- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 30, 2004

Northern Virginia did not score a baseball team, but developers in Loudoun County are still moving forward with plans to build a mixed-use complex that once had a ballpark as its centerpiece.

Minutes after baseball officials awarded Washington the Montreal Expos yesterday, Diamond Lake Associates LLC said that its proposed Reston Town Center-style Main Street development near the Dulles Toll Road and Route 28 still will be built, but without the stadium site.

“Regardless of baseball, Diamond Lake is the right use, at the right place and at the right time,” said Laurence E. Bensignor, chairman of Diamond Lake Associates LLC. “It will be an economic engine for Loudoun County.”

Exact plans for how much retail, office and residential space would be built at Diamond Lake are still undetermined. But plans, which once called for construction on more than 450 acres and a man-made lake, are said to have been scaled back dramatically in recent months and could shrink more with the absence of a ballpark.

For the Diamond Lake development to move forward, major changes must be made to the county’s Comprehensive Plan. Currently, the plan does not allow for an urban-center-style development near Washington Dulles International Airport. Diamond Lake Associates LLC submitted a request for a change to the county’s Comprehensive Plan last month.

COPT at it again

Corporate Office Properties Trust of Columbia, Md., added to its Northern Virginia portfolio when it paid $21.7 million for 14280 Park Meadow, a 114,126-square-foot building in the Westfields Corporate Center in Chantilly.

To buy the building, known as Corporate Pointe III, COPT assumed a $9.9 million mortgage at 7.94 percent.

The Corporate Point III acquisition is the first building that the company has purchased east of Route 28 in Loudoun County, where office-vacancy rates have been among the highest in the region.

“The east side of Westfields is now starting to show some improvements in vacancy rates and we will look for additional opportunities there in the future as we grow our Westfields ownership position,” said Rand Griffin, COPT’s president and chief operating officer.

COPT now controls 2.2 milliion square feet in Northern Virginia, and 1.1 million square feet in Westfields, which is 99 percent leased.

This is Tim Lemke’s final column. All questions and comments can be sent to [email protected]

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