Evan Goldman, spokesman for EYA, principal developer with Hoffman and Regency of Falls Church’s West End Economic Development project told a joint work session of the F.C. City Council, Planning Commission and Economic Development Authority Tuesday night that plans advancing on that project are being done in the context of growing collaborative planning. Along with two other major adjacent property owners, Virginia Tech and the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority, the group has an eye towards the seamless development of more than 40 acres combined that will become an integrated “one big neighborhood.”
He noted that WMATA has just given the development duty to the same Rushmark and Hoffman teams that have hands in the Virginia Tech (Rushmark) and F.C. West End (Hoffman) projects.
Goldman also reported that his firm has already held numerous “productive” meetings with representatives of Federal Realty, owners of the West Falls Shopping Center (two blocks of strip malls including the Giant and Staples), adjacent to the 10.3 acre site. Another candidate for collaborative development is the Beyer Automotive property of more than 20 acres whose assemblage was recently completed across Route 7.
The West End team led by Goldman also presented its progress toward submitting a detailed site plan, due in January, to the F.C. School Board Tuesday and will present it at a public forum for anyone wishing to attend at the F.C. Community Center tonight, Wednesday, Nov. 13.
Much of the extensive update presentation dwelled on plans for the 1.9 acre “commons” area in the center of the project, which has been broken into five spaces: a “front door” area adjacent Route 7, including a food and beverage area; a park area in the center; another food and beverage area; and then an adult play area. But most significant is the news Goldman presented that the commons, with the roads in both directions headed from Route 7 in the direction of the West Falls Church Metro station, will hopefully be connected to an extension on the Virginia Tech and Metro properties leading directly to the Metro station, and that, in the real blockbuster, this “yellow brick road” will be completed by the time the West End Project is fully completed, even as the full project of the Tech and WMATA properties will not yet be fully developed.
The new EYA, Hoffman, Regency plans for the West End Project include a better connection to the Federal Realty property across Haycock Road, with a new welcoming access across Haycock including a stairway, elevators and drive through options to lift the public Haycock by 26 feet up to the projects’ Commons.
Aspects of the architecture of the office, residential, condominium, hotel and “micro unit” buildings on the site were described as “warehouse model” with “factory-style” windows, with the exception of an ultra-modern designed micro uni” building.
The developers plan to submit their final site plan in January, leading to a six-to-nine month process for a final OK. If all proceeds according to plan, it will be approved and set to go for the December 2020 completion of the new George Mason High School and subsequent demolition of the existing high school buildings, clearing the land for West End project to commence in January 2021.