Dulles World Center, now branding itself as The Hub, is hoping to kickstart development after years of pouring millions into the area without any construction on their property.
The Hub’s 69-acre property sits at the intersection of Rt. 28 and the Dulles Greenway, on the border with Fairfax County. It is only half a mile from the future Innovation Station Metro stop across the Fairfax line, and across Rt. 28 from Dulles Airport.
Despite this location, and despite pouring millions into road improvements around the site, including building Innovation Avenue, the development has been sitting for six years without breaking ground. Representatives for The Hub’s owners said the development team has approached nearly 700 potential investors, and been universally rejected. They blame the terms of the rezoning agreement in which the developers promised to have office buildings in place before residential construction begins.
“Every single one of them said this phasing, which requires the delivery of office upfront, makes the land virtually worthless for the foreseeable future,” said Cooley LLP attorney Colleen Gillis.
The property’s owners, DWC Holdings LLC, now want more flexibility to develop residential units. They also want shift away from a county-imposed requirement to first build office space—a market that left many empty spaces in Loudoun—to other commercial uses.
It’s not the first time plans at Dulles World Center have changed to try to find a market fit. County supervisors approved the first concept plan for Dulles World Center in 2011, then an amendment to its proffer agreement in 2014.
Currently, The Hub is required to build at least 150,000 square feet of office space before building any residential units. Under its latest application, it would instead incorporate at least 42,000 square feet of commercial space into its first residential buildings.
The Planning Commission on Tuesday recommended the Board of Supervisors approve that application, with the added condition that The Hub also build at least 125,000 square feet of office space in its first phase of development. The developer would also have to begin offering bus and shuttle service after building its 475th residential unit.
The first phase of the project allows up to 1.5 million square feet of office space, 200,000 square feet of commercial space, and 695 residential units.
In total, The Hub is approved for up to 1,265 residential units, 400,000 square feet of commercial space, and 3.2 million square feet of office space.