Plan for New American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association Headquarters Moves Forward

by Fatimah Waseem August 1, 2019 at 2:30 pm 0

A plan to redevelop the headquarters of the American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association — which includes the historic A. Smith Bowman Manor House — is underway.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously approved the redevelopment plan on Thursday night. Members praised the developer, AP Reston Campus LLC maintaining manor house — which is currently on the county’s inventory of historic places — while incorporating new architectural and forward-looking elements.

AAFMA is looking to replace two existing buildings on the site with two Class A office buildings and continue to reuse the manor house as office space, primarily to receive visitors. The plan will preserve the existing gazebo and stormwater management pond.

The manor house, which was built in 1899, was the home of A. Smith Bowman, who owned more than 7,200 acres of land in what now includes Reston.

Bowman also owned the adjacent distillery, which originally served as the Wiehle Town Hall and was used as a church, general store and distillery.

Hunter Mill District Planning Commissioner John Carter said the redevelopment plan was “an adaptive reuse of the 19th century house.”

“It will allow a valued existing employer to expand in Reston,” Carter said.

The plan includes an underground garage, a 6,2000-square-foot terrace that connects the two office building.

Andrew Painter, the attorney representing AAFMA, said the development designed the project so that the manor house — which is located in front of the two office buildings — would “pop” in front of the new office buildings.

The developer plans to construct a sidewalk along Old Reston Avenue and provide a connection to the Washington & Old Dominion Trail. Mary Ann Tsai from the county’s Department of Planning and Zoning , said the developer also agreed to connect the two planned sidewalks at the request of the county.

Dranesville District Planning Commissioner John Ulfelder encouraged the applicant to consider adding the manor house to the state and national registry of historic places.

AAFMA plans to preserve four parking spaces on the northern property line of the development plan. The county asked the developer to remove the buildings in order to reduce the amount of impervious service.

Painter said the developer plans to use the redeveloped site as their future home “for the next half century of longer.”

The project heads to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for approval on September 24.

AAFMA is a financial solutions provider that offers military life insurance, wealth management and survivor assistance and mortgage services.

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