- The Washington Times - Monday, March 26, 2001

A Prince William County official wants to bring more office space to the county's eastern end, where the expansion of the Quantico Marine Base is driving demand for new development.

County Supervisor Maureen S. Caddigan, Dumfries Republican, introduced an amendment to the county's Comprehensive Plan last week that would rezone a 78-acre tract in Triangle where a developer wants to build offices and shops.

The property is now zoned for apartments. Mrs. Caddigan says offices are needed to accommodate the defense contracting firms moving to the area to do business with Quantico, which straddles the border between Prince William and Stafford counties.

"Frankly, we've been losing contractors to Stafford because we don't have the space for them," she says.

The developer who requested the rezoning wants to build 250,000 square feet of office and retail space. John Latham, a spokesman for the project, says the offices would consist of one-level and two-level buildings, and would be marketed primarily toward defense contractors.

If the rezoning is approved by June, construction could begin in late fall, Mr. Latham says.

Another developer, John Norman Jr. of Norman Realty in Manassas, is planning 400,000 square feet of office and hotel space on a 30-acre tract in Dumfries, near the intersection of Interstate 95 and Route 234.

"There's a definite need for this kind of development," Mr. Norman says.

Driving the need is the expansion of the marine base, which has added 600 jobs within the last four years, according to Lt. Col. Mark Hoyland, ombudsman for the Marine Corps systems command at the base.

The base, which does engineering, weapons and information technology work, wants to do business with top contractors, Mr. Hoyland says. That won't happen unless the companies have places to set up shop, he says.

"The commercial space in the area is limited… . We want to work with the county to change that," Mr. Hoyland says.

Eastern Prince William remains one of the last areas of the county left untouched by commercial developers.

Prince William has about 1.7 million square feet of office space, most of which is in the Manassas area, according to Delta Associates, a real estate research firm in Alexandria.

The county has emerged as one of the fastest-growing jurisdictions in the D.C. area. U.S. Census data released this month showed Prince William's population rose from about 215,000 in 1990 to 280,813 in 2000, a 30.2 percent increase.

"The lack of space in the eastern end has been an issue, and now we're seeing developers bringing quality facilities to that area," says Nikki Brown, spokeswoman of the Prince William County Department of Economic Development.

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