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by Fatimah Waseem October 26, 2017 at 2:45 pm 11 Comments

The redevelopment of Herndon’s historic center moved forward Tuesday as local lawmakers passed an agreement that would transform nearly 4.7 acres of town-owned land into a mixed use development.

The seven-member Herndon Town Council unanimously approved a comprehensive agreement with Comstock Partners that lays out responsibilities of both parties. Comstock plans to bring 281 residential apartments, 17,600 square feet of retail space, an arts plaza and walkways, an 18,000-square-foot arts center and a 761-space parking garage to the center.

The public-private redevelopment deal states the town will pitch in $3.6 million to help with the redevelopment effort, including $500,000 for environmental remediation, $500,000 for transitional public parking, $250,000 for the relocation of the arts center, $100,000 for culvert repairs and up to $100,000 for any off-site easements. The town will also contribute land purchased for $5.8 million

In return, the developer will provide 339 public parking spaces in the garage, the arts center, an arts work and recreation proffer and $505,000 in proffer funds for town recreational services. The total value of the contributions is roughly $12 million, according to the town.

Construction, which is set to begin in early 2019, is expected to be complete by early 2021. With the green light from the council, the developer must begin designing the project. Once the design is complete, Comstock will submit a site plan to the town for approval and seek design approval from the town’s Heritage Preservation Committee — a process that could take one year.

The site on which the development would take place is north of Elden Street, east of Center Street, west of Station Street and south of the Washington & Old Dominion Trail. The space in question includes municipal parking lots and the home of ArtSpace, as well as the former Stohlman Subaru building on Elden Street.

As the development moves forward, the town plans to work with Comstock on a transitional parking plan. ArtSpace will be relocated off-site during construction of the project. The future of the Herndon Festival is unclear as the festival’s committee will evaluate options for relocation. During construction, parking will either continue to be located on-site or be transitioned to other locations in downtown Herndon. The town will work with Comstock on the transitional parking plan.

In a release, Mayor Lisa Merkel applauded the council’s decision as a major step forward in the redevelopment effort.

“After decades of discussion, vision and planning, the town is thrilled to be moving forward on a project that will revitalize our downtown and solidify Herndon’s position as a 21st century town where history and heritage are integrated into a thoroughly contemporary setting. We are grateful to the citizens, business owners and others with a stake in Herndon’s future who have dedicated so much time and energy to get us to this point, and we look forward to working with Comstock in bringing the town’s vision to reality.”

County officials project the purchase of the property will bring in roughly $300,000 per year from taxes and fees for licenses. The site is currently exempt from property taxes.

For more information about the plans, visit the town’s website.

Image courtesy of Anne Curtis

by Jennifer van der Kleut October 26, 2016 at 11:00 am 9 Comments

elden-street-wideningVirginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) officials will hold a public meeting Thursday to show its place for a proposed design for the widening of Elden Street between Monroe Street and the Fairfax County Parkway in Herndon.

Officials hope the project will reduce traffic congestion, improve safety and enhance access to and from the busy Fairfax County Parkway.

Planned improvements include widening East Elden Street (Route 606) from four lanes to six between Herndon Parkway and Fairfax County Parkway, as well as improving access management from Van Buren Street to Herndon Parkway.

Other planned improvements include a new raised median with streetscaping between Van Buren Street and Herndon Parkway, moving utilities between Monroe Street and Fairfax County Parkway underground, and replacing the culvert over Sugarland Run with a new bridge.

The proposed design also features accommodations for cyclists and pedestrians, including enhanced facilities like on-street bike lanes between Monroe Street and Herndon Parkway, and off-street bike lanes from east of Herndon Parkway to Fairfax County Parkway.

VDOT officials say they hope to have plans approved by the spring, though it could take a few years to receive authorization for right-of-way funding, and to advertise to potential construction companies for the job. All in all, construction could begin in the spring of 2022.

The total costs of the project, including preliminary engineering, right-of-way and construction, add up to just under $35 million.

Thursday’s meeting will take place at the Herndon Senior Center, located at 873 Grace St. The public is invited to drop by to view the plans and talk with officials anytime between 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Comments can also be sent to VDOT directly anytime before Nov. 28. by e-mailing [email protected] or by sending mail to Mr. Hamid Misaghian, P.E., Project Manager, Virginia Department of Transportation, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA, 22030.

View the East Elden Street Widening project page online for more information.

Image: VDOT/Google Maps

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