Mason Row Project Back Before City Council

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
September 8, 2015

Mason Row, the big mixed-use project proposed for the northeast corner of Broad & West streets, is back before the City Council tonight with some additional revisions.

The revisions are not a great surprise; they were outlined in a letter from the developer to City officials in June.

But developer Spectrum Development did follow through on what they promised, with a variety of changes intended to make the project more palatable to City officials and to residents in the immediate area.

One of the changes was to remove the structured parking garage from residential Park Avenue, and to replace it with a residential component relatively short in stature — three stories. That would be the lowest height anywhere in the project, which would rise 85 feet closer to busy Broad Street.

Another big change is to move the Home 2 extended stay hotel from its previous location opposite Grove Avenue to the more visible corner of Broad & West. Residents had asked for that change, and one might think the hotel owner would appreciate the extra visibility as well.

The Falls Church Times also has learned that the proposal to have eight movie theaters at the site is not set in stone, and that it could include as few as six screens, depending on which theater operator ultimately is selected.

Spectrum Principal Peter Batten told the Times last week that the number could be reduced from the current eight, and that negotiations with a variety of theater companies are ongoing. Some residents have viewed eight screens as too many for that location.

The Times will be at tonight’s hearing and plans to report on the Council’s reaction to this latest version of the project, which has been in the planning stages now for over four years.

If approved, Mason Row would cover more than four acres from Broad & West to the St. James Church property. It would consist of a variety of the hotel, movie theaters, restaurants, and other retail, along with about 340 apartments. Depending on the final configuration, City projections suggest it could bring in somewhere between $1.3 million and $2 million annually to City coffers.

September 8, 2015 


5 Responses to “Mason Row Project Back Before City Council”

  1. grateful2binfc on September 9th, 2015 9:16 pm

    Thanks for reporting on this, Stephen. Looking forward to the follow up.

  2. Alison Kutchma on September 11th, 2015 2:28 am

    My concern about this project and any other is that any time we are adding residential units we are building ourselves right into a problem.

    The current school enrollment projections are already at a point where we are going to have to expand our high school and lower schools eventually and the cost projections associated with those expansions has yet to be fully tabulated nor are we walking through the math that shows how we pay for all of this. Yet we continue to build.

    We should be asking any developer to kick in a substantial amount of money such that to actually offset the cost of this problem to which we are ourselves agreeing.

    I saw the proffer list that shows numbers that should be multiplied by 5-10.

    Our land is 9 miles to the White House and sits between two metros; three miles from Tysons and good schools — our proffers are too low.

  3. TFC on September 11th, 2015 11:09 am

    So glad you’re back.

  4. Charles E on September 11th, 2015 6:11 pm

    Alison, I assume you were at the meeting earlier this week, so you know the discussions are still ongoing regarding the exact amount the developers are going to pay (clearly the City are looking for more), but the sq ft model in the voluntary concession papers submitted to the City, would result in a one time payment of conservatively $1,080,000 (320x900x3.75) with the year-in-year-out costs subtracted from the gross tax benefit to the city before providing a positive yield of $1.2-2m in tax revenue.

    How much more would you want the developer to contribute for the estimated 70 students the development is estimated to produce?

    In case my calculation is unclear (and please correct me if any of these numbers are wrong) this is the basis for the numbers used;

    320 = 340 units les the 6% ADUs being proffered.
    900 = the stated average number of square feet per apartment
    3.75 = the current $ proffered per square foot
    This conservative as it is only the sq ft for the apartments, not the gross sq ft for the residential property stated in the proffer.

  5. Another FCC resident on September 11th, 2015 7:41 pm

    Ditto on the Glad you are back sentiments!

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