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Fairfax County Awaits Proposals For King's Crossing Strip Mall

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Store owners in the Penn-Daw Shopping Center are still awaiting news of what will be of the strip mall. 
Michael Pope
Store owners in the Penn-Daw Shopping Center are still awaiting news of what will be of the strip mall. 

Residents in southeast Fairfax County are about to see some major changes to an area known as King's Crossing. At the Penn-Daw Shopping Plaza, opinions are divided about what the planned redevelopment should look like.

Books-A-Million manager Jamillah Scott says customers that come into this suburban-style strip mall talk about the proposed redevelopment.

"Every day. There's not a day that goes by that someone doesn't ask, 'Do you know? Do you know? Have you heard? What's going on?'" says Scott. "I mean every single customer. And what we say is we don't know. It's a waiting game for us."

That wait may soon be over. Last month, the Fairfax County Planning Commission cleared the way for developers to file applications for much larger developments than currently exist at this site. Instead of a one-story strip mall with a large parking lot, the redevelopment would be five stories of residential units and ground-level retail. 

Southeast Fairfax County Development Corporation communications director David Ben acknowledges there have been some concerns about the new project.

"The community was concerned a little bit about traffic, and how redeveloping this site could potentially cause more traffic, but that's one of the beauties of going through a comprehensive plan amendment process," Ben says. 

County officials plan to ask developers to improve the dysfunctional intersection at King's Crossing, where Richmond Highway -- or Route 1 -- intersects King's Highway. That's where a Walmart opened across the street, frustrating many neighborhood residents who were pushing for an upscale mixed-use development. Instead, they got a suburban big box store with a large parking lot.

"We were hoping for something a little bit denser than that, and that's what's proposed here at the Penn-Daw Plaza and what's been approved here," Ben says.  

Inside the bookstore, Scott says customers have a variety of opinions about the proposed redevelopment.

"Some are happy. Some would like something better," Scotts says. "A lot are not. They are upset. They more say so about our store. Because once this goes down, there will be no bookstore anywhere near or on Route 1."

Now that the comprehensive plan has been amended, county officials say they are expecting a development application in the next few weeks.

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