West Falls Church on track for $1.2 billion transformation
Developers are expected to break ground this month on the first of three mixed-use projects near the West Falls Church Metro station with a total investment of about $1.2 billion.
Each piece comes together to complete a puzzle that will transform about 40 acres of vacant land, parking lots and Virginia Tech’s Northern Virginia Center into a live-work-play destination comprising more than 3.2 million square feet that officials say will ease traffic, increase pedestrian safety and boost the economies of Falls Church and Fairfax County.
A 2020 presentation estimated the projects could generate $17.5 million in annual state taxes while creating 3,600 jobs.
Falls Church’s George Mason High School was demolished and replaced by the nearby Meridian High School to make way for the first development, which is scheduled to break ground in mid-May. Bordered by State Route 7 and Haycock Road, the 10-acre, 1.4 million-square-foot project is being developed by Washington, D.C.-based Hoffman & Associates and Bethesda, Maryland-based EYA LLC. It will include 326,100 square feet of office space, a 146-room hotel, 215 senior housing units and as many as 647 condos and apartments. It also will feature more than 140,00 square feet of retail, including a grocery store.
The second project aims to transform 24 acres owned by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority abutting Route 66 at its West Falls Church station into 900 housing units, along with 110,000 square feet of office space and 10,000 square feet of retail, comprising more than 1 million square feet. Hoffman and EYA are developing it with Falls Church-based Rushmark Properties LLC. If it receives expected county approval, construction could begin in 18 to 24 months.
“This was a station losing money, didn’t have enough people using it, and now it will have an identity,” says James Snyder, Falls Church’s director of community planning and economic development services.
The final project received the green light in April when Virginia Tech announced it would convey its Northern Virginia Center, home to administrative offices and several academic programs, to Falls Church’s city government for redevelopment. While details remained undetermined as of press time, it will include a new corporate headquarters for Falls Church-based national construction firm Hitt Contracting Inc. and a Virginia Tech innovation lab for testing smart city technologies. The project is being developed by Rushmark.
A previously proposed redevelopment plan for the site included 275,000 square feet of office space, 450,000 square feet of residential and 100,000 square feet of academic space.