Op-Ed: What is the Cost of RA Not Buying Tetra?

by RestonNow.com April 24, 2015 at 2:00 pm 41 Comments

Tetra buildingThis is an op-ed from Reston Dave Williams. It does not reflect the views of Reston Now.

What is the cost of RA NOT buying the Tetra property?

It seems that most Restonians are in favor of RA buying the Tetra property, but are concerned that the price may be too high.

Viewing this purchase in the context of a commercial purchase is, in my view, the wrong perspective.

Rather, the purchase should be viewed from the perspective of value in the context of residential Reston. This is a unique, perhaps one-time, opportunity to purchase wonderful waterfront property located between Reston-owned spaces and in the heart of a number of residential communities.

If RA does not purchase this property, one can be certain that at some point it will be developed commercially to its maximum commercial value — perhaps repeatedly over the years. Commercial development in the heart of a residential area will have a tremendously negative impact on the value and quality of residential Reston.

Viewing this purchase from a commercial investment point of view, I believe, misses the point. Part of the point of the purchase is in fact to prevent commercial development. Of course the owner wants to sell for its maximum commercial potential value. RA wants to use the property but also to prevent such commercial development. However, to expect to be able to purchase the property at a non-commercial value is unrealistic. And it makes it difficult to negotiate with the owner when the purchaser’s bottom line is (rightfully so in this case) publicly available.

We moved to Reston over 20 years ago. We did not move here for its commercial value. We moved here because of its residential value. We moved here because of the woods, the open spaces, the trails, the wildlife and the beautiful peaceful lakes.

For us, RA is primarily in the business of assuring excellent residential quality. If the primary purpose of RA was commercial development, then we should cut down all the trees and fill the open spaces with high rises and commercial development.

Failure to purchase this property would be a huge mistake. If RA cannot purchase the property and has no control over its development and use, years from now, as this property is developed Restonians will look back with regret and say “I can’t believe we let this opportunity slip away.”

Please vote YES to purchase the Tetra property!

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