The long-awaited redevelopment of Reston’s Golf Course Plaza office building near Isaac Newton Square is going to remain a reality only on paper for a while longer.
The project is being delayed once again due to “market changes” that have required the landowner Golf Course Plaza LLC to secure new financing, attorney Shane Murphy said in a Feb. 12 letter to Fairfax County Zoning Evaluation Division Director Suzanne Wright.
First reported by the Washington Business Journal, the letter asks the county to confirm if commercial uses can resume in the building at 11480 Sunset Hills Road while the redevelopment remains on hold.
“The Landowner intends to continue the previously-established commercial office and private school/day care facility uses on the Property,” Murphy wrote. “Tenants have been identified and have asked the Landowner to provide zoning confirmation prior to seeking the requisite Non-Residential Use Permits.”
A redevelopment plan for the 3-acre parcel next to the Hidden Creek Golf Course was submitted to the county in 2016. The proposal sought to replace the existing three-story office building and accompanying parking lot with a 392,600-square-foot, 413-unit multifamily residential building.
However, that plan stalled in 2017 and didn’t reemerge until 2019, when the developer requested that the number of units be reduced to 300.
Approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Sept. 24, 2019, the project seemed ready to move forward, with all commercial tenants vacating the office building in September 2021. Golf Course Overlook, as the development is called, had even applied for demolition and construction permits, most recently in April 2022.
The letter doesn’t specify what “subsequent market changes” necessitated another delay, but it argues that the county’s zoning ordinance allows old land uses no longer permitted under a site’s approved zoning to continue as long as they ceased operating less than two years ago.
Tenants who vacated the office building included The Callan Law Firm, Bar-T daycare and Berthold Academy, a private Montessori school that relocated to Herndon but has since permanently closed.
Murphy didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from FFXnow, but his letter indicates that the newly identified tenants will be similar to the previous ones.
“The timing of this occupancy is particularly critical because most schools begin their scholastic programs in the late Summer months, meaning the tenants need to quickly perform necessary improvements to the interior space to prepare for student occupancy,” he wrote.
While the Golf Course Overlook project is in limbo, the redevelopment of Isaac Newton Square to the east is still advancing. Some low-rise buildings in the 32-acre office park have been demolished, and a plan for the first piece — a 345-unit apartment building — was filed with the county in January.
To the west, the Hidden Creek Golf Course will remain after the Board of Supervisors rejected proposed comprehensive plan amendments that would’ve opened up both of Reston’s golf courses to redevelopment.
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