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Board of Supervisors Gives Thumbs Up to Roland Clarke Place Project

Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors approved Woodfield Acquisitions’ redevelopment of Roland Clarke Place at its Tuesday (Dec. 4) meeting.

The redevelopment is set to replace a vacant, two-story office building at 1941 Roland Clarke Place with a 308-unit residential complex just south of the Dulles Toll Road.

The seven-story apartment building will be about a mile between the Wiehle-Reston East and Reston Town Center Metro stations. Plans for the building include two interior courtyards, an outdoor pool, seating on a third-floor patio and a 409-space, eight-level parking garage behind the building. About one-third of the new development is slated to remain as open space.

The existing office buildings on the site were constructed in the early 1980s.

The board delayed making a decision after the project’s public hearing on Nov. 20. The Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously approved a series of proffers for the redevelopment on Nov. 15.

The board also greenlighted three other developments in Reston, including the Midline and the Tall Oaks Village Center, at the Tuesday meeting.

Images via Fairfax County and Fairfax County Planning Commission

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County Board of Supervisors Approves Several Developments

(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors approved changes to several developments at its Tuesday (Dec. 4) meeting.

The board approved modifications to the Tall Oaks Village Center redevelopment.

Stanley Martin’s redevelopment plans to transform the Tall Oaks Village Center (12022 North Shore Drive) into a mostly residential neighborhood. The redevelopment is set to create 156 residential units, which include 42 two-over-two multi-family units, 44 single units and 70 multi-family units in two residential buildings.

It also plans to add nearly 8,500 square feet of retail and 5,800 square feet of office space.

The board approved the following waivers and changes:

  • a 200-square foot privacy yard requirement for single-family units
  • tandem parking for the two-over-two dwelling units to count towards the off-street parking requirement for multi-family dwelling units
  • a modification for the required number of loading spaces
  • a modification for the transitional screening and barrier requirements

At the time of the Board of Supervisors approval in July 2016 of the owner’s plan to redevelop the retail center into a mixed-use project,  the county was planning to continue Fairfax Connector bus service through the development. The Fairfax Connector has since decided to no longer provide bus service through the development.

The board greenlighted the Midline, a mixed-use project near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station, that would bring 1.8 million square feet of development across 17.5 acres east of Wiehle Avenue and south of Sunset Hills Road. 

The development plan will add eight buildings across four blocks, including:

  • an eight-story, independent living facility with 127 units
  • an eight-story, 325-unit apartment building
  • a 14-story office building
  • an eight-story, 225-unit apartment building
  • a seven-story, 218-unit apartment building
  • a six-story, 39-unit apartment building
  • a six-story, 70-unit apartment building
  • 56 townhomes

The project will set aside 14 percent of the residential units for affordable housing.

The entire development also includes ground-floor retail in every building except the office and townhomes.

The county’s approval allows JBG and EYA to pursue two alternative development plans, based on how many retailers want to move into the new spaces.

The county also ok’d rezoning of a property by Sunrise Valley Drive and Reston Pkwy for a residential development of 145 multi-family dwelling units and office space on 4.31 acres of land.

Images and renderings via Fairfax County and Fairfax County Planning Commission

This story has been updated

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South Lake Village Center’s Construction Plan Set for Spring Arrival

Updated 11:20 — The Ping-Pong Tables were removed, from the project and the story.

Construction on new upgrades for the South Lakes Village Center could be coming next year.

The upgrades proposed by the Chevy Chase Land Company were approved by the Reston Association Design Review Board in June. Plans include upgrades like an amphitheater and a fire pit.

The upgrades are planned to help turn the aging commercial center into a local destination, though earlier this year residents nearby said they were concerned that the upgrades could lead to increased noise levels and vandalism.

Idrissa Sesay, assistant property manager of South Lakes Village Center, told Reston Now in an email that the company is still working on a construction timeline.

“Our marketing director informed me that we are working on the construction timeline now, but hoping to have [the construction timeline] complete this coming spring,” Sesay wrote.

According to the Design Review Board’s approval, the upgrades would add also add a bicycle rack and a bike repair station to make the area more bike accessible.

Photos via Chevy Chase Land Company
This story has been updated

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Board of Supervisors to Take Up Controversial Proposals, Development Plans Tomorrow

Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors is expected to authorize public hearings on two controversial proposals and consider several developments at its Tuesday (Dec. 4) meeting.

The board is anticipated to authorize public hearings on proposed zoning changes that would increase the population density. The hearings would take place at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 23 and at 4:30 p.m. on March 5.

The zoning amendment would increase the maximum population per acre in the Planned Residential Community (PRC) district from 13 persons to 15. Dwelling units per acre would increase from 50 units to 70 near Metro stations.

The Coalition for a Planned Reston, Reston 2020 and the Reston Association have raised concerns with the proposal, expressing worries about the exemptions given to developers with proposals that do not conform to the Reston Master Plan and a lack of infrastructure to support an increased density.

The board is also expected to authorize a public hearing at 4 p.m. on Jan. 22 to consider adding chinchillas, hedgehogs and hermit crabs to the county’s list of commonly accepted pets.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission scrutinized health and safety concerns for the three animals at its public hearing last Thursday (Nov. 29).

For developments, the following are expected:

  • a decision on Woodfield Acquisitions’ redevelopment of Roland Clarke Place that would add a 308-unit residential complex just south of the Dulles Toll Road
  • a public hearing on changes to previously approved development conditions for the Tall Oaks Village Center townhome project by Stanley Martin
  • a public hearing on the Midline, a mixed-use project near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station

The board will also consider endorsing non-regulatory guidelines for developments in Reston Transit Station Areas and will receive a presentation on the annual financial report for the 2018 fiscal year, along with an update on the Economic Success Strategic Plan.

Reston-based Appian Corp. may receive approval from the board for a $4 million grant from the Commonwealth for an expansion.

The meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow.

Photo via Fairfax County Government/Facebook

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Planning Commission OKs Parking Changes for Tall Oaks Village Center Redevelopment

The Fairfax County Planning Commission approved Thursday night (Nov. 29) parking and access adjustments for the Tall Oaks Village Center redevelopment.

Stanley Martin’s redevelopment would transform the Tall Oaks Village Center (12022 North Shore Drive) into a mostly residential neighborhood.

The redevelopment will create 156 residential units, which include 42 two-over-two multi-family units, 44 single units and 70 multi-family units in two residential buildings. It also plans to add nearly 8,500 square feet of retail and 5,800 square feet of office space.

The commission approved:

  • a 200-square foot privacy yard requirement for single-family units
  • tandem parking for the two-over-two dwelling units to count towards the off-street parking requirement for multi-family dwelling units
  • a modification for the required number of loading spaces
  • a modification for the transitional screening and barrier requirements

Ellen Hurley, who represents the Braddock District, abstained from the vote.

The shopping center, which was anchored by a Giant grocery store until it closed in 2007, has struggled without a stable grocer. Roughly 86 percent of the shopping center was vacant in 2016, according to the application.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved in July 2016 the owner’s plan to redevelop the retail center into a mixed-use project.

The development has been held up several times this year. Reston’s Design Review Board delayed voting on several aspects of the plan for several months. The garage size requirements stalled the redevelopment.

Another issue was the bus pad and bus service for the site. At the time of the approval, the county was planning to continue Fairfax Connector bus service through the development. The Fairfax Connector has since decided to no longer provide bus service through the development.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will consider the project on Tuesday (Dec. 4).

Rendering via Fairfax County Planning Commission

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Del. Ken Plum: Amazon is Coming to Town

(Updated at 9 a.m. on Nov. 30) This is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Amazon, which has made its way into just about every consumer’s home with its online goods and services, has announced that it is bringing its second headquarters — or at least half its east-coast headquarters — to Crystal City. The area — now being called “National Landing” — is actually in Arlington County. The other half of its headquarters, originally expected to be in one location, will be in Long Island City in Queens, New York.

There were few regrets in Virginia or the Washington, D.C. area at getting just half of the prize in the most competitive contest for an economic development project in recent times. Even half of the prize is expected to bring 25,000 top jobs to the region.

I attended the announcement of Amazon’s decision in an abandoned Crystal City warehouse that has in recent years fallen on hard economic times. The warehouse will be demolished to make room for the new HQ2. During Governor Ralph Northam’s remarks, I was thinking that we have truly reached a crossroads in economic development in the northern part of the Commonwealth. There will be little need for the structures like that warehouse.

Northern Virginia that includes Reston and Tysons Corner has fully moved into the arena of high technology and will be mentioned in the future as one of the centers of technological innovation in our country. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is just the latest of a long list of entrepreneurs who have seen the value of a NoVa location.

I am a skeptic of big pay-out deals that have been increasingly used by states and localities to lure companies to their locations. There seems to be almost unanimous agreement among economic development experts that Virginia may have pulled off one of the best deals they have seen in an economic development proposal in recent times.

There is cash to Amazon involved, but that cash is in the form of performance payments when Amazon reaches certain tiers of development and production of top-paying jobs. The math of the proposal shows that in the end, Virginia will be a substantial net winner from the economic activity coming from the new headquarters and supporting development and the new Virginia taxpayers it will include.

For many, the strength of the Virginia Amazon proposal goes beyond the location of a new headquarters. Governor Northam called Virginia’s efforts “a new model of economic development for the 21st century.” As he explained, most of Virginia’s partnership proposal consists of investments in education and transportation infrastructure “that will bolster the features that make Virginia so attractive: a strong and talented workforce, a stable and competitive business climate, and a world-class higher education system.”

The feature of the proposal that is getting the strongest kudos is the location of a billion-dollar extension of Virginia Tech that will offer graduate degrees in engineering, technology and innovation in the city of Alexandria. And yes, there will be transportation improvements to Metro and the highways to better accommodate the new residents who will be working at the new headquarters.

I believe Virginia was a really big winner in this announcement; even half the deal is certain to work to our region’s advantage!

File photo

This story has been updated

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Planned Reston Tower Still Seeking Tenants

Update 10:30 a.m. — David Toney, Vice President of Development for Akridge, has clarified that the One Reston Town Center project does not have a five-year deadline to begin construction.

(Editor’s note: This story was updated Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 12:15 p.m. and again at 2:30 p.m. to correct references to One Reston’s height.)

One Reston Town Center, a 23-story building in Reston’s urban core, made waves when it was first approved six years ago. But since then, the project has been largely silent.

The project is planned to offer 420,000 square-feet of office space, as well as 15,000 square feet of ground-level retail. Akridge property management said at the time that it would not begin construction until a lead tenant was found to occupy at least 150,000 square feet of that total office space.

A leasing agent at Avison Young, a real estate partnership business, said the building is still in the pre-leasing phase. While the agent said Avison Young is actively pursuing several deals currently, no lead tenant has been found to occupy the building.

“We have some proposals in to some groups,” said David Toney, Vice President of Development for Akridge. “These things take time. We have some good activity on the project. We’re focusing on that and focusing on financing to go forward.”

Prior to the 2016 reapproval, Akridge had noted that waiting for a lease before beginning construction was less risky than beginning construction while searching for a tenant.

Photo via Akridge

This story has been updated

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Residential Development Near Dulles Receives Nod from Planning Commission

With little to no discussion and debate other than fixing a typo, the Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously approved a series of proffers for Woodfield Acquisitions’ redevelopment of Roland Clarke Place last night.

The Thursday vote sets into motion a series of waivers and modifications to allow a new residential complex to be built just south of the Dulles Toll Road. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will consider the project on Tuesday (Nov. 20).

The development will replace the office buildings at 1941 Roland Clarke Place and 1950 Roland Clarke Place. A 308-unit residential building will replace 1941 Roland Clarke Place, including roughly 37 workforce units. The application says 1950 Roland Clarke Place will be redeveloped as a small park until another development on the site can be planned.

Though no open space was required for the site, a little over two acres of the new development will remain dedicated as open space. In addition to two private courtyards within the residential complex, two smaller parks and a dog park surround the proposed residential building.

Among the waivers and modifications received for the site an allowance of a residential building 59 feet from the Dulles International Airport from the zoning ordinance’s minimum distance of 200 feet.

The existing office buildings on the site were constructed in the early 1980s. In 2008, the redevelopment of the buildings was planned into three new office buildings, but the plan was never implemented.

Photos via handout/Fairfax County Planning Commission

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Longterm Planning in Reston Comes Under Focus in Last PRC Workgroup Meeting

At the last workgroup meeting on a controversial zoning amendment, county officials stressed that population density increases proposed in Reston’s comprehensive plan are broad targets that will be gradually implemented over the next 30 years.

The meeting, held Tuesday night, was the last in a series of discussions on the county’s proposal to increase Reston’s population density from 13 to 16 people per acre in the community’s Planned Residential Community district.

Representatives from the Coalition for a Planned Reston and Reston Association said that while they were not opposed to development, the cumulative impact of increased development without the infrastructure to manage it was a major concern.

Tammi Petrine, co-chair of Reston 2020, said increasing the density cap only invites more developers to push harder for development — a trend that she said is already clearly evident in the streak of major mixed-use projects approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Fred Selden, director of the Fairfax County’s Department of Planning and Zoning, said the community has multiple opportunities between when a development plan is proposed and passed to voice their concerns, suggest alternatives and raise critical issues.

“The community, quite frankly, has to give its judgment,” Selden said.

But others felt that concerns raised by community members have little sway in the overall planning process.

Selden said his office would be open to discussing possible changes to Reston’s comprehensive plan if pressing needs arose. In Tysons, the plan was updated seven years after its passage when the planned grid of streets did not align with what was actually being built.

But Selden also noted that major changes to planned land use intensities are rarely incorporated within five years of a plan’s passage. Late last year, CPR and RA suggested altering Reston’s master plan to make specific changes. He repeatedly stressed that Reston’s plan envisions possible future growth, which may or may not be realized given economic and market constraints.

Redevelopment of Reston’s village centers was also a hot topic during Tuesday’s discussion. Selden stressed that the plan already leaves the door open for high-density redevelopment potential — an element of the plan that was supported by some residents during earlier planning discussions.

“We could have said that there’s no redevelopment potential in the village centers,” Selden said. “But that’s not what we heard from the community.”

Others like John Mooney, a member on RA’s Board of Directors,  said planning processes focus on the impacts of development in Transit Station Areas without considering the impact on development in all of Reston.

He said traffic studies have not considered the impact of traffic in Transit Station Areas on the rest of Reston.

“I see no evidence, although I’m awaiting further information,” Mooney said.

Photo via YouTube

(This story was updated on Wednesday at 6:27 a.m. to clarify a quote by John Mooney.)

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Combined Properties Purchases Apartment Complex in Reston

Combined Properties, a D.C.-based company, has acquired Homestead at Reston, a 200-unit apartment complex at 12265 Laurel Glade Court. The deal was closed for $41 million and the company has renamed the complex to Reston Glade.

The complex could be upgraded in the future, although no plans are definitive, according to the company.

“Reston Glade will become a community known for its location and amenities, while still providing value for its residents,” said Ronald Haft, chairman of Combined Properties.

The property was formerly known as Homestead at Reston. In a statement, Combined Properties touted Reston as “one of the most desirable submarkets in the Washington, D.C. region area.”

Gary Scott, the company’s vice president of national acquisitions, said Combined Properties is positioning itself to acquire more residential complexes in the future.

The company has nine mixed projects in its portfolio. Nearby, it owns Sugarland Crossing in Sterling and McLean Plaza in McLean.

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New Hotel Approved in Lake Fairfax Business Park

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved plans Tuesday to replace surface parking in Lake Fairfax Business Park with a four-story hotel.

The 138-room hotel, proposed by TH Holding Company, would be built next to the headquarters of Thompson Hospitality (1741 Business Center Drive), TH Holding’s retail food and facilities management company.

TH Holding Company plans to provide 299 parking spaces, including 149 spots for hotel guests and employees. An outdoor terrace will be adjacent to the hotel’s main entrance.

Under requested rezoning approvals, the hotel will be subject to its own zoning and permit regulations, separate from Lake Fairfax Business Park. The Planning Commission unanimously approved the project on May 3, with one member abstaining from a vote.

Photo via Fairfax County Government, Google Maps

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More Community Charrettes Suggested on Population Density Proposal

More community meetings about a controversial plan to increase Reston’s population density may be forthcoming.

In an April 23 letter to the Coalition for a Planned Reston, a community group opposing the increase, Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins suggested holding more meetings to discuss issues related to the proposal, which would increase population density from 13 to 16 people per acre in Reston’s Planned Residential Community areas.

Hudgins pitched the idea of holding another group meeting with CPR, Reston Association and the county’s planning staff. Work sessions in small groups would follow based on topics like infrastructure implementation, transportation, schools and parks.

CPR and RA declined to meet on April 2 to discuss the county’s response to their concerns. County planning staff reiterated the need to pursue the proposal in order to effectively implement Reston’s master plan. Staff affirmed their commitment to ensuring infrastructure matches the pace of development, but did not accept a number of amendments suggested by both parties.

In her letter, Hudgins acknowledged the county’s response was “slow in coming.”

“But a commitment was made to respond and the planning staff did so in a detailed and thoughtful manner. It is unfortunate that CPR and RA declined to meet on April 2 and to discuss the staff’s response and to outline next steps and the process going forward,” she wrote.

Hudgins also noted that Reston’s master plan includes protections for existing residential communities and Reston’s golf course.

Most of the potential growth is slated for village centers, St. Johns Wood apartments, the retail area north of Baron Cameron avenue near Home Depot, Reston Town Center North, parts of Reston Town Center and other parcels in Reston’s Transit Station Areas.

“As was evident again this year at the Founder’s Day celebration, Reston is a special place that we all love and I am confident that we can all work together to resolve the issue of the maximum density allowed in the PRC zoned area and the concerns of the community regarding the Reston Master Plan,” Hudgins said.

CPR met on Monday to discuss the county’s response. In a statement, Bruce Ramo of CPR said the opposition group is disappointed with the county’s response.

It is evident that in the absence of leadership by the Supervisor, Restonians must step forward directly to convince the Board of Supervisors of the need for changes in the Master Plan,” Ramo wrote.

Dates regarding when the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will officially introduce the legislative proposal have not yet been announced.

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Wednesday Morning Notes

A bedroom community awakens — A look at how younger people are leaving cities and settling in communities like Reston. [U.S. News & World Report]

For job seekers — Reston Association has officially posted a job listing as it continues to search for a new CEO after Cate Fulkerson’s sudden departure from the position this year. [Association Career]

So[lar] awesome — Virginia’s capacity to generate solar electricity is expected to triple over the next year. Can the Commonwealth handle that power? [WTOP]

Going mobile — Joining the rest of the digital world, Metro plans to enable customers to pay for trips by using a mobile device next year. Of course, there isn’t an app for that (yet). [WMATA]

$20 million for Expel — The cybersecurity startup based in Herndon has raised the funds led by a Silicon Valley venture capital firm. Funds will fuel the company’s product development and go-to market efforts.  [Washington Business Journal]

Photo by Lauren Pinkston

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County Board Approves Plan to Redevelop Three-Story Office Building into 20-Story Condominiums

A 20-story condominium high rise will replace a three-story office building built in the late 1980s on 1801 Old Reston Avenue.

On Tuesday evening, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the project by Renaissance Centro, the developer behind a strip of residential buildings in the area. 

The project will include 150 residential units, including 24 for-sale, workforce housing units and 24 bonus units, built atop an underground parking garage.

County officials touted the project for bringing for-sale workforce housing on the market — a rarity in Reston despite the prevalence of residential high rises. Andrew Painter of Walsh Colluci Lubuley & Walsh, the developer’s representative, said the project is the first for-sale condominium in Reston in 14 years.

Painter said Renaissance views the project as a “legacy” development that will transform Reston Parkway from a commuter-cut-through street to an urban parkway. The developer will provide $313,000 for Reston’s road funds and the project is not expected to generate additional traffic compared to the current building, he said.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said the community and the developer worked together to allay concerns. She said the developer is providing green space that will enhance the community space in area on Reston Parkway that serves as an entrance to high density development across from Reston Town Center and at the foot of Metro.

As the project moves forward, Hudgins also said traffic improvements on Temporary Road and Reston Parkway are needed.

“There are transportation issues in this area. No matter what we would have built, it would have been difficult.”

Three residents who testified in support of the project on Tuesday said the project will offer new home ownership opportunities they have awaited for years. One resident opposed the plan because the developer is requesting a waiver for the minimum lot and reduced loading dock requirements. She also questioned why the project’s zoning designation is classified as mixed use, even though the project has no mixed use element.

Previously, a decision on the project had previously been deferred.

The project will include a pool, an outdoor terrace, a penthouse with terrace space, and an eight-foot-wide asphalt trail. Once built, it will tower above The Harrison and other properties built by Renaissance Centro.

“The applicant has a track record of quality development,” Painter said.

Photos via handout

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After Changes, Plan to Redevelop Offices into Condominiums Moves Forward

After weeks of deferrals, a plan to redevelop a three-story office building into 20-story condominiums is getting closer to approval.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously passed Renaissance Centro, a 150-unit project on 1801 Old Reston Avenue, Thursday night.

The project was stalled after the county’s planning and zoning staff and the developer clashed over how the condominiums incorporate workforce housing and parking for workforce housing units. In response to concerns about the intensity of development on the 1.5-acre site, the developer agreed to reduce the scale of the project by 7,500 square feet, reduce the building height from 260 feet to 240 feet and improve tree protection and fencing.

The building will have 150 units, with 24 units set aside for workforce housing, allowing the developer to add 24 units in bonus density. The size of the additional units will be within 10 percent of the size of workforce housing units.

Still, At-Large Commissioner James Hart said the case was “difficult.” Although he voted for the project because it met Reston’s comprehensive plan and county requirements, Hart, who is also the commission’s vice chairman, said the project had “too much intensity on too small of a site.”

He cited concerns that the developer filed the application as Planned Residential Mixed (PRM) use application. As Reston approaches the density cap for the Planned Residential Community district, more developers may file applications as PRM, resulting in what he called a “patchwork” of development.

Overall, commission members said the project highlights the need for the county to clarify workforce housing requirements, especially for parking. Hart said current requirements are at best “confusing.”

“It’s very difficult even for us to understand how the numbers work,” he said.

At Renaissance, which will include a parking garage, residents will have the option of buying one parking space per unit. Two loading spaces will be available along the entrance, in addition to three short-term parking spaces in order to meet growing demand for drop-off stations.

The proposal will head to the county’s Board of Supervisors for final approval. More projects that require repurposing old office buildings into residential and mixed use projects are in the pipeline. If approved, the residential building will be taller than the adjacent Harrison apartments and similar in size to The Signature apartments across the street from Renaissance Centro.

Photos via handout and by Fatimah Waseem

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