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St. John Breaks Ground in Ashburn

A representative for the company noted a 'flurry' of economic activity in the area.

St. John Properties Inc. broke ground Monday on two new office buildings at Ashburn Technology Park, where representatives from the company touted Loudoun’s business-friendly atmosphere -- an opinion that contrats with the county’s reputation of having burdensome obstacles.

St. John Properties plans to begin construction at 44190 and 44200 Waxpool Road on two single-story 54,120-square-foot buildings, with plans to finish in May.

“What we encounter are hurdles,” said Matt Holbrook, regional partner for St. John, referring to his experience in other locatities. Loudoun has been notoriously difficult on businesses trying to get through the approval and land development processes, compared with its neighbors, but according to Holbrook that stigma is changing.

“Here, it didn’t feel like that,” he said. “This is the kind of county we want to be in.”

Ashburn Technology Park currently consists of 336,000-square-feet of research and development /office/flex buildings. Holbrook said there were many potential tenants in the queue.

“This whole area is so vibrant right now,” Sup. Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) said, pointing to other businesses in the works, including a couple of data centers. “We’re trying to make Loudoun business friendly.”

Holbrook said his company recently concluded “a flurry of new leases.”

“With the presidential election concluded, companies have begun re-examining and re-assessing their long-term office space requirements in preparation for expansion or relocation,” he said. “Economic drivers including the emerging cyber security industry, as well as the financial services and health care sectors, are significantly impacting these decisions.”

Loudoun County Chairman Scott K. York (R-At Large) said Holbrook's assertions match recent analyses, which show the county exceeding its residential- and job-growth forecasts.

“Nobody can understand why so is happening in Loudoun County,” York said, adding that he believes it’s the environment Loudoun’s leaders have created. “It just shows Loudoun County is a good place to invest and a great place to live.”

But not all the businesses are large-scale, hence the Loudoun Board of Supervisors’ decision to withdraw a proposal to add the technology park to the Metro tax district intended to pay the county’s share of Silver Line costs.

“We have a lot of mom-and-pop type businesses here. Thank God, we have a brewery,” Buona said, referring to Lost Rhino Brewery along Redrum Drive.

Buona said the goal of becoming more business friendly is intended to draw a larger business-based tax base and reduce to some degree the county’s reliance on residential real estate taxes.

“The county’s moving on roads and our county is moving on the commercial tax base,” Buona said. “It’s this type of development that turns that around.”

For more information about St. John, visit www.sjpi.com.

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