Fairfax County has opened up Requests for Proposals (RFP) for developers interested in redeveloping the 16-acre, 181-unitnear Lake Anne.
Barbara Byron, director of the county's Office of Community Revitalization, says the county, which purchased Crescent as an affordable housing development in 2006, hopes redevelopment will spur revitalization around Lake Anne.
"We are looking for people who want to create high-quality, multifamily, pedestrian-friendly," she said at a community meeting at on Wednesday. "Foremost, we want to bring people to Lake Anne so retail and restaurants can thrive."
Both Byron and Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said a key part of the redevelopment would be preserving - or perhaps even adding to - existing affordable housing.
"This is the beginning of the effort we have talked about for the last five years," said Hudgins, referriing to Fairfax County's comprehensive plan for Lake Anne.
The comprehensive plan, formulated in 2009, recommends that developers consolidate the Lake Anne area, which the county looks at as five parcels: Crescent, Lake Anne Plaza's parking lot, an office building and the area around the former Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.
The plaza itself is not part of the RFP because of its historic designation.
However, Byron says that the even though the county "prefers consolidation," county will consider different developer scenarios that could mean parcels are not consolidated.
With consolidation, up to 935 units could be developed, said John Payne, Fairfax County's Deputy Director for Real Estate and Development. If only the Crescent is redeveloped, it will be for a maximum of 750 units. Redevelopment could also involve retail space and mixed-use space.
Redevelopment will not be a quick process, he added. The RFP, which begins Feb.9, will be in effect for 90 days. Then, the county will review proposals, make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors and commence the land use process. The typical time frame for a project like this is at least three to four years, Payne said.
It was a full house at RCC to hear the presentation on Wednesday. Many in attendance were Crescent and Lake Anne-area residents.
One Heron House resident said he witnessed redevelopment in two other states in which he previously lived - and was unimpressed with the results.
"It was like a beautifully paved ghost town," he said. "I have a vision of the parking lot here being a muddy hole for two years. What about the Farmers Market? I know the parking lot is ugly, but sell it and put buildings there? Sounds like insanity. I have visions of a developer coming here, getting rich and leaving us holding the bag."
Hudgins, who has lived in the area for 42 years, says revitalization is necessary.
"We have to figure out 'how do we keep a community here that can sustain them during and after development?' " she said. "I think we have a most dynamic place here in Lake Anne - and that place does not have a spark right now."
Key points of the RFP will include:
* To enahnce the objective of the comprehensive plan to bring more residents and daytime employees to Lake Anne, and to promote a vibrant community where residents can live, work and play.
* To create a development that complements the exisiting Lake Anne community.
* To create a development with high-quality site design, materials and open space.
* To replace the 181 affordable housing units with similar affordable units, and perhaps add additional affordable units.
* To enhance vehicular, pedestrian and bike connections throughout the Lake Anne area.
* To allow the county to retain ownership of the land through a long-term ground lease or consider a sale of all or some of the property at market value.
For more info on the Lake Anne Comprehensive Plan, click here.