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F.C. Council Votes 4-3 to Move Revamped Mason Row Plan to Boards

 

MASON ROW DEVELOPER Peter Batten (leaning forward in the center) presented the latest plan to a work session of the F.C. City Council Tuesday night. F.C. City Manager Wyatt Shields is in the foreground. (Photo: News-Press)
MASON ROW DEVELOPER Peter Batten (leaning forward in the center) presented the latest plan to a work session of the F.C. City Council Tuesday night. F.C. City Manager Wyatt Shields is in the foreground. (Photo: News-Press)

After a long, tedious presentation and debate at its first post-Labor Day work session Tuesday night, the Falls Church City Council was without a consensus, so was forced to revert to a voice vote of 4-3 to waste no more time and send the latest iteration of the Spectrum Developers’ Mason Row mixed-use project directly to its volunteer boards and commissions for review prior to a final vote on whether to approve the 4.3-acre project later this fall.

The latest series of changes to the plan, with an assist from their new partners Mill Creek (formerly Trammel Crow), include moving the proposed hotel to a free standing building at the corner of W. Broad and N. West Street, moving the structured parking deeper within the project, putting a string of three-level condos along Park Avenue, actually creating a street internal to the project of 30-foot width with parallel parking on both sides, and adding a left turn lane into the project off W. Broad. The plan retains a projected 340 residential rental units, space for a 20,000 square foot restaurant, more retail (totaling 34 percent of the project), a slightly smaller multi-screen movie theater and continued net revenue gains for the City.

The land that currently nets $190,000 a year in tax revenues to the City (after expenses) is projected by the City’s Economic Development Office to yield in the range of $1,186,000 to $1,894,000 per year (net, after school costs subtracted). The difference between the current net tax yield and the projected net yield, about $1.7 million, is equal to five cents on the real estate tax rate, and that’s not taking into account spin-off revenues.

Although a work session, with no provision for receiving public comment, a large contingent of citizens residing near the location showed up. A large mailing had been sent out by the owner of one of the small businesses currently on the site urging citizens to show up Tuesday night.