Marketing materials depicting plans for Rivana at Innovation Station.

Supervisors have given the final OK to plans for a 2,719-home, mixed-use development near the Innovation Station Metrorail stop, envisioned as one of the largest such developments in Loudoun.

At the developer’s request they also scheduled a public hearing on to establish a Community Development Authority for the project. It would be a public body authorized to issue debt to finance building public infrastructure and facilities at the development.

The project, Rivana at Innovation Station, was first announced in April 2021 with plans to break ground in early 2022. However, it faced repeated delays in getting county approvals, including extensive work at the Planning Commission, and got a Board of Supervisors public hearing two years later, on April 12. The project includes almost 3.4 million square feet of nonresidential development, including 2.4 million square feet of office and a hotel with up to 450 rooms.

The developer also committed to offering 10% of the residential units with price controls, up to 272 units. All the homes in the development are apartments or townhouses, and all are planned to be rentals, although the developer has reserved the option to include up to 100 units for sale in the same area—or same building—as the hotel.

While overall supporting the project by the time of supervisors’ vote May 16, county planners continued to express concerns about the developer’s proposal to get credit for $12 million worth of capital contributions linked to the three park areas in the development. The county has no capital plans for those parks, no plans to accept those parks if the developer seeks to deed to them to the county, and disagrees with the developer’s assessment of their value—an assessment that only went up after the Board of Supervisors public hearing, a county staff report notes.

The Planning Commission’s recommendation to approve the project was based on a $7.8 million credit for only one of the parks.

The developer also sought and won another partial exemption, worth $8.1 million, to the usual contributions to offset the development’s traffic and transit impacts.

Unusually, supervisors, who have final approval authority over the development applications, have acted as cheerleaders for Rivana since before they saw the first application for it. County Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) and Supervisors Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles) and Sylvia R. Glass (D-Broad Run) appeared in a video advertisement for the project when it was first announced in 2021. Randall said she has been in meetings about the project since 2018.

That sentiment continued into the unanimous vote to approve the project on May 16. Glass said it would be “better than Reston Town Center.”

“This is a fantastic application before us today. I am thrilled to make the motion for approval of this development as revised, slated to be a world class-community, and will set up Loudoun for a more diverse economy and business tax base,” Glass said. “A lot of previous approvals have existed at this parcel and I hope the Rivana developers are able to pull this one off, because I know there’s a lot of interest in this site already.”

Letourneau said he wasn’t worried about the lingering issue of capital contributions.

“I think maybe in a different application that wasn’t of this significance, I would be more concerned about it, but I think when you look at the sum of everything that’s been offered to us, this is still a very good deal for the county,” he said.

“I don’t know when I’ve been so excited about voting for a project,” Randall said.

The land has been the site of several previous ambitious plans for development, including Dulles World Center and later The Hub. It was first rezoned to permit a high-density research and development park in the late 1980s. It was revived as the Dulles World Center in 2012, a project that included 1,265 homes and 1.75 million square feet of office. In 2018, plans were changed again when the county approved The Hub for the same number of homes with 250,000 square feet of office.

Rivana at Innovation Station increases the number of homes by 114% and reduces the non-residential development by 20%, county staff noted.

The same night, supervisors also voted to hold a June 14 public hearing on setting up a Community Development Authority at Rivana. Under state law those authorities are political subdivisions separate from the locality, which can issue bonds to finance public infrastructure. However, the locality—Loudoun County—is not required to back those bonds, so they wouldn’t affect the county’s credit rating.

According to a county staff report, funding public infrastructure like roads, parking and trails through a Community Development Authority would mean the developer doesn’t have to finance that construction, instead focusing their funds on private development. The bonds may be repaid through revenues collected by the authority at those public facilities or by a special real estate tax levied by the county on that property, up to 25 cents per $100 of assessed value.

Renss Greene is the deputy editor of Loudoun Now. He primarily covers Loudoun County government.

(4) comments

Ohneiser - Attorney - At - Law

Interesting how no mention of acreage comes along with 2700 plus homes nor any consideration of how many students will be generated by this exceptionally high residential dense project will cause. Can anyone name the schools nearby this edge of the county that have excess capacity? Was their any BOS recusal from the unanimous vote due to campaign donations? Always curious how history of large high density projects seem to get approved just prior to BOS elections. The lack of transparency seems only overcome by the drive for staying in office in a county that the majority don't bother voting in local elections so why educate them on what these projects really cost over the lifetime of the project including schools, traffic, congestion, pollution, waste disposal and taxation. November is only 5 months away so perhaps we will see more "approvals". :-)


It's very nice that Rivana will have up to 272 residential units with "price controls." But something tells me most lower-income folks won't be able to afford these units despite the price controls. What price will be agreed upon? Inquiring minds want to know!


You got that one right.


It's telling that even though the board was cheering it on, it still took two years to go through all the planning and zoning foolishness to get approved. People wonder why housing is so expensive here? Time is money.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.