Fairfax County seal

Goodbye old office building, hello new mixed-use development in Merrifield.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Jan. 26 unanimously approved a proposal by Merrilee Ventures LC to build a seven-story, 85-foot-tall multi-family residential mixed-use building with 239 dwelling units in the northwest quadrant of Merrilee Drive and Halstead Square Road.

There also will be 14,000 square feet of at-grade open space and 6,000 square feet of open space located above-grade. Publicly accessible open spaces will include an outdoor fitness area, retail plaza and expanded streetscape along Merrilee Drive, count planning staff said.

The project will replace a three-story office building, which was built in 1984, and its surface parking.

The development’s floor-area ratio, which compares a project’s gross floor area with the site’s square footage, is a comparatively high 2.7 and includes a 20-percent workforce-housing bonus.

There will be 294 residential and commercial parking spaces provided; supervisors approved an 18-percent reduction in the number of residential parking spaces. On-street parking also will be available on Merrilee Drive and a future private street.

County urban-park regulations require 0.63 acres of park space at the site, but the developer will provide only 0.17 acres of publicly accessible park space along Merrilee Drive.

The developer has committed to pursue the acquisition and improvement of at least 0.45 acres of off-site, publicly accessible, urban park space that is within the Merrifield Suburban Center and located near the applicant’s property.

If those efforts fail, the developer will give the Fairfax County Park Authority $500,000 for the future acquisition and development of park resources in the Merrifield Suburban Center.

The development will leverage successful features of Merrifield, including the Dunn Loring Metro station and mixed-use development in the area, and move the area forward, said Greg Riegle, the applicant’s attorney.

“One of the next opportunities for Merrifield is simply to link the rail station to the extensive retail amenities in that established urban core,” Riegle said. “This project is an opportunity to promote that connectivity and set a template for the walkable streets, pedestrian amenities and reasonable street-level retail that will make it an increasingly interesting and amenitized walk.”

The project represents the next exciting revitalization of the Greater Merrifield community, said Supervisor Dalia Palchik (D-Providence). It will have high-quality urban design and a dog park near the northwest corner of the building, she said.

“This application will substantially enhance the ground-floor pedestrian experience along Eskridge Road and I hope [it] will lead to future improvements in other applications,” Palchik said.

[Sun Gazette Newspapers provides content to, but otherwise is unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]

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