Air rights in NoVa officially for sale

ROSSLYN, Va. (WJLA) -- The air over Northern Virginia is now officially for sale.

But, as Mychelle Latta asks: "How do you sell air?"

Well, Virginia state officials have figured it out. They are actually selling the air rights to developers at two locations on the block right now – the space over the top of the Rosslyn Metro station, and the space over the parking lot at the East Falls Church Metro stop.

"It's kind of crazy," says Falls Church resident Rick Battle. "It's not very realistic. but who knows."

But state officials have a plan. They say the space will be able to be bought or leased so that apartments, condos, and office structures could be built atop what’s already on the ground.

The money made from the sales and leases would go to state and local jurisdictions for transportation projects, and already, future sites are being considered for air rights sales. One possibility is the air over the tracks along the Metro’s new Silver Line, and somewhere, Fairfax officials are also floating space over the Dulles Toll Road to sell.

"The same way we have been very careful about urban development I think we need to think about our air space," says metro customer David Flink. "I am not opposed to it just as long as we do it in a balanced way."

Air rights sales and leases have worked well in other states around the country including Massachusetts, which has collected tens of millions of dollars so far. Virginia is hoping to have similar success.