Feb. 8, 2023
As many in the community know, the redevelopment of Reston Town Center North (outlined in the photo, click on photo for larger view) has been planned, analyzed and argued about for more than a decade now. The newly formed RTCN Task Force recently had its first meeting, and I am looking forward to getting input from these community members on how the county-owned property can accommodate the multiple public facility needs listed in both the existing and proposed Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan. Key components of the redevelopment include additional affordable housing units and a new Reston Regional Library, among other county facilities. Last year, developer Foulger-Pratt entered into an agreement with the county to build up to 350 new affordable apartments and a new regional library on a 4.49-acre site at the corner of Bowman Towne Drive and Town Center Parkway (area shown outlined in yellow, click on photo for larger view). However, the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority was notified this week that Foulger-Pratt is terminating its agreement.
The developer cited significantly higher construction costs and recent interest rate hikes as the primary reason for ending its agreement with the county. In its termination letter, Foulger-Pratt said that the project’s cost had increased by about 24% compared to its original estimates. This increase would have delayed completion of the project.
It proposed to deliver two, five-story buildings with up to 350 rental homes that would have replaced the county’s 30 existing affordable housing at this location called Bowman Towne Court. The project also included a new 40,000 square-foot Reston Regional Library, plus parking for these two uses and the adjacent Reston Police Station.
The withdrawal of the unsolicited proposal under PPEA (Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act) provides an opportunity for the public sector to better define the redevelopment approach for this site – instead of reacting to a developer’s ideas for highest and best use. Our pressing public needs have not changed, starting with a new regional library, a new shelter, updated and more affordable housing.
It should be noted that construction of a new Reston Regional Library will now be delayed for several more years. For more than a decade plans for a new regional library have assumed it would be built through a public-private partnership – thus only $10 million in general obligation bond funding was approved by voters in 2012. The existing library is at the end of its useful life, and a new building is urgently needed. The Fairfax County Public Library is reviewing its options.
Get more information here.