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Buchanan Partners Announces Plans for $600 Million Arcola Center Mixed-Use Development in Loudoun County, VA

Dulles, Virginia, March 4, 2005 ….. Preliminary plans for a $600 million mixed-use community in fast-growing Loudoun County, Virginia were announced today by Buchanan Partners, a leading Washington, D.C. metropolitan area commercial developer with extensive experience in Loudoun County. Incorporating ideas that have been discussed by the Route 50 Task Force appointed by the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors under the direction of Supervisor Stephen Snow (R-Dulles), Buchanan’s early plans for Arcola Center include workforce housing, Main Street retail including high-end lifestyle and big-box formats, entertainment venues, a hotel, and commercial office buildings, some of which may double as live-work spaces. A former slave quarters within Arcola Center will be restored as a tourism and educational destination, and the property’s northwest corner will link to a newly revitalized Village of Arcola.

Buchanan has assembled nearly 400 acres at the northwest corner of Route 50 and the Loudoun County Parkway for the planned Arcola Center development. The developer acquired the largest portion of this property from Hazout S.A. Netherlands-based Atlantic Realty Partners, BV is Buchanan Partners’ joint venture partner in the land acquisition.

Under the previous ownership, the Hazout tract had been rezoned to permit development of up to two million square feet of flex/office/industrial space and 800,000 square feet of retail space. Buchanan has re-planned the property to allow greater density, updated design, and diversification of the mixed-use plan to meet market demand. Construction could begin by 2006.

“Buchanan Partners has been on the cutting edge of development in Loudoun County for over 20 years,” said Robyn Bailey of the Loudoun County Department of Economic Development.

“Their ability to see the future of development has been remarkable and successful, first on Route 7 and then on Route 606. Loudoun is pleased that Route 50 is the focus of Buchanan Partners’ next venture.”

“When people hear that Loudoun County is the second fastest growing county in the nation, many people think that the growth is uncontrolled sprawl, but they are wrong,” said Supervisor Snow. “Most of the county’s residential and commercial growth has been within carefully balanced Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) such as Broadlands, Stone Ridge, South Riding, and Brambleton. People are flocking to these communities because they provide beautiful homes, open space, recreational opportunities, and fine public schools. Arcola Center will offer an employment center, workforce housing, services, and other needed amenities to serve this rapidly growing area just west and south of the airport.”

Just west of the property’s northwest corner, at the intersection of Evergreen Mills Road and Gum Spring Road, lies the historic Village of Arcola, known as Gum Springs before the Civil War. The Route 50 Task Force is likely to recommend planning and land use changes to enable a major revitalization of this village, including moving the planned North Connector Road that -- if built according to current plans -- would bisect the village.

In the northwest corner of Arcola Center, near Arcola Village, is a stone building that housed slaves from Colonial times through Emancipation. Buchanan Partners plans to work with the nonprofit Friends of the Slave Quarters to restore the building as an educational and tourism destination.

“Citizens, landowners, and County staff have engaged in a uniquely successful public-private initiative to plan the future of the County’s Route 50 corridor,” said Chris Riedel, Pastor of Arcola Methodist Church and one of the section leaders of the Route 50 Task Force. “We are pleased that these stakeholders have agreed on the importance of revitalizing the Village of Arcola.”

“A recent Brookings Institution study predicts that most future U.S. growth, like 90 percent of the nation’s growth since 1950, will take place in suburbs where most Americans want to live, work and play,” noted Bob Buchanan, Principal of Buchanan Partners. “And in its recent ‘Reality Check’ exercise, the Urban Land Institute’s Washington chapter confirmed what we have known all along: that working families want to live close to their jobs, in jurisdictions with good public schools, near major transportation corridors. Arcola Center will not only help provide much-needed workforce housing, but also will create job opportunities and provide the commercial space to support established and growing Loudoun County neighborhoods.”

Shopping venues at Arcola Center will be geared to the everyday needs of increasingly upscale Loudoun County neighborhoods, noted Buchanan Partners Principal Brian Benninghoff. “Ten years ago, Loudoun County was a bedroom community with lower prices than closer-in Fairfax, but all that has changed,” Benninghoff explained. “Today, the average new home in Loudoun County sells for over $550,000, and retailers locating here – like the Wegman’s and Harris Teeter grocery chains, along with the retail tenants we hope to attract -- reflect residents’ discerning tastes.”

The area surrounding Arcola Center has remained relatively undeveloped for many years, with a number of historic homes converted to business and light industrial uses. The area has great potential, however, and is poised for major change, according to Buchanan. The Arcola Center property is situated just west of the rapidly expanding Washington Dulles International Airport and the exciting new tourist attraction, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. It is bounded on the south by Route 50, a major east-west corridor, and on the east by the Loudoun County Parkway, an emerging north-south corridor.

The 17th most active commercial developer in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, according to the Washington Business Journal, Buchanan Partners has developed a portfolio of over 2.5 million square feet of commercial property. The portfolio includes office, industrial, flex and retail space projects that have been developed, acquired, approved, or under construction. Buchanan Partners also has acquired, planned or developed over 1,000 acres of commercial land over the past seven years. For more information, see the company’s Web site at www.buchananpartners.com.

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