Last Wednesday morning, an informational forum hosted by the City of Falls Church to provide general parameters and answer questions from developers interested in building on the City-owned 10 acre site known as the West End Development Project saw over 40 individuals and entities sign in, and engage in a lively give-and-take for almost two hours. City officials were delighted by the turnout, which filled a large classroom at the University of Virginia/Virginia Tech Grad Center adjacent George Mason High School.
F.C. City Manager Wyatt Shields and Chief Development Director Jim Snyder led the discussion along with Jennifer Boss of the City’s consultants, Alvarez and Marsal. F.C. Schools Superintendent Dr. Peter Noonan was also present, along with Mayor David Tarter, Vice Mayor Marybeth Connelly and Council members Letty Hardi, Phil Duncan and Ross Litkenhous. Snyder emphasized that while the site (10 acres) is small, and the City is small (14,300 residents), the immediate area is not, with over 420,000 people living within a five mile radius. It was also noted that in addition to the 10 acres, adjacent properties of the Grad Center (7.54 acres) and WMATA (13.57 acres) are immediately, and the City has applied for $20 million in grants for transportation improvements around the site. Allowing FARs of 2.5 to 4.0, the property could welcome buildings up to 15 stories, with flexible parking arrangements and a broad array of uses, including Class A office space and a full-service hotel and convention facility.
The deadline for responding to the City’s request for conceptual proposals that went out on March 1 is May 1 at 2 p.m. A short list of developer finalists will be determined by mid-June, and from that list, the deadline for a final RFP will be August 18, and the final development partner for the project will be selected by mid-October. “We hope this project will set off a larger renaissance in this part of our City,” Snyder said.