OUTSIDE THE BOX: A Model for What Broad & West Project Might Look Like

OUTSIDE THE BOX: A Model for What Broad & West Project Might Look Like

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
July 27, 2014

Falls Church City officials have expressed concern about the quality of the retail and the size of the project at Broad and West streets, where developer Spectrum Properties has proposed 320 residential units and 47,000 square feet of stores and restaurants. At the same time, Peter Batten, a principal at developer Spectrum Properties, has said the project will be a true retail destination, different from some of the other Broad Street projects.

It’s hard to know who’s right. But I have seen, in the flesh, something similar to what Spectrum is trying to do. And I think it has a nice feel — one that is welcoming and not overwhelming, but also vibrant, attractive, and with an urban sensibility.

The project I saw was begun in 2005 in Park Ridge, Ill., a close-in suburb of Chicago, and is very similar to what Spectrum envisions.

It’s kind of interesting that there’s a similar project in Park Ridge to begin with, because that town, which is where Hillary Clinton was raised, strikes me as similar to Falls Church City in many ways.

It’s bigger, at 37,000... [Read more...]


Broad and West Developer Submits New Proposal With Many Changes

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
July 20, 2014

The controversial project for the busy northeast corner of Broad and West streets is back, and the revised version will be presented to City officials Monday night. But it’s unclear if the changes — which are significant — will be adequate to gain approval.

The project, which would be a mixed-use retail/residential complex similar to others completed or under construction, would occupy almost four acres on the 900 block of West Broad.

Officials criticized the developer’s first proposal, presented in March, for being too big and for having a pharmacy at the prominent Broad/West corner, which was deemed uninspiring for such a location.

The new project has eliminated the pharmacy idea, increased the amount of retail space, and reduced the number of rental units from 302 to 253. However, the overall residential component of the proposal is increasing, because developer Spectrum Development is now requesting to add 65 condos at the rear of the project fronting Park Avenue. Two single family homes originally slated for that location have been deleted from the... [Read more...]


Taco Bell Shooter Pleads Guilty

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
July 20, 2014

The man charged with malicious assault following an incident at the Broad Street Taco Bell last December has pleaded guilty to the crime.

James Moore, Jr., 32 years old, and of 904 Ellison Street, has been sentenced to 10 years in jail, although seven years of that time is suspended, Arlington Circuit Court records say. That means he will serve three years, and will be placed on supervised probation upon his release.

He also was fined $250 and ordered to pay court costs totalling $1,015.

The shooting incident at the Mexican fast food restaurant’s parking lot shocked City residents, some of whom were awakened by the 4:30 am gunfire. The restaurant was closed at the time.

Residents and passersby later that morning saw what looked like a scene from a television show, as a Mercedes, later determined to belong to the victim of the shooting, was still running hours afterward, its driver’s door still open. A black coat was strewn randomly on the asphalt and detectives were identifying personal effects and bullet casings with numbers.

Mr. Moore was arrested... [Read more...]


School Board Selects Contractor for Mt. Daniel Expansion

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
July 20, 2014


The Falls Church City School Board has selected a contractor and a design for an expansion of the Mt. Daniel school that will dramatically increase the size and amenities of the facility.

The winning applicants, Washington-based Grunley Construction Company and Fairfax’s Samaha Associates, a design firm, have proposed to demolish the east end of the building, housing the cafeteria, which now doubles as the gymnasium, and replace it with a new two-story structure that will separate the two.

The new wing also will contain art and music classrooms, among other amenities that will be lost in the demolition, and the entire school will gain a huge amount of space, increasing in size from the current 21,316 to 87,136 square feet. The parking lot also will be realigned.

The increase in size will allow school officials to move the second grade, now housed at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, to Mt. Daniel, alleviating pressure from increasing enrollment at that recently-expanded facility. The proposal for Mt. Daniel will have all the second grade classrooms grouped together.

The... [Read more...]

Around Town









OUTSIDE THE BOX: Will Return Next Sunday

For those of you who missed your Outside the Box fix, the regular Sunday feature was on assignment in Chicago. It will return next Sunday.

Thank you for your interest.

 Read More →


City Home Market Continues Very Strong

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
July 15, 2014

There have been rumbings recently that area real estate markets have slowed recently, and a story in The Washington Post blamed issues including federal budget restrictions such as 2013’s Sequestration as a cause.

But don’t tell that to buyers and sellers in Falls Church City.

While there may have been some slowing in demand, the market here remains extremely competitive, and bidding wars continue to be common, a look at recent data shows.

In the last two months, 11 single family homes in the City have sold for prices that were either at the asking price or above it. And in some of those cases, the multiple offer situation resulted in homes selling far above their asking prices, not just merely above them.

For example, a home at 615 Poplar that was listed at $779,900 closed for $830,000. It was on the market just six days. Another home, at 603 N. West Street, was listed for $1.1 million and closed for $80,000 more. Both of those closed in May. More recently, 204 Patterson was listed for $795,000 and closed June 30 at $833,000; it received several offers the... [Read more...]


Knife-Wielding Man Robs Broad Street Bank

By FALLS CHURCH CITY OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS
July 15, 2014

Police are looking for a suspect who robbed the Capital One Bank at 1100 W. Broad Street.

At about 1:40 p.m. Tuesday, a man walked into the bank with a long knife and demanded cash. The suspect is described as 5’6″ to 5’9″, slender build, undetermined ethnicity, wearing a black cloth over his face, black baseball cap, blue button-up long-sleeved shirt, jeans, and sneakers.

He fled the scene on foot in the direction of West End Park.

More information will be released as it becomes available.

Anyone with information should contact the City of Falls Church Police at 703-241-5053.

 Read More →


OUTSIDE THE BOX: Is it the High Taxes or the Rate of Increase?

OUTSIDE THE BOX: Is it the High Taxes or the Rate of Increase?

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
July 6, 2014

I heard a lot of complaints about taxes this weekend.

One person in my group said, “They’re bleeding us dry.”

Another said the taxes weren’t being used for anything useful, but just to expand the city’s bureaucracy.

A third suggested the city government just raises tax rates because it just wants to grow and amass more power.

But while these complaints may echo some of the debates we’ve had over the property tax rate in Falls Church City, the views above were referring to a government located somewhere else in the state entirely.

They were about Virginia Beach, and were spoken by residents thereof during a 10 mile group run I joined in that city’s First Landing State Park.

I found the group’s comments surprising. Why? Mainly because the property tax rate in Virginia Beach is a low $0.93 per $100 of assessed value, 28 percent below the Falls Church City rate and even lower than Arlington’s, which is one of the lowest in Northern Virginia at $1.006.

Additionally, while there are many high-priced vacation homes in Virginia Beach,... [Read more...]


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