Moorefield Closer to Developing

Moorefield Closer to Developing

Claude Moore Charitable Foundation and its consultants prepare to sell first 93 acres of Moorefield Station, nearby property.

With a three-ring binder of engineering and site information, the prospective buyers of the Moorefield Green property could apply for a building permit, one of the buyers told Randy Sutliff, an attorney with McCandlish & Lillard P.C. in Leesburg.

Moorefield Green is a 93-acre section of property located on the southwestern end of Moorefield Station, a proposed transit-oriented development tied to the future Dulles rail project expected to reach Loudoun by 2015. Moorefield Station is proposed as a 6,000-unit, mixed-use development that will be located at the future Route 772 rail station near the Dulles Greenway and Loudoun County Parkway.

"We’re offering just one beginning section," said Guy Gravett, associate broker for Farms & Acreage, Inc., a real estate company in Oakton. "What we’re offering is a very good development opportunity because it’s a wonderful piece of property — the location, the design, everything about it."

MOOREFIELD GREEN is proposed at the lowest density in the development and will be the first of four precincts in Moorefield Station. Named for the green space on the property, Moorefield Green will serve as a transition to the denser precincts to the east that will be built out as the various stages of mass transit come online from bus to rail.

"The property we’re looking at is least affected by transit and the furthest from the transit station," said Sutliff, an attorney representing the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation, owner of the Moorefield Station property.

Moorefield Green includes 83 acres in Moorefield Station and 10 acres subsequently purchased by the Foundation while the rezoning of the entire property was pending, approved by the county in December 2002. Moorefield Station now is zoned as a Planned Development-Transit Related Center (PD-TRC) and includes the 83 acres, while the remaining 10 acres is zoned Residential-1 (R-1), or one housing unit per acre. The total 93 acres is planned for 530 units.

"The whole purpose of selling the land is to raise money for the charitable foundation," Sutliff said. "It’s easier to do charitable works with money than with real estate."

The Foundation was founded in 1987 by the late Claude Moore, former owner of the entire property since 1949, to help fund educational opportunities and programs.

"The foundation is quite interested in ensuring that it is a quality development all the way through," said J. Hamilton Lambert, executive director of the foundation and a Loudoun County native. "The studies that were performed by the Loudoun County staff, the Loudoun County consultants and the Claude Moore Foundation consultants all concluded that it was going to be an economic positive for the county and a quality development. ... Its cost to the county will be nothing. Over the long run, it will generate millions and millions for the county's coffers."

THE FOUNDATION and its consultants held an open meeting Nov. 14 attended by more than 100 people, including multiple representatives from the same companies.

"We spent a substantial amount of money to prepare information and to let the buyers know what they’re getting," Sutliff said.

The representatives had to provide a $1,000 donation to the Loudoun Education Foundation to receive the information package, which includes nine discs, a development brochure and information on loose paper. The information package outlines the Foundation’s requirements and suggestions for developing the property, along with providing engineering information, site photos, soil studies, rock analyses, and other information.

"We’ve been told [by the buyers] they never have seen property offered this way with this much material," Sutliff said. "We tried to put together all of the materials we would want for a feasibility study. We thought it was the best way to get maximum proceeds for the property."

The Foundation requires Moorefield Green to have distinctive neighborhoods, open space, civic and retail areas, and a pedestrian and vehicular transportation system, as outlined in the information package. More specifically, the Foundation places single-family lots, attached manor homes and town homes to the west of a stream corridor that nearly bisects the property and multi-family units and town homes to the east of the corridor and north of Hutchinson Drive. Hutchinson Drive will be the main east-west roadway through the property.

Prospective buyers have until Jan. 16, 2004 to submit their proposals. The Foundation’s consultants — including architectural, engineering, land planning and law firms and real estate brokers — will review the proposals from Jan. 17-31 to make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees by Jan. 31. Within the next six days, the Trustees will select three to five proposals based on proposed purchase prices, development plans and company qualifications.

"We are concerned that the potential buyer does a quality job because we want that for the county and for Moorefield Station," Sutliff said.

The buyers will be able to submit updates to their proposals by Feb. 20. The trustees will review the proposals to make a final selection in March. The trustees agreed to allow the closing of the property to be held off until the county approves the final development plans by Jan. 20, 2005.