On-line Book
Cover book to Battling for Manassas: The Fifty-Year Preservation Struggle at Manassas National Battlefield Park. [Image of cannon in the battlefield]
Battling for Manassas: The Fifty-Year Preservation Struggle at Manassas National Battlefield Park


Table of Contents




Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

current topic Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11


Appendix I

Appendix II

Appendix III

Appendix IV

Appendix V (omitted from on-line edition)

Appendix VI

Appendix VII

Appendix VIII

Chapter 9
National Park Service Arrowhead

Seeking Partnerships

Planned Mixed-Use Development

Director Mott's call for partnerships between the local community and the National Park Service faced its first test in 1986 when Prince William County representatives reviewed a new zoning category, at Hazel/Peterson Companies' request, called a planned mixed-use district (PMD). This category, which would "encourage and accommodate a mix of commercial, office and residential development," represented a changing trend in real estate development. Pioneered in Houston by developer Gerald D. Hines, planned mixed use linked a range of commercial and business enterprises together in an integrated space that economically offset the high cost of the land. The Houston Galleria joined for the first time a retail mall, a hotel, and an office tower, all interconnected and serviced by multilevel parking garages that allowed consumers to park once and walk to their different destinations within the larger complex. [16]

Hazel/Peterson, along with other developers nationwide, adopted this plan for suburban development and added a residential component, giving people the opportunity to live close to where they worked and shopped. This mix became a powerful draw for corporations, which were always seeking the best and brightest employees they could afford. People liked the idea of working in a setting that was close to home with nearby shopping alternatives, and businesses responded in growing numbers by moving to planned mixed-use areas, with the Hazel/Peterson Fair Lakes development in Fairfax County, Virginia, being one notable example. [17]

Fair Lakes is a complex combination of imposing development and park-like settings. Its 657 acres contain more than 5 million square feet of office retail, and hotel space, an amount comparable to the city of Dayton, Ohio. Winding roads pass walking paths and ponds where Hazel/Peterson encouraged waterfowl to nest. Plenty of trees and shrubbery soften the contours further, making Fair Lakes seem more like a park than the economically driven business community it is. Small shopping centers are located within the development, and a full-scale regional mall called Fair Oaks sits only five miles down the road. Houses complete the mix. According to Milt Peterson, who had joined forces with John T. ("Til") Hazel in 1970 to create what would become one of the largest real estate development companies in northern Virginia, Fair Lakes residents and workers have the sense of living and working in the country, a pleasing alternative to commuting from suburban subdivisions to crowded downtown office buildings. [18]

Hazel/Peterson wanted to build the same type of mixed-use development in Prince William County on the old Marriott tract. Although this tract had A-1 agricultural zoning, the county had designated the site for corporate park development in its 1982 comprehensive plan. Superintendent Swain opposed this designation during the public review process, asking for more specific information on the type of development that might be approved, such as height restrictions and level of density. Prince William representatives left these questions unanswered until a definite proposal was made. [19]

Two development plans were presented during the first half of the 1980s, both of which were warmly received by the county. First, the state of Virginia considered building the Center for Innovative Technology in Prince William County, and the county convinced Marriott, still the landowner, to offer 150 acres toward a package bid. The state instead chose a site along the Dulles Toll Road. Then in 1985, Centennial Development Corporation purchased the entire tract from Marriott and announced its plans to build a high-technology office park. In December of that year, however, Centennial backed out, citing high investment costs. Exact descriptions of these development projects were never completed, leaving Swain with the uncomfortable belief that the county would support almost any type of corporate park development next to the battlefield park. His fears were confirmed in spring 1986 when the Hazel/Peterson Companies obtained an option on the same land and pursued its vision of building a Fair Lakes-type community in Prince William County. [20]

Before Hazel/Peterson could begin developing the land, the planned mixed-use district zoning—a category that did not exist in Prince William County—had to be approved. Although eager to have the planned office park, the board of county supervisors had less interest in the residential component, which demanded more government-funded services and produced less net tax revenues than commercial developments. Fearing that Hazel/Peterson would otherwise abandon the site, the supervisors finally acquiesced and approved the PMD zoning in April 1986. Having the complete development was more important to the supervisors than losing everything over one of its components. Their fears were well-grounded. A month later Hazel argued that it was "totally absurd" for his company to build the office park without the further incentives a residential-retail area would provide. [21]

With the required zoning in place, Hazel/Peterson announced in May what it envisioned for William Center, the 542-acre development that would sit next to the Manassas National Battlefield Park. Modeled after Fair Lakes, William Center would include an office park of about 275 acres; a residential neighborhood consisting of 975 townhouses, garden apartments, and single-family homes; and a small shopping center. Hazel expected the project to take ten years to build, and although he would not set a figure on its value, development officials estimated its cost as exceeding $100 million. Hazel did boast that William Center would be a "catalytic agent" for a commercial boom in Prince William County, blazing the way for expanded economic development along the I-66 corridor. [22]

CONTINUED continued


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