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Here’s Why Popeyes is the Last Store Standing at Reston Heights

by Karen Goff — April 29, 2016 at 11:30 am 14 Comments

Popeyes remains even though most of Reston International Center is gone

Demolition crews have clear-cut the remaining trees and removed parking lots light poles at what used to be the Reston International Center convenience center.

It’s taken about nine months of work to get ready to construct Phase 2 of Reston Heights — to be called VY at Reston Heights — but it looks as though crews are finally ready to dig and build.

But one structure remains: the stand-alone Popeyes chicken restaurant.

Several Reston Now readers have asked why: Is this a shining beacon of culinary excellence? That’s subjective. A historical building? Not unless “bland 1970s strip mall” is worth preserving.

It’s a matter of business. When JBG began purchasing and assembling the parcels for redevelopment, the owners of the fast food spot at 11850 Sunrise Valley Dr. simply held out.

A bank, two small strip mall centers and the stand-alone Chili’s building all were purchased as the redevelopment was approved by Fairfax County in 2008.

Meanwhile, the 15-story Reston International Center, once the signature high rise of Reston, is also under different ownership and will stay.

VY will be an extension of Reston Heights, where the Sheraton Reston and Westin Reston Heights are located, along with offices and the Mercer Condos.

JBG plans 483,000 square feet of mixed-use, including 385 apartments. The development will have a six-story residential building, a 15-story residential building, a five-story building that incorporates a parking garage with residences and retail space; and a 10-story building that mixes office space, parking and retail space.

JBG says it is “planning active community spaces integrated throughout walkable retail, including a public plaza lined with outdoor dining, a play area and an amphitheater for programmed events.”

“VY at Reston Heights will be an active destination with social public spaces, new living options, and new shopping and dining for all of Reston, ” said JBG Principal Greg Trimmer.

So far, the project has signed one major retail tenant: 24-Hour Fitness.

A JBG spokesman previously said VY is an abbreviation of “very.”

  • TheRealODB

    3-piece spicy, large red beans and rice, 2 biscuits, and a defibrillator, to go, please.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    Beacause BLM was threatening to pitch a tizzy if Popeye’s became a casualty of the Luxury Condo development craze, maybe?

  • Paul

    I suspect they are still there because they are a thriving business that makes money. People like what they sell and they buy their product.

    • Greg

      That’s often a very difficult concept for many in Reston to comprehend.

      The Popeye’s, though, does need some exterior updates, and the ever- deepening, invasive-infested eroded gutter between Popeye’s and Reston Parkway is dangerous — where is the RA in covenants enforcements?

      Built in 1972; current value: $1,171,750.

  • Robert Pew

    There will no longer be a means for pedestrians to walk from the Sheraton to Reston Parkway since the construction has taken away all of the land adjacent to Sunrise Valley Drive. At least there was a strip of dirt to walk on before.

  • msinva

    The rush hour traffic at Sunrise Valley and Colts Neck is already hideous. This development is going to make it far worse.

    • CE

      I should of taken a picture yesterday morning. Trying to take a left onto sunrise valley from colts neck. The Vinifera shuttle, two Louden Cty busses, and a Not in service Fairfax county bus sitting there backed up through the light so no one could turn. Completely ridiculous. And they want us to pay more money in taxes for street improvements. Whoever’s profiting making this a traffic hell should be forking out the money to fix the problems they cause.

      • CE

        I am also glad that Popeye’s held out. It’s good stuff.

  • Forreals

    They clear cut the trees and left the most pathetic fast food joint in town standing, tragic. A good thing people, they didn’t get their greedy hands on the golf course. Take in the beauty to the left when you drive by. And remember.

    • Robert Mowbray

      Many of the trees which have been cut were invasive exotic bradford pears. I hope some of them will be replaced by native trees when the area is landscaped following construction. There are still a lot of bradford pears between the cleared ares and the the toll road. I hope they remove them too.

      • Jerry

        There were mature oaks. Do you work for the dev. company? Or just a moron that hates mature living things?

  • Jerry

    What a joke, it’s the worst in every way, the food, and it’s completely shabby & rundown now, should have been plowed.

  • Crunch1969

    What joke. Popeye ‘ s needs to go.

  • Crunch1969

    Someone said the Sheraton was coming down. Any truth to that?

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