Developer proposes turning offices on Fairfax Blvd into ‘smart’ housing

A 93,100-square-foot office building in Fairfax City may soon have a new future on its horizon.

The Fairfax City Council is meeting tonight (Tuesday) to discuss a preliminary proposal to redevelop the office building on 1201 Fairfax Blvd into a six-story residential building with roughly 300 apartment units and about 20,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial retail.

Two levels of underground parking and amenities on the first floor, including a central courtyard, are also planned, according to the preliminary proposal.

Each unit would be “efficiently designed” with space-saving beds that drop down from the ceiling and dining tables that can be folded away for storage, according to the Nov. 17 pre-application.

“The smart home technology includes features such as the ability to control appliances ranging from the washing machine to the dishwasher to the vacuum with a smartphone, dry cleaning system built into closets, the ability to see inside of the refrigerator without opening the refrigerator door and mirrors that display the date, time and temperature,” Odin, Feldman & Pittleman attorney Sara Mariska wrote in a letter to the city’s community planning and development director on the developer’s behalf.

The nearly 3-acre parcel is located in a primarily commercial corridor. Preliminarily, staff noted that residential uses aren’t recommended in commercial corridors.

The city’s planning commission also noted that the “proposed use might not be the best use at the site,” questioned the “need for a well occupied office building to be repurposed,” and raised concerns about the proposed height and distance from single-family homes, according to meeting materials.

Transwestern Investment Group sold off the building in August. At that time, the company reported that the property was 96% occupied.