An apartment building is one step closer to construction in Annandale’s Eastgate Shopping Center.
At a public hearing yesterday (Wednesday), the Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously recommended that the Board of Supervisors approve a plan from developer Eastgate JV LLC. The finished building would have up to 280 residential units — 8% of them workforce dwelling units — and up to 11,200 square feet of ground-floor retail.
There were no public comments on the proposal, which also proposes 23,858 square feet of publicly accessible urban park space in the form of a civic plaza and linear park.
The new development would take over space occupied by The Block food hall, and requires rezoning. Scott Adams, a lawyer representing the project developer, said there were plans to retain The Block in some form, in collaboration with Eastgate Shopping Center ownership.
“We’re working with [The Block] on a new concept that’s going to go into the remaining shopping center, so we’re not losing that user,” Adams said.
The planning commission also recommended that the Board of Supervisors permit the developer to build 1.34 parking spaces per apartment unit — fewer than the 1.6 spaces per unit required by the county’s zoning ordinances.
Concerns about parking resulted in a narrow 5-4 approval of the Eastgate development plan by the Mason District Land Use Advisory Committee, according to Mason District Commissioner Daren Shumate.
Adams said the parking request came from looking at a variety of factors, including utilization rates for other projects in Fairfax County and standards from the Institute of Transportation Engineers.
The Eastgate Shopping Center features a number of businesses, including grocery store K Market International, thrift store B-thrifty, and restaurants including SB Han’s Korean Food and Dragon Mochi Donuts & Drinks.
Adams said the shopping center is “a pretty vibrant environment,” but he didn’t rule out the possibility that the rest of the center could “eventually” get turned into housing.
“We would anticipate that the remainder of the center would redevelop with probably residential,” he said.
The Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan encourages “appropriate revitalization and selected redevelopment” of the Annandale Community Business Center (CBC), where the proposed development is located. In particular, the plan looks to boost the mostly commercial area’s residential population and pedestrian accessibility.
According to a county staff report, the developer has agreed to provide a trail and remove an existing right-turn lane along John Marr Drive as part of the project.
“Staff believes both improvements will enhance the pedestrian experience along John Marr Drive,” staff wrote.
A nearby bus stop on southbound John Marr Drive south of Columbia Pike will also be upgraded with a bus shelter and ADA-accessible pad.
Even as they supported the project, Franconia District Commissioner Dan Lagana and Braddock District Commissioner Mary Cortina cautioned against gentrification of the area’s retail and restaurants.
“It has good bones, and it could be something really great, and it is good to get people within the CBC area,” Cortina said, noting that the area remains mostly retail. “But the gentrification of retail and of the restaurants would be a real shame, and we don’t want to lose that in Annandale.”
A Board of Supervisors hearing on the application is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 24.
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Art House 7 warmly welcomes you to our upcoming Fall 2 session of classes starting on October 30th. We’re thrilled to offer a diverse range of mediums and flexible class lengths, catering to a wide age range, starting from as young as 2, and, of course, providing a multitude of engaging options for adults!
Our classes cover an exciting spectrum of creative mediums, including fiber arts such as knitting, modern embroidery, crochet, and sewing. We also offer classes in ceramics on the wheel, drawing, watercolor, gouache, oil, acrylic, still-life painting, and captivating Japanese Suminagashi and printmaking. One of the highlights of this session is the highly anticipated 5-week “Painting the Portrait and Figure” workshop, led by the renowned local artist, Danni Dawson.
For our younger artists, we have specially designed classes like “Art Exploration through Impressionism” for students in kindergarten through 5th grade, an engaging “Art Together” parent-child class designed for 2–4-year-olds, and a “Teen Taught Art Club” tailored for kindergarteners through 4th graders.