A decision on Brookfield Properties’ four million-square-foot redevelopment of the Reston Crescent site was deferred last week amid a disagreement regarding the developer’s contribution for the affordable housing fund.
Brookfield has proposed roughly 4.2 million square feet of development across 36 acres, including up to 1,721 residential units, 1.9 million square feet of office space, a hotel and 380,000 square feet of retail. The property is divided into eight development blocks. Two existing office buildings on the site will remain untouched.
The first new building, which fronts Reston Parkway, includes a Wegmans with 380 apartment built on top of it. The project is located west of Reston Parkway, north of Sunrise Valley Drive, east of Edmund Halley Drive and south of the Dulles Toll Road.
At June 28 Fairfax County Planning Commission meeting, county staff indicated the developer needs to pitch in more toward the affordable housing fund. Brookfield plans to ensure 15 percent of all units are affordable at income tiers of up to 70, 90 and 100 percent of the Area Median Income — a lower income distribution than county requirements.
Even though the developer is offering units for individuals with lower incomes, county officials and the developer disagree on how much Brookfield should offer for the non-residential aspects of the property. The comprehensive plan indicates the developer should contribute $3 per non-residential square feet.
Because Brookfield is proposing a completely new redevelopment project, county officials contend the developer should contribute based on the total square footage of new development, roughly 1.6 million square feet. Brookfield, however, asserts they only have to contribute funds for 1.1 million square feet of development because other non-residential development was already approved under a previous plan.
In a report, staff said the latest proposal was entirely new and supersedes any previous approvals. “As a result, the proposed non-residential uses on affordable housing and such impact should be fully mitigated through the $3 per non-residential square feet contribution towards affordable housing,” according to the report.
An earlier clash over the developer’s commitment to providing an athletic field was resolved in recent discussions. According to the developer’s representative, Mark Looney of Cooley, Brookfield has an underdeveloped property under contract for a future full-size athletic field. Once the property is purchased, Cooley said the developer should dedicate it to the county’s park authority.
In remarks before the Planning Commission, John Carter, the commissioner for the Hunter Mill District, said the commission needed more time to discuss what could be a “precedent-making” decision. The commission will vote on the project on July 12.
Handout via Fairfax County Government