The Fairfax Surf Shop has been on Old Lee Highway in downtown Fairfax for 43 years.
Photo by Bonnie Hobbs.
It’s the end of an era for the iconic building that housed the Fairfax Surf Shop for more than four decades. Located at 3936 Old Lee Hwy., beside Old Town Square in the City of Fairfax, the well-known, bright-red building will be demolished to make way for a new restaurant.
The Surf Shop leased the building, but Fairfax City’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) owns the Park View property on which it sits. And that property has now become part of a larger vision to further strengthen the dining and entertainment options in the City’s historic downtown.
Accordingly, the EDA recently finalized an agreement with the Parry Restaurant Group to redevelop that site. And the Surf Shop will relocate to Courthouse Plaza, a few blocks away.
“This is a tremendous project for this site and the city,” said Fairfax City Economic Development Director Christopher Bruno. “The EDA is a strong partner in leveraging the city’s assets, and this project maximizes the best use of this property, which is in a prime location.”
The building is scheduled for demolition in October, followed by six to seven months of construction. As the developer, Parry will pay for the project, with completion of the new venue anticipated for the second quarter of 2020. Fairfax City’s EDA will retain ownership of the property and will be the landlord, with Parry operating the restaurant under a long-term lease with the EDA.
“The new use will contribute to an active streetscape and bolster a sense of place for the greater Old Town activity center,” said Bruno. “Parry Restaurant Group also brings an exceptional, restaurant-development portfolio, with successful ventures in places like Charlottesville, Richmond, Lynchburg and even just beyond our City border in Fairfax County.”
The building currently on site needs costly repair and renovations, so the EDA sees this project as a positive move forward. “This is a win-win, as the agreement relieves the City of undertaking significant renovation costs,” said EDA Chairman Michael O’Brien. “The EDA retains ownership and gets a brand-new, modern building. We also forge a new relationship with a successful restaurant group in a setting that will enhance the downtown and serve as a year-round destination.”
Fairfax City Mayor David Meyer is also pleased. “With the increasing popularity of Old Town Square – whether for concerts, family outings, special events and more – a dining destination with outdoor seating raises the bar for hospitality in the heart of Old Town,” he explained. “I know residents and others in the region will appreciate the new dining option and make a day or night of it in our beloved downtown.”
Similarly, Aaron McDade, a development partner with Parry, said, “We’re excited to be coming to the City of Fairfax. We’ll leverage our diverse portfolio in creating a unique atmosphere with fresh cuisine right in the heart of Old Town Square. The park will provide the perfect scene for the best outdoor dining in the City.”
As for the Surf Shop, Bruno said the EDA has been “extremely supportive” of the popular business and has provided it with a relocation-assistance grant. “We’ve worked diligently to keep this longstanding business in the City,” he said. “We’re always focused on the health and profitability of small businesses like Fairfax Surf Shop, as they represent the depth of retail options for residents.”
Mike McCarthy contributed to this story.