By Andrew Sharbel, Belvoir EagleAugust 16, 2010
FORT BELVOIR, Va. - While the renovation of existing villages at Fort Belvoir was a monumental task in and of itself, Clark Realty, the developer in charge of giving family housing a facelift, additionally dealt with a whole different set of projects with the construction of new villages throughout the installation.
The construction of 12 villages with new, single-family homes, spanning from January 2004 to now, provided a whole new dynamic to family housing on Belvoir.
To begin the process, just under 1,000 old homes were demolished in Lewis, George Washington, Rossell, Park, Colyer, Fairfax and Jadwin Loop villages to make way for the new, modernized homes. In their place, Clark built homes more adapted to the military lifestyle.
"The existing housing that has been demolished at Fort Belvoir was a mixture of architecturally non-descript Capehart-Wherry era and non-historic housing and had few architectural features, other than color and placement, to distinguish one house from the next," Clark Realty Development Associate Adam Owens said. "Most of the homes lacked adequate interior and exterior storage, eat-in kitchens, master suites, a second bathroom or powder room, separate laundry rooms and covered parking.
"The interior of the homes lacked a functional circulation pattern and the individual arrangement of the houses did not allow for any outdoor privacy for families," Owens said.
Owens noted the completely new housing would resemble family homes from the Northern Virginia area.
"The new housing complements the architectural styles and designs of the Northern Virginia area. Housing types, facades, colors and details are mixed to create unique, diverse streetscapes.
"The new housing is arranged in the New Urbanism style, which promotes a walk-able neighborhood," Owens said. "The three-, four- and five-bedroom housing includes spacious bedrooms and master suite; generous interior and exterior storage; wider-than-normal stairwells; 9-foot ceilings on the first floor; separate laundry room and two-car garage."
Completely brand new homes in Herryford, Vernondale and Cedar Grove villages, as well as additions to the existing Belvoir and Gerber neighborhoods, added 425 brand new homes to the Belvoir housing family.
The planning of the massive construction was driven by the residents and military families who would be using them.
"After a series of workshops and design charrettes with residents and leaders of Fort Belvoir at the beginning of the project, the housing design construction documents and initial village site plans were developed," Owens said. "As each village approaches in the construction schedule, the development team takes the initial village site plans through the entitlement process and refines the design by addressing review comments and feedback."
"Upon finalization and approval of the village site plans, construction is approved to commence," Owens said.
New home construction to Belvoir housing began with Herryford Village, a 171-unit addition, beginning in January 2004. As part of Herryford, the Belvoir Town Center was built and subsequently became the first, mixed-use town center on a military installation.
Vernondale Village began shortly after, in May 2004. Vernondale's 162 units included a 4,200-square-foot neighborhood center with furnished great room, kitchen and meeting room.
Both Herryford and Vernondale were completed in November 2005.
"Herryford was the first village completed because of the town center aspect going into it," Owens said. "We wanted to make sure this was delivered first, because this is our welcome center and it's the main point where our residents are coming in looking for base housing."
Lewis Village was the next village to begin construction. Work began there in May 2004 and, upon its completion in August 2006, 274 units replaced the 428 units that were demolished.
Cedar Grove Village began the construction of 82 units in June 2005. It was completed in December 2006.
After the demolition of 244 units in George Washington Village, 196 units were built in June 2006. Construction was completed in August 2007 and included 4,200-square-foot neighborhood center and a large scale, Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible playground.
Sixty units were demolished next in Rossell Village in June 2006 and were replaced with 70 units upon its completion in November 2007.
Park Village grew by 10 units in February 2007, from 12 units to 22. Work was completed there in March 2008.
Colyer Village saw the demolition of 92 homes and, after beginning work in April 2007, 72 homes replaced them in May 2008.
Work in Fairfax Village began in August 2007 after the demolition of 148 homes on its property. Upon its completion in October 2008, Fairfax had 101 brand new homes completed with a 4,200-square-foot, LEED Platinum Neighborhood Center. The center was the first of its kind on a military installation and only the second to be built in Virginia.
Only 14 units were demolished in Jadwin Loop Village starting in May 2008. While some of the existing homes in Jadwin Loop were renovated, 30 brand new homes were added to the village upon its completion in April 2009.
Five new homes were built and designed in the same style as the existing historical homes in Belvoir and Gerber villages. The five homes near the entrance to Belvoir Village were started in June 2009 and completed in December. The new homes in Gerber Village weren't started until June 2010 and work is ongoing.
"All the villages included the addition of new playgrounds, green spaces and walking trails," Owens said. "We have received a lot of positive feedback from our residents to this point. Any complaints they may have are mostly management-related and consist of small, minor details."
Owens added that Clark officials are currently in discussions with the Army to provide additional new housing and amenities in Dogue Creek Village and other land parcels in the coming years, to further enhance the quality of life for servicemembers and families at Fort Belvoir.
Editor's note - This is the third installment in a series about housing changes on Fort Belovior. Next week, we will explore current and future projects.