More rental apartments and class-A office space could be coming to downtown Leesburg if the developers behind the Church & Market project receive the approvals they need.
The Church & Market project is a reincarnation of sorts of the former Courthouse Square project, which was to encompass the property from the former Loudoun Times-Mirrorbuilding on East Market Street to the large surface parking lot and alley that borders Church and Loudoun streets. That project envisioned a structured parking facility and over 100,000 square feet of office and commercial space, along with Victory Brewing Company’s first taproom outside of its home state of Pennsylvania.
But, driven largely by the shifts in the office market, those plans have largely been scrapped in lieu of a project that envisions a majority of residential development, a currently hot commodity downtown. New plans, for which the applicant will be before the Planning Commission for a June 6 public hearing, seek special exception approval for 116 multi-family units to be built over an up to 216-space structured parking facility and 15,000 square feet of retail and commercial office space in the former Times-Mirrorbuilding, as well as the first floor of the apartment building. The applicant recently appeared before the Board of Architectural Review for an initial meeting on design plans for the Times-Mirrorbuilding, which call for the addition of two stories to accommodate additional office space. The Times-Mirrorbuilding portion of the project only needs to garner a Certificate of Appropriateness from the BAR, as the uses proposed in that building are by right.
The development also envisions an active atmosphere in its alley, with restaurant space and even the potential to host a makerspace. The owners are not at the tenant-seeking stage of plans, Blair White, vice president of Landmark Commercial Real Estate, said, although they do have a potential user who is looking to use all of the planned office in the Times-Mirrorbuilding. Even if that deal falls through, he said, he is confident that the dearth of class-A office space for businesses looking for 2,500 square feet of space or more could make the Church & Market project an attractive landing spot. White points to the many businesses growing out of the Mason Enterprise Center and looking for the next step for their companies. Like the incubator, the Church & Market development is located in Leesburg’s HUBZone, making it an attractive option for government contractors, he said.
With office space a much smaller component of this project than its predecessor Courthouse Square, “We’re not in need of an 800-pound gorilla like we were last time,” White said.
Victory Brewing Company is no longer in the plans for the development, as its acquisition by a New-York based brewer three years ago dramatically changed its vision, White said.
“But that’s not to say we won’t pursue another craft brewer,” he said.
In addition to its June 6 appearance before the Planning Commission, the applicant is expected to be back before the BAR for a June 3 work session. More information on the project can be found by searching the Leesburg Interactive Applications Map (LIAM) via leesburgva.gov.