Reston, VA

Reston Regional LibrarySome details are starting to take shape of what Fairfax County officials and area citizens would like to see on the first two blocks of redevelopment at Reston Town Center North.

At a community meeting on Wednesday, Fairfax County officials presented rough standards for Blocks 7 and 8 — the area along Bowman Towne Drive where the Reston Regional Library and the Embry Rucker Community Shelter are located.

Those two facilities will be rebuilt in the same spot — only in a larger and more urban format with more services and amenities.

 “We are not looking to copy the Reston Town Center space, but rather to complement it,” county project manager Andy Miller said about the plans for the overall 49-acre redevelopment that will stretch from Bowman Towne Drive to Baron Cameron Avenue.

No specific plans have been drawn, and the county must first go through a lengthy rezoning and planning process.

But in theory, an idea is emerging of what will be there in the future.

The current library is 30,000 square feet. The replacement library would be 39,000 square feet, which would make it the largest library in the Fairfax County system (not including Fairfax City, which houses the Virginia Room, a large facility for historic documents), said Miller.

The library will be built in “urban form,” meaning it will take up one or two floors in a larger structure. There will be parking beneath the building and no surface parking. There will also be an additional 4,000 square feet of space that will likely be used for senior services.

Embry Rucker Community Shelter, meanwhile, will be replaced with a facility nearly twice its size. The current shelter is 10,500 square feet with 70 beds. The proposed replacement shelter would be 21,300 square feet with 90 beds.

The 90 beds would include space for 11 families, 40 individuals, 6 medical spaces and expanded space during hypothermia season (November to March).

The shelter will in urban form as part of a larger building, with an additional 28,000 square feet being considered for use by non-profits.

Both the library and shelter will need to be temporarily housed elsewhere during construction.

Citizens, as they did at a previous meeting in September, gave feedback on what they would like to see at both facilities. Among the suggestions: tutoring rooms and more children’s areas at the library;  and the temporary shelter being relocated to the empty Cameron Glen Care building nearby.

The county also showed tentative plans for other development on Blocks 7 and 8. There will likely be between 270,000 and 340,000 square feet of retail/commercial/office space, much of it in the same buildings as the library and shelter.

Tentative residential plans for Blocks 7 and 8 include 360-420 market-rate units; 12 percent affordable units (44-51 units); and 30 “supportive housing units” related to the shelter (mainly for people/families making less than 30 percent of the area median income).

An estimated timeline for redevelopment: Rezoning and and a Request for Proposals would take place in 2016, followed by individual rezoning of Blocks 7 and 8 in 2018. The design and permit process would take about 18-24 months in 2018-2020. Construction would take several years, with the final product being delivered in 2023.

Read about overall plans for Reston Town Center North in this previous Reston Now story.

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