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Fairfax to Develop Near Metro

By Alejandro Lazo
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 24, 2007

Fairfax County is looking for a partner to develop 1 million square feet of retail and commercial office space on nine acres next to a planned Metro station in Reston.

The county, which owns the L-shaped parcel of land that abuts the Dulles Toll Road and the site of the future station, issued a request for proposals Wednesday with the intent of partnering with a private developer.

Lee Work of commercial real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle, which is advising the county, said the idea is to build a mixed-use work and recreational center like those near Metro stations in Bethesda, Silver Spring and Clarendon. The project will increase the Class A office space in the Dulles corridor.

"We do see a complex demand for business growth," Work said. "We see companies moving up to Reston, Herndon and Loudon County with the arrival of Metro."

The Wiehle Avenue station in Reston is expected to open by 2013.

The planned 23-mile Silver Line, an extension of the Metro from West Falls Church through Tysons Corner, Dulles International Airport and into Loudon County, would bring 11 stations to Northern Virginia and is scheduled to be completed in 2016.

The project is counting on $900 million from the Federal Transit Administration, which has warned that the project is over budget and risks not qualifying for the money. Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) recently proposed $300 million in cuts to meet cost guidelines and put pressure on the authority to approve the money. Without it the project could fail.

A Reston covenant forbids hotel and residential development for land buttressing the Dulles Toll Road. Richard Stevens, Fairfax County's project manager for the Dulles rail project, said the county is negotiating to buy adjacent land so that a residential component could be added.

The county expects to choose a developer by Dec. 15. Priority will be given to bids that require minimal public financing, the county said. The county intends to enter a 99-year ground lease with the developer.

"We expect a market-rate return on the project," said Leonard Wales, the county's debt manager.

The land is used as a park-and-ride lot.

Alejandro Lazo covers commercial real estate. His e-mail address islazoa@washpost.com.

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