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Great Adaptive Reuse Projects Start With Community Needs

Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax

Adaptive reuse is a popular trend in the urban market, where limited space and creative land use go hand in hand.

As demonstrated by the Paul VI High School site in Fairfax, the trend is moving out to the suburbs and bringing with it a unique set of requirements.

When the Diocese of Arlington announced it would move Paul VI from Fairfax to Loudoun County, the local community had questions about the future of the 18.5-acre site, which includes an 80-year-old historic building.

Christopher Consultants has experience in adaptive reuse dating back to its work in the late 1980s on the transformation of the RF&P railroad into the multi-phase, multi-year project now known as Potomac Yard. Christopher is also based just a couple of miles from the school site and has been in the area for 35 years.

Intimately familiar with Fairfax’s municipal regulation as well as its people, Christopher Consultants president Bill Zink helped put residents' needs and vision at the heart of the process to decide how best to use the site.

Christopher, along with developer IDI Group Cos. and planner Streetsense, walked the community through the plan for a mixed-use development with residential and retail components that would preserve the original building.

Residents highlighted flooding of nearby streets, stormwater management and streetscape improvements as aspects they would like the project to address.

The team heard this feedback, and is designing an updated streetscape that will incorporate the replacement of an aging drainage pipe, helping the city solve a years-old infrastructure problem and aiding in the preservation of a well-known community landmark by giving it a second life as a mixed-use development.

The project is expected to break ground in 2019, when the school moves to its new site and transfers ownership to IDI Group.

We are thrilled Christopher Consultants has joined us as a sponsor of our Bisnow Beltway Bash, to be held at the TAO Nightclub in the Venetian on Monday, May 22, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in Las Vegas. Register here.