Jason’s Deli will close up shop for good next month after more than a decade at Idylwood Plaza.
The last day of business for the sandwich restaurant will be Dec. 12, though a separate location at Fair Lakes Shopping Center will remain open.
“It’s because of business,” said an employee at the Idylwood restaurant. Profits have been unable to keep up with rising rent for the over 4,700-square-foot space at 7505 Leesburg Pike, according to the worker.
A corporate customer service representative for Jason’s Deli confirmed that the location didn’t renew its lease because the landlord was seeking a rent increase.
“Our policy, out of respect and care for our merchant relationships, is not to comment on their leases and the terms of those leases,” Federal Realty, the property manager for Idylwood Plaza, said in a statement to FFXnow.
Founded by the grandson of Italian immigrants, Jason’s Deli started in Beaumont, Texas, in 1976 and now has 250 delis in 28 states. It’s known for using “real, clean” ingredients and offering free soft-serve ice cream.
The Idylwood deli opened in 2008, becoming the company’s first restaurant in the D.C. area. After the upcoming closure, the region will still have Jason’s Deli locations in Fair Lakes and Columbia, Maryland.
For residents of the Idylwood/Pimmit Hills area who want to grab a sandwich closer to home, though, it appears the Subway right behind Idylwood Plaza will soon have to suffice.
A major redevelopment has been suggested for Fallfax Center, a retail strip anchored by El Tio Tex-Mex Grill on the edge of Idylwood near Jefferson District Park.
Property owner Schupp Companies has put forward a proposal to replace the existing shopping center with a residential and retail “donut” building.
Schupp is asking Fairfax County to amend its comprehensive plan to allow multifamily residential uses and increased density on the 4.6-acre property at 7630 Lee Highway, one of 75 sites submitted to the county for a potential amendment in October.
“Leveraging its proximity to the bus/transit lines and depth/size of the subject property, this proposal will replace aging structures with attractive new development, that includes robust green space and modern stormwater management controls,” the developer said in a summary of its nomination.
The proposed 385,000-square-foot building would have 380 residential units with about 6,000 square feet of first-floor retail in a 6-story section facing Route 29 (Lee Highway). A section to the rear would start at five stories and drop to four next to the Lee Landing townhouses to the north and west of the property.
Both sections would have internal courtyards, according to a concept plan included with the nomination. They would be connected by a five-story residential structure with an internal parking garage and community swimming pool.
The development would “activate” Route 29 with a large adjacent patio and landscaped open space, and a “natural” buffer would be provided to separate the site from the adjacent townhomes, according to a statement of justification from Mark Viani, a land use agent representing Schupp.
“Collectively, these areas and the open space along Lee Highway, will greatly reduce the impervious nature of the Property and the proposed development will also include modern stormwater management controls,” Viani wrote.
Purchased by Schupp in 1989, the Fallfax shopping center dates back to 1955, per county land records, has evidently not been significantly renovated since it was constructed. The owner says the one-story buildings “are no longer efficient” and becoming “difficult to maintain.”
Current tenants include Settle Down Easy Brewing, Victor’s Grill, a Pizza Hut and Huqqa Lounge. The brewery could remain with the redevelopment, according to Viani.
The site also has two industrial buildings — Happy Tails dog day care and a vacant building once occupied by the commercial printer HBP — that are “an occasional source of concern” due to their proximity to the neighboring townhouses, the nomination says.
“The Nominator’s proposal will address Fairfax County’s need for housing and diversify the type of housing in the area,” Viani wrote, noting that a bus stop in front of the property provides access to Merrifield and the Dunn Loring Metro station.
The Fallfax redevelopment is one of dozens of proposals jockeying for inclusion in the county’s site-specific plan amendment program, which considers land use changes to the comprehensive plan for individual properties.
The process was revised this summer to have a shorter timeline, new submission criteria, and more frequent nominations countywide over two-year periods, as opposed to the previous four-year cycle that alternated between the north and south sides of the county.
The Board of Supervisors is expected to determine which site nominations to accept for review at its next meeting on Dec. 6. If the Fallfax proposal advances, Viani wrote that Schupp intends to file a rezoning application for review.
Photo via Google Maps
The general public’s last chance to weigh in on Fairfax County’s ongoing study of the bicycle and pedestrian network in the West Falls Church Metro station area will come later than anticipated.
Two community meetings that had been scheduled for next week will instead be held on Oct. 26 and 27, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation announced yesterday (Thursday).
A virtual meeting has been set for 7:30-9 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 26, and county staff will also host an in-person meeting in Longfellow Middle School’s cafeteria at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 27.
“The team felt like we had not given the amount of notice we had planned that we would ensure the most participation by residents and stakeholders in the community,” FCDOT told FFXnow. “This is the final round of community input and attendees will hear about the survey results on active transportation alternatives.”
Launched last December, the West Falls Church Active Transportation Study is intended to identify needed safety improvements and gaps in the bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure within a 2-mile radius around the Metro station (7040 Haycock Road).
After paving the way for over 1 million square feet of new development, the county hopes the study will result in projects that can mitigate traffic and safety concerns raised by residents, some of whom have argued that the area can’t support the anticipated growth.
Replacing parking lots with housing, office, and retail construction, the proposed West Falls Church Metro redevelopment will include a new grid of streets that EYA — one of three developers involved in the project — has said should help alleviate pressure on the existing local streets.
However, that won’t address the missing sidewalks and lack of safe street crossings that community members highlighted during an initial round of public engagement on the transportation study in February.
The feedback will be used by county staff and a 13-person advisory group to develop recommendations for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on the future of non-motorized transportation in the area.
Adjacent to the Metro station redevelopment site, construction is underway on the West Falls project in neighboring Falls Church City, and plans were submitted last week for a major buildout of Virginia Tech’s Northern Virginia Center campus.
Map via FCDOT
A developer has officially filed plans with Fairfax County to bring housing, retail, and new office and academic facilities to Virginia Tech’s campus in Idylwood.
As a joint entity named Converge West Falls LLC, real estate investment firm Rushmark Properties and the construction company HITT Contracting have proposed replacing the existing Northern Virginia Center at 7054 Haycock Road with a 283,000-square-foot office building, up to 440 residential units, and a 2,000-square-foot retail pavilion.
Submitted last Thursday (Sept. 22), the application fleshes out an agreement made earlier this year between Converge and the City of Falls Church, which intends to sell the approximately 7.5-acre site to the developer.
The project will “serve as a logical connection” between the West Falls development on Falls Church’s former George Mason High School property and a planned redevelopment at the West Falls Church Metro station, Walsh Colucci land use attorney Andrew Painter wrote in a statement of justification on Converge’s behalf.
Rushmark is also involved in the Metro project, which will turn the Metro station’s existing parking lots into housing and office buildings with some retail.
Reviving a stalled plan between Virginia Tech and HITT, Converge’s Northern Virginia Center proposal features roughly 820,000 square feet of development across three buildings on two blocks west side of Falls Church Drive and north of Haycock Road:
- Building A: A 283,000-square-foot office and education facility that will house HITT’s corporate headquarters and a 40,000-square-foot laboratory space for Virginia Tech, dubbed the National Center for Smart Construction (NCSC)
- Building B: A residential building with up to 440 units and approximately 16,000 square feet of ground-floor retail uses. It will have a maximum height of 15 stories and 145 feet, providing parking in a 2.5-story underground garage.
- Building C: An approximately 2,000-square foot one-story retail kiosk/pavilion
If approved, the project would link the West Falls and Metro developments by extending the former’s central West Falls Station Blvd through the property. Building C would be in the center of the street’s 12,300-square-foot, publicly accessible median.
Straddling the boundary between the city and Fairfax County, the “Median Green” will also serve as a green space with landscaping, trees, movable tables and chairs for “informal gatherings,” open lawn areas, an outdoor stage or performance space, and public art.
Other proposed amenities include entry plazas for both the office and residential buildings and public gardens on Haycock Road and Falls Church Drive. The latter’s garden would feature a bio-retention rain garden.
The developer says it will also provide approximately 0.29 acres of publicly accessible open space on the Metro redevelopment site as well as private, “vegetative” roof decks for the office and residential buildings.
“Building A’s office roof will, for example, feature outdoor working and social spaces with lush planters and stormwater areas,” the application says. “The Building B’s residential roof deck will include a pool, recreation lawn, and seating terraces.”
As part of its transportation commitments, the applicant says it will upgrade the existing sidewalks on Haycock Road and Falls Church Drive, provide bicycle racks, and extend bicycle lanes planned for West Falls Station Blvd through the development. A total of 1,138 parking spaces will be provided.
“When constructed, this new neighborhood will function as one larger transit-oriented neighborhood,” Painter wrote. “The proposed NCSC facility will serve as a hub for research and testing of emerging construction methods, materials and technology that will inform Northern Virginia’s construction and real estate industries. Further, the proposal will attract individuals who think creatively, share ideas, and drive daytime demand locally-serving office and retail uses, as well as Metrorail ridership.”
A redevelopment of Virginia Tech’s Northern Virginia Center (7054 Haycock Road) in Idylwood is back on the table.
The Falls Church City Council authorized agreements on Monday night (July 25) that will terminate the university’s 40-year lease for the 2-acre parcel and allow the city to sell the land to Converge West Falls LLC, an entity of developer Rushmark Properties.
Advanced by Virginia Tech’s board in April, the exchange will revive a plan to build a new design school, a headquarters for the construction company HITT Contracting and more on the Northern Virginia Center campus that abruptly collapsed in early 2021.
“Virginia Tech has a long history in the City of Falls Church and we are excited about this new chapter,” Virginia Tech Media Relations Director Michael Stowe said. “This vote moves us a step closer to creating a world-class smart construction research center in collaboration with HITT Contracting, and it means the community will benefit from a vibrant, mixed-use district that will transform the neighborhood.”
According to a city staff report, the Northern Virginia Center is a 101,000-square-foot office building on a larger, 7.4-acre site located in Fairfax County but owned by Falls Church, which has leased a portion of the land to Virginia Tech since 1995.
Under Falls Church’s new agreements with Virginia Tech and Rushmark, the city could sell the full site to the developer for $25 million, including $16.57 million that it would then pay to the university. The resulting development must feature:
- A 240,000-square-foot office building for HITT’s corporate headquarters, including at least 40,000 square feet for a Virginia Tech National Center for Smart Construction
- 440 residential units with ground-floor retail
- Construction of a West Falls Station Blvd through the site, among other road improvements
The project still has to go through a number of steps to come to fruition. First, Virginia Tech has to get the governor’s approval for its planned land transfer to the city, and then, Rushmark must submit its plans to Fairfax County.
“Virginia Tech will continue to occupy the site, with no rent payments to the City, until the final closing date, which is no later than March 31, 2025,” the staff report said. The agreements are expected to be closed sooner than that, coming within 30 days of zoning and site plan approvals from the county. Read More