Gainesville is a census-designated place in Prince William County, Virginia. Gainesville was once a changing point for stagecoach horses on the Fauquier & Alexandria Turnpike. In 1752, Thomas Jefferson reached the area and the stop became Gainesville. It was a shipping point for grain, timber and cattle and remained a major cattle shipping point into the early 1960s.
Major commercial and residential development has taken place since 2000, resulting in Gainesville having six large shopping centers. The intersection of I-66 and Lee Highway has the largest shopping center with big box stores such as Target Supercenter, Lowe's, Best Buy, DSW, Walgreens, and many other stores and restaurants. Somerset Crossing has a Bank Of America, Wells Fargo, and other shops. Close to US-15 are a Staples, Ross, Wegmans Food Markets, Michael's and Harris Teeter. The Promenade at Virginia Gateway was developed by The Peterson Companies, including BJ's Warehouse, which opened in January 2012, and Regal Theaters which opened in late 2013.