A Rancid Land Deal

By Loudoun Insider

I wrote earlier about the smelliness of the former Islamic Saudi Academy land deal being secretly hashed out by the Board of Supervisors.    Leesburg Today partially awoke from its slumber and wrote an excellent editorial about itThe LTM says that the deal is almost done, but still no word at all on who the buyer is, and nothing in that article about the ridiculousness of the price or the process, just a rehashing of the Loudoun County official talking points.


Comments

  • David Dickinson says:

    That elected officials can sell public assets to an unnamed source without putting out a bid should be criminal.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    I think I agree with DD here. That is our property they are selling…

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    And as soon as it is back ON the tax rolls, we can begin collecting revenue on it again.

    Yes, it is our property. It is selling for more than was paid for it, per acre. If someone wants to approach with a better offer, they have the right.

    meanwhile, it sits, yes VERY valuable, untaxed.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    It’s less a tax issue than a transparency issue Barbara. Now, if someone could convince me the vaunted marketplace is at work here, I would feel a bit better about it…

  • Hillsboro says:

    ugggh. Here I was getting along splendidly with Barbara, then she has to come to the defense of yet another horrible land deal.

    As for the tax revenue, I’m sure that if these folks are well connected enough to swing this sweetheart deal with the BOS, they’ve already got the BOE on speed dial to get that assessment knocked down.

  • David Dickinson says:

    Yes, let’s get it on the tax rolls.

    Put out a bid for it and sel it over the next 6 months if you wish.

    There is NO justification for not putting it out to bid.

    It is within that 1/2 mile from a future Metro stop which was vaunted as some sort of economic nirvanha. If that is so, then why not see who will pay the most for it.

    In the worst case scenario, the one compnay that already has a bid on the table gets it at the price they bid.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    But guys… they are paying more than the county paid… come on!

  • edmundburkenator says:

    “It is within that 1/2 mile from a future Metro stop which was vaunted as some sort of economic nirvanha. If that is so, then why not see who will pay the most for it.”

    This is interesting.

  • Shiloh says:

    On the Loudoun County Metrorail Tax District Proposal maps, the former ISA site is just barely outside of the 1-mile tax district for the METRO station. It is firmly within the 2-mile tax district.

    As the crow flies, the former ISA site is approximately 1-1/4 miles from the 772 METRO station. (Measured with my handy little ruler.)

    As the car drives (according to Google maps), the ISA site is approximately 3.6 miles and 10 minutes from the METRO station (via Waxpool Road and Ashburn Village Blvd to Loudoun Station.)

    The fair market value of the entire 101.3 acre parcel of vacant land is $25,372,600. (This is the entire 101 acres. This sale excludes about 25 acres reserved by the County for a school.) The property was purchased by the county in 2004 for $13,500,000.

    The 71-acre property directly across the road from it is owned by Dupont Fabros under the name of Zebra Ventures. Dupont Fabros does develop data centers. (They may or may not be the buyer (under the name TRW #12, llc), however; other people develop data centers as well.) The fair market value (according to the county tax rolls) of this vacant land is $18,577,500.

    The 79-acre property slightly down the road (a little closer to METRO) from ISA is also owned by Dupont Fabros under the name Zebra Ventures. The fair market value of this land is given as $19,193,600.

    UUNet/MCI owns the other major (134 acre) parcel directly across the road from ISA but it has buildings on it, so it isn’t comparable; there is no fair market value given in the tax rolls for this property.

    The 9.9 acres of vacant land immediately adjacent to ISA is valued at $3,684,100.

    A 37.6 acre parcel (vacant land) about ¼ mile away if valued at $13,984,700.

    CAVEAT: These values were all given BEFORE the METRO vote. I would assume they have all substantially increased because of that vote but the increase has yet to be reflected in the tax assessments.

    Thought inquiring minds would like to know.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    Is there anything preventing anyone from coming forward with a better offer?

    Did the county solicit the deal, or was it brought to them?

    If it were secret, wouldn’t it be announced after the fact?

    It was purchased for “school sites”, which would still keep it off the rolls.

    Everything isn’t a conspiracy, or a crisis, or a crime.

    But it is nice to have diversions from the national morass on occasion.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    Thanks Shiloh.

    Since you have your fingers on the right site addresses, would you happen to know the owners of the 9.9 acres and the 37.6 acres?

  • David Dickinson says:

    Depending on where the final Metro stop is actually situated, the parcel is 2/3 of a mile away, right down Ashburn Village Blvd….prime Metro real estate.

    There is no reason wahtsoever to not advertise its sale and put it out to bid. The County could gain millions from a competitive sale.

    We should advertise its sale to developers across the nation.

  • David Dickinson says:

    PARID: 088-40-3678-000
    Tax Map #: /79//25////35B

    LOUDOUN COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
    21594 ASHBURN VILLAGE BLVD

    http://www.loudoun.gov/parceldatabase

  • David Dickinson says:

    Now that I look at that Service Tax District map a bit closer, which isn’t easy because I can’t find a high-res map anywhere, I see the “1-mile” district goes only about 1,000 feet to the north of the 772 station before continueing to the northeast.

    And, as Shiloh said, guess what parcel is just outside the 1-mile district a bit farther to the north.

    You guessed it, this one.

    Like that wasn’t planned in advance. Yeah, right.

    With Ashburn Village Blvd being the main artery to the 772 Metro station, this is one valuable property.

  • Shiloh says:

    EB – The vacant 9.9 acre site (9.95, to be precise) belongs to Loudoun LLC, c/o St. John Property, Inc. in Baltimore. The St. John Property return address is also on two adjacent parcels owned by other LLC names, both with what appears from aerial photography, to be data centers, warehouses, or perhaps a combination of offices/stores/warehouses. You can clearly see both cars and tractor trailers in the parking lots of these two sites.

    The 37.6 acre site (37.67, to be precise) belongs to Intergate Ashburn I, LLC, c/o Sabey Data Centers, Tukwila, Washington.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    This absolutely should have been advertised for sale. While the sale itself may be somewhat public, the secret buyer sure isn’t. I wonder how they may be connected to various supervisors and other Loudoun GOBGN VIPs???

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    Has anyone checked whether Economic Development has been marketing the site or any portion of it, and if so, for how long?

  • vacliff says:

    As I mentioned in an earlier thread, this parcel sits in the middle of “data center country”. There are several data centers, run by different companies, within a few miles of this site.
    If one of them approached the county about purchasing this land, why on earth would you simply agree to their price and sell it to them without putting it out to bid?
    It’s one thing if this would be a unique use for the land, but there are several competing companies nearby that might also be interested.
    I cannot think of a single reasonable reason not to see if these other companies are interested. It’s a no-lose situation to find out.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Thinking like that will get you kicked off the Government Reform Committee! See Barb’s defense to see how you’re supposed to respond. Maybe “How To Sell Land For Maximum Price” should be added to the GRC agenda.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    LI, suggest it to your supervisor. At the direction of the BoS is how it happens.

    Again, was ED marketing it, if so, for how long?

    This may be the result of a process begun before this BoS took office.

    The process can certainly be changed–but again, direction of the BoS.

  • Independent Voter says:

    Is this the Saudi Academy that supposedly died a few years ago, or are we talking about the current darling “Loudoun Math and IT Academy,” compliments of DR and his paid staff on the BOS? You should hear the way the BOS and LCSB talk…marionette strings are attached. How nice of them to put an application in during election times so no one would notice? We did.

    LMITA’s applicants are from a failing school in MD. They are on probation up there. Both DR’s friend and principal of the bad school in MD are named on the application as well as a denied app. in Delaware. They get around, can’t manage money and their staff comes primarily from Turkey on H1B visas.
    All their schools are publicly funded except for the one in Oakton VA and a few more that lost their charter status and are now run privately. Part of a 130 school network in the US and more overseas.

    http://gulenschools.org/component/content/article/91-news/128-obama-meets-turkish-schools-award-winning-students.html

  • Shiloh says:

    This is the former Saudi site. It has nothing to do with LMITA.

    Am I missing something here? Or have am I simply having a mental lapse? Who is DR?

  • R Nolan says:

    Speaking of rancid land deals… what becomes of Kincora now that the Hounds are planning on building a stadium at One Loudoun?

    One would assume that Kincora would not build the “Dog Pound” anymore… maybe just throw some extra residential units in its place?

  • David Dickinson says:

    Repeating my post elsewhere….

    And Loudoun County taxpayers got suckered again.

    So, Kincora used the stadium to get their new housing developments approved and then cuts out the stadium after it gets the housing units it wanted.

    1. Bait.
    2. Switch.
    3. Repeat.

    Loudoun falls for it every time.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Shiloh, I would assume DR is David Ramadan.

    I just got in and saw the Hounds articles – new post coming so steer those comments there.

  • Loudoun's Soul says:

    The item is on consent for today’s meeting. Another Board with another tin ear.

  • Loudoun's Soul says:

    False alarm; the item was deferred to a future meeting.

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