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DULLES,VA-Having received approval from the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors of its Comprehensive Plan Amendment, Buchanan Partners is getting set to break ground on the first phase of a $1-billion, 400-acre mixed use project in Arcola, a submarket here that is located along Route 50 in Loudoun County. There are still some minor rezoning issues to be settled, according to a source, but these are not major and the firm is currently working through them. Phase 1 includes the construction of a retail center.

Arcola Center will be built over a 10-to-20-year period. All together there is 2.1 million sf of office and commercial space planned, 1.1 million sf of retail space as well as 80 acres of townhomes and multifamily units. Two hotels and a civic/cultural tourism and educational site, which will feature a restored slave quarters dating from the early 1800s, will also be developed.

The heart of the project is a Main Street town center with a plaza in the middle. There will be some 145,000 sf of boutique shops and restaurants lining the plaza. Office facilities will include traditional leased office space, flex space and office condos.

Loudoun County is a good site for such an extensive work-live-place community, according to a statement made earlier this year by Bob Buchanan, principal of Buchanan Partners.

“In its ‘Reality Check’ exercise, the Urban Land Institute’s Washington chapter confirmed what we have known all along: that working families want to live close to their jobs, in jurisdictions with good public schools, near major transportation corridors,” he said. “Arcola Center will not only help provide much-needed work force housing, but also will create job opportunities and provide the commercial space to support established and growing Loudoun County neighborhoods.”

Buchanan’s retail leasing brokers, KLNB, are in active talks with retailers for the 670,000-sf retail center project, called Arcola Center. It will be situated on the eastern end of the site and anchored by a discount department store and big-box home improvement center. According to a source, some of the larger stores will be buying the land and building their own stores.

Other retailers expected to sign on include medium box stores for furniture, clothing, pet care, electronics and baby products. The retail project is expected to deliver by fourth quarter 2008.

The next phase of the project will be the construction of a mixed- use town center consisting of boutique retailers, restaurants and office space.

EYA (formerly Eakin/Youngentob Associates) has been working with Buchanan to master-plan the residential neighborhoods and will build a portion of the town homes. EYA and other residential builders, not yet selected, will build homes in a 69-acre sited called the Village, located in the northwest corner of Arcola Center. The Village, which will transition to the historic part of Arcola, will include apartment buildings, town homes, a recreation center and retail stores with second-floor office space. Another residential neighborhood will be the Residences at Main Street, located on 55 acres along Route 50. Some of these homes will be affordable housing and work force housing.

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