Oakton, a western Fairfax County neighborhood, is attracting increasing numbers of home buyers and businesses because of its excellent transportation prospects and moderate land prices.
In addition to the existing interchange etween Chain Bridge Road (Rte. 123) and I-66, which is expected to be ready in less than two years, a Metro rail station is slated to open by 1985 on Rte. I-66 at Nutley Road.
Town houses and single-family dwellings in the oakton area, just beyond Vienna and close to fast-growing Fairfax City, generally have sold well in the last 10 years.
The Scarborough Corp. recently opened a new section of town houses, costing $98,000 and up, on about 100 lots between I-66 and the Oakton High School. Contracts already have been signed to purchase more than 20 of the new homes, according to Gary Garcynski, Scarborough's area manager. The quick sale of the houses was helped by the I-66 interchange and the planned Metro service "at a station that will be only a short walk away," he said.
Somewhat lower in price are the town houses that the Artery Organization has been building and selling successfully in a nearby subdivision of about the same size called Country Creek. These town houses have been built on land sold several years ago by a religious order to builder-developers William Plank and Reid Wills.
After town house zoning was obtained for the 60-acre site near Nottaway Park, the home sales and increased interest in the area -- along with inflation -- caused the prices of undeveloped lots to increase considerably. Now it costs a builder about $21,000 to buy a raw lot and do the necessary finishing, including putting in sewer and water services and sidewalks.
Developer John DeLuca said that in the 1970s he had successfully developed town houses in the Nutley Road area but through foreclosure lost a 50-acre piece of property close to I-66. On it he had planned to build a complex of office buildings, condominium apartments and retail stores.
Other sources said the remaining undeveloped property in the area now is in litigation, but it is nevertheless likely that a major development will be started there by someone before 1985.
On the south side of I-66 at Nutley Road, and investment group including William and Richard Marriott have plans to seek zoning for a mixed-use complex that would include three buildings with 1.2 million square feet of office space and 350 condo apartments. This multimillion-dollar residential-commercial developments is planned for the area nearest the Metro station.
That Metro station, on the median strip of I-66, is likely to spark other residential and commercial development at the west end of Vienna and Oakton, which slowly are being merged by continuing development. Business development also is increasing along the Chain Bridge Road corridor between Vienna and Fairfax City.
Oakton -- which used to be mainly a crossroads providing access to upper Hunter Mill Road, where in the 1960s John Minchew was building attractive single-family houses on large lots -- now is the site of a 427,000-square-foot AT&T building opened last year for 1,550 employes in the utility's "long lines" division.
Many of those employees who lived in the Washington area before AT&T arrived still are commuting from other jurisdictions. But most of those who have relocated from other cities are buying or renting in or near Oakton. And a number of the AT &T workers with long commutes are either buying near Oakton or thinking about doing so soon.
Located less than half a mile east of the I-66 interchange, the contemporary, cinnamon-brown AT&T building is located on 34 acres of land that the utility purchased for $2.9 million several years ago. It is at the corner of Rte. 123 and Blake Lane, which is the entrance to Country Creek, Oakton High School and other town house communities.
The AT&T building has as its neighbor to the west the Flint Hill Preparatory School on a 5 1/2-acre site that school director-owner Glenn Rounsevell said is zoned for motel or hotel use. Even though property values in Oakton have increased remarkably since the school was founded there 26 years ago, Rounsevell said that he has no plans to sell and relocate. t
The school's other neighbor is an historic stone house that was relocated square foot, which is more than five times the per-foot cost paid by AT&T for its much larger site several years ago.
Smith insisted that he would sell onlly if the terms involved a taxdeferred exchange for another piece of property. He also said that they had increased his asking price from $10 a square foot in early 1980. (Another Oakton area realty professional, who asked not to be identified by name, felt that Smith's relatively small piece to make way for the interchange some years ago. The house is owned and occupied by Realtor Verlin Smith, who operates his Farms & Acreage broker business there. Pressed to put an asking price on his one-plus acres, Smith said he would accept $15 a of property might not be sought after by most developers.)
Opposite AT&T on the north side of Chain Bridge Road, development has been started on the 45-acre Flint Hill office park. It's an undertaking of a group that includes developers Merrick C. Marshall, Jerome Kaplan T. N. (Ted) Lerner. Marshall and Kaplan, as Markap Enterprises Inc., have developed apartments and town houses in two other quadrants of the Oakton I-66 interchange. Lerner, the developer of several large regional shopping malls (including Tysons and White Flint), also is a principal in the major downtown D.C. development of office and commercial facilities to be known as Washington Square.
Located on Chain Bridge and Germantown roads, the Flint Hill office park will include six buildings with a total of 800,000 square feet. Campus landscaping and a lake are planned for the site. Marshall said the Engineering Sciences Inc. bought a small part of the site for its own building that will conform architecturally to the other buildings designed by Weihe, Black, Jeffries and Strassman.
"We want to bring a little bit of K Street [NW, on which scores of new office buildings have been built in the past two decades] to Oakton," said Marshall.
Unless a federal spending cutback derails the schedule to have Metro rail service out I-66 to Nutley Road by 1985, the prospect for continuing residential and commerical development is likely to remain strong for the Oakton area.