Metro releases 10-year strategic plan for development
Six NoVa stations have available acres for buildings
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which runs Metrorail and Metrobus, released its first-ever strategic plan for joint development on Thursday, announcing an ambitious initiative to bring in 26,000 new housing units in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
The document says that 40 Metro stations — including six in Northern Virginia — have more than 500 available acres that could lead to 31 million square feet of new multiuse development and yield $340 million in new annual tax revenue.
Northern Virginia stations with available space include: Braddock Road, Huntington and Van Dorn Street in Alexandria; East Falls Church and West Falls Church; and the Vienna/Fairfax station. West Falls Church has an existing joint development agreement with EYA LLC, Hoffman & Associates and Falls Church-based Rushmark Properties, which formed a partnership known as FGCP-Metro LLC, while Braddock Road and Huntington are expected to be under contract in the next 10 years.
The three remaining Virginia stations require additional planning for a variety of reasons, including property ownership divided between multiple parties, platform replacement costs and pending Virginia Department of Transportation plans.
At West Falls Church, plans include construction of townhouses between 2024 and 2026, pending the property sale and ground leases for the development’s first phase. In August 2021, WMATA signed an agreement with FGCP-Metro to build a 1 million-square-foot mixed-use development.
Metro notes that completed joint developments in Arlington County, Alexandria and Fairfax County are expected to bring in $49.3 million total in tax revenue this year, and it anticipates the localities will receive $1.089 billion in taxes over the next 30 years. The Metro system has partnered with private real estate developers since 1975, and as of this year, there are 55 projects either finished or under construction at 30 out of the 91 total stations.
Last year, Amazon.com Inc. announced a $2 billion Housing Equity Fund to preserve and create more than 20,000 affordable housing units in metro regions where it has a heavy presence, including Arlington. That fund will provide $125 million in below-market loans to developers working with WMATA to build more than 1,000 residences near transit in the D.C. area. So far, the e-tail giant has pledged to assist in developing apartments in Maryland.