High-Rise Luxury Condos

Planned in Woodbridge

Three 15-story luxury condominiums have been proposed for north Woodbridge, which Prince William County officials hope to transform from an area populated with ramshackle buildings and boarded-up businesses to a higher-end residential and business community offering tourist attractions and upscale shopping.

IDI Group Cos. of Arlington recently submitted a rezoning application to the Board of County Supervisors for a $250 million high-rise condominium community called Rivergate. The development would overlook the Occoquan River near the Occoquan Harbor Marina.

The company, which develops condominiums in the Washington area, plans to build 720 units, featuring an indoor pool, tennis courts, a public park and a path to the planned Heritage Trail system. Construction on the first of the three towers would begin next year and finish in 2008. All three towers are expected to be completed by 2012.

"It will help to change people's perception about north Woodbridge and foster more development to follow," said Carlos Cecchi, vice president of IDI. "This type of project can't go anywhere. Really, right now we feel that north Woodbridge is at the right juncture."

The community would cater to single professionals, childless couples and empty nesters. Sales prices for the units were not available.

Buyers would be attracted to the area's transportation hub, with its Virginia Railway Express stations and access to Interstate 95, Cecchi said, along with the upscale Potomac town center, proposed by the Mills Corp. of Arlington, and the Belmont Bay Science Center.

County Center to Reduce

Red Tape for New Firms

Business is booming in Prince William County, and apparently so is red tape.

Anyone who wants to open a small business has to visit up to six county departments, including the fire marshal and clerk of the court, in pursuit of the required permits, Prince William officials say, creating a bureaucratic challenge for applicants and piles of paperwork for everyone.

"We are using the customer to walk permits through," Assistant County Executive Susan Roltsch said.

For five years, county officials and leaders of the Prince William County Regional Chamber of Commerce have discussed ways to speed up the process and make it more efficient as the county's business community has ballooned.

"Every year, I've been waiting for the workload to go down, and every year it's gone up," Eric Mays, the county's building official, told chamber members during a luncheon last week.

To improve the process, the county plans to build an approximately $20 million Development Services Center next to its McCoart Administration Building. The 100,000-square-foot building would house the county's public works, fire and rescue, information technology and planning departments.

The building is expected to open next summer.

"This building is all about one-stop shopping for our customers," Roltsch said.

Va. Economic Partnership

Gets Pitch From Manassas

Manassas officials made a sales pitch to six state economic development officials last week, taking project managers from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership on a bus tour of the city, including stops at Manassas Regional Airport and Gateway business park.

The group also toured the Mathis Avenue corridor, which the city plans to redevelop, as well as locations where office space is either being built or planned. About 284,000 square feet of new office space is in the works in Manassas.

The tour "helps us speak knowledgeably about the places we're trying to sell," said Keith Oing, senior project manager for the partnership, which helps companies expand and relocate to Virginia.


E-mail news about Prince William County business to morenoj@washpost.com.