In a streak of votes on development proposals in Reston Tuesday evening, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved three projects totaling nearly 10 million square feet of development and up to 3,731 residential units at full development capacity.
The first approval by CoreSite brings nearly 943,000 square feet of space for data centers to Sunrise Technology Policy, a 21-acre office parking with four existing buildings.
David Gill, the applicant’s legal representative, said the project represents a significant investment in Fairfax County and would help serve current and future enterprises in Reston. Gill said CoreSite intentionally chose Reston instead of Loudoun County to serve as the premier data center provider for this reason.
Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said the data center would also significantly reduce trip generation. “In some sense, that’s a good news piece,” she said.
Approvals for two other mixed-use projects, Reston Gateway and Reston Crescent, would open the door to a new phase of development in and around Reston Town Center. The board unanimously approved Brookfield Partners’ Reston Crescent proposal, which brings up to 1,721 residential units, 1.5 million square feet of office space, 380,00 square feet of retail and a 200-room hotel. The project is located on Sunrise Valley Drive between Edmund Halley Dive and Reston Parkway and will be the future home of a two-story Wegmans.
On the north side of the Reston Town Center Metro Station, Boston Properties’ Reston Gateway project, which brings 4.8 million square feet of development across 28 acres. The plan includes 2.2 million square feet of office, up to 2,010 residential units, a hotel, 93,900 square feet of retail and restaurant space.
The plan for Reston Gateway piqued concerns by Rob Whitfield, a Reston resident of 20 years, who said an immediate and detailed transportation plan was necessary for Reston Town Center, which he said is already congested during peak traffic hours.
Hudgins said that while projects on the drawing table are largely unfunded, each developer is offering transportation funding that will help fund future improvements that she said are necessary. Hudgins also noted that the arrival of the Silver Line over the next two years would reduce the number of drivers on the road.
“This is a large transition as we see it,” she said.
Whitfield was the only individual to testify during the public hearings on all three projects Tuesday evening.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will vote on three major mixed-use and office projects in Reston tomorrow (July 31).
The development proposals include data centers at Sunrise Technology Park, additions to RTC West, and Boston Properties’ Reston Gateway project.
CoreSite hopes to bring data centers to a 21-acre office park on the south side of Sunrise Valley Drive. The plan was unanimously approved by the Fairfax County Planning Commission in late June.
The second proposal is by Brookfield Property Partners for its major Reston Crescent Development. The project will also be the future home of Wegmans and an athletic field may be conveyed to the county as part of the proposal.
Last but not least is Boston Properties’ Reston Gateway project, which aims to bring 2.2 million square feet of office space, a 570-room hotel and nearly 2,010 residential units to the door of Metro and to the border of Reston Town Center. The project is also the future home of Fannie Mae.
All projects were approved by the planning commission. A public hearing will be held prior to votes on any proposals.
Handouts via Fairfax County Government
During the company’s quarterly earnings conference call Wednesday, BXP Chief Executive Officer Owen Thomas lauded a recent lease signed with Fannie Mae for the mixed use project. Fannie Mae will anchor two office building in the project, which also includes 3.5 million square feet of development.
The new mixed use project is designed to complement “the amenity base and community environment of the highly successful Reston Town Center,” Thomas said.
Fannie Mae plans to occupy the building in the first quarter of 2022. A mid-sized hotel, more than 600,000 square feet of residential development and 90,000 square feet of ground floor retail is planned on the site.
BXP President Doug Linde said he was pleased by the strength of Reston Town Center, which he called “a magnet for private sector contractors and technology tenants.”
“We have recently signed two expansion and extension deals with technology tenants for 112,000 square feet. One tenant grew 30% and the other grew 40 percent. And we are negotiating a third expansion and extension this time growing 115,000 square feet tenant to a 160,000 square feet. We are also in early renewal discussions with tenants for more than 300,000 square feet of space,” Linde said.
The company opened the Signature, a residential high-rise in Reston Town Center, in January.
So far, 11 percent of residential units or 86 of the 508 units are leased, Linde said.
Overall, the real estate investment trust reported an income of $176 million, up from $97 million this time last year.
Homeowners, prepare for a hit — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors have sent forward a budget that includes increases in the county’s real estate tax rate. Most homeowners will pay an additional $241 annually. [WTOP]
Report card for Boston Properties — The real estate investment trust reported results for its first quarter, with a net income of $176 million, up from 97 million this time last year. [Business Wire]
South Lakes High School summer camp — Registration is now open for summer camps at the school, which offers programs for girls basketball, field hockey, football and volleyball. [SLHS]
Flickr pool photo by vantagehill
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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]
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.
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.
“We received a message from them — we couldn’t even get a meeting — that, basically, they’re looking for new and fresh ideas and they want to scour the marketplace, and we may not fit into their plans, but they won’t know until the end of the year,” he said. “In my mind, this is ‘Shut up until the end of year, because we’re considering you, but we’re looking for new and fresh ideas.’ The whole thing is ludicrous.”
“Different, unique, locally owned — that’s everything Red Velvet is,” he added.
He said he isn’t in any official talks yet about a new home, but he is considering numerous locations around the area, from Ashburn to Tysons.
“That being said, we’d ideally like to stay in Reston,” he said, owing to a great community, loyal customers and a Reston-based workforce force. “My hope would be that we can attract new customers in a new location and that we can keep our old customers [as well].”
Gordon said that at a recent meeting of the Reston Merchants Association, some members reported a “slight uptick” in sales since parking rules were loosened to allow an hour free during the day and no charge after 5 p.m. However, he added, the average company is still down around 25 percent from this time last year.
“I posed the question [of whether] people feel their sales will ever get back to normal,” Gordon said. “About half the owners said we would probably get back to past levels of sales if and only if paid parking was completely taken back. The other half said we’ll never get back to past sales, because we’ve lost many of our clients forever. They’ve sworn off the Town Center and changed their buying patterns.”
He said the group would meet again soon to check in with each other and continue to discuss how they’ll move forward, including with the possibility of legal action against their landlord. (Boston Properties has said it is “very confident” it will prevail in any legal action, though Jackson’s won a preliminary injunction in its case to keep parking for its customers free.)
“When you’re in retail, your landlord and your shop are in a partnership. We’re supposed to work together, in concert,” Gordon said. “In this case, our landlord is definitely not working for our betterment. One very wealthy company is out to ruin 100 other companies they are supposed to be partnering with, for a quick money grab with no long-term vision.”
Personally speaking, though, Gordon said his involvement in the fight against paid parking might change a lot if and when his business on Democracy Drive closes its doors.
“If we’re not renewed, I’ll have very different feelings, as you can imagine, toward my landlord,” Gordon said. “I can’t help but saying I’ll care a whole lot less about the future of Reston Town Center.”