A project to improve access from neighborhoods to the yet-to-open Innovation Center Metro station could begin in the summer of 2024 and be completed a year later.
That’s what Sonia Shahnaj, a project manager for the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, told community members last week during an online meeting about the project, which will create a pedestrian path from Farougi Court and Apgar Place to a kiss-and-ride parking lot, wrapping around a green space used for cricket.
“Creating walkable and bikeable access to transit stations is really critical from a transportation standpoint, from a quality of life standpoint and from an environmental standpoint, so this is a big deal,” Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust said at the meeting.
The project will create an approximately 2,000-foot-long path that’s 10-feet wide. It’ll be 14-feet wide for two bridges that cross Horsepen Creek, one that’s 367 feet long and another that’s 135 feet long. Lighting will be there, too.
Easements will shave off some of the green space to make way for the trail.
Updates on the project are listed on a county web page, and comments related to the meeting can be submitted to FCDOT by Feb. 4, 2022.
An extension of the Metrorail from Ashburn to Reston, including a connection to the Dulles airport, is delayed but could open this year.
Nearby, a development project called Rivana at Innovation Station would create a residential-office-retail complex on a 103-acre space with up to 2,719 dwelling units.
Developers may need to add more affordable houses to address Loudoun County’s concerns over a 103-acre mixed-use project by the future Innovation Center Metro station.
The developers of the Rivana at Innovation Station have tried to justify how they’re meeting affordability needs, but Loudoun County officials have raised issues over how the project’s concessions will play out if only 170 units of a project will be affordable. The development could have up to 2,719 units.
Envisioning a 9 million square-foot, “walkable urban center that is directly connected to the Innovation Center Metro station,” developers wanted to start construction in the first quarter of this year. They previously shared plans involving a performing arts venue and two public parks as part of the project that would drastically redefine the area.
Antonio Calabrese, a partner with the multinational law firm DLA Piper, has countered that the developers’ project would include 6.25% of Unmet Housing Needs Units, which the county defines as units serving households that are at or below the area media income.
In a Dec. 6 letter to the county’s Department of Planning and Zoning, Calabrese also stated the developers’ percentage of affordable units is consistent with multiple rezoning requests of projects near Metro stations.
But in early September, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors adopted a strategic plan that calls for a 20% affordability goal.
“This Application does not adequately address affordability in the current proposal,” Brian Reagan, the county’s housing programs manager, said in an Oct. 12 memo about the project’s second submission.
Loudoun County’s chair, Phyllis Randall, told Reston Now that the developers’ 6.25% rate of affordability is too low but questioned whether 20% was attainable there, citing high property values along the Metro line.
She said the county’s affordability goal is a guideline that helps navigate discussions with developers, noting it’s a place where conversation begins but doesn’t end.
“We don’t want to see brakes on the project,” Randall said. “We’d like to see it come to fruition.”
She also noted that the county for the first time is setting aside half a penny of property taxes to add to its housing trust fund, which could generate nearly $6 million per year, part of the county’s efforts to address equity.
Other affordability concerns raised
The Rivana application, and a subsequent updated proffers list dated Dec. 6, also called for the affordable units as being reserved for those making at or below 40%, 60% or 80% of the area median income.
But Loudoun County’s housing program manager has questioned that approach, too, saying that the breakdown should mirror existing housing programs there, which involve households making at or below 30%, 50%, 70% and 100% of the area median income.
Calabrese, the attorney, stated that the developers couldn’t determine the likely breakdown of rental apartment buildings and residential condominium buildings at that time and restated the developers’ ratios.
“The Applicant’s proposed development involves a long-term, multi-phased project consisting of substantial office, hotel, residential, and commercial uses,” Calabrese also wrote.
Reagan has also questioned whether the project will even have residential units for sale, noting that the first phase of the project is devoted to rental units.
The developers’ lawyer countered that it will “depend on the rental market and the condominium market” at that future time.
According to the Loudoun County Economic Development Authority, Novais Partners is the master developer of the property, which involves a partnership between Origami Capital Partners, Timberline Real Estate Partners, Open Realty Advisors and Rebees. Novais is a codeveloper of Rivana with the Hanover Co.
The application’s developers are DWC Holdings and Origami RE Growth GP, both linked to Chicago-based investment firm Origami Capital Partners.
The county is working on plans to improve pedestrian connectivity to Innovation Center Metro Station, which is expected to open sometime this year.
A new shared-use path is planned from the station to adjacent neighborhoods. A virtual community meeting is set for Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. to discuss the project.
A 10-foot-wide and 2,000-foot shared use path will connect the station’s kiss and ride parking lot to the residential community at Farougi Court and the townhome community at Apgar Place. Two bridges for pedestrians and cyclists are also planned.
The Fairfax County Department of Transportation kicked off the project in 2017 with a feasibility study.
The station is tentatively expected to open in May this year, although the opening date is contingent on several factors.
Phase two of the Silver Line will provide an 11.5-mile extension into Loudoun County.
Investment firms in New York and Canada spent hundreds of millions of dollars this year to acquire office and residential buildings near the Dulles International Airport in Fairfax County.
Ivanhoé Cambridge, a real estate company based in Montreal, acquired Ashton at Dulles Corner, a set of luxury apartment buildings along Sunrise Valley Drive in McNair, on Nov. 12 for over $149 million. A spokesperson, Véronique Désilets, suggested by email that the company increased an existing stake it has in the property but declined to say what its long-term plans are for the property.
It’s still being managed by global real estate developer and property manager Greystar, which is headquartered in Charleston, S.C.
Manhattan-based Innovatus Capital Partners acquired three office buildings located at 13530 and 13560 Dulles Technology Drive on May 28 for $113.5 million. According to its website, the investment firm seeks to “identify and capitalize on market distress, disruption, and growth.”
And the North American Islamic Foundation, which holds prayers and religious classes at its current location at 13515 Dulles Technology Drive, Suite 1, bought a building next door that currently houses the Little Oaks Montessori Academy and Oak Hill Christian School. The $6.8 million purchase happened on Aug. 30.
“An expansion plan is underway on the main campus to match the needs of the rapidly growing community,” NAIF says on its website.
Officials with Innovatus Capital Partners and NAIF declined to respond to messages seeking comment about their plans.
The properties are near the yet-to-open Innovation Center Station for the continued expansion of Metrorail’s Silver Line, which is still facing delays. It also comes as the pandemic has led businesses to rethink whether they’re using office space as efficiently as possible.
Photo via Google Maps
With Silver Line Phase 2 finally reaching substantial completion, the clock has started ticking on when the line will actually open to riders.
Late last week, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) announced the completion of major construction on the long-delayed multi-billion dollar transportation project that will extend the Silver Line from Reston into Loudoun County with six new stations.
“This is a significant step toward completing the 11.5-mile extension that will provide rail service for residents in Reston, Herndon and eastern Loudoun County and give Metro riders direct access to Dulles Airport,” wrote Jack Potter, MWAA’s president and CEO, in last week’s press release.
However, the project has not been handed over to Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) just yet, an authority spokesperson confirmed to Reston Now.
“Metro looks forward to entering the next phase of the project, during which we will perform hundreds of tests to ensure the extension can be operated safely and reliably before the Board accepts ownership and sets an opening date,” they wrote. “Metro takes full ownership only after the operational readiness evaluation and pre-revenue activities are satisfactorily completed.”
While this is fully expected and doesn’t necessarily impact the timeline for the line’s opening to riders, there are several steps that still need to happen prior to the handover.
First, Metro’s set to conduct about 200 safety tests with any necessary repairs being made. At the same time, Metro’s safety oversight body – Washington Metrorail Safety Commission – will start the certification that the line is safe.
Additionally, the railyard needs to be completed before Metro takes over the project. It currently remains unfinished, both WMATA and MWAA spokespeople confirmed to Reston Now. Hensel Phelps is the contractor for that portion of the project.
When testing, repairs, certification, and the railyard all are done, the Metro Board will vote to take “provisional control” of the project. After that happens, WMATA will set a date to launch passenger service and will begin employee training, simulations, and emergency drills.
In total, this all should take about six months, meaning that a tentative date for opening could be May 2022.
“We’re not projecting an opening date. [It is] dependent on many factors, and the Board will ultimately make that determination,” wrote a WMATA spokesperson.
In the meantime, the public can expect to see more trains running on the line, according to MWAA, as there’ll be a significant increase in testing in the coming months.
While months remain before passengers can catch a ride to Herndon or Ashburn, substantial completion marks a significant milestone for the long-delayed project.
“This is a major step in bringing passenger rail service to Dulles Airport and beyond. And as our residents know well, rail to Dulles has been years in the making,” Hunter Mill District Supervisor (and alternate on the Metro Board) Walter Alcorn wrote in a statement to Reston Now. “The progress of this phase of the Silver Line is made possible by Dulles Toll Road users and landowners who funded most of the project and have waited patiently for this day. I look forward to all parties working together to initiate passenger service during the coming months.”
McKay appeared to reiterate his frustration in a statement to Reston Now.
“This is great news from WMATA this week. While the work was still incredibly behind and WMATA has a lot to do to rebuild trust with customers, I’m happy to see that significant [progress] has been made so we can fully open the Silver Line soon,” wrote McKay.
Initially, Silver Line Phase 2 construction was scheduled to be completed in 2018. But contractor issues, design changes, flawed materials, defective panels, and bad concrete all led to the years-long hold up which has tested the patience and viability of local businesses near the stations.
(Updated, Nov. 9) After years of delays, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) has announced that it has reached substantial completion on Silver Line Phase 2.
The announcement came Thursday afternoon and nearly two weeks after the successful tie-in of the two lines at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station
MWAA is preparing to hand over the $2.8 billion public transportation project to Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). Metro currently owns the project and still has sole responsibility for the project until Metro assumes ownership.
WMATA has confirmed to Reston Now that the agency will still need about six months to complete testing and pre-revenue preparations before opening to riders. However, they are not yet setting an official opening date.
“Metro looks forward to entering the next phase of the project, during which we will perform hundreds of tests to ensure the extension can be operated safely and reliably before the Board accepts ownership and sets an opening date,” writes a WMATA spokesperson to Reston Now.
If that six month timeline does remain accurate, Silver Line Phase 2 should open to riders in May 2022.
From MWAA’s press release:
Silver Line Phase 2 Reaches Major Milestone
Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority officials announced Thursday they have declared substantial completion for work by Capital Rail Constructors (CRC) on Phase 2 of the Metrorail Silver Line extension project. The work by CRC, a joint venture led by Clark Construction Group and Kiewit, is a key component of the project to extend the region’s Metrorail public transit system to Dulles International Airport and beyond.
Substantial Completion means major construction is complete and allows operational readiness testing to begin, during which the contractor will demonstrate the project’s functionality, as a key step toward delivering the new rail line to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which operates the Metrorail system.
“This is a significant step toward completing the 11.5-mile extension that will provide rail service for residents in Reston, Herndon and eastern Loudoun County and give Metro riders direct access to Dulles Airport,” said Jack Potter, president and CEO of the Airports Authority. “In addition to providing new public transportation options, the Silver Line is a major catalyst for jobs and economic development in the National Capital region.”
The project also includes a 90-acre rail maintenance yard at Dulles International Airport, being built by Hensel Phelps, which is also nearing completion under a separate contract.
Phase 1 of the Silver Line opened in 2014, extending Metrorail service from East Falls Church to the eastern edge of Reston and triggering major transformations in the Tysons Corner and Wiehle Avenue areas. Those same trends are beginning along Phase 2, with changes already underway along the Dulles Corridor in Reston, Herndon and Ashburn, and at Dulles International Airport. The Silver Line’s goal is to help ease traffic congestion by providing alternative routes and easier commuting times, access to regional entertainment, shopping and Dulles Airport.
In a statement, contractor Capital Rail Constructors calls this a “significant milestone.” Here’s more from Keith Couch, the company’s project director:
“After successful Phase 1 and Phase 2 tie-in testing at Wiehle Avenue, MWAA has approved substantial completion of the Package A Silver Line Phase 2 project. The project will now move into Operational Readiness Testing, which will be completed by MWAA and WMATA. This significant milestone is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and collaboration of the project team and stakeholders. The CRC team is proud to have been a part of this transformational piece of infrastructure for the region.”
During the pandemic, a food vendor told fellow merchant Pedro Banegas, 59, who uses an electric wheelchair, that he had a surprise for him.
Later, the good Samaritan drove to his house and handed him the keys to a 2007 van, which Banegas has been using for nearly a year, the merchant says. He’s currently been selling snacks and drinks to construction workers on job sites near McNair along Sunrise Valley Drive.
He’s not the only one doing so out of a van, and food trucks also make stops to catch workers’ breaks. They have plenty of customers. A Donohoe Construction Co. spokesperson said they average 160 to 190 workers on the site each day near the Innovation Center Station.
Banegas regularly parks his maroon-colored vehicle on the curb at multiple job sites after making the commute from the Falls Church area where he lives. He doesn’t always like sharing about his personal life, but his children are in their 30s. He wakes up at 4 a.m. and takes the weekends off, going to church on Sundays.
He buys snack pack boxes to get a variety of chips like Doritos and Cheetos, and customers make their own coffee with a mix he provides along with an orange and white beverage dispenser filled with hot water.
Two of his merchant stops include building sites where tower cranes have been: one for a 274-unit affordable housing development called Ovation at Arrowbrook by Centreville Road and another for the Brightview Senior Living facility that Donohoe is building.
A third site he visits includes the 155 townhomes and condominiums that Stanley Martin is building by office buildings. He sticks to those sites, but other nearby construction includes a six-story multifamily development, Passport NoVA, as well as retail and luxury residence along Dulles Station Boulevard for a development called Makers Rise.
Banegas says he operated heavy equipment before he lost his right leg. Now, selling chips and coffee helps him get by. Other food vendors give him food for his own meals, too, as they work by construction sites.
Whether it’s a familiar or unfamiliar face, he greets people with a smile and chatter, both in English and Spanish, which translates well with numerous construction workers doing the same.
Crews are building a luxury residential project with ground-floor commercial space along Dulles Station Boulevard near the Innovation Center Metro station.
The Makers Rise project (2311 Dulles Station Boulevard) under construction is on the east side of the street, one of two such buildings envisioned there. The current project calls for 356 units — ranging from studios to two-bedrooms plus dens — with coworking spaces and amenities such as courtyards as well as a swimming pool with a terrace, fitness center, club room and pet spa, according to Arlington-based CBG Building Co.
“It’s going to be a beautiful building, and we really look forward to delivering it and being a significant new place of the Dulles Station community and the Innovation Center Metro at large,” said Ryan Whittier, of real estate company Crimson Partners.
Crimson Partners says on its website that the project’s 393,000-plus-square-feet will include 5,600 square feet of restaurant and retail. The commercial footage translates to the size of just over two tennis courts. Whittier said nothing has been inked yet but they’ve been in exciting talks with a coffee shop operator that they hope to bring there.
Construction began in April, and crews could deliver the project in August 2023, according to Whittier.
Developers received county approval in 2018 to switch a project from office buildings to residential buildings in a plan to also develop the west side of the street, but construction equipment has been parked there on the east side. Whittier said a final development plan and permits for the west side of the project, another mixed-use building, will go before the county for approval.
The project is one of several going up near the yet-to-open Innovation Center Metro station.
CBG didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment yesterday.
The Makers Rise project is slated for completion in July 2023.
While a road leading to the entrance of Innovation Center Station is still closed, construction crews are feverishly raising buildings near the yet-to-open Metro station.
Bethesda-based Donohoe Construction Co. crews are well along in building the core of a Brightview Senior Living facility, part of an approximately 1.65 million square-foot development site envisioned for three other residential buildings, two office buildings and a hotel called Innovation Center South.
Rocks Engineering Co. has calculated that six of the seven buildings would also have retail, creating 871,000 square feet of residential space, 501,000 square feet of commercial space and 84,000 square feet of retail space.
Michael Rocks, managing director with the company, said the next development is expected to be an office project within the next six to nine months. Groundbreaking ground could happen in the next 12 to 18 months and be connected with a residential building at the site.
“We’ve had tons of interest from retailers over the years,” he said, citing the development’s proximity to the Metro.
The campus sits next to a $52 million parking garage that Fairfax County completed in early 2020.
Fairfax County approved rezoning for Innovation Center South in 2014 for the mixed-use development, where buildings would be built by the parking garage and near the Dulles Toll Road. In 2019, the county allowed approved building space to be taken from one block, dubbed B2, just north of the parking garage, to be reallocated for Brightview’s project.
Mindy Dillon, executive assistant to Brightview’s vice president of project management and project development team, said its facility is slated to be complete in February 2023.
“These will be all new residents to Brightview,” she said, adding that there may be some exceptions.
According to Donohoe, the seven-story senior living project at 13700 Magna Way will be nearly 230,000 square feet. An application in 2018 noted that approximately 115 units would be for independent living and 81 more for assisted living, of which approximately 26 units will be for memory-impaired residents.
According to the application regarding the aging adult living facility:
The 26-unit Wellspring Program will function as a separate and secured ‘neighborhood’ within the building for those seniors confronting various forms of dementia or memory impairment, including Alzheimer’s disease. The goal of the Wellspring Program is to enrich the quality of life for residents with memory impaired diseases by creating a customized plan of support and personalized care services tailored to their needs that maintains as much independence as possible in a compassionate and caring environment. This neighborhood will occupy a secured portion of an upper level of the proposed building.
Overall, the senior living community will provide social, recreational and wellness programs, meals for residents, and independent living residents will have full kitchens in their units, although they’ll get breakfast and dinner prepared for them, according to the application.
Brightview also noted that its communal amenities include a living room, library, computer center, group dining room and café, activities room, beauty/barber salon, multipurpose room, movie theater, outdoor courtyards and exercise and physical therapy room.
Rocks said preleasing will start for those units in January.
The senior living project is rising next to the pending Innovation Center Metro Station on the Silver Line, which will be one stop away from the Dulles International Airport.
Construction crews are continuing to build a six-story multifamily building with 344 units as well as first floor retail just south of Herndon and the Dulles Toll Road.
The project — less than half a mile from the upcoming Innovation Center Metro station — is dubbed Passport NoVA. It will feature upscaling housing and is located at 13455 and 13461 Sunrise Valley Drive in an area undergoing multiple construction projects near Dulles International Airport
“The community offers a mix of standard units and premium units with upgraded kitchens, and its amenities include a first-floor workspace, fitness center, and courtyard with a pool plus a sky lounge with an indoor kitchen and outdoor patio on the top floor,” CBG Building Co. says on the portfolio section of its website.
The project is set to be completed by June 2022, according to CBG Building’s website.
Woodfield Development, a real estate developer that was founded in 2005, didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
The project is planning for 6,000 square feet of retail — a little over the size of two tennis courts — and it’s envisioned as part of a vibrant pedestrian-friendly residential community.
Meanwhile, the developer is seeking to add signage to the project. The county is reviewing the matter and lists the permit’s status as “NA.” The county’s Planning Commission approved a comprehensive sign plan last December.
An application called for illuminated signs on the building and for a leasing office as well as a non-illuminated sign for a parking garage above the entrance.
The developer is also looking to place two temporary marketing banners on the building “to be easily identified” by Sunrise Valley traffic, according to the application.
A lawyer for the developer noted the delayed opening of the Metro’s Silver Line extension makes the signage request that much more important.
The project is part of a new neighborhood called Liberty Park that’s leveraging its proximity to the new Metro station.
Approximately seven miles of the Dulles International Airport Access Highway going westbound will be closed this weekend (Sept. 11 and 12) for maintenance work on pedestrian bridges.
Starting just east of Reston at mile marker 8.3, traffic will be diverted to the left lane of the Dulles Toll Road. Drivers will be able to enter the airport access road again at mile marker 1.7, near the Route 28 toll plaza and right past the soon-to-be-opened Innovation Center Station.
Ramps at mile marker 9 and 3.3 for the westbound portion of the airport access highway will also be closed.
The closures will run from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.
All work is weather-dependent, though weather does not appear it will be a factor this weekend.
This work is being done by contractor Capital Rail Constructors as part of its preparations for the opening of Silver Line Phase 2, a Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority official says.
A weekend was chosen to conduct the maintenance work in the hopes of minimizing the closure’s impact on traffic, the MWAA official notes.
Photo via MWAA
Faced with challenges from providing affordable housing to mitigating flooding, Fairfax County has its hands full, but it’s currently armed with vacant property assessed at tens of millions of dollars.
Currently tax-exempt, the properties could be used for commercial development, environmental preservation, housing projects, recreation, or stormwater drainage, among other purposes.
“There is a critical shortage of affordable housing options in Fairfax County,” Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust said when asked about what the county should do with its vacant properties.
The total financial value of vacant, county-owned properties exceeds $50 million, as calculated based on a public records request and assessments in an online county database for over 100 parcels that could be used for commercial, residential, or other uses.
It wasn’t immediately clear if other restrictions, such as environmental issues, setbacks, and prior plans, limit the use of those properties.
The $50 million-plus figure includes at least $10 million in assessed property that was listed as vacant but nonbuildable, but it excludes properties in floodplains as well as parcels already in use, such as parking lots, parks, or school areas.
One of the largest vacant property acquisitions is across from the Fairfax County Government Center: a 2.6-acre property bordered by Legato Road and Post Forest Drive that cost around $50 million in 1994. It currently has an assessed value of around $11,450.
“One of the elements of the County’s Housing Strategic Plan is to utilize vacant parcels as well as to repurpose land, such as existing parking lots, to increase the supply of housing,” Foust noted by email.
Created in 2018, the Communitywide Housing Strategic Plan calls on Fairfax County to make vacant or underutilized, publicly owned land available for affordable and mixed-income housing “to expand housing options without direct public financial subsidy” through public-private partnerships.
Currently, the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority has three such properties that are slated to be developed through public-private partnerships:
- The Oakwood Senior Housing Project, which will provide affordable units for the elderly near Alexandria
- Autumn Willow Senior Housing, a 10.88-acre property near Centreville
- The Route 50/West Ox Affordable Housing Project near Fair Oaks Mall
The county’s more sizable vacant lots include five adjacent properties along South Van Dorn Street in Franconia that occupy around 3.7 acres located near Thomas A. Edison High School.
The county also has a 9.63-acre parcel near the Innovation Center Metro station that will eventually open in Herndon as part of the much-delayed Silver Line extension.
Foust says part of the property includes a community playing field, but its proximity to the Metro station could make it a candidate for future affordable housing.
“Placing affordable housing on the site could be a good use of the land,” he said. “If that came about, the playing field would need to be relocated.”
In McLean, the county has two properties in a residential neighborhood at 7135 and 7139 Old Dominion Drive that have been assessed at a combined $2.06 million. They are slated for a traffic improvement project at the intersection of Old Dominion and Balls Hill Road. The project is currently in the design phase.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said in a Washington Business Journal story about affordable housing that land is the county’s “single most useful tool.”
“Reallocation of Board-owned property can occur in a number of ways,” McKay said in a statement. “However it is often at the request of a County agency and is followed by an extensive review of the property. Within the last year, the Board was proud to authorize the transfer of two properties to the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority for the potential creation of affordable housing.”
Photo via Google Maps
(Updated 12:20 p.m.) A new restaurant and day spa are opening nearby the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station around the holiday season.
Eve’s Garden Lounge & Bar and Emiline’s Day Spa are opening next to each other at the new Faraday Park development at 1831 Michael Faraday Drive, about a 10-minute walk from the Metro station. Both businesses are from the same ownership group, which also own Alo Vietnam in Herndon.
The businesses will open sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, co-owner Don Lee confirmed to Reston Now. They will occupy two 1,746 square-foot spaces — about 3,600 square feet in total — and operate next to each other.
“We were supposed to have construction late last year, but that was delayed because of COVID. So, we just started construction,” Lee said in June.
The day spa will offer services for both men and women like pedicures, facial treatments, hair salon, and massages.
The restaurant has yet to reveal its menu, but Lee says it will be similar to Herndon’s Alo Vietnam, which offers modernized Vietnamese fare like pho, banh mi, and rice vermicelli. The difference, Lee says, is that Eva’s will be “more Asian fusion and focus more on presentation and will be higher end.”
Lee told Reston Now in June that the ownership group’s ultimate goal is to have a business located within walking distance of all the Silver Line stations, extending out to Dulles Airport.
Alo Vietnam opened within a five-minute walk of the future Innovation Center Metro station in late 2019 in anticipation of Silver Line Phase 2’s opening. Of course, the line has yet to open, leaving businesses like Alo Vietnam in the lurch.
Lee hoped that, by being near a Metro station, the business would be buoyed by commuters, office workers, and tourists.
“We did invest in 2019…thinking that we will carry the load the first year until the Metro opens,” Lee said in June. “Then, we will have a good location with a lot of foot traffic with tourists and from all the businesses around.”
But between the long-delayed $2.8 billion public transportation project and the pandemic, that dream has yet to be realized for Lee and Alo Vietnam. Now, Silver Line Phase 2 is looking like it may not open until mid-2022.
When Eva’s Garden Lounge & Bar and Emiline’s Day Spa opens in Reston by the end of the year, they will be the first of Lee’s businesses to be open near a currently operating Metro station.
The businesses are two of four confirmed retailers coming to Faraday Park, which opened one residential tower for move-ins in April with a second tower expected to be completed in the next few months. The gym F45 and the salon A+ Nails are the others.
Paul Olsen opened a second location of Weird Brothers Coffee at Worldgate Metro Plaza in October 2019.
The shopping center on Worldgate Drive was specifically marketed and named in anticipation of the Herndon Metro Station opening less than a quarter of a mile away as part of the Silver Line’s second phase.
Two years later, the Herndon station and the other Silver Line Phase II stops still won’t be operational for at least another eight months.
“At the time, we weren’t even considering expansion,” Olsen tells Reston Now. “We saw the Metro and…figured this is a great situation. But, then, obviously things changed. COVID hit a few months later. Then, we saw more Metro line delays.”
Olsen’s situation isn’t unique. Many businesses specifically set up shop near a future Silver Line Phase II Metro station thinking it would provide a boost, only for Metro’s opening to be continuously delayed.
“We initially thought that the Metro would open, at the latest, early 2020,” said Don Lee, co-owner of Alo Vietnam Restaurant in Herndon.
The restaurant is about a five-minute walk from the not-yet-opened Innovation Center Metro station. Alo Vietnam is also expected to start a location in Reston at Faraday Park.
“We did invest in 2019…thinking that we will carry the load the first year until the Metro opens,” Lee said. “Then, we will have a good location with a lot of foot traffic with tourists and from all the businesses around.”
Seven years ago this July, the most expensive transportation project in the D.C. region’s history began operations. The opening of the Silver Line and its five new stops brought Metro into Tysons and up to the Wiehle-Reston East station.
However, the intention was always to extend the transit system further into D.C.’s growing Northern Virginia suburbs. Construction on five additional stations, including one at Reston Town Center and two in Herndon, began even before Phase I opened and originally had a completion date of 2018.
However, issues proliferated, from design changes and defective panels to flawed rail ties and bad concrete. Soon, the opening got pushed to early 2020, but the problems kept coming and coming. Read More
A new neighborhood is coming to Herndon this summer.
The townhomes will start in the $700,000 range, while condos start in the mid-$500,000 range. The housing will include options for two to four bedrooms, two to four baths, and up to 2,700 square feet of space.
Both townhomes and condos will have private garages, balconies, and rooftop terraces.
Neighborhood features include garden parks, playgrounds, electric vehicle charging stations, and dog stations. The site also has active recreation areas that include a playing field and basketball court.
MRP Realty originally acquired the property at 13605 Dulles Technology Drive in 2016 as a part of a reported $97 million purchase from Liberty Property Trust, according to the Washington Business Journal.
The purchased Liberty Park portfolio encompassed the entire 32-acre business park with eight buildings and 532,041 square feet, according to MRP Realty’s website.
MPR Realty says that it plans to bring “Class A amenities” to the buildings at Liberty Park, including a “community tenant lounge and conference facility, a fitness center, and outdoor experiences to set them apart from other properties in the market.”
The new residential neighborhood is part of a larger effort by MPR Realty to transform the Liberty Park office complex into a mixed-use development to take advantage of the area’s proximity to the upcoming Innovation Center Metro station.
The Fairfax County Planning Commission approved the developer’s application to rezone the site for mixed-use development on Nov. 8, 2018. According to a final development plan published in March 2019, MPR Realty ultimately hopes to bring up to 530 residential units and up to 6,000 square feet of retail space to Liberty Park.
Image via Fairfax County