Brian Fauls, Government Affairs Manager, Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce
Loudoun County has been pursuing economic development initiatives to attract employment and thus reduce the county’s reliance on the real estate taxes paid by homeowners, to pay for county services, for years. The Silver Line Metrorail is a key part of that plan.
According to a Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority study, fully 28% of Washington region’s tax base – representing $3.1 billion in property tax revenues – is generated from just 4% of region’s land area, which is located within a half mile of a Metro station. Metrorail also is proven to raise property values. According to the same study, a Metro station can increase the value of a home by nearly 7% and commercial property by 9%, when those properties are located within a half mile radius of a station.
Those number will only go up as more and more Milennials and baby boomers ditch their spread-out suburban living, built around the car, for “walkable urban places“, built around transit. The suburbs will never go away nor will the car but tomorrow’s generation is clearly trending back towards city living; or as near as we can get here in Loudoun County, the town center life.
These are the facts. So, say you’re a Loudoun County planning official. Say a property owner had a piece of property within roughly half to three quarters of a mile of one of Loudoun’s Metro Stations. Say this person said I can either use this property as a rock quarry or develop it into a town center with roughly 4 million square feet of commercial space, including two hotels, a host of Class A office and flex industrial, a 54-acre lake and 2,464 residential units (2,110 multifamily and 354 townhomes). Which would you choose? Well, according to the Washington Business Journal, Loudoun County planning officials were presented with precisely this choice; their decision may surprise you.