Herndon agrees to use county’s $5 million addition for Comstock project

Town leaders agreed Tuesday to accept $5 million more from Fairfax County to finally begin the construction of a residential-retail-arts complex downtown.

The long-awaited development, which calls for 273 apartments, a parking garage, retail space and an arts center, will get $6.2 million from the county through the additional support.

“This is huge,” Councilmember Signe Friedrichs said. “This isn’t just a little bit of money; this is a lot of money,” she said of the county’s increased contribution. “We are so grateful.”

The new funding arrangement calls for releasing the $5 million in $1 million increments each year; payment would begin once the project gets an occupancy certificate for its first residential unit.

The support came after the town and developer agreed to equally split an estimated increase of $24.6 million of the project. Dennis Holste, economic development manager for the town, said that eight-figure increase was related to materials, labor and workforce restrictions “due to the pandemic.”

Town officials were unable to comment Wednesday what the breakdown of the additional costs involved. Comstock didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

In November 2020, the town and Comstock amended an earlier agreement with the company from 2017. The town then sold the nearly 4.7-acre parcel at 770 Elden St. to Comstock for over $10.06 million on Dec. 16, 2020, according to a county property database.

“I think this is a big win not just for the town but for the area,” said Vice Mayor Cesar del Aguila, following the council’s unanimous vote to accept the county contribution, coming from an Economic Opportunity Reserve Fund, designed for strategic investments to stimulate growth.

Comstock has to start the project by Dec. 31, 2021 but can extend that by up to two years depending on market conditions or other matters, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the town.

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