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County Board Approves Plan to Redevelop Three-Story Office Building into 20-Story Condominiums

by Fatimah Waseem March 21, 2018 at 11:30 am 74 Comments

A 20-story condominium high rise will replace a three-story office building built in the late 1980s on 1801 Old Reston Avenue.

On Tuesday evening, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the project by Renaissance Centro, the developer behind a strip of residential buildings in the area. 

The project will include 150 residential units, including 24 for-sale, workforce housing units and 24 bonus units, built atop an underground parking garage.

County officials touted the project for bringing for-sale workforce housing on the market — a rarity in Reston despite the prevalence of residential high rises. Andrew Painter of Walsh Colluci Lubuley & Walsh, the developer’s representative, said the project is the first for-sale condominium in Reston in 14 years.

Painter said Renaissance views the project as a “legacy” development that will transform Reston Parkway from a commuter-cut-through street to an urban parkway. The developer will provide $313,000 for Reston’s road funds and the project is not expected to generate additional traffic compared to the current building, he said.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said the community and the developer worked together to allay concerns. She said the developer is providing green space that will enhance the community space in area on Reston Parkway that serves as an entrance to high density development across from Reston Town Center and at the foot of Metro.

As the project moves forward, Hudgins also said traffic improvements on Temporary Road and Reston Parkway are needed.

“There are transportation issues in this area. No matter what we would have built, it would have been difficult.”

Three residents who testified in support of the project on Tuesday said the project will offer new home ownership opportunities they have awaited for years. One resident opposed the plan because the developer is requesting a waiver for the minimum lot and reduced loading dock requirements. She also questioned why the project’s zoning designation is classified as mixed use, even though the project has no mixed use element.

Previously, a decision on the project had previously been deferred.

The project will include a pool, an outdoor terrace, a penthouse with terrace space, and an eight-foot-wide asphalt trail. Once built, it will tower above The Harrison and other properties built by Renaissance Centro.

“The applicant has a track record of quality development,” Painter said.

Photos via handout

  • 30yearsinreston

    “Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said the
    community and the developer worked together to allay concerns. She said
    the developer is providing green space that will enhance the community
    space in area on Reston Parkway that serves as an entrance to high
    density development across from Reston Town Center and at the foot of
    Metro.

    More spin and BS from Hudgins

    The “green space” is about 5 feet of existing grass verge between the road and the building

    Her superb negotiating skills have ensured that the recognized “traffic issues” won’t be addressed bt the developer.

    • Anonymous Person

      So then what’s the solution? There is a potential for additional taxes for the area which, in part, feed into transportation and infrastructure improvements. Traffic is already bad, and while this will add to it, the space is also not being adequately used.

      There’s also a major residential housing problem in the area. We simply refuse to build enough or at the right price point! Newer condos will always be ‘luxury’, but that means the older ones become more affordable for first time home buyers, those folks in Simon’s vision that should also be included in the area.

      I think you simply think your home value might go down, and you might have some younger folks in the area. Your home value won’t go down, and you’ll have new neighbors. But apparently anyone that moved into the area after you are all horrible people.

      You’re part of the affordability crisis problem in the region.

      • 30yearsinreston

        You condescending attitude is part of what led to the traffic crisis that plagues this area
        FYI, I am not concerned about my property values and I am not concerned about the economic strata of the ‘new residents” I am more concerned about livability of the area that is impacted by the additional population that is stuffed into a corner that is already stressed by the additional units and high rise offices
        You field of dreams “fiscal analysis” has been proven to be a fraud.

        And, please don’t insult me with your interpretation of Mr Simons “vision” .
        I met the man on several occasions and that was not conveyed

        • Cubsfan6116

          Condescension causes traffic problems? That’s a new one.

          The site is an ugly, dated three story office building with a ring of surface parking across from RTC, along major road, and walking distance to the new metro station. It’s not a golf course or Green space or in the middle of a neighborhood. But to some people, I guess any change is a problem, no matter the facts on the ground.

          • 40yearsinreston

            Your comprehension and reading skills need some work
            BTW, I know what the site is as I use Temporary Rd every day
            I live in the neighborhood and have first hand experience of the effects of the Summit development on the area
            I’m not against change, just unplanned development without adequate infrastructure in place

          • Cubsfan6116

            “You condescending attitude is part of what led to the traffic crisis that plagues this area”

            Umm, yeah. You said that.

            Temporary Road should be improved, yes. Planned interchanges on Fairfax County Parkway will (eventually) help ease demand on Reston Parkway, and the crossings at Soapstone, South Lakes, and Town Center will also help. Oh, and this site is planned for this type of development. So it’s not unplanned

            Btw, nice name change.

          • 30yearsinreston

            the only improvements to Temporary Rd are going to be the addition of bike lanes. How will that alleviate the existing backups ?
            Temporary Rd is the only direct access between the Town Center and North Shore Drive and needs to be improved before further development – not after

          • Stuart Gibson

            Actually, the only improvement the developer (grudgingly) agreed to pay for is a right turn lane from Temporary Road onto Old Reston Avenue, so residents will not further congest Temporary Road while driving to their building (accessible only from Old Reston Avenue). That turn lane will not alleviate traffic at Temporary Road and N. Shore, More important, the lack of parking for residents and guests at 1801 will make N. Shore Drive into an even bigger parking lot than it is now.

          • John Farrell

            The Reston Master Plan is “but a guide” not a suicide pact.

          • Greg

            I hope you are right about the planned interchanges on Fairfax County Parkway. I see big issues with, for example, an interchange at Sunrise Valley Drive (where one is desperately needed and little land exists for one) and improvements at the toll road interchange (even more desperately needed).

            The parkway was originally planned as the outer Beltway with full cloverleaf-style interchanges. But, as things always go, there was not enough money to do it as planned. Despite 50 years of work we ended up with a piecemeal four-lane highway with dozens of poorly-timed traffic lights that quickly filled to beyond capacity.

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/04/AR2010090402986.html

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Outer_Beltway

          • meyerweb

            And adding 17 more stories will help congestion how? By making it worse, that’s how.

          • Chuck Morningwood

            Better an unsightly old 3 story office building than an unsightly new 20 story condo tower.

      • 40yearsinreston

        What affordability crisis are you babbling about

      • meyerweb

        Show me one, just one, example of a community where more development rested in less traffic or better services to the citizens because of more tax revenue. The simple truth is is that more development ALWAYS results in worse traffic and HIGHER taxes as the government struggles to provide all the services these businesses and people need. If the opposite were true ,New York city would have the lowest taxes in America .

      • Reston Realist

        So are you saying that if I buy a condo in RTC this year, that two years from now it will be worth less than what I paid for it because this new “luxury building” will have units available for sale? If that’s the case, let’s keep building more luxury units and and drive down the price of existing product so it is affordable for everyone!

  • Chuck Morningwood

    Yet another scar on the Reston landscape and skyline.

  • MakeRestonBetter

    I’m curious – how many of you who complain about this development/redevelopment that is occurring in Reston go to the meetings and voice your objections? How many of you are willing to fund a candidate to stand against Supervisor Hudgins? It is so easy to complain here and other places about how Reston is changing. The fact of the matter is that it IS changing and only by personally engaging at these meetings and with the Supervisor and her staff will those who want to shape that change be able to influence it. No one their right mind wants more traffic congestion. Many are skeptical about green space, community space, affordable housing, etc…but how many are actually DOING instead of griping?

    • meyerweb

      Do you honestly think that the board listens to the concerns of citizens over the money of developers? Don’t make me laugh. Hudgins won’t even answer mail from constituents, unless there’s a 5 figure check inside

      • John Farrell

        That’s just garbage. She doesn’t raise any money. She’s a true believer who won’t even listen to her mentor, Kate Hanley. That’s how out of touch Hudgins has become.

        • 40yearsinreston

          Zealots are the worse
          Look at Trotsky

    • Stuart Gibson

      It is very challenging for working men and women to attend board meetings that are held at 3:30 in the afternoon on a weekday. That being said, I submitted extensive written comments to the planning commission and the board of supervisors in opposition to this project. The notion that this building will not generate additional traffic is a farce, as is the approval of a 20 story building that has only three spaces for guest parking. We need to be more vigilant, and hold our elected officials accountable for these decisions that increase congestion in an area that is already over congested.

      • MakeRestonBetter

        That was indeed a difficult time for many people to attend. But thank you for your written comments to the planning commission and board of supervisor. I agree with you that this building is (at best) problematic for the impact on traffic. I’m not sure what they could have done with the property that would please investors, provide workforce housing, and NOT impact traffic. It seems that the first (pleasing investors) is often at odds with the other two. I’d love to see some visionary building design that embraces and rewards non-car owning residents. I just don’t know whether that’s financially sane out in the suburbs. But if it could work, being this close to the Metro would be the place to try it. Again, thank you for commenting and doing what you can.

        • 30yearsinreston

          its not about visionary building design
          Its about stuffing more people into a neighborhood with limited roads, access and parking that is already congested

          • MakeRestonBetter

            I meant visionary in the idea that the building would be marketed as “mostly car free” … it would have to be visionary for the County to waive the parking requirements, etc. If that type of building was permitted on a trial basis, it would also allow a different design. It’s a thought – what we’re doing now is not working well. Thinking about other possibilities is healthier than screaming about things that have already happened.

        • Scott

          Suburban metro doesn’t work. The idea that u could live there and not need a car is the laughable pipedream of Pollyanna pols.

          • MakeRestonBetter

            Has it been tried anywhere similar to here? I’d like to see actual stats. I know a bunch of people who live car free in Arlington and the city, but of course they’re not Reston. I think it could work … but would love to see where it has been tried and failed or sort of succeeded. We’re at the point where any idea would be better to try than what we’re currently facing.

          • Nyla J.

            Springfield. Fail.

          • Jane

            Walking to happy hour after schlepping back on the metro from DC when you’re 26 is a different lifestyle than the families in the burbs lead.

            It’s easy to be carless when you don’t have to take the kids to music, sports, taekwondo, daycare, and carry enough groceries for 4-5 people multiple times a week.

          • Donald

            I r m m ercwhen our local Guy Rando proposed using the air right s over Metro:

            http://lh6.ggpht.com/_vN46g4NVjSQ/Sxk5OBOcV0I/AAAAAAAABRE/zoY1cBYeLPs/air%20rights%20fun.jpg?imgmax=800

          • Greg

            The Reston silver line stations are in the middle of two expressways. One two-lane and one four-lane with open-air bridges above the wide expressways. It’s a very long walk from the stations to the nearest buildings. Try walking those bridges in the winter, when it’s raining, when it’s hot, when it’s snowing, or when the wind is blowing. Wear appropriate footwear as the decks are often slippery, wet, or icy. Don’t forget your groceries, bike, backpack, computer, gym gear and whatever else you need in your office or residence. When you finally get out of the metro morass, don’t forget that Reston is very dark — you will need to bring your own illumination if you venture all but a few feet from the stations.

            Contrast that to Arlington and DC where the subway stations are beneath or adjacent to buildings.

            Reston’s metro stations are and will be, probably forever, highly car dependent. Poor design and poor location despite the $6 billion cost of the Silver line.

          • Peanut

            Not really. I think the whole point of developments near the metro stations is so that this is not the case. Reston Gateway will be about a minute walk from the metro, and most of that will just be over the bridge.

          • Greg

            Not really? And not a minute’s walk by even an Olympian.

            In any case, the long walk from train car to destination is all outdoors, it’s all exposed, little of it is lighted, and there are tens of thousands of Reston residents who live too far from any metro station to walk to one — including the future residents of the tower mentioned in this article.

            The only way your fantasy may become reality is if the highways are decked over with things built atop them.

      • work LIVE and play

        Thanks Stuart. The nay sayers agree that posting here makes no difference but I think differently: raising awareness is half the battle.

        Most folks in Reston area are too tapped out from work/commute to dig deep and research the issues. I think you provide a great service to us, your efforts will be rewarded.

        Again, thanks.

        • John Farrell

          That’s where RA could come in but .

      • John Farrell

        BOS meetings have even less spontaneity and more scripted than School Board meetings which is really saying something.

        They’re mostly political theater. The cake is baked at the P&Z (made up of exclusively of Hudgins appointees – so you can imagine how much independent thought gets implemented there) and at the Planning Commission where HUnter Mill has a new planning commissioner – so the jury’s out on that just yet but this vote does not bode well for the future.

        Even Kate Hanley could get through the Hudgins bubble on this one which is really saying something since Cathy used to work for Kate!

  • meyerweb

    Of course they approved it. Did anyone have any doubts? The developer community bought and paid for the board years ago .

    • Donald

      It also boils down to the rights of the property owner. That’s a tough one to fight, even in the courts.

      The best the community can do is to purchase specific properties to keep them from being developed. Unfortunately, this specific property is not in the Reston Association PRC, making such a move even more difficult.

      Donald

      • 30yearsinreston

        Property owners do NOT have unlimited development rights in Fairfax County

        This is not Houston

        • Donald

          Actually, I believe this owner is well within her/his rights. But, I’ll let the experts here share their views.

          Donald

          • John Farrell

            Wrong again.

            Every one of your postings makes the world more ignorant.

            For the sake of humanity, will some sane person please pull the plug on this troll’s computer.

          • Donald

            Please elaborate. I am happy to admit I am wrong. Why did this development get approved?

            Donald

          • John Farrell

            Cannot answer that question.

            You’ll have to ask Hudgins but don’t hold your breath waiting for an answer ’cause there ain’t none coming.

      • meyerweb

        No. Just no. Property owners have to conform to zoning regulations, and the county has an absolute right to control zoning. No ifs, ands or buts.

        • Donald

          But, it was zoned for this. I’m not saying I like the idea, but, they are within their rights.

          Donald

          • John Farrell

            Wrong again.

            The BOS approved a CHANGE OF ZONING to enable this building.

          • Donald

            Thank you. So much of this was political.

            Donald

      • John Farrell

        Wrong, Wrong, Wrong, Wrong

        Before you misinform more innocents reading these uninformed posting please take the time to read the leading monograph on planning and zoning law in Virgina.

        You’ll find it on my bio page at my firm’s website.

        After you’re done, I’ll be happy to administer a quiz to see how little was absorbed.

        • Donald

          Fair enough, I’d rather not feed your ego by reading your ”bio”. So I suspect I am incorrect. Please elaborate.

          Donald

          • John Farrell

            Don’t have to read the bio, troll.

            The monograph is attached as a pdf. It’s 123 pages, single spaced. So hard summarized. Better get started – you might be done in what a month – maybe more.

    • John Farrell

      Wrong – look up Hudgin’s entry on VPAP and compare it with any other member of the Board of Supervisors. She never been a good fundraiser.

      • Biker Sherlock

        lol, it’s cute how you think those developer funds would show up on VPAP…

        • John Farrell

          And you’re implying what?

          A replay of the 1960s, when multiple members of the Board of Supervisors went to jail?

          If you’re going to make that kind of accusation, you better have the goods.

  • MakeRestonBetter

    So start a campaign to unseat Supervisor Hudgins. Show up to the meetings and be obnoxiously correct with your facts. Do something other than the continual whinging here about how development is ruining Reston. Doing that here goes into the void. No one in any position of power cares what people say in comments.

    • 30yearsinreston

      Hudgins claims to be retiring , but this may be a ploy as she may change her mind

      Movements have to start somewhere and the local news source is better than some

      BTW, almost every candidate for the RA board disagrees with her ‘field of dreams’ attitude regarding development
      It seems that As long as she gets “workforce housing” , she is oblivious to other concerns

      • John Farrell

        Bingo!! Pay the man, Shirley!

        And we have more affordable housing in Reston than any 11 square miles in the Commonwealth.

        So yeah, Reston isn’t doing its part when it comes to affordable housing.

        I’m feeling excruciatingly guilty about that. How about you?

        • 40yearsinreston

          I feel ypur pain 🙂

    • John Farrell

      Amen and hallelujah

      You could have figured that out by attending the South Lakes Drive bike lane meeting Monday night where a “public input” session scheduled for 90 minutes consisted of 60 minutes of government employees lecturing the public on how misinformed and backwards we all were for not falling for their ideologically fanatic program to shut down as many travel lanes in Reston as possible.

  • John Farrell

    Not all others, just you.

    And, no, you didn’t miss me.

    Start reading, the final’s at the end of May. ;-p

    • Donald

      That’s ok professor.

      Donald

      • John Farrell

        So you prefer to stay intentionally ignorant.

        Noted

        • Donald

          Sure, why not.

          Donald

  • Big Drop

    First condominium built in Reston in 14 years. Why? Our house near South Lakes was assessed in ‘18 for less than ‘06.

    There is a generation who no longer believe that buying a house is a good investment.

    • Jane

      “There is a generation who no longer believe that buying a house is a good investment.”

      Fine with me, they can rent from me for the rest of their lives. Anyone want to guess what rents were 30 years ago?

      • 30yearsinreston

        30 years ago, rents were about $750/month for a 2 bedroom apartment (Fairway) – – about $200 more in Jonathan’s Keepe aka Summit

    • Grace

      Yes and no. As part of the “generation” that you are referring to, I know that I recognize the unsustainable nature of the housing bubble. I watched my parents struggle with owing more on their mortgage than the house was worth when the bubble burst back in the early 00’s. It is not reasonable to believe that housing values will continue to go up forever when wages for the average worker remain stagnant compared to the cost of living. In this same vein, many of my generation would love to own a home but simply cannot afford it. I grew up in Reston – my parents bought the home that we lived in for the first 13 years of my life in 1989 when it was first built (different from the home we were in when the bubble burst, that was purchased in 2002). When my husband and I were deciding where we wanted to settle down, I knew that I wanted to return to Reston so that our future children could have a positive community the way that I did. We bought a little townhome just a few streets over from where I grew up that is actually the exact same floorplan as my childhood home. Not much had been done to the place since its build in 1989 – original windows, water heater and roof that were 13 years old, etc. Despite this, my husband and I paid four times the amount for the home than my parents paid for their home in 1989 when it was brand new. Compare this fourfold increase in cost with what my parents made to what my husband and I make (only about double, despite both my husband and I having higher education and working full-time in salaried positions) and you can see why people my age are struggling to get to a place where they have the resources to purchase a home. We currently have roommates – a married couple we are friends with who are the same age – who are using the cheap rent they get from us to help them save up for their own home purchase, but they’ve been living with us for about 3.5 years now and don’t anticipate having enough money for a down payment for about another year. Even with that, they are having to look to places like Loudoun where homes are more affordable because Reston is so expensive.
      People in my generation want to own a home just as much as people in your generation, but we’re struggling. New builds are consistently “luxury” and well outside of our price range, even for a household with two incomes. I’m not opposed to adding new homes to Reston, but I’d like to see more starter homes that people who don’t make over $100k per year can actually afford.

      • 30yearsinreston

        Nothing wrong with Loudon – Reston was out in the boonies 30 years ago as well
        I wanted to buy in Georgetown then, but settled for what I could afford

        • Grace

          No one said there was anything wrong with Loudoun, but they both work in Reston and understandably would like to live here as well. Isn’t “live, work, play” for people of all socioeconomic statuses what Reston is supposed to be all about? Georgetown is now prohibitively expensive for all but the wealthiest of people, with tiny one-bedroom condos with less than 900 square feet selling for over $350k and townhomes going for over 2 mil. I don’t want to see that happen to Reston.

  • Not a nice place anymore

    So many places to live in Reston being built but what is being offered to help out those who cannot afford rents over $1900 a month for a 2 bdrm….Robert Simons wanted a place for all people to live not just the rich and greedy corporate types.

    • 30yearsinreston

      spare me

      Robert Simons (sic) is dead and buried

      I suggest you move to a location where rents are cheaper, but the commute would probably be longer

    • Greg

      There are at least 450 condos in Shadowood and hundreds more in Glenvale, Southgate and Northgate, Chestnut Grove and many others: one-, two-, and three- and some four-bedroom units that rent for far less than $1900.

      Move to where your income supports your lifestyle.

    • Greg

      Also, it helps one to read the article: “The project will include 150 residential units, including 24 for-sale, workforce housing units.”

  • Generic User

    Who is designing these ugly buildings?

    • 30yearsinreston

      Someone who doesnt live near them

  • It is what it is! The BOS has approved approximately 3,500 new high rise apartments in and around the TC. This is the first owner/resident building/condo even on the table or on the horizon at this time. Should Reston be an all apartment with mostly renters community or would having some owners live here help in the long run?

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