The EYA, Hoffman and Regency co-developers of the City of Falls Church’s 9.7-acre West End Gateway Project presented some visuals to the F.C. City Council on the kind of architecture they’re currently considering for seven buildings of their project. The images displaying a distinct preference for a warehouse traditional look were met with less-than-overwhelming enthusiasm by Council members and members of the Planning Commission and Economic Development Authority invited to sit in and comment during the Monday night F.C. Council meeting.
The color scheme presented is a mix of soft grey, brown, white, red and yellow. “Everything is square, is there no arch?,” quipped Vice Mayor Marybeth Connelly as a typical response.
While some expressed appreciation for the designs, others passed on offering an opinion, referring to the designs as a matter of personal aesthetic tastes. Only Tim Stevens of the Planning Commission suggested that he personally prefers a more modern look. Others felt that the hotel or the condominium buildings should exhibit a “more luxurious” look, and Melissa Teates of the Planning Commission added that “white does not age well” and are subject to “looking dirty.” Councilman Dan Sze said the project would need to create the appearance of being broken up more to overcome a “sense of sterility.”
Councilman Phil Duncan said that it should have a more “futuristic” look, reflecting a “citizen-centered community,” touting freedom of expression and First Amendment values. He urged transportation options to the nearby Metro station, no dog park and a waterfall feature. Council members Letty Hardi and Ross Litkenhous focused on a stairway planned for the middle of the block along Haycock Road that would take pedestrians up to the level of the commons area in the center of the project. “The stairs have to be a gateway to the project from the City, truly inviting the City and the Beyer property to the center of the project,” Litkenhous stressed.
The developers are scheduled to hold a public forum this Thursday to present their initial architectural concepts to the wider Falls Church community. Their final plans will follow their site plan submission in mid to late January.