I was flipping through the real estate section of the Washington Post (which has been pretty skimpy lately) the other day and noticed that most of the “New Townhomes” section was filled with two postcard-sized ads. One was for “Main Street Residences” by Courtland Homes and the other for “Madison Mews” by Madison Homes, both of which are in Fairfax City.
In a region with over 5 million people, the fact that most of the space under this category was advertising new development in our tiny jurisdiction of 22,000 people, makes it seem like Fairfax City is undergoing a townhouse boom.
Add to this that in a few months we could see another ad from Richmond America homes for the “Royal Legacy Commons” development just down Route 123, and three other townhome developments that have been approved or are in the planning stages, all within about one mile from each other.
All of these developments might just be coincidental; or they could be in response to one of the goals in the 2004 masterplan. The plan called for an increase in the stock of high end townhomes within the city because comparisons with peer juristictions showed that we have an undersupply.
Does this mean that the city is about to be infected with a spreading virus of similarly looking 30’ wide brick faced cubes? In summary: YES, we can expect to see a lot more townhomes in the next five to seven years, but these new projects are much smaller.
I put together the attached map showing the city's “townhouse corridor" along Route 123 from downtown to George Mason University to help explain. Townhouse developments built over the past 15 years are shown in green, those under construction in yellow, and those planned in red. Each development is also labeled with the proposed or existing number of units.
About 160 units are proposed in six developments, compared to about 240 built in the last 15 years in just four projects. We have essentially run out of land for any significant developments in the city, so developers are looking to small infill sites and redevelopment. This means that each of those advertisements in the Washington Post only represents a handful of units, whereas as few years ago, it could have represented over 100.