Fairfax County has purchased an old Nike missile command post near Burke from the federal government.
The property, at 11405 Pope's Head Rd., just west of Ox Road, cost the county $108,700, or about $9,535 an acre. Although the negotiated price was settled Oct. 18, a deed for the property won't be transferred to the county until near the end of the year, according to John L. McBride, director of Fairfax's property management division.
Earl C. Jones, GSA's federal property resources commissioner, said that the deal for the 11.4-acre tract was made at fair market value.
However, at least one local real estate executive, Dwight Schar of NVHomes, said he thinks the land is "somewhat undervalued, given the building boom in the Burke area." Schar said that an open sale of the property could have netted at least $25,000 an acre for homes on one-acre lots.
"If the buyer could have negotiated a zoning change to three units per acre, the value would be about $12,000 per unit for the land," Schar said.
Jones, however, said that the federal government is required to negotiate with interested governmental units before putting property up for public bids. In this case, "we obtained fair-market-value," he emphasized. "Else, we wouldn't have made the deal."
"We weren't able to negotiate much because of that appraisal," McBride said.
Richard Ging, deputy county executive of Fairfax, said that the long-range plan is to turn the parcel into a multi-use law enforcement training academy for rookie and in-service retraining for county police, and correctional and communications officers.
"We believe it is a viable site worthy of future consideration for a training facility because it does not infringe on local residential property," Ging said. "But that could be a long time off because we're having the police share the Fire Training Center near Fair Oaks Mall."
The property doesn't have sewer connections, but a county water line does run along Pope's Head Road. Until a decision on a training academy is reached, the property likely will be used by road and trail construction crews to store material, McBride said.
The Pope's Head Road property was used as the control booth and base housing for the W-74 Nike missile base about 200 yards west on the road. When the missiles were removed in the 1960s, GSA allowed first the U.S. Coast Guard and then the Virginia National Guard to use the site.