BOCS Approves Gas Station, Rejects Drive-Thru Restaurants at Promenade at Virginia Gateway

| June 6, 2012 | 0 Comments | Bristow Biz

With the proffer adjustments that were requested by the Peterson Companies, the developer hopes to forge ahead with the project that will still include upscale restaurants and retail outlets. Credit: The Peterson Companies

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors voted Tuesday evening to approve several proffer amendments that would allow the construction of a gas station as part of the BJ’s Wholesale Club, additional pad sites and a comprehensive signage plan for the Promenade at Virginia Gateway in Gainesville.

The plan to remove a provision to allow a maximum of three freestanding drive-thru restaurants was withdrawn to allow the passage of the amended permits. The gas station and drive-thru establishments were prohibited under the previous permits.

The Board voted unanimously (with Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi absent) to the request of the site’s developer, the Peterson Companies, to transfer these proffers from Wentworth Green to the new Promenade at Virginia Gateway.

Although Brentsville District Supervisor Wally Covington expressed his displeasure at some of the additions, notably the prospect of a gas station and drive-thru restaurants; nevertheless, he endorsed the spirit of the project, relenting on the gas station.

“I can’t support [the drive-thru restaurants]; I don’t think that was what promised to the community,” Covington said.

Map of the proposed Promenade at Virginia Gateway. Credit: The Peterson Companies

Citing a desire to keep with the original plan to build an upscale retail and dining experience in Western Prince William County, Covington originally consented to construction of a BJ’s Wholesale Club and ultimately the associated gas station as a means to further the project.

He praised the Peterson Companies for the scope of the project and praised the developer for the completed Atlas Walk component of the Virginia Gateway, which he called “a premier spot in the county.”

In a presentation to the supervisors, Peterson Companies representative Peter Dolan described the Promenade as “a neat walkable experience,” which will feature 45.5 acres designated for public open space, including pedestrian walkways and a trail to the neighboring residential neighborhood.

However at the meeting, several residents expressed concern with the scope of the project, citing flooding issues in adjacent neighborhoods, competition to existing businesses and the visual blight of drive-thru restaurants and a gas station.

“We were told it’s going to be upscale shopping and upscale restaurants. What’s upscale about a drive-thru restaurant and a gas station?” said Maura Arnold of Wentworth Green. “We were bamboozled, not only by the Peterson Companies, but by the developer of the homes as well.”

In response, Chairman At-Large Corey Stewart invited a representative of the Peterson Companies to clarify the need for the proffer adjustments and discuss the overall scope of the project.

“This is the final phase of retail at Virginia Gateway; we have been working on it for 15 years with a pretty consistent vision from the start,” said Peterson Companies vice president Paul Weinschenk. “The ambition we had [for the project] prior to the recession was really quite substantial, and the one we bring to it today is perhaps a little bit more modest.”

He explained that the investment of BJ’s in the northeastern end of the site allowed for the implementation of the rest of the project.

Although, he could not name prospective tenants, he assured the Supervisors that the company is close to signing leases with several new-concept restaurants and women’s clothing retailers.

© 2012, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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