Local Commentary

Editorial: An Un-Boring Falls Church

Reports have been around for a while of some of the startling trends in the demographic study that had another go-around with the F.C. Planning Commission, but in the light of decisions due from the City Council on the development of the 10.3-acre West End project, they project a vision for the future of Falls Church that is veritably alive and kicking with unique opportunity.

The number of single family homes in Falls Church continues to grow, especially as residential lots are combined and small brick rambler and similar homes originally built to house those recruited for the exploding federal government role in prosecuting the Second World War and then post-war returning GIs get torn down and replaced with gigantic castle-like domiciles. The market for those continues to be defined by the ideal location of the Little City in proximity to the District, the Beltway, the Interstate, the Metro and two major airports, its trees, shaded neighborhoods and, of course, the excellence of its schools.

But unlike other well-to-do nearby areas of the region, Falls Church has developed something else, something that puts it in a class by itself, that City policymakers should celebrate and work ever more consciously to build. Falls Church is looking to become one of the most un-boring places around and, no, it doesn’t have to parrot the National Harbor to bring that to fruition. A little comparison with the unfolding waterfront section of D.C. might do, however, given that the developers now involved with the City’s big West End project have also had their hands in down there in a major way.

In a clever urban planning way, Falls Church planners have been able to section off parts of the old, sleepy Falls Church village with its dull mega-mansions from the areas that are going, increasingly, to attract young, smart, energetic, flexible and well-enough-off interesting folks with eclectic and creative interests and skills. With the coming higher education components included, the expansion of Virginia Tech, in particular, the cutting edge combined technological and artistic acumen of those qualified for the coming Amazon jobs and more will cherish the mobility that the smaller living units in Falls Church are bringing and will bring, with their many flourishing immediately proximate lifestyle amenities, over and above the City’s transportation access to the wider region and big wide world.

That’s what the demographic study points to, if the City’s policy makers pick up and run with it. The West End project, and its promise to combine with the adjacent Virginia Tech and WMATA properties, fully maintains this potential, and it can spill over onto the Beyer Automotive assembled parcelts, the Federal Realty lots and down West Broad to link up to Founders Row, leaping to Eden Center and more.

We think the population can grow faster than the demographic study projects, and should.