Broad & Washington Project will bring new Whole Foods to Falls Church

Molly Moore, Managing Editor

In May, the Broad & Washington Project broke ground on Falls Church City’s latest development, complete with a new Whole Foods, Creative Cauldron, retail space, three levels of parking, up to 334 residential units, and an outdoor seating area for pedestrians. This three-acre development, the second largest behind Founders Row, will be under construction for about another two years, with the Whole Foods set to open in the 3rd calendar quarter of 2024 and residential units ready by the 2nd quarter of 2024. 

The Broad & Washington Project had to undergo numerous phases of review and planning to ensure it would fit the needs of Falls Church City. Some steps include zoning approvals, work sessions, community walking tours, reviews by city commissions and boards, site plan processing, and adjusting the project programming, or will be in the development. The initial proposal was first presented to City Council in 2015 and then approved in April of 2018. “A considerable amount of public review goes on with any of these applications,” commented Falls Church City Director of Planning, Paul Stoddard.

Aspects of the development, such as the residential unit, had to be adjusted to fit the housing needs of Falls Church City’s prospective tenants. Finally, prior to Whole Foods committing to filling the large space on the corner of Washington and Broad, the developers planned on it being filled with office space. However, market demand favored a grocery store, especially in our highly family populated area. 

The projected construction process of about two years began in May of 2022 and has a long road ahead before it opens in 2024. Currently, the focus of construction is pouring concrete, in other words, laying the foundation of the large structure. Wood framing will follow the concrete pouring process in May of 2023, barring complications, and then external and internal finishes will conclude the construction. 

The completed Broad & Washington Project will hold a strong presence on its busy corner. The auto traffic that surrounds the project should not be directly impacted by the development after construction as there are no lane additions or subtractions, or stop lights included in the construction plan. However, accessibility to the area will be greatly increased from the previous pedestrian building-sidewalk situation or the current state of construction. In fact, the sidewalks between both Broad and Washington Streets and the new building will be twenty feet wide, allowing for plenty of pedestrian traffic. There will also be a path accessible to pedestrians connecting Park Place and Lawton Street with a small park on the path. 

“I’m looking forward to being able to walk there,” Sophomore Paige Kessman said about the development’s proximity and easy pedestrian access to almost everyone in Falls Church.

While the construction process may seem long and tedious, the result of this project will bring more economic activity to The Little City, the convenience of a local Whole Foods, and an aesthetically pleasing and well designed structure to the corner of Washington and Broad. Stoddard emphasized the significance of new projects in Falls Church. “[These projects] remind the development community that Falls Church is a good place to invest your money, over time attracting higher quality developments and a wider array of tenants who want to move here,” Stoddard said.  

Nicer styling, more appealing streetscapes, and higher quality retail, such as Whole Foods, are all variables that improve as investors continue to input money into Falls Church. 

In tandem with the Broad & Washington Project impacting the local economy and transportation, students at Meridian also have ideas of how the development will impact them. Sophomore Adam Beloud is looking forward to having a Whole Foods in town. “I’m excited for Whole Foods, and it better have a self checkout, hot bar, and bakery,” he said.  

However some feel the new development and grocery store are unnecessary, “I think it is unnecessary because there is already Harris Teeter and all it’s doing is making more traffic.” Freshman Seth Hahn said.

So while the Broad and Washington Project is not predicted to finish until mid 2024, it is indeed impacting our community now, and will for decades to come.