Tuesday: Take a Tour of Tetra Grounds

Tetra building Want to learn more about what you may be buying?

Then attend tonight’s community meeting, where Reston Association members can get a look around the controversial Tetra Building the association wants to purchase.

Reston Association staff will also answer questions. Members will take a tour of the grounds, but will not be able to enter the building, says RA spokesman Kirsten Carr.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at Brown’s Chapel, 1575 Brown’s Chapel Rd., and will include a tour of the Tetra building, which served as Reston’s Visitor Center from 1983 to 2003.

Reston Association has put in a conditional contract to purchase the 3,129-square-foot structure that overlooks Lake Newport. Acquiring the building at 11450 Baron Cameron Ave. (as well as its its 3.48 acres of land) would also give RA 98 contiguous acres of community space as the plot abuts other RA properties such as Brown’s Chapel Park and Lake Newport. RA says purchasing the building — for up to $2.65 million — will fend off development and add a recreational and community amenity to RA’s holdings.

The building is currently designated as commercial space and was formerly approved for nearly 7,000 more feet of space to be added. Meanwhile, Tetra has said several large restaurant companies have looked at the space, but no deal was currently in place.

Opponents of the purchase have pointed out that the asking price is more than double the latest Fairfax County tax assessment and commercial development is unlikely to ever happen at the spot because it is in a flood zone and there are many easements crossing the property. RA says it will answer questions on Tetra at Tuesday’s meetings.

At a series of district meetings in March, RA staff and board members made presentations but did not answer questions on the purchase. A look at building — which will undergo major renovations that RA estimates will cost at least $250,000 — will also give the community the chance to envision it as something other than its current office space use. RA says it would like to use it for meeting and event rentals, after school programs and classes, among others.

The purchase cannot happen without a member referendum, which began April 13 and will run through May 8. There will be a chance to vote in the referendum at Tuesday’s meeting. Voting is also available by mail or online.

See additional details on the purchase, including a fact sheet, building inspection report and appraisal on RA’s website.

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