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(Updated at 3:55 p.m. on 8/4/2022) A developer that specializes in “live/work lofts” has set its sights on a pair of Merrifield office buildings being vacated by Inova Health System.

The buildings at 8110 Gatehouse Road and 2990 Telestar Road will be renovated and repurposed, respectively, as live-work units and workforce housing under a rezoning proposal that Fairfax County received from Madison Highland Live Work Loft Services LLC on July 25.

Madison Highland consists of the developers Madison Marquette and Highland Square Holdings. Formed in April to build more live-work communities in the U.S., it is also behind a live-work development proposed for the Skyline Center in Bailey’s Crossroads.

Inova had been using the Gatehouse and Telestar buildings as its corporate headquarters for the past 12 years, but the nonprofit is consolidating those operations on its main campus to the south, according to a July 22 statement of justification.

“This creates a unique opportunity to repurpose the newly vacant buildings…while furthering a number of important County policies,” McGuireWoods attorney Mike Van Atta wrote, citing the county’s goals to expand the availability of workforce housing and park space.

Inova confirmed that its Gatehouse and Telestar offices will be relocated to the Inova Center for Personalized Health (8100 Innovation Park Drive) this fall.

Fairfax County introduced live-work development as a new residential use with the revised zoning code adopted in 2021, defining it as:

A structure or part of a structure with areas specifically designed for occupancy by a single owner, tenant, or user to accommodate a residential dwelling unit and a flexible work space. This use does not include a home-based business that would be permitted in a single-family detached dwelling.

In its application, Madison Highland proposes turning the Gatehouse building into 210 live-work units that could range in size from 600 to 1,300 square feet. The individual units could be used as housing, offices, joint residential/office space “or any combination of those uses.”

The Telestar building, which was built in 1969, is being planned for up to 82 workforce dwelling units that will have one or two bedrooms. All units will be reserved for residents who earn 60% of the area median income or below.

Both buildings will be fully renovated, but their core structures “will be preserved to the extent possible,” the statement of justification says. The heights — six stories for the Gatehouse building and four for the Telestar building — will remain the same. Read More

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The site already includes The Parker, a 390-unit apartment building that was built several years ago (via Brookfield Properties)

The developer of a mixed-use project near the Huntington Metro Station wants more of the same on land previously approved for office and hotel space: more residential.

CIA-2550 Huntington LLC is seeking Fairfax County’s permission to build an up to 200-unit, 7-story apartment building on the north side of Huntington Avenue. The roughly 6-acre area is already built out with The Parker, a 390-unit apartment building that was part of an application initially approved in 2012.

Now, the developer says the remaining 370,000 gross square feet of hotel or office space with retail does not meet market demand.

“Given the length of time that the subject property has remained vacant, it is clear that the approved uses are not economically viable,” says a June 15 application submitted to the county.

The proposal is in the initial planning stages and has not been formally accepted for review by the county.

Nearly a year ago, the county changed the area’s underlying zoning to allow residential with retail. Other conditions include the addition of an urban plaza at the corner of Huntington Avenue and Metroview Parkway.

Positioned on top of a garage, the building will also include retail on its first floor. But the developer determined that extending retail or office space to the second floor was not feasible “after retaining a consultant to prepare a study of market demand in the area.”

“The applicant believes that it will be highly unlikely, if not impossible, to find tenants for non-residential uses on the second floor of a building which does not have direct street access,” the application says.

The building will include a fitness center, lounge and courtyard.

“Individuals who patronize the businesses will be able to step out onto the plaza and enjoy a cup of coffee or a meal in a pleasant urban environment,” the application states.

Photo via Brookfield Properties

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D.C. region price increases over the last decade for basic needs (via Fairfax County)

Sufficient health care, college degrees, and homeownership are becoming increasingly unattainable for Fairfax County residents with low to moderate incomes, a new report finds.

Late last month, Fairfax County released its “Needs Assessment” study, which comes out every three years with data on the current economic conditions in the county and the impact those conditions have on residents.

The report paints a pretty harrowing picture in light of the pandemic and recent inflation, particularly for lower-income residents. Low to moderate incomes are generally defined as those earning 60% or below the area median income. In 2021, that number was $77,400 for a family of four.

Just in the last year, those living on a limited income are having more trouble affording basic needs, as rising cost-of-living expenses mean lower-income households are spending more than they did in the past.

“Fairfax County residents with moderate to low income may have little to no money remaining after covering essential expenses, such as food and housing,” the report says. “This limits a household’s ability to build savings and restricts economic competitiveness.”

According to the report, household incomes have not kept pace with rising costs of essential expenses over the past decade.

In Fairfax County, the median household income has gone up about 21% since 2012. However, food, housing, and transportation all have risen more in that timeframe. Most notably, health care costs have risen by a whopping 41% in the last decade.

“Longer-term, health care costs have increased the most over 10 years, which may present challenges for residents who do not have health insurance coverage,” the report says.

As a result, the lowest-income households in the county are spending much more on health care, percentage-wise, than other income brackets.

The lowest 20% of households by income are spending nearly 29% of their expenses on health care, while those in the middle are spending between 15% to 17%.

Consumer prices have also gone up more in this past year than at any other point in the previous four decades. Tuition and child care now cost nearly 4% more than last year, housing more than 5%, health care 7%, and food 8%, according to the report. Read More

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A rendering of the proposed Seneca Assemblage townhouse development in Tysons East (via Fairfax County)

(Updated at 2 p.m.) The townhouse development planned along Seneca and La Salle avenues just inside the Dulles Toll Road in Tysons East has been put on hold indefinitely after an existing resident withdrew their support for the project.

In a June 17 letter, a legal representative for developer Toll Brothers notified the Fairfax County Planning Commission of the need to indefinitely defer its proposal for a Seneca Assemblage complex.

“The deferral will allow the Applicant an opportunity to assess the withdrawal of [Tax] Map Parcel 30-3 ((2)) 224A from the application,” wrote Elizabeth Baker, a senior land-use planner for Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh. “This change in circumstance will alter the layout shown on the submitted conceptual/final development plan.”

The relevant parcel is on Seneca Avenue on the west side of the proposed development, which was supposed to bring 48 townhouses and new parks to a 3.8-acre site currently occupied by about a dozen detached single-family homes.

The developer had already reduced the number of planned units from its original proposal put forward in September in order to accommodate one resident on La Salle Avenue who intends to stay in their house.

The planning commission granted Toll Brothers’ deferral request last night (Wednesday), when the application had been scheduled for a public hearing.

“Without the landowner’s consent, this public hearing cannot go forward,” Providence District Commissioner Phil Niedzielski-Eichner said.

A Toll Brothers spokesperson said no one is currently available to respond to FFXnow’s request for additional comment.

On a separate note, Niedzielski-Eichner announced that the planning commission’s Tysons Committee will meet on July 14 to discuss accessibility, particularly in urban areas like Tysons and Reston.

“Staff will update the committee on progress made this past year on addressing accessibility and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance concerns” that had been originally raised by a Tysons resident, Niedzielski-Eichner said.

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Monarch, a 20-story condominium high-rise going up in central Tysons, has reached its pinnacle.

Developer Renaissance Centro celebrated the building’s “topping out” on Sunday (June 26), a key turning point in construction that comes when the main structure is fully in place. The milestone puts Monarch on track to open in spring 2023, according to a press release.

“Pouring concrete makes you susceptible to weather delays and such,” Renaissance Centro Executive Vice President Ilan Scharfstein told FFXnow. “So, having gone through that now, we’re closing in the building, and we can be confident that we’re not going to be experiencing any delays.”

According to Scharfstein, the project hasn’t been affected by pandemic-related supply chain and labor issues, and in general, work has gone smoothly since restarting in March 2021 after a change in contractors.

When completed, the residential tower at 7887 Jones Branch Drive will have 86 units ranging in size from 880 to 4,100 square feet and in price from the mid-$600,000s to $4.1 million. More than half of the units have already been sold, some going for over $3.5 million, Renaissance Centro reported.

Amenities for residents will include 24-hour concierge service, a fitness center, a garden terrace with a swimming pool, co-working space, a pet wash station, and a private dining room on the 20th floor.

Monarch will also have about 6,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space that will be open to the public.

“We are in active discussions with a couple of groups but not quite ready to share specifics on that yet,” Scharfstein said when asked about possible tenants, adding that the retail is envisioned as “an amenity for the residents, but also for the greater Tysons area.”

Monarch is part of the Arbor Row development, which will ultimately encompass 19.4 acres on Jones Branch Drive near Tysons Galleria. Completed portions of the plan include The Nouvelle apartments and the Arbor Row Stream Valley Park.

Construction on The Mather, a pair of 300-unit senior living high-rises, moved above ground in April. The facility will consist of two apartment towers and is expected to welcome residents in 2024.

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Renderings of “Devonshire,” a townhome development to built in Franconia (via Fairfax County)

An application to build a new townhouse development on Beulah Street, a mile from the Franconia-Springfield Metro station, was filed with Fairfax County last week.

Beazer Homes is looking to bring a 26-unit development called Devonshire to the corner of Beulah Street and Alforth Avenue, according to a rezoning application was sent to the county’s planning and development department last Friday (June 17).

Devonshire would include a 1,500-square-foot “tot lot,” public plaza space, a picnic area with grills and tables, and a walking trail. A new private street and a sidewalk will be constructed, connecting the development to Beulah Street.

Each house is anticipated to have a deck and a 200-square-foot private yard, the renderings show.

Renderings of “Devonshire,” a townhome development to built in Franconia (image via screenshot/Fairfax County)

The development’s total area of land appears to be about 3.3 acres, though about half of it will be open space. The lot also contains five single-family homes that were built between 1934 and 1950, per a note in the application. Those homes are expected to remain.

Since Devonshire would have fewer than 50 units, it does not need to adhere to the county’s Affordable Dwelling Unit requirements. However, Beazer Homes notes in the application that it “will consider a contribution to the Housing Trust Fund.”

This appears to be Beazer Homes’ sixth development in Northern Virginia, though only its second in Fairfax County.

With the development in the permitting stage, it remains unclear when construction will start and might be completed. FFXnow reached out to Beazer Homes, but didn’t receive an answer prior to publication.

With its close proximity to the Metro station, that area of Franconia is set to see a lot of development and changes in the coming years.

Plans for a multi-million dollar expansion of the Inova HealthPlex on Walker Lane could be approved later this month. If it is, construction would potentially start in late 2023 and be completed in 2027.

Franconia is also slated to get a new 90,000-square-foot building that will house a government center, police station, and library. Construction was expected to begin this summer and be completed in 2024.

The medical campus would be located less than a mile from Devonshire, while the county government facility would be essentially across the street.

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Morning Notes

Gum Springs celebrates Juneteenth with a Community Day on June 18 (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

Fairfax County Holds Primary Today — It’s primary day for voters in the 8th Congressional District, which now includes McLean, Bailey’s Crossroads, Annandale, and the Route 1 corridor in Fairfax County. With the Republican nominee already set, there is only a Democratic contest between incumbent Rep. Don Beyer and challenger Victoria Virasingh. [Fairfax County Office of Elections]

Man Dies in Oakton Crash — An 18-year-old driver died on Sunday (June 19) after losing control of his car while driving south on Fox Mill Road and hitting a tree near Bronzedale Drive. A juvenile passenger was taken to the hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening. Detectives believe speed was a factor in the crash, which resulted in the fifth non-pedestrian fatality of the year. [FCPD]

Drowned Man Remains Hospitalized — A 29-year-old man who drowned while swimming in Difficult Run Stream in McLean on Sunday is still in life-threatening condition. According to police, the man became submerged and was pulled out of the water by friends when he didn’t resurface. Fire and Rescue personnel found him about a quarter mile away from Georgetown Pike on a nearby trail. [FCPD]

Report Finds Discrimination by Housing Providers — “A fair housing test conducted by The Fairfax County Office of Human Rights, in partnership with The Equal Rights Center, showed ‘discernable differences’ between housing providers’ treatment of white and minority testers. The results also showed that ‘certain housing providers lack the training to provide the same level of treatment to Deaf individuals as they do to hearing individuals.'” [Inside NoVA]

Tysons West Vehicle Pursuit Leads to Arrest — A male juvenile allegedly “verbally threatened the victim” in the 1500 block of Cornerside Blvd on Jun 12. The juvenile attempted to drive away, striking two vehicles, before an officer stopped him using the controversial precision immobilization technique. The juvenile was arrested, and two people were treated for non-life-threatening injuries. [FCPD]

Springfield Trader Joe’s Looking to Move — Trader Joe’s is in talks to take over the roughly 24,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market at Old Keene Mill Shopping Center, suggesting that the new Whole Foods under construction at Springfield Plaza will be a relocation. The space would be larger than Trader Joe’s current 10,673-square-foot store next to the new Giant in Springfield Plaza. [Washington Business Journal]

Bank Plans Relocation From Herndon to Tysons — Part of a larger branding overhaul, Forbright Bank is moving its Herndon branch at 150 Elden Street to 1600 Tysons Blvd., a 13-story office building adjacent to Tysons Galleria. The Herndon location is the company’s only Virginia location among five branches in the region. [Washington Business Journal]

Fairfax County Police Helicopter Appears at Smithsonian Event — “Saturday, our helicopter was on display at the National Air & Space Museum’s Annual Innovations in Flight Event. 50+ aircraft fly in from around the region for this special day. Pilots Mountjoy & Edgerton greeted community members as they got a glimpse into Fairfax 1.” [FCPD/Twitter]

County Partners on Older Adult Activities — “Arlington County, Fairfax County, Prince William County, the Town of Vienna, and ServiceSource Inc. host live virtual programming on Zoom five days a week. The events range from fitness classes to special presentations to interactive games. This resource is free and all older adults and adults with disabilities who live in Northern Virginia are welcome to use it.” [Neighborhood and Community Services]

It’s Tuesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 81 and low of 68. Sunrise at 5:45 am and sunset at 8:39 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

A “LOVE” sign at the Workhouse Arts Center, former site of the Lorton Prison (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Suspect in Annandale Burglaries Arrested — Fairfax County police have arrested and charged a 19-year-old man from Annandale in connection to nine commercial burglaries reported between May 26 and June 14. The suspect broke the front glass doors of each of the businesses, took cash and left on a bicycle, police say. [FCPD]

Covid Quarantine Guidelines Amended — The Virginia Department of Health no longer recommends quarantining for people exposed to COVID-19 who are up to date on their vaccinations or have recovered the disease in the last six months — double what the CDC advises. The state instead suggests isolating only if symptoms appear. [WTOP]

Roaming Rooster Opens in Chantilly — The Nashville-style hot chicken joint will open at 11 a.m. today (Friday) at 14394 Chantilly Crossing Lane, offering a free sandwich to the first 50 customers. Roaming Rooster also has locations in Tysons and Burke. [Roaming Rooster/Twitter]

Proposal Allowing More Housing Near Dulles Airport Advances — “The Fairfax County Planning Commission on June 8 backed a proposed comprehensive-plan amendment to allow residential uses in noisier areas near Washington Dulles International Airport, sending the measure to the Board of Supervisors.” [Sun Gazette]

Meeting Set on Blake Lane Safety — After a car crash killed two Oakton High School students last week, Fairfax County elected officials and transportation, police, and school leaders will hold a virtual meeting next Thursday (June 23) to discuss possible safety improvements. The meeting will take place from 7-8:30 p.m. on Zoom and be live-streamed on Facebook. [Supervisor Dalia Palchik/Twitter]

McLean Residents Criticize Maryland’s Role in 495 NEXT — “Maryland’s plans to undertake major construction work along the Capital Beltway in Fairfax County aren’t sitting well with some Northern Virginia residents and elected leaders, who are questioning why another state is involved in transportation projects outside its borders.” [Maryland Matters]

Boston Properties Sells Springfield Buildings — A Boston Properties affiliate has sold a cluster of 11 office and industrial properties in the Virginia 95 Business Park to the Bethesda-based firm Finmarc Management Inc., which closed the $127.5 million deal on Wednesday (June 15). Finmarc says it plans to lease the buildings, whose current tenants include the State Department and SAIC, but is also open to “longer-term possibilities.” [Washington Business Journal]

State Lawmakers Reconvene to Talk Budget Amendments — The Virginia General Assembly returns to the Capitol today (Friday) to take up 38 amendments proposed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin, facing a June 30 deadline to finalize a two-year spending plan. Items on the table include a three-month gas tax suspension and an elimination of state funding for abortions in rare cases where the fetus has “incapacitating” physical or mental issues. [The Washington Post]

Town of Vienna Collects Used Batteries — “Vienna is now collecting single-use & rechargeable lithium-ion batteries (11 lbs. or less; not damaged, bulging, or leaking) at the Vienna Community Center or Town Hall. Stop by during regular business hours and look for the recycling box.” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]

It’s Friday — Humid throughout the day. High of 85 and low of 74. Sunrise at 5:44 am and sunset at 8:38 pm. [Weather.gov]

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The Toll Brothers have proposed a 48-unit townhouse development in Tysons East (via Fairfax County)

The proposed Seneca Assemblage townhouse development could bring a number of enhancements to the transportation network in Tysons East.

With a rezoning application currently under review by Fairfax County, developer Toll Brothers envisions 48 townhouses, including eight workforce dwelling units, on a 3.8-acre site between La Salle and Seneca avenues, just west of the Dulles Toll Road.

The plan has been tweaked from an initial proposal submitted in September that called for 52 townhouses to replace the 13 standalone, single-family houses currently on the property. The developer now intends to keep one of the houses — labeled Unit 49 in the plan — whose owners want to stay, according to a county staff report published today (Thursday).

“The inclusion of Unit 49 allows the streetscape on La Salle Ave to be extended from the proposed [single-family attached] units all the way to Point Park,” staff wrote, referring to one of two potential public parks.

The 0.2-acre Point Park will be located on the southern end of the development near Magarity Road and could feature an open lawn, kids’ play equipment, bicycle racks, benches, a pet waste station, and other amenities.

The other public park, dubbed Buena Vista Park, will front some of the townhouses in lieu of a street, providing an 8-foot-wide sidewalk and seating areas with benches. Seneca Assemblage residents will also have access to private Courtyard Park at the center of the site with pedestrian paths, a turf lawn, a shade pergola, and bicycle racks.

The proposed Seneca Assemblage development will have 48 townhouses, three parks, and a new road (via Fairfax County)

The proposed streetscape for La Salle Avenue, Seneca Avenue, and a new Buena Vista Road connecting the two on the site’s northern end includes 6 to 8-foot-wide sidewalks and 8-foot landscape panels.

Toll Brothers initially designated Buena Vista Road as private, but the developer has now committed to designing and constructing the street within the project limits as a public road, with two 10-foot-wide travel lanes and an 8-foot-wide parking lane, according to a draft of proffers dated June 14.

As part of the proffer conditions negotiated with the county, the developer has also agreed to provide “a comprehensive walkway system” throughout the property and a painted crosswalk across Magarity Road at the Pimmit Drive intersection, pending approval by the Virginia Department of Transportation. Read More

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Morning Notes

Construction at Reston Station during a recent sunset (photo by Wil Villatoro-Reyes)

Fairfax County Man Dies in Alexandria Jail — “Alexandria law enforcement is investigating the death of Anthony Mouf, a 25-year-old Fairfax County man in Alexandria’s William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center. According to a city release, Mouf was found suffering from an apparent medical emergency alone in his cell in the jail’s booking area.” [ALXnow]

Fort Belvoir Housing Contractors Hit with Lawsuit — “After bouncing around houses near Fort Belvoir, pleading with Michaels for repairs and remediation and asking officials on the base for help, Roman filed a lawsuit on March 16 of this year, alleging the owner and manager of thousands of housing units on the base allowed safety hazards and other substandard conditions to persist for years.” [Bisnow]

Fairfax Diner Plans Comeback — After being destroyed by a fire before Thanksgiving last year, the 29 Diner will reopen on Oct. 10, owner John Wood announced earlier this month. Still serving “the thick slices of applewood-smoked bacon, milkshakes, and Texas-style barbecue patrons know and love,” the restaurant will have an updated, open kitchen and restored furnishings that pay homage to its 1947 opening. [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Tips for Handling the Baby Formula Shortage — “As the nationwide infant formula shortage continues due to a temporary shutdown of the plant that manufactures about half of the U.S. supply, local families are impacted, too. Our Health Department advises if you have any questions, check with your baby’s physician or healthcare provider, especially if your baby is on a restricted diet or has any medical conditions.” [Fairfax County Government]

Vienna Burger Joint Expands to Arlington — “HQ2 will be home to Arlington’s second Conte’s Bike Shop, a South Block, the second location of Vienna-based Social Burger and the first brick-and-mortar location of HUSTLE — a high intensity cycling workout business.” [ARLnow]

Capital One Sets Timeline for Office Return — The Tysons-based financial company announced that it will fully reopen all U.S. offices under a hybrid work model on Sept. 6, almost exactly a year later than previously planned. Capital One is one of the D.C. area’s largest employers, with 11,530 associates and contractors just for its headquarters, according to a spokesperson. [Capital One]

McLean Tennis Court Project Approved — The Fairfax County Park Authority Board “approved $650,000 in funding for court improvements at Lewinsville Park in McLean…FCPA anticipates the courts to be closed for up to four months, while these renovations and repairs are made.” [FCPA]

Reston Shop Hosts “Bike to Work Day” Stop — “National Bike Week happens to be this week with the 21st anniversary of Bike to Work Day in the National Capital Region falling on May 20…In Reston, bicyclists can head to a pit stop just off the Washington & Old Dominion Trail at The Bike Lane, 11150 Sunset Hills Reston, VA, 7 a.m.-9 a.m.” [Patch]

Annandale Food Festival Seeks Sponsors — “Now that planning is underway for the 2022 Taste of Annandale, the top priority is securing sponsors. The family-friendly community festival scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 1 in the center of Annandale, is likely to draw at least 6,000 people.” [Annandale Today]

It’s Thursday — Rain in the morning. High of 79 and low of 61. Sunrise at 5:54 am and sunset at 8:19 pm. [Weather.gov]

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