It appears unlikely, virtually impossible, that Comstock could break ground on the Herndon Redevelopment Project before summer starts. A groundbreaking date was first anticipated in late 2019 with project completion possibly in 2021.
The Jan. 25, 2022, e-newsletter, On Board, the Town of Herndon's official bi-monthly communication, said, "Comstock anticipates a groundbreaking in the spring. News on the relocation of Arts Herndon and the temporary relocation of downtown parking will be announced shortly; bookmark the town's website for updates.”
There are no updates.
What do William ("Bill") Ashton, town manager of the Town of Herndon, and members of the Town Council, have to say on the redevelopment project of 4.675 acres of land in historic downtown Herndon? It has been four-an-a-half years since November 2017 when the Town of Herndon and Comstock Herndon Venture LC entered into a Comprehensive Agreement, a public-private partnership. Herndon and Comstock's "intent" was to develop and construct the project.
"Once we have a better understanding of the pathway forward, we will work with Comstock to publish an updated project schedule," Ashton said.
On Nov. 11, 2017, when then-Mayor Lisa Merkle, Town of Herndon, and Christopher Clemente, chairman and CEO of Comstock Holding Companies, Inc., signed the agreement, a construction start date of possibly late 2019 was a hope, not a guarantee.
"Negotiations are not continuing. They were concluded initially in November 2017, when the Town Council adopted the Comprehensive Agreement," said Ashton. "We renegotiated some changes to the original agreement in October 2020, and the Council adopted these changes as part of the amended Comprehensive Agreement. This concluded negotiations and began the process of the town working with Comstock as partners under the Virginia Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act."
According to Ashton, planning is completed, and the site plan, Heritage District Review Board Certificates of Approval, and building permits are approved
As early winter 2020 came into focus, the global pandemic threatened. It spun a possible announcement of the construction start date off course for the Herndon Redevelopment Project, as it did for other construction projects globally. The reality of millions of lives lost and the suffering, disruptions, and loss of livelihoods in the last two years has been traumatic. Supply chain issues, cost increases, and labor shortages continue to challenge the construction industry.
According to Ashton, in December 2021, Comstock requested and was granted a four-month extension administratively to the Outside Satisfaction Date to address requirements for the transitional public-shared parking for use by the public during the construction of the project and the temporary relocation of Arts Herndon. Ashton said that Comstock, in collaboration with the town, was successful in securing two locations for transitional public-shared parking. One site will be at 681 Spring Street, which was once occupied by Robert's Carpet, and the other at 655 Spring Street, the El Calvario Pentecostal Church.
"The relocation plan is for Arts Herndon to be relocated to 397 Herndon Parkway, where renovation is underway," said Ashton. "The timing of the move is subject to a revised project construction schedule, which has not yet been published."
Ashton did not provide further comment, nor is there a Project update on the Town website or OnBoard. Members of the Herndon Town Council and Comstock did not reply to requests for comment.
Herndon Downtown Redevelopment Public-Private Partnership
4.675 Acres for Mixed-Use Development.
Nov. 11, 2017, Comprehensive Agreement (Agreement): The Town of Herndon (Herndon) and Comstock Venture LC (Comstock) entered into the Comprehensive Agreement with the "intent" of Herndon and Comstock to develop and construct a redevelopment project on 4.765 acres of land (Property) in the historic downtown Herndon. It is a public-private partnership.
Nov. 17, 2020, Resolution (Resolution): Herndon Town Council unanimously approves a resolution amending the Agreement with Comstock to move the Project forward.
Dec. 3, 2020, effective date Amendment to the Comprehensive Agreement (Amendment): The Amendment permits closing on the property transfer from Herndon to Comstock before satisfying conditions in the Agreement. It establishes December 31, 2021, as the date by which Comstock must have the Project under construction. Comstock retains rights for up to 24 months to pause construction commencement due to market conditions or other matters, including delays because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dec. 15, 2020, Property Transfer: Herndon and Comstock close on the transfer of the Property for the Downtown Herndon Redevelopment Project.
Dec. 14, 2021, MOU with the County Resolution: The Town approves a Memorandum of Understanding between the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the Town of Herndon to accept a grant of $5 million for the Herndon Downtown Redevelopment Project's capital construction.
Jan. 25, 2022, e-newsletter, On Board, the town's official bi-monthly e-newsletter, says, "Comstock anticipates a groundbreaking in the spring. News on the relocation of Arts Herndon and the temporary relocation of downtown parking will be announced shortly; bookmark the town's website for updates.