With the opening of the Dunn Loring Metro in the early 1980’s, there was an upsurge in activity in Merrifield. In 1999, the Suburban Merrifield Task Force of dedicated citizens and stakeholders was formed to bring about the transformation of Merrifield from an industrial region, where you could watch a movie, grab dinner and then rent a backhoe. There were obstacles to overcome, including vast changes to the comprehensive plan and getting approval from Fairfax County for multiple zoning changes. The task force had a vision of what could be, and they met for three years to hammer out what was needed.
Even so, it wasn’t until 2005 that the first ground-breaking took place for Vantage Condos, Phase 1 of the Suburban Merrifield Town Center. Uniwest paved the way for the development that we now know as Mosaic District, one of Fairfax County’s crown jewels. It started with the demolition of businesses on Strawberry Lane, including A & R Tool Rental, and a U-Haul dealer and storage facility. It ended in 2008 with the completion of Vantage, the mixed- use project that straddles Strawberry Lane.
Besides the 277 residential units, Vantage boasts retail space on the lower level. Many of the original retailers are still there. Uniwest, a long time GMBA member, houses their headquarters at Vantage, and their President, Michael Collier, attributed the fact that so many original tenants are still going strong to the strength of the location and the quality of the tenants. Four Sisters was the first tenant to lease space, and was soon followed by Chipotle, Citibank, X-Sport Fitness, Coldstone Creamery, Merrifield Tailor and Federal Express.
The transformation of Strawberry Lane from a tool rental and U-Haul dealer to the Vantage was not Uniwest’s first rodeo. For over 30 years they have been overseeing the construction of mixed-use projects throughout the region, and have ongoing projects not only in Northern Virginia but also in West Virginia. GMBA salutes Uniwest for their vision and tenacity to get things going in Merrifield.
Uniwest, like most other GMBA members, is taking many precautions during Covid. They supplied all of their staff with thermometers, and since March their staff has been staggering hours, their conference rooms are closed, and they are continuously sanitizing surfaces. They are doing their part in the “Mask-UP Merrifield” movement.
About Greater Merrifield Business Association
The Greater Merrifield Business Association was established to build a strong network of local businesses, support our local community, and increase the customer traffic to our businesses.