Fairfax City has a strong local economy in a crossroads location, with a substantial retail base and a growing market for both office and retail space. Population and regional median income have grown steadily in Fairfax City since 2000, and will have opportunity to accelerate that growth in the coming years as the City’s trade area continues to make room for further development. The Fairfax City Economic Development Authority (EDA) ensures that developers have access to the resources and support they need to efficiently navigate the legal process, maintain compliance, and move their projects forward. These factors make Fairfax City an excellent market for real estate investors and developers.
Fairfax City Real Estate Development
Commercially-zoned land constitutes 18 percent of all land in the City. Out of the 620 acres in the City’s commercial districts, approximately 18 acres are vacant and have already been approved for development. The principal sector for future commercial development and redevelopment is the Fairfax Boulevard Corridor, with additional development and redevelopment emphases on the Old Town Fairfax, Pickett Road, and Main Street areas.
Fairfax City is a prime location for commercial real estate development initiatives, with demand for new office space in the City and other central Fairfax markets on the rise. In particular, demand exists for office construction space for large tenants (over 30,000 sq. feet) and small office buildings (10,000-30,000 sq. feet) for purchase as owner-occupied space.
Fairfax City is implementing several strategic initiatives to encourage office, retail, and restaurant development and further economic growth. To promote an environment conducive to development and redevelopment projects, Fairfax City is creating a comprehensive inventory of preferred sites, providing improvements and streetscape enhancements that will give targeted areas an improved, coherent visual theme and more organized pedestrian and traffic flows, and aggressively pursuing the type of related business services that typically complement office development, as noted in the City’s 2012 Comprehensive Plan.
The retail market in Fairfax City is in a very strong position, with a vacancy rate of approximately 5%. This rate is unusually low given the age of the City’s retail properties, the small size of many tenant businesses, and the availability of retail development outside City limits. Such an unusually low vacancy rate reflects a thriving retail base while a strong market exists for new commercial developments to provide for additional retail businesses.
Getting Started: Planning
The Fairfax City Economic Development Authority understands that information acquisition and initial planning processes are often a significant hurdle faced by potential developers. To ease this burden, the Fairfax City EDA acts a resource to developers in the early stages of their project.
Location planning is perhaps the biggest part of the initial process. The Fairfax City EDA can leverage their position to assist developers with decisions about location for their project; providing site suggestions, weighing the pro’s and con’s of different possibilities, and providing key information about Fairfax City’s principal areas for commercial development.
Getting Started: Approvals and Applications
Applicants must complete several steps to gain approval for a planned development, including a pre-application meeting, application for planned development, and a master development plan. Depending on project specifics, approvals may also be required for special use, zoning permits, signage permits, or other areas of review. More information about these requirements and what they mean for your project can be requested from Fairfax City EDA or found in §6.1-7 of the Zoning Ordinance.
The Fairfax City EDA is equipped to help developers successfully navigate the application process for all necessary permissions, permits and approvals from City of Fairfax authorities. Contact us today!
- Zoning Ordinance
- Contains complete, comprehensive steps of required application and approval process (see §6.1, §6.2, §6.6, and §6.7 for relevant information)
- Comprehensive Plan
- Guide to the long-range physical growth and development of the City through 2035
- Downtown Fairfax Coalition
- Private, nonprofit organization that works with the business community, the residential community, professional organizations, and City Council and staff to provide guidance and promote the positive redevelopment of Old Town Fairfax
- Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce
Applications and Permits
- Application Package for Planned Developments
- Multi-facet resource with approval checklist, development application, and other required forms for developers
- Application Package for Special Use, Special Exception and Variance
- Resource with application, relevant forms and information for all special developments
- Board of Architectural Review (BAR) Application
- Application for required approval for any significant improvements or changes to architectural and landscape features visible from public rights-of-way or property
- Building Permits
- Wastewater and Utility Safety: Public Works Division
- New Construction & Remodeling Approval
- Tree Removal Permit Application
- Application for Fire Prevention Code Permit
- Permanent Sign Permit Review: Procedures and Application
- Hauling/Moving Permit Application