2007-01-08, 12:16

Mixed use in Harrisonburg, Va.

By: Jonathan Groner
The Daily News-Record of Harrisonburg, Va., reported on Jan. 6, 2007, that Preston Lake, a new mixed-use development that recently broke ground, "will change the area's retail market and residential opportunities dramatically."

The description of Preston Lake in the newspaper account sounds familiar to devotees of mixed use. Preston Lake will include 515 residential units as well as retail and office space. Jared Burden, an agent who is working to attract businesses to Main Street Preston Lake, called the development a "lifestyle center" that is unlike any other in western Virginia. The neighborhood will include flats priced at more than $150,000, Charleston-style row houses priced in the low to mid-$300,000s, cottages priced in the $400,000s, and estate homes priced in the $600,000s, Burden said.

"They will be all upscale," Burden said. "This is a different kind of living, more citylike."

This will be the first mixed-use project in the relatively rural area, which lies about 130 miles southwest of Washington, D.C., along U.S. 81. Obviously, D.C.'s Northern Virginia suburbs are not viewed as Harrisonburg's retail competition, but Charlottesville, Va., just over an hour's drive away, is seen as such competition.

Burden, the agent, is quoted in the article as saying the new development "will keep retail dollars here that are now going across the mountain to Charlottesville."

Mixed use is a formula that seems to work these days in large cities, small cities and rural areas, with the appropriate adjustments for the specific setting.

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