The wisest observers, according to our sources, say that we are not out of the woods on the current banking crisis, noting that banks everywhere are scared and locking down in terms of lending and that these current conditions will not abate for a year or more.
This being said, everybody is trying to assess what this will mean for their budgets and their development plans. The question was broached at Tuesday’s joint meeting of the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce and Merrifield Business Association to the region’s two state lawmakers, Del. Marcus Simon and Sen. Chap Petersen. Both are seeking re-election in reconfigured districts that include the City of Falls Church. Simon having served as the City’s man in the House of Delegates for four terms already, and Petersen, though a veteran of 16 years of elected service in Richmond, now vying in a Democratic primary this spring to represent Falls Church for the first time. Neither professed to have a crystal ball for forecasting the impact of the current crisis for Virginians, other than to note that, unlike North Carolina, for example, banking is not a major industry here.
It can be expected, though, that the $3 million budget surplus the state enjoyed this past year that the governor and Democratic lawmakers have been fighting over how to deploy (the usual options being tax cuts versus education spending), will not be available next year. The fighting will heat up in the context of this fall’s state elections and next year’s big presidential election over efforts by Democrats, now in the minority in the House of Delegates, to deter book banning (Simon says he has a personal lending library in front of his home where controversial books are offered to borrowers), codifying the Roe v. Wade decision in the state constitution and repealing the state’s constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage, plus whatever gains on gun control can be hoped for in the current Richmond environment.
While the current banking crisis can be expected to put a slammer on new lending for development, for example, the City of Falls Church is now the envy of the entire region for the number of construction cranes now dotting the Little City’s skyline. Three projects are full steam ahead now in this little 2.2 square miles, the funding having already been secured, on top of everything else that’s been built here the last two decades. They are the Hoffman-led massive 10-acre development adjacent the new Meridian High School campus, rising now over the grave of the former George Mason High, the Insight Group’s major work at the intersection of Broad and Washington where a deluxe Whole Foods and new expanded home for our local theater troupe, Creative Cauldron, is set to go, and the Modero, formerly known as Founders Row 2, just getting started.
Falls Church citizens are very fortunate to benefit from the huge revenues generated by these, their funding coming ahead of the current “pause.”