F.C. Council, School Board Reject Clark’s Unsolicited Development Bid

MEMBERS OF THE FALLS CHURCH City Council and School Board traded places Monday night after the City Council passed its three motions and as the School Board was preparing to pass its three. (Photo: News-Press)
MEMBERS OF THE FALLS CHURCH City Council and School Board traded places Monday night after the City Council passed its three motions and as the School Board was preparing to pass its three. (Photo: News-Press)

Following their third lengthy closed session to mull the vast, unsolicited proposal from Clark Construction, also known as Edgemoor Infrastructure and Realty, to develop the 39 acres inclusive of George Mason High School, the F.C. City Council and School Board emerged back into open session at 9:50 p.m. this last Monday night.

The two City bodies took a series of swift and unanimous votes to reject the Clark plan in favor of restoring their original plan to call for “requests for proposals” and thereby entertaining anyone who might wish to step forward to bid on the development of the land.

The City Council first convened to pass its motions without debate, and then adjourned while the School Board took the dais and did the same.
The first phrase of the first motion for both the City Council and the School Board referred to “the difficulty of revising unsolicited proposals to meet both the Falls Church City Public Schools needs for a high school as well as a middle school expansion under the existing Private Public Education Act guidelines and associated processes.” The motion was passed to reject the “unsolicited PPEA proposal delivered by Edgemoor Infrastructure and Realty on March 11, 2015.”

The second motion that passed both bodies unanimously called for the City Council and School Board to adopt the process reflected in Monday’s closed session.

Still, it has been noted that a Whole Foods Market that went into the 14th Street corridor in Washington D.C. anchored the transformation of that entire part of the nation’s capital, bringing new residents and businesses pouring in in a cascading effect that has not yet abated a decade later.

Observers have noted that HITT obviously feels that having a huge market within blocks of the Harris Teeter it is now constructing in the 300 block of W. Broad will not hurt Harris Teeter business, but is on the notion of the kind of “critical mass” that attracts massive amounts of new business and dollars to the City to the benefit of every business, including retail and restaurants.

Above the market, HITT wants to build 300 apartments, and adjacent it on land partially owned by it, and partially by the City of Falls Church, to work out a private-public partnership for a major parking garage that would serve the entire downtown Falls Church area, including the already-vibrant State Theatre live music venue there.

Whole Foods Markets have evolved into enormous multi-service destinations. A 64,000 square foot market in Fair Lakes, for example, that it describes as “an exciting and stimulating environment that makes food both a visual and sensory pleasure,” and adds, “In addition to the highest quality meats, seafood, fresh produce, cheese and prepared foods, the store offers five innovative restaurant venues plus a wine tasting room for a unique adventure in shopping, eating and exploring foods.”

Stressing “an exciting dining experience,” the Fair Lakes store features a seafood option that has fresh oysters, fish and chips, po-boys, ethnic and seasonal dishes and seafood soups. A smokehouse option offers pulled pork sandwiches, and Asian options include peking duck, noodle bowls, sushi and more. A Specialty eatery has artisan grilled cheeses and sandwiches, soups and cheese plates. All the eateries offer beer and wine, as well as kids’ menus. There are over 250 seats.

A sports bar with 18 TVs includes one with a 90 inch LED screen, and foods are prepared for on-site dining or takeout.

The Whole Foods organization is proud of being ranked by Fortune magazine as one of the top 100 to work for 14 years running, offering benefits, competitive wages, 20 percent discounts on store purchases and extensive training and opportunities for advancement.

The Falls Church Whole Foods proposal comes just a week after it was confirmed that the company has signed a lease for a 70,000 square-foot store at The Boro, a new Tysons development set to open sometime over the next few years. In addition, the Washington Business Journal reports that Whole Foods recently signed a lease for a 40,000 square-foot store in Northwest Washington, D.C.