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More Townhomes Planned for Sunrise Valley Near Reston Heights

by Karen Goff July 20, 2016 at 2:30 pm 38 Comments

The Fairfax County Planning Commission will review next week the latest development plan for more new housing along Sunrise Valley Drive.

RP 11720, LLC, which is part of Rooney Properties, is seeking build 54 townhouses to replace a six-story office building constructed in 1985.

The parcel is at 11720 Sunrise Valley Dr., just west of the Mercer Condos, part of JBG’s Reston Heights, right across Roland Clarke Place, where Sekas Homes is planning to turn the former home of the American Press Institute into a residential development (34 townhouses and 10 condominiums). Rooney Properties also owns the former API building.

Rooney/Sekas Homes’ plan was was sent to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors last month with a recommendation for denial of the application after the planning commission was made aware rather late in the process of the historical significance of the 1975 building designed by famed Brutalist architect Marcel Breuer. The Board of Supervisors hearing has not been scheduled.

The property also sits across from Reston National Golf Course, which has fended off redevelopment for now.

The developer is proposing four-story garage townhouses. Interior units  would be about 1,00 to 1,450 square feet; end units would be about 1,350 to 1,700 square feet.

The development would include a quarter-acre pocket park to the north of the proposed private street, which is designed to include public art, sidewalks, signage, bike racks, benches, light poles and landscaping, according to the application. The applicant also proposes a pedestrian walkway that transverses the property north to south to provide a pedestrian connection through the development to the pocket park and to the trail and cycle track along Sunrise Valley Drive.

Some of the units would face Roland Clarke Place. Others would face a new street or Sunrise Valley Drive.

The county planning staff has recommended approval of the application, but development conditions include conducting a noise study.

The developer is proposing a $151,160 proffer contribution to the Fairfax County Park Authority for the construction and maintenance of athletic fields of $151,600. The park authority has requested $260,752, based on the calculation of $1.72 per square foot of gross floor area.

The developer has not not committed to providing a transportation demand management commitment (i.e., traffic light improvements).

Some of the other proffer conditions outlined by the county:

Schools contribution: The developer will give contribution of $11,749 per projected student for the total number of units constructed, based on methodology for calculating the number of students outlined by Fairfax County Public Schools.

The applicant will provide five Workforce Dwelling Units.

Reston Road Fund Contribution: A $3,000 (or less) contribution per swelling unit.

The applicant will pay $341,000 for Metrorail improvements.

The planning commission will have a public hearing on the development on July 28. See the full planning staff report on the planning commission’s website.

  • It is coming and Reston is going to change..the future will look much different! It was expected with the coming of the Silver Line and now we need to work together to make things work. And, I see no reason to keep the API building like it is when the entire neighborhood will be more 21stscentury than mid 20th Century..And it would be difficult to make it into a 21st Century library etc. One cannot expect that every building a noted architect designed to be saved as a historical monument. The world of libraries is changing like Reston is changing.

    • Mike M

      James. Nothing was a done deal due to the Silver Line. That’s silly. You developers crack me up.

      • dent

        Not everyone who wants to move forward into the 21st century is a developer; most of us are just the target market for those developers, whose only incentive is catering to the largest market. You are clearly not in that market and that must be upsetting to you. Sorry.

        • Mike M

          dent, Mr Gilley is a realtor and, to his credit, he has not hidden that fact.

          Don’t look now, but we have “moved into the 21st century” and without these schemes putting money into your pockets. I like to make money too, but I don’t lie to do it. And I don’t tell stakeholders they ought to do what I want if they want to “move into the 21st century.” That’s a lie.

          My only beefs with the development are:
          1) The lying that goes on
          2) The inability of the local government to balance development with infrastructure expansion requirements without tapping their constituents with what amounts to a hefty subsidy for the developer community (including realtors).

          The lying flat out entertains me and I wonder if there is a master playbook somewhere. If our elected leaders could handle #2 above, they would approve less and different development because there is no way to develop at the currently approved pace and not screw the constituencies with various subsidies in taxes and declines in service.

        • Mike M

          Oh! And Metro, 21st Century? Hoot!

    • Greg

      The ugly Brutalist concrete bunker needs to go. ASAP.

      • Mike M

        All of the sudden it’s like a coin burning in your pocket? All of the sudden it’s an unbearable eyesore?

        • Greg

          it’s always been a hideous eyesore; and, I’ve always advocated demolishing it. It’s been sitting empty long enough, and it’s time for it to go.

          • Restonlover

            its only been sitting empty for 3 years while the developer took a tax write off waiting for the rezoning.

      • MarkR307

        Disagree. I find the building very interesting.

        • Mike M

          I find the politics and posturing even more interesting bay far!

          • Restonlover

            meaning?

        • Greg

          Disagree. If there is utility and value in some building, perhaps save and repurpose it, but this former API eyesore has been sitting vacant for years. It’s not suddenly of great value that it needs to be preserved, especially on the backs of taxpayers.

          We have plenty of Brutalism in Reston (Lake Anne) and we all know how well the the redevelopment there is not going.

          • Restonlover

            hasn’t been 50 years. Grand Opening was 1974 and last emplloyees left in 2006???

          • Karen Goff

            It closed in 2012.

          • Greg

            It being the API building, right?

            The Old Reston Avenue building I referenced has been closed for decades.

          • Karen Goff

            ah. sorry. Thought you were talking about API.

          • 30yearsinreston

            It was a liquor warehouse for the Smith Bowman Distillery
            When they moved, a condition was that it be ‘preserved’ for ‘historical value’
            the then owners tried to unload it GRACE’ many years ago but they didnt want it because of the expense to make it useful
            It has been locked up for many years it did have a realtors sign as well, but that is now long gone

            It will be worth a chunk of change when the metro comes in and the 7-11 across the road is demolished

          • Greg

            I see it’s assessed at north of $500k in the condition it’s in. And, yes, that little industrial automotive haven across from Oracle and this old Bowman warehouse is not long for this world.

            http://icare.fairfaxcounty.gov/ffxcare/maps/map.aspx?sIndex=1&idx=6&LMparent=138

          • I think it was the town hall of the town of Wiehle long before the
            Bowmans showed up and started making Virginia Gentleman. At some time someone applied for a historical certificate for it and now it cannot be changed..It was once bought and someone tried to make it into condos but it was not financially feasible. The Wiehle mansion went through the same exercise and when that project went under the holders of the mortgage took it over and remade it into office for themselves..
            The old distillery/town hall of Wiehle faces many challenges including zoning and finances. like Lake Anne does today.

          • Greg

            As I wrote: This building (see below) on Old Reston Avenue…

            API / Brutalist bunker is not on Old Reston Avenue…

          • Restonlover

            sorry

          • MarkR307

            Disagree. Definitely save it and repurpose it, and the much older building on Old Reston Ave as well. Funds should be allocated to restore it.

          • Greg

            Go right ahead and use your money and creativity to do so, but keep taxpayer money out of it. Again referencing the millions of taxpayer funds that have been wasted on Lake Anne (and Tall Oaks and the Bowman warehouse for that matter) with no visible or meaningful economic benefit to the taxpayers.

          • MarkR307

            so you are basically telling me how to vote?

    • Restonlover

      James
      The entire area surrounding all transit changes will be changing. Whether or not this building is saved as a remembrance of things past…isn;t it important that the County at least enumerate the historical significance. Original Breuer chairs which are still in this building sell for $1500 on ebay. The cast concrete should be reused for something rather than sent to the landfill where it will take millions of years to disentegrate

      • 30yearsinreston

        How about dumping it in a lake and making a fish.reef

  • Greg

    Rather small four-story townhouses: “Interior units would be about 1,00 to 1,450 square feet; end units would be about 1,350 to 1,700 square feet.”

    • Restonlover

      and very very very expensive

  • MarkR307

    nothing wrong with the townhomes, but PLEASE don’t take down existing buildings, especially when they have architectural value. There is plenty of empty space to build.

    • 30yearsinreston

      The bunker should be demolished before it becomes a haven for vermin

      • Restonlover

        shouldnt DRB require the owner of the building to at least mow?

      • Brutal Brutalist

        The Breuer building is a unique architectural resource, the only of its kind in Virginia. It should be preserved.

      • MarkR307

        the building should be restored and used, not demolished.

  • Restonlover

    what does this do to South Lakes and the middle school, or to RA facilities, etc

  • Let new developers provide fully for the influx of more people! Traffic lights are just the tip of the iceberg! Oh, and be sure they live where they build, so they can enjoy the impact of their “developments.”

  • Joe Heflin

    Do those who are reading this understand that prices in Western Fairfax County are lower than they were ten years ago? That there is incredible overbuilding in Reston? 2,700 rental apartments have either opened or are under construction with more on the way. Not one single condo. Excepting the office building at Weihle avenue not a single new square foot of office space. And now, to read that another developer wants to build more housing. For who?

    • Greg

      I think it varies based on location. 2006 was a peak valuation year, but a single-family house in North Point is worth $175k more now than then. Condo values have not fared as well with some (Shadowood) now valued $65k less than in 2006.

      I am sure this is part of the reason why most new buildings are going in as rentals with plans to convert to condos if the market for them improves. It’s a lot easier to convert today’s apartments to condos as they are built with individual utility systems and separately metered for all utilities.

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