Construction on New Fine Arts Academy in Herndon to Begin The Summer

A new fine arts academy that was approved by Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors three years is set to transform the rural nature of land adjacent to Frying Pan Farm Park.

The Floris Conservatory of Fine Arts is expected to break ground sometime this month, bringing a 48,000 square foot conservatory with a 300-seat auditorium and music, dance, creative and visual arts classes.

The project is located at the intersection of Centreville Road and West Ox Road, south of the Town of Herndon.

The developer, Scimores Academy LLC, successfully received the county’s blessing to rezone the property, which is located within the nationally listed Floris Historic District, in June 2017. The approval came after more than two years of negotiations with landowners, historic preservation organizations, and educational entities.

Roughly six acres from the eight-acre project were rezoned to allow the project to move forward. Three existing structure on the site will be incorporated into the development.

The academy will be placed at the lowest point of the site in the southeastern corner in order to minimize its visual impact on neighboring areas.

Photos via handout/Fairfax County Government

0 Comments

Town of Herndon Launches Comprehensive Plan Review Process

Town of Herndon officials have launched a process to review the town’s comprehensive plan, a planning document that guides current and future development.

The comprehensive plan, which state law states must be reviewed by the local planning commission at least once every five years, will head to the town’s planning commission for review.

Although dates have not been announced, the commission plans to review public input and make suggestions on changes to the plan. The commission will then draft a resolution for the town council that states the plan’s priorities and direction. By law, the Herndon Town Council is not required to take action on the resolution.

In previous years, the town has incorporated major changes to the plan, including planning for downtown Herndon and areas near the Herndon Metro Station.

The following amendments have been approved in recent years since the original plan was adopted in 2008:

  • Downtown Master Plan
  • Downtown Streetscape Map
  • Metrorail Station Area Plan
  • Cycle Track on Herndon Parkway
  • South Elden Area Plan

Changes to the future plan could include updating the parks and recreation chapter, sustainability policy, multigenerational planning, and economic development.

Residents interested in submitting their comments and suggestions on the plan can email [email protected].

Image via Herndon Planning Commission

0 Comments

County Board OKs Changes to Woodland Park Plan

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a plan Tuesday (July 16) to scale back residential development at Woodland Park Crossing.

The mixed-use development, which has been proposed by NVR, Inc., is located near the future Herndon Metro Station. The developer sought to break up a previously approved 148-unit residential building into four condominiums.

The multi-family building, which had been approved for 210,715 square feet of development, would be divvied up into four, five-story condominiums with 185,000 square feet.

The county board first approved the project in March 2017. The site borders the Dulles Toll Road to the north and Monroe Street to the east. It is owned by Tishman Speyer.

Woodland Park Crossing is currently under construction.

Photo via handout/Fairfax County Government

0 Comments

Changes to Woodland Park Crossing Head to County Board

A plan to break up a previously approved 148-unit residential building into four condominiums near the future Herndon Metro Station is moving forward.

NVR, Inc. is seeking the county’s approval to change plans for Woodland Park Crossing, a mixed-use project with 1.6 million square feet of planned development.

The multi-family building, which had been approved for 210,715 square feet of development, would be divvied up into four, five-story condominiums with 185,000 square feet.

The plan was first approved in March 2017, calling for a total of 678 residential units, two office buildings — 16 stories ad 14 stories, and 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.

The site borders the Dulles Toll Road to the north and Monroe Street to the east. It is owned by Tishman Speyer.

The county’s Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on the project on Tuesday, July 16.

Map via handout/Fairfax County Government

0 Comments

Local Real Estate Developer Involved in Herndon Project to Serve Six-Year Sentence

Todd Hitt, the CEO of Kiddar Capital, a Falls Church asset management firm, will serve a 6 1/2 year prison sentence for securities fraud.

His family will pay $20 million to investors Hitt defrauded, including $17 million he secured from investors to purchase a five-story office building next to the future Herndon Metro Station.

Earlier this year, Hitt admitted that he lied to friends and investors to secure investments for his firm and other Northern Virginia real estate projects.

Here’s more from the office of U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger:

The investments included Hitt’s solicitation of approximately $17 million from investors in order to purchase a five-story office building adjacent to a planned future stop on the Silver Line in Herndon. Hitt made false statements and material omissions to investors by failing to disclose that a significant portion of the monies raised were commingled with other unrelated investment projects, used for personal spending to support an extravagant lifestyle and new investor’s funds used to pay off old investors in a Ponzi-like scheme. Hitt’s fraudulent conduct resulted in investor losses of approximately $20 million.

According to the Washington Post, Hitt acknowledged that he used money from new investors to pay off earlier ones while “buying himself jewelry, sports tickets and vacations on private jets.” He donated money to charities in “hopes of boosting his image as a developer,” the report stated.

Hitt has forfeited his Arlington home as part of his plea deal.

Photo via Kiddar Capital

0 Comments

Juice Bar Coming to Junction Square Neighborhood

A new juice bar is coming to the Junction Square neighborhood.

A company representative told Reston Now an opening date has not been determined yet.

On its Facebook page, Vb Juice Bar promises to transform the juice bar experience:

Vb Juice bar has entirely transformed the juice bar experience, offering total ingredient transparency by eliminating hidden fillers, unnecessary sugars, processed ingredients, and artificial flavors from its entire menu.

Our juices are made to order without any mystery ingredients. Just clean, healthy eating that tastes just as good as it makes you feel.

Recently, BurgerIM, a national burger joint, also announced plans to come to the neighborhood.

Photo via Vb Juice bar/Facebook

0 Comments

Report: Amazon Moves to Acquire Herndon Property

VAData Inc., an Amazon.com subsidiary, is moving to acquire a Herndon property from an affiliate of Perspecta Inc., the Washington Business Journal reports.

Although the transaction has not closed yet, the 57-acre site located at 13600 EDS Drive went under contract several months ago, according to the report.

The property has an assessed value of $80.7 million.

Future plans for the site are unclear, but sources told WBJ that demolition and data centers are anticipated.

Here’s more from the story:

The site has changed hands a couple of times over the years, but the family tree leads back to H. Ross Perot and his Electronic Data Systems Corp. EDS was acquired by Hewlett-Packard Co. in 2008. HP then spun off and merged its enterprise services business, including EDS, with Computer Sciences Corp. to form DXC Technology. DXC’s public sector business was then merged in 2018 with Vencore Holding Corp. and KeyPoint Government Solutions to form Perspecta.

When it was launched, Perspecta listed 13600 EDS as its primary corporate office, but it has since relocated its headquarters to Conference Center Drive in Chantilly. Perspecta continues to maintain a presence in the building, according to public filings. The property’s owner is listed in Fairfax County records as Enterprise Services LLC.

VAData is Amazon’s datacenter unit, which has been rapidly expanding in Northern Virginia.

Map via Google Maps

0 Comments

Sprouts Farmers Market to Open in Late August

Virginia’s first location of Sprouts Farmers Market opens on Wednesday, Aug. 28 in Herndon.

Construction is currently in progress at the site of the grocer, which is located at 494 Elden Street.

Sprouts is now hiring to fill 150 open positions at the grocer, which offers fresh, natural and organic foods. A hiring fair is set for Wednesday, July 17 and Thursday, July 18 at the Hilton Garden Inn Dulles-North (22400 Flagstaff Plaza). Applicants should bring a resume and should share a passion for health eating and fresh, organic products.

Construction is currently underway as Florida-based real estate investment firm Sterling Organization divides the former big box store into several businesses, including LA FitnessMOD Pizza and IHOP.

Started 16 years ago, Sprouts Farmers Market currently operates more than 300 stores in 19 states.

A number of vacancies have popped up at the plaza over the last several weeks. So far, no other tenants have been announced for the new part of the plaza.

0 Comments

Report: Long-awaited Arrowbrook Centre Development to Finally Break Ground in 2020

The Arrowbrook Centre development, a mixed-use project approved by the county in 2005, is finally moving forward.

The owner of the site, which is near the future Innovation Center Metro Station, plans to build a 274-unit workforce housing project on the site. The project is expect to break ground near year and deliver in 2022, according to a Bisnow report.

Overall, the site includes 2 million square feet of development. The residential component of the project will move forward while the high-rise commercial component will linger on the drawing board until office demand increases.

In February, the county approved a $2.8 million loan to help SCG Development finance the project. A spokesperson for the developer said that the company plans to lease 36,000 square feet of retail in the building.

Here’s more from the report:

“It is important to create a walkable, mixed-use community with amenities,” Gravett said. “It’s an evolution of creating a cool place to be. The important part is that people want to live there.”

The Arrowbrook Centre development site, near the intersection of of the Dulles Toll Road and Centreville Road, is owned by the Ruth and Hal Launders Charitable Foundation. The Launders family has owned the property since 1947 and operates it through the entity Arrowbrook Centre LLC…

The highest-density part of the Arrowbrook Centre project is planned on a 10-acre parcel along the Dulles Toll Road and near the future Silver Line station. That portion would include three office buildings totaling 645K SF, a 150K SF hotel and a 250K SF high-rise residential building.

Jeffrey Fairfield, the manager of Arrowbrook Centre LLC, said the ownership group has been waiting for the office market to improve on the Toll Road before selling the commercial portions of the site to developers.

“If you had asked me in 2000 if it would take this long, I would have said no,” Fairfield said. “But in retrospect, I’m not surprised. Real estate development takes a long, long time.”

The developer went back to the county three years ago to add 280,000 square feet to the overall development, which was originally approved in 2005.

Pulte Homes is in the process of developing townhouses and condo units on the property.

Photo via Pulte Homes

0 Comments

Town Barber Coming Soon to Herndon’s Junction Square

A new barbershop is coming to Herndon’s Junction Square neighborhood.

The business, called Town Barber, will take up a location on 704 Elden Street, Suite A, in Herndon.

Herndon’s Heritage Preservation Review Board will consider a signage application for the new business at a meeting today (Wednesday).

No word yet on when the business is expected to open.

Other recently announced tenants include California-based chain BurgerIM and a gallery for painter Trisha Adams.

Photo via Town of Herndon

0 Comments

After Appeal, Heritage Preservation Review Board OKs Downtown Herndon Redevelopment

In a flashback to its hurried approval of the downtown Herndon redevelopment project last year, the town’s Heritage Preservation Review Board unanimously approved Comstock’s application to demolish several buildings to make way for the mixed-use project last night (Wednesday).

The board granted Comstock, which is leading the public-private partnership, Certificates of Appropriateness that allow the developer to proceed with the project. The HPRB’s approval last June prompted several property owners neighboring the project to file an appeal on the grounds the project was approved prematurely.

Last year, the HPRB approved the certificates to demolish buildings at 770 Elden Street and 750 Center Street, as well as the exterior architecture of the development, despite staff’s recommendations to defer the decision to a later date.

Mike McFarlane, who was the lone dissenting vote on the board last year, voted in favor of the project last night. After discussions with staff, McFarlane said the reasons why he initially opposed the project — the size, mass and scale of the building — were not within the purview of the board.

“There was more than gentle arm twisting from some elements in the town that I resented,” he added.

Residents who testified at last night’s hearing overwhelming supported razing the buildings, including the site of the former Stohlman Subaru, which one resident said had a roof that was “flapping in the wind.” Supporters urged the HPRB to approve the project, which they said would give the town a sense of place and has been anticipated for years.

Noah Klein, Comstock’s legal representative, noted that the properties under question were not historic landmarks and did not contribute significantly to heritage preservation. He said Comstock would continue to work with residents to incorporate some elements of the to-be-demolished buildings.

“The concept is to present a new and vibrant design but also connect it to the historic heritage,” Klein said.

John Vassello Jr., one of the appellants who challenged the HPRB’s decision last year, said he was still dissatisfied with the project. Although he noted he does not oppose the development, Vassello said he was vexed about the lack of public involvement and questioned whether the HPRB’s vote was influenced by town officials, who have a vested interest in the project.

The town’s attorney cut off Vassello’s remarks after he reached the maximum allotted time of three minutes. A resident who supported the project read Vassello’s remaining testimony.

The meeting concluded with applause from the audience. The vote was unanimous.

Photo via handout/Town of Herndon

0 Comments

Town of Herndon to Consider Divine Healthtech Institute at the Crossroads

A vocational school for entry-level healthcare fields could be coming soon to the Crossroads (1037 Sterling Road, Suite 101).

The town’s planning and zoning staff recommended placing several restrictions on the proposal to open a Divine Healthtech Institute prior to approval. Vocational schools require a specific exemption from the town to operate in this area.

Conditions include holding no classes before 8 a.m. or after 10 p.m. and allowing town officials to inspect the property during “reasonable hours.”

Staff maintains a level of concern with allowing multiple uses within one condominium suite from a general standpoint. In this specific case, staff believes the proposed use is similar enough to the existing use that any potential negative impacts could be mitigated by placing conditions on the approval,” according a the March 13 staff report.

If approved, the school would only be allowed to offer one class at a time in the 300-square-foot location. The condominium suite where the school would be located has a hodgepodge of uses, including two offices that are used for Nathan Travel and Cargo, a travel agency.

Rev. Leonard Chukwujiioke, a school administrator, said each class will have only five students. Weekend programs will be by appointment only. A morning and evening class will be offered on weekdays.

Most recently, the Herndon Town Council denied a plan to bring a mini-mart to the Crossroads last year. Plans for a barber shop were withdrawn after the town conditioned approval of the application with several requirements. The operation of a personal service business was approved last year.

The town’s Planning Commission will consider the plan at a 7 p.m. public hearing today (May 13).

Photo via handout/Town of Herndon

0 Comments

Units in Herndon’s Metro Square are ‘Move-In Ready’

It’s official: Herndon’s Metro Square development at 23 Silver Drive next to the planned Herndon Metro Station is now complete.

All units in the project, which includes four buildings with 64 total condo units, are move-in ready, according to Soledad Portilla, Stanley Martin Homes’ land acquisition manager.

Portilla told Reston Now that the company expects to be completely sold out next month.

The developer still needs to complete infrastructure improvements like installing a final layer of pavement on the roads, some pavers, final touches on pocket parts, and some sidewalks, Portilla said.

Photos via Stanley Martin Homes

0 Comments

Heritage Preservation Review Board Flags Design Concerns about Junction Square

The Town of Herndon’s Heritage Preservation Review Board is taking issue with several design elements of the newly constructed Junction Square neighborhood at 700 Lynn Street.

At an HPRB meeting last night (April 17), no resolution was reached. Andrew Garcia, the Town of Herndon’s deputy zoning administrator, said the developer has not responded to the board’s comments and requests for information. The applicant did not attend the meeting.

Local staff said parts of the building are different from the design previous approved by the town. The commercial building at 700 Lynn Street has different window and door openings, as well as a different downspout configuration, according to staff. The color of windows on the second floor of the same building are tan instead of dark brown. Flood lights have also been above five Elden Street storefronts and the Lynn Street building. The base of two storefronts on Elden Street also do not match HPRB-approved drawings. Awnings along the facade of the commercial building and one Elden Street storefront has not been installed, staff indicated.

The board deferred discussions about the issue to a May 15 public hearing. The seven-member entity issues “Certificates of Appropriateness” for exterior alterations, additions, new construction and demolition of structures in the Heritage Preservation Overlay Districts. Properties in these districts are scrutinized by the town more closely than others in order to preserve the town’s traditional neighborhoods and maintain a community identity apart from the “suburban growth of the urbanizing region,” according to the town’s policies.

But it’s unclear how town officials will ensure the development conforms with heritage preservation guidelines. Garcia said the developer could consider deconstructing part of the building to fix the downspout configuration. Legal action could be an option, but its likely the applicant could challenge that course of action, Garcia said.

“There may not be a reasonable solution at this point,” he said.

Photo via Google Maps

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list