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Town: Comstock would lose money if paused downtown Herndon project restarted right now

The anticipated groundbreaking has been pushed back several times (via Comstock)

Market conditions remain unfavorable for the redevelopment of Downtown Herndon, a public-private partnership that is led by developer Comstock and the town.

At a Herndon Town Council meeting earlier this month, Town Manager Bill Ashton II said Comstock remains committed to pausing the development for up to two years. Currently, Comstock is unable to approve financing for the project and conditions remain economically unfavorable for the project to proceed.

The redevelopment seeks to transform five acres of land into a mixed-use project. The cost of the $101 million project increased by $25 million due to materials, labor, and workforce restrictions caused by the pandemic. It’s unclear what the current estimate is.

Comstock announced the project pause in mid-July.

“They want to be ready to go the moment they think the economy is right for them to move,” Ashton said at the Oct. 11 meeting.

He said Comstock stands to lose money on the deal if they proceed as is. Ashton also emphasized that town officials meet biweekly with Comstock for status updates on the project.

Ashton noted that the redevelopment project is governed under the Virginia Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002, bringing different conditions and requirements from a typical design-build contract.

The town’s comprehensive agreement with Comstock was amended in 2020. Ashton II said the agreement contains protections that would kick in if the project does not proceed.

“If nothing is happening within two years, the deal could unwind,” Ashton said.