Editor's Note: This story was updated Tuesday evening.
A new upscale mixed-use development could be coming to Manassas Park once the City Council approves the project.
The development, Park Place at The Station, is slated to have 20,000 square feet of retail for 10 to 12 stores and 304 apartments. The entire development is on 14 acres of land.
The first phase is slated for Manassas Drive and Railroad Avenue near the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) commuter station in Manassas Park.
The second phase will be on the now-vacant property across Manassas Drive at the intersection of Railroad Avenue.
Owned by are Digital Park, LLC, the project is slated to cost $55 million. The corporation is comprised of and . They will be in charged of the commerical aspect of the development. The broker for Digital Park, LLC is Crossroads Commercial of Manassas.
Oxford Properties is the proposed contract purchaser for the apartments of Park Place at The Station. The purchase is contingent on the Manassas Park Governing Body.
The owners of the project said they want to proceed as soon as the Manassas Park City Council approves the project and the necessary permits are in hand. As a “good faith effort,” the owners have agreed to put a $500,000 commercial deposit in escrow within two months of the closing of the residential parcel owner (Oxford.) If the first phase isn’t completed within 24 months of the deposit, then the city gets to keep that money.
Lawrence Doll, the owner of the actual land parcels and the co-owner of Digital Park, LLC, said the proposed development will generate some $1 million a year in real estate taxes for the city and a $1.2 mllion in water sewer tap fees. The city will also receive some $4.5 million in proffers and , he said.
Doll, who has owned land in Manassas Park since the 1980s, said he is serious negotiations with a pharmacy chain to have them build a store near phase two of Park Place. Doll declined to name the business, but his broker said the pharmacy won’t be built until Doll and his associates have permits in hand from the city to proceed with the project.
Some members of the Manassas Park Planning Commission aren’t completely sold on the idea of a proposed mixed-use development that is conceptually much like its neighbor City Center,
Commissioner and city councilman Bryan Polk expressed concern over if Park Place will ever become a reality in Manassas Park.
The area could be rezoned, as the owners requested, and then nothing ever be built, Polk said Monday.
Polk said he is sensitive to this in light of rezonings for projects in the city that were never built.
Polk did not elaborate on what projects he was refering to.
“I can’t speak to those other areas where you might be sensitive, but given the time frame we’re on; our motivation is to do everything possible to effect this and start pushing shovels into the dirt and start writing checks to the city …” Bill Hall of Oxford Properties said to Polk. “We’re spending a lot of money as a sign of our commitment to do this project.”
The market will dictate when phase two of Park Place will happen, Hall said.
He senses the urgency, but he’s not seeing it immortalized in the proffer agreements, Polk said to Hall.
Polk specifically mentioned section 5.2 of the Park Place proffer agreement which states, in part, that the city will receive $500,000 if the commercial aspect isn’t development as agreed. The last section of 5.2 states the owner of Park Center’s residential parcel—Oxford Properties—will not be held responsible if the commercial space isn't completed.
“Boy does it not reinforce the commitment to the commercial structure; it does everything but reinforce the commitment to the commercial structure and that really concerns me,” Polk said. “Basically it [the proffer] says if the commercial building is not built, we’re still going to build the residential.”
Hall told the commission that each part of the project—the residential and the commercial—need to stand alone and apart from each other in light of the economy and the financial climate.
Polk told Hall that he found it, “disturbing” that he’d just described the project’s commercial to residential mix as one concept, but now he’s talking about how it’s two separate projects.
“They are two separate projects because we have two separate owners,” Hall said. “The are mutually beneficial to one another.”
Commissioner Ed Rishell, too, said he was concerned that the city could only end up with just residential instead of both.
That $500,000 in escrow that Digital Park may lose to the city may be looked at by it as “the cost of doing business,” Rishell said Monday.
The motion to recommend the rezoning of some 20 acres of land for Park Place from General Business District (B-2) to Planned United Development (PUD) failed during the planning commission’s meeting Monday night.
The motion failed because it lacked the majority vote. Commissioner John Evans, who is also the police chief, and Commissioner Julia Cline voted to recommend the rezoning, while Polk and Rishell voted against it. Commissioner Oscar Jamilla was absent Monday.
A second voting split resulted in the failure of the motion to recommend approval of the Park Place application for vacation of right-of-way. Cline and Evans voted in favor fo the right-of-way, while Rishell and Polk voted against it.
The motion to recommend approval of the Park Place height waiver application was approved unanimously.
The motion to forward the application to the Governing Body with the split decision was approved by a majority vote, with Cline, Evans and Rishell voting aye and Polk voting nay.
Manassas Park City Council will consider the matter on July 17.