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Chantilly corporate center eyed for housing with gardens inspired by county park

The proposed Park East at Westfields housing development (via LDC/Fairfax County)

An homage to Ellanor C. Lawrence Park could take root in place of a partially developed business center in the Westfields area of Chantilly.

Developer Pulte Homes is seeking to transform the Park East Corporate Center (14150 Parkeast Circle) into a new residential neighborhood with green spaces “that follow a theme designed to be consistent” with the 650-acre park south of the property, according to a rezoning application submitted to Fairfax County.

While totaling a comparatively small 5.5 acres, the proposed common green and linear and pocket parks will reflect Lawrence’s identity as “an avid gardener” who appreciated “the beauty of nature,” an Oct. 12 statement of justification for the application says.

“The amenity system within Park East commemorates her passion by creating a network of different intimate gardens where not only residents, but also the community at large, can experience passive spaces to retreat from everyday life,” the development plan says. “It also provides active recreation opportunities through several fitness stations.”

With a common green as a “focal point,” the six planned park areas will be linked by sidewalks and trails. Proposed amenities include gardens for bird-watching, butterflies and vegetables, a wildflower meadow; a trail around the site’s perimeter; and “historical elements that introduce visitors to the significance” of Ellanor C. Lawrence Park.

Replacing two office buildings and a warehouse, the housing development will consist of multi-family residential buildings, 124 stacked townhomes and 86 single-family attached townhomes.

At a proposed maximum height of five stories or 56 feet, the multi-family buildings will be mid-rises with 32 units each, giving the development a total of 338 units of housing. About 40 units will be affordable or workforce dwelling units in accordance with the county’s policies.

The proposal continues a shift toward housing in the Westfields area, which was zoned to be primarily industrial in 1985.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a plan amendment in 2019 that added options for retail and residential uses in the 1,156 acres around Route 28 (Sully Road) and Westfields Blvd known as Land Unit J. A plan to build more townhomes in the area near Westfield High School got approved last summer, despite skepticism from some planning commissioners.

Redeveloping the Park East Corporate Center into a residential community would address the county’s need for housing that serves different demographics, according to Walsh Colucci land use lawyer Lynne Strobel, who’s representing Pulte.

“The multi-family residential buildings are attractive to mature Fairfax County residents who are downsizing but wish to remain in the area,” Strobel wrote in the statement of justification. “…The multi-family stacked townhomes are ideal for singles and young couples, while young families will be most interested in the traditional townhomes.”

Not everything in Westfields is going to turn into housing, though. The owner of the Westfields Corporate Park on Stonecroft Blvd wants to add more office space, per an application filed earlier this month.

The county hasn’t formally accepted Pulte’s rezoning proposal for review yet.

After the 2019 plan amendment, Land Unit J could be developed with up to 4,250 residential units and an additional 200,000 square feet of retail.