Navigating the challenges that come with economic expansion
Fairfax County optimizes its real estate portfolio and creates public-private partnerships to foster economic development and develop affordable housing.
Uncovering hidden value to foster economic development, affordable housing and ensure a high quality of life for all residents
Fairfax Country, Virginia
Two public private partnerships
$2 million in operating savings
Home to Federal agency headquarters, several Fortune 500 companies and some of the nation’s most affluent neighborhoods, Fairfax County, Virginia, is considered a desirable, livable community. The county, however, is also home to an aging population and to some economically disadvantaged residents. Many are challenged by the county’s shortage of housing and rising home prices.
To rise to the occasion and serve all residents, county leaders use a suite of multiple tools to reduce cost, increase housing availability and increase quality of life. Fairfax County’s strategy: Uncover hidden value in real estate assets that had been under-utilized or under-performing, then capitalize on a better-balanced real estate portfolio.
The Virginia Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act brought multiple such opportunities. With the passage of the law, the county was able to create public-private partnerships (P3s) to improve public amenities and infrastructure; support transit-oriented development; and provide workforce, affordable and senior housing in mixed-use communities where residents want to live—all while optimally leveraging existing resources.
For example, the county helped bring Reston Station, a mixed-use, transit-oriented development, to fruition, tapping JLL for assistance negotiating bids, contracts and favorable financial structures. Subsequently, the county-owned land along the Washington Metro’s new Silver Line rose in value by $40 million, more than anyone thought possible. Leveraging high land values for the benefit of its residents, the county has also been able to make a series of game-changing projects a reality, including improving senior housing availability and making it possible for a local university to develop student housing and affordable housing, via innovative ground lease financial structures.
The county also made the Residences at Government Center possible, by tapping JLL’s intricate knowledge of development, tax credits, potential subsidies, and tax-exempt bond financing and structuring. The development increased ground rent to the county, while providing affordable housing options. Additionally, a deep dive into the county’s leases also helped identify opportunities to achieve more economical use of more than 1 million square feet of leased space.
Today, Fairfax County’s public lands and buildings are active contributors to a vibrant community. New value from the county’s previously underutilized real estate has helped the county save more than $2 million, capital that can be otherwise deployed to help residents in need and ensure quality of life for all.