After months of anticipation, members of the Spring Bank Community Association finally got to see a three-dimensional model of what the Kings Crossing development might look like upon completion. Reaction was mixed.
Arron Liebert, vice president and area managing partner, JPI Development Partners, Inc., developers of the 11-plus acre site at the intersection of Route 1 and South Kings Highway, made a lengthy, hands-on presentation to the group assembled at Groveton Baptist Church. However, he also acknowledged this was “only the preliminary” concept.
“What I am showing you is the town center element of the project. We are trying to use topography to our advantage,” he said.
“The biggest challenges to make this project work are energy and water. We still have several months of work in front of us,” Liebert said.
David Dale, president, SBCA, estimated that it would be at least another year to 18 months before actual construction would begin. “They hope to come back to us next month with more changes. But, with all the things they have to go through, the whole county approval process, that will take some time,” Dale said.
“We are trying to digest a lot of different things because JPI is trying to catch up. But I’m absolutely committed to developing a green building in this project,” Liebert said.
That assertion was triggered by a question from association member Martin Tillett. “What are you willing to do to placate community concerns about Quander Brook,” he asked Liebert. Tillett has been the organizer behind the recently formed “Friends of Quander Brook.”
Other elements of the Kings Crossing development jointly discussed by Liebert and the SBCA members included:
v A desire to attract either a Whole Foods or Harris Teeter grocery store to the site.
v All parking for the commercial area will be underground in a three-level facility. It will accommodate approximately 800 vehicles, according to Liebert.
v Mixed use buildings will contain ground floor retail with four levels of residential above.
v Costco, although still on the drawing board, received mixed reviews from both the citizens and Liebert due to its “big box,” approximately 140,000 square feet, design. “I like Costco, I shop there, I am a member, but I’m not sure how well it fits in here,” Liebert said.
Another proposal was brought to the association prior to the Kings Crossing presentation. Don Smith, project manager, Sifen, Inc., a construction company based in Virginia Beach, presented his firm’s desires to build a mini-storage facility at 6717 Richmond Highway. “This is a very good transitional use that requires no governmental services. Our desire is to do quality development,” Smith said.
He also distributed a rendering of one of his projects in the Tidewater area. As he noted, “These are not your typical storage facility design. They are designed to complement the neighborhood.”
The proposed 90,000 square feet, two-to-three story facility presents an exterior of an office building. “All storage facilities are internal and climate controlled. Access is through a center double door,” Smith said.
At an estimated 35 feet in height, the facility would replace the existing Fairfield Motor Inn. When questioned about no more storage facilities being built along the Route 1 corridor, Smith acknowledged that his attendance at this association meeting was just to hear their reaction.
PRIOR TO THE DUAL presentations, Dale announced that the county budget process was just getting underway and that a 12 to 18 percent increase in residential property assessments had been forecast. “But, the county Board of Supervisors has promised that the tax rate will drop again this year,” Dale said.
“The school board, which takes the lion’s share of the budget, will be asking for a substantial increase again this year. This is due to the cut-back in federal finds,” Dale said.
In other matters, Dale briefed the group on the ongoing Annual Plan Review process and the work of the Citizen Task Force. “The Comprehensive Plan is the first line of defense against things we don’t want to happen,” he said.
According to Dale, the work of the task force is about one-third complete. “So far, all of the change nominations have been rejected by the task force,” he said.
On the subject of affordable housing, Dale said that the primary push has been to convert the North Hills site to affordable housing. “There is a disproportionate amount of affordable housing in the Mount Vernon District as compared to the rest of Fairfax County,” the group indicated.