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Accident Closes Part of Spring Street in Herndon

Spring Street is shut down between Elden and Locust streets due to an accident.

Herndon Police tweeted that the street closed shortly before 10 a.m. today (Jan. 22).

Drivers and pedestrians should follow police direction, according to the tweet.

Map via Google Maps

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Herndon Planning Commission Tackles Mixed-Use Project, Elden Street Improvements

A mixed-use development project along Herndon Parkway hit some design snags and a zoning issue as the developer tried to move the project forward at the Herndon Planning Commission meeting on Monday (Jan. 14).

Penzance Properties plans to build a mixed-use development at 555 Herndon Parkway. Located on the south side of Herndon Parkway, the site is between Van Buren Street and Spring Street and north of the future Herndon Silver Line Station.

The 90,000 square feet of office space currently occupying the site is slated to be razed.

The Planning Commission staff report notes that the development plan needs one modification to abide by a zoning ordinance. The report also provided dozens of suggestions and areas to focus on to improve the project.

The Architectural Review Board reviewed the plans at its Dec. 12 meeting and said in a memo to the Planning Commission that the architecture and urban design of the project need more definition and revision.

ARB noted that the project is especially hard to review “since it is the first development of this size and scale in Herndon and the first time the ARB is evaluating architecture as part of a development plan review process.” Its “broad and general level” review a list of critiques, including a lack of facade detailing, insufficient material variety on the residential floors and roofline, an undefined pedestrian scale and an “overall stark and sterile design.”

A transportation impact study on the project expects minimal impact on intersections, with 25 percent of the anticipated travel connected to the four office buildings and 35 percent related residential.

Out of the three development alternatives, the transportation study analyzed the alternative with the highest trip generation. That option includes up to 406,000 square feet of office space, 380 residential units and 27,767 square feet of retail and a 250 room hotel. The buildout is slated for 2022.

“Herndon has long planned for intersection improvements on Spring Street between Herndon Parkway and Fairfax County Parkway and at the intersection of Herndon Parkway and Van Buren Street,” according to the study’s examinations of the 2017 conditions. “These intersections operate at or near capacity under existing conditions.”

The Town of Herndon is studying three alternate bus bay location plans that include bus layby lanes, passenger car layby lanes and a signalized pedestrian connection crossing Herndon Parkway east of the site.

Penzance Properties has scheduled a neighborhood meeting for Jan. 23 and mailed invitations to neighboring properties, according to the staff report.

The Planning Commission also took up a proposal to create a design concept for street improvements on South Elden Street between Sterling Road and Herndon Parkway.

A revised resolution would add an 8-foot, shared-use path on the western side of Elden Street running from Sterling Road to Herndon Parkway and improve the existing five-lane section to be a four-lane section with 11-foot-wide travel lanes, a raised median and protected turning lanes. It would also add enhanced crosswalks at the intersections of Elden Street and Alabama Drive, the intersection at Dulles Park Shopping Center and the intersection of Elden Street at Sterling Road.

These changes are meant to increase visibility and pedestrian safety.

The Town of Herndon has until Oct. 1 to adopt a policy for the work under a previously approved $65,000 grant or repay the grant to the state after that date.

The Planning Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing on Monday, Jan. 28.

Images via Herndon Planning Commission

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Long After Being Told to Move, Aslin Beer Co. Still Fighting to Open New Home

It’s been nearly two years, and Aslin Beer Company is still waiting for approval to move into its planned tasting room and bar in Herndon.

The company is waiting on the Department of Public Works to approve grading plans as a deadline looms for the Heritage Preservation Review Board to consider approval of the project at its upcoming meeting next month.

In the summer of 2017, the brewery was told it would have to leave the Town of Herndon due to the limitations of its current space (257 Sunset Park Drive). So Aslin found a new home at 771 Elden Street, which was the location of the former Napa Auto Parts, and planned to open the Aslin Tasting House later that year, Reston Now previously reported.

Originally, the new location planned to have 2,500 square feet of interior tasting room space and another 2,500 square feet of outdoor space — including a rooftop deck and bar, bocce ball court and covered deck.

Then last year on Dec. 10, Aslin resubmitted plans with a revised design that include terrace seating and a rooftop bar.

Herndon’s Heritage Preservation Review Board held a work session last Wednesday (Jan. 2) that included discussion on the redesign and amendments, which the board had previously approved.

Ira Saul, an attorney representing Aslin, “stated no additional structural changes would be made, other than the removal of the cantilevered deck area on the second floor and removing the exterior stairway for an internalized stairwell to the second floor,” according to draft minutes from the meeting.

Saul said that a second-floor fireplace with a stone veneer, second-floor rain screens and a second-floor overhead trellis near the rear of the building that appeared to have been removed from the submitted design would be included in future drawings. Additionally, the two different color schemes in the submission will get clarified in the future to have just one color scheme.

Board Member Ossolinski requested that the formal application submission include perspective color renderings of the structure — as had been provided during the original case review and subsequent approval — to help clarify the differences between the new and the revised design.

Once the Department of Public Works approves the grading plans — a prerequisite to Heritage Preservation Review Board approval — the beer company will be able to submit the final application by the Jan. 14 deadline for the board’s February meeting.

Aslin Beer Company declined to comment for the article.

“The town remains committed to working with Aslin’s owners through this process,” Anne Curtis, the chief communications officer for the Town of Herndon, told Reston Now.

Images via Google Maps and the Town of Herndon 

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Musician Shawna Caspi to Perform in Herndon Next Week

Toronto-based singer-songwriter Shawna Caspi is coming to Herndon for a performance next Tuesday.

Caspi is set to perform on Jan. 15 as a part of The Folk Club of Reston/Herndon, a volunteer organization that meets on Tuesday evenings at 7:15 p.m. at Amphora’s Diner Deluxe (1151 Elden Street).

Classically trained, Caspi shifted to folk singing, which she pairs with a fingerpicking guitar style.

In September 2017, she released her fourth album, “Forest Fire,” which delves into “burning things down and building them up again” with bluegrass instrumentation.

Her song “Not So Silent” from her 2014 album “Apartments for Lovers” was selected for the Silver Award in the folk acoustic category of the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest presented by the Songwriters’ Association of Washington, she wrote on her website on Tuesday (Jan 8).

Her travels as a musician inspired Caspi to paint. “Shawna loves the landscapes of her travels, and while weaving them into her songs, she has also been portraying them on canvases, painting one-of-a-kind works of art inspired by the rich scenery she sees on tour,” according to her bio. So far, she has sold more than 100 original paintings.

The upcoming Herndon show has a suggested donation of $10 for members of the Folk Club and $11 for nonmembers.

Image via World One Video on YouTube

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Elden Corner Center in Herndon Nears Final Construction in February

Construction is slated to finish next month on the Elden Corner Center in Herndon.

Construction is currently underway on the commercial retail building at 900 Alabama Drive.

Sanjay Bajaj, the project’s applicant, told Reston Now that construction will be done by February. The more than 10,000-square-foot retail center will have eight stores and roughly 54 parking spaces, Bajaj said.

“Currently, the center is about 62 percent leased out,” he wrote in an email.

Three spots in the center are still available to lease from the CoStar Group. Plans from Capital Realty Advisors, LLC indicate that a hair salon, bakery, Boost Mobile and Peruvian Chicken have already leased the other spaces.

Elden Corner Center is just one of several projects currently under construction in Herndon.

Stanley Martin is building a two-over-two stacked townhouse development with 64 units between Herndon Pkwy and Van Buren Street. The Metro Square development is across the street from Haley M. Smith Park and will be next to the Herndon Metro Station.

More homes are on the way. The Residences at the Station will offer several single-family homes with “historic styling” featuring front porches and detached garages.

Across the street from the Pines Shopping Center (650 Elden Street), the development by Doll Homes will include an improved streetscape, off-street parking and paver driveways, according to Herndon’s development site.

Virginia Tire and Auto, which is taking the spot at 199 Elden Street that was vacated by a Cardinal Bank branch, faces construction. Demolition is underway of the existing bank building, along with construction of an 11-bay service station, according to Herndon’s development site.

The vehicle service center aims to open next summer, an employee previously told Reston Now.

Images via CoStar Group and Stanley Martin

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Restaurants and Stores Shuffle, Reopen in Herndon Centre

Shoppers at Herndon Centre might have noticed a few recent changes to its food offerings.

Several locations in the shopping center have welcomed new grocery stores and restaurants this year — some of which relocated there — along with closures.

Mayuri Indian Restaurant moved to Herndon Centre in July to 390 Elden Street after it closed its Hunters Woods Village Center location in 2016. The restaurant closed its original spot of 10 years after the lease ended, according to the restaurant’s website.

Mayuri’s Herndon Centre spot used to belong to Baker’s Inn Indian Bistro & Cafe, which opened in 2016, according to its Facebook page. While its closing date is unknown, the restaurant was still open in late June, according to Yelp reviews.

Tipicos Gloria relocated about 150 feet from its spot at 482 Elden Street to 470 Elden Street about five months ago, an employee told Reston Now. The Central American eatery’s vacated spot is slated to open early next year as Ramen and Rice, Reston Now previously reported.

As for grocery options, ethnic grocer Lotte Plaza Market opened Dec. 7 at 490 Elden Street.

Sprouts Farmers Market grocery store is expected to take over part of the former Kmart space at 494 Elden Street. Demolition is still underway for that site.

Florida-based real estate investment firm Sterling Organization is dividing the former Kmart spot, Reston Now previously reported. Renderings of the project submitted to the Town of Herndon show the site will be the future home of LA FitnessMOD Pizza and IHOP.

Curry Leaf Fresh Market closed at 378 Elden Street earlier this year. A sign on the door, as of Dec. 17, indicates that the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority “is considering establishing a retail store at this location.”

380 Elden Street, which used to be a Sprint store, has signs indicating the space is available for retailers.

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H Mart to Open on Saturday in Herndon’s Elden Street Marketplace

Korean grocery chain H Mart will hold its grand opening this Saturday in the Elden Street Marketplace.

Located at 1228 Elden Street, H Mart is taking the spot vacated by Giant Food in November after it relocated to Centreville Road. 

H Mart, which is operated by the Hanahreum Group in New Jersey, describes itself a “one-stop shop for everything Asian and more.” The grocery chain has more than 60 stores across 12 states, including California, Illinois, Georgia and New York. 

The Herndon opening will mark H Mart’s seventh store in Virginia, with stores already in Falls Church, Annadale and Fairfax, according to the website.

The grand opening starts at 9 a.m. on Dec. 22 and will include free gifts for its Smart Card members and giveaways.

Photo via Google Maps

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Virginia Tire and Auto to Replace Closed Bank Branch in Herndon

Virginia Tire and Auto may open next year at 199 Elden Street — the former Cardinal Bank branch spot.

The Herndon Town Council approved on March 13 the construction and operation of the vehicle service center nearly one year after Cardinal Bank closed its branch there during its merger with United Bank.

The vehicle service center aims to open next summer, an employee told Reston Now. Phoenix Steel Erectors’ work on the site is scheduled to begin in February, according to a Facebook post.

Virginia Tire and Auto has been expanding recently, with two other locations set to open in Richmond and Vienna. The new locations will bring the total number of dealership locations to 16.

Maps via Google Maps

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Giant Food on Elden Street Relocates to Centreville Road

A grocery store shuffle is underway in Herndon following the departure of local Shoppers locations.

Giant Food at 1228 Elden Street has officially closed its doors and relocated to Centreville Road as of today, roughly 1.3 miles away from the former location. The store opened at 6 a.m. today, a customer service representative told Reston Now. The Elden Street location closed at midnight.

The new location at 2425 Centreville Road was previously occupied by Shoppers. H-Mart, a Korean grocery store operated by the Hanahreum Group in New Jersey, is scheduled to move into the Elden Street location. No opening date has been confirmed yet.

Giant Food has announced plans to move into other abandoned Shoppers stores. Shoppers closures went into effect after the parent company announced an intentional shift to move the business from retail to wholesale.

Photos via Giant Food

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Herndon Auto Care to Leave Elden Street Next Weekend

Another local business is leaving Elden Street.

Herndon Auto Care, which offers auto and light truck repair and maintenance services, will move from its current location at 1131 Elden Street to its sister shop in Sterling, the Dulles Shell Service Center. The address of the new location is 45410 Holiday Drive.

A business representative told Reston Now that the move was prompted by lease expiration.

“In the new lease, the landlord was asking for a substantial increase in monthly rent, which we could not accommodate,” the representative said. “The property has been listed for rent with a real estate company for other use[s].”

Photo via Herndon Auto Care

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Sprouts Farmers Market, LA Fitness to Open in Herndon Centre

Sprouts Farmers Market grocery store is expected to take over part of the former Kmart footprint in Herndon, adding a second organic grocer to the Herndon Centre. The natural and organic grocer would join a shopping plaza that is also home to MOM’s Organic Market.

Demolition of the facade of the 84,000-square-foot store (494 Elden Street) is underway as Florida-based real estate investment firm Sterling Organization divides the former big box store into several businesses. The company purchased the location for $7 million in August last year. The rest of the shopping plaza is owned by A.J. Dwoskin & Associates Inc.

Renderings of the project submitted to the Town of Herndon show the site will be the future home of LA Fitness, MOD Pizza, and IHOP. No overnight commuter parking will be allowed in the shopping plaza.

Town officials said they’re working with the developer of the property to add signalize the intersection near the shopping plaza, as new businesses are expected to generate additional traffic. The company has committed $165,000 in proffer funds to help install a future signal. The town expects to fund the remainder of the project through existing funds from its capital improvements program and future grant funding.

A representative for the project declined to comment on the development, including details about the project timeline.

Photos via Sterling Organization and Fatimah Waseem

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Revitalization of South Elden Street Area in Herndon Planned

Town of Herndon officials are seeking the public feedback as the town works to revitalize the South Elden Street area, a corridor that runs along Elden Street from Worldgate Drive to Sterling Road.

Officials plan to present what they described as a “moderate scale” redevelopment plan for the area at a meeting today (June 26) at 7 p.m. in the Town of Herndon Council Chambers (765 Lynn Street).

Ideas on how to revitalize the corridor are requested, including whether or not older properties in the area should be redeveloped and the desired mix of retail, residential, office and other uses.

Last year, the town jumpstarted an initiative to create a plan for the commercial corridor between Herndon Parkway and Sterling Road. In 2015, an amendment to the town’s comprehensive plan called for making improvements to South Elden Street. Possible changes include creating a shared use path for bicycles and pedestrians, dedicated turn lanes, a raised median, updated pedestrian signals and the placement of overhead wires underground.

If funding sources are received, the town could begin designing the project in 2024. A conceptual plan of improvements and the preliminary application for improvements has not been made public yet.

A public hearing is set before the Planning Commission on July 2 and August 6.

Photo via Town of Herndon

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Herndon Town Council to Consider Installing Free Public WiFi, Declaring June LGBTQ Pride Month

The Town of Herndon’s Council will consider a proclamation to officially recognize June as “LGBTQ+ Pride Month” at a public hearing tonight at 7 p.m. in the Herndon Council Chambers Building (765 Lynn Street).

The proclamation intends to “recognize the difficulties and prejudice the LGBTQ+ community has worked to overcome,” in addition to recognizing the work of advocates who fight for equality for all people.

The Town Council is also considering launching a Smart Cities pilot program in Herndon. Through the agreement with Vivacity D.C. Inc., a Delaware-based corporation, the town will evaluate smart city technologies, including remote-controlled LED lights with radio capabilities in downtown Herndon in an effort to reduce electricity and maintenance costs.

Upgraded infrastructure, to be installed by the end of the year, would allow the town to provide free public WiFi, improve mobile coverage and county pedestrian traffic, according to the draft pilot project agreement.

Specifically, Vivacity DC, Inc. will build a wireless network in the downtown area, replace 10 street light poles with LED smart poles, and upgrade 10 existing street light poles with LED lighting. The project also includes the installation of an electric vehicle charging station.

Town Council public hearings are webcast and are cablecast live on Herndon Community Television (HCTV).

File photo 

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Herndon Council Strikes Deal with Comstock for Downtown Development Project

The redevelopment of Herndon’s historic center moved forward Tuesday as local lawmakers passed an agreement that would transform nearly 4.7 acres of town-owned land into a mixed use development.

The seven-member Herndon Town Council unanimously approved a comprehensive agreement with Comstock Partners that lays out responsibilities of both parties. Comstock plans to bring 281 residential apartments, 17,600 square feet of retail space, an arts plaza and walkways, an 18,000-square-foot arts center and a 761-space parking garage to the center.

The public-private redevelopment deal states the town will pitch in $3.6 million to help with the redevelopment effort, including $500,000 for environmental remediation, $500,000 for transitional public parking, $250,000 for the relocation of the arts center, $100,000 for culvert repairs and up to $100,000 for any off-site easements. The town will also contribute land purchased for $5.8 million

In return, the developer will provide 339 public parking spaces in the garage, the arts center, an arts work and recreation proffer and $505,000 in proffer funds for town recreational services. The total value of the contributions is roughly $12 million, according to the town.

Construction, which is set to begin in early 2019, is expected to be complete by early 2021. With the green light from the council, the developer must begin designing the project. Once the design is complete, Comstock will submit a site plan to the town for approval and seek design approval from the town’s Heritage Preservation Committee — a process that could take one year.

The site on which the development would take place is north of Elden Street, east of Center Street, west of Station Street and south of the Washington & Old Dominion Trail. The space in question includes municipal parking lots and the home of ArtSpace, as well as the former Stohlman Subaru building on Elden Street.

As the development moves forward, the town plans to work with Comstock on a transitional parking plan. ArtSpace will be relocated off-site during construction of the project. The future of the Herndon Festival is unclear as the festival’s committee will evaluate options for relocation. During construction, parking will either continue to be located on-site or be transitioned to other locations in downtown Herndon. The town will work with Comstock on the transitional parking plan.

In a release, Mayor Lisa Merkel applauded the council’s decision as a major step forward in the redevelopment effort.

“After decades of discussion, vision and planning, the town is thrilled to be moving forward on a project that will revitalize our downtown and solidify Herndon’s position as a 21st century town where history and heritage are integrated into a thoroughly contemporary setting. We are grateful to the citizens, business owners and others with a stake in Herndon’s future who have dedicated so much time and energy to get us to this point, and we look forward to working with Comstock in bringing the town’s vision to reality.”

County officials project the purchase of the property will bring in roughly $300,000 per year from taxes and fees for licenses. The site is currently exempt from property taxes.

For more information about the plans, visit the town’s website.

Image courtesy of Anne Curtis

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Nearby: East Elden Street Widening Project Plans

elden-street-wideningVirginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) officials will hold a public meeting Thursday to show its place for a proposed design for the widening of Elden Street between Monroe Street and the Fairfax County Parkway in Herndon.

Officials hope the project will reduce traffic congestion, improve safety and enhance access to and from the busy Fairfax County Parkway.

Planned improvements include widening East Elden Street (Route 606) from four lanes to six between Herndon Parkway and Fairfax County Parkway, as well as improving access management from Van Buren Street to Herndon Parkway.

Other planned improvements include a new raised median with streetscaping between Van Buren Street and Herndon Parkway, moving utilities between Monroe Street and Fairfax County Parkway underground, and replacing the culvert over Sugarland Run with a new bridge.

The proposed design also features accommodations for cyclists and pedestrians, including enhanced facilities like on-street bike lanes between Monroe Street and Herndon Parkway, and off-street bike lanes from east of Herndon Parkway to Fairfax County Parkway.

VDOT officials say they hope to have plans approved by the spring, though it could take a few years to receive authorization for right-of-way funding, and to advertise to potential construction companies for the job. All in all, construction could begin in the spring of 2022.

The total costs of the project, including preliminary engineering, right-of-way and construction, add up to just under $35 million.

Thursday’s meeting will take place at the Herndon Senior Center, located at 873 Grace St. The public is invited to drop by to view the plans and talk with officials anytime between 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Comments can also be sent to VDOT directly anytime before Nov. 28. by e-mailing [email protected] or by sending mail to Mr. Hamid Misaghian, P.E., Project Manager, Virginia Department of Transportation, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA, 22030.

View the East Elden Street Widening project page online for more information.

Image: VDOT/Google Maps

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