Fairfax County Seeks Expressions of Interest as Redevelopment of Historic Building Continues
Fairfax County has issued a “Request for Expressions of Interest” (RFI) for the adaptive reuse of the Original Mount Vernon High School (OMVHS). As part of its plan to redevelop the historic building and campus into a vibrant community hub, the county is seeking out organizations interested in creating a food-based business accelerator and entrepreneurship center.
The food business accelerator will serve as an anchor tenant and will join the teen and senior center already on site. Future development includes a theatre, space for education and workforce development, childcare, and a separate technology-based business center. The renewal of this historic landmark is expected to provide economic opportunities, encourage business growth, and contribute to the economic diversification of this rapidly growing corridor.
The RFI is located online and responses will be accepted, reviewed, and possibly recommended for further consideration or implementation on a rolling basis in order of submission until March 31, 2022.
A food business accelerator is a fully licensed shared-use commercial space that is certified for food production. Members rent the kitchen by the hour, day, or month to produce specialty food products and receive guidance and coaching to improve their independent businesses. The RFI seeks a food business accelerator operator that will provide a programming component focused on helping participating entrepreneurs and small businesses to scale or expand.
The master plan for OMVHS calls for shared multigenerational, vibrant community spaces with public and private, educational, recreational, and nonprofit uses, as well as pedestrian connections to the nearby future bus rapid transit station. This location is next to one of nine potential rapid transit stations that will run along the highway from Huntington Metro Station to Fort Belvoir, as proposed in Embark, the Route 1 corridor revitalization plan.
Background on Original Mount Vernon High School
The building was originally built in 1939 on land that used to be part of George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and is a classic example of Colonial Revival architecture. The 22-acre property was used as a high school until 1973 and then a middle school until 1985. The building was then leased to the Islamic Saudi Academy in 1989 until that school relocated to a new building in 2016. The approximately 140,000-square-foot Mount Vernon High School facility consists of the main high school building and several smaller buildings to the west and south of the main structure. There are two athletic fields to the southeast of the property that are scheduled for community use.
In 1987, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources determined that the high school property was eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The school was listed on the Virginia Historic Landmarks Register in December 2017, and in the National Registry of Historic Places in May 2018.
About the Department of Economic Initiatives
The Fairfax County Department of Economic Initiatives (DEI) leads programs and initiatives to foster economic development and position Fairfax County to be an economically competitive and prosperous community for all. DEI delivers innovative solutions to cultivate a diverse and thriving local business base, facilitate development through public-private partnerships that address strategic priorities, and foster an entrepreneurial and innovative ecosystem within the County and the region, building on competitive economic strengths.