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Proposed Reston Town Center arts facility could cost up to $81 million, report says

A new arts center is proposed in Reston Town Center (via Fairfax County Government)

A nearly 60,000-square-foot proposed arts center in the heart of Reston Town Center could cost up to $81 million.

The proposed center comes out of a proffer from Boston Properties’ next phase of development at Reston Town Center. It would be located next to Sunset Hills Road in the southeastern corner of the proposed development site.

Architectural firm Grimm + Parker presented findings from a feasibility study on the project to the Reston Community Center’s Board of Governors on Monday (June 13). The meeting was part of the center’s annual public hearing for programs and budget.

Accounting for inflation, escalation, and an increase in construction costs, the project carries a cost estimate of $81 million if the center is built in 2030. In current dollars, it could cost around $58 million.

The cost estimate includes both hard costs, like construction, and soft costs, like furniture and other design elements.

Grimm + Parker launched a series of community meetings between February and April to court public feedback on the project. The firm then evaluated community needs and requirements for programming, conceptual design and an overall estimate of the project.

The center would accommodate roughly 500 seats, including 372 seats on the orchestra level and 165 on the first balcony, according to Sue Haines, a partner with the firm. Parking would also be shared with neighboring parcels.

The center would also have an open studio for arts, gallery with flexible display options, utility spaces, a catering kitchen, offices, storage, and a digital media studio.

“Life’s been tricky lately, building buildings,” Haines said.

She said that attempts to increase the size of the house — which was flagged as a concern in previous community meetings — are not feasible because of the site design.

Amy Upton, the firm’s director of environmental design, said it was important not to “duplicate facilities that are already around,” noting that other arts-related venues and activities are available in and near Reston.

“Obviously, when that gets designed, all that could get changed,” Haines said.

The Town of Herndon is also expected to welcome a new black box theatre as part of its delayed downtown redevelopment.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn and county staff will negotiate details of the proffer going forward to determine if and how the project will proceed. Funding is anticipated from a variety of sources, some of which has not yet been identified. Proffer-related deadlines are anticipated this summer.

It is unclear when design and construction could begin.

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