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PNC Bank Headed for Local Historic District

PNC Bank hopes to build a new branch in Centreville's expanded Historic District. And representatives presented plans Tuesday night to the Centreville Historic District Work Group that crafted the boundaries for the proposed expansion.

"We're in seven states, and we're very anxious and excited about the opportunity here," said Frank Walters, a PNC vice president and manager. "Centreville is extremely high on our places of where we want to be."

The new bank would be built at Route 29 and Braddock Road realigned and would have two stories and 5,378 square feet. But first, it needs Fairfax County's approval of a special-exception permit for its two, drive-through lanes.

Access would be off Braddock, and this full-service bank plans to have 15 employees and user-friendly hours. It will be open Monday-Friday, from 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

What's unique about PNC is that, according to its representatives, it has a deep sense of responsibility to both the community and the environment. It plans a building that'll reflect favorably upon the Historic District and be energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.

For one thing, it will erect a 4 1/2 - 5-foot retaining wall on Route 29 to wrap around the site. It will be of the same stone used around the bottom of the bank building and will have a "Historic Centreville" sign on it.

"THIS IS the gateway to the Centreville Historic District, so we wanted the building to be an anchor for this site," said architect Eric Brill with Gensler Architecture. "We wanted it to have elements of 18th- and 19th-century architecture and have stone plus a brick veneer."

The bank will be mainly red brick, but will also feature a metal, gabled roof and plank siding to resemble homes in the nearby, historic neighborhood. Said Walters: "We always try to fit into the communities we go into."

PNC also prides itself on constructing "green" buildings that don't harm the environment. This one, said Walters, will use recyclable materials in its construction, reduce water usage and have no light pollution outside.

"This building will reduce energy consumption by 40 percent," said Brill. "And it will improve air-quality because the paints used have less-volatile organic compounds in them." In addition, 18-foot ceilings and large windows will bring lots of natural light inside.

"The landscaping will include long-lasting, native species," added Aaron Bodenschatz, a civil engineer with Bohler Engineering. "And it will also help us reduce the amount of impervious area on that site." He said PNC also intends to have underground, stormwater management.

A one-story, window-tinting business is there now. But the new building would have about 3,800 square feet on the first floor, with the second floor atop the back portion of it. There'll also be a walk-up ATM and an elevator to the second floor.

"It is also going to be a retail center for us, with some other lines on the second floor," said Walter. These could include, for example, private bankers and mortgage representatives.

He also said PNC is currently finalizing a long-term, land lease — 25 years, with renewal options — from the property owner, Dennis Hogge. Upon expiration of the lease, said Walter, "The building would revert to [him as] the landlord."

SOME RESIDENTS expressed a desire to see more stone than brick in the bank's exterior, but Walters said brick gives customers a secure sense of their bank's strength and solidarity. Centreville Farms resident Larry Baldwin asked if PNC would be willing to subject its building to a review by the county's Architectural Review Board, and attorney Cathy Puskar said, "We'd certainly consider it."

One woman in the audience complained that, "Some developers have come in and, little by little, chipped away at the integrity of the Historic District." But Puskar replied that PNC made a real effort to pick up all the architectural elements of the Historic District and is "trying to fit in with the historic nature of the neighborhood."

When another person asked if customers leaving the bank would be able to see oncoming traffic at the exits, Bodenschatz said VDOT would require it and make sure that the landscaping wouldn't obstruct drivers' vision.

Greg Budnik, a landowner in the Historic District, asked if PNC would help with traffic calming along Braddock Road. Walters said not only would the bank consider it, but it's done it elsewhere. "PNC has a history of working with communities to do what's right to protect the public."

Little Rocky Run's Al Francese complimented PNC on the building's attractive double roof with cupola, adding, "I think this is a nice entre into the Historic District."