by Erika Jacobson Moore
– originally posted on LeesburgToday.com, 11/11/11
A long list of distinguished guests from Loudoun, Virginia and the world came together Friday morning to celebrate the opening of the welcome center of One Loudoun.
While a welcome center might not seem like a seminal moment for a development, for the people and supporters of One Loudoun, it represents an important step: that soon the county will see buildings in the long-awaited mixed-use communities.
“I am ready to see this go vertical,” Miller & Smith chairman Alvin said. “I am sick of horizontal.”
First conceived in 2004, One Loudoun received its legislative approval in 2007 and broke ground later that year. Since that time the developer has built roads and an elementary school, but has not started its own construction. Now that appears imminent, as Miller & Smith Vice President Bill May, who has been spearheading the project, said building should start to go up next spring, with the first tenants opening in 2013.
Hall told the audience of the framed quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
“For nearly half a century, Miller & Smith has done just that. We have blazed our own trail,” Hall said. “The trail we have forged to create One Loudoun has been a collaborative effort.”
Many of those who took part in making One Loudoun a reality were recognized Friday, including Satoshi Yoshimura, president and COO of North America Sekisui House, or NASH, a Japanese developer and home builder that has joined with Miller & Smith to create One Loudoun.
Yoshimura noted how poignent it was to have the celebration on Veteran’s Day, and be a part of celebrating just how far Japanese-American relations have come. He said Miller & Smith and NASH share a vision for the community that includies innovation, sustainability and a vibrant and connected development.
“We want to see a development that will last generation after generation and a community that will be full of life,” he said, adding NASH found that in One Loudoun. The development will NASH’s first venture in the United States.”NASH hopes to develop many more communities in the United States, but we are honored Loudoun could be our first.”
Chairman Scott K. York (R-At Large) and Supervisor Lori Waters (R-Broad Run) both spoke at the event, expressing their long-term support for the project and excitement at seeing it begin to come to life. Waters received accolades for her work on the project from many speakers, as well as expressed sadness that she will soon be moving out of Loudoun. But Waters in her remarks said she looks forward to return visits.
“I know of a place where I will be able to come back to…and that’s One Loudoun,” she said, adding that on the list of her proudest accomplishments “One Loudoun is probably at the top.” She recognized Miller & Smith’s willingness to commit to building a school and road upfront, as well as the interchange at Rt. 7 and Ashburn Village Boulevard, affordable housing and parks and ballfields for the greater community.
“They made a promise and they stuck by their word. They found a way to make it happen,” Waters said. “Thank you for your committment to this county.”
Once completely built, One Loudoun will include 1,040 residential units, 702,000 square feet of retail, which will include dining, shopping, a hotel and movie theater, three-million square feet of office space, a community center, and an amphitheater as well as 150 acres of public land and walking trails. One Loudoun also is planned to be the location of the World Trade Center Dulles Airport, which is projected to generate up to 14,000 new jobs by promoting both international trade and domestic investment around the world.