County-owned West Falls Church and Bailey’s Crossroads sites may become affordable housing

2859 Annandale Road (via Google Maps)

Fairfax County is moving to make two vacant properties in the Mason District available for development as affordable housing.

At Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross’s request, the Board of Supervisors directed staff on June 6 to schedule public hearings on potential transfers of county-owned land at 2859 Annandale Road and 5831 Columbia Pike to the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA).

No official proposals have been put forward, but transferring the sites would enable the housing authority to review their potential for future redevelopment, according to Gross.

“My motions…were made to allow the RHA to perform due diligence on what type(s) of redevelopment might be appropriate for the sites,” she told FFXnow by email.

Located across a lane from the James Lee Community Center, the half-acre Annandale Road property in West Falls Church is currently undeveloped with some grass and trees.

While too small to support multifamily housing or public use, “initial studies” suggest it could be “an excellent site on which to develop affordable homeownership units, potentially through a public-private partnership,” Gross said in her board matter.

According to Gross, if a redevelopment moves forward, it will likely consist of single-family detached houses, which would conform with the rest of the block.

Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik thanked Gross “for bringing this forward,” noting that FCRHA has already begun discussing the prospect with the community.

5831 Columbia Pike (via Google Maps)

Dubbed “East County Part B,” the 2.9-acre Columbia Pike property is adjacent to the future Alta Crossroads apartment building that broke ground in March. It includes Crossroads Interim Park, which brought recreational space and a plaza to Bailey’s Crossroads when it opened in September 2019.

“An opportunity exists on this site for the co-location of affordable housing, to include associated support services, underground parking, and possibly a childcare facility,” Gross’s board matter said. “The site’s location is ideal. It is within walking distance of public transportation, retail, and healthcare, and is accessible to vital services including schools, libraries, and parks, as well as other recreational and commercial amenities.”

Discussions about developing the area between Moncure Avenue and the Radley Acura dealer at 5823 Columbia Pike have been going on for almost 20 years now, according to Gross.

With construction on Alta Crossroads at last underway, Gross said it’s “an opportune time” to look at how to redevelop the park area. As indicated by its name, the Crossroads Interim Park was always intended to be a temporary use of the site, though Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay cautioned that community members may not understand that.

“Except for the concrete, we can take the things that are there and move it to another location,” Gross said.

The board sees both sites as opportunities to further its goal of adding 10,000 new affordable housing units by 2034. If the FCRHA opts not to pursue projects for one or both of the properties, their ownership would be transferred back to the Board of Supervisors.