Reston, VA

Nearly two years following the Fairfax County Planning Commission’s unanimous approval of the Reston Midline project, construction has started on the mixed-use development.

As a part of remodeling the 17.5 acres located east of Wiehle Avenue and south of Sunset Hills Road, EYA has broken ground on a portion of the property that will house 115 townhomes. EYA has plans to produce 80 of the new townhomes by early 2021 while the remaining 35 will roll out in a second phase, according to the Washington Business Journal.

The project will eventually encompass 1.8 million square feet of new development across four blocks. It will also be developed in conjunction with the Chevy Chase Land Co. and JBG Smith Properties.

Further development plans include an independent living facility with 127 units, as well as an eight-story building with 325 multifamily units on the northern block of the site. The site plans also feature an eight-story building with 225 multifamily units, and a 14-story office building and further retail space.

The development will also extend to two major road improvements. Reston Station Boulevard will be extended from Wiehle Avenue to Michael Faraday Drive, and new lanes will be constructed Michael Faraday along the front of the development.

Additional construction will provide a new crosswalk and pedestrian signals at the intersection of Sunset Hills Road and Michael Faraday Drive to provide a connection to the Washington and Old Dominion Trail. A high-visibility crosswalk at the intersection of Reston Station Boulevard and Wiehle Avenue will facilitate a pedestrian connection to the Silver Line Metro station.

The developers also will dedicate 29% of the site as open space, which will include dog parks, play areas for children and various public amenities.

No timetable has been set for the development of the remainder of the project.

The site originally was developed with four low-rise office buildings and surface parking that were constructed from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s.

Photos by Jay Westcott

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JBG Smith, the company behind RTC West near the future Reston Town Center Metro Station, is looking to let go of one of its office properties in Reston.

Bisnow reports that the company is seeking to sell Reston Arboretum, a 95,000-square-foot building located at 12700 Sunrise Valley Drive.

Thus far, the owner of the property renovated the building, including upgrades to the lobby and fitness center and the addition of an outdoor park area, food market and bike storage room.

Here’s more from Bisnow on the possible sale:

“The Reston Arboretum property is a compelling investment opportunity based on its boutique characteristics, its suburban location and proximity to both the Herndon Metrorail Station and the 15-acre Herndon Nature Preserve,” Colliers Executive Vice President Bill Kaye wrote in an emailed statement to Bisnow. He is marketing the property along with David Gast. JBG Smith has pursued a strategy of selling assets since early 2018, when it said it viewed D.C. as a seller’s market with elevated pricing. It set a goal in 2018 to generate $700M through asset sales, which it accomplished. Many of those sales were stand-alone office buildings, including properties in Reston, K Street and Dupont Circle.  The REIT then set another goal to sell $200M in assets this year. But early in the coronavirus crisis, JBG Smith CEO Matt Kelly told investors he expects the REIT will shift to become a net buyer of assets in the coming years as it anticipated a correction in pricing. In his Q2 letter to investors released Aug. 4, Kelly said the $200M sales target may be difficult to achieve because the pandemic has slowed the investment sales market, but he said JBG Smith is still looking to sell where it can.

Pulte plans to build 40 townhouses right next to the office building. Originally, the company pitched the same number of single family houses.

Image via Google Maps

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Retail Rents Not Getting Paid“Retail tenants have been hardest hit during the pandemic, across the board and for JBG Smith. The company collected 58% of rent due from those tenants in the second quarter, compared with nearly 99% for office and 98.5% for multifamily… JBG Smith is exploring the possibility of incorporating ghost kitchens, or food preparation facilities for delivery-only meals, to fill some of the void created by empty retail spaces as a temporary measure.” [Washington Business Journal]

Free COVID-19 Testing in Reston TodayThe Fairfax County Health Department and Southgate Community Center are partnering to offer free testing ontoday from 5-8 p.m. at the community center, which is located at 12125 Pinecrest Road. [Virginia Department of Health]

Schools Take Part in Racial Truth and Reconciliation Week — “As part of Virginia’s declaration of August 2-8 as Virginia’s Racial Truth and Reconciliation Week, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) will be participating in activities to help educate citizens about the impact of cultural, historical, and racial inequity.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Photo by Ray Copson

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RTC West — the suburban office park formerly known as Reston Executive Center — recently built a new office building and new retail tenants.

JBG Smith, the developer, has plans on the books to add six new buildings with up to 576 apartments at the corner of Sunset Hills Road and Town Center Parkway.

While there’s no sign of construction on the way, Reston Now readers and an inconspicuous lover of Mezzeh have noticed that the surface parking lot is often full — even on off-peak hours.

Others have also reported trouble navigating tight turns and the mix of parallel and perpendicular parking at the office park. The site also has two four-level parking garages.

A spokesperson for the company said JBG Smith has no updates to share about the project. Once built out, the project, which is opposite Reston Gateway, includes a 22-story trophy office building, two residential towers, and a one-story retail pavilion located on a common green.

JBG Smith will also build a new westbound lane on Sunset Hill Road that allows for right-hand turns into RTC West. On-road bicycle lanes to Sunset Hills Road and Town Center Parkway are planned as well. The developer is also pitching in land for a future four-lane underpass beneath the Dulles Toll Road that would extent Town Center Parkway.

While the project is less than a quarter-mile away from the future Reston Town Center Metro Station, we’d love to hear from you on how the parking situation at RTC West is faring.

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Attention, chicken lovers: Super Chicken, a Peruvian restaurant, is now open at Reston Heights.

The business celebrated its first day of business on President’s Day. It is located at VY, a residential building at 11830 Sunrise Valley Drive that is part of JBG Smith’s Reston Heights development.

Other planned groundfloor retail includes My Home Thai and California-based burger chain BurgerIM.

In late January, Reston Kabob reopened at Reston Heights.

Photo courtesy Super Chicken

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The sun rises again this week for a locally owned restaurant that specializes in kabobs and gyros.

After nearly five years, Reston Kabob is reopening today (Monday) at 11830 Sunrise Valley Drive.

The restaurant was forced to close its location in Reston International Center’s convenience center due to JBG Smith’s planned Reston Heights project, which includes 385 residential units.

Masoud Shoja, the owner, told Reston Now that the soft launch is planned today.

Reston Kabob will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Photos via Masoud Shoja

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A new tiki bar and Thai restaurant is coming to Reston next year.

Tiki Thai, which describes itself as Virginia’s “first premier tiki bar,” plans to open at 12100 Sunset Hills Road in the spring of next year.

The restaurant and bar will join a number of ground-floor retail tenants, including Famous Toastery and BGR The Burger Joint, at JBG Smith’s RTC West development.

Permits filed with the county indicate the restaurant will also include outdoor seating. Tiki bars are often known for their exotic-themed drinks, especially rum-based mixed drinks.

Earlier this year, the Black Squirrel backed away from plans to open a new beer bar in the development. Details of why the DC-based bar backed out of a previously-inked deal were not made public.

Photo via Tiki Thai/website

 

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The Black Squirrel, a D.C beer bar that inked a deal to open near the Reston Town Center Metro Station two years ago, has backed away from plans to open in the area.

According to a spokesperson for JBG Smith, the developer behind RTC West, The Black Squirrel will no longer open at RTC West, which is anchored by Coopers Hawk Winery and Restaurant. The company did not indicate why this was the case.

Sense of Thai, a Thai restaurant, is expected to open in place of the beer bar by the first quarter of 2020. Infinity Spa and Nails is already open.

File photo

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Retailers at VY at Reston Heights are working toward opening their doors this year on the ground-level of the 385-unit apartment community.

JBG Smith, the developer, unveiled a lineup of retailers last year. Recently, Willpower Functional Fitness backed out of the project. A JBG Smith spokesperson did not indicate why this was the case.

The mixed-use project is located at 11830 Sunrise Valley Drive.

While opening dates are estimates only, most of the retailers are expected to open toward the end of the year. Retailers include My Home Thai, Allure Nails, Super Chicken, Reston Barber, Reston Kabob and California-based chain BurgerIM.

My Home Thai — a carry-out restaurant — could be the first to open sometime in the third quarter of this year.

Other retailers are expected to open in the last quarter of the year.

JBG Smith did not provide specific opening dates or timeframes.

File photo

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After several deferrals, the Fairfax County Planning Commission finally approved plans to scale back JBG Smith’s Reston Heights development.

The developer is seeking to remove 215,000 square feet of office space and 3,600 square feet of retail from the mixed-use project, which is located at 11830 Sunrise Valley Drive.

But plans were delayed after commissioners expressed concerns about limited stormwater management on the site. The owners of 7-Eleven, which owns the Exxon gas station adjacent to the site, also raised concerns about sharing an access road between the two sites.

At a meeting on Wednesday, June 12, Hunter Mill District Commissioner John Carter said JBG Smith resolved all outstanding issues.

The road between the 7-Eleven parcel and JBG Smith’s property will remain open to vehicles and pedestrians.

The commission also added a condition to augment the proposal’s stormwater manager in order to make up for the loss of trees along Sunrise Valley Drive.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will vote on the project on June 25.

Photos via Fairfax County Government

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Roughly half of a dozen retailers won’t be affected by JBG Smith Properties’ newest proposed changes to the Reston Heights development.

The developer filed a request with the Fairfax County seeking to scale back planned office and retail space at the mixed-use development near the future Reston Town Center Metro station, Washington Business Journal reported.

The story says that the request includes the removal of existing entitlements for 215,000 square feet of office space, along with 3,600 square feet of retail space the company does not plan to construct at the 385-unit VY apartment community (11830 Sunrise Valley Drive).

JBG Smith told the Washington Business Journal via a spokesman that the request to eliminate the office space is a “change in strategy away from office toward residential in that location.”

Meanwhile, that change keeps the planned retailers intact.

The retail space reduction won’t affect any of the previously announced retailers coming to Reston Heights, a spokesperson for JBG Smith told Reston Now.

The developer announced several retailers for VY around this time last yearWillpower Functional Fitness, Allure Nails, Signature Thai, Super Chicken and Reston Kabob are all “coming soon” to VY, according to the apartment’s website.

The more than 3,000 square feet of retail planned to be removed would be in the base of the building, the spokesperson said.

The Reston Association declined to comment for this story because neither the RA nor its Design Review Board has received any information from JBG Smith about their reconfiguration plans. “Any reconfiguration of the project by JBG Smith will have to come back to Reston Association’s DRB,” Mike Leone, RA’s spokesman, told Reston Now.

JBG Smith would need approval from the county’s Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors to remove the office, Washington Business Journal reported, noting that this isn’t the first time the developer has sought changes to the site’s plans.

Images via VY and JBG Smith

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Comstock Holding Companies, Inc. announced today (Feb. 6) that it acquired JBG Smith’s Commerce Metro Center Portfolio — a move that will increase the Reston Station area to 4.5 million square feet once fully built.

The portfolio spans nearly 40 acres from the Dulles Toll Road and the surrounding area by the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station. It lies directly across from Comstock’s first phase of the Reston Station neighborhood development.

The portfolio includes three office buildings totaling 408,000 square feet, along with entitlements in place for an additional 1.1 million square feet of mixed-use development for possibly adding more office, residential, retail and a hotel.

Tenants who have signed on for the three existing office buildings include:

  • Applied Information Sciences
  • Kimley Horn and Associates, Inc.
  • CACI NSS Inc.
  • Clarabridge, Inc.
  • BT Americas, Inc.
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Kroll Associates, Inc.

Back in November, JBG Smith said an unnamed buyer agreed to pay$115 million for its three-building Commerce Executive Park complex, which is located by Sunrise Valley Drive and Wiehle Avenue, Globe.St reported.

The acquisition also ups the total assets under management by Comstock Holding Companies, Inc., under its long-term management agreement covering Reston Station, according to the press release.

Comstock Chief Executive Officer Christopher Clemente described the portfolio as “high-quality, value-added properties.”

Photo via Comstock

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The food scene at RTC West, a small office park slated to become a major mixed-use project, is coming to life with the addition of another restaurant.

Rajiv Chopra, a chef-turned-owner, plans to open Bombay Velvet (12120 Sunset Hills Road), a fine-dining, Indian restaurant by the last week of November or the beginning of December. Chopra says the restaurant, which will be located next to Honeygrow, will offer a unique “upscale” dining experience with a full bar menu.

A grand opening will likely be held sometime near Christmas, Chopra told Reston Now.  Chopra also owns three other Indian restaurants called Punjabi By Nature in Leesburg, Chantilly, and Vienna, but Bombay Velvet offers “a completely new concept” that differentiates itself from Chopra’s other businesses, he said.

The Indian restaurant adds a new mix to existing area restaurants, including Honeygrow and BGR The Burger Joint.

Photos by Fatimah Waseem

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The Fairfax County Planning Commission delayed a decision on the Midline, a 1.8-million-square-foot mixed-use project, for the second time.

The project by JBG Smith, EYA and Chevy Chase Land Co. aims to create a 17.5-acre development east of Wiehle-Avenue and south of Sunset Hills Road with four blocks of development.

Hunter Mill District Planning Commissioner John Carter said the county is still working with the development team to ensure the development has a sufficient number of workforce and affordable dwelling units, as well as a suitable mix of assisted living and multi-family units.

“The applicant is making progress on this,” Carter said at an Oct. 11 Planning Commission meeting. The development team is meeting the county “halfway” on its requirements for a balanced mix of affordable housing and appropriate services for residents of assisted-living units and multi-family units.

Block A would include one building with 127 independent units and a 33-bed assisted living facility. The second building would include a 325-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.

A decision was deferred to Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m. The case, which was previously deferred in late September to Oct. 11, has not yet been docketed for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Photo via handout/Fairfax County Government

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Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a nearly 1.4 million square feet addition to RTC West, a mixed-use project bounded by the Washington & Old Dominion Trail to the north and Reston Town Center Parkway to the east. The vote on Tuesday (Sept. 25) brings yet another major neighborhood near the future Reston Town Center Metro Station.

JBG Smith will add up to 576 multifamily units, 700,000 square feet of office space, and some retail. The site is currently home to three six-story office buildings, two parking garages and retail tenants like Cooper’s Hawk Winery, honeygrow, and the recently opened BGR The Burger Joint.

Bailey Edelson, JBG Smith’s senior vice president of development, said a common green at the center of the property will offer a “convening location” for the public. The company also paid careful attention to balance the distinctiveness of each building whilst still creating a neighborhood-like appeal, Edelson said.

The expanded version of the project, which is adjacent to the Reston Gateway project, adds another mixed-use neighborhood near the Metro station. The site design incorporates the future Town Center Parkway underpass that would connect Sunset Hills Road to Sunrise Valley Drive through an underground tunnel across the Dulles Toll Road.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said the project offers a suitable mix of commercial, retail and residential that allows people to “observe and participant” among higher buildings planned and approved near the future Metro station. She also said the underpass will help alleviate traffic and congestion in the immediate area.

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 design also incorporates bicycle lanes that provide an improved connection to the Washington & Old Dominion Trail.

The Planning Commission approved the project on Sept. 13. Edelson offered the following statement in response to a request from Reston Now: 

“The Master Plan for RTC West will enable JBG Smith to transform the existing predominantly suburban site into a more urban neighborhood, and enhance the connection between the new metro station and Town Center. The new retail has brought significant amenities and activity to the existing office buildings and we intend to build on that momentum as we bring the Master Plan online over time.”

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.

The developer did not provide the timeline of the project or the anticipated cost, as that information has not yet been finalized.

Photos via handout/Fairfax County Government

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