Reston Spring

Reston Spring
Reston Spring

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Tetra to cost another $1.2 MILLION for grounds work.

At last night's Lake House (Tetra) Working Group (LHWG) meeting, the working group members were told by RA's consultants Kimley-Horn that the work they planned to have done on the "exterior" (the grounds, not the building) would cost $1.2 million.  For those who don't recall, the official RA Pro Forma Financials put forth as part of last year's Voter's Guide had the cost at $9,000 (on top of the $250K for interior repairs--now at more than $600K).  So the new price tag for the exterior repairs & improvements is 133 times what RA told Restonians a year ago.  The original RA estimate isn't even within the rounding error.

The LHWG made it clear that they wanted nothing to do with the financial aspects of these repairs and improvements.  They argued those decisions needed to be made by the RA Board.  Yet, we can't help but note that the pricing offered last evening was on the repairs and renovations proposed by the LHWG.  Certainly the LHWG didn't expect them to be free, yet the LHWG included a substantial number of unnecessary bells and whistles.  The list of concerns and recommendations they discussed at their April meeting included:
• Increase green spaces
• Install native plantings, raingarden, butterfly garden 
• Add benches/seating areas
• Deck/dock 
• Active area closest to the “lake-side” of the building
• Add wayfinding signage
• Address existing pedestrian and lighting concerns
• Install guard railing to prevent parking on common areas
• Increase pedestrian and parking accessibility facilities
• Reduce impervious surfaces
The recommended exterior plan looks like this:

Kimley-Horn saw this work being completed in four phases:

1. Parking & access: the traffic circle at the entrance to the building. 
2. Site improvements: Grading, roads and walkways, stormwater management
3. Waterfront improvement: walkways, a dock, landscaping
4. Brown's Chapel Park improvements: grading, paving,, walkways ($47,000)
This prioritization was consistent with what the LHWG recommended at its April meeting when it ranked parking and guard rails at the top of its priority list.

The good news, if any, in this story is that the LHWG made it a point to note that the $1.2 million added cost should not be borne in RA member assessment fees.  The idea of some corporate sponsor ponying up the money was raised, but what corporation (most likely a high-density residential developer) would want their name tagged to the Tetra fiasco.  You can bet, however, that RA will press for developer proffers to help pay for these improvements.  Until then, most of this proposed work just may not get done.

And, BTW, the Lake House will be open on June 27.

Total anticipated cost for Tetra renovation so far, including the proposed grounds work:  $2.2 MILLION on a $2.65MM purchase that was double fair market value. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm a pain in the arse about some things, I know. I know. One of those things is the oft repeated reference to Comstock's contribution to Lake House. While the details of this corporate munificence are hard to find, what we know is that the initial contribution to RA (I believe it was $350,000) came with no strings attached. The RA board chose to allocate (some would say "divert") it to Lake House. The second contribution ($300,000) is even more obscure as it appears to be accompanied by granted to Comstock the right to name the Lake House. The point of this piece of recent history is that in addition to the $2.65 million loan, $650,000 of RA money has been put in the Lake House pot by RA, not a developer.

    The Lake House Working Group wisely recommends that additional costs for exterior work should not come from assessments. However, among possible sources of funding, developer proffers is mentioned. If, indeed, there will be proffers coming our way, the use of that money has to be put against RA's priorities to determine how it will best be used. It may well be that Lake House will be high on the list. Or not. Going forward, no one should be laying claim to a future proffer such that it is understood to be a given when the proffer materializes.


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