Library Advocates: Repurpose, Don’t Demolish, Former API Building

Front of API BuildingDon’t bulldoze the Marcel Breuer-designed former American Press Institute building in Reston. Turn it into the new Reston Regional Library.

That’s the suggestion of the Fairfax Library Advocates, who are urging citizens to write to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the Fairfax County Planning Commission in support of the idea.

The planning commission will make a decision June 16 on whether to recommend Sekas Homes’ rezoning application to the Board of Supervisors.

Sekas seeks to build 34 townhomes and 10 condominiums on the 4.6 acres off of Sunrise Valley Drive in South Reston. A county staff report recommends approval of the application.But in the last few weeks, there has been concern by historical groups and former employees of the American Press Institute, which was housed in the building from 1974 until 2012. The building has been vacant and for sale for more than four years.

The groups are urging the county and state to consider the building for historic designation, even though it is less than 50 years old.

The library advocates say repurpose it. Reston needs a new library and $10 million in county bonds have been set aside to build one. The current plan is to build in the Reston Town Center North area, close to where the current Reston Regional Library stands.<

Here is what the library advocates have to say on their blog:

Fairfax County’s Architectural Review Board has asked that the county reconsider bulldozing the American Press Institute (API) building on Sunrise Valley Drive in Reston.

They believe the building, designed by Hungarian-born architect Marcel Breuer, has historic architectural significance and should not be taken down and replaced with townhouses. API is the only building in Virginia designed by Breuer.

This building at 48,000 square feet is large enough to house a regional library. It’s in an excellent location. The $10 million library bond approved by voters is enough to purchase and renovate the building.

Current development plans for the library parcel in Town Center North and for the API site on Sunrise Valley Drive need to be paused to consider an adaptive reuse of the API building as a public library.

Please write the Planning Commissioners and the Board of Supervisors as soon as possible to ask that this option be considered.

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