Multiphase Project to Bring 900 Apartments, Retail to Woodbridge
Boosalis Properties and the IDI Group Companies now have the properties in place for a $380 million town center the venture plans to develop over the next decade in Woodbridge, Virginia.
The partnership reached a deal to buy the former Cowles Ford auto dealership at 13494 Jefferson Davis Highway. That site is to be incorporated into a larger, 19.3-acre tract tentatively named North Woodbridge Town Center, a project intended to bring more than 900 apartments and 160,000 square feet of retail space to the corner of Route 1 and Occoquan Road.
The development is one of the first projects to be constructed as part of a Prince William County small area plan approved last year. Ultimately, the plan calls for the development of more than 15,000 apartments and several million square feet of retail space, all within a more than 100-acre opportunity zone aimed at spurring economic development by providing federal tax benefits to investors.
Last year, Grace Street Properties, a separate entity owned by a Boosalis family member, acquired the adjacent Station Plaza shopping center to house the main portion of the North Woodbridge Town Center.
George Boosalis, president of Boosalis Properties, said the county’s ultimate goal is to lure new companies to Prince William and nurture a local workforce, with the town center playing a vital role in recruitment efforts to the area.
“I do see economic development,” Boosalis told CoStar News. “I think there’s a lot of office in the future so that a lot of residents can live close to their jobs.”
Cristina Winn, the executive director of Prince William County’s economic development department, said the county is already seeing the momentum as more businesses and investors show interest in North Woodbridge and eastern Prince William County. Winn was one of Arlington’s lead Amazon negotiators who left last year to serve as the top economic development official for Prince William County.
Boosalis, who worked on the Station Plaza deal, said the team remains committed to an apartment-heavy project, even after the coronavirus upended property markets.
“It’s so interesting,” Boosalis said. “When COVID started, we went back to the same company that did the market analysis and said, ‘You know, we’re in the middle of this COVID, this pandemic. What do you think is going to affect the outcome of the project?'”
Ultimately, the projections showed that the suburban markets outside Washington are expected to do better over the next 10 years once the pandemic subsides, Boosalis said, a trend that has emerged in the Washington area and across the country as renters look for more affordable, and larger, apartments.
On Tuesday, Boosalis and IDI secured a $750,000 economic development opportunity fund grant through Prince William County to acquire the site of the former dealership. That site is expected to house the first phase of a project set to be developed in three phases over the next five to 10 years.
The first phase, set to include 300 apartments and 50,000 square feet of retail, isn’t scheduled to get underway until 2022 at the earliest.
“COVID slowed a lot of things down,” Boosalis said. “We just want to make sure everything is secure before we break ground.”
Boosalis is teaming with IDI, an Arlington-based developer behind the Rivergate projectthat sits roughly 1 mile north of Station Plaza along the Occoquan River. IDI is breaking ground on phase two of that project, which has been drawn up to total 720 units across two buildings upon completion.
Plans for the retail component of the North Woodbridge Town Center include restaurants, bars, grocery stores and other amenities, all directly across the street from the North Woodbridge Virginia Railway Express station.
The development team has also been working with the county to possibly develop a pedestrian bridge that would connect the North Woobridge Town Center to a nearby rail station. Boosalis said those talks are still ongoing.