Parking Lot Divided and Disrupted: Plan to Push Out 7-11 by Winnowing Business to Make Way for More Apartments?

  • Notice Posted in 7-11 Identifies Mason Row Developer Peter Batten Responsible for Barrier

  • Mason Row Project Appears to be Floundering Developer Opts for Easy Fix: More Apartments  

  • With No Hotel Willing to Locate on Site, Developer Ups Apartment Total to 400 Units 

  • Past is Prologue: Will Council Members Sze and Duncan Propose Again Putting Library in Mason Row

  • Fairfax County and WUSA Channel 9 List Woes Caused by Mason Developer at  Bailey’s Crossroads Project

by Sam Mabry

Mabry is a Former Vice Mayor and City Council Member

May 6, 2016

Apparently negotiations to move 7-11 out of its current location on North West Street in order to begin the Mason Row (now Founder’s Row) development appear stalled.

Decades of multiple points of access to and departure from all parts of the small shopping center has now come to an end with livestock-water-trough barriers filled with evergreens dividing by about half, the stores and parking areas from each other. Customers will now be required to navigate their cars in tighter quarters safely in one of the most traffic congested areas of the city.

It is all to obvious that the convenience and safety of Falls Church citizens and visitors to the city did not significantly factor into the decision.

Awaiting Plantings to Block Traffic

Barriers May Be a Response to 7-11 Having No Intentions of Going Anywhere for the Next Decade

In the past several weeks, the City Manager has confirmed to The Post that the negotiations between the developer and 7-11 have not concluded with an agreement for the store to relocate. It has been reported that 7-11 is in possession of lease options that would allow it to remain in place for about 10 years if it so chooses.

In addition, the City Manager reiterated at the time of his message that the Council will require the developer to have in hand an agreement from a hotel and theater before site planning can resume.

 Posted Inside 7-11

However, Spectrum Development and principle Peter Batten, will ask the City Council at its May 15 work session to replace the hotel component with an age restricted apartment house that would be in addition to the other apartments already proposed.  The developer’s plans have already been delivered to City Hall and can be accessed on line.

According to the submission, the number of total apartments in Mason Row would increase to a total of almost 400 and of those, 27 would be age restricted. If the Council should approve a project with 400 units, Mason Row would dwarf the Harris Teeter total of 282 apartments.

Will Duncan and Sze Redux Library Move Proposal

Previously when the Mason Row project appeared to be teetering, a Freedom of Information request revealed that the two Council Members were trying to move the library to Mason Row and in the process provide a public financing subsidy for the developer.  Such incidents clearly indicate that the line of demarcation between the interests of our public officials and the developers is becoming more and more blurred.

Spectrum Development and Batton Also Faced Problems in Fairfax County

Neighbors in the area of the old GEICO claims center building on Route 7/Leesburg Pike in Bailey’s Cross Roads took their problems to Fairfax County Supervisor Penny Gross and WUSA Channel 9. In a March 30, 2017, a televised report by correspondent Delia Goncalves, neighbors in the 3800 block of Washington Drive reported that men were squatting in an abandoned and, at the time, unsecured house owned by Spectrum.

Spectrum Development had been attempting to build a project including a CVS but the efforts was strenuously opposed by the neighborhood and the existing properties fell into disrepair and were vandalized. One man on camera admitted that K2 was being used in the house that had some 10 inhabitants on an irregular schedule. The report also showed that the former GEIGO building had become an years-long eyesore laden with graffiti, but bordered up and secured.

Abandoned GEICO Building Owned by Spectrum Development

Supervisor’s Spectrum Comments

Penny Gross said according to Channel 9, that she was as frustrated as her constituents in trying to resolved the problems surrounding the unoccupied buildings.

Gross was quoted as saying that the Spectrum Company has “been very difficult to work with.”

Identified in WUSA Report as Spectrum Owned Property that Was Being Used by Squatters and Drug Users

After the television report, the company moved to board up the buildings.

The Channel 9 report can be accessed on the WUSA website under the heading “Squatters Take Over Abandoned House in Annandale” March 30, 2017. Delia Goncalves reporting.

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