Ground Breaking for Harris Teeter in Falls Church Starts This Month

Falls Church Chamber Briefed at The Italian Cafe

“Our Little City is Getting Larger,” said Lindy Hockenberry, City of Falls Church Planning Commissioner, about the Mixed-use Development coming to the Falls Church City Center at 301 West Broad Street.

“I am pleased to work with Rushmore [Properties] – it was a very wonderful process to work with them,” said Hockenberry.

Hockenberry was one of many guests who attended the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce luncheon at The Italian Café in January. Presenting an update on the development were Stefan K. Gassner, Development Manager and Peter Kearney, president, both from Rushmark Properties.

“We are thrilled to get started with this project,” said Kearney. “We were concerned at first that there would be opposition to a large mixed-use development.”

While there were some legitimate concerns with neighbors, Kearney said that those have been mitigated. And while it was a long process for permitting and approval, Kearney said that they were pleased with the cooperation provided by Falls Church staff and politicians.

Demolition of the existing post office is scheduled for early March with a Ground Breaking Ceremony in late March. They hope to begin leasing apartments in the summer of 2015 with the first move-in occurring in fall of 2015.

Much of the focus was on the opening of the Harris Teeter Store in Spring 2016. Gassner said this is one Harris Teeter’s largest stores (60,000 square feet) and will have a large selection of ready-made food to go. When a member of the chamber asked if they would be healthy items, Gassner said that would be up to Harris Teeter.

The apartment building is a major component of this mixed use property. With 288 residential units, the current unit mix is: studio apartments (580 sq. ft.) – 11%; one-bedroom (750 sq. ft.)- 56%; and two-bedroom (1,170 sq. ft.)- 33%. Six percent will be set aside for affordable housing. Cost for units will range from $1500 to $2800 and all units will have a stacking washer-dryer.

Gassner spoke about the buffer plan, which will consist of evergreen trees around the back of the building. There will be a pedestrian walkway and residents of Winter Hill will have access to Broad Street through one of the buildings.

Interestingly, Gassner said that ‘pets are encouraged.’ Studies show that people with pets are less likely to move out.

301 West Broad will be LEED certified, certification to be determined. An additional 3,470 square feet of ancillary retail will also be available.

There were several questions from the audience. Bob Hull, Annandale Campus and Community Outreach Specialist for NOVA, asked if the bus stop would remain and the answer was yes.

Somebody asked if they would resume the shuttle bus that used to run from Falls Church Center to the Metro and Kearney said he wasn’t sure. A question was asked if the Burke & Herbert bank would be part of the development and Gassner said that it is a stand-alone building and will stay as such for now. Other questions focused on the tax rate.

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