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FAIRFAX, VA-The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors established yesterday the Mosaic District Community Development Authority for the 31-acre Mosaic – Merrifield Town Center development. A CDA is a funding tool that will, among other activities, help the developer Edens & Avant tap the bond markets. Edens & Advant was unable to speak with GlobeSt.com in time for publication.

The Mosaic – Merrifield Town Center development will be located south of Lee Highway, west of Yates Way, east of Eskridge Road and north of Luther Jackson Middle School. Rezoning for the development was approved by the Board of Supervisors in October 2007. At full build out it will consist of approximately 1,000 dwelling units; a multiplex theater; 125,000-square feet of office space; 500,000-square feet of other non-residential uses and a 150-room hotel. Planned public improvements include two parks; the realignment and widening of Eskridge Rd; the widening of Lee Highway; improvements to the Lee Highway/Gallows Road intersection; and construction of a grid of streets. It is these public improvements – or rather roughly half of the amount – that will be funded with the CDA through the bond financing.

Barbara Byron, director of the Office of Community Revitalization and Reinvestment for Fairfax County tells GlobeSt.com that there will be two series of bonds floated to pay for the improvements: one will be a $30 million issue and the other a $42 million TIF bond. All told there is roughly $150 million in public improvements scheduled for the project.

“The county itself wont back the bonds – we don’t want anything that would affect our debt rating,” she explains. The bonds are tentatively expected to be floated in 2010.

A CDA can address a broad range of infrastructure needs, such as a single shopping mall, a mixed-use development or a downtown redevelopment area. There are about 20 or so CDA in Virginia – but this is the first for Fairfax, Byron says. A majority – 51% — of landowners within a proposed area must petition the Board of Supervisors to establish a CDA; the CDA is then governed by board appointees.

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