Christopher S. Herrington,
The Massey Building demolition and site restoration was complete in Spring 2020. The new master planning effort included an assessment of priority county uses for the site, including future criminal justice, public safety and human services’ needs, as well as coordination with the City of Fairfax and George Mason University.
The last comprehensive master plan for the site was developed in 2002 as part of the Courthouse Expansion and Renovation project. It was amended in 2008 to include the Less Secure Shelter II. The new master plan will provide the county with a 20-year road map for future growth on the site in a logical and systematical development. The goal of the master plan is to take into account current development needs while keeping in mind and planning for future developments.
Major areas of consideration included the former Massey Building site, the Historic Courthouse, and existing surface parking lots. The disposition of other county-owned real estate assets within the City of Fairfax at and near the Massey location were also evaluated for opportunities, and the potential for public private partnerships redevelopment was assessed.
The Massey Complex, also known as the county’s public safety campus, is a 47.8 acre part of Fairfax County surrounded by the City of Fairfax. See project map location below. In 1969 Fairfax County opened the Massey Building, a 13-story building, as the main seat of the Fairfax County Government. Extraordinary population growth through the 1970s and ‘80s dictated a new building for the seat of government and the main county offices moved to the Government Center campus, approximately four miles to the west, in 1992. The Massey Building then became headquarters to the Police and Fire & Rescue Departments. In 2017 both of these departments moved from the Massey to a new Public Safety Headquarters building on the Government Center campus. The Massey building, at nearly the 50-year mark, reached the end of its usefulness as a structure. The building contained many asbestos laden building products, which were the norm in the 1960s, along with very small floor plates, antiquated building systems, spalling precast concrete, and a window system that was expensive to replace. During the plan amendment for the Fairfax County Courthouse, the Massey Building was planned for future demolition once a new headquarters for Police and Fire & Rescue was developed.
The Massey Building demolition began in early 2019 with hazardous material removal. Actual demolition of the Massey Building and site restoration was completed in Spring 2020.
The property is located on the southwest corner of Chain Bridge Road and Main Street. It is a 47.8-acre piece of Fairfax County that is surrounded by the City of Fairfax and is assigned to the Providence District Supervisor’s Office. It is home to the Historic Fairfax Courthouse and Jail, the Historic Legato School, Fairfax County Courthouse, the Adult and Juvenile Detention Centers, as well as a number of non-profit and volunteer organizations.
Why is the Massey Complex an autonomous piece of Fairfax County surrounded by the City of Fairfax?
This anomaly dates back to 1799 when Richard Ratcliffe sold four acres to Fairfax County for the new location of the Fairfax County Courthouse. Mr. Ratcliffe owned all the land surrounding the four-acre parcel. He then proceeded to build a tavern where the Bank of America now sits. In 1800 he sold an additional six acres to the county to accommodate a jail, stocks, stable, and other associated buildings. It was then that he began to lay out the Town of Providence around the courthouse. The Town of Providence was approved by the Virginia General Assembly in 1805. This name was officially changed in 1874 to the Town of Fairfax and in 1961 became an independent city leaving a now 47.8-acre parcel of Fairfax County in the center of the city.
The Master Plan effort kicked off in Summer 2018 and concluded in February 2021. A master plan is a detailed, long-range plan that balances and harmonizes all elements for the best utilization of the site. It looks at the existing site configuration, the next phase of growth, and the future growth for the site in a logical plan that maximizes the sites potential. This master plan offers a vision for the Complex’s future programming, its development, its infrastructure, its connectivity, and its open spaces and historic resources. It aligns a physical vision for the Complex’s future growth with the County’s strategic vision for growing the Judiciary and other related programming.
Throughout the Master Plan process, a number of interactive design workshops were held with the surrounding community and the stakeholders.
The first stakeholder workshop of a number of work sessions was held on October 4, 2018 with stakeholders who work on the Massey Complex. The work session was attended by over 60 stakeholders who participated in several interactive exercises. The interactive exercises were geared to explore the four priorities that form the mission statement for the Massey Complex Master Plan and to generate design ideas on how the master plan could respond to the priority statements.
Additional work sessions will be scheduled for next year with three of them open to the public and community at large.
The second stakeholder workshop was held on January 31, 2019 with stakeholders who work on the Massey Complex. The work shop was attended by 70 stakeholders who participated in exercises to begin to define the master plan concepts including where to locate the Police Evidence Storage Facility, how to expand the Courthouse to meet future growth needs of the Courts, how to best utilize and create a sense of place for the Old Courthouse and the Historic Jail, how to begin to block and organize the site for future growth needs, pedestrian and vehicle access patterns, and what would a Public Private Partnership look like on the site.
The third stakeholder workshop was held on May 2, 2019 with stakeholders who work at the Massey Complex. Participants got their first chance to review three different master plan concepts.
This project is listed in the FY 2021 - FY 2024 Adopted Capital Improvement Program (CIP) on page number 157.
Architectural Review Board Briefing. The presentation includes master plan priorities and the project schedule.
The Massey Building in Fairfax, VA, was demolished in 2020. It took about 320 calendar days (10 months) to take down the 196 foot structure. The building was named after Carlton C. Massey, the first County Executive for Fairfax County, who served from 1952 to 1971.
12000 Government Center Pkwy
Fairfax, VA 22035