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A Closer Look at Vornado’s Giant Plans for Wiehle/Sunrise Valley

by Karen Goff September 20, 2016 at 11:30 am 27 Comments

Commerce Park/Credit: Fairfax CountyThe giant development planned for Wiehle Avenue and Sunrise Valley Drive will have a cycle track, parks and some of Reston’s tallest buildings.

Reston Now first reported the basics of Vornado’s 1.5 million-square- foot plan for Commerce Executive Park on Friday, but here is a closer look at the application from the county planning staff report.

There will be a Fairfax County Planning Commission public hearing on the development — one of several planned near Wiehle-Reston East — on Sept. 28.

Here is what you need to know:

The parcel on the south side of the Dulles Toll Road from the Metro station is 11.58 acres zoned industrial, but seeking a rezoning to PDC (Planned Development Commercial) District. Three six-story office buildings on the site will stay. The existing surface parking lot will go.

In its place:

  • 7-story, 100 foot tall residential building for up to 200 dwelling units and 210,000 square feet.
  • 24-story, 255 foot tall residential building for up to 300 units and 344,000 square feet.
  • 22-story, 275 foot tall office building for 385,000 square feet.
  • 14-story, 165-foot tall hotel with 175 rooms consisting of 133,000 square feet.

Access to the property would be from Sunrise Valley Drive via Commerce Park Drive. Retail stores would be on ground floors and would aim to minimize car use.

It is not yet known whether the units would be rentals or condos. They would be Reston Association members.

Open Space — The property has an existing tree canopy of 105,276 square feet (20.7 percent) and the applicant will provide new landscaping of which 35,625 square feet will contribute to the overall tree canopy. A total of 64,551 square feet of tree canopy is provided through preservation or new plantings

The development proposes six small pocket parks built on 1.52 acres. Parks will be open space but will not provide major recreational amenities. However, the staff report says the plan generates a need for one-half of a sport court and one small playground/tot lot or playable art feature. A temporary volleyball court will be on site.

The applicant has agreed to the county’s request for $1.72 per square foot ($1,887,165 total) to the Fairfax County Park Authority for county athletic field construction.

To offset the 500 residential units, the developer will contribute $1,800 per unit (about $900,000) for outdoor recreational facilities to serve the development population.

Traffic — Staff recommends improvements to the Wiehle Avenue/Sunrise Valley Drive intersection to rectify the “hostile pedestrian environment” created by the existing free flow right turn lane on southbound Wiehle Avenue. This will be re-evaluated as development happens.

The staff report also recommends offsetting “the high volume of vehicles using Wiehle Avenue” to an acceptable level. The developer has proposed partial improvements to the southern portion of Wiehle Avenue as part of the first phase of development.

The planning staff recommended that all of the Wiehle Avenue improvements be completed together in one phase.

The applicant has proposed a required new right-in/right-out vehicular access point from Wiehle Avenue to provide access through the site to connect to the proposed internal

Pedestrian & Bicycle — County staff is in the process of designing a 10-foot shared use path along the north side of Sunrise Valley Drive that extends from Wiehle Avenue to Preston White Drive/South Lakes Drive.

The applicant has provided a design that would accommodate separated pedestrian and cycle track facilities along the site frontage and would tie into the project. This design was provided, at staff’s recommendation, in order to address the on-road bicycle lanes on Sunrise Valley Drive recommended in the Bicycle Master Plan.

The applicant will also provide money for a bikeshare station at the site.

Parking — A minimum of 928 parking spaces will be maintained at all times to serve the three existing office buildings.

Parking will change as the development is built in phases. In the end it will have a minimum of 2,565 parking spaces, including:

• 1,716 parking spaces to serve up existing and new office uses
• 600 spaces to serve up to 500 residential dwelling units,
• 74 spaces to serve up to 17,000 square feet of retail space, and
• 175 spaces to serve a hotel with up to 175 rooms.
• One vehicle space shall be reserved for each residential unit.

If the applicant does not meet the approved development conditions by the final phase, it will have to contribute $100,000 to Fairfax County to be used for transportation improvements nearby.

The staff report says Vornado should pay for traffic signals and a marked crosswalk, as well as contribute a not-yet-known sum to the Reston Transportation Fund.

Public School Contribution — Applicant will contribute $11,749 per expected student (based on a ratio of 0.100 students per residential unit) to the Fairfax County School Board to be utilized for capital improvements to schools.

Fire Department Contribution — The applicant will contribute a total of $40,000  to Fairfax County toward the cost of a preemptive devices on nearby traffic signals.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    Do you folks hear that rather loud sucking sound? That marks the arrival of the traffic suckage that this monstrosity is going to bring to us.

    • Mike M

      The problem isn’t a lack of planning. The problem is that too many bad people still choose to drive. 😉

      • Why do you bother?

        Really? Are you going to pay my cab fare to my not-serviced-by-Metro job?

        • Mike M

          Oh no! You need to bike or walk. It’s “progress” in the new Reston. Trust me. Developers already know that the density they want is going to pooch up the roads abominably. So they are working Kathy Hudgins and Sharon Bulova and certain L-word operatives to consider initiatives to discourage driving altogether. For example:
          1) Limiting parking
          2) Constraining traffic
          3) Adding bike lanes
          4) Charging for Parking.
          If you look at the history of posting here on this topic you will see these clowns at work.

  • Jim Knowes

    What can be done to make sure the proffer money is spent IN OUR community?!

  • June Smith

    If those little skinny bike lanes, painted on the right our side roads, are supposed to be such an innovative and popular addition to cyclists …. why do so many ride 2/3 abreast in regular lanes?

    • Mike M

      It’s all about their convenience at your expense. You see, June they are bike-riding, so they get 100 self-righteousness points the moment they out their skimpy suits on and mount up!

      • GB

        What a great summary of cyclist!

    • Greg

      Boggles the mind, doesn’t it?

      • June Smith

        I don’t mind the bike lanes – if they were being used. They are not – and I think part of the reason is because they are dangerous at intersections – especially where there are right turn lanes. It just doesn’t seem to be a very well thought out plan

        Also – who in their right mind is going to ride a bicycle on Reston Parkway during rush hour – other than someone with a death wish

        But then I think differently — I biked all over when I was in Europe – bicyclists have a single lane to themselves – comparable to a service road in downtown DC – sans cars – divided from the car lanes with a curb

        • Karen Goff

          The cycle track (planned for this development) is slightly different than a bike lane. It is morel like the dedicated service lane you see in DC.

          • June Smith

            BUT – a Cycle Track is worthless if has limited use – unless you’re using it a work out track …. if you can’t get from Point A to Point B – without a side trip to the ER – it really serves no purpose other than another waste of our tax dollars.

            We need overpasses that connect to the bike trails that are ALREADY in place …. that’s a plan that has been tossed around and pooh-pooh’d every time

          • GB

            A cycle track is worthless by itself. But a network of cycle tracks is built one track at a time. Overpasses are coming and it will be nice to a way to get to them.

        • facebooknames

          I often ride on Reston Parkway near the RTC – not a problem…

          • Mike M

            Not for you! At least not until you end up on someone’s bumper. I have seen skimpy-suited righteous bikers on the Fairfax County Parkway! Smart?

  • ClarendonBros

    Pocket parks: See “dog toilets.” Bring a blanket! Spread it out on the ground! No thanks … Also see “that dog toilet park on the west end of RTC.” Gross.

  • reston is changing

    This is wonderful news for Reston. Out with the old, in with the new!

  • Nyla J.

    $11,749 per expected student – and which school will this student be attending?

    Is everyone going to go to Terraset/Hughes/SL? Class size 50+?

    • John

      The elementary school for the proposed development is Sunrise Valley not Terraset.

      • Nyla J.

        So then they’ll all go to Sunrise Valley.

        • John

          Yes currently the Sunrise Valley attendance district straddles both sides of the Toll Road including all of Sunrise Valley from Hunter Mill up to Reston International Center and Sunset Hills from Hunter Mill all the way to Plaza America. So pretty much all the new development that is planned for both sides of the toll road close to the Reston Metro is all in the Sunrise Valley attendance boundary. See attendance map.

  • dude

    There is no commitment for future residents to join RA. Why would they want to join when they can enjoy most of the benefits of Reston free of charge? It is a big ripoff!

    • Nyla J.

      Is that true?

      • Karen Goff

        No, that is not true. All of these developments will be RA members (but it might be a phased in thing like at BLVD as most of them will be rentals). If and when they go condo, they will be RA full members.

        • Nyla J.

          Thanks Karen.

        • BOHICA

          Didn’t RA beg BLVD to join & offer reduced fees. I guess the current RA members will foot the extra cost.

  • David

    What happened to the idea of the “urban grid” of roads in the area around Metro?


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