Last night I attended an information session regarding the potential condo community (Sterling Meadows) that will be replacing the current movie theater in the Countryside shopping center. The room was full of concerned residents from the Calverts Glen and Countryside communities.
As of Sept. 4, 2019, no action has been taken but an application has been submitted to Loudoun County and it is in the review and planning stages. This application is based on the new Comprehensive Plan that was approved in June of 2019. Part of the Comprehensive plan is to create more affordable housing.
The current application includes 166 stacked townhouse style condos with 2 or 3 bedroom floor plans. Each unit will be 2-levels and will include 2 parking spaces per unit with additional spaces throughout the complex for a total of 456 spaces. 11 of the units will be part of the Loudoun County Affordable Dwelling Unit (ADU) program. The estimated price point would be in the upper $300’s to low $400’s. The Regal Cinema is in a lease until September 2020.
Here are my thoughts, but I would love additional input from anyone that takes the time to read this.
This will definitely impact traffic along Triple Seven Road, Palisades Parkway and the surrounding areas. The ‘Traffic Engineer’ was not in attendance at this meeting but in a previous meeting, according to their study, they are claiming that this condo complex will reduce traffic by 60%. I say no way! There will definitely be more traffic coming in and out of this area and may require a traffic light on Triple Seven Rd. It is already a dangerous road in regards to volume and design. We also want to make sure that walking paths are accessible into and throughout the entire area. This is where we need to be vocal and make sure the developers and the county hear our concerns and adjust the plan accordingly.
Will this have an impact on school attendance? Yes, but it is hard to say how much. There were some numbers provided during the meeting (for example, 22 elementary school students) but this is just an estimate provided by the Loudoun County Public Schools. Given the type of housing this is (condos) and the price point of the upper 300’s to low 400’s, the likely buyer will be younger professionals trying to get into the housing market or homeowners that do not want to deal with yard maintenance and/or want more walkability to retail, restaurants and entertainment. However, I do see a rezoning of schools in our area in our future. There is more development/housing going in over by the Dulles Town Center and when these condo units are completed, I do see a shift in school boundaries for at least our elementary schools.
There are concerns that having 2 spaces per unit will not be enough parking and this will create issues in surrounding areas. The plan calls for a garage space and a driveway space for each unit, with additional spaces throughout the complex. I believe that any overflow parking will impact the surrounding retail locations, not the residential areas nearby. Again, this is where we can voice our concerns and help influence the design plan, and business owners in the Countryside shopping center should speak up as well.
Housing Market Impact
How will this new condo complex impact home prices in the Countryside and Calverts Glen neighborhoods? I am going to say that the impact will be minimal for single family homes, but this will absolutely bring in more competition for town homes and the Villas at Countryside. These new condos will be brand new, modern and very shiny which will appeal to buyers. However, inventory still remains very low and it will be several years before these condos are built and completed. So, if you are a town home owner and plan to sell in a few years, it may be time to start making updates over time so that you can remain competitive and attractive to potential buyers and/or renters.
Retail and Entertainment
Since the new movie theater opened at the Dulles Town Center, the Countryside Regal has seen a lot less attendance and I am sure this has impacted a lot of the restaurants and shops nearby. If people aren’t going to a movie in Countryside, they probably aren’t having dinner or ice cream there before or after the movie. And let’s face it, it isn’t exactly a beautiful building. When these condos are completed it will bring in a fresh start for the businesses that are already there, helping our local community. And over time, it could attract more businesses to the area and provide us with a lot more options as far as restaurants, shopping and entertainment.
There is no doubt that this will have an impact to our local areas of Countryside and not all of them are negative. I do think we could benefit from better retail in this area. And as a REALTOR, I am very aware of the lack of affordable housing in our county. It is so difficult to see our teachers and service providers having to commute to other counties because they cannot afford to live where they work. Living through the construction won’t be fun, and dealing with a change like this is difficult, especially if you have lived here for a few decades. But our voices can influence certain aspects of this design.
You can monitor the application and details of this community through the county website. It isn’t the easiest to navigate but once you are on the Land Applications page, click on the “Searchable List” link and type in ‘Sterling Meadow’. Loudoun Land Applications.
They have made several modifications to their original application and you can see all of the details there as well.
Another meeting could potentially be happening again soon and I will update everyone on the details of that meeting. What do you think of this potential new community?