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Open House for Open Minds

JPI gets a favorable response to their Kings Crossing proposal.

Curious citizens, potential buyers, and some skeptics all converged on Mount Eagle Elementary School, North Kings Highway, last Wednesday night and Saturday morning to get a first hand look at the proposed development of Kings Crossing. There to greet them and explain the project were representatives of JPI Development.

Aaron C. Liebert, vice president and area managing partner, JPI, proposed developers of the site, using a three dimension scale model, pointed out where residential units and commercial/retail space would be located within the 11 plus acre site at the intersection of Richmond and North Kings highways.

“We’ve had a very good turnout both days. There were more than 80 people here Wednesday night and it looks like were going to hit that again today. People have been very positive,” Liebert said.

The walls of the meeting room were lined with renderings of what the finished product is predicted to look like. There was video playing on a large screen of other JPI developments, highlighting their expertise in residential construction.

“We’ve heard from people throughout the area who are very supportive of the project. Many of them, even with all the coverage, were not aware of the project,” said Charles Maier, public relations, representing JPI.

Opposition to the development design has come from the Spring Bank Community Association, Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation, Mount Vernon Council of Citizens’ Associations, and Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerald Hyland. Their primary concern has been linked to JPI’s proposed ratio of residential to commercial/retail of developed space.

“We are going to make some changes to get a better mix. We really want the support of the Spring Bank community,” Liebert said.

“I’ve been surprised during this open house how many people want to live here. A lot were disappointed that we didn’t have a marketing office as a part of this open house. This is the kind of development that gets people close to their jobs without the long commute,” he said.

When asked to estimate the prices of home during the last SBCA meeting, Liebert said that the individual town houses would probably be in the $700,000 to $800,000 range. The stacked townhouses would range between $500,000 and $700,000. There are also apartments planned for the site.

Liebert estimated the project going to the County Planning Commission in May. That is required since JPI and the owners, Archon Corporation, are seeking to change the status of the site from commercial to mixed-use residential.

If the site were to remain commercial there would be no need for Planning Commission approval. It could be developed “by-right.” It now is home to Chuck-E-Cheese and National Wholesale Liquidators. The latter is housed in the area previously occupied by Michaels, which relocated to the revitalized Mount Vernon Plaza.