Plans are underway to redevelop aging office buildings and mixed-used projects in Herndon as the opening of the nearby Metro station inches closer in 2020.
But as the oncoming train sweeps in more development and corridor activity, local officials and business leaders are grappling with one key question: How will the Herndon Metro stop distinguish itself from others on the Silver Line?
“We cannot have every stop look the same,” said John Boylan, president and CEO of the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Some are placing their hopes on the place-making character of the Town of Herndon’s downtown, a historic center that is one mile from the Metro station and the only incorporated town on the Silver Line. The town is working with Comstock Partners to redevelop 4.7 acres of land into a mixed use development with 281 apartments, a central community plaza, an arts center and retail. Comstock plans to break ground in late 2018. Construction will take at least two years.
A 761-space garage will be delivered first and will be free. Maggie Parker, Comstock’s vice president of communication, said the company is excited to work on Herndon’s “jewel.”
“People are hungry for community and that’s what the Herndon project offers and that’s what the Herndon Metro Station offers,” Parker said.
Mixed-used projects in Herndon’s 38-acre transit-oriented area near the Metro station are taking off. By 2050, an additional 2.1 million square feet of office space is planned as part of Herndon’s Metro Station Area Plan.
Just last month, Kiddar Capital announced it acquired 575 Herndon Parkway, a 4.8-acre site at the door of Herndon Metro station platform. The company is holding off on releasing plans for redevelopment for at least three years.
Other mixed-use projects are in the pipeline. The first and furthest development from the Metro Station — Corporate Oaks One (625 Herndon Parkway) — includes 64 stacked condominiums selling for between $500,000 and $600,000.
Penzance Properties plans to build a mixed-use development at 555 parkway, which calls for three or four 225 to 275-foot towers and ground floor retail.
Other projects in Herndon include Tishman’s Woodland Park East Development, which will include 1.6 million square feet of office and residential on roughly 32 acres. A mix of 678 townhouses, stacked condos, and apartments is planned, along with two office towers, 81 affordable housing units and six acres of open space.
“Herndon is strategically positioned for growth,” said Rodney Lusk, director of national marketing for the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.
Waterview at Woodland Park includes 295 multi-family units, 50 stacked townhouses and 32 townhouses. Prices start in the upper $600s for the community, which will open in May.
Arrowbrook Centre will see 2.3 million square feet of development on 54 acres. Houston Office Partners also plans to convert two office buildings into two multi-family residential projects with 866 units. Innovation Center South, which calls for 1.6 million square feet of development, including 1 million square feet of residential and 2,070 parking spaces, is currently under construction.
Lisa Merkel, mayor of the Town of Herndon, said the Herndon area will face a new challenge of transitioning people from cars to mass transit in a community that mostly has single-family homes.
“We don’t want to be a bedroom community,” said Merkel. “We are a small town with a worldview.”