Tom Kiler, Development manager with Edens, holds up plans that show the finished building at the Mosaic District, a mixed-use development in Merrifield, Va. (Evy Mages/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

There is a symbiotic relationship between residential and retail development that is playing out in Merrifield, where several housing projects are rising from the dirt alongside new shops, grocers and restaurants.

Take, for instance, the Mosaic District, a collection of shops, offices and residences on 31 acres along Lee Highway. Officials at South Carolina-based developer Edens said the company spent a great deal of time comprising a retail makeup to meet the needs of the community and lure potential renters and homeowners. It recently signed on Neiman Marcus Last Call Studio to the location.

Managing director Steve Boyle said in a recent Capital Business story that every inch of Mosaic is designed to create a walkable cityscape, where retail is a key draw. With a majority of new developments blending real estate uses these days, having a good mix of merchants and housing has become a necessity to staying competitive.

Developer AvalonBay Communities in Arlington is building 531 apartments above ground-floor retail at Mosaic that’s slated for completion in the summer of 2013. Meanwhile, Bethesda-based EYA is constructing an adjacent 112 town homes that will debut in October alongside 350,000 square feet of retail in the first phase of the project.

A half mile away, Mill Creek Residential Trust is taking a similar approach with a retail and apartment project atop the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro station.

The company, a spinoff of the residential arm of Trammell Crow, plans for a total of 628 apartments in three buildings and 65,000 square feet of retail including a 50,000-square-foot Harris Teeter grocery store.

Construction on the first phase of the project, which includes some 250 apartments, got under way in September 2011, with a target delivery date in the spring of 2013.

Both the Dunn Loring and Mosaic projects are outgrowths of a redevelopment plan that Fairfax County officials introduced in 1998 to transform Merrifield from a semi-industrial mishmash into a mix of stores, homes and offices.