Iconic City Auction Family Unveils Downtown Plans
An iconic Falls Church business leader has submitted a plan for a 10-story mixed use project in downtown Falls Church that finally got its first day before the City Council Monday night.
Quinn Enterprises, the City’s legendary family-owned and run auctionhouse that has been active here for over 50 years, is the applicant. It is driven by the vision of its founder Paul Quinn, who came before the Council to speak Monday, seeking to redevelop 1.86 acres of land on S. Washington down from the Annandale Road intersection. According to estimates, the net revenue to the City would be $937,753 annually, far above what is currently generated at the site.
While the plan received a favorable initial response from the Council at its work session following its official business meeting Monday, it will come before the Planning Commission work session next week and then will navigate its way through many anticipated upcoming public hearings and governmental deliberations.
Quinn Auctions Seeks Downtown Mixed Use Project OK
The plan is to consolidate three existing parcels, constituting two Quinn buildings and a third owned by Homestretch Inc., the long-effective Falls Church based non-profit that finds employment and homes for homeless families. In their stead would be construction of a mixed-use building of 10 stories, up to 115 feet and with a total of 129,320 square feet of floor area. The entire project would be built in a single phase.
The LEED Gold building would be composed of 226 senior housing and care units (140 independent living units, 55 assisted living units and 31 memory care units), 36,346 square feet of medical office space, 10,698 square feet of ground floor retail space, 5,670 square feet for a restaurant, and 1,659 square feet designated as a permanent office space for the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation, Falls Church’s premier civil rights advocacy organization.
The goal, according to the applicants, is to “build a place for people to live in a vertically-integrated mixed-use building that incorporates synergistic uses.”
It’s aspects would include senior housing, a restaurant right in the building, medical service offices for both residents and the wider community, pedestrian mobility, including by connecting the site to the rest of downtown, park and open spaces immediately proximate to the building (including a green area with an amphitheater) and acknowledgments of the historic Tinner Hill community and the adjacent historic Rolling Road.
As presented this Monday, the project would have 292 parking spaces, mostly underground, which would be down 22 percent from current code, and the creation of a new public park, a green street and open public amenity space adding up to 65. 8 percent of the total site. The proposal is for a one time contribution toward affordable housing in the City of $1.75 million.
Attorney Andrew Painter of the Arlington firm of Walsh, Colucci, Lubley and Walsh, made the principal presentation on behalf of the applicants Monday night, and the City’s Laura Arseneau presented it from the City staff perspective, with the help of Henry Zhang and Gary Fuller. In mid-March, the City assigned a Development Review Committee to provide input to the staff.
In his remarks to the Council Monday, Paul Quinn said that he and his wife Catherine spent 48 of their 52 years of married life in Falls Church, building a business starting in 1987 with their sons, David and Matthew, who also work for the family business and that he is elated to bring the project forward at last.
“We hope to be living in it ourselves and to enjoy having our grandchildren biking over to visit us there,” he said.
Quinn served as the chief fundraiser at numerous Falls Church Chamber of Commerce events over the last two decades, usually leading the auction portion of fundraising at annual galas.
He began his business in a single white house on W. Broad Street and said it was always his idea in acquiring buildings on S. Washington to eventually develop the kind of project he’s now seeking to build there.
“We want to invest in the City of Falls Church as a legacy for the Quinn family,” he said. “There is no one more dedicated to the City than we are.”