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by Dave Emke — October 12, 2017 at 4:00 pm 8 Comments

At its meeting Tuesday night (agenda), Reston’s Design Review Board will discuss specific plans for the residential and commercial aspects of the upcoming Tall Oaks Village Center redevelopment.

The project was last brought before the DRB in August, at which time the general landscape and architecture plans for the project were approved. Next week, the developers will be looking for approval of several other aspects of the plans, including the final landscape plan, the comprehensive sign plan, the lighting plan and material specifications.

Included in the final landscape plans is exercise and playground equipment, as well as a putting green. Site furnishings up for discussion include artistic bike racks and custom bus shelters. Three entry signs and a directional sign will be considered as well.

See the full residential presentation from applicant Jefferson Apartment Group and architect KTGY here.

The redevelopment plans call for 156 homes (a mix of townhomes, 2-over-2 townhomes and multifamily buildings), community space, 8,500 square foot of retail and about 6,000 square feet of office space. The end result will be the first such overhaul of one of Reston’s original village centers.

The 70,000-square-foot center was 86 percent empty by the time the redevelopment was approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in July 2016. Jefferson had conducted a market study that showed attracting a new retail anchor was not an option.

by Dave Emke — October 12, 2017 at 2:45 pm 11 Comments

An approved plan for massive development of the Commerce Executive Park near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station may be at a fork in the road, the Washington Business Journal reports.

According to the WBJ, JBG Smith is marketing the 12-acre property Commerce Executive Park to prospective buyers. JBG Smith took ownership of the property — south of the Dulles Toll Road and at the northwest corner of the Sunrise Valley Drive/Wiehle Avenue intersection — from Vornado Realty Trust earlier this year as part of the recent merger of JBG Cos. and Vornado’s D.C. business unit, Charles E. Smith.

The three existing six-story office buildings would remain in the redevelopment plan, but the rest would be transformed into a live-work-dine-shop destination for those who want to be close to Metro and Reston’s busy business corridor. The new buildup would include towering buildings that would be among the tallest in Reston:

  • a 22-story, 275-foot-tall office building
  • a 24-story, 255-foot-tall residential building with up to 300 dwelling units
  • a 14-story, 165-foot-tall hotel with 175 rooms
  • a 7-story, 100-foot-tall residential building with up to 200 dwelling units

The plans also include a total of 1.5 acres of open space, with small parks, bicycle tracks and a promenade along the businesses, and would feature public art including a water feature.

According to the WBJ report, the fact that CBRE is marketing the properties for JBG Smith doesn’t necessarily mean a sale is imminent or will even happen at all.

by Dave Emke — October 12, 2017 at 1:30 pm 20 Comments

New residents are beginning to move into Aperture (11410 Reston Station Blvd.), which is described as “not just an apartment building, but an artistic expression.”

Mike Henehan, senior vice president of Bozzuto Development Company, said the leasing process began last month and about 14 units in the 421-unit building are being moved into already. The finishing touches are being put on the building, with hopes for hundreds more residents moving in during the coming months.

“We didn’t want to do another high-rise — we wanted to do something that was a little cool,” said Reston developer Chuck Veatch, who has owned the property since 1978. It was previously the home of a mini-storage facility and retail strip center. “One of the things that we talked about was tying it in with a lot of art and a lot of photography.”

Veatch, who came to Reston in 1964 and was involved in its original development, is also chairman of the board and contributing editor for Nature’s Best Photography magazine. With that in mind, the building features the overarching theme of nature photography, with numerous stunning photos out of the Nature’s Best archives displayed throughout.

“We gave [the design team] all of the winners that have been in our exhibits down at the Smithsonian, and they went through and decided what they wanted to use in the building,” Veatch said. “The corridors all have Nature’s Best photography in them, and what they did was pick a theme for each floor.”

Sculptor Zachary Oxman also has works displayed inside and outside the building, including the 11-foot-tall “Convergence” that was unveiled last month. Architecture firm KTGY designed the building, and its interior design was envisioned by award-winning designer Rebecca Jones.

The building offers studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom dwelling units. There are three courtyards, with amenities including a saltwater pool, outdoor cooking stations, a pet-play area and more. Also included are a full gym, an extensive lounge area, a library and other features.

Orangetheory Fitness will soon open as Aperture’s first retail tenant. Veatch said a second retailer, which will be a restaurant, is in the works.

The goal is to cultivate a sense of camaraderie among residents, Veatch said.

“We want Aperture to be a place, a community,” he said. “There will be a lot of programming and all kinds of cool stuff here for people to do.”

Aperture residents will also be part of a larger community, as members of Reston Association.

Tours of Aperture will be included as part of the Reston Home Tour, taking place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Prospective residents are also invited to schedule their own visit to learn more.

by RestonNow.com — October 12, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

Frying Pan Farm Park (2709 W. Ox Road, Herndon) will put on its Fall on the Farm festival this weekend. The event is scheduled for 5-9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

The Fall Carnival will feature games, carnival rides and food. Ride tickets are $1 each or 24 tickets for $20. (Rides cost 3-5 tickets each.) A special Sunday unlimited ride pass can be purchased in advance for $18. The price goes up to $25 after 4 p.m. Friday.

In addition, Farm Harvest Days are slated for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission to that event is free, but there is a charge for wagon rides ($3.50) and carousel rides ($3). Visitors will be able to watch the cider press in action, milk a goat, shell corn, meet the farm animals, see farm demonstrations and more.

The event is sponsored by the Fairfax County Park Foundation, Friends of Frying Pan Farm Park and Whole Foods.

by Del. Ken Plum — October 12, 2017 at 10:15 am 26 Comments

This is a commentary from Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Candidate Terry McAuliffe promised during his campaign for governor that he would work to build a new economy in Virginia. A reduction of federal spending in the state along with the decline of traditional mining and manufacturing jobs had left the Virginia economy sluggish.

If there was any doubt as to what Gov. McAuliffe had in mind, one only needs to look at his performance in office. His latest performance figures — although these numbers increase daily — are 1,027 new projects, 215,100 jobs created and $165 billion in capital investments. No other governor has come close to these kinds of numbers. But he clearly is not done yet.

Just last week, Gov. McAuliffe announced that Facebook will bring more than $1 billion of new investment to the Commonwealth. Facebook is directly investing $750 million to establish a 970,000-square-foot data center in the White Oak Technology Park in Henrico County. The project will bring thousands of construction jobs to the region and more than 100 full-time operational jobs. Virginia is already a leader in data centers with a record number in Loudoun County.

An exciting aspect to this new project is that with a new renewable energy tariff designed by Dominion Energy Virginia and Facebook, hundreds of millions of additional dollars will be invested in the construction of multiple solar facilities in the Commonwealth to service Facebook’s Henrico data center with 100 percent renewable energy. That feature continues a trend that has been going on in Virginia in the use of solar-generated electricity with new and expanded business projects.

In another project, Amazon is behind what had been the state’s largest planned solar installation to date, an 80-megawatt system in Accomack County. Early last year another solar project was introduced that spurred Virginia’s solar energy market by a partnership among the state, Dominion Virginia Power and Microsoft Corp. to bring a 20-megawatt solar farm to Fauquier County. The 260,000 panels on 125 acres represented more solar energy than was available across all of Virginia two years ago.

Recent evidence demonstrates that the new economy of the Commonwealth is being recognized nationally. Recently, Virginia was ranked in Area Development magazine’s 2017 “Top States for Doing Business” annual survey for the first time since 2010. Overall, the Commonwealth placed 11th out of 20 states ranked in the prestigious annual site consultants’ survey.

The Commonwealth ranked in the Top 10 in five of 12 subcategories that impact companies’ location and facility plans, including: Cooperative & Responsive State Government, fifth; Leading Workforce Development Programs, seventh; Competitive Labor Environment, eighth; Favorable Regulatory Environment, ninth; and Speed of Permitting, ninth. These rankings represent significant advances for Virginia as the state has not placed in any subcategories since 2013. This year also marks the first time Virginia has ever placed in the Cooperative & Responsive State Government, Competitive Labor Environment, and Speed of Permitting categories.

The new economy is proving to be good for jobs, with record low unemployment, and good for communities that were struggling to recover from the Great Recession. At the same time, it is good for the environment, with record growth in solar energy production.

by Dave Emke — October 12, 2017 at 9:00 am 2 Comments

Public Meeting Tonight on Unfunded Transportation Projects — Fairfax County Department of Transportation officials are seeking public input on nearly 300 transportation projects that are vying for roughly $100 million in funding. Local residents can provide feedback on proposed projects at a public meeting tonight from 7-9 p.m. at the North County Governmental Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive). The meeting will include a formal presentation about unfunded projects and a question-and-answer session. [Reston Now]

Be Alert for Deer on Roadways — Police are urging residents to be alert and aware of the potential for deer to dart into the road in front of their vehicles. About half of all deer-vehicle collisions occur during the months of October, November and December, they say. [Fairfax County Police Department]

County Rape Suspect Arrested in West Virginia — Eusebio Romero-Rivera, 48, is believed to have fled the state after a warrant was issued for his arrest on a charge of raping an adult family member in August. The U.S. Marshals Service says Romero-Rivera, a Salvadoran national, had previously been deported and had re-entered the country illegally. [The (Martinsburg, W.Va.) Journal]

Learn About Lyme Disease Tonight — The National Capital Lyme Disease Association will host a panel discussion on the topic tonight, 7:30-9:30 p.m., at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive). [NatCapLyme]

Herndon Welcomes South Korean Guests — Herndon’s mayor and Town Council exchanged gifts, including a ceremonial Town Key, with the South Korean visitors, who were guests of Grandmaster H.K. Lee Academy of TaeKwonDo. [Connection Newspapers]

Local Military Veteran Dies in Texas — Carl Bolle, a 1977 graduate of Herndon High School, served 20 years in the U.S. Army and achieved the rank of sergeant first class. Among his medals, he earned the Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Commendation Medal. After retiring, he worked as a contractor in the computer intelligence area at Fort Hood for 16 years. [Temple Daily Telegram]

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