An ALDI grocery store, two car washes and a gas station are among the new tenants expected to join the new Lowe’s after Leesburg Town Council voted to approve additions to the development on Tuesday.
The rezoning and four special exceptions passed despite concerns from council and residents about the buildings’ appearance, especially since the development will impact the Leesburg Eastern Gateway.
According to site plans, the Russell Branch Retail development at the intersection of Russell Branch Parkway and Battlefield Parkway will add seven buildings, including a gas station with a self-service car wash, a stand-alone car wash, a tire shop, a grocery store and buildings for retail and restaurant uses.
Currently, four of the buildings have signed leases, including ALDI, the stand-alone car wash and the gas station with the self-service car wash.
Developer Peterson Companies worked with the Board of Architectural Review and the Planning Commission to refine the application, and most of council approved of the buildings’ style.
“When I looked at the renderings, they were beautiful. I liked them,” said Councilwoman Suzanne Fox.
However, council members Tom Dunn and Neil Steinberg didn’t care for the buildings’ appearances.
“The architectural details for me to do not make this a Leesburg kind of place,” Steinberg said.
Dunn voiced concerns about the proximity of the two kinds of car washes, and he also showed multiple pictures of a strip mall development in Gaithersburg, Maryland in an effort to get the developer to copy its less rectangular architectural designs.
Two petitioners spoke about the development, one in favor and one against.
“This is our curb appeal. This is our doormat, our welcome mat, and I don’t like the look of this at all,” said Leesburg resident Julia Holcomb. “I think it’s big, it’s ugly. I don’t think it’s necessary.”
Molly Novotny, a representative of Peterson Companies, responded that the final design, including any tweaks to the architecture, will happen during the upcoming BAR site plan review.
Peterson plans to submit site plans to the BAR as soon as possible and hopes businesses will open in spring 2021.