Pageland Lane Residents' Property Taxes Plummet Following Rezoning

Prince William County applies multiple large commercial tax discounts


One would think taxes on the property would have skyrocketed for Pageland land residents following Prince William County’s rezoning to make way for the Prince William Digital Gateway;  instead, they plummeted.

Citizen activists who rallied against the Prince William Digital Gateway have discovered that Prince William County has afforded tax breaks to Pageland Lane residents who collectively agreed to sell their properties to data center developers QTS and Compass. 

 Prince William County's finance office employed an unusual formula to reduce the tax burden on families who planned to sell their land to build the digital gateway. 

Gainesville activist Bill Wright showed that in 2024, Prince William County assessments of Pageland properties will result in landowners paying less than in previous years when their land was zoned environmental/residential (previously called "agricultural estate." This designation only allowed for one home per ten acres, and residents said that limited the value of their properties. 

QTS and Compass agreed to pay Pageland residents $1 million per acre to build their expansive data center hub, thus inflating the value of the property. Curiously, that value is not represented in the county's assessment. 

The largest property owner and broker, Mary Ann Ghadban saw her property assessment decrease by 98 percent of its previous residential value according to county real estate documents!

“Take a look at the latest assessment for Prince William Digital Gateway promoter Mary Ann Ghadban’s principal residence (Property Detail (, which dropped by 98%, from $1,829,200 in 2023 to $31,200 in 2024.  Her 11.9518 acres are valued at $31,100 or $2,602 per acre.  Her home, which was valued at $1,468,800 in 2023 is now valued at $100,” said Wright, “What is going on here?”

Wright found little logic in that assessment and little consistency in how residents were being taxed. Some parcels decreased to just $2,602 per acre. In almost all cases, the land was devalued.  

Ghadban’s property was an extreme example, but other landowners received signification discounts as well.

“Then notice the latest assessment for former Supervisor Pete Candland (Property Detail (, which dropped by 21%, from $1,040,700 in 2023 to $817,800 in 2024.  His 5.702 acres are valued at $817,700 or $143,405 per acre.  His home, which was valued at $791,600 in 2023 is now valued at $100,” Wright wrote to his followers.

Here are other particularly odd examples Wright provided:

The assessments are also incongruent with neighbors living outside the digital gateway zone where their property values rose. 

Allison Lindner, Prince William County Assistant Director of Finance for Real Estate Assessments, provided Bristow Beat information on the assessments. She first noted that assessments are based on the property’s “highest value use.” Along Pageland Lane, the highest value use is not residential, but commercial, at $1.5 million per acre.

"Rezoned parcels in Digital Gateway were determined to have the highest and best use as data center land and valued as such," she wrote. 

However, residents will not be taxed at anything near $1.5 million per acre. Her office applied a formula of $1,500,000 x (0.50 x 0.65 x 0.90), resulting in $438,750 per acre.

The finance department decided to tax the Digital Gateway properties at 50 percent to account for legal challenges to the land designation. If the legal challenges win, the deal with QTS and Compass would be null and void.

Additionally, the county decreased the base value by 35 percent. She said 30-40 percent was applied because the sites are not commercial-ready. Infrastructure changes are required near the sites, and the build-out period may take up to ten years.

Moreover, the county deducted another 10 percent, claiming it was applied to all  data centers in the jurisdiction, acknowledging a build-out period and the “high volume of land zoned/planned for data center development.”

This seems redundant, but also speaks to the devaluing effect of opening the county to data center development beyond the data center opportunity zone. 

But that is not at all where the deductions end. Because much of the Digital Gateway has been designated “open space,” the county assessed that land accordingly, at $0.06 per square foot or $2,600 per acre.

Open space could be due to geological aspects of the land that prohibit development, or it could be at the discretion of the developers in their land use design needed to appease supervisors.

Although Ghadban stands to make the most out of the PW Digital Gateway acquisition since she is the largest property owner, the county designated all her land as open space. Is her land, then, ill-suited for commercial use? 

Finally, according to Lindner, Pageland homes are valued at just $100, because developers intend to raze them.

“Any structures on these parcels will be razed to give way to data center development. The total value of the parcel is the commercial land value. A token $100 allocation of that amount was made to the building to recognize the existence of a structure on the property," Lindner wrote. 

Lindner copied the Prince William Board of County Supervisors in her response to Bristow Beat and Bill Wright.

At the last board meeting, Heritage Hunt residents questioned whether the formulas are fair, equitable, or even reasonable. Linder said the highest value use is commercial, but if that is so, shouldn't it yield the most tax dollars for the county? How are data centers benefiting the county when the county is collecting less taxes? 

So where did the assessment formula come from? It was likely a negotiation. Via FIOA a resident obtained an email Mary Ann Ghadban sent to members of the Prince William Finance Office, Feb. 22. She requested that she and QTS’s Anthony Calabrese meet with the finance department to ensure “fair and accurate assessments.”

“By discussing the nuances of the project together, I believe we can streamline the assessment process and potentially avoid appeals for both 2023 and 2024 assessments,” said wrote.

Gainesville Supervisor Bob Weir-R is not happy about the assessments but said he has no authority over them. “Whether I agree or disagree is irrelevant.”

Does he necessarily agree with a 50 percent deduction? “No.” A 35 percent deduction on top of that? “No.” A ten percent on top of that because we devalued the data center properties because we have so many? “No.”

“Do I disagree with the methodology?" he asked. "Yeah.”

Weir said he wonders if the discounts have been equitably provided to other property owners. If it is normal to exempt taxation of homes that are still occupied,  or if all data center properties under legal dispute received tax deductions. 

He said the finance office may decide to review the open space assessments since QTS and Compass in their site plans would not commit to where the open space would be. Weir said he does have the ability to ask questions, and that he is doing. 

Bristow Beat inquired with Lindner as to whether other properties are being evaluated using the same formula the county has employed to assess the Pageland properties and is awaiting a reply. 

Wright argues the county should be giving tax adjustments to residents whose homes are being negatively affected by data centers, but that is not the case. He said in Heritage Hunt residential assessments have increased. 

Pageland Lane, taxes, Prince William County, property taxes, data centers, Prince William Digital Gateway, Mary Ann Ghadban, Gainesville, Bob Weir, Supervisor Bob Weir, QTS, Compass