Residential development approved to replace Worldgate Drive offices in Herndon

A total of 461 residential units will take the place of two vacant office buildings on Worldgate Drive in Herndon.

The Herndon Town Council unanimously approved the redevelopment proposal from Boston Properties on March 26, allowing a five-story apartment building on the western half of the property along with a two-floor parking garage, four-story townhouses and two-over-two stacked residential units.

The project will be located at 13100 and 13150 Worldgate Drive and has been under review by the town for almost two years.

The 10.4-acre site will be accessed from an entrance on Wiltshire Lane and a new right-in only entrance along Worldgate Drive. The development itself includes a street grid of private streets and alleys.

A new trail that is accessible to the public will provide a missing link to the existing trail network that connects Elden Street to the Herndon Metro station.

Two public bus stops will be relocated and upgraded with shelters, benches and trash cans. The stop along Elden Street will also have a bus pull-off bay to minimize the impact on traffic.

Lisa Gilleran, director of the town’s department of community development, told the town council that the housing development will have a significantly lower impact on traffic than the office buildings would if they were fully leased.

“Although they are empty right now, if they were to have tenants in them, [it] would actually create a much more significant traffic issue than the proposed development,” Gilleran said.

A traffic study found that the development is expected to reduce traffic by 1,448 daily trips during peak hours compared to the existing office use.

Boston Properties successfully sought a 15% reduction in the number of parking spaces required for the multi-family building, which will have 359 units. The 49 planned townhouses will be 20 and 22 feet wide for end units instead of the required 22 feet and 24 feet for end units.

David Gill, a land use attorney representing Boston Properties, said the company is excited to create a gateway community in the Town of Herndon.

“We think Worldgate has had a lot of challenges as the office market has changed under its feet,” he said.

Councilmember Donielle Scherff urged the developer to continue to conduct its due diligence as the project moves forward, drawing specifically from her experience with Boston Properties shifting Reston Town Center from free to paid parking.

“I hope that everything that happened in Reston will shed a different light with how you handle Herndon,” she said.

Sean Sullivan, the company’s vice president of development, responded that “lessons have been learned from Reston so we take that to heart.”

The townhouse portion of the project will have 35 visitor spaces allotted on the street. Garage parking is set aside for the multi-family building, whose visitors will receive a temporary key. Bicycle parking, including public racks on the street, will be provided.

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