Updates from Letty – November 21, 2018

Blog posts are the personal views of Letty Hardi and not official statements or records on behalf of the Falls Church City Council

Dear Friends,

Happy Thanksgiving – an earlier post this week due to the holiday. In case you haven’t heard, we announced the EYA/PN Hoffman/Regency team as our top ranked developer for the 10 acre West Falls Church Economic Development project on Monday night. This is an exciting milestone in the long journey to build a new high school and transform the western gateway to Falls Church. Not only does the proposal best achieves the goals we heard from you a year ago, but I also believe this team has the competency and commitment to see this through. Below are links to the news release, the detailed proposal which includes the terms of the deal, conceptual renderings, and our advisors’ analysis of the project – lots of good information when you’re digesting tomorrow’s meal or in between holiday shopping.  I hope you’ll be as excited as we are.

We haven’t been able to share details beyond the executive summaries until now, but we are committed to giving the community many opportunities to ask questions, learn, and help shape the project. Continue to look for regular Sunday Series town halls and website updates. As quoted on Monday, this is only the “end of the beginning.” Over the next 6 months, we’ll further negotiate and refine the project which will need your input before we sign the final agreement. The next 6 months will be even more crucial! 


As it is Thanksgiving – I am thankful for the hard work and diligence of the Evaluation Committees, staff, and our advisors; my City Council colleagues for our many long and thoughtful deliberations; and finally, the public’s confidence in us in making this choice on your behalf and the civic engagement to come.

Happy Thanksgiving,

PS – Come kickoff the holiday season with your friends and neighbors at the Downtown Holiday Lighting next Monday night at 6 pm – we’ll have performances by Creative Cauldron, the GMHS Chamber Singers, and a jolly visitor on the firetruck.


What Happened This Week:



  • The project will serve as a gateway to the City, instilling a sense of place through the use of high quality urban design, including a thoughtful interface with the adjacent schools
  • Environmental Sustainability with LEED ND at the neighborhood level, LEED Gold for the office component, and LEED Gold for the multifamily rental component
  • Pedestrian-oriented streets and easy pedestrian, bicycle, and automobile access to the site
  • Parking garages with spaces offices, apartment and condominium residents, and hotel and retail visitors, and special event parking for schools
  • Approximately 150-200 units of senior housing to allow residents to age in place within the City
  • Approximately 390,000 square feet of Class A commercial office space
  • Approximately 245 units of for sale condominiums and approximately 288 units of multi-family apartments
  • Approximately 40 affordable housing units
  • Nearly an acre open space referred to as the Little City Commons to serve as a gathering place and venue for community events
  • Approximately 126,400 square feet of retail
  • Approximately 20,000 square feet for a possible music venue or other civic space
  • a high quality hotel with conference space.

Terms of the interim agreement include:

  • Ground lease for 99 years
  • Five payments in Phase 1: $6.5M in May 2019, then $7.0M each in 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024
  • One payment in Phase 2: $10M or appraised value, whichever is higher
  • Total base land payments of $44.5M
  • Additional potential land payments of up to $8.3M, depending on options related to the creation of a Community Development Authority and the location of parking, which City may choose prior to Comprehensive Agreement.
  • The City will benefit from a Capital Event Administrative Fee for the term of the 99 year lease, when the property is sold or refinanced.

Over the next 6 months, the developer will work with us on the special exception entitlement process – which will feel similar to other land use cases in the city: establishing a conceptual development plan that includes building heights, permitted uses, layouts; referrals out to the city boards and commissions for their feedback; opportunities for the public to comment and shape the project. We will continue to coordinate the project with the new high school and the adjacent potential developments at UVA/VT campus and Metro, and our neighbors. Finalizing the terms of the ground lease, development plan, and transaction will need to occur before we issue any construction bonds for a new GMHS and before any groundbreaking at the new high school site can occur, targeted for June 2019.


What’s Coming Up:

November is #LiveLocalFC month! Are you up for the challenge of keeping 20% more of your spending in the City during November?

  • Monday, November 26 – Downtown Tree Lighting (6 pm, 100 Block of W. Broad)
  • Monday, November 26 – City Council Meeting & Work Session (730 pm, Community Center)
  • Monday, December 3 – Joint City Council & School Board Work Session (730 pm, Community Center)
  • Monday, December 10 – City Council Meeting (730 pm, Community Center)