At its March 9 meeting, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors authorized the transfer of ownership of the 3.25-acre Franconia Governmental Center site to the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) for the potential development of affordable housing. With the operations and services of the Franconia Governmental Center slated to be relocated, the property provides an ideal location for the development of affordable housing for households with low-to-moderate incomes in a well-connected activity/employment center along Franconia Road.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for the County, and Lee District in particular, to reinforce our priority for affordable homes as a cornerstone in future development in our communities,” said Lee District Supervisor Rodney Lusk. “With its connection to public transportation, employment centers, schools, business and services, the opportunities for this site to provide homes that serve as a firm foundation for economic stability, social connectedness and overall well-being are simply extraordinary.”
The 28,000 square-foot Franconia Governmental Center, built in 1992, houses the offices of the Lee District Supervisor, the Franconia Police Station and the Franconia Museum. With limited parking and an interior lay-out ill-suited for modern police operations, the building is functionally obsolete. These operations are scheduled to be relocated to a new governmental complex in the Kingstowne area that will include a branch of the Public Library, an active older-adult center, a new childcare facility and community meeting space.
“This action is the second example in just over a month of this Board leveraging County property for affordable housing,” said Chairman Jeff McKay referring to the Board’s transfer of underutilized parking lots at the Government Center to the FCRHA in January. “Access to housing is fundamental in the success of our community and it must be able to accommodate a diverse range of incomes. Affordable housing is a priority for this Board and we will continue to look for ways to bring options to ever corner of this County.”
The board’s authorization to convey the property to the FCRHA is a critical first step in allowing for the evaluation of the site and its feasibility for future affordable housing. The redevelopment of the site may require an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan and rezoning to allow for a multifamily residential community on the property. This land use and zoning consideration will include many opportunities for public review and input in evaluating and shaping the vision for the future use of the property.
Public engagement is expected to begin once a developer for the project has been selected through a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process in accordance with the Public-Private Educational Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002. It is anticipated that a RFP will be issued this year.
In the event that the FCRHA does not pursue an affordable housing project on the site, ownership of the location will be transferred back to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for further considerations.