WSP conducted a study that compared several station locations, development scenarios, value capture mechanisms, and financing options to support the development of a preferred public-private partnership strategy.
Our analysis demonstrated that the right mix of value capture techniques, which included development impact fees, tax increment financing, and special assessments, could provide an effective means of harnessing the benefits of future development at Potomac Yard. We worked with numerous stakeholders, including the city’s planning department and tax assessor’s office, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), and private sector developers and landowners in the surrounding area to ensure assumptions and inputs to the financial analysis facilitated realistic forecasts of land use and development planning and the resulting revenue-generating potential that could be used to help pay for the station.
The analysis included revenue from residential, office, retail, and hospitality land uses, incorporating the city’s applicable taxes and fees. We also structured our financial model to provide results for four different station locations, incorporating varying station costs and development scenarios in each.
As development plans became more defined over time, the team periodically provided revised forecasts reflecting more specific plans, and factored in ongoing changes in market values. We also provided support for specific city tasks upon request, including assistance with a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant application, a federal discretionary grant program in the United States, and analysis to support an application for a $50 million loan from the Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank (VTIB). This analysis helped the city and the VTIB understand the overall impact of the loan on the city’s long-term debt service.
Our team delivered the following:
The Right Scheme to Fund the Project
Through a combination of two tiers of special district taxes, net new tax revenues from development, and developer contributions from construction within a quarter-mile from the station, our analysis showed the $240 million station can be financed solely on the revenue generated by the nearby development without any impact on the city’s existing tax base. This investment grade analysis was used to support negotiations of a memorandum of understanding with the landowner that resulted in an agreement by the developer for a $50 million contribution to the project.
The city has since set up a station fund and is collecting special taxes in advance of construction. Additionally, with WSP’s assistance, the city successfully applied for a $50 million VTIB loan in 2015.