Mosaic project makes Merrifield more urban

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Print this page by Veronica Garabelli

The Angelika Film Center & Café in Fairfax County isn’t your typical multiplex. The brightly lit movie theater in the Mosaic District allows patrons to sip on lattes and enjoy gourmet snacks from a menu created by Lee Anne Wong, of Bravo’s “Top Chef” fame. 

The posh movie theater isn’t the only thing that stands out at the Mosaic District, a 1.9-million-square-foot, mixed-use project. The development also offers residences, a hotel, restaurants and retailers. By the end of this year, 18 more businesses should open at the Mosaic District. Currently, 45 town homes at Mosaic are occupied, and 112 more town homes are on the way.  Almost 800 apartment units also will be built by next year. 

The new eight-screen cinema is a stark difference from Lee Highway Multiplex Cinemas, which shut down in 2009. The multiplex was a drive-in until it was converted in the 1980s. You probably won’t spot many teenagers at Angelika on a Friday night. “We purposely wanted to set it up that way,” says Tom Kiler, vice president of development of Edens Mid-Atlantic Region, the Columbia, S.C.-based company responsible for transforming the area. “The theater is designed for parents more than kids.”

Angelika is an independent movie theater that originated in New York City’s Soho in 1989. The Angelika Film Center in Merrifield is the fourth in the nation (outside of New York, there are two locations in Texas). The Washington, D.C., area’s highly educated demographic seemed like a perfect fit for Angelika, Kiler says.

A number of Washington companies already have made Mosaic home. One is Taylor Gourmet, a sub shop offering Italian-style hoagies. Its Mosaic location, which opened in February, is the company’s first in Virginia. That same month, Dolcezza, a Washington-based gelateria, opened at Mosaic.

“When we were designing Mosaic we traveled the country to all these projects and, at the time, it was becoming very cookie-cutter where you wouldn’t know which city you were in,” Kiler says. “With the selection of Angelika and local restaurants, we made a point that we were going to hand-select retailers to make it special. I think it’s becoming a differentiating factor and as more retail opens, it’ll become even more special.”

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