Position paper on One
Loudoun's Smart Growth Alliance Jury
by the Coalition for Smarter Growth
NOTE: On January 16, 2007, the Loudoun Board
of Supervisors approved One Loudoun. The proposal includes 1,000
What is the One Loudoun development I keep hearing about?
A “World Trade Center” is being promoted to the public
by a developer. In February 2005, the developer filed a formal
application with the county for a zoning change, to switch the land
parcel from commercial zoning to a mix of houses and commercial
uses. The site is at the intersection of Loudoun County Parkway
and Route 7 in Ashburn and just west of Sterling.
The developer promises 14,000 jobs, 3 million square feet of office
space, 600,000 square feet of retail, on 360 acres, plus the addition
of 1,500 houses not currently zoned there. Note that our community
was promised over 30,000 jobs at WorldCom, and now only a few thousand
people work at that facility in Ashburn.
Development of the business park/commercial uses -- which could
bring the 14,000 promised jobs on the site -- can go forward without
the rezoning request.
The developer must ask for a zoning change only to build
the 1,500 new houses on the site. In other words, we do not
need to accept 1,500 new houses in order to allow for construction
of new commercial space or to get new retail and amenities.
Adding 1,500 new houses on Route 7 only adds to our existing traffic
problems in the Ashburn and Sterling communities and the many schools
we already need to build.
The supporting retail and service uses that contribute to a viable
office park are available with the existing zoning. Included in
the proffers now in effect for 266 acres of the site is a hotel
with conference center facilities and service retail uses.
The nearby residential neighborhoods also have retail shopping centers
associated with them, including Belmont with plans to build soon,
Lansdowne now beginning to build, and Ashburn Village with more
retail yet to be constructed, in addition to what is on the ground
How is the developer planning to build this site out?
"Phasing" for new developments refers to the timing of
construction for the various parts of the plan, such as houses,
retail, office space, road improvements, etc. One frequent problem
with phasing in Loudoun County is that new developments are built
starting with the houses first -- and too often the road improvements
and other amenities are last.
Phasing plans change often, but as of November 2006, this is the
plan for Phase I (of 3) for One Loudoun:
- Build up to 943 new houses
- May have up to 17,000 sq ft day care "uses"
- Prior to "commencement of Phase II", must have zoning
permits for at least 1 million square feet of commercial. This
includes retail and hotel space. There must be at least 300,000
square feet of office space and at least 350,000 square feet of
The Phase I retail space is larger than the retail space approved
in most of Ashburn's planned residential communities. The applicant
is asking for a total of 702,000 square feet of retail. In comparison,
the Dulles Town Center has 743,000 square feet of retail currently
In other words, the almost 1,000 new houses could be built
first with the commercial/office space not required until Phase
II is ready to start. Also, because market forces fluctuate
over time, the commercial/office space is frequently flipped to
be residential in the years following a development's approval.
An example of this is the Ashbrook development of retail and houses,
where Harris Teeter is, in front of Ashburn Village. The initial
zoning was for all office space with some supportive retail and
Learn more about the One Loudoun proposal on the developer
website, which also includes a site