Reston, VA

As the Silver Line extension project continues through the COVID-19 pandemic, the Town of Herndon’s Economic Development Manager Dennis Holste, reflected on the state of other local transportation projects and changes to the town at the public Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce metro meeting last night (May 18). 

By 2021, he said that the Reston Town Center, Herndon and Innovation Station stops should be complete, but the plans for the new update bus routes for the Fairfax Connector are up in the air. 

There are currently 30 routes being proposed for the Herndon community but these cannot be finalized until public forums are held, according to Holste.

“They were supposed to hold community meetings in late March and early April,” he said. “But obviously due to COVID they were postponed.”

Though no new dates have been set for these meetings, Holste said they will likely be hosted in late summer or fall.

Currently, a survey is circulating online allowing people to view the proposed bus routes and submit feedback on their thoughts.

Also brought up in the meeting, the new environmental remediation work in Downtown Herndon, which has been completed according to Holste.

“The next step would be demolition of the building,” he said. “I don’t have an exact date but it should be shortly.”

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The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved changes to Arrowbrook Centre, a proposed mixed-use development that was approved in 2005 for more than two million square feet of development.

The company behind the massive development, which is located near the future Innovation Center Metro Station, received the county’s blessing yesterday (April 14) to convert previously planned high-rise residential buildings into single-family homes and mid-rise apartment units.

The changes, which are restricted to a 3.4-acre section of the 54-acre site, reduce the residential component of the site from 480 to 392 units.

Describing the development as “first-class,” Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust said Arrowbrook Centre would help create a “sense of community in that area.”

“This is a very straightforward case,” he added.

The county also approved the developer’s plan to build a 32-unit multi-family building and 10 single-family houses. A 50-space parking garage for the apartment building and 27 parking spaces for the single-family houses, in addition to garage parking, were also approved.

The developer also plans to incorporate an asphalt trail that was suggested in the Herndon Metrorail Stations Access Management Study to connect to the future Innovation Center Metro Station.

John McGranaham, the applicant’s representative, noted that the developer is committed to completing the trail once easements and appropriate approvals are granted.

“It’s an important trail to have open when the Innovation Station opens shortly,” McGranaham said.

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The county is seeking proposals for a permanent, 3D public artwork at the Innovation Center Metro Station‘s garage.

The artwork must integrate with the larger public space in the project at 2435 Innovation Center Drive.

The Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services has budgeted $100,000 for the project, which should “evoke the spirit of 21st century urban living, creative inspiration and a sense of community.”

The artwork would be located in the pocket park on the southeast corner to the Metro garage.

Here’s more from the county about the project:

The Innovation Center development will be a new transit-oriented development just south of the Dulles Toll Road, adjacent to the Innovation Center Station, one of six Metrorail stations being built in the Silver Line’s second phase. The overall 14.6-acre site consists of the 5.5-acre footprint for a County-constructed Metro commuter garage, kiss-and-ride spaces, pocket park, and Metro plaza with the remaining 9.1-acres to be developed by a private developer. Fairfax County has partnered with the private developer to clear and grade the nearly 15-acre undeveloped site before installing stormwater infrastructure, building a road network, erecting streetlights, constructing public space, and landscaping. The infrastructure will serve the overall development including the Metro Station Garage.

The design of the Innovation Center Metro Garage and adjacent development envisions a site-specific artwork to evoke the spirit of 21st century urban living, creative inspiration, and a sense of community. The artwork may address local themes or landmarks of the surrounding area. The work should be visible from the street and the Metro Plaza, just north of the pocket park and kiss-and-ride. The artwork shall be accessible to the general public of all ages and ability levels, and shall not impact planned infrastructure, easements, trees, and critical root zones. The artwork may engage visitors by being tactile or interactive; may be an identifiable landmark or gathering spot on the site; may offer opportunities for environmental education; or may engage site features such as trees or topography to provoke a spatial experience.

Applications are due by Friday, Nov. 8. Three semi-finalists will be selected by a committee with representatives from the county.

More information about submission guidelines is available online.

File photo

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Companies and organizations looking to host events in Northern Virginia have another option for a venue following the opening of a new event center in Herndon.

Trajectory Event Center, which is located at 13665 Dulles Technology Drive, Suite 150, includes meeting spaces for up to 300 people.

The center is designed to host corporate events, training sessions, sales meetings, product launches, receptions, and other events, especially for companies within the Dulles Technology Corridor.

Different packages are available to reserve rooms. Room features include live streaming, duplex video conferencing and polycom phone access.

An open house is set for Wednesday, September 25 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Photos via Kristen Quin Cody

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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

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Kabobi by the Helmand, a restaurant featuring Afghan cuisine, held its soft opening yesterday (May 29) in Herndon.

Owner Khaleeq Ahmad told Reston Now that the restaurant finally opened after delays with the permitting process. Ahmad said his restaurant offers “Afghan fusion” cuisine. It is located at 2321 Dulles Station Boulevard, Suite A — a short walk from the Innovation Center Metro station.  

The restaurant in Herndon offers a mix of traditional Afghan cuisine as appetizers, salads, bowls and wraps. Items range from “kabuli pallow,” a traditional Afghan dish with rice baked with chunk of lamb, raising and glazed carrots — to eggplants and mushroom wrapped in fresh bread.

The chain of Kabobi restaurants started in San Francisco in 1982 and expanded to Boston, Baltimore and Chicago. It is modeled after a sister restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland called Kabobi from the Helmand.

Photo by Khaleeq Ahmad

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Kabobi by the Helmand, a restaurant featuring Afghan cuisine, plans to start serving diners in May.

Owner Khaleeq Ahmad told Reston Now that the permitting process has led to delays. The restaurant’s next inspection is this Friday (April 12). If all goes well, Ahmad said he expects the restaurant to open next month.

Ahmad previously told Reston Now that Kabobi by the Helmand will offer Zeke’s Coffee in the morning for commuters and locals before switching to Afghan cuisine for lunch and dinner. The menu in Herndon will resemble the one from the restaurant’s partner, Kabobi from The Helmand, in Baltimore, he said.

The restaurant’s spot at 2321 Dulles Station Blvd, Suite A is a short walk from the Innovation Center Metro station.

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Tai chi — The Reston Regional Library will a tai chi fitness class led by local instructor Susan Shen from 6:30-7:30 p.m. tonight. [Fairfax County]

Sinking solution — “Officials have finally repaired a $52 million parking garage along Phase 2 of Metro’s Silver Line expansion that was sinking, but the garage is greatly behind schedule, according to a report. NBC Washington transportation reporter Adam Tuss reported that the parking garage slated for the Innovation Center Station has been repaired and work on it has resumed, but it is now 8-10 months behind schedule.” [Patch]

Reston activist dies — Barbara Freeman, a civic and community activist, died Jan. 26 at her home in Reston at the age of 91. Her daughter told the Washington Post the cause was pneumonia. Freeman volunteered with the Reston Community Association, Reston Interfaith, the League of Women Voters of Fairfax County and youth soccer. [The Washington Post]

Scavenger hunt in Herndon — “During February, teachers at Herndon Community Center Preschool taught their young students about community helpers, the given individuals traditionally seen working in public service roles of safety, health and education.” [Connection Newspapers]

Herndon company acquired — A Texas-based software provider acquired Herndon-based MicroPact, which currently serves NASA, the Social Security Administration and the Justice and Treasury departments, in a $185 million deal. [Washington Technology]

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Kabobi by the Helmand, a restaurant serving Afghan cuisine, plans to open early next year in Herndon.

Owner Khaleeq Ahmad told Reston Now that he is aiming for an opening in February. Right now the restaurant is in the construction phase and waiting for the build out, he said.

Located at 2321 Dulles Station Blvd, Suite A, the restaurant will be near the Silver Line Innovation Center Metro station, which is scheduled to open in 2020.

Ahmad said that Kabobi by the Helmand will offer Zeke’s Coffee in the morning for commuters and locals and then serve lunch and dinner offering unique and affordable Afghan cuisine.

Ahmad said he has spent the last 16 years going back and forth to Afghanistan, with the goal of adding traditions currently lacking in Afghan cuisine in the United States.

While he doesn’t want to give away surprises on the menu, Ahmad said customers can expect kabobs, stews and “a lot of really good vegetarian options.” For libations, he plans to serve craft beer from Baltimore and wine.

The menu in Herndon will resemble the one from the restaurant’s partner, Kabobi from The Helmand, in Baltimore. The chain of Kabobi restaurants started in 1982 in San Francisco and expanded to Boston, Baltimore and Chicago, with the Chicago location now closed after 30 years, he said.

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A report, first published by The Washington Post, finds that the Innovation Center Metro Station garage is “sinking.”

All work on the county-financed garage, which has eight stories, has been halted as an engineering firm attempts to determine why four cylindrical supporting structures sunk by as much as four inches.

The garage is one of five installed along the extension of the Silver Line, which runs from Dulles International Airport into Loudoun County.

The Post reports the problem was discovered when the garage was about 65 percent complete in July.

Manhattan Construction has a $33 million contract with the county to build the garage. Officials are confident that the garage will not collapse. The Innovation Center Station, which is near one of the sites up for consideration by Amazon for its second headquarters, is served by the 2,100-space garage.

An electronic monitoring system will be installed to monitor any movement of the foundation.

Photo via handout/Fairfax County Government

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Thursday Morning Notes

Folk Music Tonight at Lake Anne — The “Take A Break” concert series at Lake Anne Plaza will continue tonight with a performance by contemporary folk artists Sweater Set. [Lake Anne Plaza]

Car Hits Pole in Reston — A Wednesday evening crash on Lawyers Road at Soapstone Drive took out power and closed the road. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Fireworks Safety Urged — Fireworks can turn a holiday into a tragedy within seconds when illegal and dangerous fireworks are being used. Fire officials have released a video to promote fireworks safety this July Fourth. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue/YouTube]

Shared-Use Path Planned — A meeting June 29 will discuss a proposed path from the future Innovation Station Metro station kiss-and-ride on the north side of the Dulles Toll Road. [Fairfax County Department of Transportation]

Photo via @butler_law on Twitter

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