In less than five minutes and after a brief huddle session, the foreclosed One Loudoun property in Ashburn sold for $35 million at auction.
Bill May, the vice president of Miller & Smith, which is One Loudoun’s developer and the property’s note holder, was the auction’s winner on Sept. 28.
One Loudoun is planned as a town-center-style development on 358 acres at Route 7 and Loudoun County Parkway. The development was approved by the Loudoun supervisors on Jan. 16, 2007. Two months later, Goldman Sachs Commercial Mortgage Capital lent One Loudoun, LLC $125 million to fund the project, according to a March 21, 2007, deed of trust.
A small crowd of 15 people gathered to watch the auction on the Loudoun County Courthouse steps in Leesburg. Most onlookers attended to witness the making of history with the property’s sale, which county leaders have touted as “the biggest and most integrated center in Loudoun County.” The property was announced to be in foreclosure according to a trustees’ sale notice last week.
Real estate developer Sal Cangiano, donning Nike exercise clothes and sunglasses, started the bidding with a $10 million offer. May quickly retorted with his $35 million bid.
Cangiano and two of his business partners then huddled together in front of the courthouse steps for a bull session. Whispers of $38 million to $40 million escaped from the huddle, but Cangiano emerged from the group and put an end to his bidding.
May was joined by several Miller & Smith executives – all in suit shirts and slacks – who showed little emotion at their win. May declined to comment on One Loudoun’s future, but did say the plans for the property remain the same. A full report on their future plans will be released in October and will include a timetable for the project, he said. He declined further comment.
Ground breaking for the site was in 2009. According to One Loudoun’s website, the property’s commercial and retail buildings were to be built the same year. Residential units were expected at the end of 2010. However, the site remains untouched.
In their application, the developers pledged the construction of Steuart W. Weller Elementary, which opened in September 2008, ball fields, and the four-lane extension of Russell Branch Parkway. The $10 million four-lane extension, which connects Loudoun County Parkway to Ashburn Village Boulevard, opened in April.
Although Cangiano quickly gave up his bid, he didn’t give up hope that he will one day be One Loudoun’s owner.
He said he has learned from past dealings not to bid against the property’s note owner because they have the advantage. However, in three to five years, when the economy approves, he plans to ask Miller & Smith if they would be willing to sell the property outright because “the location is spectacular and the concept is great.”
Before departing, May and Cangiano shook hands.
“Do you want to sell it?” Cangiano asked May.
“I don’t think I want to sell it,” May said. Adding, “Call me.”
Staff Writer Crystal Owens contributed to this report.
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