Just outside downtown Leesburg, on a site formerly known for its potential for redevelopment, things are developing just fine at Crescent Place.
The lifestyle center was born out of a vision by developer Hobie Mitchel, who saw the long-abandoned Barber & Ross manufacturing center site as a natural attraction for young professionals and those downsizing to live within a short walk of downtown. Coupled with personal services retail uses, the development could be a boon to greater Leesburg and a model for other developments.
Since last summer when many retailers signed on the dotted line to own their own commercial space—with the ability to own, rather than lease, cited as an attraction for many business owners—storefronts have quickly filled up. Several retailers moved in last fall and, as of this week, all of the constructed retail units are occupied or under contract, builder Don Knutson said. Marketing has just begun for an additional 8,000 square feet of retail space that is under construction, he said.
One of those new business is Portside Coffee & Bakery, which opened May 15. Owners David and Linda Kamminga envision a coffee shop with an international flair. By going “port to port,” Linda Kamminga said, travelers can experience different cultures, which is the experience the owners are hoping to offer their customers.
All the pastries in the coffee shop are imported from Europe, and the Springfield-based coffee roaster Portside uses fair and direct trade products. Portside also has some offerings that are hard to find in Loudoun: bubble tea, nitro coffee, and pour overs.
When they decided to buy retail space at Crescent Place, the Lansdowne residents knew they wanted to do something food-related. Unable to open a full kitchen because of the residences located above the two land bays they purchased, “we got a little creative,” Linda Kamminga said.
“Don [Knutson] was really pushing for a coffee shop here. He said it would be a really great selling point for residents and the community,” David Kamminga said. “I don’t think Linda had considered opening a full-on coffee shop, but the cards just laid out this way.”
In their first month, the Kammingas said they are pleased with the foot traffic they’ve received. Noting that many of its initial customers have been those living outside of the Crescent Place neighborhood, the Kammingas hope to attract more nearby residents with some of the features they have yet to roll out, including classic film nights. The duo also is applying for licenses to sell beer, wine and specialty cocktails, including some with coffee and tea. They also may expand the food menu.
Portside Coffee & Bakery will celebrate its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 17. Café hours are Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Evening hours will expand once the alcohol offerings debut.
Portside’s arrival goes to the ultimate goal of the visionaries behind Crescent Place. Both Knutson and Mitchel want to add in lifestyle/personal services businesses that would be an attraction for those who live in the development, as well as others in Leesburg and greater Loudoun. In addition to businesses already on the ground—including Ferraiolo Fitness, Loudoun Nail Spa, Best Rack Around, and StudioTwenty8Fifty7—more are on the horizon. Transition Triathlon is planning its move from South King Street to the corner of the Crescent Place development off Harrison Street and the W&OD Trail. A deli, a home design center, and an interior decor shop have also signed on.
“Our game plan was to focus on businesses that added a lifestyle [element] to the community,” Knutson said. “We were going for lifestyle and vibe and something that added to the quality of life for residents and visitors.”
All told, more than 20,000 square feet of commercial space has been sold, Knutson said, to 15 different businesses. On the residential side, only four residential units remain available.
He points to the “three T’s” as to why Crescent Place has been so successful: the location in the town, the access to the W&OD Trail, and the rooftop terraces.