McLean's first personal storage facility got underway in downtown Wednesday with a ceremonial groundbreaking attended by politicians, business people and residents.
Extra Space Storage will be built on what is now the parking lot behind the animal hospital by Compson Development which owns the neighboring Madison Building.
The 544-unit building at 1320 Old Chain Bridge Rd. actually looks like an office building. Its color and design blend with surrounding buildings.
"This facility will look nothing like the traditional storage faility we are used to seeing," Dranesville Supervisor John Foust told the crowd of about 40 that gathered for the groundbreaking.
"It will look like an office building. . . We hope it will spark" more new development in downtown, Foust said. "I would love to have more of these groundbreakings in downtown," he said.
Sharon Bulova, Chair of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors: "I am so impressed with what it will replace. . . a humble parking lot," she said.
Robert Bishop, of Compson, the developer: Customers will drive in underneath the building. It will have windows but you don't see through the windows, he explained.
"We wanted to make sure the project fits McLean. McLean designed the building and we are going to build it for them," Bishop said.
Maya Huber, a member of the McLean Planning Committee, which has an advisory role in downtown developments, explained that the developers brought several renderings and the planning committee selected one.
"They had a tremendous amount of patience," she said. "The storage facility is very useful."
5 things to know about the project:
1. The project includes a mid-block pedestrian sidewalk between the new building and the Madison building so residents of The Ashby and McLean House can walk to the Safeway.
"It a safe way to the Safeway," said Jane Edmondson, staff director for John Foust.
2. The storage facility will be four stories tall and 59,000 square feet. The Madison building next door is 81,000 square feet.
The developers are paying to put the utilities on Chain Bridge Road underground. One of the major goals of the McLean Planning Committee is to underground utilities to rid downtown of overhead clutter.
3. Several speakers spoke of "patience" in connection with the facility that's because it was 14 years in the making.
4. The facility will open in approximately 12 months. Prices will be set 30 days before the opening, developer Robert Bishop said.
5. The audience at the groundbreaking included: John Brough, president of Chain Bridge bank and vice-president of the Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce; Lynn Gulick, of Cardinal Bank, which is providing the financing; Rob Jackson, president of the McLean Citizens Association; Jack Wilburn, architect.