Times-Mirror site to be revamped into ‘Courthouse Square’

The Loudoun Times-Mirror building and its parking area are about to receive a major facelift.

The redevelopment of the Times-Mirror building will include the preservation of its red-brick facade and its circa 1916 historical main building, but the cinderblock addition at its rear will be demolished, said Bob White, president of Landmark Commercial Real Estate, the project’s developer.

In all, the redevelopment, named Courthouse Square, is projected to cost between $25 million and $30 million and will be finished in 2014 at the earliest, he said. Fifteen investors are currently involved in the project, he said.

Courthouse Square plans include 96,000 square feet of new construction and 9,000 square feet of renovations to total 106,000 square feet, White said. The Loudoun Times-Mirror building is around 9,000 square feet.

The Arundel family, publishers of the Times-Mirror, are currently the majority owners of the property.

“We are fortunate to have such a unique location. The proposal represents a tremendous opportunity for the town as well. We have worked hand-in-hand with the town on scale, architecture and general market concerns. The town has been extremely helpful and has shown great vision in the process,” said Loudoun Times-Mirror President and Publisher Peter Arundel.

The removal of the cinderblock addition at the rear of the Times-Mirror building will make way for an elevator lobby leading residents and visitors to a five-story structure that will include two stories of office space above a three-story at-grade and one and one half below-grade parking garage in what is now the Times-Mirror’s parking lot.

The alleyway that now connects King Street in the west to Church Street in the east will shift north toward the Times-Mirror’s red brick building. A breezeway will connect the Loudoun Street with Market Street entrances. Two retail shops and an elevator lobby will face Loudoun Street in the south.

The project has yet to be approved by Leesburg’s Board of Architectural Review. It will go before Leesburg’s Planning Commission April 21. The planning commission will discuss the allowance of a new height district to accommodate Courthouse Square. Currently, Leesburg has a height restriction of 45 feet, but Courthouse Square will require a height of 65 feet to accommodate the office space, which will pay for the three-story garage, White said. The neighboring Loudoun County parking garage is 45 feet tall.

On March 8, the Leesburg town council approved a motion to consider amending the maximum building height by a vote of 5-1-0. Mayor Umstattd cast the dissenting vote and councilman Tom Dunn was absent.

On April 12, Landmark erected a ‘balloon study’ in the Times-Mirror parking lot so that the public can see the visual impact from a particular vantage point.

When asked if the Times Mirror plans to remain in its current location, Arundel said, “We have every intent to remain in Leesburg if the rates are right.”

Contact the writer at hhager@timespapers.com.

This article was first published by Hannah Hager on LoudounTimes.com.

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