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2015 Urban Land Institute Award for Excellence in Institutional Development Awarded to Easter Seals Team

Awards—————15 May 2015

ULI Washington Trends Awards program identified the Easter Seals Project as setting new standards of excellence in real estate development in the Metropolitan Washington Area. The Awards program recognizes innovative projects, policies, and initiatives that contribute to the enhancement of vibrant neighborhoods, exemplify creative problem solving, and celebrate visionary thinking.

Development Approach – How do you complete a child day care project which encompasses two neighboring jurisdictions, four different zoning districts, a very tight time deadline, innovative affordable financing, a parking variance, and multiple players within the City and Fairfax County that all have to be on the same page to make it work?  That was the challenge facing the City of Falls Church as it attempted to refit an old, run down warehouse into a child development center.  The project objective was to keep an important institution (Easter Seals) in the City when it was required to move out of its original location. 

Access and Mobility – The existing site is located approximately a mile from the closest rail station, along ten regional bus lines, and twelve bike paths.  The site was designed to connect to the City’s ADA accessible sidewalk system.  S27 worked closely with the Falls Church’s Planning Division, Development Services Department and Recreation and Parks Departments  to create a cross parking agreement, resulting in onsite gardens and playground in lieu of parking spaces.

Sustainability – This Low Impact Development included adaptive reuse of an existing warehouse, reuse and waste reduction, 100% onsite storm water management, pervious play areas, porous concrete parking, a migratory butterfly way-station, and an expeditionary learning garden.  An extensive photovoltaic (PV) array on the roof almost fulfills the total building power demand.

Community & Culture – The Easter Seals Child Development Center of Northern Virginia (CDC) in Falls Church delivers programs and activities that maximize the physical, cognitive, social and emotional development of children and ensures they succeed in school when they reach kindergarten age and beyond. In the Falls Church area, it is the only child development center that will accept children under the age of two within five miles, and the only facility serving children below the age of five who have special needs such as disabilities, medical frailties. (e.g., cancer, heart disease, feeding tubes), within ten miles.  Realizing this project enriches the local and regional community for generations.

‘Excellence in Institutional Development’ includes projects developed by public agencies or institutional entities, such as universities and hospitals, where the organization takes a meaningful leadership position developing the project. Projects may include developments such as performing arts venues, transit-oriented development, or neighborhood revitalization. 

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