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New ‘Rappahannock’ Development Keeps a 50s Face on a Mixed-Use Project

(Updated at 11 a.m.) A long-delayed redevelopment at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Barton Street finally appears poised to become a reality.

A new mixed-use building at 2400 Columbia Pike, featuring 120 residential units and ground-floor retail space, will be replacing the current, low-slung 1950s buildings, one of which holds independent cafe Rappahannock Coffee. The County Board approved a modification to the development plan, including adding 15 residential units to the originally-proposed 105, at its meeting last weekend.

Part of the approved proposal included maintaining the current building facades on the ground floor to maintain part of the character of Columbia Pike.

“The façade preservation treatment for the two historic buildings will retain Columbia Pike’s unique setting and scale,” a county staff report said, “while allowing for a more cohesive development to occur, providing for a defined street wall and better efficiencies around underground parking, floor plates, and common areas.”

According to a County press release, the current businesses — Rappahannock Coffee and Cabinets ERA — will be able to stay in place in the new building.

“The proposed development will not only preserve the existing building facades but will also retain space for current retailers and offer transportation improvements contributing to a cohesive and user-friendly network,” the County said.

We tried to reach both businesses to ask about their plans. A person who answered the phone at Rappahannock Coffee hung up on an ARLnow reporter, and a Cabinets ERA employee said the manager did not want to discuss it.

The new development will also come with some improvements to the streetscape and the sidewalk. Six feet of the sidewalk will be designated for pedestrian space, while another six feet could be used for benches, trees, and other amenities.

Provisions are also included for a future transit station on the eastern part of the project. Despite hopes for transit ridership on the Pike, the proposal includes 140 parking spaces in a below-grade garage and 36 spaces in a newly-approved surface parking lot behind the building.

The County Board unanimously approved the project at its meeting on Saturday.

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