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The City of Falls Church Economic Development Authority (EDA) voted unanimously at their February 17 meeting to enter a contract to buy a multifamily property at 302 Shirley Street for future development. The sale price is $925,000. The City plans to maintain the Virginia Village units as market-rate affordable housing, which is in line with the South Washington Street Small Area Plan (www.fallschurchva.gov/SWashSAP) adopted by the City Council in 2013.
"Opportunities to acquire property consistent with the EDA’s land banking program are rare,” said Brian Williams, Vice Chair of the EDA. “In this case, the City will be able to preserve affordable housing units in what is an important part of the South Washington Street small area plan. The EDA is pleased to help the City make progress in this area.”
The building is 2,560 square feet and has four one-bedroom apartments. The City already owns one Virginia Village building at 208 Gibson Street, which is managed by a property management company for use by a non-profit organization.
The EDA has made similar purchases in the past, including one of the properties where 301 W. Broad and Harris Teeter are now located. The land was sold to a developer for that project. This practice is known as “land banking” and is part of the EDA’s charter.
A Small Area Plan is a tool used by a municipality to define a vision for redevelopment in a relatively small area. The vision for redevelopment is sensitive to the area's history and responds to the current and future needs of the City's residents, workers, and visitors.
The South Washington Street Small Area Plan states, in regards to the buildings in Virginia Village, “It is important to recognize that this is one of the few affordable housing opportunities in the City. Therefore, redevelopment of the neighborhood should take into account the need for affordable housing and provide for replacement of such within new development projects.” The Small Area Plan also states that the neighborhood could be preserved: “The location of the neighborhood serves as a buffer between the proposed high density uses south of South Maple Avenue and the residential neighborhoods to the north. In addition, the all-brick structures are built in a way that allows the growth of large trees and other landscaping elements.”
Once the sale is complete, the City will allow the existing tenants to remain. City staff will prepare options for the City to consider possible future property uses a later date, while sustaining these affordable units.
A recording of the February 17 EDA meeting will be available soon on www.fallschurchva.gov/Webcasts. Meeting materials are available now at www.fallschurchva.gov/EDA; the PowerPoint Presentation from the meeting is also posted here.
Photo Credit: GoogleMaps.