Signature Project: Martinsburg 5 Star Auto Spa – Land Development

  • Client: 5-Star Auto Spa
  • Location: Martinsburg, WV
  • Services: Boundary & Topographic Surveys, Land Development, Utility Coordination, Dept. of Highways Turn Lane Design

Our client, 5 Star Auto Spa, believes that an automobile is more than just a mode of transportation, it is also a strong reflection of its owner’s personality. This philosophy led them to develop an experience for autos that goes beyond simple cleaning to include full detailing packages and an indoor self-serve area where clients can do post-wash detailing, in climate-controlled luxury.

The site chosen by the client had an existing commercial building, but needed major development and expansion to accommodate the proposed facility. A full range of land development design services were provided by JHA, including traffic analysis, site grading, stormwater management, and landscape design. 

“My role was guiding the client,” says Project Leader Chris Waddell, “teaching them how to get through the process of review agencies, and the concept plan and the phasing. We know the process, we know the reviewers, we have good relationships and were able to work through various engineering challenges.”

Guiding the client through complicated civil engineering and regulatory processes required leadership and great communication, two things JHA is known for. “Joe Hague (JHA Project Engineer) does a lot of the contact with the client,” says Chris. In order to stay on top of things, JHA has a weekly check-in with the client where challenges are explained, and solutions offered. “The are always receptive,” Chris says, “they’ve been excellent to work with.”

The biggest project challenge was getting through the entrance permit process. Since the use of the property was being changed, and the site sits on the busiest intersection in the county, the type of traffic entranceway for the site had to be changed. Working alongside the client, Chris and his team formulated a solution: they offered to give a piece of the property to provide an additional turning lane for the intersection. “We said, we will give you a full turn lane, the client is willing to give up that property, to make the intersection safer for the community and everyone around. We worked with the Department of Highways, and the county engineer to get through the entrance process,” explains Chris. He feels it was the biggest achievement of the project.

Another challenge was that the property simply was not large enough to accommodate the proposed car wash facility. The solution here was to purchase two additional adjacent properties, which also had to be developed. “We told the client what properties needed to be purchased,” explains Chris, “what deeds they were, and we came back and surveyed the property after it had been purchased, and we made all of it one merger plat.”

Chris feels strongly that JHA’s solid reputation and good standing with local officials helps in such intricate situations. “We’re able to sit down and have common sense discussions and come up with great solutions that help our client.”

The construction phase of the 5 Star Auto Spa will begin in Spring 2024, with the facility opening planned for late 2024.

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