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Cascades, Virginia

Cascades is a 2,500-acre planned community along the Potomac River, north of Route 7 in Sterling, Virginia. One of the largest planned communities in Loudoun County, Cascades offers spacious suburban living at a much lower cost than communities of equivalent space and quality throughout northern Virginia.  The 6,500 homes in Cascades are canopied with mature trees which create natural beauty and privacy. Open, wilder spaces, along with bike, jogging and walking trails wind through the attractive, hilly landscape of the development and provide quality of life for its residents, known for its friendly, considerate neighbors.

Conceived in 1989 by the developer Primrose Development Corp. and Bondy Way Development Corp., and built during the dotcom boom of the 1990’s, Cascades is now built out, and managed by Legum & Norman.  According to management, there are usually always a few homes for sale throughout the entire community. Because of its proximity to Dulles Town Center and other commercial business and shopping parks, Cascades enjoys ongoing popularity for working families needing “minutes away” commutes to the Dulles Corridor and northern Virginia environs, such as Reston, Tyson’s, or Herndon. Cascades received the “Finest For Family Living Award” in 1993 and 1994, and “Best Large Association Award” in 2002. Cascades offers colonial, upscale housing with 2-car brick sided townhomes and executive detached homes.

Sterling itself is a continually developing, medium-sized commercial submarket within the greater Washington, D.C. metro region. During the 2010’s and 2020’s, over 20 million square feet of business uses are expected to construct within five miles of Cascades. Already constructed in nearby north Ashburn is the $500 million Janelia Farm Research Campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, drawing scientists worldwide.  “One Loudoun,” a complex providing workspace for life science employment, is approved and awaiting construction in 2011. Upscale food and entertainment opportunities will follow.  These and other projected jobs at the north end of Dulles Airport will most likely grow home prices in Cascades more than most areas in the northern Virginia over the next two decades.

This community is conveniently located close to main street shopping arcades, particularly Cascades Marketplace, which serves as the commercial core of North Sterling. Two blocks of this complex carry a “main street” design and its cafes and casual dining restaurants are popular for lunch and dinner breaks. Nearby is the very busy U.S. Post Office, which serves Cascades and neighboring Countryside as “Potomac Falls, VA” to differentiate it from Sterling. The Sterling Public Library is also close.  The Loudoun County Senior Center at Cascades provides a beautiful location for the thriving and diverse 55+ community in eastern Loudoun, offering classes, groups and programs that provide ongoing learning and social opportunities.

At the opposite end of Cascades a smaller mall called “Great Falls Plaza” has drug and grocery stores, vets, and hair stylists, along with several restaurants. You don’t have to travel far from Cascades to get what you need.

Cascades Community Association is active and engaged in the community with everything from environmental action to regular block parties and festivals. Julie Challis, Board Member for the Association, moved to Cascades with her young family from England in 2000. “Here I was, mother of a 2-1/2 year old and a 6-month old, all the way from England, no other family, no friends, no back-up support. It was hard. We kept looking at Ashburn Village, which had things we liked. Our realtor showed us Cascades. What drew us, along with the mature trees and nice houses, was seeing lots of neighbors with young families. When I walked out on the deck and saw other swing-sets in the back yards, I thought, ‘my kids will have friends here.’ That’s what called to me. Many of those families are still here, so our kids are growing up together. The canopy of trees around us has a calming effect.”

Challis also feels the monthly HOA fees are “quite reasonable” for the great amenities they get in return. The active Cascades Community Association maintains 5 pools, 4 community centers, 13 tennis courts, 10 multi-purpose lots, 25 tot lots, and a soccer field, as well as the common land and trails. Cascades residents enjoy the nearness of Algonkian Regional Park, which fronts the rather calm, lake-like part of the Potomac, and provides the only boat ramp on the Virginia side of the river in Loudoun or Fairfax Counties. Algonkian Park also holds an 18-hole golf course and a large play area that is host to water-park activities throughout the summer.  Great Falls Park, another natural respite, is about 20 minutes away.

A big bonus for parents with school-aged children is quality of available education. The highly ranked Loudoun County schools are part of this community. Boasting one of the best school districts in the metropolitan area, Loudoun County public schools offer educational programs that rank with the best in Virginia and in the nation, providing well-run programs for Gifted Students, Vocational and Alternative Education, as well as Special Education.  Depending on location within the Cascades district, students attend one of four public elementary schools (Algonkian, Horizon, Lowe’s Island, Potowmack), either of two middle (River Bend, Seneca Ridge) and either of two high schools (Potomac Falls, Dominion).

Steve Olekszyk, Board Member and President of the Cascades Community Association, felt the importance of local schools when he and his young family decided to move from their CountrySide townhome in 2000. “We had two children, one just starting elementary school, “ he said. “We understood that the next home we bought and the neighborhood we chose would be the place we would raise our children until they went off to college.  Many factors went into our search: schools, amenities, proximity to shopping and work locations. I was working in Reston at the time, so we looked for a new house in Broadlands, Ashburn, CountrySide, and Sterling Park.  Ultimately, we decided on Cascades because it offered everything we needed.”

The Olekszyks have been happy with their choice. He continued, “There is a movie theater, mall, CostCo, all within a few miles. The Algonkian Regional Park and its golf course, trails, and boat launch are a mile away. Since Cascades is located halfway between Reston and Leesburg, with great access to Route 28, I felt confident my commute would be reasonable. With all these factors in favor of Cascades, a possibly difficult decision became very easy. We’ve been in our home for 10 years, and are often reminded what a good decision we made to move to Cascades.”

Being fortunate to be “in the middle” between the rural beauty of western Loudoun and the cultural advantages of the Nation’s Capital is an echo repeated again and again by Cascades residents. In this case of this active community, they can see the forest for the trees

Population Trends

Between 2009 and 2014, the population in this area is projected to increase about 21%. In comparison, Loudoun County population is expected to grow 23.5%. The population of Virginia is projected to increase 5.5%.

Racial Characteristics

Between 2009 and 2014, the White population is expected to grow by 3%, the African American population by 27%, the Asian population by 58% and Hispanic population by 56%.

Race/Ethnicity% of population% of population (VA)
White 62.83% 69.69%
African American 6.02% 19.67%
Asian 23.81% 4.86%
Hispanic 8.96% 6.9%
Age Distribution

cascades virginia demographics age distribution

Household Composition

cascades virginia demographics household composition

Household Income

The median household income for this area is $113,595, compared to a state median of $60,690, as estimated for 2009.

Income Category% of households% of households (VA)
Less than $25,000 1.02% 17.87%
Less than $50,000 9.57% 40.94%
Less than $75,000 21.64% 60.5%
Less than $150,000 72.87% 88.89%
More than $150,000 27.13% 11.11%
Housing Type
Type of unit% of units% of units (VA)
Single family - detached 39.84% 62.6%
Single family - attached 38.33% 9.96%
2-unit/duplexes 0% 1.92%
Apartments 21.83% 19.11%
Mobile/manufactured 0% 6.28%
Other types 0% 0.12%
Data source: Policymap.com with Claritas. Data are for census/town/district/city/zipcode boundaries for which demographic information is typically available. Data may include areas outside the recognized community boundaries; for example, the data for a community could include the entire zipcode if that is the smallest area available from which to draw data.