Plans for an elaborate $40 million conference center for western Fairfax County were announced this week in New York City.
The center will be part of a planned $2 billion office park in Westfields. The park was planned by the Henry A. Long Co., a Fairfax-based developer, and its partner Perpetual American Bank. It will be located on 1,100 acres near Washington and Dulles International Airport.
The resort-style conference center will be built by International Conference Resorts Inc. (ICR), America's largest developer of conference centers.
Westfields is located on Route 28 (Sully Road), south of the airport and Sully Plantation.
Plans for the Westfields Center were announced jointly by the Long Co. and ICR in New York as part of major expansions planned by ICR. ICR also said it will build a new conference center in Silverthorne, Colo., and expand existing centers in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Seabrook Island, S.C. ICR officials estimate the expansion program, including the Fairfax project, will cost $92 million.
Long Co. officials are delighted that ICR is coming to Fairfax. "This conference resort sets exactly the corporate standard we planned for this park. International Conference resorts are known as elegant meeting centers which deliver excellent service in a manner that has been satisfying the nation's Fortune 500 companies for years," said Henry Long, head of the Long Co.
The Seabrook Island Resort, near Charleston, is well-known to many East Coast business leaders for its plush ocean-front facilities..
The Fairfax project will offer clients the latest in high-technology and computer facilities, according to a Long Co. spokesperson.
The project, to be called the Westfields International Conference Resort, is expected to generate more than 400 jobs for Fairfax, said Gene Keluche, ICR board chairman.
Groundbreaking for the resort is scheduled for next summer, said Francis C. Steinbauer, president of Westfields Corporate Center Associates, a division of the Long Co. The resort should open in two years, he said.
"Located on a 28-acre site which abutts the heavily wooded Ellanor C. Lawrence Park, the 300,000-square-foot conference resort will have several corporate lodges and 30,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition space and 30 meeting rooms," Steinbauer said.
The ICR-Long Co. project is one of several conference centers being planned for suburban Washington.
ICR President Richard Joaquim said it was obvious to him that "Westfields offered us better long-term control over the entire environment than any other project in the area." He said ICR looked at several sites before choosing Westfields. He said the company's decision came after reviewing "covenants and restrictions on all the commercial development taking place in the greater Washington D.C. area."
Long said the resort will have a "state-of-the-art media resource center with a complete array of audio-visual equipment and services, including television and multimedia capabilities."
Long said ICR's popular restaurant, The Palm Court, in its Arizona facility, will be the model for restaurants here. A 30,000- to 50,000- square-foot health and racquet club are planned along with tennis and swimming facilities.
In July, the Long Co. began building the first of $27 million in road improvements to Route 28, Centreville Road and other nearby roads. More than 70 acres of land has been given to the Virginia Department of Highways and Transportation or Fairfax County to provide rights of way for needed road improvements, company officials said. Included in off-site road improvements is a mile-long relocation of Centreville Road that is to be completed by the end of this year.
Developers also plan to build a new north-south road to be named Westfields Boulevard, a new segment of Willard Road and an extension of Lee Road. Major interchanges at Westfields and Route 28 are also planned.
"The new roads will give the project six entrances and exits, all of which are expected to ease access to the office park from I-66 and Route 50. The new road network will link the park with Walney Road, Braddock Road, Lee Road and Centreville Road," according to company officials.
Inside Westfields, plans call for four miles of four-lane roadways. As planned, the development will include low- and mid-rise office buildings, high-technology centers, research and development facilities, retail services, day-care centers, hotels and restaurants.
Developers said they anticipate it will take 15 years to complete the entire project.