Small shopping center approved to replace rundown houses

A view of the two houses from Richmond Highway
These two houses will be demolished to make way for the new center.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors signed off on a new shopping center that will replace two rundown properties in the Mount Zephyr area.

The Board voted unanimously on October 29 to approve the 9,200-square-foot shopping center, which will consist of two brick and stone buildings facing each other. The buildings will be used for retail or restaurant use. No specific businesses for the location have been announced yet.

A drawing of the shopping center
A view of the planned shopping center, as seen from Richmond Highway. Click to enlarge. (Fairfax County image)

Parking will be in the rear of the center, which will have one entrance/exit on Richmond Highway. An outdoor seating area would be allowed in front of the buildings should a restaurant or restaurants move into the spaces.

A portion of the front of each property will be taken by the state to allow for the Richmond Highway widening project. Once that project is complete (currently estimated to be in late 2025), the center’s exit/entrance will be right-in, right-out because there will be a median on Richmond Highway.

The shopping center will replace two older single-family homes that are currently unoccupied. They were last used for a car rental business and a title loan office, respectively. They had already been zoned for commercial use about 15 years ago, when a nursery and garden center briefly operated there.

The site, outlined in yellow, seen from above
The property in question, seen from above. (Fairfax County image)

The two homes, located at 8212 and 8118 Richmond Highway (see map), have fallen into poor condition, particularly since the title loan business closed and the car rental business moved in the last two years. The two buildings each have broken and/or boarded-up windows and overgrown lawns, and trash is often visible on the property.

Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay noted the 1.23 acre property’s poor condition when approving the proposal, and said that while the planned shopping center is a relatively small project, it will be a big improvement for that section of the Richmond Highway corridor.

“There have been numerous issues and notices of violations on this property,” McKay said. “It’s been a real problem for the community. And so this application will cleanup this property and bring it into conformance.”

Alwadi LLC is listed as the applicant for the project, and they were represented by attorney John Carter at the hearing. Carter noted that the neighboring townhouse association, the Lee District Land Use Committee and the Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation all supported the project.

No speakers spoke for or against the project at the public hearing before the Board’s vote.


  1. Dan