It’s no secret that strip malls in the District aren’t long for this world. A two-block one on H Street, Northeast, was bulldozed last year to make way for apartments and retail. Similar plans are in motion for others. But car-dependent McLean still seems like a strip-mall safe haven.
To some extent, it is. “There are a lot of longtime McLean residents who like the convenience of parking your car in front of a restaurant and walking in the door—we want to maintain that option,” says John Foust, who represents McLean’s district on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. “But this will also give us more vibrance.”
“This” is a proposal to revamp two of McLean’s largest strip malls, both on Old Dominion Drive—Old Dominion Shopping Center and Chain Bridge Corner Shopping Center—as a mixed-use development of residences, offices, and retail that will have as its centerpiece a pedestrian-only plaza. It’s part of a broader vision to create a central “Main Street” for McLean.
“When you talk about McLean, where is it? It’s really spread out,” says Foust, who adds that a walkable area of shops and restaurants would create an identifiable place.
Developer McLean Properties rolled out its vision for the project in February. If the plan makes it through zoning approvals this year, the project could break ground by 2019.
Foust—who has lived in McLean since 1987 and pushed for this type of development since joining the Board of Supervisors in 2008—says, “We’re going to do everything we possibly can to expedite this.”