First Look: JBG Teaming Up For 1.6 Million Square Feet of Mixed Use Near Wiehle-Reston East

by Karen Goff October 18, 2016 at 10:00 am 41 Comments

Four developers are teaming up to turn a 17.5-acre tangle of office buildings and parking lots at Wiehle Avenue and Sunset Hills Road into more than 1 million square feet of multifamily residential, as well as significant office and retail space.

Representatives from JBG/1831 Wiehle LLC, Bethesda’s EYA Development and The Chevy Chase Land Company gave a first look at the development application to the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee on Monday night.

The plan involves taking a half dozen parcels of land from 1831 Wiehle Avenue — the office building across Wiehle from the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station — several blocks east to Michael Faraday Drive. In addition to 1831 Wiehle, the plan will include redevelopment of 1861 Wiehle, 1860 Michael Faraday and 1840 Michael Faraday.

“We can see a large piece of property and a big opportunity at the Wiehle Metro,” said land use lawyer Brian Winterhalter, who is working with the applicants. “It is smack dab in between the W&OD Trail and the Silver Line. We see it as “the gateway to Reston.”

Bailey Edelson, JBG Vice President of Development, said the principals of the plan include high quality design; pedestrian and bike connectivity; urban parks and recreation; strategic office and mix of uses; and public art.

The development will be about 78 percent residential, with the remaining retail and commercial.

Some of the planned features closest to the Metro include:

  • A multifamily building for independent senior living along Sunset Hills Road.
  • Two five-story multifamily buildings
  • An 11-story office building at Wiehle Avenue and the Dulles Toll Road

On the East side of the development, the plan calls for:

  • A 200-unit multifamily building
  • Condo Flats and three-story condo townhouses above retail stores
  • A neighborhood of 60 more traditional townhomes
  • Underground parking
  • The retail street will be an extension of Reston Station Boulevard
  • Five park areas, including a central park (2.3 acres total open space)

Overall, the development will have 1.2 million square feet of residential (for about 1,300-1,500 estimated residents); 230,000 square feet of office; and 250,000 square feet of retail (with a plan to amend some of the retail into housing if the market forces are not there later).

The developers gave a look at the planned urban street grid, as well as pedestrian and car connectivity with the Metro station. It has not yet looked at traffic impact at that intersection, which is already one of the busiest in Reston.

JBG has talked to Marymount University and Northern Virginia Community College, both of which have locations in the affected office buildings, said Edelson. Both colleges have indicated they would like to stay in Reston.

The application has been accepted by Fairfax County, but has a long way to go in the process, including review by the county planning staff, the planning commission and Board of Supervisors, as well as return visits to Reston Planning and Zoning and the Reston Association Design Review Board.

  • RunDMC

    A) Neat. I, personally, would love it if Whole Foods would open a bigger, nicer store like the one in Fair Lakes or the one that’s planning to open next to Capital One in Tyson’s

    B) “It has not yet looked at traffic impact at that intersection, which is already one of the busiest in Reston” WHY IS THIS NOT THE FIRST THING THAT DEVELOPERS HAVE TO LOOK AT BEFORE THEY SUBMIT A PROPOSAL???? WHY GOD WHYYYYY????

    • E Pluribus

      This 100%

    • MWE
      • cosmo

        Right. Tysons is still getting what I believe will be the largest Whole Foods on the east coast as part of the proposed development along Route 7 next to the Greensboro Metro station, where they tore down the old hotel.

        • RunDMC

          Oh damn that’s where it’s going? I thought it was gonna be at Capital One. Good to know.

          • ClarendonBros

            I think one is Wegmans, the other is Whole Foods. I forget which is which.

    • vdiv

      The better question is why is their incomplete proposal even being considered?

      • Karen Goff

        It’s not incomplete. Things like proffers and traffic improvements happen much, much later in the process.

        • vdiv

          or never. Think Terry answered it below.

    • 30yearsinreston

      If you [email protected] paycheck, you don’t need the money

  • Arielle in NoVA

    We used to go through there several days a week to use the skating rink (Michael Faraday just north of Sunset Hills). The intersection was fine midday; horrible in the morning and afternoon rush hours. The rink is already short on freestyle time because of all of the hockey practices and games. Add a thousand people across the intersection who’ll be commuting and using the rink? As-is? No way. And not enough proposed green space. They’re suggesting a few little pocket parks; they need more than that for a thousand new people on that many acres.

    Sunset Hills there would need to be widened (into the proposed development area – there’s no room on the north side), with longer dedicated turn lanes in every direction. Same with Wiehle – it would need to be widened into the proposed development area, with a dedicated right turn lane from the intersection with the road going to the Metro station all the way to Sunset Hills. They might also need to widen Faraday so it has dedicated left and right lanes (with arrows) to get onto/off of Sunset Hills, plus a flexible middle lane (solid green light) that goes across to the rink and the private school OR either way on Sunset Hills.

    The only thing about this that sounds good, besides the underground parking, is the through street from the Wiehle station through this development, as a way to get to the rink/post office/north that isn’t through the Wiehle-Sunset Hills intersection. Oh, and if they add a food store or other amenities there.

    Needs major road/intersection proffers. They should pay for a pedestrian/bike bridge over Wiehle – speed up the proposed one and actually build it BEFORE building their development. Needs school proffers. They need to make sure that the streets work with school bus stops – there need to be intersections the buses can get through safely, because having the kids wait ON Wiehle or Sunset Hills would be a very bad idea.

    • RunDMC

      Yeah, I’m absolutely with you on all of the needed traffic updates- and the pedestrian/bike bridge over Wiehle needs to happen NOW because if it doesn’t someone’s gonna die getting run over by an under-caffeinated suburbanite rushing to get to work. I’m surprised no one has been killed at the W&OD trail intersection right there already.

      Not to mention the fire station that’s right there- if traffic doubles how are the fire trucks going to be able to get from the fire station to the toll road when there’s an emergency?

      • Arielle in NoVA

        Good point – I wasn’t thinking about the fire station!

        What would be really, really cool – although I don’t expect they’d actually do it, since it would cost money but wouldn’t bring in revenue – would be an elevated pedestrian plaza above/near the intersection that would let people get from any one corner to any other corner without crossing at street level. That way folks on the W&OD side could get across Wiehle and to/from the Metro station; the folks in the stupid new high-rise and the proposed new residences at Isaac Newton and discussed in this article could all get to the W&OD, McTacoHut, the skating rink, and the Metro station; and the firemen wouldn’t have to worry about hitting much of anyone if they have to race off to put out a fire at one of these places.

        • Guest

          I love your idea, but grade separation is difficult and expensive, even for a simple footbridge. Look at how much traffic the W&OD needs for even a proposed bridge. Walkers also have to be forced into any new route. In Baltimore inner harbor, foot traffic is channeled as much as possible to Light Street bridges, but few fly over Pratt Street because of at-grade crosswalks.

          At least the parallel extension of Station boulevard should be calmer.

          Reston fire station is slated for expansion, too. We’ll have to mount a cow catcher on the engine.

          • Scott H

            Pretty sure the W&OD Bridge over Wiehle is part of the plan. Question is probably when. It’s a no-brainer. The proximity to the intersection inhibits traffic flow and is dangerous. I’d wager that more traffic crosses the W&OD here than at Herndon Pkwy where a bridge has existed for decades.

          • It’s going to take longer because Dominion has to relocate the power lines. I think I saw 2020?

          • Arielle in NoVA

            The Metro to Dulles will be done before this one bridge over Wiehle? That’s nuts. I would think we could push Dominion to hurry things up a bit.

          • Looked up the tentative schedule: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/wod_trail_wiehle.htm

            –Public Hearing Winter 2016
            –NEPA Document Completion Winter 2016
            –Public Hearing Design Approval Spring 2016
            –Land Acquisition Completion Spring 2018
            –Final Design Approval Winter 2018
            –Utility Relocation Completion Summer 2019
            –Construction Completion Winter 2021

          • Arielle in NoVA

            A cow catcher? I’d love that, especially if they decorate it in some amusing manner.

          • Edward Calvert

            They could paint it pink like those lyft horns !

    • vdiv

      Nah, people can use the bike share to get around, right? 😉

      • RunDMC

        Oh god I didn’t even think of that. That’s gonna make the intersection even worse.

        • vdiv

          Just slightly crunchy and bumpy 😉
          In all seriousness the idea that people will forgo cars and just use the public transit system is not that realistic.

        • Why do you bother?

          That’s gonna make the intersection even deadlier.


      • Arielle in NoVA

        The bike share is fine for folks who already live near a bike share stop and aren’t going too far (and the weather isn’t awful). The rest of the time/the rest of us will still be driving.

        Closest public transport to my house (south of Herndon proper) is I think a mile or a mile and a half away – and that’s a bus stop that goes to the Herndon/Monroe Park & Ride, which is I think a mile and three-quarters away but with no particularly easy route. And the bus stop isn’t quite on the way to the Park & Ride – it’s in entirely a different direction, near Fox Mill ES. Most direct route requires crossing a street in one place and crossing the same street back in another because the sidewalk/path isn’t continuous. Most direct route COULD be a lot shorter if the pipeline path were continuous, which it completely is not north of Monroe Manor.

    • Terry Maynard

      Please be aware that it is the County’s EXPLICIT INTENTION to make traffic congestion WORSE throughout the transit station areas to encourage people to get out of their cars.

      It intends that peak hour traffic Level of Service will be reduced from “D” (35-55 seconds delay) to “E” (55-80 seconds delay). According to VDOT, LOS “E” means:
      • Operation near or at capacity
      • No usable gaps in the traffic stream
      • Operations extremely volatile
      • Any disruption causes queuing (backups thru preceding intersection)

      And experience shows that the Sunset Hills-Wiehle and other station area intersections frequently drops into LOS “F” at peak. What does this mean?
      –Breakdown in flow
      • Queues form behind breakdown points
      • Demand is greater than capacity.

      What the County and its Reston Network Analysis Group (RNAG) (see http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/restonnetworkanalysis/advisorygroup.htm for more info) have so far failed to consider is the difference in traffic needs between Reston’s THROUGH streets (such as Wiehle and Sunset Hills among others) and the GRID OF STREETS within the transit station areas. By failing to make that distinction in their intersection planning, they are condemning Restonians who have no business in the station areas, but need to get to the other side of town, to horrendous peak traffic at a half-dozen or so intersections along their way. It is a mindless approach to transportation planning.

      Oh, and worst of all, the County/RNAG is planning to create a new tax district–a Transportation Service District–in the Dulles Corridor that will mean residents there will have to pay more taxes for worse service. And, of course, all the financial benefits go to developers and County property tax proffers; no added income for the residents.

      You can’t make this stuff up. Only in Fairfax County.!

      • Scott H

        Can we please vote to turn Reston into a town and get out from under the county? The greedy pols are ruining Reston so they can control more tax dollars.

        Development is fine, but do it smartly.

        MASSIVE Proffers need to be 100% focused on infrastructure improvements. Reston is a suburban community, 30 miles outside DC. There is no way to get rid of the automobile.

    • There will be a Soapstone Connector road/bridge built to create another Toll Rd crossing. It will be multi-modal. A comprehensive Reston/Herndon area transportation plan is also in review but have not seen any updates lately. Hunter Mill will be getting roundabouts. Capital Bikeshare is opening this week or next with stations at the Metro and Plaza America.

      Do agree that Sunset Hills can’t handle an urban traffic load. It is a country lane with heavy suburban traffic now.

      • Arielle in NoVA

        I know the Soapstone Connector road/bridge is being talked about; I’m not sure how many years out it’ll be done.

        I’d heard they were talking about a Hunter Mill roundabout at Crowell Road; was there another in the works? There too, I don’t remember a completion date.

  • vdiv

    At this rate DC will turn into the suburb of NoVA within the next two decades.
    Oh wait, it already is!

    • wootness

      You guys can keep your olive gardens and buffalo wild wings.

  • Secure Proffers Now

    As usual JBG leads the pack in poor timing.

    Many cities have seen speculative frenzies return in recent months which led to price surges which would appear to be unsustainable – especially given the uncertain and poor geopolitical and economic backdrop.

    This has been the case in the UK and Ireland, the U.S. and indeed in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and a few other markets.

    The question at the start of 2017, is whether we are likely to see continued price gains or falls. There are all the hallmarks of an echo bubble akin to the one that burst so painfully in the noughties.

  • Why do you bother?

    Translation: Let no square inch of dirt go unsullied.

    I sure hope someone is bringing hovercrafts (real ones) to Reston, because there wont be a car moving for miles.

  • B Rita

    Cathy Hudgins says that the traffic doesn’t bother her. So I guess that’s the long and short of it.

    • BOHICA

      Many years ago she wasted lots of money on traffic studies but then did nothing. She is useless!

  • Martine Rossignol-Winner

    TRAFFIC, ANYONE???? They cannot create this kind of density of population and keep the roads as they are. it’s going to be a nightmare. I’m not against the development of the area, but without DRASTIC changes to the roads, it’s going to be worse than downtown DC at rush hour.

  • Concerned Reston Resident

    The speed of development in this corridor is very concerning. Our elected representatives need to look at the bigger picture impacts of traffic volume, pedestrian safety, and environmental conditions, as noted by others.

    What was not noted in this article, but is in Hunter Mill District Monthly “newsletter”, is the JBG Wiehle Ave. proposed development consists of 840 multi-family units, 60 single-family attached residential units, 130 independent living units, then office and retail space. Number of offices not known. Parking will be a big issue for residents and those commuting to offices.

    JBG also has an application for rezoning and final development plan for lots at 12100, 12110 and 12120 Sunset Hills to add 675,000 sq ft residential space, 650,000 sq feet office space, and 52,000 sq ft ground floor retail space. Number of units TBD.

    Not to forget the other side of the Toll Road is the approved Vornado development, with 200 and 300-unit residential buildings, office space and 175-room hotel. Another 500 units.

    To subscribe to the newsletter, email [email protected].

    • Edward Calvert

      Yeah that awful Vornado development is the one with the two 24 story towers ! Ugh, traffic alone

  • bongo

    Robert Simon is dead…time to defile his vision.


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