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New Hotel is Planned for Chantilly

A new hotel is proposed for Chantilly, and preliminary details were presented Tuesday night to the West Fairfax County Citizens Association (WFCCA) Land-Use Committee.

It would be owned and managed by Fairbrook Hotels, but the specific brand of hotel has not yet been determined. However, it's planned for 14530 Lee Road, south of Route 50, and north of Willard Road.

"THE SITE'S about five acres that are currently vacant and most of the western portion is flood plain," said land-use planner Elizabeth McKeeby, representing Fairbrook. "It doesn't need a [Comprehensive] Plan amendment or a rezoning, just a special-exception [permit] for the use of a hotel on the site."

She told the panel that most of the land is used for industrial purposes and county staff wants to make sure the new hotel would be compatible with them.

McKeeby also said that Supervisor Michael R. Frey (R-Sully) recommended Fairbrook meet with the WFCCA, Sully District Council of Citizens Associations and the county's Airports Advisory Committee before filing a formal application with the county.

After that, she said, Fairbrook will have to do a traffic study and comply with various other requests county staff will have. McKeeby said the hotel's maximum height could be 75 feet, but "We're envisioning something three or four stories."

She said Fairbrook met last month with the Sully District Council and its members suggested the hotel be an all-brick building, and Fairbrook has agreed. It's anticipated to be mainly red brick with some white-brick for contrast.

Chantilly resident Vinay Patel, president of Fairbrook Hotels, said his company has a hotel in Sterling and will open one in Herndon, on Spring Street and the Herndon Parkway, in July. He said the one in Chantilly would be a limited-use hotel, similar to a Hampton Inn, and have about 112 rooms.

"It would just offer a hot breakfast; there's no restaurant," he said. "And there's space for only small meetings. The conference room is about 500-700 square feet for 20-40 corporate clientele. We expect to attract corporate, transient travel. There's a lot of business out here, and it's difficult to find a room during the week."

WFCCA Land-Use Chairman Jim Katcham asked what's the typical occupancy for a hotel of this type, and Patel replied, "We're budgeting for 65 percent. We're busy Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but not on the weekend."

WFCCA's Judy Heisinger asked what's on either side of the proposed hotel's property, and Patel said there's a Budweiser brewery on one side and vacant land on the other. And WFCCA's Carol Hawn said, "I think this is not a bad use on Lee Road and it would look nice."

At-Large Planning Commissioner Jim Hart asked if everything is out of the flood plain, and Patel said it will be. Hart also told Patel there are further guidelines in Fairfax County's Comprehensive Plan regarding architectural standards in the Dulles Suburban Center, where the hotel would be located.

"I'd suggest you review it for additional guidance for higher-quality buildings — particularly where this isn't a by-right use, but requires a special-exception permit," said Hart. "I also suggest you use some construction techniques that are used in 'green' buildings."

He said examples would be an energy-efficient, reflective roof and low-energy emitting materials inside the building. "It's something the [Board of] Supervisors and Planning Commission will be putting extra emphasis on, and it shouldn't cost much more money," added Hart. "And the materials I've seen look very nice."

Sully District Planning Commissioner Ron Koch made sure Patel knew that the vacant land near the hotel might someday have an industrial use on it, and he said he understood. Patel also noted that "better-quality materials" would go into this hotel's construction.

"We're in business to make money, so we can't have a shabby-looking hotel," said Patel. "We care about the exterior and landscaping, too." As for Hart's "green" suggestions, he said, "It's a hot topic today, and that's something we can definitely take a look at."

McKeeby said they'll soon begin "putting the application together and filing it with the county. And once we get more comments and feedback, we'll come back to [the WFCCA]."