In preparation for future commercial redevelopment along Fairfax Boulevard, the Fairfax City Council unanimously approved a $67,000 consulting analysis to help the city expand the range of businesses that locate along one of the city’s main thoroughfares.
The analysis will look at what is available along the boulevard and how the city can convince future developers into building retail space or office facilities in addition to apartment buildings, said Geoff Durham, the city’s economic development manager.
The contractor, Streetsense of Bethesda, Md., was selected from a field of nine bidders and will deliver its analysis later this year, Durham said.
Councilman Jeffrey Greenfield questioned whether this contract was really necessary because a similar analysis was done as part of the city’s master plan.
“It seems like we are duplicating what was done with master plan,” Greenfield said. “All this work was done in last 20 years and we’ve already got that information.”
However, David Hudson, director of community development and planning, said the analysis will put the city into a stronger position to negotiate for broader types of development.
“We get apartment-heavy development (applications),” Hudson said. “This group has the boots on the ground and is keenly aware of what a city can do to incentivize for additional retail and additional office development.
“The master plan took a broad brush look at it,” Hudson said. “They know retail and office and can tell us how to set the table.”
Mayor Scott Silverthorne agreed.
“We’ve had projects come in and they inform us that only certain things would work in that spot, but just a little way down the road those things worked great,” Silverthorne said. “We want to make sure that we are not blindly following what a developer says will work.”
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