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Op-Ed: Tetra Good Value For Great Investment

by RestonNow.com April 17, 2015 at 1:00 pm 76 Comments

Tetra buildingThis is an op-ed by new Reston Association President Ellen Graves. It does not reflect the views of Reston Now.

Reston Association was approached by Tetra Partners, the owner of the old Reston Visitor Center property at Lake Newport, asking if RA was interested in purchasing the property for $2.7 million. The owner indicated that the price was firm (he is in the commercial real estate development and brokerage business) and that he was going to make a decision in June regarding whether to sell the property (to RA or another entity) or continue to use it for his own purposes.

This 3.147-acre property strategically connects two larger RA common-area properties. RA has non-exclusive parking rights as well as trail easements in the property. Many members now enjoy portions of the property not within the RA easements. A considerable number of members have been concerned for years about the spectre of more intense commercial use of the property.

For these reasons, the RA Board was interested in discussing favorable but fair contingent contract terms with the owner. The RA Board did not secretly decide to initiate the acquisition of this property. The seller initiated these discussions. The seller’s original price was not based on any RA appraisal. When the RA Board became convinced that the offer from the owner could present a rare opportunity to expand the common area and childrens’ programs within Reston, it voted to decide this issue the “Reston way.”

The “Reston way” is to let the members decide, providing them with as much accurate, factual information as possible. That is why the Board directed staff to initiate a referendum, so that all RA members can vote whether the purchase and reuse of this property as common area, on the best terms and conditions that the seller will allow, is an opportunity that should be taken.

We are not a local government or municipality that can condemn property. We can purchase property only on such terms as the seller will agree. An appraiser within Reston, Stephanie C. Reger, stated “Given that the subject property is even available to purchase (at nearly any price) is a rare opportunity.”

This opinion is shared by many board members. However, the RA Board did not want to undertake a referendum if reasonable terms could not be negotiated with the seller. Staff first sought to determine if the $2.7 million selling price was reasonable. A written appraisal report (complying with the Uniform Standard of Professional Appraisal Practice) was commissioned by RA to answer this question.

The appraisal indicated that a price of $2.65 million is reasonable, assuming (1) some major deferred maintenance items are repaired by the seller and (2) the permitted redevelopment options for the property are limited to only a 6,930 sq. ft. additional restaurant and nothing more. A purchase price of $2.65 million for a building in good or better condition (replacing the certain portions of the HVAC and roof systems) is smack in the middle of the value range concluded by the two appraisers who signed the appraisal.

Since its founding, the “Reston way” has always meant that all decisions about the shaping of the community are driven by members. After all opinions are weighed, it is ultimately the responsibility of residents to choose the best course to protect Reston and provide new opportunities for members.

The Tetra property purchase referendum puts members in the position to decide what is the most prudent course to preserving the Reston’s assets and lifestyle. Some members will likely consider this a good opportunity, as I do, and will vote in favor of this purchase to increase common area.

Some of you may remember the Save Lake Newport campaign when Restonians donated their time and money because of a very real significant risk of further commercial development of this property. And, while they were successful at the time, there is no lawsuit which once and for all precludes further development of the property.

To the contrary, a site plan was approved by the County for a 6,930 sq. ft. two-story addition located directly on the lake (details of which are contained in the appraisal). Building plans and architectural renderings were prepared.

There is no reason why this site plan for the additional two-story addition would not be approved again. A June 25, 2007 Fairfax County Zoning Interpretation states there is more than adequate parking for such addition, specifically considering the RA non-exclusive parking easement. This additional building footprint is located outside of the floodway.

Another county-issued zoning determination states: “It is my determination that adding an eating establishment to the site that is unrelated to the existing sales center would not require an amendment to the existing development plan and proffers, and that the specific location and FAR of an eating establishment on the site would require approval of a PRC plan and a site plan as determined by DPWES…. It is also my determination that there are no specific Zoning Ordinance provisions within the PRC District or within the proffers regarding the height, the hours of operation of an eating establishment, indoor or outdoor seating, or music entertainment. Special events, such as wedding receptions and banquets are permitted uses within an eating establishment.”

In addition, the owner submitted a PRC Plan to the County that shows an additional 27,000 square feet of office space (in addition to the existing office space and the additional 6,930 square feet of restaurant).

This PRC Plan addresses engineering issues with the dam spillway/floodway and the owner’s engineer thinks it is approvable.

The Reston National Golf Course situation is a recent example of those who thought there was zero chance of redevelopment. They were proven wrong when a new, more aggressive owner purchased the property in 2005. Just because an owner has not aggressively pursued redevelopment in the past, does not mean a new owner will do the same.

Some members, who want to preclude commercial redevelopment of this property once and for all, will probably vote “yes” in the referendum. While some residents may not benefit directly from the instructional, recreational, youth camp and after-school programs planned for the site. they do benefit indirectly because these programs contribute to make Reston a great place to live. The use of this property to expand these programs constitutes a significant opportunity to many of our members.

The RA Board’s position is that the families whom these programs would benefit should know of this opportunity, and should be able to make their voices heard through a referendum. We hope that you take the time to read the information online about the possible Tetra purchase and then vote to make your voice heard.

Something on your mind? Send a letter to [email protected] Reston Now reserves the right to edit letters for style, spelling and clarity.

  • Stop the Insanity

    Thank you for posting additional information about the purchase.

    “The “Reston way” is to let the members decide, providing them with as much accurate, factual information as possible.”

    I have yet to see anybody remotely associated with RA leadership say anything negative or indicate they had any concerns of this deal. Yet here on Reston Now and other blogs many questions have been raised on just these concerns. Some of those writers of the blogs indicated they did bring these concerns up at RA Board meetings to never be heard again. Once again we have another one-sided view of the deal.

    If you actually care about the “Reston Way” why don’t you cancel the current referendum, provide the residents of Reston with all the facts, pro and CON, and truly let them decide the matter.

    Start with the post from Terry Maynard:
    https://www.restonnow.com/2015/04/15/op-ed-why-im-voting-no-on-tetra-purchase-referendum/

    Don’t forget the post by Irwin Flashman:
    https://www.restonnow.com/2015/04/06/op-ed-why-i-am-against-ras-tetra-purchase/

    Please show us you want an informed decision by the membership.

    Thanks.

    • JCSuperstar

      I’m voting NO. But if you are depending on Mr. Maynard’s analysis, beware, it is just that, his analysis.

      Look at what was said on his Reston2020 Blog last year regarding the Reston National Golf Course:

      “…The future of the Reston National Golf Course (RNGC), the neighborhoods that surround it, and County and RA infrastructure that supports that area of southern Reston—schools, streets, parks, open spaces, and natural areas—are in jeopardy because golf course owner Northwestern Mutual (NWM), operating as RN Golf Management, wants to turn its $5 million golf course purchase into a one billion dollar-plus mega-housing extravaganza. That could be some 8,000 new homes and more than 20,000 added people living on its 166 acres, limited only by Reston’s overall density ceiling of 13 people per acre…”

      “…For reasons that defy understanding, NWM’s attorneys believe the existing plan and zoning for the golf course area allows it to build several thousand multi-family housing units where the golf course now stands without any re-zoning as its 231-page appeal details. If we may be so bold as to reduce that more than 200 pages of legal gibberish—multitudes of misrepresented legal citations, tormented and twisted logic, and a cornucopia of bluster and blather intended to obfuscate rather than enlighten—to a single sentence, we would suggest this is the core of NWM’s argument: Nothing in the current Reston Master Plan or County zoning ordinance explicitly prohibits the redevelopment of RNGC into thousands of dwelling units; therefore, we have absolute “by right” authority under state law, the Reston Master Plan, and the County zoning ordinance to build them…”
      So, as of yesterday’s County decision, how’d that go?
      I’m voting NO to the Tetra referendum because I believe property owners have their property rights to do so, just as is the case with Northwestern and the Reston National Golf Course.
      Like the Reston Golf Course, I believe the Tetra property can, and will be redeveloped, and I believe that location would be a beautiful venue for a restaurant/outdoor facility.
      I believe in letting free enterprise take it’s course. Just as is the case with Northwestern and the Reston National Golf Course, RA should stay out of this and let it happen.

      • fed up

        Even IF the density stated in this op-ed can be achieved (highly doubtful), I would still vote no on an acquisition. This parcel is hidden away and the only people that will be adversely affected are owners of million dollar lake front homes. This 2.6 million, if truly needed for children’s programs, would be much better spent in an area of Reston where these facilities are needed – not in this wealthy North Reston area. Seriously, where should such facilities be located? Surely not the Tetra property. And surely not purchased at high-density commercial prices.
        Let some developer take this on. Yeah, like that’s going to happen.

        • JCSuperstar

          Good news you are voting my way. But, you are extremely naïve to think it won’t be developed. The same was said about Lake Anne and Tall Oaks. Look around you son. I just hope it is a cool facility, on the lake, with some innovative bar/eating ideas.

          • Wings!!

            …..” I just hope it is a cool facility, on the lake, with some innovative bar/eating ideas.”
            #HootersForReston

          • JCSuperstar

            LOL

          • fed up

            I really don’t care whether it gets developed or not. The site is in the middle of nowhere and has many challenges. Let a developer buy it and do with it whatever. Personally, I like waterfront dining…
            The $650 per year that every Restonian pays in dues is a hardship on many and this is a ridiculously wasteful purchase even at a fair market value – let alone at double that.

          • edgyone

            I see a lot of vacant real estate at lake anne and tall oaks. I guess that in 10 or twenty years those areas might get developed too. No one wants to build anything in those run down complexes until the last hold outs leave and they can demolish the horrid buildings built in both locations.

          • JCSuperstar

            Are you even following the news!? People — read — educate yourself. It’s a wonderful thing for your health and well being. And perhaps you’ll be able to have an educated discussion. Let’s get back to: develop versus not develop.

      • Terry Maynard

        JC: Just for the record–My ANALYSIS is that the RNGC case will go on for years and not be decided until the Virginia Supreme Court gets a shot at it. I have no idea how they might rule & who knows how many of the current justices will be there when the case ultimately arrives.

        As for yesterday, bizarre and weird are the two words that best describes the behavior of the BZA and their non-decision.

    • 2+2=7

      Really– 80.00 OVER 20 YEARS?! Ohhh soooo scary! Mr. Maynard is quite the statistician!

      • Terry Maynard

        2+2:

        It is my goal to provide as accurate and complete data as I can, even if the results are not dramatic in some fashion. In fact, that $80+ will add more than 20% of the increase in RA annual assessment fees over the two-decade timeframe (assuming they otherwise would only go up at a 3% inflation rate–and that could be a stretch).

        What is truly disappointing here is that an agreement was made in secret without doing the vital “due diligence” first on all the relevant factors and presented as a fait accompli to RA members. The post facto RA “public hearings” only added insult to the process.

        Yes, I can afford the $80, but right now I think we would all be wiser to save that money for the opportunity to buy Reston National Golf Course (if we get the chance), repair/replace our dams–including the one at Lake Newport, etc. This is especially true when the “threat” of commercial development at this site has been so overstated given the environmental and easement restrictions on this property. See the map here: http://www.reston2020.blogspot.com/2015/04/map-of-tetra-property-with-major.html

        Heck, maybe I’ll take my wife out for dinner tonight for that $80–although clearly not at Morton’s!

        • JohnBT

          Based on everything I’ve read this deal was done in a completely mundane way. It’s just that you and your wacky cohorts are always looking for a conspiracy. “ooohh what evil is RA plotting now?!” It’s ridiculous- did you notice that on the RA site the first appraisal was done almost 6 years ago? I’m guessing this means that this property has been under consideration in the past!

          What’s in it for RA to try and sneak this past us? What are they plotting that required a “back-room-super-secret-deal?”

          • fed up

            The only thing wacky is buying this ridiculous albatross at all – regardless of the price. Do you think the collective membership of RA, knowing all the details, would agree to spend over 2.6 MILLION DOLLARS on this folly? Do you honestly believe that this 2.6mil purchase makes any sense for RA? Could you expound on your reasons for this being a good purchase for the membership? What is your objection to private development? Thank you. Perhaps your reasoning will enlighten me.

      • edgyone

        So you are OK with the owner of Tetra getting twice the value of the property and Reston missing out on the opportunity that 2.7 million dollars has? Are you saying that because, one household only has to pay a small sum it is OK to throw that money away? If you have not thought about it, then you should think of how many other projects could benefit from that money. If you are so keen on giving the tetra owner money why don’t you drive over and hand him 4 crisp twenty since 80 dollars is nothing to you.

        • You’reNotEdgy

          First off, “edgyone” give me a break. The appraisal says it’s worth the price paid. Property doesn’t sell for tax assessed value. I’m saying the value proposition is there, we get the space the owner gets the money. You seem to be objecting to the owner getting the appraised value for his land. Can I have your house for your tax appraised value?

          • edgyone

            I am not suggesting that. There is no market for this property and RA is competing against no one for it. There is no comparable basis for this property, there are significant issues with development. Also, the property has not been listed and I am skeptical about the unverifiable stories about Clyde’s and woo lae oak. So would you buy my house for an appraised value without it every going on market if it was twice the assessment? There are too many incorrect assumptions in the appraisal so read it, then spout off.

          • JCSuperstar

            It amazes me. I am voting NO, but your argument is absolutely nonsensical. That parcel, the way it’s zoned is ripe for development. Are you aware of what’s being built over the next five years — just 500 feet across the street?

            Let this parcel be developed and let it be what it should be. It will be beautiful and I am confident any developer worth their salt, will protect the park–like setting — that’s the selling point.

          • edgyone

            Zoned yes, but the easements and the watershed restrictions make it worth less than the stipulated price and that is what my problem is. Development is only worthwhile if you can make money. I don’t see how that is possible at the price point and it is definitely not possible at the scale suggested in the appraisal.

          • JCSuperstar

            Have you been reading the facts. Versus what you are being spoon fed here. The zoning allows development, and the development plan is allowed in the RPA. I can understand why some of the neighbors don’t like it, they know this too.

          • edgyone

            yes I have looked up the watershed restriction and no one is disputing the easements. So do you agree with the appraisal. Is that what you are saying?

          • JCSuperstar

            Yes I do. Both appraisals. And if you read the DPWES analysis, the two structures are adjacent to the floodplain, and the [additional] building could be constructed without any further approvals.

          • JCSuperstar

            Nope, you’re reading Mr. Maynard’s antiquated “analysis.” Please do your own research.

          • JCSuperstar

            I say let it develop now. If RA wanted to stop this, they should have bought when they had the chance, as the value of all these parcels are going to continue to go up. Which may be a good counter-point. It is a good investment for anyone who purchases it. I just prefer some brilliant chef and team to take it over. That makes economic and good for business.

          • Stop the Insanity

            You’reNotEdgy, you are correct. Property rarely sells for the tax assessed value. Well except for this exact piece of property that was sold to Lake Newport LLC (Tetra) for HALF!!! the tax assessed value. Now it wants to sell it back for DOUBLE the tax assessed value. Would you like to take a crack at explaining that?

          • JCSuperstar

            Uhhh, you are just not reading or looking at any of the facts or background.

          • Stop the Insanity

            JC playing devils advocate, funny. I did provide a fact, maybe you didn’t bother to check it out. OK, I did exaggerate some. The purchase price in 2003 was 750,000 but the tax assessed value was only 1.2 million, 62.5%.

            There is some background I don’t know. There is a parking easement but what are the details of that easement? If you know, please share. If you have any other facts you would like to share, please do.

            In a typical negotiation for purchase of property (pretty much anything in fact) the buyer and seller need to evaluate the value to them of what is to be bought/sold. The issue at hand is that RA in an effort to “protect” this parcel of property had decided to waive any real effort at negotiation to have a chance to purchase the property without competition, at a mere cost to RA Members of potentially a million dollars. While the RA leadership thinks this is a good strategy, clearly there are some people in Reston think that this is misguided. In my opinion RA should take consideration of the money that the RA Members are entrusting to it (not that we have a choice) and the real risk/value to Reston. If there is really possibility of development of the then RA has 2 choices, buy the parcel at what appears as an inflated price to some or let it sit and risk losing it to development that would only impact a few people. I for one am willing to take the risk and see if RA can buy it for less in a year or few years from now. If it sells to somebody else, good luck to the Hooters or whatever business opens there.

          • JCSuperstar

            You basically make the argument for me, that Tax assessment values have little reality with FMV in various market climates. My house in Reston in 2003 was assessed more than its FMV. Today, my house is almost double its FMV form 2003. My tax assessment this year is significantly less than FMV. Go figure.
            Location, location, location in a hot market.
            Your possible outcomes make sense, yes, as I’d like to see it developed.
            I do believe Reston Association is doing its proper due diligence. I just decided NO, as I prefer little interference with business, and property owner rights. Reston National is another one that I disagree with Reston Association – don’t interfere with owner property rights. I just disagree with them, but, geez I don’t hate them.

    • Stop the Insanity

      If RA wants to do what’s best for Reston, there are many better alternatives than what is currently being suggested.

      Off the top of my head here is one. RA could still buy the property at the current price then petition the county to re-zone the building as residential. Split the parcel to keep the parking lot for tennis and move the RA path to skirt the property, then sell the “house” for $2 Million.

      Same result, costs us much less. Or we could have a Hooters. But I am highly doubtful that the max 27,000 SF redevelopment of the property could ever happen. As far as I could tell there is about 2,000 K of footprint space to be built out. That would require two 14 story buildings to reach the max. Oh, and the developer would have to cut down a tree, do you think the DRB would approve that?

  • Rational Reston

    I’ll say it again: No. The RA Board is misguided and flat wrong.

  • Ming the Merciless

    “A considerable number of members have been concerned for years about the spectre of more intense commercial use of the property.”

    That’s if you consider the three homeowners who live across the lake to be a “considerable number”. I look forward to shouting “in your face” at them from the deck of the Lake Newport Hooter’s someday.

    The other 60,000 or so people who live in Reston have no reason to care if a business uses this property, and have no reason to spend decades paying for it.

    • Sean

      I more than often do not agree with you, but this is 100% correct. I could care less if a business occupies that space. No debt for this boondoggle. Invest in the property RA already owns.

    • Secret Observers

      Excellent op-ed to evade accountability and officially shift responsibility for misleading public from RA Board and staff to “a considerable number of members” … They can run but cannot hide (unless they move out of Reston and no longer be our neighbors) from accountability. Time will tell and “the other 60,000 or so people” will have “reason to spend decades” to find those behind or “secretly” responsible for the “master plan” …. or $$$ scheme.

      • HaveYouBeenDrinking?

        Not one sentence of this makes a lick of sense.

        • JCSuperstar

          Agree. This conspiracy mumbo jumbo is just laughable. Let’s get back to the conversation of develop versus not develop.

        • Secret Observers

          HaveYouBeenDrinking? Make sure your cocktail was not mixed with some RA juice. Need to learn to read how (….or where) to lick to get a sense or laugh 🙂

  • Wings!!

    Nice day like today, finishing up work a few hours early… It would be so nice to walk down to the Lake Newport Hooters to sit on the deck and have a cold beer and a plate of wings. One day….
    #HootersForReston

  • Don’tBeUgly

    Thank you Ms. Graves for being the voice of reason. Look people, if you don’t think that adding common area is a worthwhile endeavor then vote NO, if you think it’s a good idea, then vote YES. So simple, no need to make out like we have bad people and good people.

    • ItsNotMyMoney

      If it were only as simple as that. If you think we should add common area at any price, then vote YES. If you think we should borrow money to burden all members with debt to acquire a few acres for any price, then vote YES. If you think that it won’t be worth living in Reston if a restaurant ends up on this property, and are willing to purchase the property at any price, then vote YES. If you think that we need additional services and that this is the only place those services can be realized, regardless of the price, then vote YES. If you own a property on the lake, and don’t mind spending other peoples money, then vote YES.
      However, if you think it is overpriced, or if you think we can’t afford it right now, or if you think that we should spend money elsewhere, then vote NO.
      I guess it is as simple as that…

    • edgyone

      Ms. Graves letter has no reason in it. How can the opinion that a development application be approved with several easements that no one is obligated to relinquish and a Chesapeake watershed regulation in place be credible? Also, the distillery, which is just outside Reston town center has been for sale for 6 years now with no takers. That is a really cool, well located, 14k square foot building that could be yours for a cool million. Yet, no takers. But, we are to think that a building just as deteriorated, with a terrible location for commerce, and years worth of red tape and legal challenges is worth 2.7 million? Why? It makes no sense because reason and logic dictate otherwise. I voted NO because there is no rational argument for paying this price. It is not about whether or not adding common area is worthwhile, it is about a seriously flawed negotiation where RA is giving away money for free, or is doing something under handed. Besides, if that area could be developed it would likely be more of a benefit to residents than some community center. The only reason this is an issue is because RA’s buddy, Richard Beyer lives in view of Tetra and has had to watch it fall into disrepair from his living room and is getting tired of looking at an abandoned building. Restonians are smarter than to take a fantastical appraisal at face value and this measure will die.

      • JCSuperstar

        Do you even know what’s happening in that area of the distillery? Look around there, it will give you some hints.

        • edgyone

          Is that building being renovated? Will they knock it down for a highrise? Who knows. But it has not sold yet. it’s out of RA’s control, thankfully. you just argue for the sake of argument. Are you this much of a dick all the time?

          • John Farrell

            yes

          • JCSuperstar

            Yes, come to think of it, to you I guess I am.

            What I enjoy seeing here is so many sides interpreting the facts entirely differently. Such a joy to see, but useless factoids for those wanting to make a decision.

            I admit, I love to hear myself talk. Many here aren’t willing to admit the same. LOL.

      • CorneliusPaddy

        Let Richard Beyer and his neighbors pay for it out of their pockets
        I’m tired of paying for their view and enhancing their property values

  • Ed Cacciapaglia

    I’m voting NO. The whitewash about the “appraisal” looks bogus IMHO. If they had a 2nd appraisal and didn’t apply a bunch “what if” stuff to it I might be able to support it, but other indicators seem to show that we the members of RA will pay more than 200% of the real fair market value of this dilapidated property. And we the members of RA will pay and pay over the next several years if this boondoggle is approved.

  • Full Circle

    Inserts obligatory call for a bookstore to occupy said space.

  • JCSuperstar

    So was Lake Anne, St. Johns Woods, Tall Oaks, etc., etc. The climate changed overnight once the Phase I Comprehensive Plan passed. Have you read the Phase II, which includes all of Reston? It will be passed in a matter of a month or two. Fast Tracked. Developers biting at the bit, and in many instances, already have.

    • Ming the Merciless

      Those were (and are) entirely different properties. The Tetra property is inherently much less attractive. Much smaller, and much less scope for the developer to make changes.

      • JCSuperstar

        Nope. The same. Are you watching the land grabs in Herndon right now as the second phase of Metro starts? Look at what’s on the agenda for Planning & Zoning for our area.

        I’ll bet my first years salary, every parcel that is commercial, retail, multi-family is going to be maximized as far as the ordinances allow.

        I’m fine with that, my home value is definitely going in the right direction. Beats living in Manassas folks.

        • Ming the Merciless

          Tetra is a 3 acre property where (if we believe Maynard) it is not possible to develop the property significantly, let alone build high rises. Lake Anne, Tall Oaks, and St Johns are much larger properties (41 acres, 7 acres, 14.3 acres). It is possible to build high rises on the first two, and mid-rises on the third. Doesn’t seem like those are the same as Tetra to me.

          • JCSuperstar

            The fact that you choose to rely on “a man and his blog” for your facts is, well, shortsighted, in my opinion.

            As I have read the interpretations of the County and DPWES, the parcel can be developed — the existing old sales information center (existing building) and an additional 7000 sq.ft. two story restaurant. Look at all the development plans for the property.

            As I shared, in this existing Reston market (the last year or so) the owners of these property types (large and small) are pushing their property rights to the max. They are succeeding — look at the determination for the golf course.

            As you can tell, I am pro-business, free enterprise. It’s the libertarian in me.

            Right now, the owner of the Tetra property is selling. He is going to maximize his ROI — god bless him. A new owner is going to take full advantage of that property – I cant wait.

            As it stands right now, I cannot take my family over to that area to enjoy the lake (Lake Newport). It is surrounded by private properties including Tetra. I am trespassing, which I will respect, but I cannot sit comfortably at a venue, like a facility with a deck, with an overlook, seating, food and refreshments without some owner telling me to please leave.

            I prefer to go to that lake, sit down on a beautiful deck over the water, enjoy a glass of wine, some food, with my family and take in the wonderful beauty. Where else can you do that, except Lake Anne.

            Lake Anne is now being redeveloped, many more retail establishments will be coming in. That’s wonderful. But, many including me, might want to enjoy the setting across the street.

            So, yes, I’m hoping. But, I am confident, in this climate, with existing property rights in place, it will happen. It is inevitable. Maybe not this month or next month, but this year – yes.

            And I personally can’t wait.

            The fact you are voting NO — I say thank you. The fact that you believe some idiot, with a blog, who has missed every call he’s made to support your decision — so be it.

            You get us to the same outcome, which I believe the majority here know will happen. For that, we say, thank you.

          • JCSuperstar

            As I have read the interpretations of the County and DPWES, the parcel can be developed — the existing old sales information center (existing building) and an additional 7000 sq.ft. two story restaurant. Look at all the development plans for the property.

            As I’ve shared, in this existing Reston market (the last year or so) the owners of these property types (large and small) are pushing their property rights to the max. They are succeeding — look at the determination for the golf course.

            As you can tell, I am pro-business, free enterprise. It’s the libertarian in me.

            Right now, the owner of the Tetra property is selling. He is going to maximize his ROI — god bless him. A new owner is going to take full advantage of that property – I cant wait.

  • JCSuperstar

    On a separate note, as this is getting old. Anyone see the latest Star Wars trailer. Can’t wait!

    • It’s looking like they are going with a more space western feel that the first three had, and I love it! I am kinda worried about the space trooper that has been in all the trailers though, it doesn’t seem to me like a very good actor from what we’ve seen so far.
      Other than that, I can’t wait for December!

      • JCSuperstar

        I agree with regard to the space western genre. That’s why I truly love the first three so much as well. Yea, but you know, some of the acting in the first was, well, ok. But, that’s’ what made it even more fun

  • Thank you Ms Gray
    We are lucky to have intelligent public servants like yourself.

  • lakeNewportGuy

    My favorite part is “…asking if RA was interested in purchasing the property for $2.7 million. The owner indicated that the price was firm”. That sounds like a tough negotiation, maybe we could have asked how firm, maybe even countered. No let’s just trust that they know what they are doing. Which is true.

  • Cluster Tycoon

    2.7 million sounds like a big deal but its not, because the building can be quickly depreciated and will pay for itself within 3-5 years. So the issue I am having has to do with the process but I rest on confidence that proper protocol will be followed. Transparency, openness, credibility – issues that RA should not have to worry about. Only issue here, based on recent election, why voting results are delayed by two weeks, as raised here – room for improvement, always. The golf course next… lets not use the lake house as a smoke screen. Mike M is with me on this one, I think. Based on that we both have a strong T-party background we can get the brotherly love juices flowing.
    Cheers and peas out.

    • Mike M

      I think you meant “peace out”. Yea cool beans, have a great weekend bro.

    • fed up

      ?????? The value is in the land. How do you depreciate land? Is there a new IRS code that I am unaware of? What about the RE Taxes, upkeep, operating costs? How exactly will it pay for itself (all 2.6mil – which, of course, is not a big deal) in 3-5yrs?
      Transparency, openness and credibility are NOT issues for RA?????
      And why do we need this site?

    • Greg

      And, of course, the RA is tax exempt.

  • Rational Reston

    There are so many bigger issues for RA to tackle, however their biggest issues of the year appear to be buying a small plot of relatively useless land, and bocce courts. It’s no wonder that my RA fees continually rise.

  • H.A. Erwin

    Enough already! 100K for a website and now this. Does the Board have too much money and they’re trying to justify the higher fees they charge us by incurring these expenses and making these “investments”??

    A lesson from history about throwing money around: PM Churchill speaking to Parliament at a time that turned out to be near the end of the war said “Gentlemen, we are almost out of money. Now we are going to have to think!”

    Let’s learn this lesson and think now — before we throw the money around!

    • JCSuperstar

      Oh geez, here we go with the web site again. Regarding Churchill, he assisted in passing the People’s Budget. The budget included the introduction of new taxes on the wealthy to allow for the creation of new social welfare programs. Bad example. When he was as Chancellor of the Exchequer he oversaw Britain’s disastrous return to the Gold Standard, which resulted in deflation, unemployment, and the miners’ strike that led to the General Strike of 1926.

  • edgyone

    It should be very telling that the referendum sent to all households did not include a counter point with the oppositions view point as well. This is done in all democratic referendums because we the people do not try to oppress opposition in America. On the contrary, we welcome it, for when there are reasonable arguments based in fact to be made, opposition gives us a greater opportunity to prove our point’s merit. That is how things are done in America. It should make all of you wary that no opposing viewpoint is included because it proves how weak RA’s position is. If there were sure that the course of action they propose is correct they would have included Terry Maynard’s points in the mailing, the same way every other referendum question is presented, IN AMERICA!

    • JCSuperstar

      My god, do you know what a REFERENDUM is? Folks. Never mind. What’s the point.

      • Stop the Insanity

        JC, do you know what one is? Question, answer. That’s it. RA included a heavily biased “fact sheet” in with the ballot. How is somebody supposed to make an informed decision? One thing we have not seen mentioned is that RA wouldn’t take possession of the property until July 2017. What’s the rush?

        • JCSuperstar

          You answered your own question. Obviously, you are led by the nose by others here, you don’t bother to read or research on you own. As it states in the Conditional Contract, the closing date is “on or before July 31, 2015 — a few months from now.

          I see nothing wrong with the Fact Sheet.

          And yes, for your edification:

          Merriam-Webster definition of referendum

          a : the principle or practice of submitting to popular vote a measure passed on or proposed by a legislative body or by popular initiative

          b : a vote on a measure so submitted

  • Not a NIMBY

    So basically the owner decided on an arbitrary inflated dollar amount and hold RA ransom with the possibility of development if RA does not buy the property?

    I guess that does sound better than letting it sit on the market for years at market value.

    I’m very disappointed in the one-sided opaque nature of this sale and RA’s aactions. I live near Tetra and would be impacted by development. I’m still voting no.

  • JCSuperstar

    First quorum report is out: 895 votes so far.

  • Humbug Me Not

    Not just “no” but “heck no.” Our HOA dues are high enough already–some of our older residents can’t afford to live here anymore as it is.

  • fed up

    I do think that some credence should be given to concerns about back-room deals and lack of transparency. Anyone who has had first hand experience with the “star chamber”, as the RA Board sometimes conducts itself, knows that reason does not always control and information hardly flows freely.
    In this circumstance, we need not look behind closed doors. The facts are the facts. Purchasing this property is a reckless and preposterous waste of membership monies. Period,

  • Reston resident

    Another RA boondoggle. Another appraisal that magically matches the seller’s number. RA employees will have a wonderful time spending our assessment dollars on this white elephant for many years to come.

  • Michael P. McHugh

    I think you meant “peace out”. Yea cool beans, have a great weekend bro.

  • CorneliusPaddy

    I’m tired of paying through the nose for the upkeep of lakes and maintaining the values of the trophy lake view properties surrounding Lake Newport and other Reston lakes
    If the owners are so concerned about “buffer space” let them buy the property out of their pockets and do whatever they want with it

    If a restaurant is such a good deal, why wasn’t it snapped up previously ?

    The fix is in

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