$34 Million Will Keep Battlefield Free of Malls
The federal government will pay two Virginia builders $34.1 million for a 150-acre tract that was condemned 18 months ago to save the Manassas Civil War battlefield from encroaching development.
Under the negotiated settlement, the government will pay William Center Limited Partnership and NVHomes Limited Partnership for land near the Manassas Battlefield Park that the two groups owned jointly.
Still to be decided is the price to be paid developers John T. (Til) Hazel Jr. and Milton V. Peterson for a parcel of more than 350 acres condemned at the same time.
A nationwide “Save the Battlefield” campaign headed off plans to build a regional shopping mall and more than 500 houses on the tracts, off Route I-66 near Manassas about 30 miles west of Washington.
Two battles were fought in the fields, in 1861 and 1862, with Confederate forces winning both.
When Congress enacted a so-called legislative taking, which was signed into law on Nov. 10, 1988, the government gained title to the entire tract with compensation to be negotiated.