Editor's Note: This story will be updated later with more information
A Manassas-based company is offering the city of Manassas Park outright ownership of a two-story building plus $4 million in change for land the city owns behind the City Center development on Manassas Drive.
The proposed deal was discussed during a marathon of public hearings Tuesday on matters ranging from a $24 million proposed development to the height of private fences in the city.
All in all, six public hearings were held during the meeting, which was just shy of four hours long.
The first hearing concerned city staff recommendation for council to accept a to build an office building and a parking garage on city-owned land behind City Center. The building would be one of many steps the city wants to take toward developing a downtown area for Manassas Park.
EPI Partners' offer is known as a Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002 (PPEA) Proposal.
According the EPI’s proposal which was received in November and amended in June, the company would give—free of charge—the EPI-owned RPC office building on Railroad Drive and Manassas Drive to the city for its use as a new city hall, plus $4 million in cash.
In exchange, the city would sell the 40 acres of land behind City Center to EPI so the company can build a new, minimum 20,000 square feet office building, that would be home to EPI Partners and other tenants, including those who are currently in the RPC building.
The city also has the option of moving into the new building instead of the RPC building, currently the home of Railroad Dental Associates. Instead of selling the 40 acres to EPI, the city could just "swap" land in exchange for the RPC building, city officials said.
EPI wants to begin building the new structure immediately, city attorney Dean Crowhurst told the body Tuesday.
The city did received a solicited proposal from a second company, Castle Rock, for the PPEA project, but city staff favored EPI’s proposal.
Castle Rock’s proposal relied heavily on apartment complexes downtown and that’s not what the city is looking for, Crowhurst told council.
Council will vote whether to accept the proposal from EPI on July 31.
On Aug. 25, council will vote whether to instruct staff to negotiate an interim, “place holder” agreement with EPI while a permanent one can be worked out, City Manager James “Jim” Zumwalt said Tuesday.
A PPEA agreement can be thought of as a “marriage” of sorts, as it is an agreement between public and private entities that will be working together on long-term contracts, Zumwalt told council. A PPEA agreement bypasses the need for the city to pick what companies it will work with in each phase of the long-term project, Zumwalt added.
A PPEA agreement was used by the city during the construction and development of the, Zumwalt said.
James Shade, owner of was the only resident that spoke during the public hearing. His gut feeling tells him the project is, “probably a disaster,” Shade said.
He likes certain elements of the proposal, but wonders if it will generate any cash for the city and what it will cost in the long run, Shade added.
Toward the end of Tuesday’s meeting, Councilman Suhas Naddoni expressed reservations about giving or selling the property to EPI Partners for a small amount of money. The city’s land is valuable and he wants the best price for it, Naddoni said.
If the city does sell the land to EPI Partners, then the company will probably subtract the amount it paid for the land from the $4 million it is agreeing to give the city in the deal, Dr. Talal “TJ” Hassan, a member of EPI Partners said in an interview Thursday.
EPI Partners is a partnership of local real estate developers and management, construction expertise, and engineering prowess, according to a written statement from Hassan.
EMSI Engineering, Inc., managed by CEO, Dr. Ranya Seoud, will provide construction management, general contracting, engineering, surveying and testing services for the proposed project in Manassas Park.
JSC Concrete, headed by Frank Barros, will provide concrete construction work. Forum International, Inc. is a full-service architectural firm managed by Michael Abdo and Gabriela Condrut which will provide all of the architectural designs for the new facilities and urban planning work for the public spaces within Manassas Park, according to the statement.
If built city officials will control what the proposed building will look like, Hassan said.