Two new residential projects with under 100 units were added to the Reston Association last month.
The owners of Valley & Park by Toll Brothers and the Lofts at Reston by Pulte Homes will pay annual assessments and the projects will be subject to the RA deed and covenants.
The Lofts (Michael Faraday Drive) includes 32 multi-family units and 12 loft townhouse units. Prices start in the upper 600s, according to Pulte’s website. Valley & Park is a 54-unit project on 11720. The site was previously home to a six-story office building.
Both developments will have their own on-site maintenance through a cluster of condominium association, among other conditions.
Tenants include Super Chicken, Allure Nails, Signature Thai, and Reston Kabob. WillPower Functional Fitness, a 35,000 square foot gym, was the first retail tenant confirmed in 2016.
The building on 11830 Sunrise Valley Drive is part of JBG’s Reston Heights project, which includes Westin Reston Heights, the Sheraton Reston, the Mercer Condos and office buildings along Sunrise Valley Drive.
VY, which stands for “very,” contains a mix of one, two and three-bedroom apartments with two-story lofts.Monthly rents range between $1,800 and $3,320. Amenities include an two open-air lounges, a pool, fitness center, courtyard with fire pits, a lawn, on-site dog park, a pet spa and a bike maintenance center.
Greg Trimmer, the company’s executive vice president, said VY will be a “new community landmark.”
“The property sets the bar for luxury living in Reston with a high level of amenities, retail, and access to the outdoors and activities for the consumer who values both a quiet evening in a comfortable home overlooking nature, and entertainment or activity right outside of their front door,” he said.
Photos via JBG Smith
Tishman Speyer, a New York-based real estate company, hopes to transform more than 14 acres of land in the southwest quadrant of the Dulles Toll Road and Reston Parkway into a vibrant, mixed-used development driven by the power of the adjacent Reston Town Center Metro Station.
Reston Crossing, the name of the transit-oriented development, would bring six new buildings organized around a central park and other public amenities to the land, which is currently home to two office buildings.
The proposal, filed with the county early this month, requires rezoning the land from medium industrial use to planned development commercial to allow for up to nearly two million square feet of development.
Elizabeth Baker, a senior land use planner with Walsh Colucci Lubeley & Walsh, a northern Virginia law firm that specializes in commercial real estate development, said the transit-oriented project is set apart from nearby buildings that are more suburban-style, traditional office buildings built in the 1980s and 1990s.
“With the coming of the Silver Line and the plan that was adopted by the county… we’re just trying to implement that vision,” Baker said.
The plan calls six buildings includes one on the west with up to 30,000 square feet of retail, pedestrian access to the Metro Station South Pavilion, a U-shaped residential building with up to 380 multi-family residential units that overlook the central park, a building on the southeast with between 180 and 230 residential units, and a building on the south with up to 250 residential units.
“With a variety of park experiences, some landscaped, others hardscaped, and a well-developed system of paths, passive, and active recreation facilities areas, the Central Park is a major community amenity. Office, residential and retail uses front onto the Central Park, allowing it to be a gathering space for workers, residents, shoppers, and visitors alike,” according to the Dec. 8 proposal.
Of the overall development, office development would range from 38 percent to 58 percent, residential development would range from 36 to 59 percent, and retail uses would range from three to six percent. The plan is intentionally flexible due to changing market conditions.
Renderings via handout
Hidden Creek Country Club, one of Reston’s two golf courses, is now under new ownership.
According to an email sent by the country club to its members Tuesday, real-estate developer Wheelock Communities purchased the club earlier this week from its previous owner, Fore Golf Partners. According to the email, signed by Fore Golf CEO Charlie Staples:
Wheelock owns properties along the East Coast and in Texas that range from private golf clubs to large master-planned communities, to luxury waterfront condominiums and urban mixed-use projects. They look forward to becoming part of the highly respected Reston community.
Fore Golf will continue to manage the club for the new owner, according to the email, and club memberships will be unaffected by the change in ownership.
In the email, it is announced that Wheelock plans to invest more than $300,000 in upgrades to the club. This is to include upgrades to the club’s dining and events facilities, the lobby, and the locker rooms. A new fleet of golf carts is also expected to arrive in December.
More “potential changes” are listed, though:
Over the next few years, Wheelock will be working in partnership with the club members and the Reston community to explore potential changes to the property that could provide the Reston community with additional public amenities, environmental benefits and new housing choices.
It has long been feared by community advocates including Rescue Reston that both Hidden Creek and Reston National Golf Course will become the sites of residential development as Reston expands. A specific question about Hidden Creek’s future came up during Monday’s community meeting about potential changes to Reston’s Planned Residential Community (PRC) district. Fred Selden, director of Fairfax County’s Department of Planning & Zoning, said any developer that wishes to build residential units upon Reston’s golf courses would have hurdles to overcome.
“One of the things that the plan that was adopted in 2015 did was explicitly call the golf courses as planned for golf courses and to remain as golf courses,” Selden said. “I can only speak to what kind of development can occur. It’s planned for a golf course. If somebody wants to develop it in some other fashion, they have two options: They have to prove that they have some kind of property rights to build, or they have to come in and request a change to the Comprehensive Plan.”
The new ownership team is offering Hidden Creek members the chance to meet them for the first time next week.
Several hundred Restonians packed South Lakes High School on Monday night to hear explanations from county staff about a proposal to increase the community’s density cap — and several dozen took the opportunity to make their voices heard.
Nearly two hours of sometimes fiery public comment was part of the meeting (video), where representatives of Fairfax County’s departments of planning and zoning, parks, transportation and more addressed questions about the proposal to increase the overall limit on people per acre in Reston’s Planned Residential Community (PRC) District from 13 to as much as 16.
John Mooney, of Reclaim Reston, estimated more than 900 people attended the meeting. The nearly 650 seats in the SLHS cafeteria were filled, and the room’s perimeter was lined with standing attendees. A few dozen residents watched the meeting from an “overflow room” in a nearby lecture hall. Many in attendance were wearing yellow shirts to show their unity, and some of those people purchased those shirts from a Reclaim Reston vendor table set up at the school’s front door ahead of the event.
A major point of contention brought up by several of the speakers is the appearance that the county is forgetting about those who currently live in Reston as they work to appease developers, Metro and others outside the community who would benefit from increased growth. Residents spoke of diminished quality of life and increased problems with issues such as increased traffic and lost green space if the community builds out to the 16 people-per-acre level at the high end of the proposal for the PRC district.
Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said hearing comments from some residents that they don’t want to see any more people move to Reston and that they want to halt development altogether “chills” her.
“I feel concerned to say that Bob Simon was a developer and Bob Simon developed the plan that [the county is] implementing,” said Hudgins, who was interrupted numerous times during her remarks by murmuring and shouts from the crowd. “I really, really want to think about what kind of Reston we are, and I’ve been here 48 years. It was a place that said, ‘Hello, you’re welcome, please come.'”
The PRC District does not include any of the fast-growing Transit Station Area property surrounding the Wiehle-Reston East and Herndon Metro stations, nor does it include most of the property in the Reston Town Center Metro station TSA south of the Dulles Toll Road.
The ordinance amendment would also allow for the Board of Supervisors to be able to approve individual developments in excess of 50 dwelling units per acre in TSAs within the PRC and when in accordance with Comprehensive Plan recommendations. Citizen activists warn that the combined effect of these changes could see the population of Reston tripled by 2050.
An increase to the density cap would not guarantee any development; rather, staff said, it would ensure the opportunity that future development requested can be considered.
Referencing a speaker who said she had recently moved to Reston, Hudgins asked the crowd if people such as her should only be allowed to move in when someone else moves out.
“If it’s a yes to that, that means that no growth comes to Reston ever again,” Hudgins said, which was met with applause by many in attendance. “I can tell you, if that’s what you believe, it is not Bob Simon’s dream that you’re talking about.”
During its meeting last week (video), Reston’s Design Review Board gave its stamp of approval to plans for exercise equipment, playground equipment, site lighting, site signage and more for the future mixed-use redevelopment of Tall Oaks Village Center.
The commercial design of the property was also approved, with an alteration requiring faux windows in the retail tower be made of a reflective surface. In the design presented to the DRB last week, the faux windows had been proposed to consist of recessed EIFS.
The lone affected party to speak during the meeting was Mary Elyn McNichols, co-owner of Tall Oaks Assisted Living. While giving her overall approval to the plan, McNichols requested that some amount of exterior seating around the development’s stores be made handicapped-accessible.
In the landscape plan, the developers were asked by the DRB to find more locations to plant trees where possible.
One place were developers said they have already increased plants and trees is between the development’s 2-over-2 townhouses and the assisted-living facility, which was done at the facility’s request to create more of a buffer. The exercise station plans for the development were also designed after discussion with the assisted-living facility, developers said.
In addition to the development’s landscape plan, the garage doors and lighting were tabled for a future meeting, along with sliding doors and windows.
The redevelopment will include approximately 5,800 square feet of office, 8,500 square feet of retail and 156 residential units.
The village center was bought in December 2014 by McLean-based developer Jefferson Apartment Group. Plans to redevelop the property into a mixed-use community were approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in July 2016.
Located on a dead-end of North Shore Drive off Wiehle Avenue, Tall Oaks Village Center struggled for many years before the redevelopment proposal arose. Its longtime anchor tenant, Giant Foods, closed in 2007 and further vacancies followed quickly afterward. The 70,000-square foot center was 86 percent empty by the time the redevelopment was approved.
Commercial real-estate news source Bisnow hosted a “Fairfax County State of the Market” event last week, at which representatives of several top area developers spoke about the boom in development in Reston and Tysons. According to Bisnow’s report, the areas are currently in a state where supply is outpacing demand.
“In Reston we’re a little sick, but Tysons is in hospice in terms of the glut of apartments,” said Greg Trimmer, JBG Smith executive vice president of development, according to the Bisnow report. Trimmer is reported to have said that apartment rents in Reston are flat — and in some cases slightly negative — due to the amount of new multifamily construction.
JBG Smith is involved in numerous residential projects around Reston, including the next phase of the RTC West project, which would include 700 dwelling units in two towers. It also has a stake in the 1831 Wiehle project, which would bring in about 1,500 new residents. In addition, Fairfax County has approved JBG Smith’s plans for about 500 more residential units and more at the Commerce Executive Park; however, the developer may be looking to unload that property.
Trimmer is reported to have said that Reston is positioned well to be a residential success, but that it is currently experiencing a “blip.”
“In the long term we’re set up well, but right now we do have a bit of a problem,” Trimmer is reported to have said.
Comstock CEO Chris Clemente is reported to have agreed, saying that the 450-apartment BLVD has not leased as quickly as expected. He says the hope is that will change once the full Reston Station development begins to take shape.
“I think a lot of that has to do with the lack of understanding of what this neighborhood here is going to be,” Clemente is reported to have said. “The new residential buildings will benefit from that lifestyle that only comes when you have a more complete environment.”
Comstock’s additional plans include 460 more residential units where the Sunset Hills Professional Center currently stands.
Mike Henehan, Bozzuto’s senior vice president, also spoke on the issue during the forum. He is reported to have given similar comments about the glut of new apartments and the supply surge in Reston.
Bozzuto is currently leasing apartments at its new 421-unit Aperture building.
“There is still some rent growth in this market,” Henehan is reported to have said. “It certainly doesn’t keep up with construction costs and some of the other costs, so I think there will be a little resistance there over time.”
File photo of Bozzuto’s Aperture apartments under construction, August 2016
Meeting on PRC Zoning Ordinance Amendment Tonight — The latest community meeting on a proposed zoning ordinance amendment that would increase the density cap in Reston’s Planned Residential Community (PRC) district is tonight at 7 p.m. at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive). [Fairfax County]
Review: ‘Aida’ is ‘an Explosion of Color and Sound’ — According to a reviewer, the new Reston Community Players show features “action and comedy elements, along with the flashy set and costume design, [that] will keep young and old enthralled to the end.” [DC Metro Theater Arts]
Crash Shuts Down Reston Roadway — A collision at Fairfax County Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive affected traffic this morning. The road was reopened as of about 8:20 a.m., according to the Fairfax County Police Department. [FCPD/Twitter]
Stream Restoration In Progress — In its latest “Reston Today” video dispatch, Reston Association shares information about a restoration project currently underway at Brown’s Chapel Park and Vantage Hill. [Reston Association/YouTube]
Reston Solar Firm Plans Large Farm — SolUnesco (1818 Library St.) has proposed a 400-acre, 60-megawatt solar farm along in Orange County. [(Charlottesville) Daily Progress]
The County, via its proposed zoning density increases, and developers are already planning for Reston’s Village Centers to become nearly two to three times as densely populated as Arlington County’s major Ballston Transit Station Area (TSA).
The result is astounding given that Ballston is rightly a high-density mixed-use transit-oriented development area served by two Metro lines while Reston’s Village Centers are nowhere near Metro. Moreover, the recent year-long Reston transportation development effort (RNAG) revealed that Fairfax County explicitly doesn’t plan to enhance local bus transit to serve the Village Centers or our TSAs.
Fairfax County data and US Census 2010 data for Ballston show that, with the exception of Lake Anne Village Center, where a redevelopment plan is already in place, the number of dwelling units (homes) per acre will potentially be at least twice as dense as in Ballston. Moreover, because Fairfax County anticipates a fraction more people in each household, the potential number of residents per acre runs better than two and one-half times that experienced in Ballston.
At the risk of repeating ourselves, Reston’s Village Centers are intended to be neighborhood-serving gathering places. They are not meant to be transit station areas without the “transit.” According to US Census data, Ballston is the most populous area in Arlington County and the fourth most densely populated (people per acre). The notion that TSA residential densities should be applied in Reston’s Village Centers is preposterous and contradicts everything that the Reston Master Plan says about their development.
The current Reston Master Plan calls for the following in any Village Center redevelopment: “Enhance Village Centers as vibrant neighborhood gathering places; advance excellence in site design and architecture; strengthen connectivity and mobility; [and] protect and respect the surrounding residential neighborhoods.”
Any notion that residential density in excess of 100 people per acre is consistent with these objectives is ludicrous.
If you don’t want your neighborhood Village Center to be blown up and replaced with one or more 12- to 14-story high-rise apartments or condos, please come to the community meeting on the Reston PRC zoning ordinance on Monday at South Lakes High School. Bring your friends and your children for a major civics lesson on local government. Learn, question, and challenge what you hear. It is our Reston and we must act to protect it by showing our revulsion with this absurd zoning ordinance proposal.
Terry Maynard, Co-Chair
Reston 20/20 Committee
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]
Citing the great interest the community has shown in the topic, Supervisor Cathy Hudgins’ office has announced additional arrangements for Monday’s meeting on a Fairfax County proposal to increase Reston’s density cap.
The meeting, scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive), will be streamed live on Fairfax County’s Channel 16. In addition to being available online, that channel can be found on Comcast, Verizon Fios and Cox cable services on channel 16, as well as through digital television (with QAM tuner) on channel 34-16.
To accommodate for parking difficulties at the school, the county will also be offering a pair of shuttle buses from the parking lot at the Human Services building (1850 Cameron Glen Drive) to the school. The first will leave and 6 p.m. and the last will go at 6:30. Seating will be on a first-come, first-serve basis, and each trip can take 39 riders.
See the full announcement from Hudgins’ office here.
Next week’s meeting was scheduled after a planned meeting last month at Lake Anne Elementary School was called off when a large number of people — estimated at more than 400 — showed up to oppose the plan, which county officials said breached the fire code.
The occupancy limit for the SLHS cafeteria is 668 when tables are present, though it can hold up to 1,280 if the several dozen large tables are removed.
The proposal from the county would bump the overall limit on people per acre in Reston’s Planned Residential Community (PRC) District from 13 to 16. (The density is currently about 11.9 people per acre.) The PRC District does not include any of the fast-growing Transit Station Area property surrounding the Wiehle-Reston East and Herndon Metro stations, nor does it include most of the property in the Reston Town Center Metro station TSA south of the Dulles Toll Road.
The ordinance amendment would also allow for the Board of Supervisors to be able to approve individual developments in excess of 50 dwelling units per acre in TSAs within the PRC and when in accordance with Comprehensive Plan recommendations. Those areas that would be marked for possible major residential development include all of Reston’s village centers.
Citizen activists warn that the combined effect of these changes could see the population of Reston tripled by 2050.
The county’s Department of Planning and Zoning says the change to the density cap is necessary to make way for growth that is expected after Reston’s Master Plan was updated by Fairfax County in 2014 and 2015 to guide redevelopment in Transit Station Areas, Town Center and village centers.
“A full buildout would not necessarily ever be reached, and if it even approaches that point, it wouldn’t do so quickly,” said Cathy Belgin of the county DPZ’s Zoning Administration Division, of the potential population growth, at a meeting in May. “But staff feels it is important, because the Master Plan takes a long look forward in time, that the regulations should be aligned accordingly for there to be the opportunity.”
More information about the proposal is available at Fairfax County’s website.
File photo from Sept. 25 meeting
It seems like every day, a major new development project in Reston is announced. And it seems like every day, traffic gets a little worse and schools and athletic fields get a little more crowded.
Is there a connection here? Well, of course there is.
Reston, since its founding, has excelled and prospered as a planned community. And the plan has been that development and the requisite infrastructure would go hand in hand. The problem is not (always) new development; the problem is that new development calls for a corresponding investment in roads, bridges and underpasses, schools, playgrounds, storm drainage, additional open space and, yes, trees — and this isn’t happening.
Economists often point to a phenomenon called “the Tragedy of the Commons” — the observation that when individual users of a commonly held resource are free to maximize their personal benefit at the expense of the larger community, they will generally do so. The “commonly held resource” in this case being the unique and special nature of a Reston where one can Live, Work and Play in harmony with nature. In a perfect world, everyone — the County, the developers and residents of Reston alike — would work together to grow Reston while preserving those things that make this community what it is.
Sadly, we don’t live in a perfect world.
The County and the developers want to dramatically increase the population density of Reston. They are naturally driven by, and give priority to, a desire for tax revenue and profits respectively. Not bad things in themselves, of course, unless they come at the unwarranted expense of others — which, in this case, they do.
That leaves those of us who live and work here as the ones with both the most to gain and the most to lose as decisions about our future are made. In the coming weeks a number of key issues — ranging from whether to triple the density of Reston, to what kind of library we will have, to how crowded our schools will be — are to be acted upon. As individuals, we have scant ability to ensure infrastructure is given equal priority to development. But this is Reston, and Reston being Reston, we have a vast community of engaged citizens with a deep commitment to balance and fairness and a future we can proudly pass on to our posterity.
Three weeks ago, over 400 individuals turned out for the County’s fourth attempt to justify the density increase — only to have the meeting canceled because we far exceeded the room’s capacity. Now the meeting has been rescheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23 at South Lakes High Schools. The County will draw upon the full-time lawyers and urban planners we as taxpayers pay for to tell us what they say is in our best interest. On our side we have — each other. We need everyone who believes in defending the Commons to attend this meeting.
As Margaret Mead observed, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
At its meeting tonight (agenda), Reston’s Planning & Zoning Committee will hear presentations on three major upcoming projects.
Two projects are scheduled to be voted upon at the meeting:
- Renaissance Centro 1801 LLC — Currently the 1.51-acre home of a three-story office building, 1801 Old Reston Ave. has been proposed by property owner Renaissance Centro as the site of a 20-story high rise with up to 150 living units. Of those units, 126 would be market-rate and 24 would be workforce dwelling. This project has a Dec. 6 hearing scheduled with the Fairfax County Planning Commission.
- Kensington Senior Development LLC — Currently the home of Good Beginnings School, 11501 Sunrise Valley Drive is proposed as the new home of a senior-living facility. The 65,000-square-foot building would include 96 beds within 70 units. This project has a Nov. 30 hearing scheduled with the Fairfax County Planning Commission.
The committee is also scheduled to hear an informational presentation on the CRS Sunset Hills LC project. Comstock Partners plans to convert the Sunset Hills Professional Center, a one-story office condo complex at Sunset Hills Road and Wiehle Avenue, into a mixed-use development featuring approximately 460 residential units and 40,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. The project would also include two parcels to the east, known as the “Kfoury Parcels,” which would be developed to add approximately 300,000 square feet of office uses. Comstock also plans for an approximately 400,000-square-foot full-service hotel and 80 high-end residential units on another adjacent property. In total, the planned project includes about 1.24 million square feet of proposed redevelopment, exclusive of affordable-housing provision bonuses.
That project does not yet have a county hearing scheduled.
Tonight’s Reston P&Z Committee meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive).
File image of 1801 Old Reston Ave.
Golf Fundraiser Pays Legal Fees in Open Space Fight — Rescue Reston’s recent event at Reston National Golf Course raised money to go toward paying off the $153,000 in legal fees the group has incurred fighting its battle to protect the course from development. [Connection Newspapers]
County Celebrates High-Rise Construction Safety — “The cranes in Reston and Tysons are the most dramatic sign that parts of our county are changing into a more urban environment. Before these new high-rise buildings are built, years of planning go into making sure they are safe for the occupants and the community.” [Fairfax County]
Firefighters Support Breast Cancer Awareness — In an effort to heighten awareness in the fight against breast cancer, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department employees have been authorized to wear FRD-issued pink T-shirts while on duty from Oct. 9-23. The shirts are worn as a symbol of support and recognition for all those who have been touched by breast cancer. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]
Preparedness Event Slated for Saturday — The Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management is partnering with numerous county agencies and other partners, such as the American Red Cross, to host a Preparedness Awareness Weekend (PAW) event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Providence Community Center (3001 Vaden Drive, Fairfax). [Fairfax County Emergency Information]
Digital-Media Company Moves Into New Town Center Home — Intermarkets, a Reston-based digital-media company whose portfolio includes The Drudge Report and The Political Insider, is now headquartered on the 11th floor of Reston Town Center’s One Freedom Square. [Virginia Business]
The project was last brought before the DRB in August, at which time the general landscape and architecture plans for the project were approved. Next week, the developers will be looking for approval of several other aspects of the plans, including the final landscape plan, the comprehensive sign plan, the lighting plan and material specifications.
Included in the final landscape plans is exercise and playground equipment, as well as a putting green. Site furnishings up for discussion include artistic bike racks and custom bus shelters. Three entry signs and a directional sign will be considered as well.
See the full residential presentation from applicant Jefferson Apartment Group and architect KTGY here.
The redevelopment plans call for 156 homes (a mix of townhomes, 2-over-2 townhomes and multifamily buildings), community space, 8,500 square foot of retail and about 6,000 square feet of office space. The end result will be the first such overhaul of one of Reston’s original village centers.
The 70,000-square-foot center was 86 percent empty by the time the redevelopment was approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in July 2016. Jefferson had conducted a market study that showed attracting a new retail anchor was not an option.