Mason Row Developers Submit Revised Plan to City Hall

A rendering of the “market square” inside the revised Mason Row development plan for the W. Broad and N. West Street are of Falls Church. (Photo: Spectrum Development)

Peter Batten, principal of Spectrum Development LLC, notified the News-Press Saturday that his group has formally resubmitted a revised plan for the 4.3-acre so-called Mason Row mixed use project they’re proposing at the intersection of W. Broad and N. West Streets in the City of Falls Church. Batten stated, “The revisions we have made are a direct response to suggestions and concerns expressed by the community, City Boards and Commissions and City Planning Staff and Council. Our entire team is pleased and excited about our revised plan.”

Dick Buskell of Spectrum followed the announcement with a summary of the many revisions made to the plan that include,

1. the hotel is moved to the commercial corner and away from residences,

2. the hotel is now its “own” building, reducing the massing along West Street and W. Broad in the process,

3. operational and design components are fully integrated with input from the project’s new partner, Mill Creek (formerly Trammel Crow and one of the largest and most respected apartment owner/operators in the U.S.),

4. the trash and loading facility is removed from West Street facing the neighbors, and the trash area is enclosed facing the Well Fargo Bank branch,

5. the Park Avenue frontage (for parcels now zoned detached residential) is completely redesigned, changing use to all residential with lowered heights,

6. the parking garage is hidden behind the new Park Avenue residential so it cannot be seen by neighbors on the north side of Park Avenue,

7. the variance request is reduced to lower parking, leaving abundant parking for all users,

8. bike share is provided along with enhanced pedestrian connections to the W&OD bike trail,

9. a shuttle service to the Metro will be provided by the hotel,

10. refined architectural design is added,

11. retail on the ground level has options for small format grocer or organic grocer, raised to a top priority, and

12. the project will provide a full package of transportation improvements that will address decades’ old problems so that traffic will not worsen, but in many respects will improve.

There has been no immediate announcement from the City Planning Department concerning a schedule of presentations and public events associated with this revision. Having achieved a “first reading” approval from the F.C. City Council in the spring, the developers contend that none of the revisions would trigger the need for a new “first reading” and that when it does come back to the Council for a vote, one “second reading” final approval should be in store.