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Tetra Owner Agrees to $275K in Building Repairs

by Karen Goff April 24, 2015 at 7:55 pm 85 Comments

Tetra building Tetra Partners has reached an agreement with Reston Association to perform $275,000 in repairs to the building on Lake Newport that RA seeks to purchase.

The two sides reached an agreement on Friday. The money will be held in escrow until Tetra repairs or replaces the HVAC system, roof, windows, paving and other items, according to the contract addendum. The items in disrepair were found during an inspection last month.

RA put in a conditional contract to purchase the 3,128-square-foot building for $2.65 million in late March. The purchase cannot go forward unless a quorum of RA homeowners approves it via referendum. The referendum runs through May 8.

RA said on Friday that the asking price remains $2.65 million. It also estimates it will cost an additional $260,000 to rehab the interior of the building. RA will get a $650,000 developer contribution from Comstock and will also get money from Tetra renting back the building from RA into 2016.

RA wants to repurpose the building — which formerly served as Reston’s Visitors Center and currently serves as Tetra offices — and its 3.48 acres for community space and a lakefront park. It also hopes to stave off commercial development and bring in income in event rentals and child care programs.

The property off of Baron Cameron Avenue sits in between Lake Newport Tennis and Brown’s Chapel Park and would give RA 98 acres of contiguous space.

Opponents of the purchase say the price for the property is too high as its most recent Fairfax County tax assessment was $1.2 million.

RA held a town hall meeting this week to address member concerns about the purchase.

  • Jamie B

    That takes the price down to 2,375,000. If you then reduce that by the 650,000 from Comstock you’re at $1,725,000. That’s a totally reasonable price! Come on people– Vote YES!

    • Ken Knueven

      Actually Jamie B, it’s @ $1.6M

      The seller of the Old Visitors Center property has agreed to pay $275,000 for repairs to the property.

      In addition, we have a developer proffer of $650,000 to be paid up front at time of closing, and,

      In addition, the seller wishes to lease back for 6 months for the sum of $100,096, with an option to execute another 6 months (at same lease amount) if possible…

      We are now at a net purchase of @ $1.6M
      (assuming just one lease-back period).

      But what’s important here, and I’m so happy to see so many people understanding this — it isn’t about the cost — it’s about the OPPOTUNITY COST of not taking advantage of this rare opportunity.

      It is unlikely the Members will ever have the opportunity in the future to add this parcel to our Natural Resources Portfolio for $1.6 M (or less, as we’re not done yet). One thing we know, more density (more people) is a given in Reston. The impact to our open spaces is going to be real unless we take great strides in protecting them.

      Know this as well, the Visitors Center will be sold, that is a 100% given. So, it is important for ALL of the Members to take total control of this parcel, just as we are doing with regard to the Reston National Golf Course, or any other open land parcel in jeopardy.

      If you haven’t voted yet and, do so by the 8th of May.

      If you want to speak with me or anyone on the Board, just ask. I’ll meet with you, your neighbors, your cluster, your board anytime, anywhere.

      The voting has been fast and furious so far, you can go to the web site and see after two weeks we’re already over 2500 votes. Quorum was reached early on.

      Thanks for your time,
      Ken

      • Sally Forth

        Why are quorum numbers so hard to find on new RA website?

        • Ken Knueven
          • RAmember2

            If you like the RA Tetra webpage, you’ll just love the “fair and balanced” reporting from FOX NEWS.

            The RA page is incomplete, inaccurate, misleading, and essentially dishonest. It is a sales job to the RA membership, not a disclosure of the pros and cons of the referendum.

        • Ken Knueven

          Here you go Sally

      • Reston Member

        Improper use of the term Opportunity Cost. Opportunity Cost is the value foregone by doing the Tetra deal, not as described by the author of this post. In other words, could the money for Tetra be better spent. A resounding YES. On upgrading existing infrastructure which was at one time a goal of the Board. Members should vote NO on the Tetra deal.

    • John Farrell

      Jamie you left out the cost to rehab the building for RA uses – $300,000+

      • Ken Knueven

        Everyone please go to the web site and review the documents, the pro forma, etc. FOR YOURSELF. The capital improvements are already included in the pro forma, found in the Fact Sheet.

        Do your own research, educate yourself.

        https://www.reston.org/DevelopmentFutureofReston/TetraPropertyPurchase/tabid/978/Default.aspx

        • John Farrell

          Excellent idea

          Something we should have been able to do in December.

          • Ken Knueven

            John, you’re showing downright desperation now.

          • John Farrell

            Keep telling yourself that.

          • Ken Knueven

            John, please. This referendum is one of the most important things I’ve been involved with since volunteering for the board nearly six years ago.
            Protecting our natural resources is something this and future boards will continue to make a priority.
            Behind this effort are interested and dedicated Reston Members, the Reston Association Staff (including our CFO, Senior Director of Parks & Recreation, Director of Programs, Chief Counsel) our Fiscal Committee, the Environmental Advisory Committee, the Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee, several financial institutions, and a very well known and experienced Land Use Attorney who is also defending us with regard to the Reston National Golf Course.
            The board itself is composed of a very diverse group of people and backgrounds and professional experience. On the day of our new officers taking their positions on the 15th of April, we all, for the record, UNANIMOUSLY confirmed to go forward with the referendum.
            That many people, professionals, neighbors, friends — can’t be wrong John.

          • John Farrell

            Bandwagoning won’t help either

            Most members of the Board admit they never read the appraisal or the other material that weren’t posted on the Ra website until after the ballots were mailed.

            Those RA members that have read those materials are voting no.

          • Ken Knueven

            John, you’re purely being argumentative, with zero evidence of your accusations. I would say you are the one attempting to bandwagon.

            “I object, Your Honor. This trial is a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham! ”

            Woody Allen as Fielding Mellish, Bananas

          • JCSuperstar

            Mr. Kneuven, I disagree with what your board is attempting to do. But, purely because I believe institutions like Reston Association, the County, even the State and the Fed, should stay out of and not interfere with business matters, and property owners rights.

            But. I must say this. You’ve got a lot of moxie to come in here and duke it out. For that you have my respect, not my vote, but definitely my respect.

            JC

          • Ken Knueven

            JC, thank you. I wish I could find a way to convince you otherwise. But, that’s what the referendum is. The Members make the choice.

          • Reston Realist

            Give us a break, Ken. The only people to whom this is really important are:

            *The RA Board (and really only a few Board members) who cut this horrible deal in secret and are now trying like all get out to sell it to RA members.

            *The Newport NIMBYs who live across the Lake Newport cove from Tetra.

            *The Tetra Group which stands to make a $1.5 million EXCESS profit on this “deal” you so poorly and unnecessarily negotiated.

            *The bank(s) from whom you will borrow the money because the loan, not a mortgage, is making Restonians, not the property, liable for the loan payment. No bank would give a mortgage for the price the RA Board is willing to pay.

            As for the support you allege:

            The CFO just arrived last week; he doesn’t even know where the men’s room is yet, much less the details of the financing of this deal. And what would happen to anyone on the staff who stood up and said they opposed the deal?

            And I do believe the “well known land use attorney” is also paid by RA and is not doing this out of the goodness of his heart. How long would he be around if he said otherwise?

            Your volunteer committees who had no more inkling of this deal before it was presented to the public than the rest of us did are now, zombie like, lining up behind the Board, or else. If you had consulted them (or, God forbid, told all Restonians) before hand, you might have gotten a very different answer.

            And to do this, you are not providing all the relevant information (such as the added costs mentioned above that you keep omitting) nor are you presenting an honest assessment of the miniscule to zero threat that the property can be further developed as has been pointed out by Farrell, Maynard, and others here.

            I certainly am not proud of what the RA Board has done to us and I wonder why you think we should be.

          • Ken Knueven

            RR, I suspect you and I will have to agree to disagree. As a board member and neighbor I am proud of the amount of effort and support that went into this effort.

            All of the information can be found at our website.

            https://www.reston.org/DevelopmentFutureofReston/TetraPropertyPurchase/tabid/978/Default.aspx

            David Harris, our CFO for the last year, put a lot of time and professional effort into this action. Nobody would question his experience or professionalism. Robert Wood is continuing where David left off.

            Our Land Use attorney is indeed being compensated, as Directed by a Board years ago, to defend against the Golf Course Redevelopment as well as any other land use matter that is critical to the Membership.

            Members from all four Districts have shared their support and in many instances assisting the Association with their time.

            This decision is the Membership’s, I suspect you voted no… 🙂 That is your decision.

            I’m just trying to assist those that still have questions or looking for additional information or clarifications.

          • Reston Realist

            Re: “All of the information can be found…”

            NO, only the information RA wants to share is found there.

            Let me direct RestonNow’s readers to a few other places for more information that RA doesn’t want its members to see:

            * https://saynototetra.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/ra-community-meeting-on-tetra-more-show-and-tell-but-few-answers/

            *http://reston2020.blogspot.com/2015/04/map-of-tetra-property-with-major.html

            *http://reston2020.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-tetra-property-is-already-heavily.html

            *http://reston2020.blogspot.com/2015/04/ra-tetra-referendum-discussed-on-reston.html

            *http://reston2020.blogspot.com/2015/04/misinformation-on-tetra-property.html

            *http://reston2020.blogspot.com/2015/04/how-much-will-purchase-of-tetra-cost.html

            *http://reston2020.blogspot.com/2015/04/op-ed-why-ra-held-tetra-appraisal.html

            There’s more, but those links will give readers a sense of the other side of this story that you and the rest of the RA Board refuse to tell.

            As Kneuven says, “Do your own research…” Don’t be led by the nose.

          • RAmember2

            If you like the RA Tetra webpage, you’ll just love the “fair and balanced” reporting from FOX NEWS too.

            The page is incomplete, inaccurate, misleading, and essentially dishonest. It is a sales job to the RA membership, not a disclosure of the pros and cons of the referendum.

          • Irwin Flashman

            The Environmental Advisory Committee has not opined on the Tetra matter. It was not requested to do so by the Board. While there was discussion of the matter in the last meeting, there was no vote on the matter.

            Ken, why are you speaking out as a member of the RA Board on behalf of the Board position? When were you authorized to do so? You are no longer the Board President and I thought only the Board President and CEO were authorized to speak on behalf of the RA Board.

          • Ken Knueven

            Irwin, you are correct, the EAC did discuss the matter and Sue Beffel (EAC Chair) is personally supporting the effort. I would anticipate the EAC would want to get involved.

            As a board we all agreed it is our responsibility (if not fiduciary responsibility) to support the referendum. WE ARE ALL speaking, meeting, sharing, as directed.

            I guess I just like tangling with the likes of Ming, JCSuperstar, and Wings!!. 🙂

          • 30yearsinReston

            You should concern yourself with the importance of sticking ALL Reston homeowners with a $3 million and counting bill for a purchase that will ONLY benefit 20 or so affluent landowners

          • Robert Mowbray

            Why have you suddenly become interested in protecting our natural resources, when you were not interested in doing so or adhering to RA policy on tree cover when you approved the Lake Anne land swap.
            Robert Mowbray
            Forest Ecologist
            Former member of EAC

        • Reston Realist

          Not ALL the capital improvements: You still have priced the renovation of the grounds as stated above.

          • Ken Knueven

            See my response.

          • Reston Realist

            So why didn’t the idea of BUYING the property (forget the price) also have to meet the requirements of LUR II? Again, inquiring minds want to know.

            It seems that only irrelevant topics are allowed any RA member input.

        • RAmember2

          If you like the RA Tetra webpage, you’ll just love the “fair and balanced” reporting from FOX NEWS.

          The page is incomplete, inaccurate, misleading, and essentially dishonest. It is a sales job to the RA membership, not a disclosure of the pros and cons of the referendum.

    • 30yearsinReston

      the comstock proffer should NOT be used to support something taht benefits a few homeowners ans stick the majority with the bill

    • RAmember2

      If you reduce the price by $2.65 million, IT’S FREE!

  • John Farrell

    Tetra had already agreed to do most of this work in the original contract. See Section 10(a)(xv).

    Given these needed repairs, the property is only worth $600,000.

    Quorum has been satisfied.

    • Ken Knueven

      John, which is it $600,000 or $1.248M?

      “…Not one mentioned that the property had its fair market value set by Fairfax County at $1.248 million…”

      https://www.restonnow.com/2015/03/19/a-stunningly-bad-idea/#disqus_thread

      • John Farrell

        Either number is less than the $2.6 contract price.

        The $650,000 is not in writing with Comstock.

        • Ken Knueven

          I will say it again John:

          The seller of the Old Visitors Center property has agreed to pay $275,000 for repairs to the property.

          In addition, we have a developer proffer of $650,000 to be paid up front at time of closing, and,

          In addition, the seller wishes to lease back for 6 months for the sum of $100,096, with an option to execute another 6 months (at same lease amount) if possible…

          We are now at a net purchase of @ $1.6M
          (assuming just one lease-back period).

          • John Farrell

            There nothing new here.

            He’s already agreed to do most of this work in the original contract.

            The Comstock contribution is not in writing signed by Comstock.

            The calculations above don’t include the money RA proposes to spend rehabbing the building in addition to the Tetra repairs.

            All of this spin won’t change that this a bad use of RA resources that benefits only a few homeowners whose house overlook the property.

          • Ken Knueven

            I don’t know how else to tell you John, and I can keep this up as long as you.

            So, I will say it again John:

            The seller of the Old Visitors Center property has agreed to pay $275,000 for repairs to the property.

            In addition, we have a developer proffer of $650,000 to be paid up front at time of closing, and,

            In addition, the seller wishes to lease back for 6 months for the sum of $100,096, with an option to execute another 6 months (at same lease amount) if possible…

            We are now at a net purchase of @ $1.6M
            (assuming just one lease-back period).

            It’s as simple as that.

            Ken

          • Reston Realist

            So I can repeat myself too:

            What about the $259,000 in additional building renovation expenses to adopt it for community uses as stated in the Fact Sheet financial statement?

            Also, what about the $150K-$25OK in additional expenses
            to deconstruct the exterior as outlined at the community meeting? And you don’t even know how much that will really cost or have an estimate?

            Looks like you can add a half-million dollars to your “net” purchase price, Ken. And, yes, that will be added to member fees in the next couple of years.

            Why is it you keep forgetting the costs but have no difficulty reporting out the revenues and offsets?

            Inquiring minds want to know.

          • Ken Knueven

            Repurposing is already included. The cost of returning much of the area to natural surfaces and vegetation is the only item we do not have a final budget yet. The reason, as we also shared, the ultimate use and repurposing is subject to our Land Use Resolution 2 — where member input is required.

            I direct you to the same website page and go 4 items down to the “Pony Barn” repurposing effort underway with the Community. An excellent example of how this process works.

            Here is the working group’s overeview — as directed by Land Use Resolution II

            PONY BARN PAVILION WORKING GROUP
            Reston Association is interested in establishing a collaborative team of community voices to discuss the possible and best uses of the Pony Barn Pavilion area. The following details outline the composition and responsibilities of the working group.

            Members:
            Three RA Board members
            Two RA staff
            One IPAR Board member
            One DRB member
            Community members

            Purpose:
            The working group is tasked with developing and reviewing potential changes to the Pony Barn Recreation Area including the pavilion and riding ring sites, and recommending alternatives to the RA Board of Directors for consideration. The RA Board will make the decision on what changes will ultimately be made to the site(s).

            Tasks:
            • Review comments and suggestions from public meeting(s) and website
            • Consider neighborhood and entire community contexts in developing ideas for changes to the site(s)
            • Work with landscape architect on conceptual plans that portray the working group’s vision
            • Consideration will be given to a memorial garden as directed by the RA Board

            Time Commitment: Up to 2 meetings per month for next four to five months – 2 hours each.

            https://www.reston.org/DevelopmentFutureofReston/PonyBarn/tabid/531/Default.aspx

            Ultimately, there will be many ways to fundraise with Friends of Reston, additional developer proffers, public/private partnerships.

          • Reston Realist

            “Repurposing” of the building is included, but not the price of repurposing the property as so beautifully, if inaccurately, rendered at the community meeting.

            I think RA will find it difficult, if not impossible, to get County approval to strip out the parking lot, plant more trees, and most definitely to build a deck on the shoreline, whatever the cost. And, of course, we’ll have to pay attorneys hundreds of thousands of dollars to find that out for us in the approval process.

          • Reston Realist

            What about the $259,000 in additional building renovation expenses to adopt it for community uses as stated in the Fact Sheet financial statement?

            Also, what about the $150K-$25OK in additional expenses to deconstruct the exterior as outlined at the community meeting? And you don’t even know how much that will really cost or have an estimate?

            Looks like you can add a half-million dollars to your “net” purchase price, Ken. And, yes, that will be added to member fees in the next couple of years.

            Why is it you keep forgetting the costs but have no difficulty reporting out the revenues and offsets?

            Inquiring minds want to know.

          • Cluster Tycoon

            Like most real estate in Reston we should also look at a seller subsidy which typically runs 5 to 10 percent of the list price. I am confident you can make it so.

          • ItsNotMyMoney

            REALLY!!????? How can you justify netting the 650,000 off the price when that money can go towards other uses. We get the 650,00 regardless of whether the referendum passes or not. You really ought to ADD our 650,000 to the cost of this deal.

            Were you joking or do you really think this 650,000 ought to be netted off the 2.65 million?

      • Reston Realist

        And now you are quoting the 2013 assessment, not the 2014 assessment which puts the value at about $50K less–$1.205 million.

        The reason the price is so low is there is no possibility of its further development, commercial or residential, because of the restrictions on development, including our own easements.

        When will you start telling the WHOLE truth about this deal?

  • Reston Anonymous

    OK. Formerly undecided. I have been following closely the many comments and opinions on the various websites including this one. I aso attended the packed house meeting at Brown’s Chapel (good spot for a memorial garden BTW) this week and heard a good many legitimate questions and perspectives from both sides. Someone obviously went back to Tetra (or they realized themselves it was failing). I buy the long term opportunity cost argument. This is enough to sway me. I’ll vote yes.

    • Ken Knueven

      Thank you for attending the Brown’s Chapel meeting on Tuesday and your vote. It was indeed a packed house, which was a good sign the community wants to know as much as possible before making the final decision.

      If you, or your neighbors, have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me, or anyone on the Board, as well as the staff.

      As we pointed out at the meeting. The proffer has always been there since the day we striated the referendum. We also shared, per the conditional contract with the seller, we were in a study period of the building which ended today — allowing us to focus on the final necessary repairs and costs.

      Ken

    • John Farrell

      Actually not so. Tetra had already agreed to do most of this work in the original contract as part of the $2.6 million price.

      • Ken Knueven

        From the fact sheet:

        Borrow UP TO — $2.65M

        Inspection:
        The findings of the inspection will be used to determine: 1) whether the intended use can be accommodated; 2) what improvements the Seller should perform; and, 3) what adjustments to the purchase price, should be made.

        Financing the Purchase:
        To finance the purchase of the property the Association would obtain a loan from a local bank. In addition, the Association intends to use $650,000 from developer contributions to off-set expenses that will be incurred to renovate, repurpose and maintain the property once obtained.

  • Ken Knueven

    Feel free to review the Quorum reports at our web site for the Old Visitors Center Purchase. Quorum of 1700 votes was quickly met, and as of today’s report we are at over 2500 votes in just two weeks. Voting ends on the 8th of May.

    If you need help voting, or still have questions, just let me or someone on the Board, or Staff know. happy to assist.

    https://www.reston.org/DevelopmentFutureofReston/TetraPropertyPurchase/tabid/978/Default.aspx

    • RAmember2

      Going to the RA website for info on this referendum is like going to FOX NEWS for information that is “fair and balanced.”

      It is incomplete, inaccurate, misleading, and essentially dishonest except as an advocacy page for the RA position.

  • Reston Realist

    Of course, you can’t find it on the RA website, but didn’t the Covenants Committee just run Tetra through the wringer on the poor condition of its building? Is this $275,000 “deal” just a recognition of the horrible state of the Tetra building and the requirement, with or without a sale, for it to repair its building to be in compliance with RA covenants that Tetra, like the rest of us, must adhere to?

    • Ken Knueven

      The property is still in Covenants review.

      • 30yearsinReston

        and will be until the sale is finalized

  • jvb11

    I went back and forth on the issue, and thought I might vote no, but at the end of the day I thought that it would be a great resource for the RA and the camps for the kids which are nearby and which we use. I ended up voting for it.

    • Secret Observers

      “thought that it would be a great resource for the RA and the camps for the kids which are nearby and which we use….ended up voting for it”

      ….one of example to support public/official claims for YES votes “That many people, professionals, neighbors, friends — can’t be wrong” for RA to legitimately spend millions ++ dollars in debt. Only God know the wrong and the right now… but time will tell and the people will know the truth behind …….

  • LakeNewportLady

    How is the quorom number set? Is only 1700 votes needed to proceed? Out of how many potential votes? Will the totals for “yes” and “no” votes be posted?

    • Karen Goff

      It is 1,700 something out of 17,000ish eligible homeowners (so 10 percent). Yes, RA should give us vote totals when over.

  • freestylergbb

    Now there’s $275K for repairs? Nice try, but even if that’s sufficient (doubtful), that doesn’t nearly dent the excessive, questionable cost of Tetra. The tangled web of complexities involved with this purchase make it suspect and the entire process has been handled poorly. I voted NO with no hesitancy.

  • Reston Member

    This is a deal reminiscent of the Parking Garage deal, where the Board unilaterally traded green space for a ditch by the side of the road. In the Tetra case we are trading member debt capacity for the board’s ambition to be some sort of worthless real estate wheeler dealer, for a building that has no obvious utility with respect to meeting an unfulfilled membership need. Let the market decide (Oops, the market already decided. No one wants it at that price). The RA should return to its mission as a homeowner association.

  • Ray Wedell

    Perhaps a little light can be shed to accompany all the heat here. I have submitted my position on Tetra to RestonNow, and hopefully it will be posted in the near future. Have a great weekend, and stay healthy, guys.

    • RAmember2

      Another realtor vote for buying real estate.

  • JCSuperstar

    Thinking of you Mr. Kneuven. Thank you John Oliver and The Most Patient Man.

    https://youtu.be/N96kRrHjGKM

  • 30yearsinReston

    Big Whoop
    Now about the other $1.5 Million

  • 30yearsinReston

    Why is the Comstock proffer being used to “reduce” the price?
    The purchase would only benefit 20, at the most, property owners
    Why not use use the money to reduce the extortionate dues that RA inflicts on us or for some other ‘project’ that benefits ALL reston homeowners

    Why does the RA Board always need to squander someone else’s money

    A good example is the glossy periodical advertising their amenities which just arrived
    I;m sure there are cheaper alternatives that this PR exercise

    • Reston Realist

      Yep, that $650,000 could be used to REDUCE our assessment fees by $32 or more!

  • Jack Trenta

    Reading some of these comments brings to mind the old but relevant adage – “penny wise and pound foolish”. The Tetra purchase, like Rescue Reston’s effort to save Reston National Golf Course from development, is a big picture issue. Had Robert Simon been a small thinker, there would be no Reston as we know it. We all know that Bob Simon is pro-development and pro-density, however, he supports the Tetra purchase because his vision strikes a balance between appropriate development in appropriate places and open, common areas to be shared by all, hence fostering a sense of community. Although he lives on Lake Anne, he can often be seen, like many other Restonians, walking and enjoying the natural beauty of the park surrounding Lake Newport. You can quibble over the details of the appraisal and the sale price, but as a real estate broker I can assure you that a 3.5 acre site on Lake Newport is an extremely valuable property whether it be sold for a commercial use or down-zoned for a residential use. More importantly, the value of maintaining the park-like nature of this incredible parcel within the control and care of Reston Association could be priceless to the future of Reston and our property values throughout the community. I currently live in North Point, but have also lived in South Lakes as well as near Lake Anne over the past 30 years, so please refrain from NIMBY comments. All Restonians stand to gain from the preservation of this jewel within our community. Similarly, we need to do whatever it takes to assist Rescue Reston and Reston Association in their efforts to save Reston National Golf Course from unneeded, unwanted development. It is one and the same battle. To preserve what we many of us love about living here. Unless of course you’re one of those that don’t, in which case you have the option of voting no.

    • JCSuperstar

      I do agree with you on one point — “a 3.5 acre site on Lake Newport is an extremely valuable property whether it be sold for a commercial use or down-zoned for a residential use.” Which has been my whole point, but, why must Reston Association interfere with the owner’s property rights, when it is shown that the county will allow this?

      • Stop the Insanity

        Private property sale initiated by the owner/seller. How is the owner’s property right being impacted? The seller had the choice, the RA members don’t because the RA leadership is ramming it down our throats.

  • Reston Realist

    I have never known good business decisions to be based on fear. Opportunity, yes; fear, no. This purchase is being driven almost exclusively by an irrational FEAR that someone will build a restaurant or office building or a carnival or whatever on these three acres.

    There will NEVER be additional development on this property (no matter how much Bill Lauer and Ken Knueven tout that fear) because of the various restrictions on its further use, most importantly, the Chessy Bay protections that deny development within 100′ of a Bay-linked shoreline and require dismantling of structures already there at the end of their lives (yes, the Tetra building).

    The property is what it is and it will never be more.

    RA’s alleged needs are meaningless, especially the one talking connectivity of open space because the property that is open space will always be open space and, moreover, it’s under RA control by an easement–so no other owner can change that. Only RA can give it away.

    We need more meeting space like we need more lice. The meeting spaces we have aren’t being used anywhere near capacity and it’s ridiculous to pay $2.6 million for a room with a view. Moreover, RCC has extensive space to rent (at a much lower cost than buying a termite-riddled aging and decrepit building).

    If you are being driven by a fear of some colossus being built on the Tetra property, be assured that that will never happen as much as developers might wish it to be so. And since there is no real need for the property, even the $1.2-$1.3 million “as is” valuations (minus the $257,000 in needed repairs identified so far), RA’s members should not impose upon themselves any added tax to preserve something that will not be allowed to develop further.

    VOTE NO! But do watch out for lice!

    • JCSuperstar

      Uhh… I voted No, as it is the next likely piece TO BE DEVELOPED. Your arguments are nonsensical. I appreciate your vote, but you are so wrong. Just look around you. The owners and developers of these properties are well within their rights. The Reston National Golf Course is the tell-tale.

      • Reston Realist

        You keep talking about owners’ property rights. Do you have a clue what you’re talking about?

        Despite the obvious disappointment of Restonians that the BZA didn’t give a clean ruling in Reston’s favor, the BZA has forced the developer to go back to square one AND SHOW HIS HAND (a development plan). How well do you think that well serve their goal administratively, judicially, or politically?

        • JCSuperstar

          You keep thinking that RR. Just ask Rescue Reston and Reston Association how much more money they will have to spend to argue against the Golf Course Owner’s rights. Just ask Mr. Looney who’s got the better hand.

  • RAmember2

    Folks, if you want to get the FULL STORY on the Tetra deal, try these two websites:

    http://reston2020.blogspot.com/search/label/Tetra%20Properties –This is Reston 2020’s coverage of the Tetra deal and its machinations.

    https://saynototetra.wordpress.com/ — The title pretty much says it all. It replays some of Reston 2020’s materials, plus others, and has a few posts of its own.

    • JCSuperstar

      Yea, the man with a total of seven followers. Let’s throw our total faith and trust into this person.

      • Terry Maynard

        Yes, JC, it’s a BLOG, not a social media Twitter account.

        As the counter on the Reston 2020 site says, it has been viewed more than 194,000 times. It just reached 2,000 posts–so about 100 reads per post and, yes, the recent posts on Tetra are generally generally attracting above 200 viewers each. Its most popular posts have been read more than 1,000 times.

        If you want social media, the Reston 2020 Twitter account–where Reston 2020 publicizes its posts–has 478 followers as of this evening, including Tetra Partnerships (!), Sharon Bulova, The 2030 Group, GRCOC, IPAR, several RA Board and staff members, numerous local businesses, RCA, Sustainable Reston, NVRPA, several news reporters, RescueReston, Dr.Gridlock, NRDC, and literally hundreds of other individuals, businesses, and groups–most generally interested in community planning issues, especially in Reston and Fairfax County.

        How many people are “following” you?

        • JCSuperstar

          Actually Mr. Maynard, I don’t have any followers, don’t need them, why in the heck would I want a follower? Seems from your statements above, you are a proud puppy. So, with that, may I give you your own:

          http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-mFI7BxtOWhI/U3SIGJ3mf8I/AAAAAAAAAYQ/lMf2CIw6r_4/s1600/LiebsterAward.png

          • RAmember2

            You raised the topic, JCTroller, and yet you don’t have any answers! Just cheap shots. And so what are you bringing to this discussion of Tetra?

          • JCSuperstar

            As I have shared many times here. I am a defender of owners property rights. If you know anything about basic economics, (unfortunately I question many here) property rights are the basic foundation for a properly functioning society.

            “The first and chief design of every system of government is to maintain justice: to prevent the members of society from incroaching on one another’s property, or seizing what is not their own. The design here is to give each one the secure and peacable possession of his own property.” — Adam Smith

            The most important protection afforded to the individual by law is the protection of her or his property.

            What I am seeing in Reston is the convoluted concept of entities like the Rescue Reston and Reston Association attempting to intervene/impede owners rights to develop their property like — Reston National, Tetra, and who knows where else.

          • RAmember2

            So your property rights take precedence over any property or other rights that other people may have, including, say, the public’s right to take a property for a road, a school, a hospital, or some other social use–the so-called “greater good” (like rescuing the Chesapeake Bay or RNGC’s open space)–no matter what. And so we shouldn’t even have legislated zoning laws because that restricts what a property owner can do with his or her property. Why not a slaughter house on RNGC? And, I guess, a planned community shouldn’t be planned with the whole in mind rather than the interest of a particular property holder by your thinking.

            Very clear and extremely simple-minded. And you may be living in the wrong community, if not the wrong century.

          • JCSuperstar

            Actually I agree with you on your points. Yes, through laws, the community also has rights, such as to tax, take for public use, regulate uses, etc. I’m only attempting to point out the owners, being discussed here, have their rights too, under the existing laws set by the community. And they have the right to maximize their rights, when and if the market prevails.

            My concern, the community, through stronger/additional public programs may start overreaching, regarding land use. Which may have adverse affects for private property owners.

            Many here either don’t understand the basics, (yes, I’ve been keeping it simple,) or don’t care. Personally, I believe it is important for Restonians get a clear head and a clear idea of what is happening around them and why it is allowed to happen.

          • Stop the Insanity

            JC, if you are really for the rights of the property owner, you should be applauding the deal. The private property owner Tetra approached RA to dictate a private and exclusive sale. RA is in no way attempting to rip this property away from a private owner, they offered.

            In a public sale the seller would have to take a chance and possibly get more money for the property, or possibly less if there isn’t demand. Tetra wants a quick sale, less than 6 months, and this approach was the easiest way. Otherwise this property may sit on the market for years, at a loss. Or could sell in weeks.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    Why, oh why?

  • MJay

    If RA is intent on doing whatever it takes to preserve the golf course property, is it wise to take on a sizeable debt–regardless of the 1.6-2.5 million differential, it still is a major undertaking–for the Tetra property? Doesn’t this hamstring RA, overextend its reserve budget, and effect interest rates in the event RA and its members decide they need to purchase the golf course property?
    As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I believe the Tetra referendum is going to overwhelmingly pass.

    • JCSuperstar

      Purchasing the golf course will take sums of money that will shock the community. The Tetra financing is a drop in the bucket.

      For those that wish to stay on the “protect the open spaces” side, the Tetra purchase is the easier of the two. Listen to your own Mr. Maynard from his blog:

      “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 the 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…”

  • John Higgins

    Love the passion on both sides of this issue. Enjoy the sparks of humor. Hope the personal attacks will be put aside.

    This is perhaps too late to be useful, but some of the math being discussed is – well, I don’t know what else to call it – wrong.

    RA proposes making a $2.65 million purchase. Tetra has placed $275,000 in escrow to make certain repairs and any amount not spent will be returned to Tetra.
    None of those repairs were envisioned as RA expenses in projecting its costs or future cash flow. In short, this number is irrelevant to the purchase price of the property.

    It is not at all clear to me what to make of the COMSTOCK contribution. As near as I can tell, they have committed to give $650,000 to RA. It does not appear to be conditioned on the Tetra purchase. Now, one can subtract that from the purchase price to determine how much to borrow from the bank, but it is not accurate to consider it a reduction of the purchase price. Likewise, it should not be considered as reducing RA’s cost of purchase – that’s money that RA could be spending elsewhere, not much different from using its reserves to lower the amount of borrowing (a very, very bad idea – one not proposed by anyone, I use it only as analogy.)

    So, we have a $2.65 million purchase, somewhere around $250,000 of proposed renovation, another $XXX for the referendum, legal, appraisal, engineer, and other costs. This is a proposed $3+ million investment.

    RA ownership will change the current use of the property. Apart from the rentals to private parties, the property will add to RA’s capacity to provide useful programs to members. There are two questions: is RA’s purchase foreclosing undesirable uses another purchaser might make of the property? Is it worth $3+ million to prevent alternate use and to expand program capacity?

    I have my answer, but I fear the dialogue so far has not posed the second question to members. Check back in ten years for the real answer.

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