The Huntington Club Condominium Association is taking steps toward developing residences, retail and office space on its site adjacent to the Huntington Metro station.
The Association recently submitted an Area Plan Review (APR), which basically is an update to their original Comprehensive Plan. The APR will mostly pave the way for the change to the zoning for the land, explained David Ben, director of marketing and communications for Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation.
Ben said to accomplish this redevelopment, the Association will have to jump through a few legal hoops before moving forward.
"They need to go through the legal process of getting that land to be allowed to have that type of development on it because it's not currently zoned for that type of intensity. So they're going through that process now of trying to get that changed," Ben said.
The Association submitted a plan for a mixed-use development that includes 1,200 to 1,800 housing units, 600,000-1 million square feet of office space, and 127,000 square feet of retail space.
"The owners have decided that they understand that their land is very valuable, in fact, probably more valuable than the buildings themselves," Ben explained. "So even though it's going to be a pretty big hassle for them to move once it gets redeveloped, by getting together now and they themselves putting it forward, it allows them to have a stronger bargaining position."
Rossman Irwin, president of the Huntington Club Condominium Association, said the property's Board of Directors chartered a Redevelopment Committee in December 2005. Committee members started their research and internal outreach to unit owners in the spring of 2006. Through a voting process, the majority of unit owners supported the board's redevelopment plans.
Residential Support for Transit-Oriented Community
Huntington Club is centrally located in the transit station area. Irwin said the Association's goal is to create a thriving, transit-oriented community at the Huntington Metro.
"It will provide a center of gravity for new buildings that are currently isolated at the northern and southern ends of the station," said Irwin in a recent email. "Many unit owners want to stay on the property, so the ability to exchange or reinvest into the new community as it is built will be an essential part of any deal."
Most residents in the surrounding areas are also in support of the redevelopment, and are looking forward to seeing the Huntington area grow. Irwin said experience with neighboring associations has been positive.
He explained that many people have seen previous transit-focused redevelopments in places such as D.C. where, as a result, the area became more vibrant, brought in more jobs and increased demand for nearby homes. Irwin said there's no reason for Huntington to be left behind in this movement.
"With flood protection for low-lying areas of Huntington and projects like ours under way, Huntington will have what it needs to succeed, without requiring any stable residential neighborhoods to redevelop, unless they want to. This project is a citizen-driven effort, as Huntington Club has not yet selected a developer."
Some community members have asked the Association questions about traffic and building heights, but Irwin said in October, the county planning staff recommended using the hillslope to minimize the visual impact of the new buildings, by placing taller buildings lower on the hill and closer to Metro, and tapering down to the south and west.
"Huntington Club's traffic study found substantial pre-existing traffic, but our project would not present a significant additional impact to most roads and intersections, given the high level of mass transit use. Buildings of the same size would generate more traffic anywhere else," Irwin said.
In the next two months, the Association will indulge in community outreach, including following up on presentations they've given about the redevelopment in the past few years.
In October, Fairfax County staff recommended adding the property to the Huntington Metro Transit Development Area and amending the Comprehensive Plan. The Planning Commission will hear the matter on Jan. 24, 2013, and a Board of Supervisors vote is scheduled for Feb. 26, 2013.
If everything goes as planned, Irwin said the Association will begin a selected process for a developer in 2013 — which will require approval of 80 percent of Huntington Club.