Green space in Halley Rise (Rendering via Halley Rise website)

The developer behind Halley Rise, the mixed-use project currently under construction, is now offering more details about amenities: a dog park and an outdoor fitness park.

The parks will be open to the public during daylight hours, and the dog park will have separate sections for small and large dogs, developer Brookfield Properties tells Reston Now.

The combined 4,500-square-foot dog area, just under the size of a basketball court, will also have wooden bridges and other elements for canines, benches for people and water fountains for dogs and their owners.

Meanwhile, the 8,000-square-foot Apex Fitness Park will include Trekfit outdoor equipment such as a cargo net as well as push-up, pull-up and parallel bars.

The over $1 billion complex began construction in October 2019 along Sunrise Valley Drive and Reston Park, which will place it next to the forthcoming Reston Town Center Metro station.

The parks are expected to open this fall, the developer says.

Other amenities for the complex include a Wegmans and over four football fields’ worth of retail space.

Parts of the project are slated to open this year and next, including move-ins for The Edmund, a luxury apartment building there, starting in the next few weeks, spokesperson Laura Montross says.

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Morning Notes

Mimosa over Lake Anne (via vantagehill/Flickr)

Flash Flood Watch in Effect for Ida — The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch and Hazardous Weather Outlook for Fairfax County that will be in effect today (Wednesday) through tomorrow morning, as the remnants of Hurricane Ida pass over the region. The county advises avoiding flooded streets, moving valuables from basements, and making sure storm drains and gutters aren’t clogged. [Fairfax County Emergency Information]

Alcorn Denies County/Golf Course Development Deal — Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn told the citizens’ advocacy group Rescue Reston that Fairfax County is not aware of any deals to redevelop one of Reston’s two golf courses. A Rescue Reston board member said his group had been told a development deal was “in the works with the county,” which Alcorn denied. [Patch]

Eagerness and Uncertainty Mix in High School Football’s Return to Reston — “By 6 p.m. Friday, the only remaining evidence of that afternoon’s thunder and rain were shallow puddles dotting the back parking lot at South Lakes High School in Reston…It was time for a football game. This matchup between the Seahawks and Robinson was one of about 50 games played across the D.C. area last weekend — the official return of fall football.” [The Washington Post]

RA Announces Labor Day Weekend Pool Schedule — The North Shore, Ridge Heights, Lake Newport, and Glade pools will all be open from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 4-5) and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday (Sept. 6). While the summer pool season is coming to a close, the North Shore and Ridge Heights pools will remain open through Sept. 19. [Reston Association/Twitter]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Coomber Hall at 1521 Dranesville Road (via Newmark Grubb Knight Frank)

Historic Coomber Hall, a family home, and several other structures at McMillen Farm in Herndon are set to be “deconstructed” within 30 days after Fairfax County granted a demolition permit late last month.

The 171-year-old dairy-barn-turned-music-school at 1521 Dranesville Road will be disassembled this month along with several other structures, the developer that now owns the property confirmed.

Tradition Homes owner Steve DeFalco told Reston Now that a majority of materials from the barn are being relocated elsewhere in Fairfax County and will be used to construct a new barn by a private homeowner.

A new residential subdivision will be built on the site which is known as McMillan Farm, thanks to a rezoning request that was approved in 2018. The development is currently on track to be completed next summer, DeFalco noted.

A demolition permit was granted only after the developer fulfilled all obligations laid out in the rezoning proffer agreement, a Fairfax County official confirmed to Reston Now.

Under that agreement, one of the requirements was for the developer to market the sale for at least 180 days. If the main farmhouse and barn were purchased, they would have had to be deconstructed or safely moved in one piece to another property within county limits.

However, no one stepped up to purchase the structures within that time frame, giving the developer the right to remove the structures.

“It is the County’s goal to save historic buildings if feasible,” Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust wrote in an email to Reston Now. “During the rezoning process, the county requested that the owner agree to market the barn and home for at least 180 days to find one or more purchasers who might save the buildings by buying and relocating them. The owner agreed to do so. Unfortunately, the owner’s efforts were unsuccessful and no purchasers were found.”

McMillan Farm is on the county’s inventory of historic sites but not on the Virginia Landmarks Register or the National Register of Historic Places, though it is eligible for both.

The barn was partially built in 1850, and the family home was completed about 50 years later in the early 1900s. Owned by John Richard McMillen, it was the center of a 550-acre dairy farm, one of a number of similar farms that dotted Herndon in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

“Herndon was predominantly a dairy farming community,” Herndon Historical Society Director Barbara Glakas told Reston Now. “The whole McMillan farm property — from the house to the outbuildings to the chicken coop to the barn — are…one of the last vestiges of the Herndon-area farming community.”

In the 1960s, the barn was converted into a music and dance school and recital hall by George and Mary Coomber, who had inherited the property.

The school operated within the barn for a number of years, but in 2017, the Fairfax County Office of Code Compliance inspected the site and found that many of the structures were in “various states of disrepair,” according to a county official.

The damage was potentially related to a lighting strike, according to a permit obtained for repairs related to the incident in 2012.

The county requested the buildings be further stabilized and secured, but as the rezoning application notes, the property owner had already made the decision to demolish buildings.

DeFalco bought the house and barn for $2.3 million in 2019, according to county records.

While the structures will no longer be standing on the site past the end of the month, the farm’s story will not be lost. As part of the proffer, the developer is required to erect an accessible, public memorial on the site telling the history of the farm.

“At a minimum, an information panel or panels with appropriate references to the farm’s history and appropriate landscaping and/or hardscaping,” the proffer agreement says.

DeFalco confirmed that this is the developer’s intention.

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Rendering of office building proposed for Reston Gateway Block D (via Fairfax County)

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the alteration of Boston Properties’ plans for Reston Gateway to swap previously designated retail and parking space for offices after holding a public hearing on Tuesday (July 13).

The decision came two months after the county planning commission approved the proposal to amend the mixed-use development’s site plans and proffer conditions in May.

Mary Ann Tsai with the county’s department of planning and development noted on Tuesday that “no change is proposed to the approved overall gross floor area, or FAR, of the development.”

Submitted to the county in October, the application suggests replacing retail space and garage parking with offices and a screened level of above-grade parking. It will transfer up to 78,000 square feet of office space to Block D from parcels earmarked for Fannie Mae and and Volkswagen’s North American headquarters.

“The big move with this application is to take four stories of above grade structured parking and essentially turn them into office space,” Cooley partner Mark Looney, a legal representative for Boston Properties, told the board.

The Reston Gateway development design blocks (via Fairfax County)

“That office space is coming from other blocks within the existing development where there was office space allocated to them, but they were being developed with less than what the maximum potential was,” Looney said.

Boston Properties, the developer of the multi-phase development, also proposed providing additional design elements on the street level as a part of this application. These elements could include façade articulation, decorative materials, and additional lighting.

Looney added that, while the developer thinks it has made “great strides,” further discussion and work will still need to be had to address these potential changes with Public Art Reston, Town Center Design Review Board, and Fairfax County planners.

Looney said this application is designed to shift square footage “into what used to be an above-grade structured parking facility to improve to overall design of the building itself.”

Located adjacent to the impending Reston Town Center Metro Station, Reston Gateway will expand the town center by 4.4 million square feet of development when finished, adding 2.2 million square feet of offices, 93,000 square feet of retail, 2,010 residential units, and a 570-room hotel.

The first phase, which encompasses the Fannie Mae and Volkswagen buildings, is currently under construction and expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2021.

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New images show what future residents and visitors can expect from a $1.4 billion project near a forthcoming Reston Town Center Metro station.

As first reported by the Washington Business Journal, developer Brookfield Properties has released more details on the upscale housing coming to the Halley Rise residential, office, and retail complex under construction along Reston Parkway.

Preleasing for apartments in The Edmund — a seven-story apartment building with 353 luxury units — is slated to begin this summer before residents are welcomed in the fall, the developer tells Reston Now.

“As we meet this next major milestone, we’re a step closer to creating a visionary neighborhood that blends nature, technology, entertainment, and art, enabling residents, workers and visitors to curate their ideal day every day, in a vibrant and engaging community,” Greg Meyer, executive vice president and head of the D.C. region for Brookfield Properties, said in a statement.

The Edmund will feature common areas and outdoor seating as well as a pool, fitness center, coworking space, yoga lawn, and more. An interactive virtual tour offers a glimpse of one of the 1,600 units expected at the 36-acre mixed-used campus.

The luxury apartments will include mostly one-bedroom apartments, with 17% of the units being studios, 17% two bedrooms, and 3% three bedrooms, Brookfield Properties U.S. communications director Laura Montross said in an email.

Rental details are not yet listed with the developer’s website.

When completed, Halley Rise will have 1.9 million square feet of office space (about five and a half times the size of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool), 240,000 square feet of retail (just over four football fields), over five acres of public open space, and new public streets.

The development will be anchored by a Wegmans grocery store slated to arrive in 2023, slightly later than the late 2022 timeline that Reston Now last reported.

Real estate developer Akridge is looking to add 480 residential units and retail as part of the complex. That addition is currently scheduled to go before the Fairfax County Planning Commission for approval on Dec. 8.

Construction for Halley Rise began in October 2019, and it’s already showing off one of its amenities: self-driving vehicles within the complex. The service has also expanded in the DC region.

Halley Rise is one of several developments in the works in anticipation of the second phase of Metro’s Silver Line. Also near the impending Reston Town Center station, Boston Properties is working on the massive Reston Gateway project, which is undergoing some changes that were set to go before the Board of Supervisors today (Tuesday).

The board’s meeting package indicates that it will defer the public hearing on that application until July 13.

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Paul Olsen opened a second location of Weird Brothers Coffee at Worldgate Metro Plaza in October 2019.

The shopping center on Worldgate Drive was specifically marketed and named in anticipation of the Herndon Metro Station opening less than a quarter of a mile away as part of the Silver Line’s second phase.

Two years later, the Herndon station and the other Silver Line Phase II stops still won’t be operational for at least another eight months.

“At the time, we weren’t even considering expansion,” Olsen tells Reston Now. “We saw the Metro and…figured this is a great situation. But, then, obviously things changed. COVID hit a few months later. Then, we saw more Metro line delays.”

Weird Brothers Coffee on Worldgate Boulevard in Herndon (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Olsen’s situation isn’t unique. Many businesses specifically set up shop near a future Silver Line Phase II Metro station thinking it would provide a boost, only for Metro’s opening to be continuously delayed.

“We initially thought that the Metro would open, at the latest, early 2020,” said Don Lee, co-owner of Alo Vietnam Restaurant in Herndon.

The restaurant is about a five-minute walk from the not-yet-opened Innovation Center Metro station. Alo Vietnam is also expected to start a location in Reston at Faraday Park.

“We did invest in 2019…thinking that we will carry the load the first year until the Metro opens,” Lee said. “Then, we will have a good location with a lot of foot traffic with tourists and from all the businesses around.”

Seven years ago this July, the most expensive transportation project in the D.C. region’s history began operations. The opening of the Silver Line and its five new stops brought Metro into Tysons and up to the Wiehle-Reston East station.

However, the intention was always to extend the transit system further into D.C.’s growing Northern Virginia suburbs. Construction on five additional stations, including one at Reston Town Center and two in Herndon, began even before Phase I opened and originally had a completion date of 2018.

However, issues proliferated, from design changes and defective panels to flawed rail ties and bad concrete. Soon, the opening got pushed to early 2020, but the problems kept coming and coming. Read More

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Morning Notes

Hot Water Issues Return to Lake Anne Condos — “Ongoing lack of hot water is an issue again for nearly all condominium owners at the 27-unit, mixed-use Quayside building located at Lake Anne Village Center in Reston. Frustrated condo owners fear another four-month struggle, similar to Quayside’s first no-hot-water experience.” [Connection Newspapers]

Application for Development Near Herndon Border Rejected — The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted on June 15 to deny a rezoning application for a proposed housing development on a parcel along the W&OD Trail near the Fairfax County border and the historic Oak Grove Baptist Church. The rejection came after the applicant cut back on its proffers, including plans for an archaelogical survey and a commemorative sign. [Loudoun Now]

New Bicycle Racks Installed at Reston Town Center — The company Bikeep has installed new bicycle racks around Reston Town Center. With space available for five to nine bicycles at each station, the racks have no time limit or cost and are intended for short-term visitor parking, though the company plans to install lockers this summer “to provide long term parking for employees or more secure parking for visitors.” [Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling]

Longtime Herndon Teacher Retires — “Ann Godden moved to Herndon from Arlington more than 33 years ago and has been a staple part of the Herndon Elementary School community ever since…Godden is thankful for the school where she taught, and all four of her children ended up going to that school as well.” [Fairfax County Times]

Multicultural Festival Deadline Extended — “Calling all Vendors and Entertainers! Celebrate your roots with us at the 2021 Reston Multicultural Festival at Lake Anne Plaza on Sept. 25. The application deadline has been extended to June 25.” [Reston Community Center/Twitter]

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CACI International, one of the country’s largest government defense, intelligence, and cyber security contractors, cut the ribbon on its new Reston headquarters last week.

The corporate headquarters of the nearly $6 billion company is now located in a newly renovated 135,000-square-foot, six-story building at 12021 Sunset Hills Road across the street from the impending Reston Town Center Metro station.

“We’re very excited about our updated modern facilities and confident that this new building will be key to continuing this vital work for our customers’ important national security missions and groundbreaking technology,” CACI President and CEO John Mengucci said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The building will house approximately 450 employees as well as a Center for Research, Application, Development, Learning and Engagement (CRADLE). The workshop will allow employees and clients to interactively work together on concept design and prototypes.

CACI headquarters was located in Ballston for nearly fifty years, but the company signed a lease with Boston Properties, which owns nearby Reston Town Center, late last year to move into two-decade-old building.

Bearing the slogan “Ever Vigilant,” CACI has become one of the nation’s leading defense contractors since its founding in 1962. In fact, President Joe Biden’s recent nominee for the assistant secretary of defense for readiness job is a former employee.

In attendance at the ribbon-cutting were a number of local officials, including Rep. Gerry Connolly, who represents Virginia’s 11th Congressional district which includes large swaths of Reston and Herndon.

Connolly complimented the company’s foresight and spoke about the region’s continued growth.

“[CACI has] chosen a location that is only going to grow in economic investment and technological importance in the coming years: the Dulles corridor,” he said. “This is maybe one of the most dynamic economic corridors in the United States. It is certainly going to eclipse even downtown Washington as the single most important investment and economic corridor in the capital region.”

He also noted that the building’s proximity to a soon-to-be-opened Metro station showcases why extending the Silver Line was critical to economic growth in Reston and Herndon, a sentiment echoed by Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn.

“It’s an affirmation that the long-term development strategy of transit-oriented development makes sense,” Alcorn told Reston Now. “It’s important to have employers like CACI in Reston, where there are multiple transportation options available to workers, visitors, and others using the facilities.”

Building around public transportation, Alcorn notes, allows more people to benefit from economic and development activity.

Del. Ken Plum, who represents Virginia’s 36th House District, says that, as Reston and Fairfax County grow as a economic and technology center of the region, there needs to be efforts to service a diverse workforce.

“We also need to recognize the service workers and others that support [this headquarters],” Plum said to Reston Now. “We’ve also got to accommodate them with appropriate housing and transportation alternatives. It’s all good to cut a ribbon, but we have to recognize the bigger picture…and provide the support structure necessary.”

Even as some workers return to offices with vaccine rates rising, there may be a permanent shift toward more teleworking as opposed to employees coming into an office every day, a possibility anticipated by the renovations and more open work spaces in CACI’s new headquarters, Mengucci said.

Both Alcorn and Plum say a more flexible approach to work spaces could have positive ramifications on everything from public transportation to child care.

“The new normal is recognizing working at home doesn’t reduce productivity,” Plum said. “I think we are seeing an increasing emphasis on that as an option.”

However, bringing more companies like CACI to Reston remains a priority for tax revenue reasons as well as continuing to grow Fairfax County’s economy.

“They’re still very much a role for office space in centralized commercial locations,” Alcorn said. “But people will have more options now, not only about where they live, but also how often they come into work.”

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(Updated at 2:10 p.m. on 5/27/2021) Beanstalk, an indoor vertical farming start-up, is putting down roots in Herndon with plans to invest more than $2 million to open a facility and farm this fall.

The Virginia-based company is expanding and opening a “scaled-up version” of their existing farm in the Lorton/Springfield area right off of Herndon Parkway and near the impending Herndon Metro station, Beanstalk co-founder Michael Ross writes Reston Now in an email.

The Herndon location will have research, growing, and package operations.

“This new facility will produce the equivalent of over 50 acres of traditional farmland and allow us to expand into more local grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and restaurants,” said Ross, who founded Beanstalk with his brother Jack.

The company grows pesticide-free leafy greens and herbs year-round using robotics and hydroponic — or soil-less — growing technology. It says it saves space by growing in layers and vertically as opposed to horizontally.

Beanstalk sells its salad mixes and herbs at grocery stores, local farmers markets, and online.

Jack Ross was selected by Virginia for a STEAM catalyst award back in 2018 for his development of an automated indoor growing production system. The technology allows Beanstalk to “produce food four times as efficiently as traditional hydroponic farming,” according to a press release from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.

The brothers opened their 3,000 square-foot Springfield/Lorton facility in 2018, and the company expects to have annual sales of over $5 million in the next three years.

“We have created a new technology that produces better tasting and more nutritious vegetables, herbs, and fruits than what are available today,” Ross said. “Our farms are also sustainable as they consume 95% less water, have zero chemical run-off, and are over 100 times more productive use of land.”

The company’s co-founders are in their 20s and both were raised in Alexandria, went to high school in D.C., and played youth sports across the region.

“I particularly spent a lot of time in Herndon and Reston in high school, which is how I originally got to know the area through events like the Herndon Festival,” said Ross, who studied aerospace engineering in college.

He tells Reston Now that they evaluated “dozens of cities” in the D.C. area for their expansion but decided on Herndon because of the town’s “incredible community” and prioritzation of sustainability.

“Herndon is a very unique place within Northern Virginia in that it feels like a small, close-knit town with all the benefits of a larger city,” he said.

Beanstalk is expected to create 29 jobs in Herndon, some of which are already open for hiring.

Positions currently open in Herndon include a director of research and a senior electrical engineer. Ross notes that other jobs will be available soon in engineering, research, and operations, and the company will be looking for farmers later this year.

“We look for people from all backgrounds who want to bring locally grown food to their community and are curious, ambitious, and skilled,” Ross said.

Beanstalk is receiving financial support from both the state and Fairfax County in the form of grants that total $200,000.

As expected, local leaders say they are thrilled that Beanstalk decided Herndon is the place for them to grow.

“We are always looking for innovative investments to move our economy forward in Fairfax County,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey McKay said in the governor’s press release. “Beanstalk’s new facility will not only bring new jobs to the community, but it also is a creative solution to using advancements in technology to increase access to fresh food options.”

Herndon Mayor Sheila Olem also welcomed the Ross brothers and Beanstalk to town.

“Theirs is exactly the kind of innovative, jobs-producing business we are looking to attract to our town’s commercial sector, and we applaud their application of technology toward provision of healthy, locally-grown produce,” she said.

Beanstalk’s mission is not only to grow fresh produce using new, more-efficient, sustainable technology, but to provide food at its freshest, Ross says.

“By growing in a farm within the community, we deliver food at peak freshness, which ensures all the taste and nutrition of the food is there when you take your first bite,” he said.

Photo courtesy Michael Ross

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The Fairfax County Planning Commission gave its support this week to the Reston Gateway developer’s plans to swap retail space for offices.

Boston Properties, the developer behind the multi-phase development being constructed next to the forthcoming Reston Town Center Metro station, wants to switch its designs for a structure previously slated for retail, restaurant, and residential use by scaling back retail space and bringing offices there.

The planning commission voted on Wednesday (May 19) to recommend the changes that will go before the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on June 22.

The overall development calls for office space for Fannie Mae as well as Volkswagen of America in Blocks A and B, but Boston Properties wants to transfer office space approved there to Block D, legal representative Mark Looney said at the meeting.

“That was planned to be a residential building from the beginning,” Looney said of Block D, a site located along Town Center Parkway that potentially could have two residential towers of up to 36 and 12 stories.

The proposal calls for up to 78,000 square feet of transferred office space in Block D. According to a county document, the square footage of development in Block D would be reduced from 731,000 to 650,832 with the changes, which would eliminate restaurant space and reduce retail space by 63%.

Phase I of the project, which consists of Blocks A through D, permits up to 2.23 million square feet of development.

Looney, an attorney with Cooley helping to represent the project, told Reston Now that the parking garage reconfiguration would mean more parking spaces for Block D are underground than above ground. The parking garage will still have at least four levels above ground, he said in an email.

County staff also have worked with the developer regarding the aesthetic of the building, given the proposed adjustment.

With the parking garage on the ground level, design improvements such as artwork are envisioned to facilitate pedestrian use.

“We will work with Public Art Reston on the extent of the public art, we will show it to the zoning administrator for their input and then ultimately, the Reston Town Center [Association]…Design Review Board has final say over what’s to be installed,” Looney said. “But we hope that that collaborative process will result in a better building and a better design for all concerned.”

Images via Fairfax County

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Fairfax County’s planning staff recommends allowing Boston Properties to replace garage parking, retail, and restaurant space with office space in the next block of the massive Reston Gateway mixed-use development.

In a report released last week, the staff says they support amending the plans to permit an office building in Block D of the development. The report states that this would “maximize” unused office space and place offices closer to the impending Reston Town Center Metro station, putting them about a quarter mile from the entrance.

The proposed office building could go as high up as 44 stories. The county has already approved plans for two residential towers — potentially 12 and 36 stories tall — with below-grade parking.

In its proffer conditions amendment application, which was submitted in October, Boston Properties said that the requested changes shift previously approved density for office space in the development to Block D, which will result in “higher tax-paying square footage.”

The changes would add 78,000 square feet of office space to this block, according to a chart in the report.

However, overall square footage would drop by about 80,000 square feet, since the proposed changes would reduce residential space by about 20% and eliminate retail and restaurant uses from the block.

There will still be a parking garage, but it will change from a four-level parking garage that sits above ground-level retail to a screened, ground-level parking garage below office space.

To compensate for moving parking to street level, Boston Properties has proposed providing a sculpture, landscaping, seating and wall murals, or “a similar form of activation along the Town Center Parkway façade to foster pedestrian activity in this area.”

The staff report supports this proposal and recommends having additional elements like horizontal lighting, colored changeable lighting, and variations in building and decorative materials.

“Collectively, these design elements should provide visual activation and interest to the parking garage façade that better supports and engages the pedestrian realm with the removal of ground level retail,” the staff report says.

Block D occupies about two acres of land on the east side of Town Center Parkway between Century Street and Founders Boulevard. The development plan includes pedestrian pathways, sidewalks, and bike lanes along Town Center Parkway, along with a 700 square-foot plaza with seating, tables, benches, landscaping, and public art.

This is in keeping with the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan‘s requirements for the Reston Town Center Station Center District, which notes that “redevelopment should create a series of urban plazas and parks to provide gathering places for people of all ages to enjoy festivals and community events.”

First approved in 2018, the 4.8 million square-foot Reston Gateway complex is now at the tail end of its first phase of development. Blocks A and B, where Fannie Mae is set to move in 2022, are mostly office space with mixed-use retail, and Block C will have a 570-room hotel plus retail and restaurants.

Block D was expected to be a parking garage with residential, retail, and restaurants, but if the Fairfax County Planning Commission approves Boston Properties’ proposed changes as scheduled on May 19, the block will now consist of office space, a smaller parking garage, and some residential units.

The first phase of Reston Gateway is slated to open in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Image via Fairfax County

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(Update 5:00 p.m.) The soon-to-be-completed Reston Comprehensive Plan study is reviewing previous plans from 2014-2015 that say the Reston’s population is slated to more than double in the coming years, according to Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn.

Reston was home to an estimated 66,000 people in 2019, according to Fairfax County, which projects the population to jump to about 71,000 people by 2040. The existing comprehensive plan makes room for up to 157,000 people to eventually live in Reston — a 138% increase from 2019.

However, the RCP community task force is reassessing that number to see if it still remains appropriate.

“It’s definitely been an area of discussion for the task force,” Alcorn said at a briefing with local reporters on Friday (March 26). “The task force is making sure…the [RCP] infrastructure will be sufficient to manage that, both in terms of residential but also office workers and retail.”

Alcorn also noted that this population hike will have a notable impact on transportation and school capacity, elements that are continually part of the task force’s discussions.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a review of the Reston Comprehensive Plan in January 2020, and the task force formed in May. The goal of the review is to analyze potential changes to the plan, which was last adopted in 2017 and guides future planning and land use decisions for the area.

The process was expected to take 12 to 18 months, but the pandemic may end up delaying the study’s completion by a few months. Alcorn said they are looking to wrap up by the end of the summer.

Chaired by Alcorn, the task force is made up of 32 members, including representatives from Reston Association, Save Our Sunrise, Reston Community Center, and Southgate Community Center.

In relation to anticipated population increases, the task force is also examining land use and areas where density might need to come down. Alcorn specifically noted Hunters Woods, South Lakes, and North Point village centers.

There’s also talk of having developers “earn” requested density by making commitments related to environmental impact and equity.

“How can new development, and the economic activity that comes with that, [make] connections…with underserved communities, communities in the Reston area that have not had the opportunity to fully take advantage of prosperity that comes with new development?” Alcorn said.

In terms of environmental footprint, Arlington County offers a similar exchange to developers, allowing extra density if they promise buildings will earn green building certification.

Alcorn noted that Reston could end up being a model for the rest of Fairfax County with what they are finding out from this study.

“Reston is exactly the right place to start these discussions in Fairfax County, given Reston’s history and Bob Simon’s principles,” Alcorn said.

The task force’s next meeting will take place on April 12.

Photo via Reston Association/Facebook

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Construction is progressing on the $86 million Lake Anne Fellowship House redevelopment at 11444 North Shore Drive with a completion date projected for the summer of 2022.

The property, which is to be called “Lake Anne House,” is framed up to the fifth floor of what will be an eight-story building. Mechanical, electric, and plumbing is also underway. The roof is scheduled to be put on by this June.

Christy Zeitz, the CEO of Fellowship Square Foundation, a non-profit that provides affordable housing to seniors, says that completion is still expected by next summer. That’s despite the fact that construction moved in a  “deliberate” manner during COVID-19.

The construction of the new, modernized Lake Anne House is progressing as scheduled and we are on track for a summer 2022 completion. Our construction partners have been deliberate in their safety protocols to ensure the safety of their teams and workers while also ensuring that the project moves forward so that our residents will be able to move into the new building next year.

Our residents are very excited — as the new Lake Anne House will be more space efficient, energy efficient, and will provide enhanced amenities such as an onsite wellness clinic, fitness center and more while, importantly, still assuring that rent is never more than 30% of a resident’s income.

A time-lapse video from February shows construction over the last month.

Currently, residents live in facilities that are adjacent to the new development and were built in the early 1970s, which was prior to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Accessibility has continued to be a challenge for residents at those facilities.

Once the project is completed, residents will move into the new building. A timeline notes that should begin by spring/summer 2022, though it depends on building completion.

Once move-in is completed, the old facilities will be demolished and the land sold will be sold for future townhomes.

The project was first approached more than seven years ago, in 2013, and approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2018. Groundbreaking was in October 2020.

The new building is part of an $86 million redevelopment project aimed at serving low-income senior residents.

Lake Anne House is expected to have 240 affordable apartments for seniors whose income is at or below 60% of AMI (area median income) for at least the past 30 years.

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Sheetz in Herndon rendering (Photo via screenshot/Fairfax County Planning Commission)

(Update 2:45 p.m.) A Sheetz is soon coming to Herndon.

On March 3, the Fairfax County Planning Commission is holding a public hearing and a vote to approve a Sheetz gas station, a quick-service food store, and drive-thru restaurant at 13850 McLearen Road. The staff has recommended approval.

After that, the proposal will move to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors where there will be another public hearing if needed and, potentially, a Board of Supervisors vote on March 23.

First reported a year ago, the 6,07-square-foot Sheetz will occupy a roughly 2.7-acre parcel of land. It will take the place of a set-to-be-demolished 1977 two-story office building and surface parking lot, per the staff report, at the intersection of McLearen Road and Towerview Road.

It remains unclear when construction will begin nor when the Sheetz is expected to open.

“Since this project is in the very early stages, it is too soon to provide additional details,” Nick Ruffner, Public Relations Manager for Sheetz, wrote in a statement to Reston Now.

The family-owned popular gas, convenience, and restaurant chain has more than 600 stores across the Mid-Atlantic including a number of locations in Fairfax County.

The Sheetz is planning to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week with a maximum of nine employees on-site at any one time. It also will have 49-car parking spots (five of which are reserved as electric vehicle charging stations) plus bicycle parking in accordance with county guidelines.

The “architecture character” of the building will include materials such as a brick veneer facade with cast stone masonry. Staff is recommending “high quality landscaping” so the development is “attractive” in its “highly visible site” along McLearen Road.

The new development is also required to incorporate green building practices and the staff prefers that Sheetz makes the building LEED-certified (or an equivalent program).

Fairfax County – as well as other Northern Virginia jurisdictions – have prioritized LEED-certification as a means of meeting long-term goals of cutting carbon emissions.

Photo via handout/Fairfax County Planning Commission

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Station House, a new infill development on Jefferson Street in Downtown Herndon, is finally nearing completion.

The applicant, Doll Homes, is proposing to construct the final two single-family homes on the property. The first home, which is roughly 4,500 square feet, will be located on 647 Jefferson Street, and the second home, which is 5,1010 square feet, is located at 649 Jefferson Street.

Homes in the new development start in the mid-$800,000s.

The Town of Herndon’s Historic District Review Board will consider the application at a meeting tonight. The town’s staff formally withheld a recommendation on the final approval of the property due to pending information needed from the applicant, including whether the homes are intended to follow a bungalow-type house.

“Staff is withholding its recommendation at this time given the additional information that is necessary,” according to a Jan. 6 memo.

In an Oct. 1 letter to the town, the developer wrote that the design of the development is intended to match with the area.

“Overall, we are confident that the design and superior products used to construct this home will accomplish our efforts to provide a new home that not only complements the surrounding structures but helps to preserve the predominant architectural character of the Downtown Heritage Preservation District,” the company wrote.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m.

Photo via Doll Homes

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