Reston, VA

Comstock Companies, the developer behind Reston Station, says that Northern Virginia is becoming the “Silicon Valley of the East.”

Reston Station, a sprawling mixed-use development near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station, is positioned to help make that change happen, according to an investor presentation released earlier this week.

The development, which includes several districts that are planned or already in construction, is expected to achieve comparable rents to Reston Town Center. New buildings, parking, amenities, and the Metro station have attracted corporate relocations from RTC, according to Comstock.

Currently, RTC commands a higher rent premium over other micro-markets within Reston. Overall, vacancy rates for Class A office space in Reston and Tysons are slightly lower than the region-wide average of around 18 percent, according to the company.

Once completed, Reston Station will include four districts: Metro Plaza, Commerce, West, and Reston Row. Major companies have signed leases at the project, including Google, Neustar, and ICF International.

Photo via Comstock

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A task force chaired by Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn kicked off a review of Reston’s guiding planning and development document Monday night.

The 24-member group, which includes representatives from community organizations, developers, and real estate professionals, reviewed the primary objectives of the task force, which Alcorn assembled earlier this year. Over the next several months, members will develop recommendations on Reston’s Comprehensive Plan, which has been criticized by residents and others for not being up to date with the current and future pace of development.

Since the plan was last updated in 2014, 39 major zoning applications have been approved and 12 major zoning applications are in process, according to Chris Caperton, deputy director of the county’s planning and development department. More than 14 million square feet of commercial development and 13.4 million square feet of residential development have been approved, according to 2019 data.

Alcorn outlined a review of the following focus areas:

  • Projected population thresholds
  • Land use in Reston’s village centers
  • An evaluation of the plan’s language regarding more affordable housing and the preservation and improvement of existing affordable housing
  • Planned pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure to access Metro stations
  • If the plan provides adequate guidance on urban scale mobility and development design in Reston’s Transit Station Areas while protecting neighborhood stability of nearby areas
  • Transportation improvements and their alignment with planned development
  • How the plan can better enhance Reston’s natural environment and encourage energy efficiency
  • How the plan address concerns about the “monopolization” of ownership in Reston, especially pertaining to Boston Properties’ ownership of Reston Town Center
  • If the historic practice of promoting privately-owned open space addresses public needs for the next 50 years

Alcorn said the task force’s timetable was “aggressive” to complete its work. The next meeting, which will be held online, is slated for May 26.

He also clarified that discussions around the future ownership of Reston Town Center would center around whether or not there is a longterm vision of the ownership of Reston’s commercial center.

The review will not be restricted to Reston’s Planned Residential Community District. A county proposal to increase that district’s population density — among other proposed changes — drew community rancor and was ultimately deferred last year.

Others encouraged the task force to take a close look at whether or not the plan provides sufficient guidance on managing the pace of infrastructure and development in the area.

Reston Association board member John Mooney said he was concerned that county studies have primarily examined the effect of development in Reston’s Transit Station Area (TSA) on traffic specific in that area.

After a series of meetings, the task force will pitch recommendations to the Fairfax County Planning Commission. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will then vote on any proposed amendments to the plan.

More information about the task force and upcoming meetings is available online.

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Megaphone, a podcasting hosting and advertising technology provider, has signed a lease at Comstock’s Reston Station.

The company will take up roughly 10,000 square feet in the first office building at the mixed-use development, the tower designed by architect Helmut Jahn at 1900 Reston Metro Plaza.

With 165,000 square feet of leased space, Google is the anchor tenant of the building. Other tenants include Rolls-Royce North America (18,000 square feet) and infrastructure management firm Solar Winds (16,349 square feet) and digital identify firm Certipath (7,500 square feet).

Tim Steffan, executive vice president of assets management, leasing and development for Comstock, said Reston Station now has a diverse mix of technology firms.

“The addition of Megaphone compliments the impressive lineup of national and global tech players that have chosen Reston Station,” he wrote in a statement.

The company is. currently headquartered in DC.

ICF Global, a global consulting firm, will occupy the third office building currently being developed by Comstock. That building, which is located at 1902 Reston Metro Plaza, is set to be complete in 2022.

Neustar, a global information services company, is the anchor tenant for another office tower located at 1906 Reston Metro Plaza. The company plans to relocate its headquarters from Sterling to Reston Station later this year.

Photo by Bako Glonti

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Plans are in the works to secure more land to expand Reston Station.

Comstock Companies had purchased a six-story building in Commerce Metro Center, which is located at the south entrance of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station, for $35.9 million.

The developer purchased two other buildings in the same park last year as it eyes the development of Commerce District, a new development district at Reston Station.

The company has already announced plans to build a new office building by world-renown architect Helmet Jahn as a companion to the current building he designed at the Wiehe-Reston East Metro Station.

The recently-purchased building, which is located at 11480 Commerce Park Drive, is occupied by tenants like Kittelson & Associates, Inc. and Young America’s Foundation.

Here’s more from Comstock on the purchase:

The Company currently has two additional Trophy-Class office towers currently under construction on Reston Metro Plaza, 1906 Reston Metro Plaza, 203,000 square foot building scheduled to deliver later this year, which is approximately 55%% pre-leased to Neustar, and 1902 Reston Metro Plaza, an approximately 225,000 square foot building that is scheduled to deliver in 2021 and is 100% pre-leased to ICF Global.

“This acquisition is consistent with our focus on select high-growth urban and transitioning “sub-urban” markets. The Reston Station neighborhood is at the forefront of the transformation taking place in the Dulles Corridor as a result of the arrival of Metro’s Silver Line” said Mr. Clemente. “Our objective in Reston is to create a world-class mixed-use and transit-oriented neighborhood that is consistent with Fairfax County’s Comprehensive Plan and that is a valued addition to the Reston community.”

So far, Reston Station’s first phase includes the BLVD Reston Station apartments and 1900 Reston Metro, the building designed by Jahn and anchored by Google Inc.

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Construction on new townhomes near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station is underway.

Union Towns at Reston Station is composed of 26 “luxury townhouses” behind the Lofts, a low-rise condominium building off of Sunset Hills Road.

Although construction is underway, it’s unclear when the project will be completed. The development includes an on-site dog park and green space, as well as members-only access to the nearby rooftop pool.

Prices for each townhouse unit start at $800,000, according to Union Towns’ website.

At a recent site visit, construction crews demolished an office building that is opposite the site as well.

Photo by Fatimah Waseem

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A study group will scout the area this week to find the best option for constructing a future pedestrian crossing at Wiehle Avenue near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.

The walkthrough is part of a proffer for Campus Commons, an approved project by TF Cornerstone that would redevelop an aging office park at 1900 and 1902 Campus Common Drive into a 1.3 million-square-foot development. The meeting is set for Feb. 27 at 5 p.m. at the site.

Community opposition to the project — including the successful surge of a grassroots organization Rescue Sunrise Valley — resulted in a number of changes to the application, which was approved last year. 

One of the most contentious issues was a proposed crosswalk at ramps to enter and exit the Dulles Toll Road at Wiehle Avenue. The developer’s original pitch — a crosswalk at the current stoplight in the area to get to the other side of Wiehle Avenue across two traffic islands in the multi-lane roadway — was rejected by the county due to serious safety concerns.

TF Cornerstones agreed to find a better solution for walkability. A proffer part in the approved application requires the developer to convene a workgroup with community representation through the office of Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn.

The workgroup is tasked with finding the best type of pedestrian bridge for the area. Options on the table include but are not limited to an above-grade bridge or a below-grade underpass or tunnel.

A final recommendation for the pedestrian crossing will be presented to the board by October. The developer will either build the crossing or give the county $1.5 million to complete the work.

Concerns on the lack of pedestrian connectivity to and from the Reston Town Center Metro Station and Wiehle-Reston East were also flagged by the board last year.

The developer plans to build three buildings with 655 apartments, more than 520,000 square feet of office space, and a little over 28,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. A 24-story tower and two small towers are proposed.

For more information about the meeting, email Jose Delcid at [email protected].

Photo via Fairfax County Government, Google Maps

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Changes to Reston Station Promenade — a project with nearly 1.3 million square feet of development north of the Wiehe-Reston East Metro Station — were officially approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday (Jan. 28).

Comstock plans to convert a planned 250-unit residential building into an office building, slashing the total number of to 340. The hotel along Reston Station Boulevard will also be shifted so that most of the building faces Wiehle Avenue.

The company also scrapped a woonerf — a Dutch-style living street without sidewalks and curbs that are shared by pedestrians, bicyclists, and cars. The street, which was one of the more unique design features of the site, was removed to improve walkability for pedestrians and discourage car traffic.

By rotating the hotel’s orientation 90 degrees, the new design brings more daylight into the Promenade — and it makes the entire development more visible to Metro riders coming north from Reston Station, Comstock’s development next to the Wiehle station,” according to the county.

Comstock will also convert an urban plaza into a corner park. The company also plans to pitch in $2.3 million for the construction of an athletic field.

Comstock will also purchase board-owned property for $3 million in order to shift density within the development and create space for a more cohesive design. Selling off the 1.3-acre area owned by the county is expected to bring in roughly $9.6 million annually for the county.

Photos via Fairfax County Government

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Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn kicked off his first Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ meeting today (Tuesday) by calling for a review of Reston’s Comprehensive Plan.

The proposal, which was approved by the board,  initiatives a 12 to 18 month period of public engagement to update the plan, which was last updated five years ago.

In a statement, Alcorn noted that more than 30 rezoning applications have been approved in Reston’s transit station areas since the last plan was last reviewed. He hopes to set up a community task force and start a series of public meetings.

Alcorn hopes to tackle the following topic areas, which were presented to the board today (Tuesday): 

  • Projected population thresholds for Reston, and how to ensure that population, infrastructure and the environment are all in balance
  • Land use in the village centers (Hunters Woods, South Lakes and North Point) – including clarification of what type of future redevelopment proposals might require an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan
  • The adequacy of existing plan language to generate additional affordable housing, and improvements to plan language to encourage preservation and enhancement of existing communities that now provide affordable housing
  • The adequacy of existing and planned pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure for accessing Silver Line stations
  • The adequacy of existing Comprehensive Plan guidance to facilitate urban-scale mobility and development design in the TSAs while protecting the stability of nearby neighborhoods
  • Existing Comprehensive Plan transportation improvements to ensure that they are aligned with planned development
  • How the Comprehensive Plan could better facilitate enhancement of Reston’s natural environment, encourage energy efficiency and support sustainable green neighborhoods
  • How the Comprehensive Plan could address concerns about monopolization of ownership in Reston, and ways to encourage diverse ownership and/or management over the long term
  • Whether the historic practice of promoting privately-owned and managed open space sufficiently addresses public needs during the next 50 years of Reston

In a previous interview with Reston Now, Alcorn said he hopes updates to the plan will help better manage growth and infrastructure in the rapidly changing community.

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The first phase of a massive, mixed-use project with a Wegmans, Pinstripes, and self-driving cars is underway.

Brookfield Properties broke ground on the project, called Halley Rise and formerly called. Reston Crescent, in October.

The first phase, which is set to be completed in 2022, includes 450,000 square feet of new office space, 640 residential units, 200,000 square feet of retail and two new parks, a company spokesperson told Reston Now.

Wegmans, which will anchor the retail space, is expected to be open in 2022. Pinstripes, a restaurant with a bowling alley and bocce court, is also planned.

Future phases will also include a movie theater — under a mile from Bow Tie Cinemas in Reston Town Center — and food and drink options.

When the 36-acre development is built out, it will include 1.5 million square feet of office space, 250,000 square feet of retail and 1,500 residential units, 15 percent of which are affordable.

Staff photos by Jay Westcott

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More than two years after joining forces to buy Worldgate Metro Plaza in Herndon, two developers have once again partnered to buy a property in the area.

Newmark Knight Frank, a real estate advisory firm, sold the office building on 2100 Reston Parkway to Moore and Associates and Harbert Management Corporation, an Alabama-based investment management firm.

The seven-story, 178,667-square-foot building includes a fitness center, lounge, game room, and conference facilities with 562 parking spots in a two-level garage near the building.

Here’s more from Newmark Group, Inc. on the sale:

With 76 percent of the building already leased, the new owners have a great start on fostering a strong tenant base in a highly-desirable area of one of the country’s fastest growing markets.

“2100 Reston Parkway is located on the main north-south spine of the dynamic Reston submarket. It is easily accessible to the amenities located at Reston Town Center,” said NKF Executive Managing Director James Cassidy. “The property will benefit from all of the adjacent development south of the Toll Road including Brookfield’s transformational, Wegman’s-anchored 4.1 million-square-foot Halley Rise project and JBG Smith’s Reston Heights development.”

“The building is also proximate to the soon-to-open Silver Line Reston Town Center Metro station and will continue to perform well due to the buyer’s continued strategic improvements to the asset in the tightening Reston market,” added Cassidy. 

The details of the deal were not disclosed publicly.

Photo via Google Maps

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The Washingtonian’s Benjamin Wofford gave Reston a big nod in a feature published over the weekend.

Titled, “The Very Uncivil War Going Down in America’s Most Civil Suburb,” Wofford writes that the once inclusive suburb is now “whiter, older and richer than its founder ever intended,” locking itself in a battle for its soul and the preservation of open space.

Calling the opponents of a recently deferred plan to increase Reston’s population cap “the Yellow Shirts,” the article lays out a narrative of the battle to preserve the community’s two golf courses, issues of affordability, and nimbyism. The article has drawn interesting responses from readers.

Wofford points out some interesting U.S. Census Bureau statistics:

Lately, though, the town has followed the familiar arc of an aging suburb. Since 2000, according to Census data, the number of children has fallen by nearly 10 percent. Reston is now 17 percent whiter than Fairfax County. 

He chats with one of the “Yellow Shirts”:

To that sect of the Yellow Shirts, who insisted they were not entirely opposed to growth, the fight was about preservation of idyllic values. But at the core of the movement, sentiments about Reston’s evolution were more inflamed. “It’s not even hardly recognizable!” complained Tammi Petrine, one of the earliest activists. “If I could think of another place to go, I would. Because this is a shitshow.”

A local Restonian offers his assessment of the demographics of Reston:

Bouie was willing to see the worst in this admission. “When they’re saying they’re against Metro, they weren’t thinking about people from Reston going to DC. They were thinking about people from DC coming here,” he said. “Cranky old white people,” Bouie sniffed. “There’s no diversity in that group.”

One of Bob Simon’s first salespeople — Chuck Veatch — offers his persepctive:

He chided the competing caricatures of Reston that had taken root in the haze of infighting, either a municipal kibbutz or a gated hamlet in Mar-a-Lago. “It’s not a socialist utopia,” he chuckled. At the same time, the Yellow Shirts misunderstood that “the success of the community is not about how much money your house is worth.” Amid the partisan bickering, everyone had misplaced something elemental: the town’s shared sense of community, a distinct virtue in the face of the booming metropolis surrounding it. “Bob started out by weaving the social fabric of Reston first,” Veatch said.

The article appeared in the December issue of the magazine.

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Walter Alcorn, the incoming Hunter Mill District Supervisor who won a five-way Democratic primary, plans to prioritize managing growth and infrastructure as he takes over for retiring Cathy Hudgins on Jan.  1.

As cranes scrape the skies and community consternation about development continues to rumble, one of Alcorn’s top priorities is to update and improve Reston’s major planning document — phase two of Reston’s comprehensive plan.

“Our biggest challenge is clearly managing the growth that we’re undergoing right now, both in terms of mobility and change and our quality of life,”  Alcorn said in a recent interview with Reston Now.

He hopes to incorporate measures that manage growth and infrastructure — including population projections that can guide infrastructure needs, planning for public facilities like transportation and schools,  and expectations for public open space. Alcorn also hopes to incorporate language to preserve existing affordable housing and clarify expectations surround the future redevelopment of Reston’s village centers, some of which are in need of revitalization.

Although Alcorn has not pitched specific recommendations — a public feedback process in early 2020 will guide the community conversation — the Democrat has one specific idea: breaking up the ownership of Reston Town Center.

Alcorn says the county can incorporate language in the comprehensive plan to “call for diverse ownership of Reston Town Center” in order to break up the “monopolistic” ownership of Reston’s core from Boston Properties. The move would address concerns related to vacancies and the departure of small businesses following the company’s seismic shift to paid parking in 2017.

For now, the controversial discussion on increasing Reston’s population density per acre in the Planned Residential Community district — the community’s primary zoning district has been indefinitely delayed.

Alcorn believes the county should reexamine Reston’s comprehensive plan before reconvening discussions on the tabled PRC proposal.

“We need to fix the comprehensive plan,” Alcorn told Reston Now. “My first priority is to fix the comprehensive plan.”

He also wants to explore ways to streamline how Reston-related development proposals are reviewed, particularly between the Hunter Mill District Land Use Committee, which advises the supervisor’s office on land use issues, and the Reston Planning & Zoning Committee. Possible proposals include improving the public input process, adding county staff support to attend meetings and improving the sequencing of the multi-step approval process.

“Many times, these groups are asked to make recommendations on zoning before they can even see proffers associate with rezoning,” he said.

Other county-wide initiatives Alcorn hopes to take a lead on include:

  • A land use reform initiative to create affordable housing opportunities, in conjunction with other supervisors
  • Efforts to improve pedestrian mobility through regional initiates and more comprehensive planning beyond the county’s bicycle master plan.

As he begins his term on Jan. 1, Alcorn hopes to leverage his experience as a former planner with the county to ensure the vitality and promise of Reston remains.

“I come to this job with good knowledge of the land use process and also a commitment to engage the public and the community in that land use process,” he says. “We’re at an interesting time in Reston with transit-oriented development underway and older communities that are in need of retention. That is something that is new.”

Photo via Facebook

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Reston Hospital Center‘s $72 million expansion is expected to be completed by the first quarter of next year, a few months later than originally estimated.

The completed pieces of the project include a new 18-bed inpatient rehabilitation center, an expanded 24-bed Intensive Care Unit, a second lab for the cardiac services unit, a new parking garage for patients and visitors at the West Wing entrance, and four rooms for high-risk obstetric patients.

A new cafeteria and seating area has also been opened.

Progress on renovations to visitor areas, including a new cafeteria, glass concourse, main entrance, and lobby, is underway, according to Todd McGovern, said director of marketing and communications for the hospital.

McGovern said the upgraded main entrance and lobby will improve navigation between the main entrance, west wing entrance, pavilion entrances, and the emergency department.

“We will be making an additional investment into the modernization of several patient care areas to elevate our entire facility to a consistent level for a best-in-class patient experience,”  McGovern said.

The new patient-visitor parking garage, which has more than 400 parking spaces, opened in the summer of this year.

The 231-bed hospital announced its plan to expand on its 30th anniversary. The phased project will add more than 63,000 square feet to the building, which is part of Tennessee-based health giant HCA Healthcare.

Photos via Reston Hospital Center

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17Fifty — the newest office tower in Reston Town Center is nearing completion. Leidos, the full-building tenant of the 17-story building located at 1750 Presidents Street, is gearing up to move into its new headquarters by March 2020.

A spokesperson for Boston Properties told Reston Now that the top of the building has been topped off and the the work to enclose the building has been completed.

The company is now working to construct the interior space for Leidos, a Reston-based information technology contractor.

The new building has roughly 276,000 square feet. The tower is designed by Shalom Baranes Associates.

County permits for the building’s sprinkler system were recently processed.

Photos by Jay Westcott

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The county is planning to sell a roughly one-acre parcel of land north of Reston Station Boulevard.

Under the proposal, which will be considered by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors tomorrow (Tuesday) will consider selling off the land so it can be integrated in the rezoning of Reston Station Promenade, a mixed-use project by Comstock that was approved in April last year.

The sale of the land would “enable a more efficient redevelopment” of that project, according to the county.

If approved, the developer would pay roughly $3 million for the parcel and offer a density transfer of roughly 147,690 square feet to the plaza area near the county-owned Wiehle-Reston East garage.

County officials estimate that transfer would bring in a rental stream of roughly $8.6 million from Comstock, which currently pays an annual base rent of $2.9 million for its leases with the board at Reston Station.

Rents will increase as Comstock builds more pieces of its mixed-use project under a 99-year lease between the developer and the county.

An appraisal states the sale area has a value of roughly $10.8 million.

County staff recommend approval the sale, which would result in more density near the Metro Station, simplify the ownership structure  of Reston Station Promenade.

Approval of the sale will require amending the lease with Comstock.

One major change in the lease includes a requirement for Comstock to permit electoral campaign and voter registration activities on the plaza near the entry to the north entrance of the Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail Station.

Earlier this year, free speech advocates and candidates seeking office raised concerns about Comstock’s restrictions on campaigning and electioneering at the plaza, which is considered a public space. County Concerned about civil rights violations, Board Chairwoman Sharon Bulova threatened legal action if Comstock did not take steps to allow campaign activities on the plaza.

The board is expected to make a decision on the sale tomorrow. More information about the proposal is available online.

Photo via handout/Fairfax County Government

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