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Work begins anew on mixed-use development

Claytor project
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H&W Construction Co. crews perform site work Tuesday near the intersection of Interstate 81 and John Marshall Highway (Va. 55) in Strasburg, where a total of 116 residences are planned. Rich Cooley/Daily

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Infrastructure materials of the Claytor project
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Rich Cooley/Daily

By James Heffernan -- jheffernan@nvdaily.com

STRASBURG -- After years of negotiation, followed by the collapse of the housing market, a 36-acre tract near the Interstate 81-Va. 55 interchange is once again being primed for development.

"We're progressing along," co-owner Robert Claytor said Tuesday.

Crews with H&W Construction Co. of Winchester have begun site excavation, including cutting and filling dirt to put in an access road.

Claytor, president of Winchester-based petroleum distributor and Handy Mart operator H.N. Funkhouser & Co., along with developer Walter Aikens, purchased the property six years ago. They have gradually obtained all the necessary rezoning and permitting approvals from the town, including water and sewer lines.

The site plan calls for 58 single-family homes, 58 townhomes and 8 acres of commercial development.

Claytor said construction on the townhomes should begin in about two months, with completion expected in the spring of 2012.

The single-family homes would be built next, he said, followed by the commercial piece, which is slotted for a gas station-convenience store and a hotel.

"Right now, we need more rooftops to justify either one of those," Claytor said.

The developers continue to watch the area housing market carefully.

"We may not build all 58 [townhomes] right away," Claytor said, adding that the units that do get built will be offered for sale or for rent, "depending on what the market will support."

"We think it's a great location," he said.

How quickly the market -- and the overall economy -- rebounds will also drive plans for a commercial center on the opposite side of John Marshall Highway (Va. 55).

The 45-acre property, which lies in what town planners have termed the "Golden Triangle" at the confluence of I-81, U.S. 11 and Va. 55, at one time was set aside for a grocery store, several big-box retailers, a restaurant and up to two hotels.


A hotel? What on God's green earth makes them think this town needs another hotel? Have they not driven by the other two newly built hotels and seen nothing but empty parking spaces?

Too bad this group didn't buy the Cedar Valley lot when it went up for auction and build this development there. At least it would have fit with the surrounding area. As it is, it will likely lead to the over commercialization of the entire 55 corridor from 81 into town.

I hope they still plan to turn the old train depot there beside the railroad tracks into a museum. My grandmother told me that this is where my grandfather got on the train when he was drafted to fight in World War I. I'm sure there is a lot of other history at that depot as well. Hopefully, it would also highlight some history of the areas of Lebanon Church, Clary, Wheatfield, etc. that lie just beyond there on Rt. 55. I also hope that development of this size, density, and commercial use does not continue to go much further west on Rt. 55. As someone whose family has lived here for generations, I would like to see this area remain rural and quiet for as long as possible. As the song goes, "I can see the concrete
a slowly creeping"

So now we are adding more vacant homes to Strasburg.

Has anyone noticed the FOR Sale signs on all the houses in Strasburg? Guess not.

The land should have never been approved for building houses or commercial building. If the project takes off at some time in the future, no one will be able to get into Strasburg.

Here hoping that someone will rethink the whole idea.......

Great! Let's build some more unaffordable houses that will wind up in foreclosure further driving down home values for the the rest of us.

Commercial Space in the Valley = Convenience Store and Gas Station Industry. Yippee! Very high paying jobs. I am sure they will generate the needed incomes to buy the new townhomes and single family dwellings.

Thanks, Diva. And has anybody noticed that the decline in value on those houses is right up there with cities in the sand states, which have become the poster children for a real estate market gone bad, with declines in home values being double or triple the average decline nationally. The frustrating thing is that everbody saw this coming ... everybody but the Strasburg Town Council, who either just didn't get it or whose self-serving shortsightedness chose to ignore common sense.

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