Herndon residents have a chance to get involved in the future of their town’s downtown.
Last month, two companies, The Stout & Teague Company and Comstock Development Services, LC, responded to the Town of Herndon’s Request for Proposals to redevelop 4.675 acres of land in historic downtown into “an attractive, mixed-use downtown.”
“The proposals represent very different visions of how our downtown should develop,” said Herndon Councilmember Jasbinder Singh, at the Town Council meeting on March 8.
“This will set the stage for the future of the Town, what it would look like, the financial implications for the Town,” he said.
“The proposals represent very different visions of how our downtown should develop. One represents, in my view, the small town feel that we approved as part of the Downtown Master Plan,” he said.
He asked Herndon residents to look at the proposals on the Town’s website, “persist” when perusing each proposal and come to an opinion.
“Make up your mind as to which one you like,” he said. “I hope you do and let the Town Council, the Town Manager, and everybody else know what your preference is. Upon it, depends the future of the Town.”
Mayor Lisa Merkel encouraged the same.
“If one of the projects does bubble to the top and become the one the Town Council and the residents think is the right choice, we hope we will be signing a contract by the end of the year,” said Merkel. “I think you will be excited about the possibilities.”
Discussion on the project will be ongoing throughout the summer and year.
“I encourage you to look through the projects,” she said. “They are two very different proposals but both are very thorough and I hope you will take the time to look through them and let us know what you think.”
THE TOWN’S VISION for the redevelopment calls for four-story (mixed-use/residential) and three-story (mixed-use/commercial) structures, a jointly funded public/private parking structure, and an 18,000-square-foot arts center, among other features.
The Town Council and an internal committee will select which proposals qualify for the second phase, a presentation to the public tentatively scheduled for June. The Council hopes to select the top proposal in July, and anticipates awarding a contract by the end of 2016.
The property is located within the town’s Heritage Preservation District and has been included in the National Register of Historic Places since 1991.
STOUT & TEAGUE has worked with the Town in planning for development at the Innovation Station on the Silver Line and revitalizing Herndon Commerce Center at 754 Elden Street.
“We look forward to working with town officials and community stakeholders on this game-changing project for downtown Herndon,” according to Stout & Teague’s proposal. “The project will fulfill the vision of the Downtown Master Plan and stimulate further downtown Herndon development.”
In its executive summary, some of the concepts presented by Stout & Teague include: a 31,000, three-story commercial building that incorporates the 18,000-square-foot arts center, 9,500 square feet of retail space and 3,500 square feet of office space; a 100-120-room, four-story hotel as the principal facade on Elden Street; 18-22 townhouses ranging from the upper $400,000s to upper $500,000s; a 60-unit condo building with views of the W&OD Trail and Town Green; and 450-to-475-car garage in the center of the site that will be screened by street-front uses.
Fairbrook Hotels and Tradition Homes LLC and Evergreene Homes have already pledged interest in working with Stout & Teague on the project.
Stout & Teague says it will fulfill the vision of the Downtown Master Plan “and will be a catalyst for further development in downtown Herndon by:
Providing an expanded and permanent home for the arts in downtown Herndon.
Expanding and permanently housing adequate public parking in a central and convenient location to serve the project and surrounding downtown businesses.
Bringing new retail/restaurant uses to reinforce the already established character of downtown Herndon as an entertainment and dining hub.
Bringing new residents, hotel guests, and businesses as customers for existing businesses both daytime and evening.
Improving the financial position of the Town by adding a significant increment of taxes from a property currently fully exempt and off the tax rolls.
COMSTOCK DEVELOPMENT SERVICES highlighted many of its past and ongoing projects around Reston and Herndon, including transit-oriented development at Reston Station and Loudoun Station, Dulles Town Center, RiverHouse Infill Development in Arlington and Bethesda Row in Bethesda, Md.
“The collaborative relationship and experience gained throughout the Reston Station and Loudoun Station development processes will be brought to the Herndon Downtown Redevelopment Project and will help ensure success,” according to its summary.
“The mix of retail, residential, and Arts Center uses are accessed by a small scale street framework. Direct access is provided from the W&OD Trail into the Arts Walk paseo, which leads into the two public plazas across from the Town Hall and along Elden Street. This offers a development that is nestled into the contextual fabric, enhancing the historic character and heritage of the Town of Herndon.”
Comstock’s proposal includes 280 residential units, an 18,000-square-foot arts center, 20,000 square feet of retail and approximately 770 parking spaces.
According to its executive summary, Comstock “envisions a mixed-use project that will be multifamily-focused, but will also address the Town’s parking and public amenity needs.”
“The project will include walkable outdoor space, designed to activate the streetscape and enhance connectivity. The design proposes a vital public realm that will encourage urban, outdoor activity while creating an authentic ‘place,’ framed by architecturally significant buildings,” according to Comstock.