The West End Gateway Partners, who over the last two years have come to contract with the City of Falls Church to undertake an ambitious 10-acre mixed use development at the City’s west end, has requested major revisions in their plans under conditions of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
A special public town hall to outline the changes is scheduled to be held online this Thursday, Dec. 17 at noon.
The Council held two lengthy closed sessions on the subject prior to Monday’s public announcement made in the interest of transparency.
The changes involve a reduction in the partnership’s annual capital ground base payments to the City from $7 million to $4.3 million, and with ground rent increases, a net $3.2 million loss to the City and a six-month delay in its implementation.
One major concern by the Council was the group’s commitment to the demolition of the old high school on the site by May 29, 2021, and the developers — representatives of EYA and Hoffman — provided assurances that it would happen by that target date.
Otherwise, the developers assured the City Council of its ongoing commitment to the overall project, although some modifications in the mix might reflect changes in the economic trends post-Covid, such as a glut in office space. They said they’ve already sunk $13 million into the project and will have invested another $9 million in the next year.
It was also noted by City Manager Wyatt Shields that the changes will not impact the next fiscal year’s expected revenues and the residential real estate tax rate.
A final decision by the Council on whether to agree to these modifications will be made on Jan. 11, 2021.