New Broad & West Plans Are Unveiled

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
December 15, 2014

The latest proposal from Spectrum Development for the northeast corner of Broad & West streets, which is set to be discussed Wednesday night, has been posted on the City web site.

Details are not included. That will have to wait for the forum, which is being organized by the developer. But the package shows drawings from different directions that give an idea of the major changes now being proposed.

Among those changes appear to be that the theater proposal first floated during the summer is now officially part of the project. Initially, Spectrum Principal Peter Batten suggested they would put seven small theaters underground, complete with food service. It may be slightly different than that, but probably not a wholesale revision.

One major difference appears to be that the condo building slated to face Park Avenue has been eliminated. It’s not clear how many apartments (or condos) continue to be included in the project, but it’s probably around the 253 rentals that were included previously. That would be a reduction of 67 residential units from... [Read more...]


OUTSIDE THE BOX: Change is Hard

OUTSIDE THE BOX: Change is Hard

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
December 14, 2014

The urbanization of Falls Church City in recent years has generated considerable debate, discussion, and concern around town. But that rapid pace of development has been sufficiently large that it also has been noticed elsewhere.

Today, an Arlington man I just met asked me what residents here think of what’s happening. I told him it was hard to know exactly — it’s not like there’s been any scientific polls — but I suggested that views on the subject are mixed.

In hindsight, I still think that’s right. And while I sympathize with those who decry the loss of the City’s small town feel, a vibe that some describe as quaint, I also have trouble fully understanding the depth of the angst.

That may be because, having been here just six years, I didn’t have as much time as long-term residents to get used to the unusually low density the City had for so long — the pre-mixed-use era, if you will. Several of the newer mixed use buildings already were completed by the time of my arrival, including the Spectrum, Byron, and Broadway.

As a result,... [Read more...]


Broad & West Town Hall Forum Moved to Wednesday

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
December 13, 2014

There’s rumors flying around about many large changes at the proposed Broad & West project known as Mason Row. But everyone will have to wait two days longer to find out what they are, as a town hall forum on the topic set for Monday has been moved to Wednesday.

Spectrum Development has declined to offer any tidbits about the changes, apparently preferring to save those for the public meeting.

The meeting is now scheduled for 7 pm Wednesday at the Community Center’s Community Room, located on the lower floor opposite the basketball court. The last such town hall was standing room only, and this one likely will be the same.

Rumors — although they are just that — suggest there may be more commercial space, for which many residents have been pressing, including not only a second commercial anchor in addition to the Home 2 hotel, but also some office space.

The project also has grown in size, and now appears to have added the red brick building at 916 W. Broad, adjacent to St. James, which was not originally part of the proposal. City... [Read more...]


OUTSIDE THE BOX: At Broad & West, Officials Are Doing Their Job

OUTSIDE THE BOX: At Broad & West, Officials Are Doing Their Job

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
December 7, 2014

It may seem like the process of vetting the mixed-use proposal for Broad & West streets is going on forever.

The Falls Church Times was the first to reveal, nearly two years ago, in early 2013, that such a project was in the works. The developer had been talking to the City for some time before that, which means it’s been an ongoing discussion at various levels for as much as three years.

But while the long approval period may be disappointing to people who are eager for new retail amenities or new sources of revenue to hold down the tax rate, it also illustrates that City officials are doing what they ought to be doing: working to shape the project to conform to what the City and its residents need and want.

That’s not to say that everyone will be happy with the result. Some would like to see no change at the busy intersection, and others would like to see less density or height. You can’t make everyone happy; any political decision will ultimately result in a variety of opinions on both the positive and negative sides of the ledger.

But it’s difficult... [Read more...]

Around Town









New Preschool Nears Completion

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
December 7, 2014

Falls Church City’s preschool program was until recently housed in trailers outside the Mt. Daniel School. Today, it’s scattered about in various locations, at Thomas Jefferson Elementary and at Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School. But soon it will be housed in a shiny, newly gut-rehabbed building on North Cherry Street.

The Jesse Thackrey Preschool, named for a City education pioneer who died last year at age 100, is scheduled to be open next month. And getting to this point has been long and arduous, and not without controversy.

To get here, officials required Easter Seals, which operated a Child Development Center on the site, to vacate the old building. Then neighbors on Cherry Street expressed concern about traffic and stormwater management related to the plans for the new school.

Despite those issues, the new preschool will offer many advantages, besides the obvious ones of placing students in a brand new building and of consolidating it in one location.

Previously, the preschool was limited to students with special needs. Now those without such needs... [Read more...]


OUTSIDE THE BOX: The Magic of the Crosswalk

OUTSIDE THE BOX: The Magic of the Crosswalk


By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
November 30, 2014

All the cut-through traffic zipping through Falls Church City has given rise to resident demands for additional safety precautions, including more crosswalks. This is understandable. I agree more would be good. Yet the crosswalk is a curious device, almost magical in its effect yet also illusory.

On the plus side — the magical side — crosswalks really do seem to make a difference in pedestrian safety. When behind the wheel of a car, sighting the broad white stripes of a crosswalk ahead signals to the driver that he or she should exercise additional caution and prepare to yield if necessary.

This was never more clear to me than it was when City officials painted the new crosswalks on Broad Street at Pennsylvania just before the traffic signal at that intersection went live in October.

The first time I drove through on Broad following the installation of the new crosswalks, I was stunned. Perhaps it was the topography; as you travel east on Broad toward Pennsylvania, you reach the lowest elevation of the entire street one block west at Lee. The Pennsylvania... [Read more...]


Outside the Box Returns This Sunday

November 27, 2014

After a hiatus of a few weeks to rest and recharge, the Falls Church Times’ popular Sunday column Outside the Box returns this weekend. Thank you to those who inquired about its whereabouts, and prepare to read it this Sunday.

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Happy Thanksgiving to Times Readers

November 27, 2014

The Falls Church Times wishes all Times readers and all of Falls Church City a happy Thanksgiving. We hope you enjoyed your festivities. We are all blessed to live in a community like ours.

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