Location a Big Plus for Virginia Apartment Development

A number of considerations went into the decision by Greystar and The Carlyle Group to develop a 288-unit luxury apartment community in Woodbridge, Va. Most of them can be summed in three words: location, location, location.

Woodbridge, Va.—A number of considerations went into the decision by Greystar and The Carlyle Group to develop a 288-unit luxury apartment community in Woodbridge, Va. Most of them can be summed in three words: location, location, location.

Woodbridge has seen significant growth in development over the past several months, based on its convenient access to I-95 and Washington, D.C. Potomac Mills Mall, the second largest mall in the D.C. area, is situated just a mile away.

On a daily basis, average traffic volume along the stretch of I-95 near Woodbridge tops 169,000 vehicles. And near the site of the development, an emerging town center boasts a popular supermarket and other retailers.

“But Woodridge is particularly generating interest based on the fact it’s situated between Quantico and Fort Belvoir, two military bases benefiting from base realignment and closure,” Brandon Henry, McLean, Va.-based managing director of development for Charleston, S.C.-based Greystar, tells MHN. “Both of these military installations are projected to grow significantly.”

That’s among the reasons the population of Prince William County is expected to balloon from 380,000 today to approximately 435,000 by 2014, he says.

The apartment community, Potomac Heights, will deliver large one- and two-bedroom apartment homes with some of the local market’s highest-end features and finishes. Apartments will offer nine-foot ceilings, expansive balconies, garden tubs, in-unit washers and dryers and, in select units, kitchen islands.

The apartments will be distinguished by granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, 42-inch upper wood cabinets and ceramic tile. Luxury common-area amenities will include a 5,000-square-foot clubhouse with sprawling fitness center, a resort-style pool, Wi-Fi access and business center.

Construction on the apartment community began in March, and the first units are expected to be ready for occupancy by the first quarter of 2013. Construction financing is being provided by Bank of America.

When complete, Potomac Heights should benefit from a ready supply of upscale renters, Henry says. “Lending requirements are stricter than they have been in the past, and home ownership is tougher these days,” he comments.

“And you have some people who have lost their homes and don’t want to own a home again. You can also expect your resident base to be more diverse than before, with younger people and baby boomers desiring to rent. With two military bases nearby, you will also have defense contractors hiring a revolving workforce tailor made to renting.”

Noting “getting any deal done in D.C. is challenging,” Henry observes that competitive pressures from other interested developers in the submarket present something of an additional concern. “But we feel we’re well positioned; we’ll have the nicest finishes in the submarket. And our average unit size will be larger than most of our competitors. I think that will be well received.”

As if additional inducements were needed to build a Class-A apartment community in Prince William County, Henry notes that the county enjoys the ninth highest median income of any county in the nation. “There’s money there, and people will be moving into and out of the area,” he says. “There’s a market for a quality apartment community like this one.”

Adds Adam Buchwald, vice president at The Carlyle Group, “This is a great location in a growing market. We see rising demand for luxury rentals, and are pleased to partner with Greystar on this exciting project.”