The Board of Supervisors approved a new minimum parking rate for large shopping malls at its Tuesday, Dec. 3, meeting. The changes give Fairfax County’s largest commercial retail centers additional flexibility to adapt to a changing retail marketplace as residents increasingly shop online.
The minimum parking requirement for malls of 800,000 net square feet or more is being reduced from four spaces per 1,000 square feet to a rate of 2.5 spaces per 1,000 square feet.
This approved change comes after a parking analysis conducted by Nelson/Nygaard revealed that no more than 70% of available spaces were occupied during peak holiday shopping seasons at Fair Oaks Mall and Springfield Town Center. It also occurs after analysis by the county’s Department of Planning and Development of parking regulations for all regional malls in the county including current abilities to reduce parking at these retail centers.
Repurposing Parking Spaces
Reducing required parking at large malls will provide an additional opportunity to repurpose parking areas and is aligned with several key county goals including reducing environmental impacts and fostering the ability to create a higher-density, mixed-use, multi-modal community.
Conventional malls around the United States are repurposing underused surface parking areas for redevelopment activities including adding new residential and commercial development, urban plazas and enhanced design for pedestrian activities.
Locally, Tysons Corner Center and Springfield Town Center have similar approved plans for redevelopment that utilize surface parking. These redevelopments are possible because of nearby mass transit, which further reduces parking demand.