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Three Developers Plan ‘Midline’ Development Near Wiehle-Reston East

Three big-name developers are partnering to build the “Midline,” a mixed-use project with 1.8 million square feet of development near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.

If approved, the project by JBG, EYA and Chevy Chase Land Co. would bring 1.2 million square feet of residential development, a senior living center, 260,000 square feet of office and up to 250,000 square feet of retail to 17.5 acres east of Wiehle Avenue, south of Sunset Hills Road, and west of Michael Faraday Drive.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission will vote on the project on September 27. A vote by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is likely in October, but an official date has not been scheduled yet.

The plan requires redevelopment of four low-rise office buildings and surface parking. Northern Virginia Community College will relocate to 1821 Michael Faraday Drive, two blocks east of the development. Plans for the relocation of Marymount University are not known.

Four blocks with several buildings are proposed. Block A would include one building with 127 independent units and a 33-bed assisted living facility. The second building would include a 225-unit multi-family building and around 103,870 square feet of other uses. Block B would include a 225-unit multi-family building and around 260,000 square feet of office space. The 14-story office building is the tallest in the development. 

The plan for blocks C and D is more flexible, with a mix of multi-family units and townhouses proposed. Overall, the residential portion of the development would serve up to 1,500 residents.

The applicant is also seeking a 21 percent reduction in the number of required parking spaces. State law allows reductions if proposed development has high density and is nearby a current or planned Metrorail station.

In an Aug. 30 report, staff from the county’s Department of Planning and Zoning said the location of townhouses along Reston Station Boulevard is “a central site design concern.” Reston’s comprehensive plan envisions the street as a main street with ground floor retail. The report also notes that lawns for townhouse owners are so small they may be hard to maintain.

In addition to contributions to the county’s road fund, the applicant will provide $40,000 for four new traffic signal preemption devices near the development and around $1.5 million for the county’s school fund. Estimates indicate the development would generate between 123 and 148 new students.

The Midline project adds itself into a mix of approved and in-progress applications near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.

Photos via handout/Fairfax County Government

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Planning Commission Approves RTC West Expansion

The expansion of RTC West, JBG Smith’s mixed-use project less than quarter-mile walk from the future Reston Town Center Metro Station, is getting closer to final approval. The Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously approved the project, which adds up to 576 multifamily units, 700,000 square feet of office space and 1.4 million square feet of new development to the existing office park, on Thursday night.

The developer plans to embark on a multiphase expansion for the area, which is bounded by the Washington & Old Dominion Trail to the North and Reston Town Center Parkway to the east, over the next several years. The site is currently home to three six-story office buildings, two parking garages, and retail tenants like Cooper’s Hawk Winery, Nando’s Peri-Peri and honeygrow.

A timeline for the project is pending approval.

If approved and built, the project will add another mixed-use component near the future RTC Metro Station. RTC West is next to the recently approved Reston Gateway project. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will vote on the project on September 25.  The site design incorporates the future Town Center Parkway underpass that would connect Sunset Hills Road to Sunrise Valley Drive through a tunnel under the Dulles Toll and Access Road, according to the application.

Hunter Mill District Planning Commissioner Frank Carter said the county worked with the developer to address several issues, including the distribution of workforce dwelling units. The project will provide affordable units at 80, 100 and 120 percent of the Area Median Income. Parking will not be assigned to each residential unit. In order to simplify the process, Carter said affordable units will receive parking at 70 percent the price of parking for market-rate units. The entire project is expected to provide around 2,900 parking spaces for residents and employees. 

Carter said that if parking works like the parking in RTC, the arrangement should be sufficient. The site plan accommodates 57 on-street parking spaces, encouraging people to use other ways of getting around other than cars.

The plan, which includes 3.4 acres of open space, is as follows:

  • Buildings 1, 2, and 3: Existing six-story office building with retail on the ground floor will remain. 
  • Building 4: A one-story freestanding restaurant, Cooper’s Hawk Winery, will remain.
  • Building 5: A new eight-story office with 160,000 square feet, including 10,000 square feet of retail.
  • Building 6: A new 22-story office building with 396,000 square feet, including 16,000 square feet of retail.
  • Building 7: A 20-story residential building with 293 multi-family units.
  • Building 8: A new 22-story residential building with 283 multi-family units. This building wraps the north facade of a second parking garage.
  • Building 9: A new seven-story office building located on top of a current parking structure.
  • Building 10: A one-story freestanding restaurant located on the common green.

A new right-only entrance from southbound Town Center Parkway at the north of the property line will be added to the development. The site itself will contain existing internal streets with on-street parking. Other planned improvements include a new westbound, shared right-turn lane and a five-woot on-road bicycle lane on Sunset Hills Road. A five-foot wide bicycle lane will also be provided on Town Center Parkway.

Photos via Fairfax County Government

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Two Residential Projects Head to Reston Planning and Zoning Committee

Two residential projects are up for a vote by the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee on Monday at 7:30 p.m. in the North County Government Center.

Woodfield Acquisitions is seeking to redevelop Roland Clarke Place, a 3.6-acre of land less than one mile from both the Wiehle-Reston East and Reston Town Center Metro Stations. The developer seeks to replace the office building on 1941 Roland Clark Place with 310 residential units in one building. The second office building at 1950 Roland Clarke Place would be redeveloped at a later date.

Plans include courtyards, pocket parks, a dog park and a trail that loops around the property. If approved, the project would be developed in two phases. A public hearing date before the Fairfax County Planning Commission is set for October 11.

The committee will also consider a second proposal by Pulte Home Company, LLC to rezone intended for industrial use to allow for planned commercial development. Plans include building 40 single family attached units and a parking garage. The project is located at 12700 Sunrise Valley Drive.

The existing office on the property will remain. Open space amenities include a tot lot, a wildlife observation area, a central green space, and a gathering place with public art for future residents and employees of the office building. According to the application, the plan is intended to transition between existing and planned high-intensity development surrounding the future Herndon Metro Station and single-family houses across Sunrise Valley Drive. A public hearing before the Planning Commission is set for September 13 at 7:30 p.m.

Photo via Google Maps

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Coming Up: Pulte Seeks to Add Residential Units to Reston Arboretum

Pulte Homes Corp. has submitted plans to the county to add residential development to Reston Arboretum, which is located on the southern edge of the Dulles Toll Road at 12700 Sunrise Valley Drive.

The company is seeking to rezone the property from industrial uses to planned development commercial, which allows for office and residential uses. Under the current proposal, 44 single-family attached residential units and a parking garage.

The four-story office building on the property will remain. It was built in 1998 and contains 95,600 square feet. According to JBG Smith’s website, the property is within walking distance from the Herndon-Monroe Park & Ride and the future Herndon station.

A public hearing on the proposal is set for September 13 at 7:30 p.m. before the Fairfax County Planning Commission. The county’s planning and zoning staff will release their assessment of the project on August 29.

Map via Google Maps

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With Planning Commission Approval, Reston Gateway Heads to Board of Supervisors

Reston Gateway, a 33-acre mixed-up project and the future home of Fannie Mae, received a green light from the Fairfax County Planning Commission Thursday night.

The development proposal, which includes 2.2 million square feet of office space, a 570-room hotel, 93,000 square feet of retail, and 2,010 residential units, heads to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on July 31.

Boston Properties plans to develop the property in two phases. During phase one, blocks A through D will be building and two existing high-rise buildings on Blocks E through L will remain. During phase two, office buildings will be removed to make way for Blocks E through J.  Sixteen percent of the residential units — 322 units — will be workforce dwelling units.

Noting that the project overall seemed strong, Planning Commissioner Ellen Hurley cast the only vote against the proposal. Hurley said she was concerned the developer reduced income requirements for affordable units to 70, 80, and 90 percent of the area median income — a reduction that she said was unfair to the commission.

“If the policy is not working, then perhaps we should revise the policy,” Hurley said.

The project, which runs from the door of Metro to the border of Reston Town Center, is located on the north side of Sunset Hills Road from Reston Parkway to Town Center Parkway.

The commission approved a five percent parking reduction for off-street parking in phase one and a nearly 11 percent reduction in off-street parking for phase two. Overall, the plan contemplates a reduction of 660 parking spaces.

Part of the deal includes the conveyance of a 60,000-square-foot performing arts center planned in phase two of the development. The building would be conveyed to the county’s board or another entity. If the plan fails, Boston Properties will provide required contributions for an athletic field, according to Hunter Mill District Planning Commissioner John Carter.

Carter said he was comfortable with the parking arrangement, especially for residential units. Affordable units will receive one space reduced at a set price based on the income tier and all spaces will be unbundled from units.

Parking reductions for Reston Gateway are acceptable because the development sits on top a Metro Station, Carter said. Unlike the recently approved residential building on 1801 Old Reston Avenue, street parking options and planned sidewalks should encourage more pedestrians to walk in the area, Carter said. A full commitment to the road fund will also be provided.

The breakdown of each block is below:

  • Block A: A 420-foot office building with retail and restaurant uses
  • Block B: A 380-foot office building with retail and restaurant uses
  • Block C: A 249-room hotel with retail and restaurant uses
  • Block D: A 600-unit residential unit with retail and restaurant uses. The block will include a five-level parking garage
  • Block E: A 930-unit residential building with retail and restaurant uses, as well as three levels of underground parking and six levels of above-grade parking
  • Block F: A 480-unit residential building with two levels of underground parking and five levels of above-ground parking
  • Block G: This block is pending a Planned Residential Community amendment. It could contain a hotel, retail, restaurants and a six-level parking garage, as well as office uses
  • Block H: A two-level building with 6,000 square feet of commercial uses on the ground level and a possible landing area for the second level of a pedestrian bridge across Sunset Hills Road from the Metro Station
  • Block J: An office building with three levels of underground parking. This block could be conveyed to the Board of Supervisors for a future performing arts center 

Handouts via Fairfax County Government

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Thursday Morning Notes

Need a staycation — Jessica Bigger offers a dozen ideas on how to plan a staycation in Reston. [Reston Association]

Planning commission meeting tonight — As one county board supervisor recently said, development in Reston is “on fire.” Three major projects — including RTC West — are on the planning commission’s agenda tonight. [Fairfax County Government]

‘Take a Break’ concert tonight — Enjoy a breath of “Fresh Air,” a performance that will bring party dance hits to Lake Anne Plaza. The event is free and open to all ages. [Reston Community Center]

Photo via Fairfax County Handout

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Fairfax County Planning Commission Gives Nod to 36-acre Reston Crescent Project

Brookfield Property’s 36-acre Reston Crescent project will head to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for final approval on July 31.

Despite attempts to improve the developer’s commitment to affordable housing, the project, located on northwest corner of the intersection of Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive, was given a green light by the Fairfax County Planning Commission on July 12. 

Brookfield’s plan for affordable housing would include 258 workforce housing at 70, 90, and 100 percent of the area median income — a rate lower than the county requirement of 80, 100 and 120 percent. In exchange, the developer wants to reduce its contribution to the county’s affordable housing fund. It plans to provide $2.6 million.

The four-million-square-foot project is the future home of Wegmans. Up to 1,721 residential units, 1.9 million square feet of office space, a hotel and 380,000 square feet of retail are planned on the site. Two existing office buildings will remain.

Brookfield contends it should not have to offer contributions to the housing fund for two existing office buildings on the site which were approved before the current project was filed with the county. Affordable housing contributions are calculated based on the square footage of the project’s non-residential elements.

Hunter Mill District Planning Commission John Carter said he supported the developer’s plan because increasing the level of affordability for residential units helps renters who may not otherwise be able to afford rents at higher percentages of the AMI.

However, staff from the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning said the AMI levels being proposed are similar to current rents of comparable projects in Reston’s Transit Station Area.

“We didn’t feel that the county was really benefitting from the levels being proposed,” said Mary Anne Tsai, a staff coordinator with the county’s Planning Division.

John Ulfelder, the planning commissioner for the Dranesville District, said the commission’s discussion about affordable housing warrants a closer look at the county’s policy. Ulfelder said a frequent concern cited by millennials entering the workforce is the lack of affordability areas in Reston’s Transit Station areas.

“Who are we trying to help with the policy?” Ulfelder said.

Carter also noted the developer has committed to meeting county requirements for the road fund and an athletic field, which will include a practice field and 50 parking spaces at the intersection of the Dulles Toll road and Hunter Mill Road.

The developer’s plan, as proposed, would not sufficiently meet Fairfax County standards at the intersection where the development is planned, according to staff from the Fairfax County Department of Transportation. 

Although Brookfield will alter the grid of streets and has committed to other road and traffic proffers, significant investment in other major improvements that will yield the greatest benefit — a more complex buildout of the grid of streets, the Soapstone Connector, and the Town Center Parkway underpass — is required to ensure the intersection has acceptable levels of service.

Handout via Brookfield Properties

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Thursday Morning Notes

Time for the crescent — The Fairfax County Planning Commission is scheduled to review the Reston Crescent project, a mixed-use development plan that includes a new Wegmans, tonight at 7 p.m. [Fairfax County Government]

And time for the full moon — Experience the moon at Frying Pan Park tonight at 8:45 p.m. Attendees between ages seven and above can view the moon through telescopes, take a walk around the farm and enjoy a theme-related dessert. [Fairfax County Government]

Nearby: Unarmed man dies in police custody — Six local police officers have been placed on administrative leave as an investigation continues on how an unarmed, naked man died after encountering police in Northern Virginia. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

“Take a Break” concert series tonight –– Cheich Hamala Diabata brings the traditional music of Mali, mixed with modern grooves, to Lake Anne Plaza tonight at 7 p.m. [Reston Community Center]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Comstock’s Expanded Reston Station Project Heads to County Board for Final Consideration

Expanded plans for Comstock’s massive Reston Station development were approved by the Fairfax County Planning Commission Thursday night.

The latest plans add an additional 362,450 square feet to the mixed used development, bringing the total to 1.7 million square feet and adding 155 additional residential units.

Reston Station (1866 Metro Center Drive) includes a mix of residential buildings, retail, restaurants and hotels. The project is located on the south side of Reston Station boulevard, west of Wiehle Avenue.

The commission also approved plans to increase the height of building four from 205 to 225 feet and building seven from 140 to 280 feet. A hotel option was added to building seven.

The amended plans head to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday (April 10) for final consideration.

A map of the buildings is below.

Rendering via Comstock

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Empty offices turn — The Fairfax County Planning Commission approved plans to convert empty offices in suburban neighborhoods without a site specific change to the comprehensive plan. [Fairfax County Government]

Sweet Leaf opens today — The locally owned chain opened its seventh location at Reston Metro Plaza at 8 a.m. today. [Reston Now]

Minor crime updates — A cell phone was taken from a business, cash was taken from a car on Library Street and items were taken from a business on Sunset Hills Road. [Fairfax County Police Department]

American Red Cross blood drive today — The blood drive will run from 10 a.m. through 3 p.m. today at the library. [Reston Regional Library]

A reminder about the election — Voting for Reston Association’s Board of Directors’ election ends on Monday. [Reston Association]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Thursday Morning Notes

Meet Reston Association Candidates Next week – There are 13 candidates running for seats on RA’s Board of Directors. Check out three opportunities to meet them. [Reston Today]

Jumping Off Ship – John Jumper is retiring from the board of directors of Leidos. The company plans to move its headquarters to a future trophy tower in Reston Town Center. [Washington Business Journal]

Vote on Renaissance Centro Project Expected Tonight – The county’s Planning Commission will vote on the Renaissance Centro project tonight. The proposal calls for replacing offices on Old Reston Avenue with 20-story condos. [Reston Now]

Enjoy “Expressions of the Soul” Today — eMotion, a local dance group with dancers ranging from ages eight to 65, will performance today at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20. [Reston Community Center]

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Plans to Calm Traffic on Hunter Mill Road Move Forward

Relief could be on the way soon for drivers who frequent Hunter Mill Road near the Dulles Toll Road.

Last night, the Fairfax County Planning Commission approved long awaited plans to tackle traffic backups by realigning Sunset Hills Road to Crowell Road.

The plan also includes adding a roundabout as an intersection control. Hunter Mill Road would become a four-lane road between the intersection of Crowell Road and Sunset Hills Road to the Dulles Toll Road’s westbound ramps.

John Carter, the Hunter Mill District’s planning commissioner, compared the new plan to George Washington Parkway. Conceding the comparison was imperfect, he said the changes feature sweeping curves, major setbacks of 400 feet from houses to the road and a commitment to preserve a pond and a forested resource protection area.

The plan passed by the commission includes several amendments to address concerns raised by the Hunter Mill Defense League and the Hunting Crest Homeowners Association. Changes include:

  • Beginning realignment to the east of the Edlin School and extending no farther than Crowell Road
  • Maximizing the distance between the realigned road and the Hunting Crest community
  • The inclusion of a roundabout as a preferred alternative
  • Modifying transportation maps to include a cul-de-sac on Hunter Mill Road

The county’s Board of Supervisors will hear public comment on the plan on March 6 at around 4 p.m.

Since 2014, the county held several community meetings to lay out traffic management alternatives. The latest plan is a mix of several options, but departs from previously discussed plans, which the county indicated no longer work.

Carter said the county’s studies clearly indicate the current plan is the “better method to calm traffic in this area.”

Photo via handout

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Decision on Renaissance Centro Project Delayed Again

For the second time, the Fairfax County Planning Commission deferred a decision Thursday night on a proposal to bring 20-story condominiums to 1801 Old Reston Avenue.

Developer Renaissance Centro is seeking to rezone roughly 1.5 acres of land currently home to a three-story office. The proposal calls for 126 market rate units and 24 workforce units, along with a parking garage.

Over the last several months, the county’s planning and zoning staff and the developer have clashed over how the condominiums incorporate workforce housing.

The disagreement prompted the commission to defer a decision from early December to Jan. 26. Citing similar concerns, the commission deferred a decision to Feb. 22.

Photo via handout

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New Plan Underway to Control Traffic on Hunter Mill Road

After years of discussion, Fairfax County officials are finalizing long awaited plans to tackle traffic backups on Hunter Mill Road near the Dulles Toll Road.

The Fairfax County Dept. of Transportation plans to realign Sunset Hills Road to Crowell Road, with a roundabout as the intersection control, according to a proposal filed last month. The Fairfax County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the plans today at 7:30 p.m.

Hunter Mill Road would be widened to four lanes between the intersection of Crowell Road and Sunset Hills Road to the Dulles Toll Road’s westbound ramps. The four-lane section would use existing right-of-way and pavement along Hunter Mill Road.

The plan departs from six alternatives discussed during six community charrettes since 2014. County officials found that no alternative would adequately reduce congestion during peak hours, according to the proposal.

Originally, the county hoped to shift the Sunset Hills Road intersection by moving it opposite the westbound off-ramp for the Dulles Toll Road and relocate the on-ramp to begin at Sunset Hills Road west of Hunter Mill Road. But a Metrorail track power substation is now being built at that site.

A second option would have relocated Sunset Hills Road by bringing the intersection of Sunset Hills Road and Hunter Mill Road as close as possible to Reston Presbyterian Church. That option would not provide enough space between the intersections. A third option with roundabout in the area  would have required the church to relocate.

The proposed solution would address traffic congestion and the roundabout feature meets the community’s desire to “calm” traffic to the north of Crowell Road, according to the plan.

The road realignment was prompted in response to increased traffic congestion driven by new development.

Currently, morning and afternoon traffic along Sunset Hills Road near the westbound Dulles Toll Road causes daily traffic congestion at the intersection of Sunset Hills Road and Hunter Mill Road.

A hearing before the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is set for March 6 at 4 p.m.

Photo via Fairfax County Department of Transportation

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Noise Control Guidance ‘Inadvertently Deleted’ from Reston Plan

A section giving guidance on how to control the impact of traffic-related noise in Reston’s Transit Station Areas was accidentally deleted from Reston’s Comprehensive Plan. At a meeting tomorrow, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will consider a plan to reinstate the language.

The county’s Planning Commission unanimously approved adding the language back in November. The update is merely editorial, as the language previously passed through the public hearing process and was adopted by the board.

“We couldn’t just say ‘oops’ and put it back… into the plan without going through the whole process again,” said Planning Commissioner Frank de la Fe.

Generally, the plan discourages new residential development in areas with projected highway noise exposure above 75 decibels.

But in Reston Station Areas near highways and Metrorail, new residential development could be appropriate if noise impacts go beyond 75 decibels, so long as specific noise mitigation methods are in effect.

The language requires a noise study during the development review process, as well as after the development is completed in order to evaluate the effectiveness of noise mitigation procedures. If noise impacts are above 75 DBA, disclosure statements detailing potential noise impacts are necessary.

Graphic via handout

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