Update: Giant Vornado Plan Gets Deferred Decision from Planning Commission

Commerce Park/Credit: Fairfax CountyThe Fairfax County Planning Commission deferred a decision until next week on the first phase of redevelopment of Commerce Executive Park on the south side of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station.

The first phase of Vornado’s plan calls for a 200-unit residential building, as well as interior roads, pedestrian paths and a cycle track. Eventually, the plan is to redevelop the existing office buildings into 1.5 million square feet of mixed-use development at Wiehle Avnue Sunrise Valley Drive and the Dulles Toll Road.

The planning commission held a public hearing last night, but deferred decision until Oct. 6.

Only one person, John Hawthorne, an attorney representing IGS LLC, the owner of a nearby office building, testified at the public hearing. He said this development would cause undue hardship and injury to IGS because of the office park’s private roads and infringement on that owner’s private property. He also spoke out with the same issues last week at the public hearing on Lincoln Property’s residential project on the other side of his building.

The planning staff report recommends approval.

The commission deferred decision due to outstanding proffer issues, such as the contribution to the Reston Road Fund, which will pay for some of the $2 billion in road improvements around the Metro station; the number of workforce housing units; and the building of the bike lane, which a staff report recommends being fully built during Phase 1.

The overall plan calls for Vornado to keep the current office buildings but replace open space and surface parking with the seven-story, 200-unit residential building; a 24-story, 300-unit residential building; a 22-story, 385,000-square-foot office building; and a 175-room hotel. There would also be retail in the first three floors of several buildings.

The developer plans a central plaza and promenade, as well as five park areas.

Vornado says the first building (if approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors) has a target completion date of 2019.

The 22- and 24-story towers will be about the same height as One Reston Town Center, the approved plan for redeveloping a five-story office building into Reston’s tallest building at 1760 Reston Parkway.

Commerce Executive Park would be part of a massive transformation on the south side of the toll road.

The planning commission will make a decision Thursday on Lincoln Property Company’s plans to build 260 multifamily residences on what is now a parking lot at Sunrise Valley, Commerce Park and Association drives, adjacent to the proposed Vornado project.

Earlier this month, the planning commission approved rezoning an office building for 54 townhouses and began demolition of the 42-year-old former American Press Institute building. Both of those projects are on Sunrise Valley south of the Dulles Toll Road.

The second phase of JBG’s Reston Heights is also under construction, with a 385-unit apartment community and as well as 89,000 square feet of retail.

Renderings of Commerce Executive Park courtesy of Fairfax County.

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