The dean of The George Washington University School of Business is standing behind a Metrorail-area development study despite strong criticism from county finance committee chairman Supervisor Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles).
The study analyzed the tax revenue impacts of data centers versus mixed-use development at Dupont Fabros’s 202-acre property near Loudoun’s future Metro stops. Under proposed zoning for that area, the county would restrict residential development on about half of that property because of the county’s rules around airport noise at Dulles International Airport. That would preclude mixed-use development, which combines residential and commercial space into the same buildings.
Letourneau criticized many of the methods and assumptions in that study.
“It seems clear that it was commissioned by a developer seeking a particular outcome by excluding key data,” Letourneau said. “Such an effort is never commendable, but is especially egregious when it is done by an academic institution.”
That developer is Zebra Ventures LLC, which one of its founders described as a landholding entity. It controls the Dupont Fabros property. That founder, Hossein Fateh, is a founder of both Zebra Ventures and Dupont Fabros and sits on the Board of Advisors of George Washington’s Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis, which produced the study.
Both Fateh and George Washington School of Business Dean Linda Livingstone have written back to Letourneau, standing by the study.
Livingstone defended the study on all fronts, and wrote that the question of airport noise and the airport’s impact on the Loudoun economy are outside the scope of the study. She said the center is committed to academic integrity, and believes that was followed in the report.
Fateh responded to George Washington University the day after Letourneau’s letter, and to Letourneau only two days after. He wrote he felt “it is necessary to respond to you expeditiously so as to avoid further mischaracterization of our interests.” He also said the center will be producing a more in-depth study before supervisors vote on their Metrorail-area plans on June 22.