A Northern Virginia developer is asking Fairfax County for special zoning on a 38-acre tract in western McLean that could lead to construction of McLean's first subdivision consisting entirely of million-dollar houses.
Robert Young, a McLean-based developer of residential and commercial projects, said this week that he plans to ask for cluster zoning on a site in the Alps Drive and Daleview Road area generally known as Woodside. The land is owned by longtime McLean resident Alva Nye and his son, Richard Nye. The acreage is west of Tysons Corner near Lewinsville Road and Brook Road between Leesburg Pike and Old Dominion Drive.
If the cluster zoning is granted, the project will be the first development in McLean where houses initially will have a base price of $1 million. There are numerous homes in the general McLean/Great Falls areas with price tags far above the $1 million mark, however.
"Prices will be starting at $1 million and go on up," Young said. He also said that the project will be known as The Courts.
The tract is zoned for residential purposes. Young said he wants permission to cluster 19 homes on the 38 acres.
More than a dozen McLean-area real estate agents agreed this week that they could not remember a complete subdivision that had started in the area with a $1 million price. There are several developments off Georgetown Pike, including Potomac Knolls and Potomac Overlook, in which some houses are priced above $1 million, but many start out below $500,000. Recently, a development known as Ballantrae sold out at prices between $500,000 and $750,000.
"I think the area can support such a project," one agent said, but a developer cautioned that buyers would be expecting big amenity packages and "something to make the home distinctive."
Another agent said the fact that each home will be custom-built will be "a big plus."
"There are a lot of people looking -- well, not a whole lot, but many -- in that price range, and I find them to be very discriminating," said an agent who asked not to be identified. "At that price, many are looking to build rather than take what is available on the current market."
Young said he is certain the McLean housing market can and will support such a costly project. The houses will be 6,000 to 7,000 square feet in size. "We believe it will be successful over the next three to five years" planned for completion of all the units, Young said.
Young said he is "seeking the cluster zoning in order to build the homes in a configuration that will preserve the natural elements of the site. It is a heavily wooded, special piece of property. There is a ridge line of rock running down one side which will act as a buffer on some of the lots.
"We are not asking for more than we can do under the existing residential zoning. We want a special exception for a cluster development," he said.
As planned, The Courts will have one major thoroughfare with driveways leading to courtyards from the public street. Traffic will be monitored by radio-controlled gates.
"We will be doing as much as possible to have driveways off of circular courts," Young said. A clubhouse and tennis court also are planned.
"We will be using a variety of architects. There will be very strict architectural controls. We will probably have a list of approved architects that potential home buyers can work with," Young said.
But there will be only two builders -- Young and Fred Lilly, who heads another McLean firm, Lilly Homes. Young is the developer.
Last year, the property owner and Young tried in vain to get Fairfax County to amend its comprehensive land-use plan to allow for development of the site in a different category. But they abandoned that plan after their attempt to get the proposal classified as an "emergency" measure failed. Fairfax only reviews amendments to its planned-use plan every third year unless stringent criteria are met. Even though 1985 is a complete review year, Young said he decided to go for cluster development on the land as it is zoned rather than tackle the county's master plan.