The commonwealth’s largest town is set to get even bigger, with dirt moving on several large development projects and others ready to move into the construction stage. Bill Ackman, director of the town’s Department of Plan Review, and Deputy Director of Planning and Zoning Brian Boucher recently provided Loudoun Now with some updates on key projects.
White Oaks Farm
At the Rogers Farm property, a former working farm steps away from Loudoun County High School, Stanley Martin Homes is developing a 162 single-family home subdivision called White Oaks Farm. Twelve acres of the property that contain structures deemed historic will be preserved on the property and were placed by the Town Council into the H-1 District.
According to Ackman, frontage improvements along Davis Avenue, Lee Avenue, and Dry Mill Road are underway, along with construction of the stormwater management pond. Ackman said he expects construction on homes to begin in the spring.
One of the more controversial Town Council decisions of 2016, the Crescent Parke project got off to a fast start, with trees cleared and some grading work done on the 53-acre project site near Olde Izaak Walton Park before activity stopped altogether. In June, the property was purchased from the previous developer by Stanley Martin Homes. Right now, Stanley Martin is working on design of the bridge leading into the park, floodplain alteration, and proffers they need to address for the Olde Izaak Walton pond. The approved rezoning included a proffer that would purchase the formerly leased park on the town’s behalf, and also make significant improvements to its pond.
“We will start seeing plans in here for Davis Avenue extended [roadway], floodplain studies, and the Izaak Walton pond within the next six months,” Ackman said. “With that being likely I expect dirt starting to move again in some capacity towards the fall of 2021, or sooner if they’re able to overcome some of the challenges.”
The approved project calls for 344 residential units, including 70 age-restricted units, and 161,725 square feet of commercial development. Twenty thousand square feet of non-residential uses are to be built before the issuance of the 173rd occupancy permit.
Church & Market
The construction of 115 rental units on the formerLoudoun Times-Mirrorproperty in downtown Leesburg is expected to begin next year. Ackman said he expects to finish staff review in the coming weeks, and the site plan could be approved in early 2021.
The project also includes 25,000 square feet combined of retail, restaurant and office space off Market Street, stretching back to the parking lot and alley that borders Church and Loudoun streets.
The development evolved over the past decade, first approved as a primarily office development, called Courthouse Square, by the Town Council in 2012 before that market went belly up.
Keane Enterprises purchased the 64-year-old Virginia Village shopping center off Catoctin Circle in 2017. Its initial plans envisioned a rezoning of the 18.48-acre shopping center to make way for a mixed-use development. Included in those plans are more than 600 residential units, a mix of multi-family units, condominiums, townhouses, and two-over-two dwelling units. The plans also called for ground floor retail and office uses, with a significant amount of structured parking.
Keane Enterprises recently sent in its third submission to town staff, and review is underway, Boucher said.
“They’ve addressed a lot of the issues [raised] in the second submission. This has been a useful submission,” he said.
Boucher said he anticipates the staff sending back further comments to the applicant, but expressed hope that the fourth submission could be the one sent to the Planning Commission to begin legislative review.
Residential construction has been progressing at the mixed-use development off Rt. 7 and Battlefield Parkway. The project was approved by a divided council in late 2016, and includesup to 442,500 square feet of office space, 187,000 square feet of retail space and an 80,000-square-foot hotel along with two parking structures and a mix of more than 400 residential units. The first phase of construction has been completely approved and construction is ongoing, Ackman said. The next phase of construction is currently on hold, he said. The approved application called for 100,000 square feet of non-residential construction to occur within the first two phases of construction.
In a rare rezoning denial from the Town Council, plans for a commercial development in the Meadowbrook neighborhood off Rt. 15 and Evergreen Mill Road were put on ice in the summer of 2018. Shortly thereafter, the property owner filed suit against the town. There has been no activity on the lawsuit since the summer of 2019, after the town filed a response to the complaint, according to Town Attorney Christopher Spera.
Boucher said the staff has recently been in contact with the property owner, Traditional Land, LLC, on a possible plan resubmission. The original project called for a rezoning of about 24 acres next to its Meadowbrook Farms residential subdivision for the development of a commercial center, with a grocery store tenant as its key anchor. The application also sought approval of six special exceptions, including three to allow for drive-through eating establishments. Also proposed was a 24/7 service station with car wash and other inline retail and office uses, as well as a public plaza-type atmosphere. Although they are behind the residential development, Van Metre is no longer involved with the commercial aspect of the project, Boucher said.
Plans for the construction of the residential subdivision’s entire 400 units have been approved, and many of the homes are already occupied.
Construction drawings are in process, and the applicant is addressing first submission comments on the site plan for a new 61-unit townhouse neighborhood north of the Leesburg Plaza shopping center on Catoctin Circle. Some of these units, per the 2018 Town Council approval, will be designated as live-work units.
Ackman said he anticipates construction beginning next summer or fall.
Nearby, Boucher said there has been no activity recently on an application to rezone a 7.5-acre portion of the Leesburg Plaza property to allow for the construction of 320 multi-family dwelling units, 38,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and 83,000 square feet of office uses in three phases. The application was first filed with the town in 2015.
King Street Station
The South King Street area along the W&OD Trail has experienced a transformation with the ongoing construction of the King Street Station development, which includes four residential buildings, with 16 one- or two-bedroom units each, and 4,000 square feet of commercial space. The first residential building is now completely full, Ackman said, and the third and fourth buildings are under construction. Commercial tenants could move in as soon as the end of the year, he added. Frontage improvements have been constructed, including a welcoming plaza for nearby trail users.
Shops at Russell Branch
More retail offerings will soon be available just outside of the Village at Leesburg development, thanks to a 2019 Town Council approval. Located at the southeast corner of Rt. 7 and Battlefield Parkway next to the Lowe’s Home Improvement store, The Shops at Russell Branch will include Leesburg’s first Aldi grocery store, set to open soon; a Schmitz gas station; a Virginia Tire & Auto service center; and a car wash. Ackman said he expects the site plan to be approved by early 2021.
Perhaps the next frontier of commercial development in Leesburg is the Compass Creek development, where Microsoft is building a data center campus. The property is the subject of boundary line adjustment negotiations between the town and Loudoun County, as the land falls in the Joint Land Management Area, where the two entities have generally cooperated on planning practices. In addition to the Microsoft campus and an AtHome store, developer Peterson Companies has also received approval from the Town Council for four drive-through restaurants. Ackman said construction could start late next year.