Developer Kevin Sills will bring his proposed Mill at Occoquan, a 1-acre mixed-use development along the town’s waterfront, back for another public hearing Tuesday, this time with fewer residential units and less commercial space.
First proposed in 2019, the Mill Street project gained unanimous recommendation for approval from the town’s planning commission earlier this year. Now, ahead of a vote by the Town Council on its required special-use permit, Sills and Mid-Atlantic Real Estate Investments have shrunk the size of the project again.
The new proposal includes eliminating a floor of residential units, lowering the height from 79 feet to 55 feet and the number of condominium units from 80 to 52. Gone are plans for a rooftop observation deck, although a slightly smaller restaurant remains a part of the plans (it would be on the ground floor rather than the top floor).
Also gone are plans to build a parking deck on Ellicott Street. All told, the new proposal reduces the building’s square footage from 210,738 to 198,846 and the number of parking spaces from 211 to 143.
The proposal still includes a riverfront boardwalk behind the building that would be publicly accessible and maintained through an easement granted to the town.
“The Mill at Occoquan provides access to the waterfront directly via the two pedestrian paths from Mill Street to the River Walk boardwalk for pedestrians and will provide a water put-in area for kayak and paddle-boarders,” Sills wrote to the town in response to the town staff report on the project. “The River Walk also provides an esthetically pleasing environment for visitors and owners alike and adds to the charm the Town of Occoquan is known for.”
The changes were made in response to complaints from some in the community about the building’s height not fitting in with the rest of the area. Because it’s in the historic district, the building will also require review and approval for architectural appropriateness from the town’s Architectural Review Board. Some town residents also worried about the project’s impact on traffic in the area. The building’s setback has been increased, negating the need for an exemption from the zoning ordinance on that ground.
The public hearing June 15 will have limited in-person comment and expanded virtual comment via Zoom. Written comments can be submitted by noon Tuesday.
In addition to the special-use approval from the Town Council to build higher and with more residential units than the land is zoned for, the project will need a floodplain development exception. The floodplain impact will ultimately undergo review from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
According to the developers’ analysis, the project would bring an estimated $36,000 a year in real estate taxes to the town and between $25,000 and $30,000 annually in meals tax revenue. The developer did not submit any detailed accounting to support the estimates, according to the staff report.
As of last year, Mid-Atlantic was planning to set condo prices between $350,000 and $1 million, but it’s unclear whether that range has changed in the project’s subsequent iterations. According to Prince William County records, the company bought the six lots between 401 and 411 Mill Street in 2017 for $2.4 million.
Jared Foretek covers the Manassas area and regional news across Northern Virginia. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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