities that include a diversity of housing stock,” the application says.

Alliance Center Condominium

Compared to the redevelopments proposed above, the owners of this commercial lot at 2929 Eskridge Road is requesting a more limited amendment that would enable housing on the property without having to consolidate it with a larger project.

Built in the early 1970s, the Alliance Center houses the Fairfax Cable Access Corporation, the beer distributor Ferment Nation, a swimming pool contractor, and a couple of martial arts centers, among other tenants.

“Regretfully, after fifty years, the Center is now a tired reminder of Fairfax County past,” Steve Teets, an agent representing the Alliance Center, wrote in the application, noting that the land surrounding the 3.2-acre parcel was largely redeveloped with the Mosaic District.

Instead of the large-scale development currently envisioned by the comprehensive plan, the property owners have proposed two multifamily buildings with up to seven stories on top of a two-level parking garage. Each floor would be about 30,000 square feet, resulting in a maximum gross floor area of 420,000 square feet.

The Alliance Center Condominiums could be replaced by multifamily residential buildings (via Fairfax County)

The application says the buildings would be designed to complement the housing in the Mosaic District.

“We should always encourage old and tired properties that abut key Urban centers to maximize their potential, with the understanding they need to ‘blend’ into their surroundings,” Teets wrote. “This proposal makes the future Alliance Center look like just another Town Center parcel. It passes the eye test. It blends.”

When the Board of Supervisors adopted its list of accepted SSPA nominations, Sully District Supervisor Kathy Smith noted that the Alliance Center’s application was incomplete, since it still needed signatures from four out of its 24 condo owners.

However, the nomination was still among the nine in the Providence District advanced to a screening phase, where the applications will be reviewed by county staff and opened up for initial public comments.

“The bulldozers are not coming down the street because someone has put in an SSPA,” Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross said. “I think we need to be able to calm folks down about that. They don’t need to be that anxious about these, because this is just the first step in what will be a long process.”

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