Economic Success

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our office is open 8AM-4:30 PM M-F

703-324-5171
TTY 711

12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 432
Fairfax, VA 22035

Rebecca Moudry,
Director, Department of Economic Initiatives

Activate Fairfax: Request for Expressions of Interest

The Department of Economic Initiatives seeks expressions of interest to temporarily transform as an interim use a vacant, county-owned space in Tysons into an economic development destination.Former Container Store location in Tysons.

The space is located at 8508 Leesburg Pike which is the former location for Container Store in Tysons.

The goals of the Request for Interest (RFI) are to:

  • Promote and support innovation, local entrepreneurs and the small business sector.
  • Create vibrant experiences through creative placemaking.
  • Feature the Made in Fairfax network and other local producers or makers.

Responses will be accepted through April 20, 2020. 

For more information or questions, contact the Department Economic Initiatives by email or call 703-324-5171, TTY 711.

RFI Documents

Background Documents

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Uses

Can the space be used in the interim before an operator is selected?

The county does not anticipate making the space available prior to operator selection as specified in RFI.

Can the space be renovated? Are there any limits?

The selected operator will be responsible for executing all modifications necessary to accomplish their proposed use(s).  Prior to occupying the site, the Operator will be responsible for identifying and acquiring all necessary plans, permits, alterations and inspections to the space. No warranties or representations of any kind are made by the County, including a representation or warranty as to the suitability of the Property for any particular purpose. Respondents are cautioned that they are expected to undertake their own due diligence with respect to the property.

Is this space capable of becoming a restaurant? Other use? What modifications would have to be made?

The space is zoned C-7 Regional Retail Commercial District, (Building Use Group M, Type of Construction, 2C).  See the below links for details on what is permitted. Building plans and permits would be required to change the use of the building to a restaurant. Building plans and/or permits may be required to change the use to any use other than retail (mercantile). Potential respondents may consider professional guidance regarding desired building and zoning changes.

For more information see:

  • The Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance, including Article 4, Part 7: ‘C-7 Regional Retail Commercial District’ Article 11: ‘Off-Street Parking and Loading’ and Article 20: ‘Definitions’
  • Virginia Construction Code, VCC 2015, including Chapter 3: ‘Use and Occupancy Classification’ and Chapter 6: ‘Types of Construction’

Is the intent that this space will become a Makerspace?

The intent and goal of the RFI is the creative activation of the Property through diverse uses including innovation, entrepreneurship, small business support, and creative placemaking.

Is the space appropriate for “pop up” events?

Diverse uses of the Property to support the goals outlined in the RFI are encouraged to ensure that the space remains active and dynamic. Examples could include but are not limited to temporary or “pop-up” community-oriented events, art and cultural special events, innovation hubs or exchanges, or activities and civic and cultural programming that complement and support primary uses on the Property. It is intended that the selected operator will develop, implement, manage and market all programs at the Property.  The County makes no representation regarding the potential permissibility of uses, structural condition, building code or site compliance. If you have a specific question about zoning or building regulations, please email your question. If you require accommodation please call 703-324-5171, TTY 711. 

Will a special use permit be required?

The C-7 zoning designation allows for many uses, by right, by special permit and by special exception. If you require clarification regarding a specific proposed use, email your question to EconomicInitiatives@fairfaxcounty.gov. If you require accommodation please call 703-324-5171, TTY 711.

What are the expectations about compliance with zoning (e.g. landscaping)?

If the selected operator does not need to make changes to the site that are external to the building, it is unlikely that compliance with outdoor standards will be triggered.

General Questions

How many leasable square feet are available, and can I lease just a portion of the space?

Fairfax County intends to lease the entire space to a single operator. Total square feet of the Property is 19,260 square feet

What is the rent?

Specific terms will be negotiated with the selected operator. Fairfax County anticipates that the lease rate will cover the costs of providing water and electricity to the site (currently approximately $6,000 per month).

How many proposals have you received?

Fairfax County will not release information about the number of proposals received prior to the RFI closing date of April 20, 2020. The County may release aggregate information about the number of proposals received after that date.

Is this intended for big development corporations or will small business submissions be considered?

Fairfax County seeks responses from qualified parties, including companies, non-profits, partnerships, joint ventures, or individuals who desire to lease the Property to provide programming that achieves the goals outlined in the RFI. The size of the entity is not a consideration.

Will the County offer tenant improvements?

Specific terms will be negotiated with the selected operator. The County does not anticipate providing tenant improvements.

How long will the space be available?

The site is expected to be available for approximately five (5) years for use. The County anticipates a lease clause whereby the County and/or the Operator have the right to end the agreement with twelve (12) months notice.

Can I talk to the County about how my business services can help promote the RFI and market future activities or programs?

Fairfax County does not anticipate securing marketing services or other services for this effort. The RFI indicates that the identified operator will be responsible for acquiring all necessary plans, permits, alterations and inspections, as well as lead all programing, managing and marketing of the space.

Where can I find more information about the RFI?

All information will be posted on this webpage.

What is the plan for the space after the termination of the activation program?

The Comprehensive Plan for the Tysons Corner Urban Center includes a grid of streets in Tysons. The plan anticipates that the grid will be comprised of “complete streets” which enable safe access and movement for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities. In 2019, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors acquired the former Container Store at 8508 Leesburg Pike for the eventual implementation of a portion of the Tysons grid of streets.

Construction is not anticipated to begin in less than five years. At that time, the building at 8508 Leesburg Pike will be demolished to facilitate this particular grid connection, leading to a more walkable, bikeable, mobile, accessible, and connected community. Visit the Tysons transportation webpage for more information.

Will there be other RFI opportunities in other county-owned locations?

While we hope and expect that there will be other opportunities to partner with the community to activate spaces, we don’t have other similar opportunities planned at this time.

Are we required to be an LLC prior to submission?

No. The RFI states, “The RFI seeks expressions of interest from qualified parties, including companies, non-profits, partnerships, joint ventures, and individuals who desire to lease the Property to provide programming that achieves the…goals” [which are outlined in the RFI].

The “Tysons Interim Conditions Guidance” document appears to be Chapter 7 of a larger study. Where can I find more information?

 It is Chapter 7 of the Tysons Urban Design Guidelines. The entire document can be found on the County’s website: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/tysons/urban-design.

Space

Is the sprinkler system functioning?

Our records indicate there is a combined fire/burglar alarm system installed.  The fire alarm only monitors the status of the sprinkler system. The system has not been tested, and the county makes no representation regarding the capacity of the system.

Is Wi-Fi/internet access included?

Wi-Fi/internet access is not currently provided to the site. It is expected that the tenant would be responsible for Wi-Fi/internet service.

Is there an alarm system? Can it be operationalized?

The plans indicate there is a combined fire/burglar alarm system installed.  The fire alarm only monitors the status of the sprinkler system. The system has not been tested, and the county makes no representation regarding the capacity of the system.

Is insurance covered?

The successful respondent will be expected to comply with liability and insurance requirements substantially consistent with provisions which are provided on this webpage.

What is included in the space (light fixtures, speakers, carpet)?

The building will be leased in as-is condition. All light fixtures, speakers and other fixtures are included.

Is it acceptable to take photos of space?

Yes, it is acceptable to take photographs of the space during the Q&A sessions.

Are there blueprints available for the space?

There are photos available of the fire marshal’s records. See the Fire Marshal Records link on the RFI website.

Are there any known issues with the HVAC, electricity, or plumbing?

The County is not aware of any issues with the HVAC, electricity or plumbing. No warranties or representations of any kind are made by the County regarding this space, including a representation or warranty as to the suitability of the Property for any particular purpose.

Can you bring in a contractor ahead of time?

Because of the restrictions associated with Covid-19, we are not able to offer access to the space at this time. Photos of the space are available on the RFI website. 

Is there a way to speed up the process for permitting?

The selected Operator will have access to the County’s Project Management Team. Permitting requirements will vary depending on the proposed use of the space.

Investment

Is there (or will the county make available) any low-cost financing to subsidize renovation(s)?

Fairfax County does not anticipate offering tenant incentives or financing as part of this opportunity.

Will the county be making any renovations?

The county will not undertake renovations or tenant improvements. It is anticipated that the identified operator will be responsible for all utilities and any maintenance/ improvements to the space and all operating expenses, including the cost of custodial, snow plowing and trash removal services.

Is this RFI most appropriate for a commercial developer who can invest in renovations?

Fairfax County seeks responses from qualified parties, including companies, non-profits, partnerships, joint ventures, or individuals who desire to lease the Property to provide programming that achieves the goals outlined in the RFI. The size of the entity is not a consideration.

Partnership

Can I join Made in Fairfax?

Membership in Made in Fairfax is free, and open to all county-based makers (anyone who makes a tangible, reproducible product in Fairfax County, including the incorporated cities (Fairfax, Falls Church) or towns (Clifton, Herndon, Vienna). Join the Made in Fairfax Network, or email for more information.

Who will review the RFI submissions? And who will select the operator?

A steering committee will be established by the Department of Economic Initiatives to evaluate submissions based on the following criteria:

  • Proposed activation uses and operational plan for the space that meets the RFI goals;
  • A clear plan for activation across the identified time-period with unique, evolutionary programming and;
  • A demonstrated record of successful programming and activation 

The Steering Committee will make a recommendation to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Ultimately, the Board of Supervisors will select the future operator.

Is there community representation on the Selection Committee?

The steering committee will be comprised of county representatives and external partners, such as the Tysons Partnership.

Is the 8508 Uncontained RFI based on any other models such as Made in DC?

There is no preconceived vision for the use of this space. Diverse uses of the property to support primary activities are encouraged to ensure that the space remains active and dynamic and meets the goals identified in the RFI. Examples could include but are not limited to temporary or “pop-up” community-oriented events, art and cultural special events, innovation hubs or exchanges, or activities and civic and cultural programming that complement and support primary uses on the Property.

Is there an opportunity to partner with other organizations to use the space (e.g. for-profit with nonprofit; commercial with artisan; commercial with Made in Fairfax)? How can we learn about partner opportunities?

This RFI seeks expressions of interest from qualified parties, including companies, non-profits, partnerships, joint ventures, and individuals who desire to lease the Property to provide programming that achieves the goals outlined in the RFI.  If you will not submit a response to the RFI but would like to share your interest in the space with others and seek collaboration, you may attend the next Q&A session to meet others who may be willing to partner.  To maintain social distancing, the March 23rd meeting will now be a conference call. See "Important Dates" for call-in instructions.

While the county is unable to provide match-making services at this point in the process, if you would like to be connected to a specific group or person who you think may be a fit for collaborating, send an email. If you require accommodation please call 703-324-5171, TTY 711. If both parties wish to be connected, we will make an introduction.

Is there a way to learn who the selected operator is or apply to be in the space once operator is established?

The selected operator will be announced on the Activate Fairfax RFI website once the Board of Supervisors advertises the selection.  

How can vendors/makers connect with potential respondents who may be proposing exhibitor, retail and/or maker space opportunities?

If the selected operator seeks retailers, exhibitors, makers or other participants, information will be posted on the Activate Fairfax webpage. Also, consider attending the next Q&A on March 23rd to meet potential partners.  To maintain social distancing, the March 23rd meeting will now be a conference call. See "Important Dates" for call-in instructions.

One of the goals of the RFI is to “Include retail opportunities featuring products by the Made in Fairfax network and other local producers”. Can you clarify what you mean by “other local producers?”

Other local producers include Fairfax County-based producers or makers who are not currently part of the Made in Fairfax network.  Membership in Made in Fairfax is free and open to anyone who makes a tangible, reproducible product in Fairfax County, as well as to the ecosystem that supports makers.  Interested parties can Join the Made in Fairfax Network

Will the county provide assistance in obtaining the necessary permits?

Prior to occupying the site, the Operator will be responsible for identifying and acquiring all necessary plans, permits, alterations and inspections to the space. The selected project will be eligible for guidance from the County’s Project Management team.

Important Dates

Will there be another Q&A session? Will it be the same as the first session?

A second Q&A  scheduled for Monday, March 23 at 1:00PM will now be a conference call at the same time (1PM). Please dial (703) 324-1800 and then enter 997696 to join the call. If needed/requested (and if possible) visits will be scheduled on an individual basis.  (Updated March 16)

What is the deadline to file a submission?

The deadline for submissions is 11:59 PM, April 20, 2020.The county may, at its discretion, consider late submissions.

What is the timeline for the RFI selection?

The anticipated timeline is presented below.  However, several factors may alter the anticipated dates. 

  • April 20 -RFI submissions due
  • Mid-May – Steering Committee recommendation
  • Summer – Selection of an operator by the Board of Supervisors
  • Fall/Winter – Anticipated Occupation

Communication

Will emails addresses of those who attended the information session be posted on website?

The emails of those in attendance will not be posted on the website. If you are seeking to connect with a specific attendee, send an email. If you require accommodation please call 703-324-5171, TTY 711.

I attended the March 9 Q&A. Will the next session be the same information? Should I attend both?

The schedule and plan for the March 23rd Q&A will be the same as the March 9th session. Attendance is optional. To maintain social distancing, the March 23rd meeting will now be a conference call. See "Important Dates" for call-in instructions.  Questions and answers will be posted on the RFI website.

Do I need to RSVP to attend the Q&A session on March 23?

No RSVP is required. To maintain social distancing, the March 23rd meeting will now be a conference call. See "Important Dates" for call-in instructions. 

Future Questions and Inquiries

All questions regarding this RFI must be submitted via email. Questions will not be accepted by text message, facsimile, mail, hand delivery, or in person. If you require accommodation please call 703-324-5171, TTY 711.

Questions must be made on behalf of a prospective respondent and must include the requestor’s name, email or mailing address, telephone number, and the name of the prospective partner.

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