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Weekend Discussion: What Should Happen to Former API HQ?

by Karen Goff — June 17, 2016 at 4:15 pm 20 Comments

Back for Former API building in Reston

After testimony from state historic and architectural experts, the Fairfax County Planning Commission admits it did not fully investigate the historic significance of the former American Press Institute Building in Reston.

The building, which housed the API from 1974 to 2012, was designed by famous architect Marcel Breuer and is the only Breuer building in Virginia.

Breuer’s also designed UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, and buildings at New York University and Vassar College, among others.

Other advocates for rescuing the building have pointed out the historical significance for leaders in media and politics.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission heard the pleas for historic preservation — sort of. They send Sekas Homes‘ proposal for 34 townhomes and 10 condos to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Thursday with a recommendation for denial.

Many Reston residents have suggested that the county try and buy it from its current owner and repurpose the more than 48,000-square-foot building as a new Reston Regional Library. A new library is planned for the Reston Town Center North area, with $10 million of county bond money set aside to build it.

While we wait for the supervisors’ vision of what should happen to the four-acre parcel along Sunrise Valley Drive, let’s hear your ideas.

  • Arielle in NoVA

    Library.

    • 30yearsinreston

      its not suitable

      • Arielle in NoVA

        It is absolutely suitable.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    I’m betting that, with a little modification, it would make an excellent indoor shooting range.

    • 30yearsinreston

      Reston Association will buy it

  • Overrunhell

    College/University Annex, Fairfax County Public School, Reston Technology Incubator, Reston Nonprofit Center & Shared Workspaces, Offices, Loft Residences, Hotel, Library, State of Virginia Public Services Center, Indoor/Outdoor Park, the list is endless.

    • 30yearsinreston

      how about demolishing it

  • JoeInReston

    The question I have… if the building is going to be bought by the county with the intention of re-purposing it, shouldn’t the county expect to pay a premium for its historical significance and its pedigreed architect? If so, wouldn’t the county be better off purchasing another building that won’t extract a premium? The historical significance and its pedigreed architect premium won’t get you a more functional library, so its a premium that won’t make much of a positive difference in terms of function.

    • 30yearsinreston

      the county already has land in the North Reston Town Center for this
      No additional funds beyond construction are necessary

  • 30yearsinreston

    Raze this eyesore
    it will cost more than 10 million to turn it into a library

    • Mike M

      It’s overpriced because the owner WANTS it redeveloped. It is not in their interest to sell it at current value, and no one will buy it at their unreasonable pricing. This is common practice. See the shopping center a mile or two to the north. Same deal. They don’t want to rent it. They WANT it redeveloped.

  • Greg

    Tear the concrete box down.

  • Why do you bother?

    Let’s see – the BOS takes very expensive action without an iota of research. It’s deja-vu all over again!

  • “Ummm…donuts!”

    One can find concrete blockhouses like this in many places. There were a few on my undergraduate college campus, built to accommodate growth spurts in enrollments and degree offerings. Historic? I think NOT!
    Ah, the warmth and hominess of poured-in-place or precast concrete!

  • Fairfax Library Advocates

    Folks who have been inside the building including David Edwards, Architectural Historian for the Virginia Dept of Historical Resources, think the building would lend itself to being a library. Time should be given to evaluating the building for use as a regional library. It is better located than Town Center. Parking will be restricted in the new location in a residential high-rise in Town Center, and people will have to pay for what parking will be available. $10 million in library bonds was approved by voters to renovate/rebuild the Reston Regional Library. Charles Fegan, Chair of the Library Board, recently told the trustees that he didn’t know how much library we could get for $10 million. The API building is in very good condition. Asbestos has been removed. Adaptive reuse as a regional library needs to be examined carefully. The money to renovate is available.

    • 30yearsinreston

      a “historian’ would say that – however his opinion is valueless

      the new library will be built on existing space in the North Fairfax County area (where the new Police Station is)

      No parking tolls or land purchase is necessary

  • Nyla J.

    Reston people love destroying notable architecture. Seen Hickory Cluster lately? Shambles.

    • 30yearsinreston

      Some Reston people don’t like spending tax payer funds to benefit developers

      • Nyla J.

        Everything happening in Reston is benefiting developers.

  • Buy low sell high

    We re still in a recession. Lets buy with RA funds.

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