NoVa Real Estate Development
McGuireWoods’ Real Estate and Land Use Group

Embark Richmond Highway Moves Forward

Embark Richmond Map

The Embark Richmond Highway Advisory Group met Monday morning (02/27) for its 14th meeting and continued its discussion of staff’s transportation impacts analysis for the proposed bus rapid transit system along US Highway 1.  The Embark Richmond Highway planning process represents a significant opportunity to embrace future transit options and reposition property for density or uses that may not be reflected in the the current Plan.  Staff intends to begin drafting text for the comprehensive plan in this spring, so now is the time to think strategically about specific sites or opportunities that can be addressed in this process.



Great Falls Approval

On January 24, 2017 McGuireWoods, on behalf of Gulick Group, Inc., secured the approval of a rezoning of 11 acres of the Hills Nursery in Great Falls from the R-A District to the R-1 District, Cluster. Gulick Group, a premier builder of luxury homes and communities in the Northern Virginia area, designed an environmentally sensitive, density-compatible plan of nine lots on the topographically challenged property.  The County staff review was detailed and extensive and citizen involvement was robust.   In the end, our collective efforts resulted in the Great Falls Citizen’s Association withdrawing any opposition to the project and unanimous votes for approval at both the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisor’s hearings.  For additional information, please contact Lori Greenlief at



Fairfax County Establishes Community Council on Land Use Engagement

Chairman Bulova recently created a Community Council on Land Use Engagement to discuss and make recommendations on ways to improve communication with citizens during the land use process. The first meeting was held on February 13 and recommendations are expected by the end of April, 2017.  McGuireWoods is honored to have been asked to participate as a member the council and provide our insight into community engagement.

Members of the council include:

  • Walter Alcorn, Chairman, Hunter Mill District, former Planning Commissioner, Consumer Electronics Association
  • Scott Adams/Lori Greenlief, McGuireWoods (Land Use Attorney/Planner)
  • Matt Bell, Mt. Vernon District
  • Robert Cain, Braddock District
  • Karen Campblin, Sully District
  • Mike Carlin, Springfield District
  • Michael DeLoose, Springfield District
  • Sherry Fisher, Braddock District
  • Deborah Fraser, Mason District
  • Elizabeth John, Dranesville District
  • Barbara Lippa, Sully District
  • Jeffery Longo, Mason District, Sleepy Hollow Manor Citizens Association
  • Sandra Lukic Dapoigny, Braddock District
  • Brad McKinney, Mason District
  • Carrie Nixon, Providence District
  • Kevin O’Neill, Braddock District
  • Vincent Picciano, Braddock District
  • Chris Soule, Lee District
  • Annmarie Swope, Hunter Mill, Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations
  • Fran Wallingford, Providence District

More information the committee can be found at

Fairfax, Leadership

Tysons Partnership – New President and Executive Director

As the Chair of the Tysons Partnership, I’m pleased to report that on February 2nd the Partnership’s Board of Directors voted to appoint David Diaz as our new President and Executive Director.  David, who is currently the president and CEO of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, succeeds to the position left vacant recently by Michael Caplin’s retirement.

We welcome David and his family to our Tysons community.  We look forward to the continued strengthening of our Partnership and the evolution of our “AudaCity”.  View press release.


Fairfax County rolls out new approach to site specific replanning proposals

The Comprehensive Plan is critical to land valuation and redevelopment potential.  Fairfax County has recently rolled out a proposed new process related to the procedural mechanisms for proposing site specific amendments to the Comprehensive Plan.  This process is a successor to the former Area Plan Review (APR) process and the more recent Fairfax Forward process.  This proposed process is in response to a directive by the Board of Supervisors to re-evaluate the Fairfax Forward process.  A summary of the new proposed process, as provided by Fairfax County, can be found at  At first read, the proposed process retains features of both the APR and the Fairfax Forward processes, including the ability to directly nominate property for replanning consideration.  That said, when compared to prior processes, there are meaningful differences in the vetting and evaluation processes that warrant further consideration and examination.  The County has invited feedback from industry representatives and McGuireWoods will be actively participating in those discussions.  Updates on the evolution of this process and the strategic and tactical implications will follow.


Embark Richmond Highway Planning Initiative Moves Forward

Embark Richmond Highway is an ongoing Fairfax County effort to plan greater transit oriented development along the Richmond Highway Corridor. The Embark Richmond Highway planning initiative began in May of 2015. We anticipate staff will recommend creating several bus rapid transit stations along Richmond Highway and plan the area around those stations as Community Business Centers, which would permit a greater level of density than is currently provided for in the Comprehensive Plan. Staff anticipates releasing station area concept plans between April-June 2017, drafting comprehensive plan recommendations between July-September 2017 and bringing the plan before Board of Supervisors in January or February of 2018. If you have property or are exploring opportunities along this portion of the Richmond Highway (see map), please contact us to discuss the particulars of your position. It is imperative that interested property owners engage with the County prior to this summer because it will be difficult to modify draft comprehensive plan recommendations once staff begins releasing them to the public.

Embark Richmond Map



David Gill to Speak at NVBIA Real Estate Finance Committee Luncheon

David Gill will be speaking at the NVBIA Real Estate Finance Committee Luncheon on January 25th regarding the Land Use Process in Northern Virginia.  The luncheon will be at Noon at the offices of Miller and Smith in Tysons (8401 Greensboro Dr #450).  Please email Alex Johns, Committee Chair, at or David Gill at for additional information.



Fairfax County Policy Plan Amendment Supports Higher Intensities for Self-Storage and Data Center Uses


The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors recently adopted a Policy Plan Amendment that will potentially open industrial planned areas County-wide by providing additional FAR for Data Center and Self-Storage uses.  This much needed amendment, which was adopted and developed largely in response to concerns raised by McGuireWoods for a key client, creates a new policy that allows the Board to increase the potential FAR to a 1.0 for these uses based largely on the lower-impact these uses generate in terms of traffic and County services.  The amendment requires a development site be located in an industrially planned and zoned district and meet certain criteria involving transportation, noise mitigation, building design, lot size or parcel consolidation, and site design in order to achieve the greater intensity. The text of the new amendment can be found here:


Please contact any member of the McGuireWoods team if you have questions about how this amendment may apply to a site.


Fairfax County Publishes Building Repositioning Report

To Fairfax County’s credit, they have collectively recognized the structural shifts that have and are occurring in the commercial office market.  In 2016, the County seated a diverse “Workgroup” to study the issue.  The Workgroup included elected officials (thanks to Supervisor Cook), senior County staff, and industry professionals, including  McGuireWoods.  On December 27th, the County published a forward looking report that identifies a number of innovative policy objectives that are aimed at adding flexibility and efficiency to approvals process so as to give otherwise challenged office and commercial properties new and additional options to be put to productive use in a way that benefits landowners and the County.  These options are potentially wide ranging and include residential and live/work options.  We expect ongoing evolution of these Policies in 2017.  If you would like to know more about this process, next steps and how it can creative opportunity for individual sites, please contact Gregory Riegle at



New Arlington County Planning Efforts Underway

Arlington County is in the process of re-planning three major areas in the County: Four Mile Run, the Lee Highway Corridor, and the commercial properties along Washington Blvd. at Kirkwood Road.

The Four Mile Run planning effort has been underway this Fall and includes regular Working Group meetings and a County-led consultant team to refine the vision for the industrial and park/County-owned properties in the area.  The next meetings will be held December 21, 2016 and January 3, 2017.


The 5-mile Lee Highway Corridor Study has just begun with a kick-off meeting in late November.  The multi-year planning effort will include visioning, land use changes and focus on transitioning to established, surrounding residential neighborhoods.  Stay-tuned, the planning effort begins in early 2017.

Lee Hwy

The Washington Blvd./Kirkwood Road Special General Land Use Study Plus is underway with a study of the comprehensive plan (GLUP) designations for a large area of underutilized land located one block from Clarendon.  The Long Range Planning Committee will hear Staff’s massing recommendations at a meeting December 20, 2016. The study is to culminate in May 2017 with recommendations to change the GLUP for all commercially-zoned properties, including the YMCA property, along Washington Blvd. from Kirkwood Road to N. Lincoln Street.

Wash Blvd