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by RestonNow.com March 19, 2018 at 3:30 pm 10 Comments

A public hearing for Boston Properties’ Reston Gateway project, which is designed to bridge the future Reston Town Center Metro Station with the community’s urban core is set for June 27 before the Fairfax County Planning Commission.

Boston Properties has proposed to include up to 3.5 million square feet of transit-oriented development on 33 acres immediately north of the future RTC Metro Station.

The Reston Planning & Zoning Committee will receive a presentation on the proposal at 7:30 p.m. today in the North County Government Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive).

Fannie Mae will lease roughly 850,000 square feet of the property. At full buildout, Reston Gateway may include up to 1,700 residential units, 570 hotel rooms, 200,000 square feet of retail and nearly 2 million square feet of office space.

by Fatimah Waseem March 8, 2018 at 9:00 am 4 Comments

Big wins for Boston Properties — Ray Ritchey, senior vice president of Boston Properties, can’t remember a better year for the company, which has inked major deals since last July. [Bisnow]

Last chance to hit the ice — The season for skating at the Ice Skating Pavilion in Reston Town Center will be over this Sunday. Get on the ice while you can. Ice ice baby! [Reston Town Center]

If you’re concerned about issues in Reston — The Reston Citizens Association, a civic, non-profit organization, is looking for volunteers for various committees. [Reston Citizens Association]

Free caregiver support group — Are you a caregiver for an older adult? The county is offering a free online program to help you navigate the process. [Fairfax County Government]

Photo by Ruth Sievers

by Fatimah Waseem March 1, 2018 at 7:15 am 11 Comments

Boston Properties has secured another win after inking a deal with Leidos Holdings, Inc earlier this year.

Fannie Mae will lease 850,000 square feet in the future Reston Gateway, a 27-acre project that could include up to 3.5 million square feet of transit-oriented development, according to release by Boston Properties.

The financial services company had been scouting for space as it moves to consolidate its services and secure a new hub. Comstock Partners’ Reston Station was one project Fannie Mae was considering.

The company already leases space at several local sites, including a 185,000 square foot lease at One Reston Crescent that was signed in 2015.

Boston Properties touted the binding lease commitment, which validates “Reston Town Center’s unique position as a top experiential development” in the country, the statement read.

Fannie Mae will move into the new space as the anchor tenant in 2020. Reston Gateway could include up to 150,000 square feet of retail and a hotel and more than 1 million square feet in residential.

Rendering via Boston Properties

by Fatimah Waseem February 7, 2018 at 10:15 am 0

Local artists will showcase their pieces at a ground floor gallery of the Signature, Reston Town Center’s newest “luxury” apartment building.

Through a partnership with the Greater Reston Arts Center, Signature (11850 Freedom Drive) will feature a year-round schedule of exhibitions. This month’s gallery showcases the work of Craig Moran, a D.C.-based painter known for boldly patterned canvases.

Moran uses collages and computer manipulations to create his work, which combines elements of the natural world and portraits in a flattened space.

His artistic process begins by cutting and arranging shapes from street art, photographs, old paintings and books. He then rearranges the pieces using image editing software and transfers the final work to a painting. An opening reception is set for March 1 from 6-8 p.m.

Exhibits will remain open to the public every Tuesday through Saturday at Signature. The gallery is the product of a partnership between Boston Properties, Bozzuto and GRACE. It is sponsored by Balducci’s Food Lover’s Market.

Organizers said the gallery merges the vision of the Signature, which aims to creating communal spaces for residents.

“This partnership provides a perfect opportunity for GRACE to regularly celebrate and support local artists through exhibitions of their work as the programming in our current Town Center space becomes more dedicated to introducing national and international artists to Reston and the DMV,” said GRACE’s Executive Director and Curator Lily Siegel.

A grand opening for Signature is set for Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Artwork by Craig Moran

by Fatimah Waseem January 31, 2018 at 10:00 am 16 Comments

Leidos Holdings has signed a new full-building lease for a 17-story office building Boston Properties plans to complete in Reston Town Center by early 2020.

The information technology contractor, which already has offices in Reston, will shift its headquarters to the building on 1750 President Street, according to a release by the company.

“Our new space will give us the opportunity to build on our culture and brand as a combined company, as well as be able to better tailor our working environment to meet employee needs,” wrote Leidos chairman and chief executive officer Roger Krone.

The company began an 18-month search across the region after acquiring a division of Lockheed Martin in 2016. Nearly five years ago, the company separated from SAIC and moved from McLean to RTC’s One and Two Freedom Square.

Construction on the 17Fifty building, which is the last office space to be built in the 86-acre urban core of RTC, is expected to begin in the spring.

Boston Properties’ trophy tower is designed by Shalom Baranes Associates, and will include 8,000 square feet of retail space and a four-floor below-grade parking garage.

Katie Yanushonis, vice president of Boston Properties said she is confident that new building will fit the company’s effort to retain and motivate it’s “world class employee base.”

The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Rendering via Boston Properties

by Fatimah Waseem January 24, 2018 at 9:00 am 0

Red Cross Blood Drive at Reston Regional Library Today — The American Red Cross is hosting a blood drive at the library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today. [Fairfax County Government]

Creative Response Set for Thursday — At 7 p.m. on Thursday, Artist Zoë Charlton will present a creative response to the Paulina Peavy exhibit, which is on view in the gallery of the Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market Street). The event, called a creative response, allows presenters to comment on work through an innovative presentation. [Greater Reston Arts Center via Facebook]

Reston Association Board of Directors Meets Thursday — The board will meet tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. to consider several motions, including the addition of two residential projects to Reston Association’s deed and covenants. Two community members will also present their analysis of the Lake House purchase, a year-long undertaking. [Reston Association]

Reston Town Center Broker Joins Joins Transwestern — Joe Ritchey, a broker who leased the office space at RTC, is joining Transwestern after representing Boston Properties for nearly three decades. Ritchey “achieved rents up to $20/SF higher than nearby properties. It has famously been 100% occupied for years.” [Bisnow]

Photo via Flickr pool @vantagehill

by RestonNow.com December 29, 2017 at 10:15 am 1 Comment

We’re counting down the top 20 most-read articles of 2017 this week. Here’s the final list of our top five stories.

5. The first lawsuit filed regarding Boston Properties’ paid parking system at Reston Town Center in late March had 10,970 views. The suit was initiated by Jackson’s Mighty Fine Food and Lucky Lounge (11927 Democracy Drive). Paid parking continues to challenge local businesses, according to several tenants. Just this week, Appalachian Spring, one of the first tenants of Reston Town Center, announced plans to shutter its Reston location partly due to limited foot traffic that a business representative believes decreased partly due to paid parking.

4. Continuing a similar theme, Boston Properties’ plans to modify its parking system five months after instituting paid parking drew 11,078 views. The company rescinded the payment requirements for users of RTC parking garages after 5 p.m. and also allow one hour of free garage parking for sessions that begin before 5 p.m.

3. An article about where to watch one of the most anticipated professional fights in history gained 14,374 page views. Undefeated box champion Floyd Mayweather went toe to toe with UFC superstar Conor McGregor.

2. The brutal killing of Nabra Hassanen, a 17-year-old Muslim girl who was killed as she walked to her mosque after night prayers during the month of fasting gained nationwide attention and sent reverberations locally. Darwin Martin-Torres, a 22-year-old, is accused of raping and sexual assaulting Hassanen. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. The article gained 15,575 views.

1. A rundown of where to spot Fourth of July fireworks took the top honors of the year with more than 16,000 page views. Turns out finding places to complete the American tradition was especially popular among readers.

It’s been quite a year and we look forward to bring you more stories in 2018.

Photo courtesy of Rick Collier

by Fatimah Waseem November 14, 2017 at 1:30 pm 8 Comments

The 27th annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival will be bigger than ever this year. The festival, which is the largest annual fundraiser for the Greater Reston Arts Center, will become a three-day event instead of a two-day event.

It is scheduled to take place on May 19 through 20 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. GRACE added Friday to the event in order to open up the festival to the 10,000-person workforce in Reston Town Center and make it “bigger and better than ever,” GRACE says.

“Making the very significant logistical investment in a Friday opening provides a new, built-in, affluent buying audience looking for world-class art for their offices, homes, for gifts, and more,” according to a statement by the center.

The competitive, juried event is consistently rated as one of the best outdoor art festivals in the country, both for the quality of the artwork presented and for its artist hospitality.

GRACE also plans to move its Festival Party, which is sponsored by M Group and The Counter, to Saturday night from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Artist awards, sponsored by Boston Properties, will be announced during the party.

Last year’s festival raised about $275,000 for GRACE’s operating budget, executive director and curator Lily Siegel told Reston Now. It attracts an estimated 30,000 visitors a year, GRACE says.

Anyone interested in applying to submit art for the festival can do so online. Applications can be submitted in 16 different categories, including painting, photography, ceramics, jewelry, glass, sculpture and more. Artist applications for juror review must be submitted by Dec. 10.

Free garage parking is available each day.

Photo courtesy of GRACE

by Fatimah Waseem October 6, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Date Announced for 2018 Polar Plunge — The 11th annual Virginia Polar Dip at Lake Anne will take place Saturday, Feb. 3. [Lake Anne Plaza/Facebook]

Boston Properties Residential Project Nears Completion — Designed as a gateway to Reston Town Center, The Signature apartments on Freedom Drive and New Dominion Drive are set to become available in January. The 508-unit project will include two towers, two six-story buildings, a specialty grocer and 4,600 square feet of retail. [Washington Business Journal]

Children Left in Car Rescued by Police — The Fairfax County Police Department says a 26-year-old Falls Church woman brought her three children (ages 5, 6 and 7) to work but left them in the car because she didn’t want to bring them inside. FCPD was called to the scene and got the kids out of the car. They were taken to the hospital for treatment of heat exhaustion, and their mother was hit with three counts of felony child abuse. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Fairfax County Promotes Domestic Violence Awareness Month — On a monthly basis, domestic violence hotlines in Fairfax County receive 200 calls and victims request 75 family abuse protective orders. The county is encouraging residents to help prevent and end domestic violence by volunteering with the county’s Office of Women and Domestic and Sexual Violence Services. Volunteers work on special events, help run a 24-hour hotline, among other duties. [Fairfax County Government/Facebook]

Fairfax County Worker Found Not Guilty in Fatal Stabbing — Kempton Bonds, 20, was found not guilty Wednesday of fatally stabbing 35-year-old Tyonne Johns, a caterer at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park in Chantilly. Bonds was working as a seasonal employee with the Fairfax County Park Authority when the incident occurred last year, according to officials. [FOX 5]

by Dave Emke September 27, 2017 at 2:45 pm 12 Comments

Longtime Reston Town Center tenant The Bike Lane will soon be leaving.

In an email distributed Wednesday morning, commercial real-estate firm CBRE announced wine-and-paint studio Muse Paintbar is coming soon to the Town Center. An updated Reston Town Center promotional packet linked within the email shows the studio going into the 4,148-square foot space at 11943 Democracy Drive currently occupied by The Bike Lane.

In January, when RTC owner Boston Properties initiated its ParkRTC paid-parking system, The Bike Lane announced it would actively seek a new home. A representative at The Bike Lane said Wednesday morning that “it is no secret” the store will be exiting Reston Town Center soon, but he could provide no further information.

“We are relocating, but we are not ready to publicly announce where we will be relocating,” said Anne Mader, co-owner of the shop along with her husband, Todd, in an email to Reston Now. “We should be ready in the next week or so.”

Muse Paintbar has more than two dozen locations along the East Coast from Portland, Maine to Virginia Beach. In the DC Metro, it has locations at the National Harbor, in Gaithersburg and at Merrifield’s Mosaic District. It has another location listed as coming soon to Centreville.

We have reached out to representatives of CBRE and Reston Town Center for comment. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

by Dave Emke August 25, 2017 at 2:45 pm 27 Comments

Aaron Gordon has owned Red Velvet Cupcakery (11939 Democracy Drive) in Reston Town Center for seven years.

He does not believe there will be an eighth.

“I feel very, very, very confident that they are planning not to renew our lease, and they’re stonewalling us,” Gordon said. “This is all retaliation, plain and simple.”

Gordon has been one of the most outspoken opponents of paid parking at Reston Town Center, initiated in January by RTC owners Boston Properties. Gordon was one of the organizers and is the mouthpiece for the Reston Merchants Association, a group of business owners and managers at RTC fighting the system.

Now, as Gordon looks at negotiating a lease extension with his landlord, he believes the spotlight he’s put on himself through the Merchants Association is making such an extension impossible.

“I have no doubt that they are retaliating against me and Red Velvet Cupcakery for being one of the leaders of the fight against paid parking,” he said. “I have a whole timeline of reasons I believe this to be true.”

We reached out to Gordon’s landlord, Boston Properties, and were told by spokesperson Marion Myers that “lease negotiations with tenants and prospects are not communicated publicly until both parties are in agreement.”

Gordon said Red Velvet Cupcakery’s lease at the Town Center comes up in May. Last year, he said, he was in negotiations not just to renew, but to bring another of his concepts, Bakers and Baristas, to the Town Center as well.

“Before this whole battle, they loved Red Velvet, they loved me as an owner, and they loved the new concepts I [would be] putting in,” he said. “Until, of course, now.”

Gordon says he is almost certain there will be no agreement with the landlord, as he feels they are going out of their way to make sure he knows he is no longer welcome at the Town Center — where he says he makes a “fairly modest but steady income” despite what he says is an 8-10 percent drop in sales in 2017.

(more…)

by Dave Emke August 8, 2017 at 9:00 am 4 Comments

Season Subscription Now Available for Players — The 51st season of Reston Community Players will include performances of “Aida,” “Peter and the Starcatcher,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” Season tickets are $82 for adults and $72 for students and senior citizens. [Reston Community Players]

Telehealth Provider Expanding in Reston — An expansion of Avizia, who partners with providers to deploy and power system-wide telehealth, will bring 27 more jobs to the community. [Fairfax County Economic Development Authority]

Reception for ‘Althea’ is Tonight — The latest public artwork installed on the Lake Thoreau spillway by the South Lakes High School STEAM Team will have its official reception tonight from 6:30-8 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). RSVP to [email protected]. [Reston Now]

Sobriety Checkpoint Planned for Saturday Night — A sobriety checkpoints will be conducted by the Fairfax County Police Department on Saturday from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. [FCPD]

BXP Senior VP Talks About Reston Gateway — In an interview with Bisnow, Boston Properties Senior Vice President Peter Otteni says the property between Reston Town Center and the future Silver Line Metro station will be “a great complement to Reston Town Center” that won’t have “as soft-goods-driven of a user base.” Rather, he says, it “will be much more food, entertainment and convenience.” [Bisnow]

Best Reston Business Awards Ballots Go Out Today — Don’t forget to sign up for Reston Now’s email list so you can vote in the 2017 Best Reston Business Awards. [Reston Now]

by Dave Emke August 2, 2017 at 1:30 pm 3 Comments

Negotiations are underway to lease 45,000 square feet of space at Boston Properties’ Discovery Town Square, which would bring the two-building complex to 98 percent capacity.

During the company’s quarterly earnings conference call Wednesday, BXP President Douglas Linde announced the negotiations to shareholders.

“There are a number of technology companies looking to expand in Reston Town Center, just as the defense contractors have begun to retreat,” Linde said.

The previous lease on the vacant space expired in June, Linde said.

Discovery Town Square consists of two nine-story office buildings at 12010 and 12012 Sunset Hills Road. Companies currently there include SAIC and Microsoft.

Linde also told investors Boston Properties is “hotly pursuing” a 600,000-square foot build-to-suit lease agreement at Reston Town Center.

“Our new transaction activity is as robust as it has been in our history,” Linde said.

BXP’s second-quarter funds from operations per share ($1.67) and total revenue ($657 million) both exceeded expectations.

by Dave Emke July 28, 2017 at 10:15 am 30 Comments

After hearing concerns from the community, including more than 9,000 signatures on a petition about the issue, leaders of Reston Association will attempt to engage Boston Properties in conversation about paid parking at Reston Town Center.

RA’s Board of Directors voted unanimously at their Thursday meeting (video) to authorize CEO Cate Fulkerson, Board President Sherri Hebert and Board Vice President David Bobzien to pursue the talks. Hebert and Bobzien said it is important for RA members to know the Board is actively working toward a solution.

“This is the first step, [and] we think it’s an important step,” said Bobzien, who participated in the meeting by phone. “I think it’s very important that we engage with [Boston Properties].”

Suzanne Zurn, the organizer of the petition and the founder of the Keep Parking Free at RTC movement, addressed the Board during the meeting and encouraged them to take action.

“Your neighbors, your constituents, responded in large numbers to the petition opposing paid parking at RTC,” she said. “I encourage you to read their comments and consider how RA could add weight to their voices in this important community issue.”

Paid parking went into effect Jan. 3 at Reston Town Center, requiring $2-per-hour payment in garages all day Monday through Friday, and $3-per-hour payment for street parking Monday through Saturday. On June 5, parking became free in garages between 5 p.m. and 3:30 a.m., and one hour of free parking is also offered during the day.

Many merchants at RTC validate garage parking for customers, but which of the five garages is validated varies by business. Parking at the Town Center while paid parking is in effect requires the use of the ParkRTC app, though the Town Center announced earlier this week that parking sessions can be started without the app using newly updated kiosks. Parking in the Orange Garage at the Town Center is free for Jackson’s customers, without use of the app or any other method, thanks to an injunction in a lawsuit the business has against Boston Properties.

Zurn said all of the information one must know before visiting the Town Center and parking has only complicated matters and continues to keep potential customers away.

“I don’t know of any paid parking situations in our region that are this complicated,” she said to the Board. “Do you?”

Reston Town Center is not in the jurisdiction of Reston Association. However, Director Victoria White (Hunters Woods/Dogwood District) asked if the parking situation has resulted in disruption to surrounding streets. Zurn said it has, as workers constructing The Signature building at RTC have been seen parking on New Dominion Parkway, Temporary Road and North Shore Drive.

Paul Steidler, who also addressed the Board about the issue, said the Reston Town Center paid parking outrage is hurting the character and direction of the community.

“Are we going to become an area that’s an elitist, gated community with all the decadence that brings?” Steidler said. “Or are we going to go back to our core values of being inclusive of all, of having a place we can all come and go more freely and enjoy what Reston has to offer?”

Hebert said she is hopeful she and the other RA leaders can have productive conversations with Boston Properties and help them understand the community’s plight.

“We feel like we owe that to the folks that live in the Reston Association, to speak on your behalf to them,” she said.

by Dave Emke July 26, 2017 at 4:00 pm 28 Comments

Saying they have heard the concerns of visitors who do not want to use the ParkRTC app, Boston Properties has updated the payment kiosks in the Reston Town Center parking garages.

According to information released on Reston Town Center’s Facebook page and elsewhere, new kiosks in the parking garages do not require the use of the ParkRTC app. Rather, it says, payment can be made by swiping a credit card or by paying with cash and receiving change. The information also says parking validation provided by a business is “easy to apply” using the kiosks.

More than 200,000 downloads of the ParkRTC app have been made, according to the announcement.

Anti-ParkRTC group Keep Parking Free at RTC called the new kiosks a win for their cause.

Share this! And then this happened… #ScraptheApp! Looks like Boston Properties has abandoned the requirement to use…

Posted by Keep Parking Free at RTC on Monday, July 24, 2017

Paid parking went into effect Jan. 3 at Reston Town Center, requiring $2-per-hour payment in garages all day Monday through Friday. On June 5, parking became free in garages between 5 p.m. and 3:30 a.m., and one hour of free parking is also offered during the day.

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