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Real Estate Students Tackle Best Use for City-Owned Lot

A group of second-year students in George Mason’s MS in Real Estate Development (MRED) program presented an analysis for the highest and best use of a city-owned surface parking lot before the board of the Economic Development Authority of the City of Fairfax last December.

The presentation was part of the students’ completion of their Capstone class requirement under the supervision of Professor Michael Curran.  The site is a corner parcel located in the heart of the historic district of Old Town Fairfax.

The City of Fairfax is undergoing active real estate redevelopment of older parts of the city including Combined Properties’ Scout on the Circle (a grocery-anchored retail and 400-unit apartment mixed use project), Pulte Homes’ Mount Vineyard (a 132-unit townhome project), IDI Companies’ The Enclave (an 80-unit condo project), and the Mayfair (a 28-unit townhome project), all currently under construction.

The students had to deal with a complicated site, with sloping topography located at a high-traffic intersection subject to various regulatory and title restrictions.  The final proposal was a mixed-use retail development or, in the event certain property restrictions could be relaxed, a hotel development.

“The students did a good job with their presentation and came well prepared to answer hard questions,” said one of the members of the Economic Development Authority board, “Some development lots are not easy and are challenging to consider – the students were able to come up with some answers for the City of Fairfax to think about if we want more development to happen.”

The Capstone class serves as a final project requiring the cummulative skills, knowledge and experience learned by the students during their time in the MRED program.  Previous classes have included proposed projects in Arlington, Alexandria and Washington DC.

Photo from Fairfax City EDA

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