Proclaiming, “We are believers in downtown Falls Church,” Todd Hitt, the principal developer behind the 2.5 acre Rushmark/Harris Teeter mixed use project in the 300 block of W. Broad Street in Falls Church, announced late last week that he’s now acquired 2.68 acres just a couple blocks away right on the Route 7 and 29 (Broad and Washington) “crossroads” intersection in the heart of the Little City.
In the blockbuster announcement last Thursday, a development team spearheaded by Hitt notified the public that it has acquired for $13.6 million a three-parcel consolidated site, including the current Applebee’s and Robertson Building at the southeast corner of Routes 7 and 29, the center of the City of Falls Church. The properties encompass 100 N. Washington, 107 E. Broad, Applebee’s and 131 E. Broad St.
In a press statement, the Arlington, Virginia based Insight Property Group LLC and the Reston, Virginia based Kiddar Metz group announced the acquisition, with the seller of the sites being their long-time owner, Robertson Properties, Inc. The City of Falls Church’s Economic Development Office played an instrumental role in putting the two groups together a couple of years back when the Robertson family indicated a desire to sell, Rick Goff from that office told the News-Press.
Hitt, who grew up in nearby McLean, is the CEO of Kiddar Metz group. He said in the release, “We are believers in downtown Falls Church,” and Insight’s President Michael Blum added, “Broad and Washington is a strategic Main and Main location at the City of Falls Church’s core. Falls Church is a place with beautiful established neighborhoods, Metro access, first class schools, retail and proximity to employment.”
Commenting to the News-Press, Falls Church City Manager Wyatt Shields confirmed the seminal role of Hitt in the deal. “We are very happy to have Mr. Hitt doing more in our downtown,” Shields said.
Shields said that while nothing has been determined to date about what the buyers plan to do with the parcel, most of their other projects have been large scale mixed use ones similar to the Rushmark Harris Teeter effort only a couple blocks away.
According to Goff, he’s met numerous times with Hitt and others involved in recent months to talk about options. “Mr. Hitt is bullish on investing in the City and is reliable with his partners. We are excited about the possibilities here,” Goff told the News-Press.
Knowledgeable sources suggested to the News-Press that the eventual form of what happens to the consolidated parcel may involve more than just the current 2.65 acres, but that adjacent City-owned property between the parcel and the State Theatre may eventually be involved, as well as other adjacent properties.
It was also noted that the Hitt family is looking at other commercial real estate in the downtown area.
Insight, according to the press statement, has nearly 1,000 apartments currently under development in the D.C. area, including a 430-unit project anchored by a Whole Foods under construction on H Street NE in D.C, a 310-unit luxury apartment building near the Metro station in Silver Spring, and a 240-unit luxury apartment project near the Huntington Metro in Alexandria. In 2013 Insight completed its Grayson Flats apartment project in Arlington, and has acquired another 572 existing apartments in four DC Metro locations, including the Metro Rosslyn Apartments in Arlington.
Kiddar Metz, the statement said, is a private investment firm that originates, structures and manages strategic equity investments across a variety of business disciplines. It has in excess of $300 million under management.
This latest development adds onto the Rushmark and Lincoln Property mixed use projects currently under construction, an office building proposal for 400 N. Washington Street and the W. Broad at N. West Street “Mason Row” project by the Spectrum Group that is currently seeking approval from City Hall to combine for a staggering development agenda for the Little City in the coming years, on top of promises of more to come soon. This new one, however, promises to be the biggest yet.