In a move that signals major changes for the Centreville area of Fairfax County, Hazel-Peterson Cos. is abandoning plans to build a major commercial center along the Interstate 66 corridor near Rtes. 28 and 29 and instead is seeking permission to build a large residential complex.
The proposed project could include as many as 3,000 housing units, many of which would be apartments or condominiums, on a 303-acre tract it owns.
Meanwhile, Cadillac-Fairview Urban Development Inc., which is based in Dallas, this week dropped its plans to build a 3-million-square-foot office park on a 112-acre triangle between I-66 and Rtes. 28 and 29. Cadillac-Fairview has let lapse its contract to buy the site from Olin Corp.
Both actions are directly tied to a new land-use plan for the Centreville area, which the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted in mid-March. That policy change reversed a long-standing plan that called for the Centreville area to be a high-density commercial development center for western Fairfax.
Bowing to the wishes of a citizens task force, the board adopted a new land plan, which calls for more residential than commercial growth.
James Todd, president of Hazel-Peterson Cos., said his company "is going for a rezoning that is completely compatible with the revised plan."
Because the new Hazel-Peterson proposal, a joint venture with The Pomeroy Cos., conforms to the newly adopted plan, the county may have difficulty negotiating with developers for money to improve traffic along congested I-66 and Rtes. 28 and 29.
Before the new land-use plan was adopted, Cadillac-Fairview and Hazel-Peterson had offered to spend $10 million on road improvements in exchange for being allowed to build major commercial projects on their sites.
Soon after the board adopted the new plan, attorneys for Olin Corp. filed suit in Fairfax Circuit Court to block implementation of the plan. That suit was dismissed this week when the court ruled that Olin had not used all the "administrative" options available before filing suit.
Cadillac-Fairview Vice President David Fitch said, "The contract with Olin has lapsed, and we are no longer under contract."
Fitch said there are "no hard feelings between Olin and Cadillac-Fairview." He said his company is "still interested in the Centreville area because it has all the right favorable market conditions" for mixed-use commercial development.
Details of Hazel-Peterson's latest proposal have not been filed with the county, but company officials said they have amended a previously filed rezoning application, which reduces the number of acres involved from 405 to 303. The new proposal changes the mix of proposed construction from predominantly commercial to a mixed-use project dominated by residential units.
The modification calls for housing units on 234 acres, and commercial and retail space on only 69 acres, according to a company spokesman.
The new county land-use plan would allow for as many as 3,000 housing units, but Hazel-Peterson officials said they expect final plans to be closer to 2,800 units. Many of those are likely to be garden or mid-rise apartments.
Todd said the project will include town houses, condominiums and some single-family detached houses to buffer existing residential neighborhoods.
Todd said the shift to residential reflected the increasing demand for housing in Fairfax.
Hazel-Peterson, known for its recent commercial projects, developed the residential communities of Burke Center, Franklin Farms and Madison of McLean.
Olin said it does not know what it will do with its tract now that Cadillac-Fairview let the purchase contract lapse.