Schematics for Lovettsville’s fire station property have been laid out, but they no longer include plans to host the Lovettsville Cooperative Market’s grocery store. Instead, the co-op will open that store in the heart of town, possibly as early as July 2022.
Co-op Chairman John DeSaix announced on Friday the co-op would open a 7,000-square-foot grocery store in the Town Square commercial center in a building Lovettsville Square South LLC intends to construct between Town Square, Berlin Turnpike, Hammond Drive and Wood Aster Lane. Construction is expected to begin the second half of 2021 with a grand opening planned for the third quarter of 2022.
The grocery store will be open seven days a week to all and will feature a deli and grab-and-go lunch and dinner meals. It will also be stocked with local beer and wine. DeSaix said 75% of the items the grocery store sells would be natural and/or organic.
He said the store would have the most employees out of any private employer in town and that it would pump $1 million annually into the local economy.
Perhaps the best news for Lovettsville residents is that they will no longer have to drive to Brunswick, MD or Purcellville to shop for groceries.
“There will be no more driving miles just to get your groceries,” DeSaix said. “It’s taken years of planning, study and perseverance, but it’s going to happen.”
DeSaix said the co-op leadership team would be working with architects in the coming months and would initiate a capital campaign in early 2021 to raise money for the store’s construction. Co-op leadership will ask member owners for loans to the organization that they will earn interest on.
Previously, the co-op had planned to open its grocery store in about 5,000 square feet of the town’s existing fire station once the county builds a new station next door. DeSaix said that project was going to cost the co-op about $1 million to renovate the station into a full-service grocery store and equip it with amenities like a freezer, a full kitchen and deli.
To do that, the town had to annex the 15-acre fire station property because if it were to have remained on county-owned property, county zoning regulations would have required at least 25% of the products the co-op sold at the grocery store to be grown on site, which the organization does not plan to do. Of course, the Co-op never requested the town annex the property, and never had an official stance on that matter.
As for the new, $14.5 million, 18,500-square-foot fire station, Loudoun County Fire Chief Keith Johnson and Chris Kehde, a principal with LeMay Erickson Willcox Architects, presented the Town Council Thursday night with details on those plans. The new Station 12 will be built just south of the existing 17,000-square-foot fire station.
The county staff expects the new Station 12 to be fully designed by fall 2021 and built by summer 2023, according to Department of Transportation and Capital Infrastructure Communications Manager Shawn Taylor Zelman.
The new station will feature four apparatus bays, a kitchen and dining areas, an exercise room, administrative offices, an equipment and maintenance room and living quarters including seven two-person bunks.
Johnson said the engine bays would feature bi-fold doors, which will open like accordions and open and close faster than overhead doors to allow for faster response times and to allow less heat and air conditioning to escape.
Kehde said the station would be “state of the art.” Mayor Nate Fontaine said the new station would be an upgrade from the existing station for the firefighters.
“It’s definitely a plus-up from what they have now,” he said.
Johnson said the new station was also designed to fit in with the Lovettsville community. “I am happy we achieved that,” he said.
Fontaine said that would be important, since the station is at the entryway to town.
“This will be a great addition to the community overall,” he said.
The town’s annexation of the fire station property helped Station 12 volunteers in their drive to continue Saturday-night bingo.
In 2015, they learned of the county’s plans to build the new fire station absent of an assembly hall and learned that county zoning regulations would prevent them from continuing to host bingo in the existing station’s assembly hall.
So in March 2017, at the suggestion of then-mayor Bob Zoldos, the volunteers submitted an annexation application to the town, which the Town Council approved in May 2018. Four months later, the county Board of Supervisors and the Town Council both voted to approve a boundary line agreement, which the Loudoun County Circuit Court approved in November 2018. The annexation grew the town’s size by about 0.911 acres—fitting for a firehouse.
In January 2019, the council voted to direct the Planning Commission to prepare and recommend a comprehensive plan amendment to include land use plans for the property. The council approved that amendment in May 2019.
As for other plans on the fire station property, the town also intends to build an elevated water tower for public and governmental uses in the coming years.
Get updates on the county’s fire station project at loudoun.gov/5415/Lovettsville-Fire-Rescue-Station. Learn more about the Co-op’s grocery store plans at lovettsville-grocery.com.