The long-awaited 1.7-million-square-foot revitalization plan for Lake Anne is off the books for now.
Residents of Crescent Apartments received a letter from Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins on Thursday advising them that Lake Anne Development Partners (LADP) has informed them the project “may not be feasible.”
Crescent’s 181 units were slated to be rebuilt as part of the mixed-use development of 1,037 residential units (including replacement of the 181 affordable units at Crescent); 60,000 square feet of retail; a 15,800-square-foot grocery store;and 78,000 square feet of office space.
The plan, which would have taken about 12 years to complete, also sought to re-route Village Road, build an outdoor amphitheater, add a parking garage and a grand boulevard of shops leading to the historic part of Lake Anne Plaza.
“Regrettably, Fairfax County has recently been advised by the Lake Anne revitalization project’s primary developer, Lake Anne Development Partners (LADP), that their public-private partnership with the County to redevelop the Crescent Apartments and the Lake Anne Village Center may not be feasible,” the letter reads.
“While such situations are not uncommon in large, complex developments, the County and LADP are deeply disappointed by this turn of events and shares the frustration that we know the community must be feeling.”
After years of discussions with the community about the best uses for Lake Anne, LADP was chosen in 2013 to take on the revitalization of Crescent, the county-owned, aging, affordable housing complex, and the surrounding areas.
The project received final approval from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in early 2015. LADP had said it hoped to break ground this year.
But that never happened. Sources said there were a “collection of reasons” why, but mainly due to financing of the giant project, which sought to add major density to Lake Anne.
“Lake Anne Development Partners has actively pursued the redevelopment of Lake Anne Village Center since 2012,” LADP said in a statement Friday. “Unfortunately, LADP has not been able to satisfactorily assemble all of the required land parcels needed for a viable development plan. It is with true regret and disappointment that LADP’s planned redevelopment of Lake Anne will not be moving forward.”
LADP’s website was disabled as of this morning.
Hudgins said the county will begin deliberations about the longterm implications for the future of Crescent.
“At this time, the County is not prepared to predict when or how we will proceed with redevelopment of the project,” wrote Hudgins.
Hudgins told residents of Crescent:
That you can continue to live at the Crescent and that we will remain committed to keeping the Crescent a vibrant, attractive place to call home. We will have high standards for the appearance of the property, and will maintain it with great care.
That we will maintain and grow our very strong partnerships in the community, including with Cornerstones and the local schools; and
That we will communicate with you and keep you carefully informed as to next steps.
However, Hudgins said Crescent has a high number of vacancies due to the planned redevelopment but it will start leasing again in coming months.
Rick Thompson, president of the Lake Anne Reston Condo Association (which represents commercial and residential tenants), said he is “quite disappointed” at the turn of events.
“The county does have a comprehensive plan that this concept is based on,” he said. “We will have to reconstitute our efforts on the basis of that.”
While most retail shops and condos on the Plaza have historic district designation and were not part of LADP’s plans, the expected increase in density and visitors was expected to have a positive impact on current retail at Lake Anne Plaza.
Thompson said it is possible the county will issue a new RFP or reach back into the one from 2013 to pick a previous proposal.
The Lake Anne Merchants Association says it is still committed to investing in the vitality of the plaza, pointing out that Reston’s first nanobrewery, Lake Anne Brew House, is about the launch, as is Lake Anne Coffee House under new ownership.
It is not yet known what will happen to the land swap approved by Reston Association in 2013. That deal traded an acre of RA’s land at Lake Anne for a parcel along Baron Cameron Avenue, as well as financial incentives and improvements. A parking garage was to be built on the site adjacent to the historic “J” part of Lake Anne Plaza.