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Fair Lakes Commercial Changes are Approved

In 1984, Fair Lakes was approved for 7.2 million square feet of commercial and office development. And before long, all but 20,000 square feet will have been developed.

BUT SINCE market demand in this area has changed somewhat in the past two decades, developer The Peterson Cos. asked Fairfax County's permission to shift the remaining undeveloped square footage to other areas where today's market deems it would be better used.

At the Jan. 26 meeting of the county Planning Commission — which has the final say in this case, Peterson received its needed go-ahead. The changes approved are as follows:

* A drive-in bank and office building planned for 12450 and 12500 Fair Lakes Circle were never built. Since office use is not needed here, the space will be used instead along I-66.

* Along the south side of Fair Lakes Circle will be a small addition to the East Market project on either side of Galyan's and Kohl's. It's approximately 500 feet southwest of Fair Lakes Parkway and just north of I-66.

East Market was approved in January 2004, and the addition will provide 7,500 square feet for a Whole Foods grocery store there. It will also add another 11,000 square feet of retail space and delete 200,000 square feet of office use, as well as a previously approved, four-level parking garage. That's because Kohl's needed more space for its business and parking than was initially anticipated.

The office space will now be turned into retail use along I-66, and the new retail stores and the grocery store will have architecture similar to that of Galyan's and Kohl's. It will all be called East Market at Fair Lakes and is intended to operate like one retail center.

* ANOTHER change was approved for the south side of Shoppes Lane, by the Blue Iguana restaurant, just south of Fair Lakes Parkway. It entails construction of a 3,350-square-foot addition, renovation of the retail center there and the addition of 17 new parking spaces.

This area is 18-19 years old and is among the first of the amenities built in Fair Lakes.

The space under the canopy will be enclosed within a brick facade. It will then be heated and air conditioned, and retail stores will be added. The work is expected to take six to 12 months.