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D.C. developer looking for zoning change

November 06, 2004|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - A Washington, D.C., real estate company has applied to Washington County for a zoning amendment that would allow for homes and businesses to be built in Allegheny Energy's Friendship Technology Park on Downsville Pike near Interstate 70.

Joseph Svatos, senior vice president of The John Akridge Development Co., said in an interview on Friday that the company has preliminary plans to build housing units, offices, retail businesses and a hotel on the land.

The company has a contract to purchase 340 acres in the business park on the south side of I-70, he said.

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"We'd like to create a first-class development," Svatos said.

Such a development would be a place where residents could work and shop without worrying about traffic tie-ups, Svatos said.

"People don't have to drive 20 minutes to eat," Svatos said.

The County Commissioners and the Planning Commission will listen to the request from Akridge Development at a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday in Courtroom 1 of the Washington County Courthouse.

Planning Director Michael Thompson said Friday that Akridge Development is asking that a Planned Unit Development (PUD) zoning overlay designation be allowed on the Office, Research and Technology zoning district, which is what Friendship Technology Park is zoned.

The PUD designation would allow the type of mixed-use development Akridge Development has proposed, Thompson said.

Thompson projected that the application would be before the Planning Commission for a recommendation in December and then move on to the commissioners for a vote in January.

The commissioners created the Office, Research and Technology zoning district in October 2002 and then voted to apply the zone to 452 acres in Friendship Technology Park. The land had been zoned planned industrial and agricultural districts.

The Office, Research and Technology district allows medical and corporate offices, and technology, research and development-based businesses and institutions.

Facilities allowed in the zone include educational institutions, computer and data processing services, hospitals, laboratories and government buildings.

The commissioners have said that the district would help the county attract high-paying jobs.

Akridge develops, repositions, manages and leases real estate in the Washington, D.C., market, according to its Web site, www.akridge.com.

The company's projects total more than 12.5 million square feet of office, industrial/flex, residential, retail and entertainment space valued at more than $2 billion, according to the Web site.

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