Preston Lake 2.0

In January 2007 I posted about the Preston Lake development in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Preston Lake is marketed as a pedestrian friendly, safe, and diverse community. Although I am a fan of mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented development, and new urbanism, I have my doubts about Preston Lake. Even though it is a pedestrian friendly development, it’s still an island in the middle of nowhere. It doesn’t connect with any other developments and people still have to rely on cars to get there. Some would characterize it as suburbanization with a smile. I would have rather seen these buildings built in downtown Harrisonburg to increase density and revitalize the surrounding community.

Furthermore, Preston Lake seriously lacks affordable housing. How can you have a diverse community when the only people that can afford to live there a middle and upper class citizens? I would have liked to see affordable housing units sprinkled in throughout the development.

Nonetheless, only time will tell if it can evolve into a vibrant community.


  1. Anonymous

    indeed it is all by itself but once complete one could actually live and work within the community without having to leave much at all. There will be retail stores/restaurants and commercial office space. Even a boutique hotel. There will also be a wellness center along tennis/swimming and play areas for kids. The housing prices will be pretty broad. One can purchase a flat for around 120K above the retail buildings on main street buildings or a row house, cottage or larger single family home. It’s certainly meets the definition of mix-use and should be a pedestrian friendly development onve complete. I think the goal was to create almost a self contained town so to speak in which you can actually walk to shops, restaurants, offices, homes etc. This should be the case once it is complete.

  2. Richard J. Hine

    Dear Corbin,
    I am Richard Hine, the owner and developer of the Preston Lake project you opine about. Please take the time to come to Harrisonburg and visit with me – I will answer any/all questions, tour you through the site and explain in detail the project. You might be interested to know:
    1. All homes at Preston Lake are built “green” to exacting EarthCraft standards.
    2. Every possible pedestrian friendly amenity has been designed into Preston Lake – wide, paved, walking trails, exercise stations, sidewalks, lighting, and an adjacent shopping village. All designed to be healthy and “green”.
    3. Our residential housing offerings vary in size from 1,000-5,000sqft and our prices start in the 100’s for the residential flats. Our price and product appeals to a diverse demographic of age, income and lifestyle.
    4. The site was specifically designed to take advantage of the natural topography and features inherent in the site.
    5. As for being an “island in the middle of nowhere”, I suggest you review the County’s Comprehensive Plan as well as the VDOT/County Long Range Transportation plans and you will note the development corridor along Route 33, the placement of the SE Connector Road and other aspects of these long-range plans to allay your concerns about connectivity.
    6. Finally, until large parcels of property are available in downtown Harrisonburg, projects such as these will be difficult to incorporate into the city-scape. There is one notable mixed-use project called Urban Exchange under construction downtown that might suit your desires.
    Again, I welcome a visit, tour and discussion. For more detailed information – please visit Thanks for your interest in Preston Lake and your promotion of new urbanism and “green” building.
    Best regards,
    Rich Hine

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