The Town of Herndon needs $5 million for delayed downtown Herndon project

The Town of Herndon is seeking $5 million in county funds to develop downtown Herndon with its development partner Comstock. Construction of the mixed-use project, on the drawing board for years, has been delayed by nearly two years.

At a Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, the board indicated that the county will review the request. Specifically, the town is seeking an additional $5 million for the redevelopment of downtown Herndon through the county’s economic development support fund. The town previously received $1.2 million from the fund in 2018, but no funds have been spent yet.

If the request for additional funding is approved, the town will be pitching in roughly $17.9 million to make the project possible on what was once town-owned land.

Town officials and Comstock have offered few public statements explaining why the long-anticipated project has been delayed. When asked about the updated timeline and reasons for delays, a town spokesperson deferred to Comstock for comment on when construction is expected to begin. Comstock did not return multiple requests for comment from Reston Now.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust noted that key milestones for the project have been met so far.

In a board matter proposed at the Tuesday meeting, Foust and the board directed the county to review the funding request and asked that no additional investment from the county’s economic opportunity reserve fund be given to the project unless the board approves funds.

“Not surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has had major impacts on the construction and delivery of this project,” Foust indicated. “There have been substantial increases in material costs and workforce restrictions which have led to project increases.”

Comstock Companies and the Town of Herndon closed on the property at the end of last year. An estimated date for groundbreaking was first set for late 2019, pushed to early 2020 and delayed again to the summer of 2020.

Once completed, the mixed-use project, which is next to the old town hall, will include 273 residential units, 17,300 square feet of retail and cafe space, a new arts center, public plazas and a 726-space parking garage. To date, no firm timeline on the beginning of the project has been released.

An amended comprehensive agreement was negotiated after months of deliberation. The previous agreement was signed by the town in 2017. Comstock will receive $2.5 million in tax breaks through an ordinance crafted to create a historic arts district in the area last year.

The economic opportunity reserve fund is intended to purchase real estate, fund capital development projects and provide programming support for economic development activities of “strategic importance,” according to the county.

Projects that have received funds from the reserve include $1 million in branding for the Tysons Partnership and $50,000 for a development study on the Town of Vienna.

Photo via Comstock

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