The two landowners who offered to give Virginia land for its planned Center for Innovative Technology have dropped demands that their adjoining land be rezoned immediately and agreed to donate most of the 35-acre tract within two months.
The agreement, which came late Monday in a meeting at Dulles International Airport, is a victory for Virginia officials who previously had threatened to find a new site for the state-supported CIT if the landowners did not move faster to deed the land to the state.
"There didn't have to be any threats," said one official at the meeting who asked to remain anonymous. The landowners "knew what was going on," the official said.
Under the original contract signed nearly a year ago, the landowners, Jordanian businessman Samir Kawar and area real estate broker Alan I. Kay, made donation of the tract on the border of Fairfax and Loudoun counties near Dulles dependent on whether the counties would rezone surrounding land to permit increased development. Both counties had balked at rezoning, saying that because the CIT would bring increased development, the state and developers should first pledge major improvements to the area's roads.
The new accord, in effect, means that the bulk of the land soon will be given to the state and the rezoning, which would boost the value of the landowners' surrounding lands significantly, will come later.
Neither Kawar nor Kay, a principal of Rozanky & Kay, one of the largest commercial real estate firms in the Washington area, could be reached for comment yesterday.
"The whole thing went very positively," said CIT president Robert H. Pry. "We should have a groundbreaking in late summer."
The CIT, the brainchild of Gov. Charles S. Robb, is intended to bring together private industry and universities for high-tech research projects. It has been plagued with problems stemming from competing interests of the landowners, the counties and the state almost since its inception.
Despite the agreement Monday, the state will not receive the entire 35-acre gift before construction begins. Kawar agreed to donate now only the land the CIT needs for construction to start this summer.
At least six acres of Kawar's 20-acre gift will not be deeded to the state until rezoning of his surrounding land is settled, according to Kawar's attorney, Richard R.G. Hobson of Alexandria.
The move to withhold six acres until his land is rezoned is an apparent bid by Kawar to maintain a bargaining chip with the state, according to sources close to the deal. Kay plans to deed his entire 15-acre portion within two months, according to Pry.
All of Kay's land for the CIT site is in Fairfax County and most of Kawar's is in Loudoun. The 35-acre site is part of a surrounding 174-acre tract owned by the two.
The accord Monday came in a meeting attended by a group of influential Virginia lawmakers, some of whom had promised to give Kay and Kawar "an ultimatum" if the land is not deeded to the state soon.
In a separate meeting Monday at Dulles, state lawmakers asked officials from Fairfax and Loudoun counties to expedite the rezoning requests from the two landowners, officials said.
County officials have said Kay and Kawar plan to ask for denser development than the counties will allow. One Loudoun official said Kawar has asked for nearly 3 million square feet of commercial and industrial development on his land surrounding the CIT.