This column from Executive Director Christina Winn originally appeared in InsideNoVA's 2023 Community Guide.

Ten years ago, an economic developer stood in a vacant lot, surrounded by waving weeds, patches of mud, broken concrete, and ringing insect music. As he pointed out the boundaries of the land to a potential real estate developer, cars sped by on the Prince William Parkway just beyond an abandoned barn, with the late summer sun shining on two tin-capped silos.

That greenfield and historic barn at the intersection of Prince William Parkway and Route 28 in Manassas became the Farm Brew LIVE campus. Today, those silos are refurbished, and the barn houses the award-winning Black Sheep restaurant, next to the sister restaurant 2Silos Brewery, which hosts rousing outdoor concerts and has become a regional destination for families and friends. The insects still sing near the pond at Brentsville Hall, and next fall the October nights will shine on the soon-to-be expanded MurLarkey Distillery.

Our office pitched that property 10 years ago to the right person at the right time. As economic developers, our goal is to build relationships that generate commercial tax base not just for tomorrow—but with 10 years in mind. Our projects are geared toward sustaining and growing a community not just in the best of times, but also in the worst.

Prince William County’s differences are our assets. As our region confronts the challenges and opportunities of empty office spaces, our county’s economic diversity has proven to be resilient. We have ensured the foundations of placemaking have taken shape across our county.


Across the street from Farm Brew LIVE, a new town center is emerging from the ground, doubling the size of the George Mason University Science & Technology campus at Innovation Park, Manassas. On the other side of the county, dirt is moving around the new landmark VRE station at Potomac Shores. In the next year, we will see the groundbreaking at Riverside Crossing in Woodbridge, and the transportation development that will result in a brand-new Quartz District mid-county off Minnieville Road.

Competing in this region for business over the next 10 years will be about having open conversations about the places we want to build. I am proud of our team, who work every day to develop not only innovative ideas, but also relationships with our business owners, leaders, and residents.

The next 10 years are a time to make your mark in Prince William County.

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