.

Manassas Park Could Gain $4 Million, New City Hall in Property Deal

Manassas Park City Council heard more about a proposal that could result in $4 million and a free office building or office space for city business. In exchange, the city would either sell or give the developer 40 acres of land for the building.

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. 

MP Resident 09 July 20, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Can you be more specific on where these 40 acres are? I don't see anywhere near 40 acres being available around City Center. Thank you!
Jamie M. Rogers (Editor) July 20, 2012 at 02:44 AM
I believe it is the parcel directly behind City Center. Near New Dominion school and The Conner House. I'll double check though.
Isaac Cohen July 20, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Lets hope they make the public aware of what the value of the land is.
Isaac Cohen July 20, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Just feeling a little uncomforable about this
Jamie M. Rogers (Editor) July 20, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Hi Issac, the assessed value of a property can be easily found online or through the tax assessors office. Hope this helps.
Suhas Naddoni July 26, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Jamie, unfortunately, the assessment value of city owned land is not easily found online. Based on the previous assessor Richard Sanderson, regarding land assessments for various properties in the vicinity of Park Center, "Assessed values for vacant land that is zoned for mixed use or B-2 is valued in the range of $14 to $18 per square foot of land area. I-1 zoned land in this vicinity is generally valued between $8 and $12 per square foot of land area". "The 2012 assessment of Parcel A-1(2.344 ac, 102,098 sf) is $1,633,400 and Parcel B(5.6 ac, 242,455 sf) is $3,882,100". EPI Properties has offered to purchase these two parcels at $1 per square foot, which in my opinion is way too less. I am very concerned that in order to attract development to the City, the other members of the Governing Body may accept such a low offer for valuable City land.
MPSince03 July 26, 2012 at 02:02 PM
I assume that's a typo, it's not a $1 a sq foot, it's more like $11.50 per sq foot, right? So a price of $5.5M is more in line with assessment values. Based on this, there is zero percent chance I would take an offer for $4M. We have enough short sales in the city that we don't need to do the same with our city owned land.
Jamie M. Rogers (Editor) July 26, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Hey Suhas! thanks for your comment! Based on a conversation I had with Mr. Sanderson just before he left, I certainly thought those assessments could be found online. They aren't on the Internet at all, or are they just hard to locate?
Suhas Naddoni July 26, 2012 at 10:18 PM
No, that is not a typo. The purchase price as advertised in the public hearing is "Three Hundred Fifty-Four Thousand Two Hundred Eight-Three Dollars ($354,283.00)".
Suhas Naddoni July 26, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Jamie, I was not able to locate the assessments for these specific parcels because they didn't have a postal address. I have not tried looking for all other City owned properties.
Bloomie July 27, 2012 at 01:59 AM
I hope they get an independent inspection and an estimate on what it would cost to renovate/retrofit the Railroad building, in addition to some accurate appraisals for the land and building before they agree to anything. The east side of the building looks like it needs some work. Then again it might be less painful to pay your water bill from a dental chair!
MPSince03 July 27, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Sorry, the figure was so outrageous it seemed like a typo, thanks for the clarification.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »