Hilton Hotel Project Advances, Byron Office Space Approved

Falls Church Times Staff

July 26, 2011

The proposed Hilton Garden Inn moved closer to reality last night as the Falls Church City Council unanimously approved special exceptions requested by the project’s developers.   The exceptions, for building height and zoning, remove the last remaining hurdles before the site plan stage.  The Planning Commission had approved the project on July 18.  Construction of the 110 room hotel at 706 W. Broad St. could begin as early as October.

Originally approved in 2008, the project has faced stiff opposition from residents and from parents of children at the adjacent St. James School.  However, only two people spoke out against the hotel last night, one citing concerns over security and trash pickup, the other questioning the project’s long-term financial viability.  Several representatives of the Chamber of Commerce spoke in favor of the hotel, stating that it would provide jobs for 30 people and generate substantial tourist and conference revenue, estimated at $540,000 annually.

The developers are proffering that the hotel will be built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified standards.  If that is not met within three years of the issuance of the certificate of occupancy, the developer will contribute $50,000 toward repaving N. Oak St. or other such work as designated by the City.

Byron Office Space  –  The Council also approved the use of office and professional office space at the Byron (513 W. Broad St.) in locations previously approved for retail.  The resolution passed, 5-1, with Ms. Gardner absent.  Both the Planning Commisson and the Economic Development Authority had earlier endorsed the change.  Some of the first floor space on the west side of the building has remained vacant since the Byron opened in 2006. 

Mayor Nader Baroukh opposed the measure, questioning whether the space had been fully marketed.  The mayor said he did not want to see space left unoccupied but believed that the Council’s intention was that the space be used for retail and questioned whether such exceptions should be granted in the future without a penalty clause.  “When we approve something through a (special exception) amendment, there’s an expectation we’ll get something in return,” he said.  

The mayor  also cited unresolved issues with the building’s parking arrangements, which have made it difficult to market its retail space.  Councilman Ron Peppe noted that building has the most confusing labels of any building in town.  “It’s not clear where you’re going to park that you don’t get towed away and where you do,” he said. 

City Manager’s Report   –  Mr. Shields advised that eleven speed limit radar signs soon will be installed as a traffic calming measure.  The installation is funded through a federal grant.  Homeowners have been notified as to where the signs will be placed.

One hundred seventy residents participated in last Saturday’s household hazardous waste collection.

Sign-up now is open for the September 17  Fall Festival / Taste of Falls Church. 

Appointments–  Mark Sokolowski and Steven Knight were appointed to unexpired terms on the Citizens Advisory Committee on Transportation.  Their tems run until January 31, 2013.  David Braun was appointed to an unexpired term with the Health Systems Agency of Northern Virginia.  The term extends until Jun3 30, 2013.  

Closed Session  –  At 10:55 pm the Council entered into a closed session concerning water system litigation.

Video  –  A tape of the public meeting is available at the City website.


July 26, 2011 


2 Responses to “Hilton Hotel Project Advances, Byron Office Space Approved”

  1. Phil Duncan — City of Falls Church (703) 209-2005 on July 27th, 2011 11:37 pm

    High praise to developer Bob Young for his many years of persistence and patience in bringing the Hilton Garden Inn to the Little City, in partnership with Palmer-Gosnell. Kudos to courageous previous City Councils for backing Young’s pursuit of his vision, and to the current Council, Planning Commission and City staff for enabling the vision finally to become reality. With classy lodging, meeting space and food service among its offerings, the HGI can be a big asset to our community, over and above the vital revenue it will generate.

    Now, with the HGI approved, let’s hope the City can move with all deliberate speed to bring other new developments out of the ground along Broad and Washington streets, to enhance the quality of life in our City, and to help keep our tax rate stable.

  2. j bowman on August 1st, 2011 2:07 pm

    I too was impressed when Hilton proposed to build a Hotel in our City.
    But, the HILTON CORPORATION proposal meets only the very minimal, minimal City standards.
    Current building trends are toward environmentall friendly practices. So, I have difficulty understanding why so many exceptions were granted.

    Comments by the ESC (Envirnmental Services), Tree Citizen Commission, and, ZOAC ( Zoning Advisory Commission) are now posted on the City web site.

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