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Whatever Happened to: Plans for Reston’s Tallest Building

by Karen Goff July 22, 2015 at 9:30 am 1,156 15 Comments

Aerial rendering of 1760 Reston Parkway/Credit: RTC Partnership

The 23-story tower on Reston Parkway is still expected to dominate Reston’s future skyline, but developers are waiting on a major tenant before beginning construction.

The $210 million building — which was controversial when it was approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2012 — will replace a five-story office building at 1760 Reston Parkway.

At 330 feet tall, the new office building will be more than 100 feet taller than One Freedom Square at Reston Town Center, currently Reston’s tallest.

Developer Akridge, which has partnered with RTC Partnership LLC to construct the building, said last winter that the plan is to sign a major tenant for at least 150,000 of the building’s 420,000 square feet before starting construction.

Akridge reps were at Reston Association’s Design Review Board meeting on Tuesday, where it showed small design modifications. The lead architect is HOK, who will work in collaboration with original architect The Polleo Group, Akridge Vice President of Development David Toney said.

Waiting for a tenant would be a lot less risky than proceeding “on spec” as developers say. While office space at Reston Town Center is 100 percent leased, space more than one-quarter of mile from a Metro station is not as hot.

Verity Commercial Real Estate said in a 2014 report that within a quarter-mile of Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, vacancy rates were as low as 11 percent in 2011 but were more recently hovering around 25 percent.

The vacancy rates within the half-mile radius have stayed somewhat steadier: 12 percent vacancy rate in 2011 to a rate of 15 percent in the last year.

Rendering of 1760 Reston Parkway/Credit: RTC PartnershipThe 1760 building will be about eight-tenths of a mile from the future Reston Town Center Metro Station, which is expected to open in 2019.

Planned building amenities include a large rooftop plaza, floor-to-ceiling glass, 9.5-foot ceilings, five levels of screened parking above street level, ground-floor retail and about 18 floors of office space.

In September of 2012, Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins called the project an example of world-class design.

“This will stand as a stark example of what world-class design is called for in the principles of Reston,” said Hudgins. “We will not have to remain in the sameness of heights and density as a measure of world-class design.”

Some of Reston’s citizens were not as complimentary, citing the scale of the building and traffic concerns, among others. Opponents of the project called it “incompatible with Reston.”

Critics of the project included Reston Association and the Fairfax County Planning Commission staff, which said the building was out of scale with its surroundings.

The building was approved by the supervisors anyway. The current building, which houses a title agency and dentist office, among others, was zoned Planned Residential Community in 1978 and is under no height restrictions.

The proposed density of 4.08 Floor-Area Ratio on the 2.36-acre property is actually less than several surrounding buildings or proposed buildings, representatives for RTC Partnership pointed out at the time.

Looking toward the future, the building might not seem so out of proportion, though. Across the street are the new 14-story Harrison residential buildings. And coming eventually: major development at adjacent Town Center North and the Spectrum.

Town Center North — the area from New Dominion Parkway to Bowman Town Drive and Town Center Parkway to Fountain Drive — is planned for a mixed-use district, with renovated or relocated space for the Reston Regional Library and Embry Rucker Community Shelter, as well as offices, hotels, a performing arts center and at least 1,000 new residences.

Fairfax County is currently accepting Request For Proposals from developers seeking the project.

The Spectrum, currently site of strip retail, will eventually be seven new residential buildings, a hotel and 774,879 square feet of retail and office.

Photos: Renderings of planned 23-story tower/Credit: RTC Partnership

  • Ming the Merciless

    Cathy Hudgins called the project an example of world-class design.

    Because nowhere else in the world will we be able to find a 23-story glass and steel box.

    Geez, Cathy, you’re just reading verbatim from the press release the developer handed you. Try a little harder, willya?

    • FULL TIME BOJANGLER

      Cathy Hudgins is useless.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    Looks like a great place for the new homeless shelter. You can put a store front entrance right on the corner so that these poor unfortunates will have access to the bus stop which will surely be located nearby.

    • Fun for vets

      I think we can skip the bus stop and just have a couple of zip lines, one to the library and one to starbucks.

      • Emmanuel Goldstein

        You forgot the safeway

  • Cluster Tycoon

    This may take a while because the new tenant they are waiting for, Jesus, is busy looking at other listing as well.

    • Chuck Morningwood

      Really? So the name of this building is “The Calvary Hills”?

  • Wings!!

    If someone would just franchise a 150,000 square foot Hooters, we could get this project started.
    #HootersForReston

    • Arielle in NoVA

      Or a multi-story laser-tag arena.

      • Wings!!

        Those are three good ideas as well, but first and foremost, Reston needs a Hooters.
        #HootersForReston

        • John Higgins

          When will the subversion end? Reston deserves the best, not a second-rate wings joint. Cody Brooks, former owner of Hooters, is now into Twin Peaks. He says the food is fresher, the the service is better by design, and the views superior. Now, we may not have the geography for better views, but I’m inclined to follow Cody.

  • Arielle in NoVA

    UGH, skip it! A lot of us do NOT want skyscrapers in this area. If we wanted skyscrapers, we’d live in or near a city. Stop trying to ruin the suburbs.

  • FULL TIME BOJANGLER

    Hudgins says ” we will not have to remain in the sameness of heights & density as a measure of world class design”. She is an idiot.

  • Terry Maynard

    It will take awhile before Akridge will find a company seeking to lease 150,000 SF. That’s room for more than 1,000 office workers if the 142 GSF/worker for the recent Bechtel move to Reston is an indicator. (See http://reston2020.blogspot.com/2014/11/bechtels-reston-office-will-provide.html.)

    Those 1,000 workers will also be more than 1/2 mile from the Reston Town Center Metro station and, therefore, few will walk to/from Metro, meaning more area commuting congestion. In fact, a 2005 WMATA survey indicates fewer than 10% will use Metro and >80% will drive to/from work. (See http://reston2020.blogspot.com/2014/08/wmata-notes-importance-of-residential.html.)

    Meanwhile, there are dozens of acres of undeveloped land on both sides of the Dulles Corridor within yards of the RTC Metro station. Moreover, there are millions of SF of current/planned office space available in Tysons and along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor waiting for occupants, not to mention the rest of the metro DC area. Heck, the tallest building in the region (30 stories) sitting directly over the Rosslyn station has been waiting several years for ANY occupants.

    Why would a company choose to occupy space more than a 1/2-mile away from a Metro station, even in Reston?

  • highlander492

    Concerning Town Center North…what happened to the proposal at the Wynwood Childrens Center? I thought that was approved years ago as a residential tower?

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