Plans for Huntington Metro development show crumbling garage will remain empty for years

The crumbling garage at the Huntington Metro station that was closed last year over safety concerns will remain standing — and empty — until at least 2021.

A new joint development solicitation issued Thursday outlines Metro’s latest plans to put buildings around the Huntington Metro, particularly on the south side where the garage at issue is located.

The 885-space south garage built in 1983 was closed last August due to safety concerns, and Metro had planned to do significant demolition work during this summer’s shutdown of the station that begins in just a few weeks.

That plan changed by March due to concerns that the demolition could prevent other work from getting done and that the demolition may be more complicated than first thought.

The garage sits above Metro storage tracks and includes parts of the station’s south entrance.

Now, Metro expects to start demolition of the south garage in summer 2021, which would likely impact train and bus service at the station. Construction on parts of the development adjacent to the station could begin in summer 2022, with individual parcels of land sold or leased one at a time.

Overall, Metro has up to 12 acres on either end of the station that could be used for private development of homes, offices or stores.

As with similar projects on other Metro-owned property, Metro hopes to make the station more inviting, increase use of the station and make money on the real estate. Metro plans a long-term lease of the land to the developer.

While actual changes are years away, and would require Fairfax County zoning approvals no sooner than early 2021, the Metro Board could get the ball rolling by approving a joint development agreement this September.

The solicitation issued this month asks for initial proposals by June 7, with the expectation a winning offer will be selected by June 30.

Metro expects to allow development on essentially the entire area at the southern end of the station off North Kings Highway, and potentially in the future at the north end of the station where another parking garage built in 1989 stands today.

A third garage in the middle, built in 2009 with 1,451 spaces, is slated to remain.

Besides Metro, Fairfax County’s Route 1 bus rapid transit system is slated to serve the south end of the station in coming years, and will get a stop built as part of the redevelopment. That could lead Metro to determine the south garage does not need to be replaced with parking, but could instead be used for commercial development.

If that does happen, there would still be a kiss and ride and bus loop at that end of the station. However, Metro is assuming for now that the garage will be replaced with a bus loop on the top level.

There are also a number of other developments planned or possible just off Metro property at Huntington.

In 2018, Huntington averaged 6,659 entries by riders each weekday.

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