Imagine a major thoroughfare in your community. Are the buildings and streetscapes inviting with bike lanes, pedestrian walkways, and tree-lined streetscapes? Is it an area bustling with a variety of retail, office, and community activities? Does this area accurately reflect the spirit of your community?
When it comes to redevelopment and revitalization, the answers to these questions are pivotal to analyzing and proposing improvements to the existing conditions of major road networks in the county.
Prince William County is proposing Route 1 as a redevelopment corridor in the Pathway to 2040, Prince William County Comprehensive Plan. The county has proactively invested approximately $160 million to complete the initial phase of road widening and improvements, including widening the road from four to six lanes, a continuous 10-foot-wide shared-use path, burying utilities, beautification, and a new median.
Additionally, Prince William County’s Department of Economic Development (PWCDED) created a Redevelopment and Revitalization division to specifically incentivize commercial growth and mixed-use investment in commercial corridors.
Starting on July 1, 2022, businesses located along this important redevelopment corridor may apply for the Route 1 Refresh Grant program, which provides financial assistance to help mitigate the financial impacts caused by ongoing construction activity and the renaming of U.S. Route 1 from Jefferson Davis Highway to Richmond Highway.
The Route 1 Refresh Grant program provides financial aid to offset the anticipated costs associated with replacing printed materials, signage, and business cards, or to cover costs related to website updates, search engine optimization (SEO), marketing and other related expenses
Reimagining Route 1 at North Woodbridge
Community engagement is pivotal to economic developers and county planners when it comes to designating a redevelopment corridor and in determining whether an area is thriving, aging, or potentially underutilized.
A redevelopment corridor is defined in the Pathway to 2040, Prince William County Comprehensive Plan, as:
"…Geographic areas consisting of mature commercial neighborhoods in need of revitalization. They have moderate to high levels of multimodal connectivity within the region’s transportation system. Revitalization efforts will serve as a catalyst to promote and perpetuate the economic viability of these corridors."
Revitalizing a redevelopment corridor typically involves ensuring the mixture of land usage is appropriate, incorporating urban design elements that improve the overall aesthetics of the corridor, in addition to evaluating and improving the multimodal circulation within the corridor.
An example of local, regional, and state investment in the Route 1 redevelopment is the North Woodbridge Small Area Plan. The plan, adopted in 2019, aims to “transform the area into a vibrant, transit-oriented town center that celebrates and protects cultural resources and natural features while leveraging assets for economic growth and a high quality of life."
The newly proposed town center Riverside Station is a 19.3-acre project that will bring approximately 900 multi-family units and 160,000 square feet of vertically integrated mixed-use retail, grocery, restaurants, and commercial space to the corner of Route 1 and Occoquan Road. Most importantly, the site will tie in directly to the North Woodbridge Virginia Railway Express station across the street.