Don’t look now Washington, but Prince William County is coming on fast. No, I don’t mean a speedy approach on I-95. Rather, this part of the region is growing towards half a million in population, and continues to gain the kind of lifestyle options that attract even more residents.
I have to admit I don’t go down there much, but there is a concert pavilion near Manassas that has drawn my favorite band five times in the last ten years. Manassas Battlefield is a treasure for Civil War buffs and the Prince William Parkway and Highway 28 gets me to 29 on my trips south to Greensboro.
I even bought the ADC Map back in 2005. If you look on page 22, your eyes will be drawn to a boot-shaped patch between I-95, Route 1, Opitz Boulevard and Dale Boulevard. Believe it or not, there’s nothing there except the small shopping center in the northeast corner, and the library. No Neabsco Mills Road, no homes, nary a hint of a future development.
Well, wake up Rip Van Winkle, there’s something there now and we visited today. Our nice Sunday drive took us to see the county’s latest star attraction, the new Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center. Just south of Woodbridge, it’s quite impressive with a lineup of over 55 stores and restaurants, anchored by Wegmans, and even a claim to some uniqueness.
The town centers I’ve seen are laid out as a square. This one is rectangle, about two football fields long, a bigger and shinier King Street, if you will, with REI, DSW Shoes, Golfsmith and P.F. Chang’s instead of boutiques and smaller restaurants.
This being a town center with no public transportation, there’s a lot of parking. But it’s placed behind the stores and somewhat out of sight. The debate is whether or not the main strip should have been ped-only. I think it would have been better that way.
Coming up next for Stonebridge is the Potomac Nationals’ new baseball stadium. Shoehorned between the Wegmans and Opitz Blvd, it will hold 6,000. VDOT will put up a 1,000-space parking lot.
Prince William County has a lot going for it and a bright future. Coming on board is Potomac Shores, a mixed-use development along the river six miles south of Woodbridge. The spring of 2015 will bring that first pitch at the ballpark.
I think I'll keep my old map...