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Votes

New Government Center Pays Off in the End

Construction savings come back to local coffers.

Public/private partnership paid off in a big way last week when a check for $1,037,306.24 was presented to Mount Vernon and Lee district supervisors Gerald W. Hyland and Dana Kauffman. The money represents the county's share of saving realized during construction of the South County Government Center (SCC).

Presented by Jon Hass, a partner in MDP Buckman LLC, the developer of the award-winning Center on Richmond Highway, it was heralded as an example of "tough-minded business practices and judicious management of the project."

Hass said, "MDP was delighted to have the opportunity to create the SCC for Fairfax County. This transaction was a win-win-win for the county, ourselves, and, most importantly, the citizens of the county."

Daryl Butcher, MDP's other partner, noted, "The SCC was designed and built to serve the county for the balance of this century." Encompassing a gross building area of 159,000 square feet, it has a net usable area of 135,000 square feet on approximately 8.8 acres at 8350 Richmond Highway.

SCC has been recognized as a smart-growth, public/private office building with medical, educational and conference center uses, as well as housing a variety of county service agencies. It includes a computerized Access Fairfax area, a senior day-care center, senior activities center, teen center, and an employment office and job placement center.

Hyland noted, "The construction of this building has added to our efforts to revitalize Route 1. It is a major plus for both the Mount Vernon and Lee districts."

Kauffman added, "This has been a true public/private venture that is saving the county millions of dollars."

IN ADDITION TO the saving represented by the ceremonial check, extra improvements costing approximately $383,696 were added to the original design at no additional cost to the county. Other benefits accruing to the county include the following:

*MDP's lease provides the county a 30-year, competitively priced fixed-rate rental rate, which is intended to save the county money over the long term. At the end of the term, the county can purchase the building and land outright for $1;

*It has served to stimulate additional economic development in the Richmond Highway corridor;

*It has created new jobs for local residents both during construction and on an ongoing basis. The latter is attributed to the "Jobs Center" located within the Center;

*MDP contributed $145,000 now being used to support the Facade Improvement Program sponsored by the Southeast Fairfax Development Corp.;

*MDP funded intersection improvements made at Mohawk Road and Richmond Highway with a traffic lane and bus pull-off lane at the front of the building. Other improvements were also made to Buckman Road, and a landscaped multipurpose walk was added to the front of the building to allow for safe pedestrian commuting.

THE SCC has won two awards. The National Association of Industrial and Office Properties Association presented the developers an Award for Merit for the Best Build-to-Suit office building over 150,000 square feet. The Community Appearance Alliance of Northern Virginia named the SCC on its 2002 Honor Award for appearance and added value to the community.