Ten years ago, 2,500 acres of forested land along the Potomac River in Prince William County was a grand vision of developer Robert C. Kettler, who plotted a luxury town center project he called Harbor Station.
Last year, the massive property was purchased out of receivership and its new owner, SunCal Cos., began the work of turning the long-stalled project, renamed Potomac Shores, into reality.
The project recently got a key boost. The Federal Railroad Administration announced it would provide $74.8 million for commuter rail in Northern Virginia, enabling the construction of an additional 11 miles of track from Stafford County to Prince William County and a third Virginia Railway Express line stretching from the District to a station at Potomac Shores. Unlike most of the area’s new town center-style developments, Potomac Shores, located 30 miles south of D.C. along Interstate-95, is to be accessible by rail.
Kettler, the Tysons Corner-based developer, called the property “the single best piece of land I’ve ever bought, with the most potential of anything I’ve ever bought.” But in nine years he spent more than $200 million not constructing buildings, but assembling the land, adding roads, laying sewers and constructing an 18-hole golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus that is complete — save for having no clubhouse — but which has never been opened to the public.