It’s official: Metro has committed to redevelop the West Falls Church Metro Site alongside the Falls Church Gateway Partners (FCGP) to create a vibrant, mixed-use community with over one million square feet of office, retail, and residential space by the City of Falls Church’s western edge.
In a formal announcement Thursday, Metro said it has signed an agreement with FCGP-Metro, LLC, which includes the affiliated partnership with EYA, LLC (EYA), Hoffman & Associates, and Rushmark Properties as the Gateway Partners.
The project is the result of a multi-year effort between Metro, the development team, and Fairfax County to amend the Comprehensive Plan recommendations for the site to enhance an underutilized asset in Metro’s portfolio.
In 2019, Metro’s Board of Directors agreed to seek proposals for the site and gave approval to move forward with a joint development agreement (JDA) and compact public hearing last December. The deal is expected to generate long-term revenue for Metro through 99-year ground leases, in addition to fares from new ridership.
“Building transit-oriented development is an important strategy for managing many of this region’s most pressing challenges, such as traffic congestion, sustainability, housing production, and transit ridership recovery,” said Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Wiedefeld. “The West Falls Church Metro Station is a unique opportunity that will convert underutilized parking lots to provide housing, jobs and economic opportunities, and create a cohesive development plan with the adjacent publicly-owned sites.”
On July 13, The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved an amendment to its Comprehensive Plan to support development of both the Metro site and the adjoining Virginia Tech site, with mixed-use development emphasizing safe and convenient bicycle and pedestrian enhancements connecting to the Metro station.
“The plan presents an opportunity to better align the West Falls Church Transit Station Area with the County’s Transit Oriented Development Guidelines,” said Fairfax County Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust. “I am pleased that it envisions a vibrant mixed-use, pedestrian friendly environment and attractive public spaces, while respecting nearby established residential communities.”
“The execution of the JDA and vote by the Board of Supervisors are critical next steps in enabling the transformation of the West Falls Church Metro parking lots into a walkable, bikeable, and welcoming neighborhood,” said Evan Goldman, executive vice president of Acquisition and Development at EYA. “There is an evident need to create a pedestrian friendly development and optimize the West Falls Church Metro Station, and our team of developers look forward to making this happen.”
Over the next year, the joint development team will proceed through Fairfax County’s rezoning process to advance the design and planning for the West Falls Church Metro Station site.
The rezoning application will include the detailed plans for the redevelopment of Metro’s parking lots with apartments, townhomes, neighborhood retail, and public green spaces. It will connect the proposed mixed-use redevelopment of the Meridian High School (formerly George Mason High School) site in the City of Falls Church to the West Falls Church Metro Station with new bike lanes, broad sidewalks, publicly accessible park spaces and a secondary grid of streets that will help alleviate some of the congestion in the area.
Later this year, Metro will also hold a public hearing on the proposed changes to commuter parking and bus facilities.
Together with the surrounding community and Metro, EYA, Hoffman & Associates and Rushmark Properties, have created a thoughtful design that accommodates buses, Metro Kiss & Ride and Park & Ride users while transforming the property into an inclusive, and walkable neighborhood with open spaces, sustainable design elements such as enhanced stormwater management systems, affordable housing, safe pedestrian and bike connections and a community dog park.
Construction is anticipated to begin in 2023.