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March 24, 2020

Marshall subdivision work slated to begin this week

It’s got a great school system. People who telecommute can be assured that their families have a good quality of life. It has great athletics. We just have a great community.
— Tom Marable, Van Metre Cos. senior vice president
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Weather permitting, the big Northern Virginia builder this week hopes to begin site work on a 197-home community in downtown Marshall.

Fairfax City-based Van Metre Cos. on Thursday plans to start clearing the Carter’s Crossing site off Main Street at the village’s western end, according to Senior Vice President Tom Marable.

Phase I of the project calls for 94 dwellings, including 55 single-family homes and 39 townhouses.

Installation of streets with “base” pavement to serve the project should be completed between September and October, Mr. Marable said.

Work crews in October will begin to construct model homes.

“We would be looking to open for sales in the first quarter of 2021,” Mr. Marable added.

A portion of Carter’s Crossing occupies the former Marshall Manor assisted living home site, between Main Street and Interstate 66.

Depending on home and lot sizes, single-family properties will range from the high $300,000s to mid-$500,000-range, Mr. Marable said.

Townhomes would start in the low $300,000-price range, he said.

Mr. Marable said demand will determine when the company develops 206 single-family homes planned for the Cunningham Farm property — also at the village’s western edge, north of Main Street.

“We will not start Cunningham until we’ve got a really good rhythm going on Carter’s Crossing,” he explained. “It’s four or five years behind. That could change. It all depends on how the market holds up.”

Buyer behavior also figures into the equation, Mr. Marable said.

“Most homebuyers in today’s market don’t make rash decisions,” he said. “It’s a courting process. It could be three to six weeks for someone to make a decision to purchase a home.”

But his company believes Fauquier, the Marshall site and the projects together have a lot to offer.

“It’s got a great school system,” he said of Fauquier. “People who telecommute can be assured that their families have a good quality of life. It has great athletics. We just have a great community.”

Adding to its appeal, Marshall provides convenient commuter access to Interstate 66, he said.

The Carter’s Crossing and the Cunningham Farm projects also should tap two big markets — millennials and 55-and-above active seniors who don’t want a lot of property to maintain and seek walkable communities, he said.

Besides parks and open space, the neighborhoods will feature pedestrian access to Main Street.

Insufficient public water in Marshall partly delayed the projects.

But company tests during the last five years have identified wells that will begin to meet the company's water needs and improve the Fauquier County Water and Sanitation Authority’s system, Mr. Marable said.

“We’re going to be bringing our first two wells online within the first quarter” of 2021, he said.

The company will construct a facility to treat water produced by those and future wells that will serve both projects’ systems, which will be connected to WSA’s network, Mr. Marable said.

“The water’s available,” he said. “It’s finding it in the right locations.”

The wells also will provide additional water for existing WSA customers, Mr. Marable said.

The coronavirus outbreak has affected how the company does business, Mr. Marble said.

“We do talk about it,” he said of the virus. “Van Metre always has been reactive and has the ability to turn and make decisions quickly, being a family-owned business.”

But, “the market, regardless of coronavirus, we felt has signs of maybe a slight downturn in it and have been adjusting slowly with measures to accommodate that. So we feel we’re in a good position.”

Van Metre continues to move homes, he said.

“We sold 10 houses last week, companywide, which is pretty good,” Mr. Marable said. “The week before, it was 12.”

He sounded encouraged by remarks Gov. Ralph Northam made Monday during his daily update on the coronavirus pandemic.

“It looks like today’s message from the governor is that construction is still an essential business,” Mr. Marable said. “So we may turn the conveyor on at (the company’s manufacturing) plant (in Winchester) at a slow speed and get everybody up and running.

“But I don’t think we’re going to be working everybody at the same time, just to minimize what the government’s asking everybody to do, which is minimize exposure.”

Van Metre last year sold more than 600 dwellings, including single-family homes, townhouses and condominiums — the vast majority of them in Virginia, Mr. Marable said.

Contact Don Del Rosso at Don@FauquierNow.com or 540-270-0300.
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