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    MWAA vice president floats idea of residential at Dulles Airport’s ‘Western Lands’

    A vice president for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority drew gasps this morning when he floated the idea of constructing a part-residential development on the Dulles Airport's Western Lands property.

    Jerome Davis, executive vice president and chief revenue officer for MWAA, was fielding questions at the annual “State of the Economy” breakfast hosted by the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce, when an attendee asked what type of proposals MWAA was considering for Western Lands.

    “Everything,” Davis responded. “Everything, from the standpoint of, we're looking at hotel use, mixed-use communities, mixed-use residential, mixed-use commercial, everything. Not residential. Sorry about that. When I say residential, I mean – now listen to this carefully – mixed-use residential, because I talked to some consultants recently about this. And let me tell you how you've got to think about it – not in terms of traditional single-family homes.”

    Developing the 426-acre Western Lands is part of MWAA's strategy to produce non-aeronautical revenue to help offset billions in debt and the lagging Dulles International Airport traffic.

    MWAA manages both Dulles and Reagan National airports, and the notion of the authority developing residential land on government property has miffed local developers and some elected officials.

    Clarifying his comments to the Times-Mirror, Davis said nothing should be ruled out for the Western Lands, but added that the development should fit within the county's plan -- a plan that's been explicitly opposed to unplanned-for residential units.

    The authority earlier this year announced it was accepting unsolicited bids to develop the land. The unsolicited proposal was about “innovation and creativity,” Davis said.

    “If we put out an unsolicited proposal, and then don't allow people to just be creative,” Davis said, then the process wouldn't be fulfilling it's intentions.

    Conventional thinking – and county planning – has assumed any development on the lands would be strictly commercial, something in the realm of office space, industrial use or possibly hotels.

    Jack Potter, MWAA's president and CEO, was also on hand for the breakfast. He was sure to give his two cents on a residential component on the Western Lands.

    “Jerome and I, we're independent thinkers. So, I don't think the same way he does when it comes to residential on the Western Lands,” Potter said.

    Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott York (R-At Large), who attended the breakfast, said any plan for residential at Western Lands would be "dead on arrival."

    Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or on Twitter at @TrevorBaratko.

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