RA closed in July on its $2.65-million purchase of the former Reston Visitors Center. RA members narrowly approved the purchase in a referendum last spring. The referendum capped a busy few months of community discussion, debate and opposition to the purchase.
RA purchased the building in order to preserve green space, stave off potential commercial development and add a community event space.
The acquisition gives the association 98 acres of contiguous space at Brown’s Chapel Park and Lake Newport Tennis. During community meetings, RA said it expects to use the space for events and rentals, after-camp care, a conference center, among other suggestions. Preliminary plans also call for a park on the shore of Lake Newport.
RA also forecasts earning revenue of more than $100,000 annually in rentals for events and groups.
RA recently organized a Tetra Working Group made up of community members to come up with specific uses for the building. Here’s an update of what the group discussed at its first meeting, according to an RA statement:
By December 2015, identify short and long-term indoor community use programming opportunities for the building.
By February 2016, propose concept plans that increase outdoor community use opportunities with the goals of: a) preserving and enhancing the existing green space; b) exploring the feasibility of reducing impervious surfaces in the parking lot that contribute storm-water runoff to Lake Anne.
During the meeting, group members were asked by Intec Group, the architectural firm selected to renovate the interior building space, to respond to the following comments/questions:
- Describe what RA is to you and what you value about the association.
- How do you want RA’s identity/brand/reputation reflected within the space?
- How should this space reflect what you believe are RA’s values?
- Think about other public spaces you have been in and what kind of programming you see that could fit in this space.
During its next meeting (Oct. 28), Intec will present to the working group concept drawings based on the capacity of the space and input provided by the working group.
Also, as part of the settlement agreement when the association purchased the property, $275,000 was put into an escrow account by the seller (Tetra Partners, now called Lauer commercial) for exterior maintenance on the building.
Repairs to the brick wall, siding, painting, and door and window replacement will begin before the end October.
In early November, the skylight and cedar shake roof will be replaced, RA says. In preparation for these repairs, the association’s arborist team used a lift to cover the skylight with a tarp to protect the building’s interior from rainwater leaks.
RA’s landscaping and arborist teams have also removed dead trees and invasive plants on the property in August.
The building may also get a name change. Comstock earned 10 years of naming rights for the site as part of a developer contribution deal. Comstock gave RA $650,000 as part of a development deal concerning BLVD apartments at Reston Station.