Loudoun's Next Building Boom
Loudoun County has seen a whopping 460% jump in commercial real estate investments in the last year, totaling over $1.3B worth of projects, much of it driven by corporations and retailers making DC-area debuts. That’s why we’re thrilled to host Bisnow's Loudoun County Boom! (And Schmooze) Retail Revolution!, presented as part of our United Bank Neighborhood Series, at Smokehouse Live in Leesburg on Aug. 27, starting at 3pm.
Among our panelists, Loudoun County Economic Development director Buddy Rizer (above) says 57 companies added 3.7M SF of commercial real estate in fiscal year 2015. Buddy credits the county’s plethora of data centers for attracting the next wave of companies, which are developing solutions in medical devices, cybersecurity, pharmaceuticals and unmanned vehicles. The county’s bigger players are also expanding. K2M, a medical device company, and Telos, a cybersecurity firm, are expanding or renovating their Loudoun HQs. Buddy also says several other firms coming to the county will be announced soon.
The future Silver Line through Loudoun is also attracting new companies, with much of the development clustered around stops. But the county also needs an after-hours social environment to attract the workforce needed by the companies coming and expanding in Loudoun, says Buchanan Partners principal Bob Buchanan. His company has developed 1.5M SF of office, flex industrial and retail in Loudoun since the early ‘80s. (He’ll be interviewed by Buddy at our event about the history of Loudoun.) The county commissioned a retail study that will look at Loudoun’s cultural and entertainment amenities. And an economic advisory commission is looking at what drives the younger workforce to live in a certain area.
Some after-hours amenities are on the way. Peterson Cos is bringing iFLY Indoor Skydiving by the end of the year to Commonwealth Center. The 1.2M SF mixed-use project will also open Topgolf next month, the company’s second DC-area location after Alexandria. Peterson retail president Taylor Chess (above), who will speak at our event, says a luxury dine-in movie theater chain from Mexico called Cinépolis will come to Avonlea Town Center next year. It’s the company’s first theater on the East Coast and construction starts in the fall. Peterson is also working on Compass Creek, a 550-acre master planned community with a Super Walmart breaking ground this fall.
Comstock Partner director Maggie Parker (above), who will also speak at our event, says NoVa residents are out and about so often that the ability to offer something distinct is the ultimate challenge for developers. To that end, Comstock Partners just added an 11-screen luxury cinema (53k SF) to Loudoun Station this spring, along with 50k SF of Class-A office and 9k SF of supporting retail, including a new restaurant called Blackfinn AmeriPub. Another new restaurant coming to Loudoun is DC-area chef Reza Monsefan’s Basil Leaf, a fast-casual concept opening this fall in Loudoun Station.
Like most suburban communities, developers are looking at ways to attract Millennials, who have tended to favor more urban areas. Maggie says amenities like The Zone in Loudoun Station cater to Millennials and families with bowling alleys, arcade games, laser tag and a sports bar. She also points to urban-style residential like the BLVD brand of apartments at Loudoun Station (above). Built over retail, the apartments, the highest-priced in Loudoun, leased quickly and attracted Millennials and people aging out of Arlington, says Maggie.
Loudoun is also appealing to healthy outdoor lifestyles with local vineyards, farm-to-table concept restaurants and easy access to Virginia’s more rural areas. Taylor says it’s too much of a generalization to say all Millennials want urban. Peterson’s focus is to build the right mix of commercial, residential, retail and industrial to appeal to all generations. “It’s great that we have a resurgence of urban areas in the region, but it doesn’t mean we want to start moving urban to suburban areas to meet a demand,” he says. To hear more, please join us for Bisnow's Loudoun County Boom (and Schmooze) Retail Revolution! presented as part of our United Bank Neighborhood Series on Aug. 27 at 3pm at Smokehouse Live. Sign up here.