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Loudoun to Consider Asking Kaine to Buy Foreclosed Land

Loudoun County is considering asking the state to purchase 4,100 acres of foreclosed property originally slotted for residential development to turn into a state park.

In August, four properties owned by developer Greenvest LC were sold in a foreclosure auction to its creditor, New York-based iStar Financial, for $69 million. Three years earlier, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted against a proposal to build 15,000 houses on the properties -- an ambitious plan that the Vienna-based developer had promised would make turn the region into new Reston or Columbia, 35 miles west of Washington. It was the largest planned development in Loudoun County's history.

But the project was mired in political purgatory, with Greenvest aggressively trying to get Loudoun officials on board. A county official, for instance, cast votes in support of company development proposals despite business ties with another Greenvest firm, The Washington Post reported. A lawyer representing Greenvest says the company did nothing improper.

A federal investigation was launched in 2007 but details of the investigation have been kept confidential.

A state purchase would help Gov. Tim Kaine (D) reach his administration's goal of preserving 400,000 acres of land before he leaves office in 2010. As of Sept. 15, the state has preserved 352,623 acres for parks.

"Loudoun County has been one of the fastest growing counties in the nation," the draft letter reads. "A state park at the Greenfields and Lenah properties and/or the Broad Run Village property would be ideally situated to meet your goals of protecting historic landscapes, scenic resources and watershed lands while also meeting the growing demand for a state park in Northern Virginia."

The county's assessment on the land is $167.5 million.

By Derek Kravitz  |  October 16, 2009; 6:21 PM ET
Categories:  Loudoun County  
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