The Midtown Springfield proposal, 9+ acres now occupied by a motel, closed discount wine store, near-vacant office tower, abandoned veterinary clinic and two restaurants, appears to be off the table. Last July, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors received a letter from the developer (Kettler/KSI) saying that efforts to resurrect the sagging project had failed. The Fairfax County Planning Commission has indefinitely deferred its decision to approve the project.
Kettler/KSI lawyer Gregory Reigle wrote in the letter, “Our belief was [that] the combination of additional time and continued partnership with the community and county would provide the opportunity to resolve the remaining issues and deploy still evolving county revitalization policies and programs.” But, the letter continued, “These efforts were not successful. Rather than pursuing a diluted plan that does not respect community expectations, there is no practical alternative than to withdraw the rezoning.”
The proposal called for three towers of 21 to 28 stories with 800 apartments and condominiums, a 160-room hotel, 40,000 square feet of offices and up to 100,000 square feet of retail space, all surrounding a central public plaza and gallery or auditorium. Parking garages and landscaping were to buffer the buildings from I-95 and the huge flyover ramp that looms behind the site.
However, with ongoing developments in and around Springfield such as the Fort Belvoir base realignment, and revitalization of Springfield Mall, I can see this one springing back onto the drawing board pretty quick. Like other developers in the current economy, Kettler has had to pull back. They have ongoing major projects in Reston (Midtown Reston Town Center), Woodbridge (Port Potomac/Potomac Club/County Center), Manassas (Piedmont), Arlington (West Village, The Metropolitan), Alexandria (Midtown Alexandria), and that’s only scratching the surface. It made sense to back off on one that was not yet underway. But if Kettler doesn’t do it, someone will!
Check out the artist’s rendition: