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Formal pitch to redevelop Rose Hill shopping center emerges, sparking neighbor opposition

Combined Properties wants to redevelop the Rose Hill Shopping Center (courtesy Fairfax County)

A proposal to redevelop Rose Hill Plaza (6116 Rose Hill Drive) into a mixed-use project is starting to take more concrete shape.

The pitch by owner Combined Properties — submitted as part of the county’s ongoing Site-Specific Plan Amendment (SSPA) process — argues that the current shopping center reflects an “outdated, auto-oriented concept that contradicts Fairfax county’s goals and objectives.”

If the proposal is approved, the developer would time the overhaul with the end of several leases in 2027.

“If the Property is not accepted into this cycle’s SSPA process, the Property risks long-term vacancies until 2035 which is detrimental to the health of the Property and the neighborhood,” the application states.

Anchored by Safeway, the shopping center spans a little over 11 acres.

A six-story, mixed-use residential building with 56,000 square feet of retail and green space is planned. A freestanding ‘jewel box’ retail building will front most the property, bordering proposed green space along Rose Hill Drive.

In its application, Combined Properties says it has already “thoughtfully” scaled back the proposed development in response to community engagement this spring.

However, some neighboring groups are already opposing the proposal, forming a Rose Hill Coalition to advocate for an update of the shopping center rather than a full redevelopment and rezoning.

“We hope that Combined Properties sees this an opportunity to improve the shopping center,” Sharada Gilkey, founder of the coalition, said. “We would like to work with CP to support and improve the center to ensure the future success of its local businesses, small and large, and to better serve the local community.”

Concerns flagged by the coalition include the prospect of increased traffic in an already congested area, the incompatibility of the apartment complex with surrounding single-family homes, and the reduction in walkable retail and office space.

Combined Properties has no intention to sell the property after it is redeveloped.

“The Applicant is also committed to ensuring the surrounding residential community has continued access to quality public amenities, including the retention of a grocery store option to anchor the retail program,” the application states.

The proposal was formally accepted for review by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Dec. 6. Like the other applications submitted as part of the SSPA process, which allows land use changes to the comprehensive plan for individual sites, the county will evaluate it for further consideration.

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