Loudoun/Dulles: Naughty or Nice?
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We've been obsessed with Loudoun and the Dulles Corridor recently (as you may have noticed here, here and here). It all came to a head yesterday morning, as we hosted our summit on the subject in Leesburg.
Peterson Cos retail president Taylor Chess described the big development his firm has underway: Commonwealth Center, a 1.2M SF mixed-used project next to One Loudoun that will include a TopGolf (opening next summer), retail, dining, office and hotel. He says Loudoun isn’t seeing a lot of new retail developments but those in play are catering to the high income and education levels of its residents. Taylor says he'd like to see even more residential development to support retail Peterson would like to do.
Regency Centers is recruiting unique retailers. VP Devin Corini says his company is bringing Loudoun's first Whole Foods to Belmont Chase neighborhood center. With it are coming other retailers and restaurants that may appeal to the Whole Foods consumer, like Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant. Devin also hinted there would be an LA-based burger place coming but wouldn’t name names quite yet. (That sound you hear is readers Googling "Is In-N-Out Burger coming to Loudoun?")
So what about residential? Keane Enterprises chairman Brian Cullen, with Walsh Colucci Lubeley & Walsh's Andrew Painter, says Loudoun has a mere eight years worth of detached single family home supply left. Brian praised the county for forging ahead with so much residential – it made up 46% of building permits issued in Virginia the last few years. But he urged leaders to reconsider plans in the Transition zone that have public utilities for future growth.
The county’s comprehensive plan goes to 2020, but Loudoun Economic Development director Buddy Rizer says county officials are looking further. One of Loudoun's biggest assets is Dulles Airport, and Buddy says it recently struck a deal with National Airport to make their fees more equal, which could help Dulles' declining user levels. He says better access to the airport and more development around it will be crucial for future growth.
Transwestern EVP Caulley Deringer says there’s more land around Dulles that’s available for air cargo, and big distributors will recognize Dulles as a real bargain compared to airports like JFK. Another opportunity for that land is industrial and flex projects. Vacancy is at an all time low, says Caulley, and the future for those types of products will be in Loudoun.
One of the biggest Loudoun projects is Dulles Landing, a $100M retail and lifestyle and entertainment project being developed by Beatty Cos. and financed by United Bank. Beatty chairman Eric Zausner says the first phase will be anchored by a more modern Walmart, along with other retailers like T.J.Maxx, PetSmart, Ross and Dick’s Sporting Goods. The project, at the intersection of Loudoun Parkway and Route 50, is already 85% leased and opens in June. Eric says its location, picked by Beatty’s late founder, Guy Beatty, 25 years ago will be a premier spot for retail.
Our Loudoun County/Dulles Corridor event was the second in our brand new Neighborhood Series with United Bank. We’ll be holding events and writing lots more about the region’s most vibrant areas. President Rick Adams says it’s these neighborhoods that are the bread and butter of United Bank’s business. Up next is Tysons on Jan. 28 at the Hilton McLean.