Comstock, a Reston-based developer, plans to begin construction on the redevelopment of downtown Herndon by August of next year.
A company spokesperson told Reston Now that a groundbreaking date has not been finalized yet, but could offer a ballpark estimate of when construction might begin.
“We are finalizing updates to plans to ensure constructability given the numerous supply chain constraints currently affecting the industry and hope to start construction in Q1 or Q2,” the spokesperson said.
The project recently secured a commitment for five million dollars in county funding earlier this month, allowing the project to move forward.
In the public-private partnership between the Town of Herndon and Comstock, the developer plans to transform 4.7 acres of land previously owned by the town into a mixed-use town center with 273 residential apartments, 17,000 square feet of retail space, an arts center and a 726-spae parking garage.
The project’s total cost increase by nearly $25 million due to issues related to materials, labor, and workforce restrictions caused by the pandemic, the town’s economic development manager Dennis Holste, told the Herndon Town Council earlier this month.
The revitalization of downtown Herndon has been on the drawing board for several years. A groundbreaking date was first anticipated in late 2019.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved $5 million in funding for the delayed redevelopment of downtown Herndon.
The approval — which was requested by the town — brings the county’s contribution to $6.1 million of the $101 million public-private partnership between the town and developer Comstock.
Marred by delays and an oft-changing groundbreaking date, the revitalization project would bring transform 4.7 acres of land previously owned by the town into a mixed-use town center with 273 residential apartments, 17,000 square feet of retail space, an arts center, and a 726-space parking garage.
But the county’s financial commitment is conditional. Five payments of $1 million per year would go to the town. The first payment is conditioned on the approval of the certificate of occupancy for the first residential unit.
“The project provides an opportunity to partner with the Town of Herndon in its downtown redevelopment efforts and will produce new tax revenues for the county on a site that currently does not generate tax revenue,” according to a Dec. 7 staff memo.
In response to requests from Reston Now for information, town officials have provided few details on why the project has been pushed back. Comstock has also been tight-lipped about the project.
Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust lauded county staff for ironing out the conditions of the agreement.
“It’s just going to be absolutely awesome what they have going,” Foust said.
The project faced a $24.6 million funding gap as a result of the effects of the pandemic, changes in the construction market for materials and labor, and workforce restrictions. The town and Comstock agreed to split the funding gap equally as part of a new agreement that was negotiated roughly one year ago, including tax abatement efforts for Comstock.
The county already committed $1.2 million from its Economic Opportunity Reserve Fund in June 2018. The funds were committed but remain undistributed to the town.
If construction stops within six months of the first payment, the county would suspect future funding and restart payments at its discretion — if and when construction activity resumes.
The Herndon Town Council will review the updated MOU at its Dec. 13 meeting. The town is contributing nearly $18 million while Comstock will shoulder $85 million of the total cost. The county’s contribution amounts to six percent of the total cost estimate.
County funds would be pulled from the Economic Opportunity Reserve Fund, which aims to support capital development projects, real estate purchases, and programming support for economic development activities.
Local police are looking for a man who reportedly fired a gun at Sully’s Pour House in the Town of Herndon on Nov. 6.
The man allegedly flashed a gun in the pour house after a bouncer told him the business could not seat his party of 10 people — which included three children — after 10 p.m. All guests must also be above the age of 21 after 10 p.m.
According to Sully’s Pour House, staff attempted to call the police after a woman in the party assaulted the manager. The man reportedly flashed his weapon and was taken off of the property.
The man and woman reportedly then ran on Elden Street and fired a gun into the crowded restaurant, which is located at 754 Elden Street in the heart of downtown Herndon.
No injuries were reported. The pour house closed during the night of the incident and reopened the following day.
In a Facebook post detailing the incident, the business posted the following after describing the incident:
Please note this is the Spark Notes Version and only the information the public needs to know at this moment- this is still under investigation with the police department )
Thankfully NOT A SINGLE PERSON WAS INJURED. This is NOT BEHAVIOR WE TOLERANT. This is NOT acceptable.
We love Herndon. We Love our Sully’s Family. This is NOT who we are- This is NOT who HERNDON is.
Be Kind, Spread Joy.
Please help us Figure out who this person is. Please contact Herndon Police if you know anything- even if you *Might* know something. Not only did this person endanger EVERY SINGLE PERSON in our establishment that night. They endangered the children they were with as well.
Please share. Please help us find out who this is.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Herndon Police Department at 703-435-6846.
HPD is seeking the public’s help in identifying the subject in these photos; he is suspected a firing a gun into an occupied business in the 700-block of Elden Street last Saturday, Nov 6. If you can ID the subject or you were there when it happened, call HPD at 703-435-6846. https://t.co/zEvhkYdwq9
— Herndon Police (@HerndonPolice) November 14, 2021
Photo via Herndon Police Department
Plans for Herndon’s first beer garden are beginning to materialize, a sign of the brewing revitalization of the town’s downtown area.
The town’s Historic District Review Board is set to review a plan to demolish a two-story commercial building at 771 Center Street, the future home of the Herndon Biergarten. The meeting is set for Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Owner Matt Rafougaran had hoped to open the business sometime this year. He was not immediately available for comment on why the project was stalled and when the new concept is expected to open.
The building was previously home to Herndon Ornamental Iron Works.
The beer garden will include a full-size garage door. Two seating areas are planned on the first floor.
Customers will be able to see through an open kitchen area. Wood paneling interlocked with vines will lead up to stairs, which are made of wood and metal.
Barn doors will open to the rooftop bar area and greenhouse room. The first dining area is described as a rooftop bar with a green vinyl-wrapped banquette. A second dining area with standard bar tables and stools is also planned.
The project is in its early stages. Only a pre-application has been filed for review.
Photo via handout/Town of Herndon
Members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors have expressed support for providing $5 million for the delayed development of downtown Herndon — a project that faced a nearly $25 million funding gap last year.
The $109 million project would transform 4.7 acres in the town’s historic district with 273 apartments, 17,000 square feet of retail, a 16,265-square-foot arts center, and a 726-space public parking garage, 330 of which would be reserved for the town.
At a meeting with the board earlier this week, town manager Bill Ashton said a major funding gap prompted the town to turn to the county for help.
The Town of Herndon and Comstock, its private development partner, agreed to split a funding gap of roughly $24.6 million. Tax abatement efforts and several design changes — including eliminating the mezzanine of the arts center and reducing one underground level of the planning parking garage — still left a $5 million funding gap.
The estimated price tag of the project rose from $79.4 million in 2016 to $111 million in 2019 due to increases in the cost of construction, materials and labor, Ashton said.
Comstock rebid the project in 2020 in order to leverage possible savings due to the pandemic, but a significant funding gap still remained.
The town then quickly crafted a robust tax break program, creating the mechanism to offer Comstock $2.4 million in fee reductions and $1.9 million in real estate tax abatement.
The project is expected to result in $886,500 in Fairfax County General Fund Real Estate taxes after the first year of occupancy, according to an analysis by JLL.
County staff suggested dishing out funds over a period of years in order to minimize the impact of the request on the reserve fund. 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.
Board chairman Jeff McKay encouraged staff to ensure that the delivery of funds was tied to development milestones. County staff noted that funds would be dispersed conditionally.
The board is expected to vote on the funding request at its board meeting on Dec. 7. Groundbreaking is expected to begin in December — nearly two years after the first estimate.
The garage will be completed by August 2023, followed by the arts center in December of that year. The entire project is expected to close out in March 2024. The Town selected Comstock for the redevelopment project in November 2016.
It’s not the first time the town went before the board for project funding.
In 2018, the board approved $1.2 million in funding for the project. But no funds have been dispersed to date because the agreement required the town to contribute $1.2 million first.
The arts center will include a black box theater with programming by ArtsHerndon and NextStop Theatre Co.
Mason District Penny Gross urged the Town of Herndon to ensure the arts center is accessible to all, especially in a town with as much economic diversity as Herndon.
Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn also said he wanted to ensure the arts center and the overall project was an asset to the public.
Ashton said that the arts center will include programmable outdoor space and a public plaza. The council will determine an operating model for the arts center once groundbreaking begins, he said.
Photo via handout/Comstock
Monday, June 28
- Pride Social, Remembering Stonewall (6-9 p.m.) — Come join the party at Freddie’s Beach Bar in Arlington. With Pride month coming to an end, head over to Northern Virginia’s most popular LGBTQ+ bar for a name tag and some socializing. What’s more, June 28 marks the 52nd anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, so here’s a chance to pay respects with others.
Tuesday, June 29
- Hummingbirds In the Morning (6-9 a.m.) — Get up early, grab your camera and head to Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna for a golden light photography workshop. Snap photos of hummingbirds, butterflies, or anything else that catches your camera’s attention.
Wednesday, June 30
- Skate Your Heart Out (11 a.m.-10 p.m.) — Take a spin on the newly-opened Mosaic Skateland. This outdoor roller rink just opened earlier this month and will be so until mid-September. So, grab those roller skates (or rent a pair) and roll your way into some fun.
Thursday, July 1
- Fifty Years of Wolf Trap (8 p.m.) — Celebrate five decades of Wolf Trap, the historic outdoor performance arts venue, with opening night performances from Grammy Award winner Cynthia Erivo and internationally-acclaimed soprano Christine Goerke. All of this will be accompanied by the National Symphony Orchestra.
- Footloose (7:30 p.m.) — Put on those dancing shoes and go to Strawberry Park in the Mosaic District for an outdoor showing of the 1984 movie Footloose. Every Thursday night through Labor Day, a classic, family-friendly movie will be played outside in the park.
Friday, July 2
- Darn Good Country (4 p.m.) — Music festivals are back after a year off, and Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville is hosting a “Darn Good Country Weekend.” Headliners include Chase Rice, Dustin Lynch, and more.
Saturday, July 3
- City of Fairfax’s Independence Day Celebration (10 a.m.) — After missing out last year, many local jurisdictions are back to in-person July 4 celebrations this year. The City of Fairfax will commemorate the holiday on both July 3 and July 4 this year with a parade and marching bands on Saturday and fireworks on Sunday.
Sunday, July 4
- Great Falls July 4th (8 a.m.) — Spend all of the Fourth in Great Falls for their celebration. There will be a blood drive, a kids parade, a main parade, a festival, and fireworks at night.
- Firecracker 5k (8 a.m.) — Before chowing down, get some exercise on the Fourth with a 5k at Reston Town Center.
- Herndon Fireworks (9:30 p.m.) — Look to the sky at Bready Park for a firework celebration hosted by the Town of Herndon. Free admission and parking, though there will be no concessions or other entertainment this year.
Station House, a new infill development on Jefferson Street in Downtown Herndon, is finally nearing completion.
The applicant, Doll Homes, is proposing to construct the final two single-family homes on the property. The first home, which is roughly 4,500 square feet, will be located on 647 Jefferson Street, and the second home, which is 5,1010 square feet, is located at 649 Jefferson Street.
Homes in the new development start in the mid-$800,000s.
The Town of Herndon’s Historic District Review Board will consider the application at a meeting tonight. The town’s staff formally withheld a recommendation on the final approval of the property due to pending information needed from the applicant, including whether the homes are intended to follow a bungalow-type house.
“Staff is withholding its recommendation at this time given the additional information that is necessary,” according to a Jan. 6 memo.
In an Oct. 1 letter to the town, the developer wrote that the design of the development is intended to match with the area.
“Overall, we are confident that the design and superior products used to construct this home will accomplish our efforts to provide a new home that not only complements the surrounding structures but helps to preserve the predominant architectural character of the Downtown Heritage Preservation District,” the company wrote.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m.
Photo via Doll Homes
The Town of Herndon has officially closed on its transfer of 4.7 acres of town-owned land to Comstock Holding Companies, a move that sets the redevelopment of downtown Herndon into motion.
The public-private partnership between the town of Comstock will create “the centerpiece of Herndon’s revitalization plan for its historic downtown,” according to a recent press release.
“We are excited to have completed this important part of the process and look forward to redeveloping this key piece of downtown Herndon into a vibrant mixed-use development,” said Christopher Clemente, CEO of Comstock.
The mixed-use project was officially approved by the Herndon Historic District Review Board but had been delayed by nearly a year to a number of issues, including ongoing negotiations between the town and the real estate development company.
Once completed, the new mixed-use development, which is next to Herndon’s Old Town Hall, will include 273 residential apartments, 17,300 square feet of retail and cafe space, a new arts center, three public plazas, and a 726-space parking garage.
Herndon Mayor Lisa Merkel, who is ending her eight-year term this month, noted that the closing was the “culmination of years of careful planning.”
“Dynamic living spaces, retail, restaurants, the arts – all will come alive in downtown Herndon as a result of our collaboration with Comstock,” she said.
The town will pitch in $3.6 million over the course of the project while the company will be able to take advantage of $2.5 million in tax breaks through a recently established ordinance. The land was transferred at no-cost but under rules governed by a comprehensive agreement signed by both parties. The town will receive public amenities and infrastructure as part of the project.
Photo via Town of Herndon
After decades of discussion, proposals and delays, the town of Herndon has approved a final amendment to its comprehensive agreement with Comstock Holding Companies, Inc. to redevelop downtown.
On Tuesday night, the town council unanimously approved a resolution to amend the existing comprehensive agreement it entered into with Comstock in 2017.
“We are taking a leap of faith that this will inject into the downtown a needed sort of vibrancy that we all hope it is,” council member Cesar del Aguila said.
“But let’s be clear, there are no guarantees here. But I think we’ve done all the right things. The ballroom is rented, the orchestra is playing, now it’s time to see if we can dance.”
Elements of the initial agreement still include redeveloping town-owned land into a mixed-use project with 273 apartments and approximately 17,00 square feet of retail space. It also includes a 16,265-square-foot arts center and a parking garage with 726 spaces.
The amendment – which was presented to the council during a work session on Nov. 10 – establishes a variety of matters. Those items include a sunset date of Dec. 15 by which time the town and Comstock must close on Comstock’s purchase of the 4.675-acre property.
The amended agreement adjusts the date by which Comstock must have the project under construction to Dec. 31, 2021. However, Comstock does retain the right to pause the start of construction up to two years due to market conditions and other complications, including issues arising from COVID-19.
Also included in the amendment is an increase in the parent corporate guarantee by $5 million to $10 million to cover the arts center and the parking.
“The parent guarantee refers to Comstock’s parent corporation putting forth the guarantee of $10 million to cover this project were Comstock Herndon LLC to default,” town attorney Lesa Yeattes told the council.
“So, this is a key component of the amendment and gives the town much more safety than it had previously in the additional $5 million guarantee.”
The amendment also provides licenses to the town to continue utilizing the property following Comstock’s purchase for the existing art space and public shared parking.
It also provides priority recordation of a parking easement on the site that will act as insurance for 162 parking spaces for the town regardless of the loan on the property.
A final part of the amendment permits Herndon to refund a portion of property taxes for the area used for arts purposes. The amendment includes a 10-year tax refund to the arts district that is estimated at $1.9 million over that time, wherein the estimated tax return above refund would be $1,165,000.
“The town receives no tax benefit on this site currently,” town manager Bill Ashton said.
“And the town will not receive any benefit as long as the town owns the property. Only when it is redeveloped will the town ever see any of this tax benefit.”
As a part of the amendment, the town council will vote to appropriate funds required prior to closing during its December public session.
“Bringing this project to fruition has been a priority for me and for the town council,” Mayor Lisa Merkel said in a press release.
“This adopted amendment establishes specific parameters by which we are moving forward. We greatly appreciate Comstock’s collaborative spirit as well as the many town citizens and business owners who continue to advocate for this transformative, energizing redevelopment project. Herndon’s bright future is now!”
Image via Comstock
The Herndon Town Council met Tuesday night in a work session to discuss downtown redevelopment.
The council discussed a proposed amendment to the existing comprehensive agreement with Comstock Herndon Venture, LC, from 2017.
The redevelopment was first proposed in the 1980s and a handful of proposals over the years were heard for the project, but none materialized.
In the Nov. 10 work session, town manager Bill Ashton and town attorney Lesa Yeatts laid out issues that have delayed the redevelopment project and detailed proposed amendments to the comprehensive agreement the town has with Comstock.
When finished, Comstock will develop the area into a mixed-use neighborhood. It will include 273 apartments, a 787-space parking garage, 18,000-square-foot arts center and 17,000 square feet of retail space.
Ashton pointed to a variety of issues that have caused delays because of economic pressures. Among those, he specified rising commodity and labor prices as a result of a thriving construction market in Metro DC since 2017. He also cited COVID-19 economic pressures that included commodity issues when mills were closed down.
He also recognized a reenergized interest from the community and its “palpable frustration” that was shared by the council about the delays in the redevelopment.
“They were certainly well founded, but it was out of the fact that we couldn’t just rush into development when we had these economic pressures sitting out there,” Ashton said.
Yeatts presented to the council members a variety of amendments to the comprehensive agreement with Comstock to address issues and other concerns.
The existing agreement has the town contributing land with an assessed value of roughly $10 million, and $3.6 million cash that is broken into two categories, according to Ashton. The first category for the cash value is $2.2 million to be utilized for the project.
The remaining $1.4 million is to be used in a series of allowances that will allow the town to take care of its obligations prior to releasing the property. Those obligations include environmental remediation, transitional downtown parking, transitional art space relocation and box culvert repair for the storm water management feature.
According to a presentation from Yeatts and Ashton, the changes to the existing agreement include:
- Establishing the closing date on the property on or before Dec. 15, 2020.
- Permitting the satisfaction of certain conditions precedent subsequent to the conveyance.
- Requiring town appropriation prior to closing.
- Adjusting the outside satisfaction date by which Comstock must have the project under construction to Dec. 31, 2021.
- Extending certain rights of Comstock to pause the commencement of construction (up to 24 months) due to market conditions and other matters, including delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Increasing the parent guarantee by an additional 5 million to 10 million to cover the arts center and the parking.
- Priority recordation of a parking easement on the site for a minimum of 162 spaces.
“These financial economic stresses led us, both parties, to feel that negotiation of an amendment to the existing agreement between us would really improve our situation,” Yeatts said.
She highlighted the priority recordation of a parking easement as a significant “concession on the part of our partner in this agreement.” This amendment will ensure that Herndon will receive 162 parking spaces regardless of the loan on the property.
Ashton detailed potential economic development incentives to “help at least close the gap on some of the elements cost that have gone up on our components.” Those incentives amount to a total fee reduction of $2.35 million for water, sewer and building permits.
He also listed a 10-year tax refund to the arts district with an estimated value of $1.9 million over that time, wherein the estimated tax return above refund would be $1,165,000. At this time, the town does not receive tax benefit on the site and will not as long as the town owns the property, Ashton explained.
Ashton also broke down the town’s return on its investment of the project. He totaled Herndon’s investment at $15,950,000 while looking at a return of $16,637,000. The public parking to be returned will be worth an estimated $9,537,000, the arts center shell $2.25 million, and public improvements worth $3.5 million. Comstock will also take care of the town’s responsibility for temporary parking, temporary arts center and the environmental cleanup that combines for an estimated $1.35 million.
To keep on schedule, Ashton told the council that it would be looking for an adoption of this amendment in November to allow for appropriation of funds in December.
“I think this amendment, if anything, has enhanced the deal,” Ashton said.
The town council will vote on this amendment at a public session on Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. Mayor Lisa Merkel has asked the council and Yeatts for public comment on this project to be the first item discussed during the meeting.
Image via Comstock
The Town of Herndon and Comstock Companies are set to close on the redevelopment of downtown Herndon on Dec. 15, bringing a long-anticipated project mired by nearly a year of delays to fruition.
In a memo to the Herndon Town Council, which will discuss the matter on a Nov. 10 work session, staff attributed delays to a “significant rise in labor and material costs” in the DC construction market since 2016, an issue that was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This week is a lesson in patience for Americans…. and for Herndon patience is paying off,” said Mayor Lisa Merkel, whose eight-year time as mayor has revolved around the redevelopment project.
The Town of Herndon will sell 4.7 acres of town-owned land for $10 million to Comstock, which will develop the area into a mixed-use neighborhood with 273 apartments, a 787-space parking garage, an 18,000-square-foot arts center, and 17,000 square feet of retail space. The town purchased the land for $5.8 million and will pitch an additional $3.6 million for the project to cover the following:
- Environmental remediation: $500,000
- Transitional public parking: $500,000
- Arts center relocation: $250,000
- Culvert repair: $100,000
The Herndon Town Council will consider the matter at a work session on Nov. 10.
To close, both parties negotiated a new comprehensive agreement that was finalized after months of deliberation and few answers on why the project was stalled. The previous agreement was signed by the town in 2017. The council will vote on the proposed agreement.
“In the interest of the continued forward movement of the project the Town and Comstock now desire to amend the Comprehensive Agreement in order to better address the changes in the market, unforeseen effects of COVID-19 and to provide both parties maximum advantage,” the memo states.
Per the agreement, Comstock must begin construction of the project by Dec. 31 of 2021 after a closing date of Dec. 15. The company will also pitch in $10 million instead of $5 million to cover costs associated with the arts center and parking. Among other changes, appropriation for the project will be required before closing and Comstock will be allowed to pause construction due to market conditions and other delays caused by the pandemic.
Additionally, Comstock will receive several tax breaks, which were recently established by the Herndon Town Council.
The company will have to pay $2.5 million less in fees for water, sewer, and building permits than typically allowed. At the time, the town declined to indicate if the recently-passed tax rebates were designed for the redevelopment project in downtown Herndon.
So far, the town says that it’s very confident the agreement will result in a big return for the town.
“All together the financial investment plus development incentives for the project are approximately $16 million and the town anticipates the value of its capital return on the project to be over $16.6 million,” according to a memo by town manager Bill Ashton and town attorney Lesa Yeatts.
Image via Comstock
The redevelopment of downtown Herndon into a mixed-use project by real estate developer Comstock and the Town of Herndon is set to transform a portion of the downtown area.
But as some buildings long vacated by property owners sit in suburban malaise, the Town of Herndon is considering more ways to further revitalize the area.
At a meeting Tuesday night, the Herndon Town Council discussed a plan to create tax incentives for specific areas in downtown Herndon by creating a new zoning term — art-focused redevelopment — that would entitle some developers and property owners to economic incentives like tax rebates for up to a decade and reduced water availability fees.
In order to qualify as an arts-focused redevelopment project, the project must be located in the town’s Planned Development Traditional Downtown zoning district, which is depicted in the map below.
In response to questions about the financial implications of the policy, town manager Bill Ashton clarified that the incentive program creates an additional tool for the town’s toolbox to encourage economic development.
“We will end up no worse than where we are,” Ashton told the council last night.
He says that new property owners in the area have expressed interest in redevelopment but need additional incentives to proceed with new projects.
“It is difficult to activate them because the incentives aren’t there for redevelopment,” Ashton said.
In some cases, properties in the area have long sat vacant. The Ice House Cafe and Bar in downtown Herndon has been closed since late 2018, for example.
Councilmember Cesar del Aguila pressed staff for more clarity on how the policy would secure the town’s financial position.
Town Attorney Lisa Yeatts noted that the policy would result in “long-term gain” for the town.
Ashton added that it is difficult to determine the extent of the payoff because the answer depends on interest in the program as well as the type of projects suggested.
The Herndon Town Council is expected to vote on the proposal at a meeting next week.
Image via handout/Town of Herndon
The Herndon Town Council is considering a move to create new incentives for art-focused redevelopment projects.
The language of the proposal applies to projects in downtown Herndon, but a town spokesperson did not indicate how the plan applies to the stalled redevelopment of downtown Herndon, which is a joint effort between the town and Reston-based company Comstock.
Economic incentives include:
- A 50-percent reduction in fees for water, sewer and building permits in the initial establishment of the project
- An annual rebate of up to 100 percent of real property taxes linked to the total. Redevelopment project for taxes due to the town for up to a decade.
- Exceptions that allow a reduced number of parking spaces required for multi-family residential use
- Deferral of developer contribution for recreational amenities
“These amendments create additional opportunities to expand the type, quantity and quality of. Art offerings to town residents and increase the town’s presence as a destination for art activities,” according to an Oct. 20 staff report.
It’s unclear how the incentives will be applied to the redevelopment project in downtown Herndon. A town spokesperson did not provide comment by the publication deadline.
The $85 million redevelopment project, which includes a new arts center, would transform nearly 4.7 acres of land in downtown Herndon into a vibrant mixed-use district.
A meeting on the matter is set to take place today (Tuesday) at 7 p.m.
Image via handout/Comstock
But more than a year later, residents and local elected officials are still awaiting the long-anticipated groundbreaking of the $85 million redevelopment project, which would transform nearly 4.7 acres of land in downtown Herndon into a vibrant mixed-use district.
Both parties have not yet closed on a deal to begin the project. In recent public statements, details explaining reasons for the delays have been scant.
“It is incredibly frustrating to not be able to share information,” wrote Town of Herndon Mayor Lisa Merkel on social media. “To maintain the town’s negotiation power and protect our taxpayers’ interest, we must remain silent until the deal is closed.”
Merkel said she feels “very confident” in the success of the project.
Town officials noted that a formal groundbreaking date has been anticipated but was never formally scheduled.
“We on Town Council all wish we could say more but we can’t,” wrote Signe Friedrichs in a social media statement.
At a town council meeting on Oct. 13, Town of Herndon resident Donielle Scherff expressed strong support for the project. Scherff manages a Facebook group with more than 500 members dedicated to the redevelopment project.
“There is more than a little frustration that our public/private partnership has yet to break ground,” Scherff said. “And I will echo the previous speaker that we crave more information.”
Residents saw some activity in the area when signage offering a peek into the project went up on a fence in front of the former Subaru dealership on 770 Elden Street in May.
The project includes 273 residential units, a new arts center, public space, an eight-level parking garage, and 18,000 square feet of boutique, restaurant, and retail space.
Photo via handout/Comstock
Officials from the Town of Herndon and Comstock have declined to disclose information on why the development of downtown Herndon has been delayed from its expected groundbreaking late last year.
In a statement posted on social media yesterday (Monday), Town of Herndon Mayor Lisa Merkel offered some insights on what has led to delays. She pointed to market conditions and COVID-19 as reasons that have led to delays.
Comstock and the Town of Herndon have not yet closed on the project. The town’s manager, the town’s attorney and Merkel met with Comstock’s senior staff, including its CEO Chris Clemente late last week to “address a number of outstanding items required prior to closing,” Merkel said.
Both parties are working on strategies to address the pending issues, Merkel said.
She also added that Clemente and his staff stressed their commitment to “expeditiously” move forward with the redevelopment project.
“Both Comstock and the Town are committed to this project and my personal goal as your major is to see these actions completed during this calendar year,” Merkel said.
A promotional website and banner offer a tease regarding what’s to come on the site, which will include 273 apartments, 17,00 square feet of retail, and arts center, and a 787-space parking garage. The $85 million project is a joint venture between the town and Comstock.
More information is expected next month.
Photo via Comstock