The Town of Leesburg will be getting more new stores after the Leesburg Town Council voted 6-1 Jan. 28 to approve plans for the construction of a Lowes Home Improvement Center.
In addition to the Lowes, the 27 acre parcel of land at the intersection of Battlefield Parkway and East Market Street will feature additional office and retail space.
“Lowes is a very good business, and I think will be a benefit to members in town, especially those south of Route 7,” said Leesburg Mayor Kristen Umstattd.
Multiple resolutions were voted on in order, including approving the concept plan and amending the town plan, which in 1991 had slated much of the land for a multi-dealership autopark. The new Lowes will feature not only 152,000 square feet of the lumber and building materials store, but also a truck rental and storage area, not uncommon for Lowes and Home Depot stores. The application also notes 84,000 square feet of retail space and 36,000 square feet of office space will be set aside for possible future development.
The new development will also be connected via Russel Branch Parkway to the Village at Leesburg development.
The application spent nearly two months in review before being recommended by Leesburg town staff for approval.
While the Town Council largely voted in favor of the resolutions, Katie Hammler was the lone dissident, speaking sharply against what she referred to as “sprawl.” Hammler argued that the town needs to focus on bringing high-wage jobs into Leesburg, as opposed to big box stores.
"Our citizens spend hours stuck in traffic commuting," Hammler said. "We must find a way to bring high wage jobs home."
Hammler also questioned allowing a retailer to change a previously set town plan.
“It's a failure of the process to allow a vendor to amend town plan,” Hammler said.
Marty Martinez argued that adjusting the plan was similar to the Crescent Development, approved just last month after months of review.
“I had to come to terms with the fact that the Crescent District was a guide,” Martinez said, offering that the area was vacant and there was no interest in developing the originally planned use. This same logic he applied when voting for the Lowes.
“It's not perfect, but I think it serves a purpose and provides a lot of benefit to the town,” Martinez said.
Construction is expected to break ground sometime this year.