Q&A: A New Anchor for Falls Church, with Maury Stern, Insight Property Group
- Jul 15, 2015
By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor
Broad & Washington LLC, a joint venture between Arlington-based Insight Property Group and Reston’s Kiddar Metz, plans to transform the city of Falls Church with a new residential and commercial anchor for its arts and cultural district. The project calls for the construction of 324 apartments and more than 100,000 square feet of commercial space, including a grocery anchor, 36,000 square feet of office space, restaurants and retail stores.
Maury Stern, a partner at Insight Property Group, agreed to tell us more about the project. At Insight, Stern is responsible for all facets of development of large multifamily and mixed-use projects. Before joining the Arlington-based company, he was a development manager at StonebridgeCarras.
Q: When did you first get the idea for the project?
A: Last summer, Todd Hitt of Kiddar Metz placed the site under contract. Shortly thereafter, he approached Insight to consider a joint venture on this project, as we are very familiar with the city and this location. The site spans a full city block at a prominent downtown intersection. We both strongly believe it is ideal for a vibrant mixed-use anchor at the crossroads of Broad and Washington. Kiddar Metz and Insight Property Group make a great team to spearhead this project.
Q: What made you choose Falls Church?
A: Falls Church is a well-established community with a strong foundation. We recognized that we could build on those strengths to enhance the historic downtown area.
Falls Church draws renters and shoppers from all over Northern Virginia and is well situated between major employment centers. With Broad & Washington at the center of the city, it is the logical place for an anchor project that will strengthen the livability of the area by making it walkable and bikeable. The location also directly connects it to the surrounding fabric of deep-rooted residential neighborhoods, local retailers and entertainment destinations.
Q: How much does your company expect to invest in the project?
A: This project is a joint venture between Kiddar Metz and Insight Property Group. The final equity investment will be determined once the project is approved and a construction contract is finalized, but the total project is estimated to cost $130 million.
Q: The project’s residential portion includes a pretty high number of units. Is there a need for apartments in Falls Church?
A: The demand for apartments — especially small modern units — is extremely high: from Millennials that work in Tysons Corner, Arlington and D.C. but don’t want to live in the city to empty nesters looking to downsize. Both of these populations of renters are growing, and we believe they will find Falls Church, especially downtown, a very attractive place to call home.
Q: Have you signed or are you in talks with any tenants for the commercial portion of the project?
A: We are in talks with potential tenants, but do not have any leases signed yet. We will continue to pursue the grocery and other retail tenants as we progress through the entitlement process.
Q: Will the project feature other amenities?
A: Although the commercial leases and detailed design of the residential amenities has not been finalized, we can tell you that we expect to have great commercial amenities with the grocery anchor as well as residential amenities such as a pool, courtyards, fitness center and dog park.
Q: What effects will the project have on Falls Church and the surrounding areas?
A: Given the location at the corner of Broad and Washington streets, we think this development will be a catalyst for the redevelopment of the entire downtown core of Falls Church. Our street-level retail will integrate with the existing restaurants and businesses to contribute a vibrant retail, arts and entertainment district. This will truly be a transformative development for the city of Falls Church.
Q: When do you hope to break ground?
A: The exact timing depends upon completion of the entitlement process, but we estimate that we will start construction in early 2017.
Q: How long do you expect construction to take?
A: Construction will take approximately two years.
Q: Please describe your project in just three words.
A: Transformative, sustainable community.