Taylor Thornley Keeney 804-225-4260
July 3, 2013
GOV. MCDONNELL ANNOUNCES POTENTIAL DEVELOPMENT OF AIR RIGHTS OVER TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA
Potential Projects Would Create Multi-Use Developments While Generating Additional Revenue for Transportation Improvements
RICHMOND - Gov. Bob McDonnell today announced that the Office of Transportation Public-Private Partnerships (OTP3), in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), is seeking innovative new ideas from the private sector for the potential development of air rights above I-66 at the East Falls Church Metro Station and at the Rosslyn Metro Station areas in Arlington County. The projects - which are being pursued in coordination with VDOT, the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT), the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), and Arlington County - focus on the potential development of mixed use facilities above I-66 to generate additional revenues for transportation improvements.
Speaking about today's announcement, Gov. McDonnell said, "As governor, one of my primary goals has been to ensure that our transportation agencies utilize every innovative method to better leverage and maximize our existing resources. By leasing airspace above certain transportation facilities owned by the commonwealth, we can better utilize our existing infrastructure to generate additional revenues to fund future transportation improvements, while at the same time attracting new jobs and economic development. Additionally, by co-locating these potential developments around existing Metro stations and other major transportation facilities, we can reduce congestion and create more livable communities."
The Request for Information (RFI) seeks to gather feedback and other information from the private sector on the feasibility and types of development that may be possible at East Falls Church and Rosslyn Metro Station areas. Following responses from the private sector, OTP3, VDOT, and DRPT will work with Arlington County and WMATA to ensure that the projects meet all applicable adopted County plans, policies and zoning requirements and then issue a Request for Proposals later this fall.
Air rights development projects have proven a successful revenue generator in other parts of the United States. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation, for example, generated $40 million in FY 2011 through leases, with long-term lease income projected at $868 million. Further, earlier this year MassDOT awarded a contract for an additional air rights project through a 99-year lease that will generate $18.5 million (net present value) in rental payments.
"Virginia has long been a leader in partnering with the private sector to advance innovative solutions to our transportation infrastructure needs," said Secretary of Transportation Sean T. Connaughton. "The potential development of these air rights presents a unique opportunity to attract additional private sector investment to the Commonwealth and better utilize our existing assets to fund future transportation projects."
Arlington County is currently undertaking a review of the Rosslyn Sector Plan. As part of that process, development over I-66 in the northern and eastern edges of the Rosslyn Metro Station area can be evaluated. While there are no existing mixed-use development rights over the I-66 right-of-way at either Rosslyn or the East Falls Church Metro Station location, the East Falls Church Area Plan currently supports mixed use development on VDOT and WMATA's property next to I-66.
Arlington County Board Chairman J. Walter Tejada emphasized, "It is important to involve our residents, businesses and developers in this conversation about air rights. We will ensure that any potential transit-orientated development using these air rights in Arlington County is consistent with our community's vision and is consistent with the County's land use and transportation plans."
For more information on the air rights projects, please visit www.virginiadot.org/airrights/.
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