JBG Plans in McLean

December 27, 2013

The JBG Cos. has earned important early support from Fairfax County’s planning staff for a mixed-use development it’s proposing for central McLean.

The planning department is backing a Comprehensive Plan amendment that would allow JBG to build a 267,000-square-foot, 240-unit luxury apartment building and a two-story, 8,720-square-foot retail building on a 4.43-acre parcel located northeast of Elm Street and southwest of Fleetwood Road. An existing, 109,600-square-foot office building on the parcel would remain, with the new development taking the place of a surface parking lot.

It is a “catalyst” type project, county staff reports, a conclusion that will please some residents and business leaders who see central McLean as stale, and infuriate others who want the community to remain largely as is.

The Comprehensive Plan currently classifies the JBG site an “area of limited change,” generally restricting development to infill office and ground floor retail, or residential if limited to 50 units.

The amendment, per county staff, “presents an opportunity to create a high quality residential development that may serve as a catalyst for future redevelopment” in central McLean, support a sought-after Main Street concept and create a more active streetscape while removing a large area of surface parking.

JBG has described its project as one that will “enliven downtown McLean,” encourage pedestrian activity, provide meaningful open space and bring a “classical architectural design reflecting a timeless elegance.”

Before it can start construction, JBG (as Elm Street Residential LLC) will require three county approvals. The Comprehensive Plan amendment is the subject of scheduled Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors hearings next month. Rezoning and final development plan applications, submitted in September 2012, are scheduled for March hearings.

McLean’s central business district is in a period of transition, with several redevelopment proposals in the pipeline and more likely coming.

Immediately to the northeast of JBG’s parcel is Washington Real Estate Investment Trust’s Ashby Apartments, a 12-story, 256-unit complex. WRIT is proposing to rezone the Ashby to allow for a new 10-story, 192-unit residential building and retail fronting Beverly Road. It will also require a Comprehensive Plan amendment, currently under review.

Responding to WRIT’s plan, McLean Citizens Association President Sally Horn told the Washington Business Journal in October, “We are not prepared to see McLean ‘Tysonized.'”

As Published in the Washington Business Journal
Writer: Michael Neibauer
Photo: Costar

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