The owners of the property that will anchor the southern portion of Rt. 28 in Loudoun are looking to make some changes to the timing of their development.
If approved, the developers of Dulles World would be allowed to accelerate the construction on multi-family residential units approved in their plan and reduce the minimum required amount of “pedestrian-oriented businesses” in the planned Town Center from 70 percent to 60 percent.
Dulles World was approved by the previous Board of Supervisors for more than 3 million square feet of office space; a hotel; more than 400,000 square feet of retail; and 1,265 multi-family units.
The changes would not alter those totals—only the order and timing of construction.
County planners are opposing the changes, saying the project is intended to be a primarily non-residential development and that maintaining that emphasis is important to the growth of businesses in the Rt. 28 corridor.
Attorney Colleen Gillis Snow, who represented the developer before the Planning Commission last week, said the current requirement for the project to begin with 1.4 million square feet of non-residential development is not feasible in today’s market. She said the changes would best position Dulles World—and Loudoun—to be able to capitalize on the Rt. 28 Metro rail station opening.
“We made a bad bet,” Snow said before the commission. “We thought we were going to get 1.4 million [square feet] worth of office on this site…it is not going to happen in two years without us making a change. I think if we can make this change we will be able to leverage off the arrival of Metro and really make this an office environment.”
This week, she said the goal for the development remains the same, but that to market commercial space other attractions are needed for potential tenants.
“One hundred percent non-residential is not doable in the market right now, especially at that high a level,” Snow said. “I think you have to unlock some portion of residential upfront before we can get to non-residential. So you create the space, the feel, of the development.”
Under the new request, Dulles World is seeking to break the first phase of development into three parts. Under each portion of the first phase, the ultimate development for office space would be 837,000 square feet along with 135,000 square feet of commercial development. Phase 1A would allow for up to 500 multi-family residences; Phase 1B would allow for an additional 275 units; and Phase 1C would allow for the remainder of the 1,265 permitted units. The second and third phase of development would focus on commercial and office development, ending with an ultimate square footage of almost 3.28 million in office and 350,000 in commercial.
The Planning Commission will take up the application at its work session March 5.