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Combined Properties wants to redevelop the Rose Hill Shopping Center (courtesy Fairfax County)

A proposal to redevelop Rose Hill Plaza (6116 Rose Hill Drive) into a mixed-use project is starting to take more concrete shape.

The pitch by owner Combined Properties — submitted as part of the county’s ongoing Site-Specific Plan Amendment (SSPA) process — argues that the current shopping center reflects an “outdated, auto-oriented concept that contradicts Fairfax county’s goals and objectives.”

If the proposal is approved, the developer would time the overhaul with the end of several leases in 2027.

“If the Property is not accepted into this cycle’s SSPA process, the Property risks long-term vacancies until 2035 which is detrimental to the health of the Property and the neighborhood,” the application states.

Anchored by Safeway, the shopping center spans a little over 11 acres.

A six-story, mixed-use residential building with 56,000 square feet of retail and green space is planned. A freestanding ‘jewel box’ retail building will front most the property, bordering proposed green space along Rose Hill Drive.

In its application, Combined Properties says it has already “thoughtfully” scaled back the proposed development in response to community engagement this spring.

However, some neighboring groups are already opposing the proposal, forming a Rose Hill Coalition to advocate for an update of the shopping center rather than a full redevelopment and rezoning.

“We hope that Combined Properties sees this an opportunity to improve the shopping center,” Sharada Gilkey, founder of the coalition, said. “We would like to work with CP to support and improve the center to ensure the future success of its local businesses, small and large, and to better serve the local community.”

Concerns flagged by the coalition include the prospect of increased traffic in an already congested area, the incompatibility of the apartment complex with surrounding single-family homes, and the reduction in walkable retail and office space.

Combined Properties has no intention to sell the property after it is redeveloped.

“The Applicant is also committed to ensuring the surrounding residential community has continued access to quality public amenities, including the retention of a grocery store option to anchor the retail program,” the application states.

The proposal was formally accepted for review by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Dec. 6. Like the other applications submitted as part of the SSPA process, which allows land use changes to the comprehensive plan for individual sites, the county will evaluate it for further consideration.

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Healthy Vibez is opening in Rose Hill (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

A new CBD retail store is set to open in Alexandria’s Rose Hill Shopping Center this week.

Healthy Vibez CBD, a health and wellness store for CBD products, will hold its grand opening on Friday (Oct. 28). The store will sell CBD beauty products, crafted drinks, health bars, vapes, and more.

Chairman Riz Nasar tells FFXnow that the store will also serve as an education and resource center for CBD products. He says it’s for anyone who wants to try CBD and needs to know where to start.

“A lot of people think that it makes you high–it doesn’t. It actually does totally the opposite. It makes you even calmer, it makes you relaxed, it makes you sleep better, it helps with PTSD, it helps with anxiety,” Nasar explained.

He says he was in a car accident when he was a child and CBD was the only thing that helped him with lingering pain.

“It’s really helped, it really works–and we want to share our experience and my personal experience,” Nasar says.

Another reason he wants to educate people on CBD is because of the confusion he faced with landlords and other officials when trying to launch the business. He says some people were hesitant after confusing CBD with marijuana.

“Finally, I found a like-minded agent who said, let me let me work with you, and so he took our business plan, and he was able to get us this place in Rose Hill Shopping Center.”

Nasar added that the store works with a local lab “to ensure every single product is being manufactured under the watchful eyes of experienced scientists and chemists.”

He says the products are made in small batches to ensure quality and freshness.

For its grand opening, the store will ask visitors to cut a ribbon to enter the store. The store’s hours are Monday-Saturday 11 am-7 pm, and Sunday, 12-5 pm.

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Fairfax County police car lights flashing (file photo)

(Updated at 10 a.m.) A teenager ended up in the hospital over the weekend after another teen accidentally shot him with a pellet gun.

Fairfax County police officers were dispatched a home in the 6300 block of Georgetown Pike in McLean at 12:51 p.m. on Saturday (Oct. 8) in response to the reported shooting, the Fairfax County Police Department said.

According to the police scanner, officers received a 911 call for someone being shot with “lots of screaming in the background.” Responders reported that a 13-year-old boy had sustained a gunshot wound to the head from a BB gun, and they were transporting him to Inova Fairfax Hospital.

Police confirmed only that the victim was shot with a pellet gun in the upper body, and that both juveniles involved were teens.

The victim was transported to the hospital with injuries that were considered life-threatening, police said. As of last night (Monday), they remained hospitalized.

“It was a tragic accident that led to these injuries,” the FCPD said, noting that no charges are expected to be filed.

While this incident involved only a BB gun, nearly 350 children under the age of 18 unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else in the U.S. each year, according to Fairfax County Public Schools, citing findings from the gun violence prevention group Everytown for Gun Safety.

According to Everytown’s Not an Accident database, there have been at least 223 unintentional shootings by children in the U.S. so far this year, killing 98 people and injuring 136.

On the south side of the county, police responded to reports of gunshots in the Rose Hill Shopping Center parking lot at 4:05 p.m. on Friday (Oct. 7).

“Witnesses heard gunshots and saw a group of juveniles run from the area,” the FCPD told FFXnow by email. “Several cartridge cases were recovered. No injuries or property damage was reported.”

The incident remains under investigation. The department says anyone with information related to the gunfire can call its detectives at 703-691-2131.

H/t to Alan Henney.

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A Fairfax County police car with lights flashing (file photo)

An 82-year-old man died in Rose Hill yesterday afternoon (Tuesday) after an apparent assault by his son, Fairfax County police say.

Samy Hassanein, 36, was arrested overnight and has now been charged with second-degree murder in the death of his father, Talat Hassanein, the Fairfax County Police Department announced this morning (Wednesday).

According to the department, its officers were called to the 5500 block of Justis Place at 2:37 p.m. yesterday for a death investigation. Upon arriving at the house, they found Talat Hassanein unconscious at the bottom of the basement stairs.

Talat was pronounced deceased at the scene by Fairfax County Fire and Rescue personnel.

“As detectives began investigating, they identified significant trauma to Talat’s upper body,” the FCPD said. “Detectives from our Crime Scene Section responded to the scene and discovered evidence to indicate Talat’s death was not accidental.”

Interviews and evidence collected at the home led detectives to determine that Samy Hassanein “fatally assaulted his father,” police said. Talat lived at the home with Samy and his other adult sons, who were all present during the investigation, according to the FCPD.

Samy Hassanein is currently in custody at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center without bond.

The police department says anyone with information about the incident can contact its detectives:

Detectives are asking anyone with information regarding this incident to call our Major Crimes Bureau at 703-246-7800, option 2. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone – 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477), and by web – Click HERE. Download the ‘P3 Tips’ App and follow the steps to “Fairfax Co Crime Solvers”. Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 dollars. Please leave contact information if you wish for a detective to follow up with you.

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Fairfax County Public Schools has fired longtime Edison High School basketball coach Dianne Lewis, leading to community backlash.

FCPS confirmed to FFXnow that Lewis was relieved from her duties as the varsity girls’ basketball coach at the Alexandria area high school.

“Edison HS is taking a new direction with our basketball coaching this coming school year,” an FCPS spokesperson said. “This decision was not made lightly, and was done so in the best interest of the school community. Edison HS leadership is committed to ensuring that the basketball program will remain strong and will continue to support our amazing student athletes in the coming school year.”

However, some in the community are making their disagreement with the decision clear. Late last week, a Change.org petition was set up asking FCPS to “overturn the firing” and reinstate Lewis. The petition claims the school gave no reason for Lewis’s firing.

“This heartbreaking blindsided firing of Coach Lewis came with no explanation to her, the players, parents or the community and we refuse to accept this reckless decision,” it reads.

As of this morning (Wednesday), the petition has gotten 2,243 signatures.

“Upon advice of counsel, I cannot comment at this time. I do appreciate your interest in this story,” Lewis told FFXnow.

The details of what exactly led to Lewis’s firing are scant.

She had been Edison’s varsity girls’ basketball coach for more than 20 years, guiding the team to hundreds of wins, a number of conference titles, regional championships, and several state championship appearances. This past season, the team went to states for the first time in several seasons.

A number of Lewis’s former players went on to play for major collegiate programs as well.

Lewis also worked with USA Basketball as an assistant coach, mostly helping to coach under-17 teams.

She had a positive impact on the lives of countless young players and students, according to many who left comments on the petition. Read More

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The changing nature of retail and shifting markets for housing could pave the way for a redevelopment of Rose Hill Plaza at the intersection of Franconia Road and Rose Hill Drive.

The D.C.-based real estate firm Combined Properties, Inc. is looking at transforming the 1960s-era shopping center with two five-story residential buildings that would have ground-floor retail and two parking garages, according to preliminary plans.

A grocery store or another retail space is planned on the opposite side of the property.

The model follows a recent trend of transforming static, one-level shopping centers into a mix of residential and retail uses.

Combined Properties spokesperson Jon Stollberg told FFXnow that the decision to explore redevelopment was prompted by the “changing nature of retail and high demand for a diversity of housing product.”

But the company will not be in a position to redevelop the shopping center until at least the summer of 2027 due to current retail leases that are in place.

Stollberg emphasized that no formal decision has been made.

“No determination on the economic feasibility or a decision to redevelop this property has been finalized as CPI is working to understand the desire and support of the Rose Hill community, Fairfax County and other stakeholders,” he said in a statement.

The company held the first of a series of community meetings on the issue on March 23. The Rose Hill Civic Association declined to comment on the proposal, which is in its early phases. The association noted that the board has not taken a formal stance yet.

The unit mix has not been finalized yet, but could range between 375 and 425 units, according to Andrew McIntyre, senior executive vice president of development.

Anchored by Safeway, the shopping center is currently home to McDonald’s, Walgreens, Dollar Tree and more than a dozen other businesses.

Healthy Vibes CBD has signed a lease at the center, occupying space previously home to SunTrust Bank — which is now known as Truist Bank after its merger with BB&T.

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Mixed-media artist Ronald Lord used debris from the now-demolished Meadow View Swimming Club in Rose Hill to make art (courtesy of Ronald Lord)

An artist from Fairfax County pays tribute to his childhood memories growing up in Rose Hill by using its remains to create art.

As a child, Ronald Lord would join his friends and family at the swimming pool at the Meadow View Swimming Club.

Starting at 6 years old until his teenage years, Lord would get up at 7 a.m. so he and his brothers could go to swim team practice. He also has fond memories of playing in the woods and rundown homes that surrounded the club throughout the 1960s.

Now, those memories no longer have a physical anchor. The swimming club was closed in the 1980s, converted into a private school and day care center, and finally demolished in 2017 to make way for more houses, according to the Rose Hill Civic Association.

But while others would see the wreckage as nothing more than refuse, Lord saw an opportunity to create art that would preserve those childhood memories.

As Lord got older, he turned to the artistic world, living near Washington D.C. where he could go to the National Portrait Gallery. Folk art and other self-taught pieces inspired him to find his medium of expression.

Lord also worked in trades such as home improvement that taught him the process of building and gave him access to materials.

“I’ve played around with all sorts of materials,” Lord told FFXnow. “Wax, bead weaving, clay, wood carving, paper, stained glass and of course wood and metal salvage that I find a very satisfying medium and is what I’m concentrating on mainly now. I took to creating as a youngster with wax and beads and have been on a creative journey ever since.”

Now a resident of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Lord creates pieces made from various pieces of salvage. He created two “Regina Bay” pieces, for instance, using wood, metal boring bits, glass, handmade nails, and other detritus found in and around a gold mine in Northwestern Ontario, Canada near cabins owned by his wife’s family.

Lord’s “Meadow View” piece is made from similar components and brings back the memory of those childhood days.

“For those who knew Meadow View, I hope it brings back all the memories associated with the fun we had growing up with all the activities there,” he said, recalling Fourth of July and Memorial Day festivities with pool contests involving greased watermelons and “hundreds of coins thrown in for all of us to collect once the whistle sounded.”

There were also the “swim team meets and the daily 7:00 a.m. practice sessions, eyes burning from chlorinated water, the snack bar and chit books but most of all the innocence and joy of growing up then,” he says.

Lord is currently working on an outdoor installation at a hacienda in Alamos, Mexico, his theme will incorporate local salvage such as bones, metal, paint and stone.

“It is going to focus on the immeasurable number of back [breaking] hours and manpower it took to create this heavenly place out of the tough Sonoran desert,” Lord said of his project.

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