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Loudoun supervisors approve additional signage at long-stalled Avonlea retail center

The long-stalled Avonlea destination retail center in South Riding won approval from the Board of Supervisors last week to move forward with an elaborate set of retail signs around the property.

Supervisors unanimously approved the Peterson Companies’ request for its $70 million retail, shopping and entertainment site. The site is anchored by luxury theatre Cinepolis, located near the intersection of Pinebrook Road and Route 50.

The Peterson Companies’ additions include more than a dozen unique signs at the entrances of the development along Pine Brook Road and Tall Cedars Parkway, directory signs, Avonlea identification signs around the perimeter of the site and seven 22-inch by 21-feet-tall signs for the development’s premiere tenants.

The site, which sits along the county’s Route 50 business corridor, was approved about a decade ago and was supposed to have broken ground in 2015.

Last month, the company declined to say when it planned to break ground and told the Times-Mirror it was still in a pre-leasing phase and looking for committed tenants to finance the development.

The company’s Vice President of Retail Development Jim Mertz told the board last month that additional signs were needed to woo tenants to the development.

As retailers are forced to compete with online sales, Mertz said many prospective tenants simply did not want to commit to leasing space at Avonlea if the site was not more visible.

Dulles District Supervisor Matt Letourneau (R) said questions about Avonlea are among the most frequent he's asked.

County staff had warned that approving the seven tenant signs along Route 50 would set a precedent and encourage other developments in the county’s key business corridor to seek similar signs.

To address staff’s concerns, Letourneau said he worked on a robust findings for approval and conditions of approval with the county attorney unique to the application related to the Route 50 corridor. He also noted the seven signs in question were “very, very tasteful” and also “consistent with what the applicant’s trying to do in terms of creating an atmosphere that’s very upscale.”

Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or on Twitter at @SydneyKashiwagi.


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