"It's Convenient to Everything"

Friday, December 21, 2012

Westlake Village Residents Love Their Neighborhoods

Westlake Village, the second of St. Charles’ five villages to be developed, is known as the commercial heart of the 9,100 acre community.  Within Westlake Village are the neighborhoods of Lancaster, Dorchester and Hampshire, with more than 4,000 homes, as well as St. Charles Towne Center and the O’Donnell Lake waterfront area, destined to be developed as a retail and commercial centerpiece for the community. Economic sustainability was a key part of the original vision for St. Charles. Noted long-time CEO Ed Kelly, “We were always working toward the goal of a community where there were the same numbers of jobs within the community as the number of residents living there.” 
Chad Muntz, a resident of the 3,000-resident Dorchester neighborhood since 2005, chose St. Charles and the Westlake Village community because “of the walking trails, pool and especially the views of the geese, ducks and cranes on the lake.” Dorchester's development theme was based on natural elements and the neighborhood still reflects that theme, from the names of the streets to the commitment within the ownership associations to the protection of the local ponds and trails.  In a recent interview, Muntz noted, “Westlake Village is convenient to everything, the schools are wonderful and our neighborhood groups are extremely active. From luaus attended by more than 600 people (of 1,200 homes) to working together to put in a brand new state-of-the-art Evos® playground, we not only have a wonderful place to live but also everything that makes people want to stay.”

St. Charles Companies Vice President Craig Renner and his family have lived in Hampshire neighborhood since 2001. "We love the community feeling Hampshire has. Walking around the lake in the center of the neighborhood, watching the Christmas parade every year, there are all kinds of events that give the neighborhood a very special sense of place. We've met many people who have lived there since the neighborhood was first built, which helps keep that sense of community."
Developed by national shopping center developer, Melvin Simon & Associates (later to become Simon Property Group) in 1988, the 1.2 million square foot St. Charles Towne Center has been one of Simon’s top ranking producers over the years. According to Kelly, the location of the Mall resulted from a land swap between St. Charles and Simon, as the leaders of St. Charles convinced Mel Simon that St. Charles would encompass the number of residents and associated businesses needed to sustain a regional mall. Simon developed not only the Town Center but also the neighboring and highly successful, 400,000 square foot retail center, St. Charles Town Plaza. 
Growth in Westlake Village continues to complement its strong community vibe. This past fall, St. Charles welcomed the new Waldorf West Public Library, a 30,169 square foot state-of-the-art facility featuring public art, a lively children’s area with constellations lighting the ceiling and six public meeting rooms. Next to the library, the Hilton Garden Inn, which opened in [             ], offers 130 guest rooms, an indoor pool, fitness center and 2,900 square feet of flexible meeting space along with excellent service, earning the hotel  the 2012 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award.
Through the warmer months of 2012, hundreds of St. Charles, Waldorf and Southern Maryland residents visited the boardwalk of O’Donnell Lake to buy fresh produce at the Farmer’s Market, listen to family-friendly bands and songwriters on Friday nights at the Sunset Concert Series, shop for crafts, paint a pumpkin and otherwise take part in what is becoming a key focal point for family fun at this waterside venue.
Westlake Village today is one of the most vibrant communities with Charles County, with strong and active neighborhoods and a growing commercial presence. Watch for the next blog in our series commemorating St. Charles’ 40th anniversary when we will focus on our newest neighborhoods in Fairway Village.