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Years-long push to allow housing at former Topgolf in Kingstowne advances

Rudy’s has opened in the space formerly occupied by Top Golf in Kingstowne (staff photo by Brandi Bottalico)

A pitch for housing at the Kingstowne site previously occupied by Topgolf and now home to Rudy’s may finally become a reality.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission recommended on Wednesday (Sept. 27) that the Board of Supervisors approve a proposal to allow residential development at 6626 South Van Dorn Street. Most community members who spoke at the preceding public hearing voiced support for the proposal — a change of pace from the vocal opposition that greeted previous redevelopment plans.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors first requested county staff to consider an amendment to the county’s comprehensive plan in 2015. At that time, the proposal would’ve allowed up to roughly 275 residential units and up to 70,000 square feet of retail uses.

However, feedback from the community, including “comments related to the proposed density being too high, too many dwelling units proposed and also opposition to retail uses on the site,” led to a series of changes, according to county planner Aaron Klibaner.

“The first iterations included both residential and retail uses, and then later transitioned to all residential,” Klibaner said. “The proposed density has steadily decreased, beginning at 16 dwelling units per acre in 2015 down to 10 dwelling units per acre.”

The latest concept also includes affordable housing units and allows consideration of “a consolidated open space in the form of a publicly accessible community park,” he added.

The updated proposal also ensures connections for pedestrians and cyclists to Kingstowne and guidelines to protect the preservation of trees. 

Resident Kenneth Bailey opposed the plan, saying his son is now on his school’s golf team because of Rudy’s, which opened last year and offers recreational golf and entertainment. However, he said he understood the benefits of the proposal. 

“I’m still going to say my position on behalf of my son and…all the other young people that could benefit from a place like Rudy’s,” Bailey said. “I mean, I get it. We need housing. Sure. There’s not enough housing in Northern Virginia.”

Aaron Wilkowitz, vice president of YIMBYs of Northern Virginia’s Fairfax County chapter, said he supports the updates for several reasons,t the most prominent being the development of more affordable housing.

“Every single home matters. Every new unit matters to driving down prices and making Fairfax County affordable for everyone,” Wilkowitz said.

Paul Wagner, a Kingstowne resident, commended staff for incorporating suggested changes since the plan was first introduced.

“What was on the table with 275 units in that property was worrisome to me and my family,” Wagner said. “What we have on the table now seems much more reasonable to me. It’s a plan that has been considerate.”

After the 2015 and 2021 versions of the amendment petered out, Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk revived the redevelopment effort on Dec. 6, 2022, reporting that it had secured resident support, including from the Kingstowne Resident Homeowners Association, “as a result of extensive community outreach and engagement.”

If the Board of Supervisors approves the amendment after its scheduled public hearing on Oct. 24, the project is expected to be undertaken by developer EYA, the Washington Business Journal reported last week.

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