New Mason Row Changes Could Mollify Neighbors

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
June 29, 2015

The Mason Row project proposed for the northeast corner of Broad and West streets has undergone many revisions at the request of the City Council, City staff, and neighbors concerned about its size and the related traffic.

The developers were scheduled to deliver their latest version on June 19, which they haven’t done. But they did send City planners a letter outlining some new changes which could help reduce opposition from those adjacent neighbors.

One big change is to move the Home 2 extended-stay hotel from its location at the project’s northwest corner opposite Grove Avenue to the busy corner of Broad & West. Some neighbors objected to having a hotel looking out over the single family homes and townhouses on and adjacent to Grove.

Such a change would seem to be beneficial, too, for Home 2 owner Hilton Corp., since it the new location is busier and far more visible to the thousands of cars traversing Broad each day.

Another major change is that Spectrum has agreed to put residential units facing Park Avenue opposite the single family home neighborhood there. Previous incarnations of the project had a tall parking garage there, and neighbors didn’t like its appearance and were concerned about lights from the garage beaming into their homes.

The parking garage will remain, but the latest proposal has it behind new apartments, which will shield the Park Avenue homes from any light, as well as sound, and keep the street’s character more residential, which was a goal of the neighborhood’s critics.

The new design also will provide a 25 foot opening opposite Grove Avenue, which is designed to make the entire complex less imposing.

One additional change is an improvement to the trash loading. It has been removed from the West Street curve opposite Grove and is now internal to the project, accessed from the new Mason Lane. However, a small trash pickup location remains on West opposite the Wells Fargo bank. It will be enclosed with a garage door to hide its contents.

June 29, 2015 


9 Responses to “New Mason Row Changes Could Mollify Neighbors”

  1. TFC on June 29th, 2015 3:23 pm

    Thanks for the update Stephen…I just looked for the document you described in the MR page of the City’s web site but…nada. Is it secret?

  2. Stephen Siegel on July 1st, 2015 12:51 am

    You’re welcome, TFC. I’m not sure if the document is secret. A Times reader sent it to me.


  3. D. Wayne Jones on July 1st, 2015 8:31 am

    After checking with Development Services, the reason it is not on the web site is that it hasn’t been submitted yet. I guess the Times reader who sent it to Stephen is either an insider with the developer, or making their own suggested changes. I guess, if I were the developer, I might float this idea with the Times to see what comments are recorded, good or bad.

    I guess some will not like whatever is proposed for their own individual reasons. Me, I say maximize the space. I would even support going even higher on the Broad St side while being reasonable on the residential side.

  4. Linda Neighborgall on July 1st, 2015 9:13 am

    What does the announcement of a new multiscreen movie theater in McLean — right on the Silver Line and, it appears, unburdened by a ticket tax payable to the developer — a complex further featuring in-theater food service mean for the success of a similar facility at Broad, bode for the viability of a similar complex in traffic-choked, Metro inaccessible downtown FC? The question is even more critical in the context of the existing movie complexes at Tysons, Merrifield, Ballston, and Arlington Courthouse Plaza.

  5. Dale walton on July 1st, 2015 10:33 am

    I also think a movie complex is a bad idea for broad and west for the same reasons. You do not plunk such a complex in the middle of town in an area that is only going to create a traffic and parking mess while also requiring tax subsidies to survive, when there are better alternatives.

  6. Another FCC Resident on July 1st, 2015 12:53 pm

    I do hope the movie theater stays in. I know several families who live in the neighborhood surrounding the proposed development who are excited for the prospect (as am I, a little further afield but still walkable).

    And whether it is still viable with another theater on the far side of Tysons that will also serve food/alcohol – just look to Montgomery County. They have ArcLight at Montgomery Mall (no metro and not much foot traffic either) and iPic, which is about 1/2 mile walk from White Flint (versus .8 miles from West Falls Church to this location). Not sure what the future will hold, but I don’t think it’s as crazy as some keep posting about.

  7. Dale Walton on July 1st, 2015 2:17 pm

    If you are relying on walk-ups to primarily support a multi-screen theater in this complex at this location, you better collect a hefty amusement tax to support it….it is laughable. Don’t create a huge mess just so you can say you are doing development and at the same time create a huge mess in an area that is already enough of a mess with increased traffic not only on Grove and N. West Street but which will spill over to S. West Street and other streets also….downsize this project as much as possible to make it work for everyone.

  8. Brian Rye on July 1st, 2015 4:28 pm

    I guess I would be more enthused about this project in the absence of the huge project that’s likely by GM/MEH/I-66 and the WFC Metro, along with the reported possibilities of the land at the City’s Broad/Washington core that have been discussed elsewhere.

    And I still don’t understand why the combined residential components of Northgate, Harris-Teeter, Tinner Hill, and Mason Row are something like 900 apartments and 0 condos, especially given the glut of apartments in the DC area and the fact that none of these sit on top of a Metro.

  9. Dale walton on July 1st, 2015 4:59 pm

    Exactl, why are you going to squeeze this project into this area and cause and risk all sorts of traffic and parking problems.. and infringe negatively on an established neighborhood and impose an amusement tax….when you have better suited areas.

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