Fairfax County will invest $1.2 million in economic development money to build a new mixed use project in downtown Herndon that includes a signature arts center.
This is the largest investment to date from the $5 million fund that’s designed to stimulate economic growth in the county.
The Board of Supervisors approved a funding agreement with the Town of Herndon on June 19, 2018. The agreement details how the county’s funds will be spent on this public-private partnership project between the town and Comstock.
The project will create a town center with the 18,000-square foot arts center planned as the centerpiece for downtown Herndon. The three-building development plans include approximately 281 apartments, 17,600 square feet in ground floor retail and a 761-space parking garage.
“I am pleased that funding from the County’s Economic Development Support Fund will help make the Herndon Arts Center a reality,” said Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, who chairs the Fairfax County Economic Advisory Commission. “Activities around the arts create thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity in Fairfax County. The Herndon Arts Center will also contribute to the success of a redevelopment project that will significantly increase the tax base of the town and the county. Projects like the Herndon Arts Center also contribute to the county’s economic success by creating a community that will attract a 21st century workforce.”
County officials anticipate that its investment will be recouped in the first two years after the project is delivered. The new development is expected to generate up to $800,000 a year in new property and sales taxes revenues for the county, according to an independent economic analysis commissioned by the town.
Because the town owns the site for the future development, the 4.67-acre property is currently tax exempt. The new town center, however, would pay real estate taxes, as well as generate sales tax from the retail components.
Located at intersection of Elden Street and Center Streets, south of the W&OD Trail, the site was formerly home to a car dealership, and it currently serves as a municipal parking lot.
“Allocation of this grant funding to the town is a tangible, impactful demonstration of Fairfax County’s commitment to economic development in Herndon,” said Mayor Lisa Merkel. “Redevelopment of Herndon’s downtown creates a new and exciting destination at the county’s western edge, and we greatly appreciate the spirit of partnership symbolized by this grant.”
The county’s investment is leveraged by an additional $3.6 million in funding that the town will contribute towards the project’s construction. Under the agreement with the town, Fairfax County will not invest its money until Herndon first puts in a minimum $1.2 million of its own funding.
The county created its Economic Development Support Fund a year and half ago exactly for projects like this one. This fund is intended to invest one-time, seed money into projects that will create direct economic benefits to Fairfax County. This makes the fund different from traditional economic incentives that some governments offer to companies or developers.
The fund is intended to pay for capital development projects, buy property, or provide programming support for activities identified in the county’s strategic Economic Success Plan.
This plan calls for growing and diversifying the economy in part by encouraging more mixed use development and arts facilities and districts.
For more information on the county’s investment or the economic development fund, contact Scott Sizer, Office of the County Executive, at 703-324-2581.
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