Monday, November 26, 2001

Prince William County approved plans for its third town center last week.
KSI Services, a Vienna developer, plans to build Prince William County Center on 160 acres in the heart of the county. The project is slated to have more than 900 homes a mix of single-family detached houses, town houses and apartments and about 200,000 square feet of office and retail space.
“In the last few years, Prince William County has advanced significantly in its ability to support high-quality development,” says Eddie Byrne, KSI’s vice president of planning.
The Prince William County Board of Supervisors approved KSI’s plan last Tuesday. Supervisors have praised the project, saying it will help anchor development in mid-Prince William, which has not grown as fast as the western part of the county.
Prince William County Center will be the third town center in the county. Similar developments are under way along the shores of the Occoquan River and the Cherry Hill peninsula on the Potomac River.
Town center developments are raging in the United States. Because the projects tend to link homes, shops and restaurants with sidewalks, they reduce automobile traffic and pollution, land-use planners say.
Town centers have become especially popular in the traffic-clogged Washington area. In Prince George’s County alone, town centers are planned in Hyattsville, New Carrollton, Largo and Camp Springs.
More people and businesses are moving to Prince William, a once-rural enclave in Northern Virginia. The county’s population soared 30.2 percent to 280,813 residents between 1990 and 2000, according to U.S. Census data. The county is also home to several big businesses, including biotechnology services company American Type Culture Collection.
The office space in KSI’s Prince William project will be geared toward medium-sized companies, Mr. Byrne says.
“There is unmet needs for tenants that don’t need to have a big building with signage on I-66 or I-95,” he says.
Of the 2.2 million square feet of office space in Prince William, roughly 8.7 percent is vacant, according to real estate research group Delta Associates. About 57,000 square feet of new space is under construction, Delta says.
Mr. Byrne says the economic slowdown won’t affect Prince William County Center because construction is not expected to begin until spring 2002 at the earliest, when many analysts expect the economic picture to brighten.

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Chris Baker can be reached at 202/636-3139 or cbaker@washingtontimes.com.

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