The Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s commissioners voted yesterday (Oct. 20) to approve an interim agreement with the developer for up to 350 affordable apartments and a 40,000-square-foot Reston Regional Library on the 2.9-acre property owned by FCRHA at the intersection of Bowman Towne Drive and Town Center Parkway.
Foulger-Pratt submitted an unsolicited proposal last year under the Virginia Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002 (PPEA). The FCRHA’s vote kicks off a period of community engagement that is set to begin this winter.
“In consideration of the Interim Agreement, we received and considered a great deal of feedback from the community,” FCRHA Chairman Melissa McKenna said. “We are eager to continue the discussion, as we have with communities across the county in PPEA projects such as this, in order to further explore the opportunity for expanding affordable housing on the FCRHA’s property, and deliver well-integrated, high-quality housing in one of the largest activity centers in the county.”
Foulger-Pratt’s plan includes apartments for households between 30 and 70% of the area median income, a parking garage, and landscaping. It allocates 240 parking spaces for the library, along with a drop-off area for patrons and book returns.
The agreement has been criticized by developer Norton Scott, which asserts that a competing proposal it submitted should also be considered with more opportunities for public comment.
“Reston deserves a thoughtful and public process to determine the placement of a new Regional Library. This is only possible if the community can consider all of the options available,” wrote Chelsea Rao, a senior Vice President with Norton Scott, in a statement to FFXnow.
If the Foulger-Pratt proposal moves forward, the county would finance, own and operate the public library, while the developer would finance, design and operate the affordable housing component of the property.
FCHRA’s vote to approve the interim agreement is not an official vote in favor of the project. Separate rezoning and land use approvals will be required.
Following a community outreach program, FCHRA will enter into a comprehensive agreement with the developer, with the ultimate goal of moving towards permitting and construction. An exact timeline was not immediately available.
For years, discussions have swirled around the possibility of developing the Bowman Towne Center and Reston Regional Library.
With the receipt of an unsolicited proposal to redevelop the property, Fairfax County is beginning to formalize plans to move forward with the project.
The Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) has issued a call for competing bids on the project, which is at the intersection of Bowman Towne Drive and Town Center Parkway, according to a March 31 release.
The unsolicited proposal from Foulger-Pratt aims to redevelop an existing 2.9-acre property owned by the FCHRA into an apartment building for working families, a new Reston Regional Library, and free parking for all.
The plan also calls for another building with affordable housing on the parking lot currently used by Reston District Station officers and staff. A new garage is planned for police use. The building would have up to 400 units, replacing 30 affordable rental townhomes on the site.
“Our approach to unlock the value of this property addresses not only housing but also the community infrastructure necessary to grow and thrive in our complex world,” the proposal says. Project details — including renderings — are largely redacted.
“This announcement is an exciting step forward for a much-needed new Reston Regional Library and the sustainable and socially responsible redevelopment of Reston Town Center North,” Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn said in a statement.
The request for proposals closes on May 16 at 2 p.m. Whatever plan eventually gets approved would be under the terms of a long-term, nominal ground lease from the FCRHA.