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Fairfax Developer Pivots From Office To 425 Multifamily Units, Citing Tough Market

The office building at 2560 Huntington Ave. slated for redevelopment. The Parker at Huntington is also visible in the background.

A Fairfax County developer has filed plans to build up to 425 units near the Huntington Metro station, the Yellow Line’s southern terminus.

Capital Investment Advisors filed a zoning change request with Fairfax County last week, seeking permission to build a 200-unit residential building on vacant land and tear down a half-century-old office building for a second, 225-unit residential building.

Capital Investment Advisors acquired 2550 Huntington Ave., the vacant parcel, from P6/MRP 2550 Huntington LLC in 2019 for $2.9M, property records show. Previously, Capital Investment Advisors acquired 2560 Huntington Ave., site of a circa-1976 office building, from Exelis in 2014 for $5.25M.

Both parcels lie on the border of Fairfax County and Alexandria and are a short walk from the Huntington Metro station.

The vacant lot was rezoned in 2012 to allow for office and hotel use. But since then, market conditions haven’t supported that kind of use, leading the developer to propose residential instead, FFXNow first reported Wednesday.

The office market in the area where the parcels are located, which Newmark defines as the Springfield submarket, had a vacancy rate of 21.1% in the second quarter of this year, according to the firm's Q2 data. That's just above the average for Northern Virginia as a whole.

The developers for the Huntington property specifically cited the weak office market as a reason for a change, saying they didn't believe they could fill a second floor of offices, in their statement of justification to the Fairfax County Department of Planning & Development.

“The Applicant investigated the feasibility of non-residential uses on the second floor of the building as recommended in the Plan,” the statement read. “After retaining a consultant to prepare a study of market demand in the area, the Applicant concluded that second floor retail or office use is not feasible.”

Instead, the developer would fill the first floor with 11K SF of community-facing retail and nonresidential uses that will screen a garage podium from Huntington Avenue.

Next door, the developer would replace the existing office building with up to 225 residential units. That building would also feature a 3K SF, ground-floor community center serving the public.

Other amenities would include a residential lounge and fitness center. The developer would also restore 11K SF of floodplain along Cameron Run, which flows along the property’s northern border, creating a “passive park opportunity.”

The parcels neighbor another multifamily property that recently changed hands. Brookfield Properties acquired The Parker at Huntington for $136M from California-based Passco Cos. in March. That property was formerly owned by MRP and AEW Capital Management.

Additionally, a major mixed-use project on the southern side of Huntington Avenue has been planned since 2017. The proposed Huntington Club development would add roughly 1,500 units on a 19-acre site.