Manassas Journal Messenger | Salvation Army resists developer’s overtures

The Salvation Army has been serving the poor and honoring God along Possum Point Road in Dumfries for more than 20 years.

With the new surge of upscale homes cropping up in the neighborhood and more planned for either side of the building, it now just looks sorely out of place.

“The building isn’t very viable,” said Capt. Alejandro Castillo, division secretary for the National Capital Area of the Salvation Army. “We are aware of that.”

While a developer is anxious to buy the land so he can complete the town house community he has planned there, a Salvation Army official said the church and charity has nowhere else to go.

“We’re trying to find another location. It’s just not an easy thing to do,” Castillo said. “It’s very difficult to find a new location in Prince William County.

“At this point, we are not interested in selling,” Castillo said. “We were given a fine offer. This is not an attempt to get more money nor are we trying to make [the developer’s] life more difficult.

“We have an obligation through our community center there,” Castillo said. “We use that building every single day of the year.”

“I am really trying to do the right thing and I truly believe [buying the Salvation Army property] is the right thing,” said Bruce Leinberger, president of Danforth Homes of Great Falls.

About a year ago, KSI Services Inc. of Vienna, the developer of nearby Harbor Station on the Cherry Hill Peninsula, paid $1.5 million for about an acre on each side of the Salvation Army. There had been old, rundown apartment buildings on those pieces of property.

KSI demolished the buildings and sold the land to Danforth Homes for $3.5 million in November.

“I’ve been holding on to the property now for five months doing nothing,” Leinberger said. “I’m running out of time. As the days go by, it is getting more difficult.”

Leinberger’s planned development is called The Point and will consist of 15 town houses, 11 on one side and four on the other side of the Salvation Army’s one-third of an acre lot.

Leinberger said the development would look nicer if it did not have the Salvation Army in the middle of it. Still, he does not anticipate having any problem selling the town houses, which will sell in the upper $300,000s.

“It’s still a good location,” Leinberger said.

Leinberger said he is saddened that the church has been unwilling to sell.

“The Salvation Army will be out of step with what is going on out there,” Leinberger said. “That area is going through a transformation, a renaissance.”

Leinberger has not given up yet. He sent the Salvation Army another offer on the land late last week.

“The window is closing, but there is still time,” Leinberger said.

Final plans for The Point have been submitted to both Prince William County and the Town of Dumfries.

Staff writer Aileen Streng can be reached at (703) 878-8010.

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