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by Fatimah Waseem January 11, 2018 at 1:30 pm 23 Comments

Founding Farmers plans to open its Reston Station location in early 2018.

The opening of the restaurant, originally set for summer 2017, was delayed due after plans to the 10,000-square-foot location (1901 Reston Metro Plaza Drive) were revamped.

No firm opening date has been made public, although the company has begun hiring for all positions and expects to open in the first quarter of this year. In August, a company representative told Reston Now the restaurant will open next month.

A spokesperson for Comstock Partners, the owner of Reston Station, said the company went back to the drawing board to improve the design and layout of the restaurant after opening a new location — Farmers & Distillers — in the District.

“After opening their downtown D.C. restaurant a year ago, they decided to make some major changes to better improve operations,” said Maggie Parker, vice president of communications and community outreach for Comstock Partners. “They can’t wait to open.”

The Reston restaurant rests on the ground floor of a planned 200-room hotel at Reston Station and on top of the 3,500-space Reston Station Transit Facility. A large mezzanine is planned at the site, which sits next to the 45o-unit BLVD at Reston Station.

The farmer-owned restaurant include a full-service menu and bar with breakfast, lunch and dinner and a Farmers Market buffet brunch on weekends. A “First Bake” menu will offer takeaway breakfast and coffee on weekday mornings, according to the restaurant’s website.

Founding Farmers is owned by more than 47,000 family farmers of the North Dakota Farmers Union and is supplied by hundreds of family farms, according to its website.

No update was available on when Sweet Leaf, a locally owned cafe chain scheduled to open next to Founding Farmers will open. Signage on the store front indicates an opening in the winter of last year.

(This post was updated on Friday, Jan. 12 at 10:29 a.m. to include background about Founding Farmers). 

Photo by Fatimah Waseem

by Fatimah Waseem January 10, 2018 at 9:00 am 4 Comments

Metro Considers Outsourcing Silver Line Service — A plan to privatize station operation on the western stretch of the Silver Line through Wiehle-Reston gained traction this week. The Washington Post reports that Metro officials have sent a formal request for information from potential contractors. [The Washington Post]

Evocative Acquires Reston Data Center — The company, a provider of internet infrastructure services, has acquired data center operations from Lincoln Rackhouse, the data center division of Lincoln Property Company. The data center is located at 1807 Michael Faraday Court. [Evocative via Cision]

Reston Caterer Recognized for Excellent Food Safety — Simply Elegant, a catering and event planning company was awarded a “14 Carrot Gold Food Safety Excellence Award” from the Fairfax County Health Dept. The cafe has committed no violations since November 2015. [Reston Patch]

by Fatimah Waseem December 6, 2017 at 11:30 am 32 Comments

A 145-unit residential building could come to Reston Corner on the southwest corner of Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive.

Atlantic Realty Companies has submitted plans to the county to redevelop about 4.3 acres of the nearly 10-acre site known as Reston Corner, a process that would require the county to rezone land from light and industrial uses to residential use.

The site is within half a mile of the Reston Town Center Metro Station Platform, a location that allows residential uses of up to 30 units per acre if appropriate. The county’s Department of Planning and Zoning is reviewing the proposal, which was filed on Nov. 6 and is in the early phases of the county’s review process. A technical staff report has not yet been completed.

Surface parking spaces for existing office building at Reston Corner currently occupy the area where residential development is planned. The proposal includes up to 1,200 square feet of retail and 12 percent of the multi-family units will be set aside for workforce housing.

In the proposal, the developer wrote the building will provide an attractive, elegant element to Reston.

“The proposed addition of mid-rise residential development to the property will help provide an attractive and appropriate transition from the more intense development of the Transit Station Mixed Use area to the low-rise residential development to the south of the Property and will help provide additional residential uses in an area accessible to the Reston Town Center Metro station,” the proposal said.

The maximum height will be seven floors. The parking garage, have a maximum of four levels and will be screened by the residential building. Offices will continue to use the parking garage. An entrance plaza at the back of the residential building will include 22 surface parking spaces. Roughly 40 percent of the property is set aside as open space.

File photo.

by Fatimah Waseem November 22, 2017 at 2:45 pm 31 Comments

Fairfax County’s Planning Commission passed a measure that opens up more than 18 million square feet of vacant office space in the county to potential redevelopment this week.

But a move by at-large commissioner Tim Sargeant to carve a special exemption for Reston failed. Sargeant sought to exempt Reston from the measure, which creates a process to convert empty office buildings for other uses like residences and schools, because of Reston’s unique position as a planned community.

He said Reston underwent an extensive community planning process two years ago for Reston’s Transit Station Areas that attempts to strike a delicate balance between residential and office uses in the dense community. Reston Association also supported the exemption.

Others said approving the change could open up Reston to more residential units, a move that is not in concert with the master plan, which already envisions significant residential uses, according Marianne Gardner, director of the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning’s planning division. Additionally, parts of Reston’s TSAs contain large swaths of land planned and developed for office use, she said.

Frank de le Fe, representative of the Hunter Mill district and the commission’s vice chairman, also voted to exempt Reston from the change.

However, Braddock-commissioner Ellen Hurley said carving a special exemption for one part of the county was not tenable. She also noted that adequate protections were already in place to pull back the change if needed. The area’s supervisor can request to pull back the change at any time, she said.

Commissioner John Ulfelder, the representative of the Dranesville District, also said creating a special exemption for one area of the county created “a slippery slope” and raised potential legal questions about zoning exemptions.

“If we do it here, why don’t we do it somewhere else,” Ulfelder said.

The overall land use policy change bypasses a county requirement for site-specific comprehensive plan amendment if an applicant seeks to change the use of a property. All other steps part of the land use approval process, including public hearings, will still apply. The county’s Board of Supervisors will review the proposal on Dec. 5.

In Reston, the Reston-Herndon Suburban Center has a vacancy rate of more than 70 percent, according to county data.

by Fatimah Waseem November 9, 2017 at 4:00 pm 1 Comment

The access road to the Herndon-Monroe commuter garage, which runs from Sunrise Valley Drive to the Herndon-Monroe park and ride facility, will shut down from Friday through Sunday, Nov. 26.

Access is limited due to the construction of a new parking garage for the future Metro Silver Line Herndon station. To use the current garage, commuters can enter through the Dulles Toll Road, a detour that requires a payment of $1, according to a county press release.

The roughly $45 million project is expected to cause major delays on routes that serve the park-and-ride facility. The following stops served by routes924, 926, 927, 937, 950, 951 and 551 will be missed:

  • Stop #3495 at Colt Brook Drive

  • Stop #3541 at Milburn Lane

  • Stop #3566 at Thunder Chase Drive

Commuters using these stops take buses at the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride facility. Bus bays are still accessible through the garage entrance.

The new 2,007-space garage includes a pedestrian bridge to the Metrorail Silver Line station, connections the existing 1,745-space Herndon-Monroe parking garage and bicycle storage facilities. The project is expected to be complete in the spring of 2019.

A groundbreaking ceremony last year celebrated the launch of the project, which is managed by Fairfax County. HGA Architects is the firm designing the project.

For more information on the impact of the project, call 703-339-7200 or 703-339-1608. Questions can also be addressed to [email protected]

Rendering courtesy of Fairfax County

by RestonNow.com October 30, 2017 at 10:00 am 6 Comments

Metro’s general manager and CEO, Paul Wiedefeld released a proposed budget for fiscal year 2019–which would take effect July 1, 2018–that includes no new fare hikes for riders along with no service cuts, but asks local jurisdictions for an additional $165 million in funding over and above what they already contribute to the rail system.

The budget includes a combined operating and capital budget of $3.1 billion. In a press release, Wiedefeld said his proposed budget avoids service cuts and fare hikes by requiring “continued strict management cost controls” while also demanding increased funding for “safety and reliability capital improvements.”

Wiedefeld said that by showing an obvious commitment to safety and reliability, he believes the struggling rail system can win back riders, which would increase revenue through paid fares.

“This proposal builds on our success in investing capital to deliver projects that improve safety and reliability, which is critical to winning back riders,” Wiedefeld said in the press release. “This budget also doubles down on management cost controls to ensure we have squeezed the value out of every dollar that we spend delivering service to the region.”

Of the $3.1 billion budget, $1.279 billion is for capital improvements, which Wiedefeld explained would ensure full delivery of the remaining new 7000-series rail cars to replace older trains, along with new buses and paratransit vehicles, and repair and replacement of infrastructure such as rail power, radios, wireless systems and tracks.

Wiedefeld said the increase in jurisdictional funding–which is more than the previously promised 3-percent maximum–is the only way to avoid fare hikes and service cuts, which would negatively impact riders.

Furthermore, he said without that additional funding, planned service increases such as the extension of all Red Line routes to Shady Grove in Maryland, the planned Silver Line Phase 2 service–which begins in Reston and would extend through Dulles International Airport and into Ashburn in Loudoun County–as well as new Metrobuses, would not be funded.

“There is virtually nothing more we can do of significance to further trim costs without impacting service, which we don’t want to do,” said Wiedefeld. “So as a region we must act now on initiatives like those outlined in our funding plan, to control future operating cost growth.”

 

by Dave Emke October 20, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Chamber: Effort To Woo Amazon ‘Start of Something Great’ — Jim Corcoran, president and CEO of the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, says the partnership between Loudoun and Fairfax counties to try to bring Amazon’s new headquarters to Herndon can be “a model for our economic growth,” no matter what the company decides. [Washington Business Journal]

Metro: Fare Evasion is Serious Issue — Metro says its efforts to ensure no one gets on trains without paying has helped curb serious crime on the system by 20 percent. [Metro Transit Police/Twitter]

Early Metro Hours Sunday for Marathon — Trains will begin rolling Sunday at 6 a.m. to help participants in the 42nd annual Marine Corps Marathon. Extra trains will also be running on the Blue and Yellow lines. [WMATA]

A Look at Mixed-Use Developments in Fairfax County — Earlier this week, Bisnow took a look at several large developments in the works in the county, as it says “developers are increasingly turning the county into a walkable, mixed-use environment.” Included in the profile are several Reston developments, including Reston Station and Tall Oaks. [Bisnow]

Police Warn of Criminals Targeting Garage Door Openers — Police departments in Loudoun and Prince William counties are urging residents to keep their garage door openers out of sight as criminals are stealing them from cars and using them to gain access to homes. Police in Reston have previously warned of similar crimes. [WTOP]

by Dave Emke October 10, 2017 at 1:30 pm 14 Comments

Nearly a third of Metro’s ridership decline in recent years is attributed to decreasing performance, according to information that will be presented to WMATA’s Finance Committee during its meeting this week.

According to its report on ridership between 2013 to 2016, Metro says there are several factors that have contributed to the drop. In addition to the failing reliability, the named factors include the federal benefit drop in 2014 that reduced high-use SmartBenefits customers; an increase in telework that has decreased AM peak ridership on Fridays; and the popularity of ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft.

The report lists four “marketing and communications efforts” that are planned in the effort to promote ridership:

  • Focus on 30 percent of riders who left because of service reliability issues
  • Encourage off-peak rail ridership through partnerships
  • Strengthen SmartBenefits program and regional employer relationships
  • Promote pass products, automatic reload and other fare products

In its latest “Back2Good” initiative report, Metro says railcar reliability was up more than 50 percent in the first seven months of 2017 when compared to that same time in 2016. It also says there were 60 percent fewer HVAC issues in July 2017 than in July 2016.

“These efforts will continue in the coming months as we hope to see sustained improvements, such as the reduction in passenger offloads and improvements in customer on-time performance,” reads the report. “However, we realize that it will take some time to regain the trust and confidence of customers needed to return to the system.”

At the end of the report, the Metro board and Metro-served jurisdictions are given examples of ways they can help increase ridership:

  • Development: Advocate for development proposals near stations/corridors
  • Access to Metrorail and Metrobus: Ensure existing jobs and housing are connected to rail stations and bus stops by investing in sidewalks, curb ramps, bus shelters, etc.
  • Congestion Relief: Advocate for on-street improvements to speed up buses, such as traffic signal prioritization and bus lanes

Metro’s next set of board and committee meetings is slated for Thursday.

by Dave Emke September 29, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

24-Minute Wait Times for Metro This Weekend — Silver Line trains will run only between Wiehle-Reston East and Ballston, every 24 minutes, to coordinate with the work on the Orange and Blue lines. [DCist]

Theater Costumes Available — NextStop Theatre Company will hold its annual costume sale Saturday from 7-11 a.m. at ArtSpace Herndon (750 Center St.). According to the theater, items available include “wedding dresses, to furs, to Cinderella’s ball-gowns, to stunning men’s suits” along with sweaters, vintage jeans and other items. [NextStop Theatre Company/Facebook]

Ted’s Bulletin Owner Will Sell — The future of the chain, which includes a restaurant in Reston Town Center (11948 Market St.), is unclear as Matchbox Food Group prepares to sell it to &pizza co-founder Steve Salis. [Washington Business Journal]

Transformers Fans Descending Upon Reston — TFcon, a “Transformers” fan convention, is being held for the 16th time. It has been held almost exclusively in Toronto area; however, this year, it is being held at the Hyatt Regency Reston (1800 Presidents St.) today through Sunday. [TFcon]

by Dave Emke September 22, 2017 at 9:00 am 1 Comment

Deadline for RA Board Candidacy is Today — Anyone interested in being considered to fill the At-Large seat vacated by Ray Wedell needs to submit a statement of candidacy by noon today. The remaining term on the seat runs through April. [Reston Now]

Silver Line Was Single-Tracking This Morning — An arcing insulator at the Rosslyn Metro station early this morning caused single-tracking on the Orange, Silver and Blue lines. [WUSA]

‘Safety Stand-Down’ Slowed Metro Thursday — Riders experienced woes Thursday morning on the Metro as maintenance inspections of 7000-series rail cars were temporarily suspended, raising union concerns and leaded to fewer available cars. [WTOP]

Letter: Redistricting Needed After 2020 — John Lovaas, of Reston, says residents need to get involved in the fight to end gerrymandering and “take back our democracy.” [Fairfax Times]

Full Presentation from Wednesday’s Community Meeting — The full PowerPoint presentation from Wednesday’s forum to discuss the potential ramifications of a zoning ordinance amendment that would raise the cap on population density in Reston has been made available. [Reston 20/20]

by Dave Emke September 21, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Food Collection Helps Herndon Students — Nonprofit organization Food for Neighbors collected food on a recent Saturday at Plaza America, with items collected going to students in need at several county locations, including Herndon middle and high schools. The program is working to add other schools, including South Lakes High School, to its efforts. [Fairfax County Times]

County Task Force Rides Out Maria — Virginia Task Force One, Fairfax County’s elite urban search and rescue team, has been busy this past month assisting with efforts following hurricanes Harvey and Irma. They were scheduled to go to Mexico to help following this week’s earthquake there, but instead find themselves waiting out Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. [WJLA]

Metro Lines Slow This Weekend — Work west of Foggy Bottom means the Orange, Blue and Silver lines are only scheduled to run every 24 minutes this weekend. The Silver Line will only run between Wiehle-Reston East and Ballston. [WTOP]

New FCPS Superintendent Talks About Goals — Dr. Scott Brabrand says there’s work to be done in the district, including diversifying the workforce and scaling back demands on teachers. [Washington Post]

by Dave Emke September 14, 2017 at 9:00 am 3 Comments

Lake Anne Concert Series Ends Tonight — The “Take A Break” concert series at Lake Anne Plaza will wrap up tonight with a show from Texas Chainsaw Horns, an R&B group, from 7-9 p.m. [Lake Anne Plaza]

Reston Association Budget Meeting Tonight — Sridhar Ganesan, treasurer and RA Board at-large director, will facilitate a budget-development community meeting tonight from 7-9 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). According to information provided by Reston Association, members “are invited to share their thoughts and comments on issues related to next year’s budget.” [Reston Now]

Meeting on Fairfax County Parkway Trail Crossing Tonight — The County Department of Transportation has slated a community meeting to discuss options for improving safety at a trail crossing of a Dulles Toll Road ramp. The meeting is tonight from 6:30-8 p.m. in the cafeteria of Dogwood Elementary School (12300 Glade Drive). [Reston Now]

Changes Coming to South Lakes Bus Route — To address crowding associated with South Lakes High School ridership, Fairfax Connector will shorten headways on some afternoon trips on Route 551 beginning Sept. 30. [Fairfax Connector]

2017 Virginia Tax Amnesty Program Begins — Until Nov. 14, delinquent individual and business taxpayers can pay back taxes with no penalties and half the interest. [Gov. Terry McAuliffe]

No More ‘Wiley’-Reston East? — In a tweet responding to a rider’s question, Metrorail says it is “exploring ways” to fix automated voice announcements that mispronounce the name of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. [Metrorail Info/Twitter]

File photo courtesy Karen Raffel

by Dave Emke September 6, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Va. Transit Ridership Continues Downward Trend — Usage of the Metro’s Silver Line stations at Reston and Tysons is increasing, but that’s one of the few bright spots for public transportation ridership in the region. [WTOP]

Board to Determine Fate of Wedell’s Seat — Following Ray Wedell’s resignation from the Reston Association Board of Directors last week, remaining board members have a decision to make about whether to fill the seat and, if so, how. The term on the now-vacant seat runs through April. [Reston Association]

Reston Sisters Make Jewelry for Good Cause — A pair of local girls founded their own charity project, Rays of Hope, in 2012. They make jewelry out of shells they find on the beach in North Carolina’s Outer Banks and sell it to benefit CancerFree KIDS, a cause they became passionate about when their cousin was diagnosed with leukemia. [Connection Newspapers]

County Expands On-Scene Mental Health Work — The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board recently added a second fully operational Mobile Crisis Unit, part of the county’s “Diversion First” initiative to offer alternatives to incarceration for people with mental illness and other disabilities who come into contact with the criminal justice system for low-level offenses. [Fairfax County]

by Dave Emke August 30, 2017 at 9:00 am 4 Comments

Karen Keys-Gamarra Wins School Board Seat — The candidate, backed by the Democratic party, received nearly 64 percent of the 70,198 votes cast (10.4 percent voter turnout). In the Hunter Mill District, Keys-Gamarra took almost 72 percent of the vote. The At-Large term to which she was elected runs through 2019. [Fairfax County/Karen Keys-Gamarra]

D.C. Congresswoman Calls for Metro Board to Step Down — U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), ranking member of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), has called on current members of Metro’s Board of Directors to resign to make way for the smaller five-member temporary board recommended by former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. [Eleanor Norton]

FCPS Changing Policy on Teachers Who Admit Sexual Transgression — Dr. Scott Brabrand, the new superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools, says FCPS will more promptly notify state officials about teachers who admit sex offenses to ensure those teachers are unable to find teaching positions in other school districts. [NBC Washington]

New Local Platform Matches Families with NanniescNanny, a hyperlocal web platform that matches families with nannies, is launching in McLean, Vienna, Falls Church, Tysons Corner and Reston. [McLean Patch]

by Dave Emke August 11, 2017 at 9:00 am 7 Comments

Key Information for SLHS Students — Over 2,470 students will be attending South Lakes High School this fall. The school recently provided information about class schedules, counselor assignments and much more in preparation for the new year. [South Lakes High School]

Report: Metro Safety Documents Falsified — Track reports were copied and pasted month after month, raising questions about the competency of inspectors and a lack of supervision. [WAMU]

Deon King Standing Out for Browns — In an interview with Fox Sports Ohio, SLHS alum Deon King talks about the experience he has had thus far in training camp with the Cleveland Browns. King had three tackles and a fumble recovery in the Browns’ first preseason game Thursday night against the New Orleans Saints. [Fox Sports Ohio/YouTube]

Work This Weekend to Install Pedestrian Bridge — Starting at about 10 p.m. tonight, there will be detours on Sunrise Valley Drive in Herndon as the bridge for the Innovation Center Metro station is set over the road. In addition, there will be lane modifications on the eastbound Dulles Toll Road all day Saturday for striping. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

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