The vision developers Hobie Mitchel and Donald Knutson had to convert an abandoned 12-acre manufacturing complex into an extension of Leesburg’s downtown reached another milestone Thursday.
The idea was to build 224 townhomes and condos and 30,000 square feet of retail along Harrison Street and have storefronts look out onto the open space of Raflo Park and the W&OD Trail. Those retailers—who will own not rent their units—will take possession of their new space next week.
“We made it,” Ralph Ferraiolo said Thursday. Ferraiolo, owner of Ferraiolo Fitness and the very first tenant to purchase retail space at Crescent Place, stood in the shell of the building that will soon house his third fitness studio. “The final product is even more than they promised.”
Ferraiolo Fitness was one of five Crescent Place business tenants that were formally announced at an open house Thursday evening. The event was meant to mark the progress of the project and drum up excitement for the shops that are slated to open by October.
Other businesses that have purchased storefronts include Loudoun Nail Spa, Passport Coffee & Tea, Bread & Butter and Best Rack Around. They all close on their units next week.
Knutson, president of Lansdowne-based Knutson Companies that built much of Crescent Place, said practically everyone gathered at the open house was making an investment in the property, from the residents to the business tenants who purchased their units.
“Everybody’s played a role in where we are, and everybody—almost everybody—has been passionate about this project and making it a success,” he said.
Nanette Parsons, who’s run her brassiere shop Best Rack Around at Market Station for the past few years, said she was wowed when she saw the transformation of Harrison Street. “It’s new construction but it still fits in with historic Leesburg,” she added.
Parsons listed several reasons why she wanted to move her store into Crescent Place. She said her second floor shop at Market Station can, at times, be difficult for people to find, and she loved the idea of owning her own space.
“It’s almost too good to be true,” she said as she watched a sign reading “Best Rack Around” go up in her new storefront’s window. “I feel at home.”
Husband-and-wife team David and Linda Kamminga will undertake a brand new venture in the two units they purchased, Passport Coffee & Tea in one suite and Bread & Butter in the suite next door. David Kamminga said the bakery will serve internationally inspired treats, while the coffee shop will offer the usual coffee shop fare, plus loose-leaf tea and spiked caffeinated drinks, he called “coffee cocktails.” Leesburg has a few coffee shops, but he sees a niche for one more. “We saw a need in the market, and we want to offer something a little different,” he said.
Francieli and Timo Roessner, who bought a townhome in the development, said they’re just excited as the retailers to call Crescent Place home. They commute to work in McLean and Sterling, so on evenings and weekends, they love the idea of walking to downtown shops and restaurants, including those that will open at Crescent Place.
“Downtown has a lot of character and a little bit of everything,” Francieli Roessner said.
Ollin Toler, Knutson’s vice president of construction, said while he considers downtown an amenity to Crescent Place residents, he also sees the development as an amenity for people who live in and near downtown.
“The retail portion of the development is not just for our residents, but it’s an opportunity for other downtown residents to walk down and enjoy the shops,” he said. “We really have something special here.”
Knutson told the shop owners and residents gathered Thursday that, he agreed, the development turned out beautiful. “But it’s really just a building,” he added. “In the long run, it’s really about the people, the place, the relationships and what we’re building here… a community.”
The entire second building of Crescent Place’s storefronts has been sold, but a third building planned for retail still has space available. Some of the residential units are also still awaiting buyers. Learn more at crescentplaceliving.com and TheShopsatCrescentPlace.com.