A 280-acre swath of land near Loudoun’s two future Metro stations—which has been eyed for development of office parks, high-rise homes, an “International City” and even the next Washington Redskins stadium—has been sold to a data center development company.
New York-based Sentinel Data Centers paid $82.5 million for the property, known as Washington Dulles Gateway, just north of Dulles Airport and adjacent to the Loudoun Gateway metro station. The price totaled nearly $300,000 an acre, or about $500,000 per usable acre given flood plain and rights of way on the property. It was long regarded as one of the largest undeveloped green spaces in eastern Loudoun, and was at the center of debates around planning for Loudoun’s future Metro stops.
The property has also had a fraught history, with battles over ownership resulting in a judge removing H. Chris Antigone from managing the property after lawsuits claiming he had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars without approval from the ownership organization. Antigone had long advocated for a large-scale mixed-use development on the property, called International City. Antigone and his son, Logan Antigone, have a continued stake in the property and continued to advocate for development on the property, including residential and mixed-use development.
But despite the new owners, Supervisor Ron A. Meyer Jr. (R-Broad Run) said there may be opportunities for non-data center uses to be developed on the property as well.
“I think my comments on this previously were pretty outspoken, that we didn’t really think data centers were all that appropriate for locations within a half mile of the Metro station,” Meyer said, referring to arguments he made as the Board of Supervisors debated over its Silver Line-area planning. The board ultimately sent that work to Envision Loudoun, the county’s ongoing project to revise its Comprehensive Plan.
Meyer said Sentinel could also build office space and transportation infrastructure—in an area where many roads are planned and will be needed to accommodate expected development.
“I think that this data center company, unlike others maybe in the past, really understands the need to be invested in the community, so we’re working on some things that we’re hopeful will be helpful to all of us,” Meyer said.
Supervisor Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles) said “as frustrating as it may be sometimes, it’s also important to remember how much mixed-use that we have approved, and how much is vacant and unbuilt.”
“We have the equivalent of several Reston Town Centers that have been approved by the board, by previous boards, so I don’t fear that we’re going to run out of land anytime soon to build mixed-use,” Letourneau said. Instead, he said, he worries about how long it will take to get those mixed-use developments built and generating tax revenue. He said the more immediate tax revenue from data centers—which are a major underpinning of the county’s budget—will be useful, and said data centers can serve as an interim use until other projects move in to redevelop that land.