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East Market Offers Homes and Stores

With more and more people moving to Fairfax County, it stands to reason that they'll need places to live and things to do. The mixed-use project, East Market at Fair Lakes, offers both.

"It's going to be a nice project," said Jeff Saxe, who handled the zoning and land-planning for the developer, The Peterson Cos. of Fair Lakes. "We anticipate being able to start construction in the summer."

Part retail, part residential, it was unanimously approved, Jan. 26, by the county Board of Supervisors. It will come to fruition on 34 acres between Galyan's and West Ox Road, in the southwest corner of the Fair Lakes Parkway and West Ox.

The county owned this land for years and unceremoniously referred to it as Land Bay A. But when it decided that it no longer needed the property, it offered it for sale. Peterson bid $15 million and won. But the project still needed the county's blessing for a proffered-condition amendment because something else had been previously approved for this site.

Two years ago, another developer hoped to build a Great Indoors home-furnishings store there, plus office buildings. But after the county gave its OK, the plan fell through, so Peterson needed the original development conditions changed.

East Market at Fair Lakes is a three-part project, and here's what's planned:

* A retail center oriented to a street, with parking behind it. Proposed near the I-66 side of the property are an anchor grocery store and small, supporting shops — such as a couple restaurants and a coffee shop, along with a plaza where people may sit and relax.

Across the street and fronting on a new street called East Market Drive — connecting from the front of Galyan's to the Fair Lakes Parkway — would be a pedestrian-oriented area with a Main Street feel.

* An eight-story, residential condo building with elevators and underground parking. The approximately 200 units would come with one, two or three bedrooms.

* Some 200 "stacked townhouses" — which are actually two-story condos built above other two-story condos. Also part of the project will be 13 affordable dwelling units (ADUs).

Because of how East Market is designed, the retail portion is pedestrian-friendly so people may easily get to the shops. "It'll be [done] in a main-street configuration, where the retail and the eight-story condo building will be right up on the street," said Saxe. "There'll be parallel parking, and then the bulk of the parking will be behind — or underneath, in the case of the condo building."

Saxe said the prospective builders of the stacked townhouses are Centex and Ryland. And if all goes well, Peterson would like to have the project open in early to mid 2005.

Peterson also agreed to make some needed road improvements. It will add a second, left-turn lane on the Fair Lakes Parkway, eastbound, for motorists going north on West Ox. At the same location, it will also lengthen the right-turn lane.

Furthermore, at the developer's expense, a traffic light will be installed at the project's entrance from the Fair Lakes Parkway. And several other turn lanes around the property's frontage will either get lengthened or be added.

Peterson will also construct a large, noise barrier on I-66 to shield its project from the highway sounds. Furthermore, the buildings will be set back from that noise wall, and landscaping will mitigate the visual impact.