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Planning Commission Moves Forward Vornado’s Big Plans for Wiehle-Reston East

by Karen Goff October 7, 2016 at 4:15 pm 14 Comments

Commerce Park/Credit: Fairfax CountyThe first phase of an eventual 1.5-million square-foot mixed-use development on the south side of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro was recommended for approval by the Fairfax County Planning Commission on Thursday.

The first phase of Vornado’s plan for Commerce Executive Park at Wiehle Avenue, Sunrise Vally Drive and Commerce Park Drive, calls for a 200-unit residential building, as well as interior roads, pedestrian paths and a cycle track.

The planning commission held a public hearing last week but deferred decision until Oct. 6 to iron out some development conditions. While those issues — when a bike lane on Wiehle will be built, as well as expected contributions to the Reston Road Fund, among others — are not completely settled, Hunter Mill Commissioner Frank de le Fe says he is confident the parties will work together as the development plan comes together.

He also said developers will work with IGS LLC, the owner of a nearby office building. An IGS rep testified at the public hearing that the 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.

The planning staff report recommended approval.

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 will be part of a massive transformation on the south side of the toll road.

The planning commission recommended for approval last week 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 Vornado project.

On Wednesday, the planning commission also recommended for approval Pulte Homes’ plans for 44 residential units on Michael Faraday Drive, about one-third of a mile from Wiehle-Reston East.

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.

  • Edward Calvert

    This is a monstrosity. Do we need dueling 24 foot towers here ?

    • Guest

      Does that mental image inspire uncomfortable emotions?

      Sometimes a high-rise is just unexpected construction.

      • Edward Calvert

        Not uncomfortable, just reminded me of rosslyn …bleh…too much concrete

  • Scott

    I’m sure all these additional folks will walk, ride their bikes, use Fairfax Connector, and take metro. There won’t be any impact on Reston’s wide open and easy to utilize road system.

    • Dentro

      They will use the roads to capacity and then fall back on the other stuff because the roads are no longer functional. It’ll work out for anyone flexible and suck for anyone who isn’t. Like most things in the world.

  • Arielle in NoVA

    A huge BOO to everyone pushing this oversized mess. Planning commission, you *suck*.

  • WOW! think of all the taxes, hundreds of thousands of $, and no school kids and all good tax payers. There will be more money for roads etc because that will be the only services needed. Things are changing.

    • Mike M

      Wade, I’ll have what you’re drinking.

      • Well there are 3000 plus housing units in the Town Center and fewer than 60 school pupils the last time I asked about it.. So 5,000 apartments would produce few if any kids for school but someone would pay a lot of taxes. And talk about the meals tax…WOW!

        • Mike M

          Wow! More money for government! Victory?
          The RTC =/= all these other developments. Why do you think the name of the game is to get all the money the government can get?

        • MathWizard

          Well hopefully that extra tax revenue without the extra cost burden will help alleviate the shortfall if the meals tax is defeated.

    • Edward Calvert

      It says in the article they haven’t even determined contributions by the developer to a wiehlr bike path, the reston road fund, the interior roads, and infringement on a private office neighbor. I’m assuming that the reston road fund is where all the money will come from to fund all the new roads needed ? All the articles on here point out the developers never pay their fair share in roads, sewage lines , etc. Will they draw from general funds and taxes ?

  • Sally Forth

    With our county governors/overlords approving everything that is submitted post haste, let them ALSO approve a 100% developer-only funding plan for all of the infrastructure improvements needed for the corridor and adjoining Reston areas. The future or current residents of the corridor should not be taxed one cent for these ‘improvements’ which would not be necessary without the increased density of new projects. With billions $$$ of profit lining their pockets, developers can easily afford to pay. If all of these over-sized, poorly conceived and implemented developments are to proceed and ruin Reston (and oh, it has already and will get much worse!), at least let the profiteers pay for their own project-dependent ‘improvements

    Wake up Reston: as we speak our developer-loving FFX Co Bd. of Supervisors (BOS) is conjuring to have citizens/residents pay for these ‘improvements’ for at least 40 years. I say ‘at least’ because once Tax Service Districts get established, they never die and their rates can/will increase. They become a county piggy bank/ funding source and their income can be used all over the county: who will know??? Tysons also has a tax district for paying for their density driven improvements but they have an entity to control the money. Reston has been denied the same entity. The county wants our piggy bank desperately with no controls. Remember the Dulles tolls that were supposed to end when the road was paid off? Same idea.

    BTW, the committee proposing the formulas for the proposed new tax districts is once again hugely dominated by, guess who? YEP, Cathy Hudgins has followed her formula once again by ‘appointing’ a vast majority of developers to the panels (She calls them “stakeholder”) and a couple of citizen reps. No way is the panel balanced! It’s a redo of the Reston Master Planning Task Force. How sick is everyone of this charade of democracy?

    Oh, you don’t care because you never plan to live in the corridor or RTC or TCN areas? If you wouldn’t want your property taxed, why should any other normal resident be saddled with this EXTRA tax when developers are reaping BILLIONS $$$ in profits the backs of existing Reston’s life style and formerly healthy environment? And folks, seriously, we are talking BILLIONS $$$. Make ’em pay and leave all residents ALONE! Please, Email or Call Hudgins and the BOS and let them know if you are furious and disgusted.

  • dudewe

    There is still some hope (very little!) that the BOS will deny it. They will meet on this issue in November or December so keep informed and when the date is set, sign up to speak at the meeting,

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