Several Restaurants Wanted Tetra Space, Report Says

by Karen Goff March 30, 2015 at 9:00 am 1,394 23 Comments

Tetra building

The owner of the former Reston Visitors Center said he has had talks with several local restaurant owners about purchasing the building for nearly $3 million, according to an appraisal done by Reston Association.

Reston Association is also seeking to buy the 32-year-old building, currently owned by Tetra Partners commercial real estate and used as its office space. RA will hold a referendum in April where it asks members whether it should borrow up t0 $2.65 million to obtain the building and repurpose the 3.48 property at 11450 Baron Cameron Ave. for recreational and community space.

In a Feb. 4 appraisal report, by W. Scott Gudely and Kathleen Moist of The Robert Paul Jones Company, the appraisers noted the competition for the building on the banks of Lake Newport, even though the property is not formally listed on the market.

From the appraisal:

It is our understanding that the clients [Reston Association] are interested in purchasing the subject property. The property contact, Mr. Bill Lauer, reports that the property has not been listed for sale, but that he has had discussions with [RA land use attorney John] McBride and the Reston Association about the Association’s potential acquisition of the subject.

He reports that his asking price is $2,700,000 and that he would not be interested in selling unless his price is met. He also reported that he had met with Clyde’s Restaurant and that a price of $3,000,000 for the entire property was discussed, but that the restaurant entity decided it did not fit their business plan. He also reported that a restaurant in Tysons, Woo Lae Oak, had been interested in the property.

RA released the appraisal and conditional contract on its website Sunday. There had been criticism by some RA members about a lack of transparency relating to the transaction thus far.

Purchasing the property, which is adjacent to other RA recreation space such as Brown’s Chapel Park, would give the association 98 continuous acres of open space and protect against overdevelopment, RA says in its revised fact sheet on the subject. RA also expects to earn revenue from event rentals at the building. However, members would see a potential rise in their assessments beginning in 2018, RA CEO Cate Fulkerson said at RA’s regular meeting last week.

The property is zoned for commercial or office space and is permitted to add up to 6,930 square foot more to the 3,128-square-foot building, RA says in the fact sheet.

Other notes from the appraisal:

The subject property is currently vested in the name of Lake Newport, LLC, who acquired title from Westerra Reston, LLC, for $750,000 on Dec. 22, 2003.

Overall, the subject building is an above-average quality office building assumed to be in average condition for its age. The building is functional and able to compete with the similar buildings in the area, although it is somewhat isolated from other complementary commercial uses and is hampered by its lack of visibility from major transportation arteries.

The 2014 Fairfax County tax assessment is $1,248,370 (Land: $845,840; Building: $402,530). That represents a decline of 4 percent from 2010, when the assessment was $1,300,870, and a 20.9 percent decline from the 2009 assessment, when the total assessment was $1,577,450. The appraisers said the decline is primarily attributable to the land since the improvements assessment in 2010 were $381,720. The land was assessed for $1,175,670 in 2009 and $919,150 in 2010.

See the entire appraisal and conditional purchase contract on RA’s website.

  • JCSuperstar

    I see Mr. Looney (Cooley LLP) was involved in 2003 with Mr. Lauer, proposing the redevelopment of the Tetra building.. He’s also now representing Northwestern over the Reston National Golf Course redevelopment. The guy get’s around.

    • Karen Goff

      He is one of the top land use lawyers in the area. Cooley represents a lot of companies in those kinds of matters.

      • JCSuperstar


      • Reston Realist

        Lots of Reston business. Reston COC rep to the master plan task force.
        Of course, he lives in Arlington so it’s just money to him.

  • JCSuperstar

    Karen, I read the appraisal and conditional contract. It actually states the zoning allows an additional 6,930 sq. ft. restaurant, in addition to the existing 3,128 sq. ft. building. Over 10,000 sq. ft.

    Would have been a very cool Clydes.

    • Karen Goff

      They have been saying in meetings that allows for 6000 ish in total. I will double check which is correct.

      • JCSuperstar

        If you go to page 51 of the appraisal it shows the “As Built” development plan. There is a two story building right next to the existing building — going way out into the water. That appears to be the additional 6,930 sq. ft. building.

        I always thought just the existing building could be reconfigured. This show a huge building in addition to the existing. That would be a very nice restaurant, with the nice existing office building next to it. Interesting.

        • John Farrell

          And if at anytime in the last 10 years someone, anyone, had wanted to build on that site, it would have been sold or leased.

          As the appraisal makes clear, the lack of visibility seriously impairs the market for this land.

          The appraisers’ assumption that the building is in good condition is rebutted by the evaluation. “Good condition” does not include replacing a roof and roof trusses, windows siding etc.

          The emphasis on the “potential” buiid-out is just so much fear mongering.

    • Karen Goff

      The appraisal says 6930 total FAR, not additional.

      • JCSuperstar

        The 6,930 is the excess FAR square footage for the additional restaurant building. This is in addition to the existing 3,128 sq. ft. building.

        “The subject consists of a 3,128-square-foot office building located upon 3.48 acres of land, of which we have allowed 0.5 acres, or 21,780 square feet of supporting land for the existing building. In addition, we allowed supporting land at a 0.16 density for the additional 6,930 FAR feet, or 43,313 square feet of land.”

        • JCSuperstar

          Look at the second appraisal they just posted. There was great discussion amongst Looney and company to add to the property. The county’s final interpretation was — existing building plus an additional 7000 sq. ft. building.

          • Karen Goff

            ah – i am a few hours behind. off to research….

          • Karen Goff

            Looking at it now. You are correct! Making fixes.

          • JCSuperstar

            Until you see it on a plat, you don’t realize how significant that set of buildings could be. A beautiful restaurant for sure, but one can see the objections as well — it’s big.

  • Reston Realist

    Apparently all those restaurants thought that $3MM price tag for Tetra was too high, but they weren’t using other peoples money like RA. Sooooo much cheaper that way!

    • Secret Observers

      John’s instinct is sincere and correct but minute comparing to $1.4M (2.7-1.3).

      The emphasis on the “potential” buiid-out is just so much fear mongering.
      ….. All comparable $ 3M lands in Fairfax, Falls Church, Vienna …. have 1) perfect visibilibity 2) not isolated from shopping center 3) not on 40 feet slope, zero risk of LANDSLIDE 4) not on unknown soil/subsoil near water, zero risk of SINK HOLE 5) not immediately near damp, zero risk of FLOOD.

      As the appraisal makes clear, the lack of visibility seriously impairs the market for this land.
      …..for a boondocks restaurant accessed by asphalt-paved roads with speed bumps across from new hi-tech Lake Ann and Crescent.

      The appraisers’ assumption that the building is in good condition
      …. without knowledge of conditiond of foundation on slope with unknown soil/subsoil and on water dowstream immediately near a damp. Pricnciples of real estate: are foundation and location … or BLUFF.

      • JCSuperstar

        That argument was used for Lake Anne Plaza right across the street from Tetra. Hidden from view, far from core transportation arteries, etc. Now look — over 135,000 sq.ft. of office and retail space, and over 1100 new residents coming in. Same happening at that dump called Tall Oaks. The world is changing right in front of us.

        I believe the property would be an excellent venue for a lovely 7000 sq.ft. two story restaurant built out over the water. The market appears to be moving in that direction, quite literally.

        Now, how will the neighbors feel? Different question.

  • Rob

    I find it difficult to believe the residents around Lake Newport – who literally went to war to keep RA from putting lights on the baseball field at Browns Chapel – would stand by and allow a restaurant, presumably with some sort of outdoor seating, to open and create noise pollution on their serene lake.

    • Gigi

      I don’t know, there would be a combination of reflexive opposition to RA and reflexive opposition to change. When the two impulses are at odds, who knows what could happen?

  • Wings!

    Anybody hear anything about Hooter’s mayble looking to buy the property? Reston could use a Hooters.

    • Secret Observers

      “Same happening at that dump called Tall Oaks. The market appears to be moving in that direction, quite literally”.

      ……Boondocks restaurant will earn five stars (? Hooters) when Mall of America comes to 95 acres (98-3) surrounding damp Newport .

      …..”It also is relatively hidden from traffic on Wiehle Avenue”.

      ….”Future of Reston’s Tall Oaks Village Center up in the air…..Reston’s increasingly vacant shopping center to be discussed at community meeting Nov. 8″

      ……”many citizens and local leaders suggested that it may be time to repurpose the Tall Oaks space as something other than a major retail center”

      ……From Greg: “Where has “…local retail and unique public meeting spaces” at this hidden density level been supported for four decades? Lake Anne, Tall Oaks, and both the old and new Hunters Woods (with lots of public space) have not been particularly successful despite lots of local retail and meeting spaces.

      Were it not for millions of tax dollars in hard cash and millions more in salaries other expenses, indirect costs (including lost tax revenue) and deep involvement of RA, local, and state governments, Lake Anne would be far worse off than it is now. And, despite all that, and at least a decade of time, not a spade of earth has yet been turned.”

      • JCSuperstar

        I think things have started to spin up. Lake Anne is on its way, Tall Oaks has a new owner and apparently ready to go, the Reston Heights effort across from Reston National GC, Looney and company going after Reston National GC to redevelop, St. Johns Woods, and now Tetra…

  • east297

    Let a restaurant group have it! RA is out of control!


Subscribe to our mailing list