City skyline to change

MANASSAS — Groundbreaking is expected later this month for a four-story office building next to the downtown Manassas Post Office, complete with underground parking, a restaurant and retail space.

The completed project would make the building one of the largest structures in Old Town Manassas.

The 26,000-square-foot building will serve as the new headquarters for the law firm of Vanderpool, Frostick and Nishanian, which is housed in the Old Piedmont Federal Building on Grant Avenue.

The law firm will occupy the fourth floor of the new structure and part of the third floor, and plans call for a restaurant and retail business to occupy the bottom floor, with other offices filling the second and third floors.

Mike Vanderpool, a principal in the development group for the building and the law firm, said that the building’s traditional design will combine two concepts new to Old Town.

“Not only will the building provide a traditional and upscale presence for the tenants, but it will be the first building in downtown to provide covered parking,” Vanderpool said.

Coleman Rector, a principal in the development group whose Rector Construction Co. will erect the building, said that the design will fit well into the Old Town atmosphere.

“The facade will incorporate many elements that are found in Old Town. We spent some time really studying the architecture in the area to find the details we wanted on the building,” Rector said.

The special brickwork designs on the building will project a high-quality, traditional image, he said. The interior will also reflect that theme, including a large marbled lobby. Rector said that the building will be an attractive location for the law firm and other tenants.

“People love the ambience of Old Town. It is easy to walk to good restaurants, art galleries and shops. Old Town has a sense of place and permanency that is hard to match in Northern Virginia,” Rector said.

The building has been designed to address issues that are important to the city, said Randy Frostick, another principal partner in the development group and law firm.

“Parking is perceived as a problem in downtown Manassas,” he said. “However, by designing the building so that parking is located under the building and by using a nearby parcel we acquired, the building will have a substantial amount of parking.”

The architectural rendering shows the building laid out to present a corner facade at the busy intersection of West and Church streets, giving it very high visibility, Frostick said.

“A lot of cars pass through this intersection every day. In addition, the post office next door draws a lot of pedestrian traffic to the area. It will serve almost like an anchor tenant, in terms of its ability to draw people to this site and get them out of their cars.”

Design plans indicate spaces for 65 cars, and combined outdoor and covered parking.

A building that formerly housed Sharon’s Heart and Home has been torn down to make way for the new structure. Ground is expected to be broken later this month for the new building, with an expected occupancy date of Oct. 1.

The building is expected to cost more than $3 million and will represent one of the largest private investments in the revived downtown area.

Vanderpool said that his law firm wanted what he called a “signature building.” With 26 employees, Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian is one of the largest law firms in Prince William County and recently competed for an award as one of the fastest-growing businesses in the state.

“We are a business law firm that represents local, regional and national companies. The image created by the location and design of the building is an important part of our marketing,” Vanderpool said.

The complex will give at least 40 additional people jobs in Old Town, Vanderpool said.

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