Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Approves Reston Crossing Redevelopment

With little fanfare and discussion yesterday (Tuesday), the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved Tishman Speyer’s proposal to redevelop a Reston office park into seven mixed-use buildings next to the future Reston Town Center Metro Station.

The project, known as Reston Crossing, would replace two office buildings with 2 million square feet of development at the intersection the Dulles Toll Road and Reston Crossing. Plans were first pitched in January last year.

Details of Reston Crossing are below:

  • Building 1: Up to 390,000 square feet of office and up to 15,000 square feet of retail
  • Building 2: Up to 130,000 square feet with between 89 or 144 residential units
  • Building 3: Up to 290,000 square feet in a residential-only building with between 144 to 322 units
  • Building 4: Up to 510,000 square feet with office and retail use. The building could have up to 22 stories — the tallest of all the buildings
  • Building 5: Up to 245,000 square feet with up to 261 residential units and some retail
  • Building 6: Up to 230,000 square feet with up to 244 residential units and some retail
  • Building 7: Up to 205,000 square feet with up to 222 units and 5,000 square feet of retail

The plan includes 890,000 square feet of office space, more than 1 million square feet of residential and up to 50,000 square feet of retail. More than 1,000 residential units are planned on the 14-acre site. Open light wells called “oculi” will allow pedestrians in open spaces to look down onto the parking level of the site.

The board also approved tweaks to Halley Rise, which will be anchored by Wegmans. One Reston Co. LLC and Two Reston Co. LLC sought to redistribute previously approved square footage to break up what the team called a “crowded block” on the project.

A plan to scale back the amount of office space at Reston Heights (11830 Sunrise Valley Drive) was also approved. The change reduced the amount of previously approved office space by 215,000 square feet.

Rendering via handout/Fairfax County Government

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Fairfax County Planning Commission Denies Plan for 13-Story Building

The Fairfax County Planning Commission struck down a plan to bring a 13-story building with 58 residential units near Reston Regional Library.

During a meeting yesterday (Wednesday) night, Commissioners noted that the plan by NS Reston would exceed the density and guidelines allowed for the area, which is known in planning jargon as “Part 5.”

In a report, county staff noted the property has been “marketed as a park for over 20 years.” Staff also stated that the plan was not in conformance with Reston’s comprehensive plan.

Hunter Mill District Planning Commissioner John Carter said that the commission cannot simply approve plans that do not conform with land use and density requirements. If the parcel is to be developed, it should be consolidated with the Reston Regional Library parcel to the north.

“I can’t imagine that we just disregard the comprehensive plan,” Carter said.

NS Reston is seeking to build a 180-foot residential structure on the site with a partially underground parking garage. An urban park will include public art, a wall bench and a recreational lawn.

John Hart, the commission’s vice chairman, stressed that it is within the purview of the commission to assert that a development area is too small and that maintaining the location as open space is too important to allow development at the intensity proposed.

John McGranahan Jr., the applicant’s representative, said that the development history on the site was complicated.

Despite this, McGranahan said changes between recent approvals of the comprehensive plan indicate that the proposal could be allowed.

He also disputed the way the county calculated whether or not Part 5 would be pushed beyond its development capacity if NS Reston’s plan was approved.

The project is located on the north side of New Dominion Parkway roughly 300 feet west off of Fountain Drive.

The developer did not indicate if they will appeal the decision.

Renderings via NS Reston/Fairfax County Government

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Planning Commission Approves Scaled Back Version of Reston Heights

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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Lake Anne Fellowship Redevelopment Awarded $700K in State Gap Funding

The redevelopment of Lake Anne Fellowship House, which has provided affordable housing for seniors in Reston fore more than 40 years, received a funding boost on Tuesday (June 5) .

Gov. Ralph Northam announced that the project will receive $700,000 in state gap funding, one of 17 projects in the state to tap into $11.1 million in affordable and special needs housing loans.

In a release, the loans will create or maintain 1,283 affordable housing units in the state. Northam made the announcement at American Legion Post in Arlington.

Loans were awarded through a competitive process by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. Funding streams for loans include a combination of state and federal sources.

The state selected proposals from 29 applications requesting a total of more than $21 million. Proposals were scored based on funding availability.

“Through this program, we are providing the necessary financing to preserve and create safe and sustainable housing for many low-to-moderate-income Virginians,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball in a statement.

Four other Northern Virginia projects received funding:

  • $1.3 Million for the Residences at North Hill Bond 94
  • $1 million for the Residences at North Hill Bond 47
  • $700,000 for The Arden
  • $700,000 for Virginia Square

The redevelopment of Lake Anne Fellowship House, which was approved in October last year, will preserve 240 apartments as affordable units for seniors for the next 30 years.

Approved plans call for replacing the existing apartments at Lake Anne Fellowship House with a modern building along North Shore Drive near the intersection with Village Road.  The plan also include 36 market rate townhouses to help pay for the cost of senior housing.

The project is part of a partnership between Fellowship Square Foundation, which owns and operates Lake Anne House, and real estate developer Community Preservation and Development Corp.

Rendering via Fairfax County Government

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Tishman Speyer’s Reston Crossing Project Heads to County Board for Approval

Tishman Speyer’s plan to redevelop two office buildings — Reston Crossing I and II — into a major mixed-use project with up to 2 million square feet of development got a green light from the Fairfax County Planning Commission last night (Wednesday).

A vote by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is set for June 8.

The project, Reston Crossing, is located at the Dulles Toll Road and Reston Parkway near the future Reston Town Center Metro Station.  It is neighbored by the Reston Crescent, an approved mixed-use development that is the future home of Wegmans.

The New York-based developer plans to build seven high-rise buildings that are up to 20 stories tall around open space on the 14-acre site. The plan also includes up to 1,003 residential units.

Most of the parking on the site will be underground. Open light wells called “oculi” will allow pedestrians in the parks to look down onto the parking level.

An office building that is between 10 to 16 stories in height would be the first to be constructed if the project is approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. The first phase of construction will also include a crossing plaza, a retail plaza and a retail gallery.

Patches of open space totaling 7.4 acres are sprinkled throughout the site. For example, Halley’s Steps is a pocket park designed to transition to Edmund Halley Drive, which runs parallel to the property. A 1-acre “ribbon garden” is also planned, providing a connection from Reston Parkway to the Metro Station.

The two office buildings on the site — Reston Crossing I and II — and surface parking will remain untouched until the second phase of development. The office campus was built in 1998 and is largely undeveloped thus far.

Details of Reston Crossing are below:

  • Building 1: Up to 390,000 square feet of office and up to 15,000 square feet of retail
  • Building 2: Up to 130,000 square feet with between 89 or 144 residential units
  • Building 3: Up to 290,000 square feet in a residential-only building with between 144 to 322 units
  • Building 4: Up to 510,000 square feet with office and retail use. The building could have up to 22 stories — the tallest of all the buildings
  • Building 5: Up to 245,000 square feet with up to 261 residential units and some retail
  • Building 6: Up to 230,000 square feet with up to 244 residential units and some retail
  • Building 7: Up to 205,000 square feet with up to 222 units and 5,000 square feet of retail

Tishman Speyer also plans to work with the owners of Reston Crescent to construct a road used by both sites. A third southbound land along Reston Parkway will be added before the first residential building permit for the second building is issued.

The company also plans to dedicate a right-of-way to the county on Edmund Halley Drive and install a traffic signal offsite between roads A and C, which are depicted in renderings above.

The Planning Commission also approved tweaks to Brookfield Properties’ Reston Crescent project next door to Reston Crossing last night.

John Carter, the Hunter Mill District Planning Commissioner, said the changes were not substantial and did not change the density of the project.

Photos via handout/Fairfax County Government

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Photos: Lofts at Reston Station Now Complete

Lofts at Reston Station will debut new one-level elevator condominiums starting at $544,485  this weekend.

The redevelopment project by Pulte Homes brings 12 two-level townhouse-style condos and 32 one-level condos just a short walk from the Wiehle-Metro East Metro Station.

Megan Skupien, a spokeswoman for Pulte Homes, said the company has sold out its two-story condos.

Heading into the grand opening weekend, almost 50 percent of the one-level condos, which have two bedrooms and two bathrooms, are sold out.

“We couldn’t be happier as we head into the weekend,” Skupien said.

All infrastructure work has been completed, with the exception of topping off the remaining roads. Other road construction work will happen in cooperation with other developers and land owners.

Construction on the project, which is located at 1825 Michael Faraday Drive, began last spring. The county approved Pulte Homes’ proposal to replace an office building and parking lot with a residential development in November 2016.

Residents of The Lofts will be Reston Association members.

Photos by Fatimah Waseem

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Comstock Hires New Head of Acquisitions

Comstock has hired Mike Daugard to lead acquisitions of new properties as the real estate company moves forward on major projects near Metro sites.

Before joining Comstock, Daugard worked with the Washington Real Estate Investment Trust, Rubenstein Partners, JLL, Lowe Enterprises, and The Mills Corporation.

“We are thrilled to have Mike Daugard on the Comstock team,” said Christopher Clemente, CEO of Comstock. “Mike is a seasoned industry professional with deep market knowledge and insight that enhances Comstock’s ability to identify attractive institutional investment opportunities, increase assets under management across asset classes, and drive bottom line results.” 

Daugard graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a B.S. degree in Finance. He has been an adjunct professor at the school for the last six years.

He will probe ways to expand Comstock’s properties in the area, negotiate transaction details and identify acquisition opportunities.

Comstock announced his hire on Monday (May 13).

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Monday Morning Notes

Updated Plans for Reston Crossing — The project has changed slightly since it was introduced, though many of the basics have remained the same. The biggest difference is that the developer is now envisioning seven buildings for the site instead of six, and they’ve now firmed up the planned mix of residential, office and retail space planned for the area. [The Washington Business Journal]

College Planning Event Today — Experts from OneCommonwealth Advisors share tips on how to make colleges more affordable and help families plan ahead at Reston Regional Library from 7-8 p.m. [Reston Regional Library]

Trash Pickup Problems in Fairfax County — “Fairfax County is investigating reports of missed trash pick-ups by a solid waste and recycling collection company in preparation to take legal action. During the county’s Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday (May 7), John Cook and Kathy Smith, the district supervisors for Braddock and Sully, respectively, presented a board matter prompting the investigation into whether American Disposal Services has violated any consumer protection laws. [Tysons Reporter]

Photo by Lauren Pao

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Planning Commission OKs Prince Towne Development

The Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously approved Prince Towne LLC’s plans to replace four single-family homes near West Ox Road with nine single-family homes Wednesday night.

The plan for the 4.9-acre site, which is on the north side of West Ox Road and east of Fairfax County Parkway, heads to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for a vote in the coming weeks.

Hunter Mill District Planning Commissioner John Carter said several “magical” improvements helped address critical stormwater management and drainage issues on the site.

Carter said the county worked with the applicant to reduce setbacks on the western property line, preserve more trees, and install an underground stormwater management system.

The community has struggled with poor drainage systems in the past, with most water pooling to the center of the community.

The commission also worked with the applicant to tweak elements like the relocation of a driveway by 18 feet and the deletion of a retaining wall.

“What we’ve done in the last six weeks is to work on the layout,” Carter said.

The applicant also plans to install a new street — Prince Towne Court — that will intersect with West Ox Road.

A final vote by the Board of Supervisors has not been scheduled yet.

During the Wednesday meeting, the commission once again deferred a decision on a plan to remove 215,000 square feet of office space from Reston Heights (11830 Sunrise Valley Drive). A dispute about easement access with neighboring property owners, among other issues, stalled the vote.

Carter said the commission needed more time to resolve several issues. A vote is scheduled for May 22.

Photo via handout/Fairfax County Government

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Renovations to South Lakes Village Center to Begin This Summer

Construction on new upgrades to make South Lakes Village Center more of a local destination are planned for this summer.

Thomas Regnell, president and CEO of Chevy Chase Land Company, told Reston Now that construction is expected to start over the next several weeks. Planned upgrades, which include an amphitheater, a bike rack and repair station, and a fire pit, are intended to help turn the aging commercial center into an attractive destination that brings local residents together.

Regnell said it was too early to indicate when upgrades will be completed, but the construction process will take eight weeks.

Some features of the plan — which originally included ping pong tables — were removed at the request of Reston Association’s Design Review Board, which approved the project in June. Citizen groups and nearby residents sounded off against the plans, which they said would attract noise, vandalism, and too much activity.

The project is expected to cost between $300,000 and $400,000, Regnell said.

Photos via Chevy Chase Land Company

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City Lab Editor: Reston is a ‘Radical Suburb’

Stereotypes of suburban life — with its big homes, picketed fences, and affluent people — thrive in America. But in some “radical suburbs,” people flocked to the urban fringes to chase a different way of life, according to City Lab Editor Amanda Kolson Hurley.

In her new book, “Radical Suburbs: Experimental Living on the Fringes of the American City,” Hurley examines six suburban towns that are “fertile ground for utopian planning, communal living, socially-conscious design, and integrated housing.”

Hurley says that Reston is a community that strays from the typical idea of a conventional, middle-class suburb. She discussed her book in a Kojo Nnamdi Show segment on Wednesday (April 24).

Reston is an “anti-suburb” developed by Bob Simon, who was born into a family of real estate developers, Hurley said. After taking a bike trip across Europe — with all of its plazas and community-style living — Simon was inspired to sell off his share of Carnegie Hall to build a new town. Like the founder of Columbia, Md. – Reston’s sister city — Simon was tired of the soul-less and ugly character of other suburbs, Hurley said.

“People thought he was nuts,” Hurley said.

But Reston turned out to be a good bet. Unlike other suburbs at the time, Reston was integrated from the very beginning, giving it a forward-looking vision, she says.

But now, Reston — like other radical suburbs — faces a question of identity.

“The question it faces and that more and more suburbs will face in the coming years is one of identity,” Hurley said, “Should it be a suburb or a city?”

Her book examines other model suburbs like Old Economy, Pa., Piscataway, Nj., Lexington, Ma, and Greenbelt, Md.

Photo via Belt Publishing

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Athletic Field ‘Destination’ Proposed in New Isaac Newtown Square Redevelopment

A new, publicly accessible athletic field is a key component of the redevelopment of Isaac Newtown Square, which is located on the north side of Sunset Hills Road and west of Wiehle Avenue.

Peter Lawrence Cos. And MRP Realty are working together to convert nearly 33 acres of the suburban office park into a residential campus with up to 2,100 units. The proposal is making its way through the county’s approval process.

The athletic field will be located next to the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, according to an April 9 proposal to the county. The publicly-accessed field is required by Reston’s Comprehensive Plan, which aims to meet future demand for active recreation facilities in Reston’s Transit Station Areas.

“Similar to urban parks in the District of Columbia located adjacent to, or near, high density residential and commercial uses, the athletic field will be easily accessible to pedestrian and vehicular traffic and its attendance foot traffic will help drive local commerce around the civic plaza and village Main Street,” according to the application.

The synthetic turf field will have 50 parking spaces allocated specifically reserved for field visitors. A 0.3-acre warmup field will be located next to the athletic field and a 1.5-acre civic plaza next to the athletic field is “intended to foster social interaction and create a visual identity for the Isaac Newtown Square Civic Plaza,” the application says.

The plaza will also house a 600-square-foot pavilion, picnic areas and shade structures, according to the application. Developers described the athletic field as a “destination” for the public.

The project heads to the Fairfax County Planning Commission on July 24.

Photo via Reston Association/MRP Realty

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Installation to Bring Reston’s Streetscapes to Life

A 56-page document gives detailed guidelines on urban design and streetscape implementation for Reston’s Transit Station Areas. Now, Reston Association and county officials are working to bring the guidelines, which were formulated late last year, to life.

A streetscape demonstration is set for May 2 at 3:30 p.m. at RA’s Central Service Facility (12250 Sunset Hills Road). Several design schemes will be revealed to help developers implement Reston’s guidelines.

Suzie Battista of the county’s Office of Community Revitalization said the demonstration helps showcase Reston’s unique character. Unlike design guidelines for Tysons, Reston’s streetscapes are generally divided into three styles. Overall, the landscape panel is lighter, transitioning from lush landscape with multi-level plantings to a suburban streetscape in areas that are pedestrian-oriented. In between these two extremes is a hybrid streetscape. Denser plants are called for compared to the plan for Tysons, according to the county.

“We want people to see it in real life,” Battista told Reston Now.

The county’s Office of Community Revitalization will invite developers to attend the demonstration.

Reston’s design guidelines are based on the following principles:

  • “Streets and their adjacent streetscape are vital parts of the public realm.”
  • “Streetscapes should be places for social interaction, economic activity, civic activity, and public gatherings.”
  • “Designing from the perspective of the pedestrian is important for creating great places.”
  • “Landscaped amenity zones and landscape features should be used to buffer the pedestrian from the road, and are opportunities to integrate Reston streetscape character into a more urban setting.”
  • “Low impact development techniques for stormwater management should be incorporated into new and redesigned streets where practical.”

The complete guidelines are available online.

Photo via Fairfax County Government

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Golf Course Plaza Redevelopment Plan Resurfaces After Deferral

Plans to redevelop Golf Course Plaza, a three-acre parcel on the west edge of Isaac Newtown Square, are back on the books after they were put on hold in 2017.

The latest proposal, which was submitted to the county on April 3, scales back the number of residential units from 413 to 300. The property (11480 Sunset Hills Road) is currently home to a two-story office building built in 1971, surface parking, and resource protection areas on the northeastern edge.

A “modern and sustainable” multifamily building with up to 300 residential units would take up most of the site, according to the development proposal. The building will face Hidden Creek Country Club and open space will act as a buffer between the building and the Washington & Old Dominion Trail.  A commercial component — which was not discussed in detail in the application — will connect the trail and a public plaza to the building. Part of the trail crosses the property’s access drive. The developer said it is working with the Northern Virginia Regional Parks Authority to address the issue.

A three-level parking garage is also planned and could “assist with the possible future connection” to Hidden Creek Country Club, according to the plan. To date, the owners of Hidden Creek Country Club have not officially filed a redevelopment proposal, although preliminary plans have been discussed in the community.

Just under 0.8 acres of the parcel is planned as public park space. Part of the property is reserved for a future public street — often referred to as the “road to nowhere” — to connect American Dream Way to the west with Wiehle Avenue to the east.

Ben Wales, the applicant’s legal representative, said the proposed development helps the area transition from office and light industrial uses to a “pedestrian-friendly, mixed-used, urban development pattern built around rail transit as envisioned by the comprehensive plan.”

Previous plans submitted in 2016 were deferred by the applicant in September 2017.

Photos via Fairfax County Government/handout

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Vantage Hill Condominiums’ Closed Pool and Parking Could House New Townhouses

For seven years, the pool behind Vantage Hill Condominiums (11619 Vantage Hill Road), boxy housing built in the late 1960s, has been closed. Now, discussions are underway to build townhouses on the pool site to save a condominium building that its community association leadership says is on a slow and steady decline.

The assocaition hopes to use revenues generated from the project to help finance around $4.5 million in needed infrastructure upgrades. Rob Schuman, the community association’s president, told the Reston Association’s Design Review Board last night (April 16) that the association has been grappling with major infrastructure needs for years.

The 152-unit development, which has 24 garden-style buildings, was one of Reston’s first projects and offers market-based workforce housing. Prices for a one-bedroom unit start at $140,000 and up to $250,000 for a three-bedroom unit.

Schuman said the association does not have enough money to take on infrastructure improvements on its own. Members pay yearly HOA fees between $420 and $680. Pipes leak every week, the electrical system is 60 years old and doors and windows provide little to no insulation, Schuman said.

The association is considering pooling the one-acre pool site and another acre used for parking to create enough developable space for 38 townhouse units. Parking lost to the development project would be redistributed. Schuman said 70 percent of the association’s members approved of the development proposal. The association’s bylaws require a two-thirds majority from the ownership to proceed with the project.

If approved — a process that could be years away — the townhouse community could become its own cluster with its own community association. So far, association members stressed a formal proposal is forthcoming and discussions are preliminary.

Charlie Hoffman, a DRB member, said he worried that the infill development could hike up the prices of the condo units.

“I would hate to see them get so nice that people can’t afford to live in them anymore,” Hoffman said. Overall, he said the project could bring new energy to the aging building.

Revenue from the project would help fund metered electrical service for each unit, new windows and doors, new entrances, upgraded heating, new plumbing, security upgrades and an expanded playground. Electric vehicle charging stations are also under consideration.

Photos via Reston Association/handout

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