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County poised to swap land with Inova for Reston Town Center North site

Reston Regional Library (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Fairfax County is gearing up to officially swap land with Inova, moving forward several key elements of the redevelopment of Reston Town Center North.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a motion on Tuesday (Sept. 12) by Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn asking the county executive to move forward with a real estate exchange agreement with Inova.

The step — which has been contemplated for years — would facilitate the construction of a new Embry Rucker Shelter, affordable housing and Reston Regional Library.

The expedited review comes as a task force has assembled to analyze the proposed public uses at Reston Town Center delivers its final recommendations this fall. Alcorn assembled the task force in April 2022.

If the project goes through, the Embry Rucker Shelter will be replaced with a new facility. Built in 1986, the 10,500-square-foot shelter would be expanded with medical beds, day-use services for training and workforce development, and permanent supportive housing units.

Alcorn noted that the replacement of Reston Regional Library is also a critical need.

“As recently noted by the County Executive, this library has numerous critical systems that are nearing the end of their operational lives, and the timing for the replacement of this popular County facility is also becoming critical,” Alcorn wrote in the board matter.

An interim real estate exchange agreement was approved in September 2015. That concept worked toward a grid of streets and a one-to-one land swap, which would provide the county and Inova with developable blocks.

The future of RTC North was muddied when developer Foulger-Pratt scrapped its plans for a public-private partnership to redevelop the site in February. The unsolicited proposal would have included up to 350 affordable apartments and a new 40,000-square-foot library at the intersection of Bowman Towne Drive and Town Center Parkway.

RTC North is a hodgepodge of irregularly shaped parcels owned by the county, the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority, and Inova. The Fairfax County Park Authority conveyed a 5-acre parcel to the county in exchange for 90,000 square feet of development rights.

The land currently hosts the library, the shelter, the North County Human Services building, the Reston Police Station and the North County Governmental Center.

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