“We are now in dialogue with a tenant for 100 percent of our proposed new development in Reston Town Center, 17Fifty,” said Doug Linde, Boston Properties president, during the company’s quarterly earnings conference call Wednesday.
The 270,000-square foot, 17-story office building will be constructed at the corner of Presidents and Market streets. No further information was provided about the nature of the potential tenant.
Linde also said there are “multiple tenants competing” for a 38,000-square foot block of space at Reston Town Center.
Also during the conference call Wednesday, BXP CFO Michael LaBelle said the company is expecting big things from The Signature, currently under construction at Fountain Drive and New Dominion Parkway. The mixed-use development, which will be anchored by a Balducci’s grocery store, will have 508 residential units and nine levels of underground parking when it opens next year.
LaBelle called the development one of the “most significant projects in our pipeline.”
Site plan via CBRE/Reston Town Center
The Fairfax County Department of Planning & Zoning will host a community meeting next week to discuss proposed zoning ordinance changes that could increase the residential density limit in Reston.
The current zoning ordinance limits residential density in Reston’s Planned Residential Community District, which encompasses most of the community, to an average of 13 people per acre. The Comprehensive Plan for Reston was updated by Fairfax County in 2014 and 2015, guiding redevelopment in Reston’s Transit Station Areas, Town Center and village centers.
The community meeting will be held Wednesday, May 3 at 7 p.m. at the North County Governmental Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive).
A representative for Supervisor Cathy Hudgins’ office said the county DPZ is reviewing data to determine what changes to the ordinance may be necessary to accommodate for the growth approved by the changes to the plan. The meeting May 3, as well as a Reston Planning & Zoning Committee meeting May 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the same location, are opportunities for the community to share their thoughts, she said.
Map courtesy Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning
Our County Board of Supervisors, led by Chairman Sharon Bulova, is in the process of overbuilding and underserving residents in Reston and across the county. The result will be the eroding livability of Reston and other county areas facing urbanization.
And this is being accomplished by a simple arithmetical trick: Overstating the amount of space new housing and office space require to accommodate residents and workers. Very simply, county planners continue to overstate the space needed for office workers as 300 gross square feet (GSF) per worker when studies globally over nearly a decade show it is now under 200 GSF/worker and could be headed to 150 GSF/worker.
At the same time, as it started to plan for Tysons’ redevelopment nearly a decade ago, the County raised its planning assumption for the size of station area dwelling units (DUs) from 1,000 GSF/DU to 1,200 GSF/DU. Nonetheless, a County planning study for Tysons showed then (2007) that the average size of Tysons residents was 1,100 GSF, mostly in garden apartments before the recent advent of massive high-rise residential development there. Now, the average high-rise DU size is shrinking well below 1,000 GSF/DU, more than offsetting the few mid-rise and single-family attached DUs in station areas, as some recent Reston development proposals show:
- JBG/Wiehle and partners plan for 1,300-1,500 residential units in 1.2 million GSF of development in two 5-story buildings, or 800-925 GSF/DU;
- Golf Course Plaza proposes 413 DUs in a 392,600 GSF multi-family building or 950 GSF/DU, also in 5-story structures;
- Faraday’s proposes redeveloping the area just south of Wiehle Station with up to 500 apartments in two buildings with about 487,000 GSF of residential space that will reach about 975 GSF/DU according to its plan submission.
- Lerner Enterprises is planning a 457-“luxury apartment” complex called Excelsior Park with average unit size at about 1,050 GSF in 423,587 rentable square feet (RBA), which equates to 481,350 GSF.
That’s nearly 3,000 DUs, including luxury apartments, whose average GSF is about 925 GSF/DU — nowhere near the County’s assumed size of 1,200 GSF/DU — and suggesting the number of future residents and DUs in Reston’s station areas will be nearly one-third greater than planned under existing allowable densities. This is consistent with national data: A study of apartment sizes over the last decade shows that their average size has shrunk — not expanded — from 1,015 square feet to 934 square feet.
The impact is straightforward: The resulting planned densities (total GSF of development divided by the square footage of the lot on which it sits) will allow half-again as many office workers and 28 percent more residential units than the County plan officially intends. Yet developers and the County are only planning to provide services — improved roads, schools and parks, and more — based on the lower count envisioned in the plan. The result will be reduced services and higher taxes.
So what does that mean for “real people?” Based on GSF information provided by FCDOT to the Supervisors serving as the Board Transportation Committee, the current Reston station area plan offers the potential for 76,280 added residents (at 2.0 residents/DU) and 29,059 added office worker jobs (at 300GSF/worker) in the next four decades.
If instead of using the County’s faulty planning assumptions, we use real world experience, we can anticipate that the allowable development could result in an addition of 101,492 total residents in 50,746 DUs and 78,559 office workers, including retrofitted office buildings, market conditions permitting. More specifically, it suggests an order of magnitude explosion in residents (11,720 in 2010 vs. 113,212 then) and more than twice as many office employees (69,941 in 2010 vs. 148,500 then) in Reston’s station areas. Overall, Reston can expect twice as many people living and working in the station areas as is anticipated by the Reston plan.
Developer Bozzuto is deferring “indefinitely” its application to redevelop St. Johns Wood, according to information sent out by Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins’ office Thursday afternoon.
Hudgins’ office says the community meeting on the project that had been scheduled for Tuesday is being canceled, and a representative for the supervisor said it is her understanding that “all meetings” regarding the proposal are off the table.
The plan was scheduled to go before the Fairfax County Planning Commission on May 25, following additional meetings with Reston’s Planning & Zoning Committee and Design Review Board on May 15 and 16. Meetings with the P&Z Committee and DRB this week featured many comments against the project from North Point residents, and the DRB in particular was critical of many elements of the project.
Brian Winterhalter of Cooley LLP, the commercial real-estate attorney representing Bozzuto, said at Tuesday’s DRB meeting that his team would follow up about scheduling a work session with the Design Review Board. However, he expressed disappointment with how the process was progressing.
The proposal has been in the works since 2014 and has seen numerous changes in that time. The current plan calls for 481 multifamily units within two buildings on the 14.3-acre property.
Winterhalter has not responded to requests for comment.
Speaking to representatives for developer Bozzuto during an informational session Tuesday night, the vice chair of Reston’s Design Review Board expressed deep concern about the future of the community.
“It’s imperative as we get new developments that they respect the Reston quality, and not allow us to become simply another suburban development,” Richard Newlon said. “Internal overdevelopment will destroy Reston.”
Newlon, who has served on the DRB for 18 years, said roughly 10 percent of the 134 clusters in Reston are owned by developers such as Bozzuto, JBG and Lerner. He said the St. Johns Wood project is a “precedent-producing application.”
“One of my concerns is if all of those 13 or so clusters do the same thing, Reston as Reston exists today is gone,” he said. “Reston as we know it would cease to exist.”
Bozzuto’s redevelopment proposal features 481 multifamily units within two buildings on the 14.3-acre North Point property, where there are currently 250 multifamily units in nine buildings.
Members of Reclaim Reston also spoke during the session, presenting similar information to what they did at a Monday night session with the Planning & Zoning Committee. Members of the DRB agreed with much of what the affected parties shared, including about the apparent lack of context-sensitive design within the proposal.
“Contextualism is a term that suggests an architecture that responds to its surroundings by respecting what’s already there, and I think we have a problem here because I don’t think that’s happening,” Newlon said. “I think you guys [Bozzuto] are going to really have to look at the design and do what you can, both from a massing standpoint and, as we get to it, an architectural standpoint.”
DRB member Neal Roseberry said the potential of having such an imposing development go up in a residential neighborhood is frightening.
“How do you insert this relatively high-density anomaly into an existing setting, an existing neighborhood that doesn’t have anything like this at all, and [the development] obviously scares people?” he said. “It’s literally scary to think of this thing landing in that neighborhood up there.”
Brian Winterhalter of Cooley LLP, the commercial real-estate attorney representing Bozzuto, said his team would follow up about scheduling a work session with the Design Review Board. However, he expressed disappointment with how the process is progressing.
“You have approved a plan [in July], we came back with a revised plan. You had very specific comments about the revised plan, which we feel we have addressed very well based on what you gave us, and now we’re back two steps backward,” Winterhalter said. “And so I don’t know what we make of that going forward in terms of the comments we just received.”
Newlon said the plan that was approved in July was a different plan that the board felt was “going in the right direction.”
“This is a whole new project, as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “It’s doing, in my mind, all the things we were hoping wouldn’t happen.”
Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins has a community meeting on the proposal slated for next Tuesday at Langston Hughes Middle School. The proposal is set to go before the Planning & Zoning Committee and the Design Review Board again next month, on May 15 and 16. A Fairfax County Planning Commission hearing on the project remains scheduled for May 25.
Screencap via Reston Association YouTube channel; rendering via Bozzuto/KTGY
The company will finalize a deal to purchase the land from Rooney Properties “later this year,” the WBJ says. As we previously reported, Rooney purchased the property in 2013 and Fairfax County approved a rezoning request in October. In February, a permit application to tear down the six-story office building currently on the 3.5 acres was filed.
The purchase price of the reported sale was not disclosed.
The WBJ reports Toll Brothers plans to follow through on the plan to tear down the office building, with an aim to complete site-plan approval by fall. Sales would begin next summer, according to the report, with prices in the $800,000 range.
The property is located across Roland Clarke Place from the former location of the API building, which was razed last year to make room for the future Sunrise Square cluster. Also owned by Rooney Properties, that will consist of 34 townhouses and 10 condos.
Both properties are part of a large number of developments planned for the stretch between the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station and the future Reston Town Center station, as progression of the Silver Line’s Phase 2 continues.
Rendering courtesy Rooney Properties
The last time North Point residents addressed Bozzuto about the developer’s proposed St. Johns Wood redevelopment, the catchphrase was “size matters.”
At Monday night’s meeting of the Reston Planning & Zoning Committee meeting, the message was tweaked — with a nod to Johnnie Cochran.
“In order for the developer to pack in the desired density, to squeeze in nearly double the current number of units and who knows how many residents, the developer again proposes a design that simply does not fit,” said Linda Platt, one of several members of Reclaim Reston who spoke in succession in a coordinated effort to fight the latest proposal. “And if it does not fit, they must quit.”
That rhyming phrase was repeated throughout Platt’s statement and was invoked by other speakers as well as community members had the chance to speak in response to Bozzuto during the latest informational meeting on the proposal. Bozzuto was presenting to the Planning & Zoning Committee for the sixth time since the project was first proposed in 2014; tonight, the proposal goes before Reston’s Design Review Board for the sixth time as well.
Brian Winterhalter of Cooley LLP, the commercial real-estate attorney presenting the plan on behalf of Bozzuto, told the committee Monday that the proposal to put 481 mid-rise multifamily units within two buildings is suitable for a property that was originally marked in the Reston Master Plan for high-density development.
There are currently 250 multifamily units on the 14.3-acre property.
The redevelopment proposal features 33.6 units per acre, which classifies it as medium-density. Winterhalter said the proposal is for about 60 percent one-bedroom units, with a third of the units having two-bedrooms and only about 5 percent with three bedrooms.
Work surrounding the construction of the Hunters Woods at Trails Edge Senior Living Community will disrupt walkways in the area, including forcing the closing of the underpass to Hunters Woods Village Center, for up to two years.
According to information provided by Reston Association, temporary pathways will be created in the area of the construction, 2222 Colts Neck Road. This will include the building of a new pedestrian bridge over Snakeden Creek near the property to ensure access to Colts Neck Road from Reston Parkway remains.
Pedestrians who regularly use the Colts Neck Road underpass to access Hunters Woods Village Center from Reston Parkway can walk to the intersections of Glade Drive or South Lakes Drive where there are signaled crosswalks, RA says.
Developer Atlantic Realty Company will pay for pathway alterations in the area of the construction. The temporary trails will be wood-chipped and unlighted. According to RA, they may not be suitable for bicycles or strollers.
The work to re-route the pathways is expected to begin within the next two weeks.
ARC has agreed, as part of its work to construct the senior-living facility to contribute $81,300 to improve pedestrian trails and pathway lighting within a half-mile of the facility. It also will be putting $60,000 into improvement of the facade of the Colts Neck pedestrian underpass, in coordination with Public Art Reston and Reston Association.
Map courtesy Reston Association
County’s Eastern Portion Closing Business Gap — The western part of Fairfax County, including Reston and Tysons, continues to far and away lead the county’s commercial economy. But the quickest growing nonresidential properties of the county, according to newly released data, are in the Springfield and Alexandria areas. [Washington Business Journal]
Parents of Special-Needs Students Form Own PTA — The Fairfax County Special Education PTA is planning a meeting April 25 to vote on its bylaws and form an executive board. [Fairfax County Public Schools]
Parking Controversy the Source of April Fool’s Fodder — At least a couple creative local residents decided to have some fun over the weekend with stories about what “happened” at the Town Center on April 1. [Restonian/Medium.com]
Grab a Free Ice Cream Cone — Today is “Free Cone Day” at Ben & Jerry’s, including the local shop at 11916 Market St. at Reston Town Center. The company has celebrated the annual event since 1979. Cones will be available from noon to 8 p.m. [Ben & Jerry’s]
Reston National Golf Course has been advertised for potential redevelopment, but a lot would need to happen for that to take place, Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins is reminding constituents.
In a statement to media Monday morning, Hudgins said an interpretation of the property’s status made by Fairfax County’s Department of Planning and Zoning is “clear and concise.”
“According to the interpretation, the process is clear and concise and must be followed in order for development other than a golf course or open space to be considered for the property,” Hudgins said.
The interpretation of the golf course property by Fairfax County Planning and Zoning reads:
“Based on the previous approvals, the redevelopment of the property from a golf course to residential uses would first require an amendment to the Reston Master Plan which is part of the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan, as well as obtaining both Development Plan Amendment approval and Planned Residential Community Plan approval from the Board of Supervisors.”
According to Hudgins’ office, the supervisor made the statement Monday in response to the recent advertisement of the property by developer ARA Newmark as well as a recent article on real-estate news site GlobeSt, which quoted specific rumored sale prices and development values for the property. Hudgins believes the characterization of the property as a “by-right, mixed-use development opportunity” could be misleading to some residents, who may believe its redevelopment to be “a done deal,” her office stated.
Activist group Rescue Reston, which fought against a previous attempt to redevelop the property, has stated it will “mobilize [its] allies and supporters as necessary to oppose any attempt to amend the Comprehensive Plan that would threaten our open space.”
Speaking to community business leaders Thursday in Herndon, Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said the amount of development taking place within Reston’s Transit Station Areas has surpassed expectations and has positioned Reston as an economic driver for the county, region and state.
At the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce’s legislative panel event, Hudgins said she and others believed Tysons Corner would grow faster than Reston when their respective plans were first laid out.
“I think it’s the reverse of that now, and I think it’s the reverse of it because Reston is a very stable community,” Hudgins said. “[It is] a community well-established, different from this [transit-oriented] development but very much in concert with it.”
Hudgins showed her audience a map featuring the three Reston TSAs — encompassing the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station as well as the future Reston Town Center and Herndon stations — and pointed out more than 40 development projects that are in the works within those boundaries.
“This would not be happening if we had not approved the transit that is coming to the area,” she said. “It’s working.”
Hudgins said the Tax Service Districts that have been established in Reston and Tysons in order to help fund transportation improvements in the community were “a lot of work” to develop, but they represent a “success model” for the county. She said increasing public transit and making more walkable communities around the stations is “a creative, very smart way to approach how we develop and keep economic development going.”
“Many folks — not just millenials, but seniors — find it important to be able to live in a community where everything is at their fingertips,” Hudgins said. “[With transit-oriented development], they feel that there is housing that fits for them, there’s recreation that fits for them, and there are restaurants and the thriving other services that they need. They aren’t getting in their car. They want to be able to walk or take transit, and that’s what’s happening here.”
Hudgins said that when the Reston Plan was approved over 50 years ago, it said “Fairfax County would be wise if they would establish these areas, preserving more open space for single-family homes and others, but bringing these more dense areas to concentrate things.”
“Fifty years later, we’re getting there,” she said. “I think it’s going to be the story about how Fairfax County continues to thrive.”
Dirt was overturned Thursday morning at 2222 Colts Neck Road, which will soon become the home of the Hunters Woods at Trails Edge Senior Living Community.
The former site of the United Christian Parish church will be transformed between now and January 2019, project leadership says. When complete, the IntegraCare facility will have 210 senior-living units — including 90 independent living units, 81 for assisted living, 24 for memory care and 15 for special needs.
“This facility is going to offer a very broad continuum of services for the seniors in our community,” said David A. Ross, partner and president of developer Atlantic Realty Companies. “We are proud to bring this leading-edge amenity to the community, the first of its kind in Reston.”
The property is located roughly across Colts Neck Road from the entrance to Hunters Woods Village Center. As part of its partnership with the community, the developer has agreed to contribute $81,300 to improve pedestrian trails and pathway lighting within a half-mile of the facility; as well as $60,000 to target improvement of the facade of the Colts Neck pedestrian underpass, in coordination with Public Art Reston and Reston Association.
In addition, $20,000 is being provided for capital improvements to the Nature House.
“We, 50-plus years old here in Reston, know that for those of us who want to stay here, you have to provide a place for us,” she said. “This is a really great facility in that it meets those needs and it really serves the community.”
Ellen Graves, president of the Reston Association Board of Directors, said the addition of the senior-living community to Reston is a promotion of founder Bob Simon’s vision of providing for people throughout their entire lives.
“[The project supports this] by providing the fullest range of housing, styles and prices,” she said. “Hunters Woods at Trails Edge will provide a choice for those growing older in our community and who want to remain here.”
Among the independent-living units, 20 percent will be designated as affordable housing units, while 4 percent of the assisted-living beds will be for those eligible for the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services Auxiliary Grant Program. There is planned to be 48 full-time staff positions on site, with other medical service professionals providing on-site services as well.
Thursday’s ceremony represented the latest milestone in a 10-year journey to make the facility a reality. The 4.3-acre site was first approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for 210 independent-living units in 2007, but the plan was later amended to the current design. The new plan was approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in May 2016.
Pennsylvania-based IntegraCare has several other communities in the Mid-Atlantic region, but this will be its first in Virginia.
“This is really a once-in-a-career opportunity, to be involved in a project that has the nature of this project,” said Rick Irwin, the company’s CEO. “[We are grateful to have] the opportunity to be right near the Reston Community Center and the Southgate Community Center, where our residents can get our support and care but [also] maximize their independence… and have such great access to stay within the fabric of this Reston community.”
Bozzuto Management brought the seventh version of its plan to redevelop St. Johns Wood to the Reston Planning & Zoning Committee for a public information session Monday.
Dozens of community members, many sporting yellow “Reclaim Reston” T-shirts, were in attendance to hear what Bozzuto and the P&Z had to say, and to give their thoughts on the matter — which, for the most part, haven’t changed.
The latest incarnation of the developer’s plan for the community features 481 mid-rise, multifamily units in two buildings. All townhouses that had been part of previous designs have been removed from the plan. Heights of the buildings have been reduced “significantly,” according to Brian Winterhalter, Cooley LLP commercial real-estate attorney, who presented the plan to the committee.
In addition, Winterhalter said a tree buffer along Center Harbor Road has been restored in its entirety; setbacks on all sides of the site have been increased; open space in the site plan has been increased to 55 percent; proffers have been added to account for pedestrian and vehicle safety on Center Harbor Road; and a community-gathering area and recreational facilities have been relocated and expanded.
With the changes, several members of the Planning & Zoning Committee said the developers are getting closer to where they need to be. But residents, who have been opposed to the project since it was first proposed in 2014, remained unwavering.
The development would top out at five stories at its center — and the property sits at the highest elevation in North Reston, concerned residents pointed out.
“Size matters when you propose to place a nearly 60-foot-tall building on the highest point of the highest ridge in the area, so it towers above the surrounding neighborhoods,” he said while listing potential problems with the development. “There are more reasons to send the developer again back to the drawing boards — or preferably, back to Maryland.”
While the topic was not on the agenda of last week’s Reston Association Board of Directors meeting, Director Ray Wedell spoke for about 10 minutes in regard to a rumor that an email question-and-answer opportunity with Bozzuto was being set up by RA for members.
“To open the door in any manner for any member to directly confront Bozzuto or discuss with Bozzuto anything about this when we have on the table that we’re firmly opposed to this… would be a huge, huge, huge mistake,” Wedell said. “If I’m wrong, at least make the board vote on it to say that.”
CEO Cate Fulkerson said, contrary to the rumor, no email service for members to submit questions for Bozzuto has been created. She did say that in response to a member’s suggestion, there had been discussion about setting up a page on RA’s website for staff to answer member questions about Bozzuto’s proposal.
The most recent proposal for the redevelopment of St. Johns Wood called for two multifamily residential buildings totaling 467 units, along with 44 townhomes. Last year, the Board of Directors unanimously passed a resolution stating it is firmly against the plan. A letter communicating such was sent to the county in September. Considering that, Wedell said, RA should not entertain any further discussion of the proposal.
“If we can’t kill this abomination, we’ll never kill anything,” Wedell said. “And there’s a hell of a lot of abominations coming, as we all know.”
Fulkerson reiterated to Wedell that no work has been done by her or staff to extend the conversation through a Q&A with Bozzuto.
“We have done nothing,” Fulkerson told him. “I want to make it very clear, no email Q&A has been set up [and] nothing has changed on the Association’s website.”
While the RA Board and concerned members have both expressed their displeasure with the proposal to Bozzuto, the developer remains within its rights to propose the redevelopment. That could be approved by the county through waivers and exemptions to the Master Plan. The plan is scheduled to be reviewed again by the Fairfax County Planning Commission on May 25.
Tonight’s meeting of the Reston Planning & Zoning Committee to hear Bozzuto’s latest proposal is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at RA Headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive).
Kensington Senior Development LLC hopes to put an assisted-living facility on Sunrise Valley Drive, and the public is invited to give its input.
Fairfax County’s Health Care Advisory Board will hold a public meeting on the proposal Monday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the county Government Center (12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax). At the meeting, a special-exemption application from Kensington to put the facility at 11501 Sunrise Valley Drive will be reviewed.
The sale of the property to Kensington by its current owners, the Good Beginnings School, is contingent upon the approval of the plan by the county.
The application is scheduled for a Sept. 27 hearing before the county Planning Commission. The Health Care Advisory Board, meanwhile, is tasked with reviewing the application from a health care perspective rather than land use, using criteria such as community and medical need, access to care, cost, quality, and continuity of care.
HCAB will make recommendations regarding the proposal to the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission.
The current plan for Kensington’s proposed 91,000-square-foot Reston facility includes 91 units and 125 to 135 beds. The 2 1/2- to 3 1/2-story facility would feature underground parking. A representative from Cooley LLP presented the plan to Reston’s Design Review Board on Feb. 21.
Members of the public are welcome to attend the April 3 meeting of HCAB and provide comments. Anyone who wishes to speak should call 703-246-8664 by Friday. Written comments can also be considered, if they are received prior to the meeting. They can be sent by email to [email protected] or by mail to HCAB Staff Coordinator, Health Department, 10777 Main St., Suite 203, Fairfax, VA 22030.