11 Comments

  1. I believe the city needs to revise the economic development numbers based upon the changes to the design. However, I believe that the current batch of City Council members what something in that corner no matter what.

    I also think the model they use is somewhat flawed and doesn’t address all the issues: light and noise pollution, traffic, additional people – all those items add to the costs to the city and to the residence. At what cost? The old model (with a high generating hotel) would likely bring in more revenue but my question is this: we have added all these multi use developments and 1) my taxes continue to go up, 2) we need capital improvements (like $120MM bond – what?) to expand schools and police and other public services to accommodate the increased population, 3) we have to deal with a downgrade of quality of life because of traffic, 4) we increase our carbon footprint. This needs to be studied truthfully, not just because City Council wants new stuff. We, the tax payer, foot the bills, not the developments.

  2. We all know that Creative Cauldron is a huge give away of prime retail space to the Arts. It’s crazy that we would not use that space for a revenue generating business. The Arts lobby is so strong and the City Council perpetuates “loss leaders” by allowing this. We need REVENUE GENERATING businesses if you want to add revenue to the city’s books.

  3. City Council will continue to say, we need this development to get more revenue. Do they realize that part of the problem is that we have exceeded our debt threshold that is now costing us another $9 million in debt service because we are a riskier borrower? What if they don’t fill the restaurant space, or get a hotel or we have low performing retail (like most retail in the city). We will have another Pearson Square that is a drain to the city.

    Let’s think this through City Council. Say no to the special exemption. PLEASE!

  4. Oh HELL No to all the city’s endless floundering as they eschew one lousy development choice after another! City needs an enourmous change in Coincil, development boards. Thanx to you Lisa for keeping an eye on this….no end in sight!

  5. This project continues to be a misfit for the land and space in question.
    Can we not end what has been a bad plan and nightmare from the get go.
    Don’t accept this because your back is against the wall and desperate for revenue. Fess up to this being bad from the start and the mess it will result in for adjacent neighborhood Accept the fact you need to start over.

  6. I agree. The City Council needs to say no to any and all changes to an already bad plan. Will they have the backbone to do it given the fact they now bit off a huge piece of debt and have to climb out of a giant debt hole?

    I’m not sure if Connelly, Duncan, Hardi, Sze, Litkenhous, Snyder, Tarter can face reality and cut the cord on a project that was bad and now worse. Make us proud, City Council, and do the right thing.

  7. I think it’s great you are posting these thoughts here, and hope you are also expressing them to the City Council. I know I will sent my comments to them in the next week or two, and my email will include this statement from an email I sent in 2017: “During the question and answer period of the January 11, 2016 Council meeting, City Manager Wyatt Shields assured Councilman David Snyder “the special exception would not take effect until the city received proof of a theater operator lease and proof of a contract with a hotel operator/owner.” As Spectrum Development is now reneging on the hotel operator/owner, the city should rescind the special exception.”
    Please email your comments to the council via the city clerk (CityClerk@fallschurchva.gov) and/or to each council person’s individual email address.

    1. Lisa: I really appreciate you and others who have really followed this project. I do remember the quote above that you have shared, and so I do expect the Council to be good to hold everyone to their word on this.

  8. First reading for the Founders Row Special Exception amendment request is next Monday (June 11). If you feel strongly about the proposed changes – which include changing the hotel space to 72 “active adult” rental units for a total of 394 rental units; reducing parking from 1084 spaces (required per City Code) to 1015 spaces (a 7% reduction); reducing the commercial/retail space by > 3000 sf, making this project 17% commercial/retail and 83% residential – then write/email the City Council with your concerns. Better yet, plan to speak during the public comment period of Monday’s meeting.

  9. I have written to City Council but they tend to ignore the constituents and plow ahead with low performing Mixed Use. When will they finally listen? I was very concerned to learn that the developer swapped out the hotel for over 55. This decreases the amount of revenues substantially. The biggest change was the diminishing retail space.

    Our city council keeps saying we need revenue producing real estate, but they let the developer change (last minute, I may add) so that it has less of everything. This needs to stop.

    1. With the new numbers the City is using in the financial models, the development will bring in more money than if they had built a hotel. I don’t have all of the facts straight (I found what they said to be terribly confusing) but it was determined using the previous .33 students per unit was too high, so they cut that number in half when calculating the number of students this development would produce. They also removed the four or so students they believed would come from a long term hotel, so instead of 106 students, it is down to 46 students, a cost savings of over $620k. Again, I don’t understand how/why the numbers changed so drastically.
      I’d like to see what was projected as the financial net benefit for Northgate, Lincoln at Tinner Hill and 301 West Broad and compare those numbers to how much each is actually generating. (Those were the developments referenced during the financial discussion for Founders Row.)
      We have too many Council members drooling over the prospect of a movie theater. The movie theater financial projections include a large amount of money based on food sales; is anyone taking in to consideration the proposed restaurants (to include a 100 tap beer pub) in the new development that could reduce the amount of food served at the theater?
      I appreciate the residents of Park Avenue may be the most impacted by overflow parking, but would like Council to recognize some of that will occur on North West Street and Grove Avenue, too. What precautions are being taken to prevent those neighbors from being unable to park in front of their homes?

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