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1,582-square-foot mistake costs Fairfax hotel project $30K-plus, months of delays

Monday - 1/27/2014, 11:54am  ET

Message to architects and developers: Double check your numbers.

A Marriott-branded hotel project planned for Fairfax County’s Richmond Highway corridor is months behind schedule and more than $30,000 in the hole as a result of a mistake the size of a small home.

In July 2012, the county approved Greenbelt-based Baywood Hotels’ rezoning proposal for a two-acre site at the intersection of Richmond Highway and Woodlawn Court. The 92-room, extended stay Towneplace Suites by Marriott was designed to attract tourists and Fort Belvoir visitors to southeastern Fairfax.

The approved rezoning called for a maximum .62 floor-area ratio, that is, the total square footage of a building divided by the square footage of the lot. But when the project went into the site plan stage, it was discovered the building would be 1,582 square feet larger than previously anticipated.

The additional square footage pushed the hotel to .63 FAR, a tenth of a percent shift that Fairfax County’s zoning office could not approve. Baywood was forced to resubmit amended proffer and special exception applications, the price tag for which totaled $31,835, and that does not include the cost incurred for legal and engineering fees.

“The architect made a mathematical error on building dimensions during the original rezoning submission,” Keith Martin with Tramonte, Yeonas, Roberts & Martin PLLC wrote in a November submission to the county. “During site plan preparation the applicant’s architect correctly designed a building that is 1,582 square feet larger (55,469 S.F.) than shown on the approved [plat] resulting in an FAR of 0.63.”

Oops.

The applications do not list an architect. Baywood representatives were not immediately available for comment.

The Southeast Fairfax Development Corp. lists the hotel as having a 2013 start date. Obviously, that did not happen. The new applications are expected to be approved in February by the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors.

But the moral of the story is clear — get it right the first time.

© 2014 American City Business Journals, Inc.