Copy of Page 3 Innovation Park Aerial.JPG

Aerial photo taken in May shows the location of the proposed University Village development adjacent to George Mason University's Prince William campus.

Two developers are working in concert to bring nearly 3,000 housing units and more than 2 million square feet of commercial space to Prince William County Parkway near Manassas.

Castle Rock Partners LLC and Stanley Martin Homes LLC have submitted two rezonings and a special-use permit request to the county for the properties, which stretch across roughly 150 acres next to the George Mason University Science and Technology Campus.

The county Planning Commission discussed the requests at a work session Wednesday. The applications are scheduled for a public hearing at the commission’s Sept. 8 meeting.

Castle Rock wants to rezone 23.74 acres at the intersection of University Parkway and Prince William Parkway, or Va. 234, from planned business district to planned mixed-use district. The company has agreed to buy the property from the county for $4.86 million.

Castle Rock is proposing an $849 million mixed-use complex called University Village with 1,550 student-housing units, 80 multifamily units and 1.6 million square feet of nonresidential space, including a hotel and conference center, retail areas and office space. 

Stanley Martin Homes has two requests on adjoining land to the northwest toward Wellington Road. The company wants to rezone 107.4 acres from agricultural and planned business district to mixed-use district for Innovation Town Center. It is also requesting a special-use permit on 25.1 acres for a town center and residential units.

The company is planning to construct 1,324 housing units and more than 778,000 square feet of nonresidential uses. Stanley Martin is under contract to purchase the property, contingent on county approval, from Prince William County, MJV Associates LLC and PWC - Parcel A LLC.

The projects tie into the county’s 1,700-acre small-area plan for Innovation Park. Officials want the area to become a pedestrian-oriented mixed-use town center with student housing and office space, as well as a shuttle to and from the Broad Run Virginia Railway Express station. The plan also proposes a pedestrian bridge crossing Prince William Parkway on University Boulevard and an elementary school in the town center.

University Village

Castle Rock’s presentation was relatively quick during Wednesday’s work session as it was originally scheduled to be a public hearing. Due to an advertising error, the commission postponed the hearing until Sept. 8.

Commissioners had been concerned the development wouldn’t have adequate parking and wanted to ensure the housing would be for students to eliminate any impact on the school division. 

To reinforce its commitment for student housing, Tim Kissler, principal for Castle Rock, said the company has agreed to pay the school division $10,300 per student generated in public schools by the development. 

The company will evaluate how many students it produces as each building is constructed. The buildings will be reevaluated twice at five-year intervals and the payment would be given for each confirmed student.

“This is putting your money where your mouth is,” Kissler said.

Other changes to the proposal dealt with landscaping and open space.

County staff estimate the final product will generate $8.9 million annually in real estate tax revenue, although Kissler estimated it would produce $13.36 million.

Under the sale agreement, the county will reimburse Innovation Development LLC its purchase price as related infrastructure is constructed with the development. The infrastructure would come from entrances off Prince William Parkway and University Boulevard.

If the rezoning isn’t approved by Oct. 31, Castle Rock can pull out of the purchase.

Innovation Town Center

Stanley Martin is planning a mix of townhomes, stacked townhomes and multifamily units across several buildings. The proposal includes two playgrounds, a future park, clubhouse and swimming pool.   

The company has agreed to fund improvements along Prince William Parkway and Wellington and Bethlehem roads, including a traffic signal at the property. 

The commission was concerned about the number of parking spaces and a particular agreement that said only one gas station could be constructed within the commercial part of the property.

Potomac Commissioner Juan McPhail felt only one gas station for such a large complex could be inadequate and result in others being built in the area.

“If we only have one fueling station for this entire project, that might force the market to build other fueling stations nearby,” he said.

Coles Commissioner Joseph Fontanella Jr. was discouraged that water features at the property, which are planned as retention ponds, wouldn’t be used for public recreation.

“What I envision is a chain link fence that says don’t swim, don’t get in it and that’s the opposite of what we envision,” he said.

Nolan Stout covers Prince William County. Reach him at nstout@insidenova.com or @TheNolanStout on Facebook and Twitter.

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