Fall 2009: Volume 2, Issue 2
- OCRR Holds Annual Conference
- Annandale Design Guidelines Developed
- Design Charrette Held for the Village at Lake Anne; Next Steps Discussed
- Springfield Mall Rezoned; Springfield Plan Amendment Under Consideration
- 2009-2010 South County Area Plan Review Process Nominations Received
- Bailey's Crossroads and Seven Corners Revitalization Efforts
- McLean Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Study Released
- Richmond Highway Donation of Elizabeth M. Fairchild Park; Drop Boxes
- Transforming Tysons & the Demonstration Project
On September 16th, 2009, the Office of Community Revitalization and Reinvestment (OCRR) held its first conference on revitalization. Entitled “Fairfax County: New Market Realities”, the conference focused on how the economics of redevelopment have changed due to the recent economic downturn, and on the challenges and opportunities arising from the downturn. The conference was attended by over 150 people from the development, financing, and public sectors.
The half day conference consisted of three sessions. Joshua Kahr, CEO of Kahr Real Estate Group, presented an overview of the current financial crisis, an examination of some of its causes, and ways to prevent future crises. He concluded with his thoughts on future economic trends that could affect the country.
The second session was a panel of four regional leaders in commercial and residential development who shared their thoughts on the regional economic landscape, impacts of the financial crisis, and how their companies are positioning themselves for future development opportunities.
The third session provided an overview of public/private funding strategies. The panel discussed innovative financing mechanisms that are available within Virginia, such as Tax Increment Financing and Community Development Authorities; successful examples of these mechanisms, and what public and private requirements help them succeed; and the impact the financial crisis has had on project financing and the bond market.
This September, OCRR, in collaboration with the Annandale Central Business District Planning Committee, produced design guidelines for the Annandale Community Business Center (CBC). The guidelines provide design direction to enhance the visual quality of the CBC. The guidelines are intended to be used by an owner or developer of a property within the CBC who is considering developing a new building or improving an existing site, and by citizens and the county in reviewing development proposals. [Return to Table of Contents]
On March 30, 2009, the Board of Supervisors adopted an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan for the Lake Anne Village Center. The Comprehensive Plan divides the 41 acre site into six land units and provides recommendations for development under baseline, redevelopment, and consolidation options.
Since that time, OCRR has been engaged in bringing together property owners, design and development professionals, residents, staff and other interested parties to discuss and strategize as to how best to proceed with implementation of the Comprehensive Plan. On September 30, 2009, OCRR convened a design exercise in which a number of experts in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, and engineering participated. They developed conceptual redevelopment alternatives consistent with Comprehensive Plan language that would be economically feasible and could be used to attract developers. As part of this exercise, attendees discussed issues, challenges, and opportunities affecting redevelopment of the Lake Anne Village Center. Discussions among stakeholders will continue through the winter and are anticipated to result in an implementation strategy that will attract developer interest in the revitalization of the Lake Anne Village Center. [Return to Table of Contents]
On July 13, 2009, the Board of Supervisors approved a rezoning to permit the redevelopment of the Springfield Mall into a mixed-use Town Center. Redevelopment of the approximately 80 acre site includes the renovation of the 2.1 million square foot Springfield Mall, as well as the addition of residential, office, retail, and hotel uses throughout the site.
The vision for the Springfield Town Center is for a walkable community where people can live, work, shop, and enjoy entertainment and community activities. Elements of the multi-phased project include a 225+ room hotel, over 2,000 new residential units, several office buildings, and additional retail shops along Village Drive - the future “Main Street” of the new Town Center. Interwoven among the development will be a pedestrian oriented network of sidewalks and multi-use pathways connecting to open spaces and recreational facilities, including a central plaza, dog park, and other indoor and outdoor recreational amenities. The result will be to create a rich public environment where the community can gather for concerts, farmer’s markets, events, and public exhibits. The development of the new Town Center is anticipated to commence in 2010, with a projected 10-15 year build out.
A proposed Comprehensive Plan Amendment for the Springfield Area has been prepared. The proposed Plan Amendment incorporates numerous findings and recommendations from previous studies, reports, and plans, including a ULI Advisory Services Panel from 2006 entitled “Springfield, Virginia: Strategies for Revitalization”; “The Springfield Connectivity Study” published in August 2008, which contains recommendations for land-use, transportation, open space, and pedestrian connectivity; and Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC) related Plan Amendments submitted in the 2008 BRAC Area Plan Review process. The Planning Commission’s public hearing is scheduled for December 9, 2009; the Board of Supervisors’ public hearing will likely occur in January, 2010. To view the proposed Plan Amendment, go to http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpz/comprehensiveplan/planamendments.htm. [Return to Table of Contents]
The Area Plan Review (APR) process provides an opportunity to participate in the Fairfax County land use planning process. A total of 64 nominations were received for the 2009-2010 South County APR process to amend the Comprehensive Plan and Plan Map. To view the nominations or for more information about the process, go to: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpz/apr/. [Return to Table of Contents]
Redevelopment efforts in the Bailey’s Crossroads and Seven Corners area continue with a variety of private investment and public projects. The special study that will culminate in an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan for Bailey’s and serve as a framework for revitalization over the next 30-40 years has been progressing toward completion. The emphasis of the conceptual plan is on the creation of pedestrian-friendly mixed-use developments, with a village commercial area, a transit center, and urban open spaces. It is anticipated that the Comprehensive Plan Amendment will be considered for adoption by the summer of 2010.
In addition to these planning efforts, other physical improvements are planned for the Bailey’s area. In July, a new traffic signal was installed on Columbia Pike, west of the Route 7 overpass, to better control access to the existing shopping center. In addition, the county has approved $262,500 in VDOT and local matching funds for a streetscape enhancement project from the Columbia Pike/Route 7 interchange ramp to Seminary Road. Enhancements include sidewalks, crosswalks, pedestrian signals, and streetlights. Design work was completed in May and submitted to VDOT for review. A construction schedule will be developed after feedback is received from VDOT.
Private redevelopment activities continue in the Bailey’s Crossroads and Seven Corners area. PNC Bank is constructing a new branch in the front parking lot of the Crossroads Place shopping center across from Skyline Center. In Seven Corners, the Safeway located within the Willston II Shopping Center submitted a site plan to expand its facility by 16,000 square feet. The renovated store will be designed in Safeway’s lifestyle format and include new and improved departments, a Starbucks, and an in-store bank and dry cleaners. [Return to Table of Contents]
The McLean Pedestrian Task force delivered its final report to Dranesville Supervisor John Foust on November 5, 2009. The seventeen member task force was appointed by Supervisor Foust to make recommendations for how to improve safety and accessibility for pedestrians and bicyclists in the McLean Community Business Center (CBC). The Task Force effort was assisted by the Dranesville District Supervisor, OCRR, and DOT staff.
The Task Force surveyed nearly every street within the McLean CBC and studied potential ways to address problems related to traffic speed, pedestrian safety, accessibility, sidewalk connectivity, bicycle safety, and design options. In accepting the report, Supervisor Foust thanked the Task Force for its hard work and thoroughness, stating “This is an excellent report with many excellent recommendations, and I am going to do my best to help make them a reality.” The report can be viewed at here. For more information please contact Supervisor Foust’s office at 703-356-0551, TTY 711, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. [Return to Table of Contents]
Elizabeth M. Fairchild worked through the OCRR to donate nearly 8.5-acres of land within the Richmond Highway Commercial Revitalization District (CRD) to Fairfax County. The environmentally sensitive property, located in the King's Crossing area, will be known as the Elizabeth Fairchild Park. On October 12, 2009, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors recognized longtime resident, entrepreneur, and developer Elizabeth M. Fairchild, and members of her family. “Mrs. Fairchild's generous donation contributes greatly to the continued quality environment that encourages families to live, work and play in Fairfax County,” said Sharon Bulova, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerald W. Hyland stated:“Mrs. Fairchild’s generosity provides a significant resource for Fairfax County residents. This park will provide a place for children to play and families to gather.”
In other news affecting the Richmond Highway CRD, the Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation (SFDC) identified problems with the placement and operation of clothing donation drop boxes along Richmond Highway. OCRR facilitated an interdepartmental response to the problem and the creation of a new brochure that explains regulations affecting the use of these structures in Fairfax County. The brochure can be downloaded from both the OCRR and SFDC websites. [Return to Table of Contents]
OCRR is actively involved in the replanning of Tysons into a vibrant mixed use urban center. OCRR has been working closely with the Department of Planning and Zoning, the Department of Transportation, the Park Authority, and many other Fairfax County departments in the draft revisions to the Comprehensive Plan text, and has the lead role in the Plan’s Urban Design section. This section focuses on the physical form necessary to transition Tysons from an auto-oriented suburban place into a cohesive, functional, pedestrian-oriented and memorable urban destination.
Once the final Draft Revision to the Plan has been prepared, OCRR will prepare the companion “Tysons Urban Design Guidelines’. This document will present specific recommendations for streetscape design, building orientation and character, and other public realm design elements.
The Tysons Demonstration Project, a proposed development in Tysons West, is being reviewed concurrent with the development of the Plan Amendment, so that the information gained can be used to inform the Plan. OCRR is excited to bring our planning, urban design, architectural, landscape architectural, economic development, and revitalization expertise to this exciting project.
In addition, OCRR has the lead in envisioning and creating with stakeholders public/private partnerships that are necessary to achieve the successful transformation of Tysons; these may include a Transportation Management Association and/or one or more Community Development Authorities. OCRR is also coordinating the effort to identify potential funding sources for provision of the public infrastructure necessary to support the planned increases in development.