Tishman Speyer’s Reston Crossing Project Heads to County Board for Approval

Tishman Speyer’s plan to redevelop two office buildings — Reston Crossing I and II — into a major mixed-use project with up to 2 million square feet of development got a green light from the Fairfax County Planning Commission last night (Wednesday).

A vote by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is set for June 8.

The project, Reston Crossing, is located at the Dulles Toll Road and Reston Parkway near the future Reston Town Center Metro Station.  It is neighbored by the Reston Crescent, an approved mixed-use development that is the future home of Wegmans.

The New York-based developer plans to build seven high-rise buildings that are up to 20 stories tall around open space on the 14-acre site. The plan also includes up to 1,003 residential units.

Most of the parking on the site will be underground. Open light wells called “oculi” will allow pedestrians in the parks to look down onto the parking level.

An office building that is between 10 to 16 stories in height would be the first to be constructed if the project is approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. The first phase of construction will also include a crossing plaza, a retail plaza and a retail gallery.

Patches of open space totaling 7.4 acres are sprinkled throughout the site. For example, Halley’s Steps is a pocket park designed to transition to Edmund Halley Drive, which runs parallel to the property. A 1-acre “ribbon garden” is also planned, providing a connection from Reston Parkway to the Metro Station.

The two office buildings on the site — Reston Crossing I and II — and surface parking will remain untouched until the second phase of development. The office campus was built in 1998 and is largely undeveloped thus far.

Details of Reston Crossing are below:

  • Building 1: Up to 390,000 square feet of office and up to 15,000 square feet of retail
  • Building 2: Up to 130,000 square feet with between 89 or 144 residential units
  • Building 3: Up to 290,000 square feet in a residential-only building with between 144 to 322 units
  • Building 4: Up to 510,000 square feet with office and retail use. The building could have up to 22 stories — the tallest of all the buildings
  • Building 5: Up to 245,000 square feet with up to 261 residential units and some retail
  • Building 6: Up to 230,000 square feet with up to 244 residential units and some retail
  • Building 7: Up to 205,000 square feet with up to 222 units and 5,000 square feet of retail

Tishman Speyer also plans to work with the owners of Reston Crescent to construct a road used by both sites. A third southbound land along Reston Parkway will be added before the first residential building permit for the second building is issued.

The company also plans to dedicate a right-of-way to the county on Edmund Halley Drive and install a traffic signal offsite between roads A and C, which are depicted in renderings above.

The Planning Commission also approved tweaks to Brookfield Properties’ Reston Crescent project next door to Reston Crossing last night.

John Carter, the Hunter Mill District Planning Commissioner, said the changes were not substantial and did not change the density of the project.

Photos via handout/Fairfax County Government

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Severe Thunderstorm Warning In Effect Until 4:15 p.m.

A severe thunderstorm warning is in effect until 4:15 p.m. today (Thursday).

The National Weather Service issued the alert after a severe thunderstorm watch alert was sent earlier today. The watch is in effect until 8 p.m.

Damaging winds with wind gusts of up to 65 miles per hour are possible.

Residents are encouraged to move to an interior room or to the lowest floor of a building.

Here’s more from the alert:

At 311 PM EDT, severe thunderstorms were located along a line extending from Countryside to near Warrenton, moving southeast at40 mph.

HAZARD…60 mph wind gusts.

SOURCE…Radar indicated.

IMPACT…Damaging winds will cause some trees and large branches to fall. This could injure those outdoors, as well as damage homes and vehicles. Roadways may become blocked by downed trees. Localized power outages are possible. Unsecured light objects may become projectiles.

Photo via NWS

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Pedestrian Walkway Improvements Planned on Sunrise Valley Drive

Two federally funded projects are in the works to improve the walkability of Sunrise Valley Drive.

The county plans to widen an asphalt trail on the north side of the road to 10 feet and install a new asphalt trail that will later be incorporated into a planned cycle track for the Sunrise Valley Drive corridor. That track will separate bikes from the pedestrian walkway, according to county spokeswoman.

On the south side of Sunrise Valley Drive, the county plans to install a five-foot concrete sidewalk. Currently, no walkway exists for pedestrians.

“There’s currently very narrow trails in that area or nothing at all,” Tom Biesiadny, director of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, said. “It’s not in great shape.”

Construction for both projects is expected to cost $1.5 million. The county anticipates receiving a contract award in July and construction is expected to begin later this year.

The projects are intended to improve access to the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station from surrounding communities.

Map (for reference only) via FCDOT

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Del. Ken Plum: Looking on the Sunny Side

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Following the daily news coming out of our Nation’s Capital is enough to leave anyone despondent. The backing away from long-sought freedoms against discrimination and oppression to a seeming lack of concern about the health of our planet and its people to a rise in hateful speech and behavior punctuated by the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few at the expense of the many contribute to the feeling of desperation on the part of many who share values very different than those holding positions of power today. Add to the very real concerns about the direction of our country the plight of millions around the world and one can become very depressed.

I remind myself regularly that it is important to remember that behind all the dark clouds there is a sunny side. While my examples of the sunny side will be from our community over the last couple of days, the sunshine of care and compassion shines in different ways and intensities throughout the world every day We sometimes have to clean the lenses through which we view our community and the world to gain a clearer perspective of where we are and where we are headed.

Just last weekend Jane and I spent an evening with the caring and compassionate people in our community who raise money and work through FISH (Friendly, Immediate, Sympathetic Help) to help those who are down on their luck pay their utility bills and rent, fill prescriptions, and learn to manage their finances. A golf tournament this week with Kids R First along with the volunteer help of many will provide funding to ensure that thousands of children in our region start school with book bags filled with needed school supplies. Students in South Lakes High School (SLHS) who do not have enough to eat at their homes can get food through the SLHS Food Pantry on school days and for the weekends.

Days in a homeless shelter can no doubt seem bleak despite the best efforts of volunteers to make them seem otherwise, but nothing can replace the burst of sunshine that comes from Cornerstones and all its supporters who work mightily to end homelessness in our community. I spent an evening recently with the volunteers of Britepaths who are doing the same kind of work in other areas of our region bringing hope to many.

I spend time monthly with volunteers from Moms Demand Action, Brady Campaign, and other groups working to end gun violence. Their commonsense approach to the public health crisis of gun violence will pay off. I continue to be impressed with the determination and hard work of the Herndon-Reston Indivisibles who are devoted to the election of caring candidates to office and to bring focus on bad public policies.

I am honored to be in public office to observe and participate in the hard work of citizens who bring sunshine where it is needed. I have listed just a few examples. Join with us and pull back the shades to let the sunshine in. Let me know at [email protected] if you are looking for ways to become involved.

File photo

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Severe Thunderstorm Watch in Effect Through Tonight

A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for the county until 8 p.m. today (Thursday).

The National Weather Service issued the alert around 1 p.m. today.

Lightning and scattered wind gusts of up to 70 miles per hour is possible.

Most of the rain is expected to hit the area this afternoon.

Locally damaging winds and large hail are also expected, according to the NWS.

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Hunter Mill District Supervisor Election: Meet Shyamali Hauth

 Five Democrats are running for the seat of Hunter Mill District Supervisor after Cathy Hudgins, the current supervisor, announced plans to retire earlier this year. This week, Reston Now will publish candidate statements for each of the candidates.

Statements, which are in question-and-answer format, are published in the order in which they are received. With the exception of minor formatting edits, profiles are published in unedited form. Each candidate had the opportunity to answer the same questions in their own words. 

What inspired you to run for this seat?

Our local government is where the rubber meets the road. This is where we make change that affects each of us on a daily basis. I have led a life of service around the world, across this great nation, and right here in Fairfax County. I want Fairfax County, and specifically the Hunter Mill District, to be the leader of a progressive vision of community. It is time for change in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Many of our supervisors have done an incredible job of governing over the past 20 plus years, but the county has changed drastically since they first took office. We need new leadership that reflects the desires and diversity of the community.

As a grassroots community organizer, I understand the benefit of building a community from the ground up. I understand the importance of engaging voters in decisions that will affect their lives. I have walked miles and worn out shoes knocking on doors and talking to residents about their concerns, asking for their input and expertise, and advocating for those concerns before our elected officials. I bring a proven track record of leadership and a collaborative working style which will help me serve the Hunter Mill district with compassion and integrity.

What are the three biggest concerns you have for Reston? What do you plan to do address them?

Problem 1: Climate Change

Solution 1: We need a multi-faceted and bold approach to addressing climate change in Fairfax County. I would like to see us increasing the minimum LEED standard to Gold for any new construction and renovation — with an incentive for Platinum. Placing solar panels on schools and government buildings is a start to reducing our dependence on carbon-based fuels, but we also need to encourage our businesses to do the same and reduce our overall energy use. We must also reduce traffic congestion by lowering the cost of and increasing the use of public transportation systems. Additionally, we can initiate several consumer-oriented changes like a single use plastics ban, an increased emphasis on waste reduction, and the introduction of front yard gardens and zero-scapes.

Problem 2: Affordable Housing

Solution 2: I have a S.M.A.R.T.E. (Safe, Mixed Income, Accessible, Reasonably Priced, Transit-oriented, and Environmentally Sustainable) housing plan. This plan is comprehensive and would incentivize new construction and renovations to include percentages of housing accessible to various income levels. In addition, we need to be creative and use the concepts of tiny or small houses, add-on mother-in-law style apartments, utilizing existing offices and other buildings for new housing and community space, and creating community based housing.

Problem 3: Education

Solution 3: Our teacher and staff pay needs to improve and we need to bring equity across the school system. For both safety and to improve the learning environment, we need to address the overcrowding and excessive use of trailers. We need to ensure we are providing the best education for all of our students and that includes offering apprenticeships for those not choosing to attend a four-year college, or skills based learning for students of differing abilities. I also value our language immersion programs as they foster a broader world view and allow our students to develop new ways of problem solving. In order to address inequities in our education system perhaps the greatest impact will be through offering universal free pre-K programs. Finally, I will work hard to ensure our curriculum and school environment is inclusive and welcoming.

How can the county improve how it manages growth and development in this growing community, especially as it relates to infrastructure needs, transportation, and affordable housing?

We need to ensure as growth and development occur, they are accompanied by appropriate infrastructure support and completion. This includes ensuring we look at new school facilities as well as number and locations of first responder services and other community services. In addition, we need to re-examine some long-term infrastructure plans to determine if, as changes in lifestyle create new modalities of travel, we are planning well for our future needs. One of my biggest concerns in developing housing that falls within the 30% of income level is that it needs to be integrated throughout the community and especially near transit. We cannot make the mistakes other communities have done and have transit oriented equate to high cost “luxury” housing. Making our community transit-friendly means we need to be sure areas are walkable and have appropriate lighting for safety and ease of use. We must also look to emerging technologies to encourage more environmentally sound and commute-friendly transportation options.

What do you hope to accomplish in this position?

It is essential we address climate change in a bold and impactful way. If we don’t do this, all other decisions will not matter. My hope is to accomplish this while listening and responding to the needs and desires of our residents. I will ensure the voices of all residents are heard, including those who work two jobs, have a person with a disability at home, or simply cannot afford to make it to a meeting. I will help maintain a vibrant economy through support for our locally owned small business community, ensure needs of families are met through an excellent education system and affordable housing, and make our county the leader in addressing climate change. For over 30 years I have led a life of service: in the military and in communities in which I have lived. I would be honored to continue serving you as your next Supervisor.

Photo via Shyamali Hauth

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Hunter Mill District Supervisor Candidate Returns $500 from ALEC CEO

(Updated at 1:50 p.m. to clarify that the ALEC contribution and contributions from Alcorn’s developer friends are two separate issues). 

Walter Alcorn, a candidate running for the seat of Hunter Mill District Supervisor, has returned small donor contributions from the  CEO and Strategist of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a right-wing, pro-business group that has been criticized for furthering the goals of its corporate benefactors.

The donations were flagged in a May 3 press release by opponent Laurie Dodd, who is one of five candidates running for the seat.

In that release, Dodd also pointed out that Alcorn accepted contributions from developers in violation of his pledge to not take money from developers.

Alcorn said the donations were from college friends who do not have projects in the Hunter Mill District. He said he has maintained his pledge to decline donations from developers, noting the small size of the contributions from ALEC employees.

According to the latest campaign finance reports, the Democrat raised nearly $71,000 and has $44,942 in the bank — well beyond his competitors.

In 2012, the Democratic Party of Virginia condemned donations from ALEC, stating that the organization is on a “stealthy mission to purchase our democracy,” powered by funding from the Koch brothers.

Dodd told Reston Now that Alcorn’s statements about the matter are unethical and deeply disturbing.

Alcorn clarified that he will not accept contributions from developers who have a stake in land-use cases in the Hunter Mill District.

Dodd, Shyamali Hauth and Parker Messick have also pledged to accept no developer contributions.

Photo via Walter Alcorn

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Thursday Morning Notes

Reston Association to Treat Algae in Lake Anne and Lake Thoreau — RA’s aquatic consultants will treat blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, with algaecide on Friday (May 24). There will be no restrictions on fishing or boating following the application. [Reston Association]

Deadline for Study on Fairfax County and Franconia-Springfield Parkways Extended — Residents now have until June 3 to submit comments about the long-range study, which provides recommendations for 2040 and beyond for the corridor. The plan also considers whether changes should be made to the county’s transportation plan. [Fairfax County Government]

A Review of ‘The Accidental Pundette’ — Nancy Giles, a commentator and comedian, offers an evening of tongue-in-cheek humor and insight on June 1 at CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road). Tickets are $25 for Restonians and $35 for all others. [The Connection]

Photo via Reston Association

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