The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is considering working with a private developer to build on portions of the thousands of acres it owns around Washington Dulles International Airport, including near a future Metro station.
Such a deal is far from imminent, said President and CEO Jack Potter. However, it is now possible for the airports authority to consider the option for the first time, due to an amendment in its lease language with the federal government.
The authority is exploring a variety of ways to generate additional revenue at Dulles that will help keep down the fees that airlines pay the airport, ensuring that Dulles remains competitive.
“Every penny we get helps the current airlines and costs for the current passengers,” Potter said.
Other potential revenue sources are from increased cargo operations at the airport and a larger advertising program.
There are about 3,000 developable acres of land at Dulles, Potter said. While much of that is reserved for future airport expansion needs, some land on the outer edges could be developed for private use.
One option would be to allow private development on the north side of the future Route 606 Metrorail station in Loudoun County. Another potential development area is what the authority calls the “western lands” — about 430 acres along Route 606 on the western edge of the airport property.
The land near the future Metro station would be ripe for the sort of mixed use communities including residential and office buildings with ground-floor retail space, as are planned around most of the other Silver Line stations.
The western lands property could also incorporate a mix of industrial and office uses.
The authority is not rushing into anything and would not finance any potential development with debt, Potter emphasized to MWAA’s Board of Directors at a Wednesday meeting.
“It’s a great opportunity, but one that we have to carefully manage,” he said.