Proposed Independent Review of Lake House Falls Through

by Dave Emke January 3, 2017 at 2:30 pm 21 Comments

Lake House May 2016

(Updated 9:30 p.m. Tuesday to include statement from the Reston Association Board of Directors)

It appears the work between Reston Association and a local company to conduct an independent review of the Lake House renovations will not come to fruition.

In an email sent Monday morning to the Reston Association Board of Directors, among others, Mediaworld Ventures LLC President Sridhar Ganesan said he was cutting ties with the project:

Good Morning. It has been about 10 days since we sent the last letter to you and have had no response. Please consider this email as termination of our contract discussions. Wish you all a Happy New Year.

The “last letter” referenced by Ganesan in his email is one in which he claimed RA had been “granted… certain powers” that would “jeopardize the independence of the review.”

Ganesan also serves as president of the Reston Citizens Association. His group had proposed to conduct the audit for $1, with a team of four community-based reviewers.

The Lake House, located off Baron Cameron Avenue between Lake Newport Tennis and Brown’s Chapel Park, housed the Reston Visitors Center for about 20 years before it was acquired in 2003 by Tetra Partners (now Lauer Commercial) and used as offices.

Reston Association passed its referendum to buy the building in May 2015, authorizing a purchase cost of $2.6 million. That number in itself came under scrutiny after it was discovered that Fairfax County tax estimates valued the property at only about half that price. It is now being leased for special day and evening events.

Needed renovations were budgeted to cost about $259,000; however, that number quickly ballooned to $655,000. The money was recouped by RA in the form of various employment restructuring, among other measures.

When it was estimated a full professional review of the overrun could cost into six figures, the locally based Mediaworld came into the picture. However, Mediaworld and RA could not agree on many of the particulars of the arrangement, culminating in this week’s official falling-out.

Late Tuesday afternoon, a statement to Reston Now from RA Board of Directors President Ellen Graves expressed the board’s disappointment in Mediaworld’s “unilateral decision to terminate its proposal.”

“RA was and continues to be willing to work with Mediaworld in good faith toward a mutually acceptable agreement,” Graves said. “In fact, the association’s legal counsel offered repeatedly during the course of negotiations to sit down in person with representatives of Mediaworld in an attempt to resolve the details of the remaining open issues.”

Graves said that Mediaworld “apparently could not find the time to meet to resolve the remaining issues, including many standard terms found in community association contracts designed for an association’s protection and which are generally accepted by most companies performing similar services for community associations.”

In the statement, Graves said the board “remains undeterred in its efforts to have this important project completed,” adding that a meeting would take place later this month to determine the best course of action moving forward.

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