April 2, 2012 marked the ground breaking on WRI/Hilltop’s first Wegmans anchored shopping center development in Alexandria, VA. This dynamic mixed-use project, Hilltop Village Center, at completion will total 350,000 SF; 250,000 SF of retail and 100,000 SF of office space.
Before a shopping center is ready for retailers and customers, there is much work to be done to get the project to the grand opening day. Along the way, each project presents its own unique obstacles and milestones.
At the start of the project, we had to relocate a main electrical power transmission tower and the associated electrical service lines. Completing this scope of work on schedule was the first critical milestone of the Hilltop Village Center. The electric utility provider, Dominion Power, only shuts down the power that runs through the main transmission lines twice a year, for one week each time. If you miss the schedule for Dominion to move their lines during this one week time period, you will have to wait another 6 months to get the tower work completed. Our field team worked at a feverish pace, yet well coordinated, to complete our needed scope of work on time. Not only did we complete this work on time, we finished early.
Hilltop Village Center is being constructed on top of an old sand and gravel quarry, adjacent to an operating land fill. We are striving to include sustainable actions in our development plans. Due to the nature of the site we are building on, plenty of attention has been focused on remediation and management of the existing contaminated soils. Hundreds of dump truck loads of contaminated soils have been removed under the State and Federal required guidelines. In addition to removing the contaminated soils, we are also including a methane gas barrier under two of our retail buildings that can be upgraded to methane gas extraction systems if there is a need to elevate our monitoring system at a later date.
Hilltop Village Center is located adjacent to Fort Belvoir, a high security military facility. Throughout the project, we have uncovered utility services that were not identified on our site plans. Men in black suits driving Chevy suburbans have appeared when our work crews got too close to these unidentified lines. Prior to construction commencement, coordination meetings were held with the military base command staff, and we continue to have periodic progress meetings to keep them aware of the project schedule and overall status.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (V-DOT) is currently widening Telegraph Road (Hwy 611), which runs along the eastern side of the property. We are required to meet with V-DOT officials on a monthly basis to coordinate the construction of our new shopping center entrances, deceleration lanes, light signalization and turn lanes. As with most Department of Transportation projects, their construction plans are a few years old and have not been updated to reflect changes to adjacent property or roadways since their plans were originally designed, this requires additional meetings with V-DOT to resolve any coordination issues.
Over the next three months, we plan on delivering the building pad on time to our anchor tenant, Wegmans. We will continue to finish the grading scope of work and proceed with construction of three retail buildings. We anticipate the project to be complete in the late third quarter of 2014, and we will keep you updated at various stages of progress along the way.
A special thank you to our contractors:
Civil Architect – Dewberry
Building Architect – Rounds VanDuzer (RVA)
General Contractor – LF Jennings
Geotechnical Engineer – ECS Mid-Atlantic