Public Art Spurs Economic Development
From a purely business perspective, the arts in general and public art in particular are demonstrated spurs of economic development. This happy reality has proven true in my work as the Principal and sole employee of Prospective Inc., which is the exclusive leasing agent for the 4-million-square-foot office component of Reston Town Center, an internationally-recognized urban mixed-use development located in Reston, Virginia.
Reston Town Center’s world-class pedestrian-friendly public spaces, its permanent and temporary public art, as well as its many other artistic offerings – including galleries, theater, concerts, the acclaimed Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival, the Washington West Film Festival, and ChalkFest at Reston Town Center – has made it one of the premier places to play, live, and work in the Northern Virginia region. Public art projects such A Bird in the Hand by Patrick Dougherty, co-presented by the Initiative for Public Art – Reston and the Greater Reston Arts Center, has transformed Reston Town Square Park. People of all ages, and in particular, children, are drawn to the artwork and to an area of the park that is normally not used as much. We see people who work in the buildings in Reston Town Center come to the park and experience the piece. Its vibrant arts scene provides an extremely positive difference from other business centers in the region and has dramatically increased demand for its office space, which leases faster and for significantly higher rents. In addition, this demand allows my client, the owner/developer of Reston Town Center, Boston Properties, to achieve the highest possible return on investment for its shareholders.
Today Reston Town Center has a less than one-half of one percent (0.5 percent) office vacancy rate in a region where the average office vacancy is 16-18 percent. The one-half of one percent vacancy rate is unrivaled by any office micro market in the United States. Reston Town Center also achieves the highest average office rental rates in Fairfax County, Virginia. These rates are more than 50 percent higher than those achieved in buildings just blocks away. The return on investment is not just financial. The thousands of people who enjoy Reston Town Center’s many amenities and experiences provide a daily testimonial to the positive impact the arts have on a community’s quality of life.
Prospective Inc. is one of our 2015 Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts - BCA 10 honorees, and will be recognized at the annual BCA 10 Gala in New York City on October 6.