News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Metro Silver Line: $90 million a small price to pay for Wiehle Avenue garage, awesome 80s artwork

Turns out Fairfax County will likely have to foot the bill for the $90 million parking garage needed to accommodate all the art connoisseurs expected to drive from as far away as Sterling to admire the rad '80s artwork at the Wiehle Avenue Metro station. After staring in awestruck wonder at the stained glass masterpieces therein, some might even decide to take the train!

Fairfax County likely will foot the bill for a Metro parking garage it once hoped to convince a developer to bankroll, at a cost that has doubled since 2007.

The Wiehle Avenue Metrorail station in Reston, which will serve the last of the Dulles Rail Project’s five stops constructed during the first leg of the project, is now projected to cost $90 million.

The project is the sort of transit-oriented development that county officials hope will proliferate around the Metro project, which is under construction and is set to open in 2013.

But the parking garage plan, part of a public-private partnership with developer Comstock, is a far cry from what county officials envisioned in 2007. Fairfax County supervisors on Monday set a June 1 public hearing on the plan, in which Comstock will build the 2,300-space garage in exchange for development rights on a county-owned, 9-acre parcel nearby.

The county would finance the construction through rent from the development and income from the garage, and bridge any gaps with money from a commercial and industrial real estate tax meant to fund transportation, said Fairfax County Debt Manager Len Wales.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said she’s not worried about the escalating cost of the garage and said she is awaiting a more detailed briefing from county staff.

The agreement was once on the verge of falling through. The county cut off negotiations with Comstock in 2007 after failing to reach an agreement over financing, only to later resume the talks. At that point, the sides couldn’t agree on how much Comstock would commit financially.

Comstock plans to build 980,000 square feet of mixed-use development on top of the garage site, which now houses a park-and-ride.

Fairfax County supervisors expect to give final approval on the project a year from now.
We think $90 million is a small price to pay to have world-class art in our community. Paris has the Louvre. Madrid has the Prado. And soon, Reston will have the 80s Stained Glass Emporium (and train station).


  1. Hey, maybe as a sign of solidarity with the County RA will offer a plan that makes Reston homeowners pay! And we won't know about it until the last minute! What a great idea!

  2. The Convict in Gulag 4May 5, 2009 at 5:37 PM

    What I still don't get is, since there's a perfectly good garage at the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride, why don't they build the Metro station there. Or are they planning on shutting down the bus facility there and turning the garage into a skate park?

    I still say that Reston needs a roller rink and bowling alley.

  3. That's $39,130 per parking spot! At $5 per spot per day and all spots filled, it will take more than 21 years to pay that off. And that assumes it doesn't fall apart in less than a decade like the Monroe St. Park & Ride.

    Really, folks, is this a wise expenditure of anyone's money?


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