By a unanimous vote, the Falls Church Planning Commission gave its blessing to the establishment of a new downtown Falls Church restaurant Monday night on the site of the historic Cloverdale House, also known as the Blue and Gray Building, at the corner of 200 Park Avenue and N. Maple St. The restaurateur Brian Normile, who has developed other sites in Arlington – North Side Social, The Liberty Tavern and Lyon Hall – that mix historic preservation with fine dining, was on hand for tonight’s 6-0 vote. He told the News-Press that as soon as numerous construction and demolition permits are OKd at City Hall, the project will get underway, and he hopes to be open for business at the site shortly after the start of the new year.
The only issue raised about the site dealt with parking. David Oliver, representing the Phillips Architects building next door, argued to the commission that there is not enough parking to accommodate the seating for 112, 12-13 bar stools on a second floor wine bar, and 30 outdoor seats that are slated for the new development. He said the plan to expand the current historic building on the site to 7,200 square feet will create a need for more parking that is available in the area.
However, his argument was unconvincing for the Planning Commissioners who countered that parking in the Kaiser garage and numerous public locations nearby will address that need, including the just-OK’d parallel parking locations in the 200 block of Park Avenue. Rob Meeks, the chair of the Planning Commission, said “I am supremely confident” that there will be enough parking in the area.
“We’re going to be able to make the parking work,” Normile told the Planners, “This is a very challenging site but it can be done.” He cited his success with other properties he has developed in Arlington, including the popular Liberty Tavern in the 3000 block of Wilson Blvd.
The Cloverdale House on the Park Avenue site dates back to the 1700s and was originally on Rt. 7 before being moved to its current location over 100 years ago.