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County to consider mixed-use development for former ICF office buildings in Oakton

The Hunters Branch office buildings, formerly home to ICF International, in Oakton (via Google Maps)

(Updated at 4:50 p.m.) After initially holding off, Fairfax County is now ready to consider allowing a redevelopment of the former ICF International headquarters in Oakton.

At Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik’s request, the Board of Supervisors authorized county staff on Nov. 21 to craft a comprehensive plan amendment that would open the door for residential or mixed-use development at the Hunters Branch office buildings (9300 and 9302 Route 29).

Constructed in 1987 and 1989, the 12-story, 200,000-square-foot buildings housed ICF for over three decades until the consulting firm relocated to Reston Station, a downsizing finalized in November 2022.

“Since ICF has moved out to Reston, this tower has been sitting there, and it’s surrounded by a very, I think, underappreciated area that needs environmental support,” Palchik said at last week’s board meeting. “…I know that the owners and developers are very committed to ensuring both the ecological support as well as the community amenity for this area.”

Property owners BCSP Hunters Branch Fee and BCSP Hunters Branch Lessee (BCSP) nominated the 13.9-acre site for potential land use changes last year as part of the county’s Site-Specific Plan Amendment process.

(Correction: This story initially suggested that the Hunters Branch owners are affiliates of the firm Beacon Capital Partners based on their corporate addresses. FFXnow has been told that they aren’t affiliates, and Beacon hasn’t had an ownership stake in the property since 2021.)

With the nomination, the property owners suggested two options for redeveloping Hunters Branch:

  1. “Adaptive reuse” of the office buildings as senior living facilities and/or multi-family dwelling units, and a replacement of an existing 706-space parking garage with multi-family housing
  2. An exclusively multi-family residential development

The proposal called for mid-rise buildings with five to seven stories and between 913 and 1,124 units. A second, 1,462-space parking garage would be retained in both scenarios.

However, the Board of Supervisors adopted the ICF nomination on April 11 in the third tier of its plan amendment work program, deferring a review to “allow for further development” of the scope, according to Palchik’s board matter.

With last week’s vote, the nomination was elevated to the work program’s highest-priority tier.

In a change from BCSP’s original proposal, the plan amendment could allow non-residential uses, such as ground-floor retail, as well as multi-family and townhouse buildings. Palchik said the site’s location within the Vienna Transit Station Area suggests “there may be advantages to consider a mix of uses.”

With demand for older office space declining post-pandemic, the property owners noted in their nomination that redeveloping the Hunters Branch offices would boost the county’s senior and multi-family housing stock. A “meaningful portion” of the new residences would be designated as affordable dwelling units.

“The area surrounding the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metrorail Station is emerging as a residential hub, and the community’s need for an increased and varied supply of housing in this location is growing,” Hunton Andrews Kurth counsel Jill Parks wrote as BCSP’s legal agent. “As such, it is critical that a mix of housing options be made available to the neighborhood’s current and prospective residents.”

When asked about the changes to the development proposal, Parks told FFXnow the developer doesn’t have any comment “at this time.”

Known as Land Bay A in the 56.9-acre Hunters Branch neighborhood, the former ICF office isn’t the only property in the Vienna Metro station area getting a new look. The board approved a plan on Sept. 12 to allow housing and additional retail at the nearby Pan Am Shopping Center, and discussions are underway for a redevelopment of AT&T’s Oakton campus.

Just south of the Metro station, the MetroWest development is also slated to get more residential buildings and a town center, though Fairfax County’s land use database indicates that site plans for both projects are still under review.

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