Like many of their counterparts across the technology industry, Microsoft and Facebook workers won’t be returning to cubicles any time soon, but both companies say they remain committed to previously announced plans to add office space at Reston Town Center.
Microsoft announced in a corporate blog post on Thursday (Sept. 9) that it has scrapped plans to fully reopen its California headquarters and other U.S. offices on Oct. 4, citing the continued uncertainty of COVID-19, particularly with the spread of the Delta variant.
“Protecting employee health and safety continues to be our top priority and we’ve decided to adjust our plans as we follow the latest information and guidance from health and data experts, and respond to COVID-19’s highly dynamic nature,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement.
A presence in Reston since 2002, Microsoft currently occupies a 153,000 square-foot office in Two Discovery Square at 12012 Sunset Hills Road.
The company told Reston Now that it doesn’t disclose worker headcounts by location, but nationwide, the decision to indefinitely postpone its office reopening plans affects more than 103,000 employees, according to NBC4.
“We will fully re-open each U.S. worksite once our Stage 6 health and criteria and local guidelines are met at each location,” the Microsoft spokesperson said by email. “At that point, we’ll communicate a 30-day transition period that provides time for employees to return to the work site.”
Microsoft announced in May 2020 that it will lease 400,000 square feet of office space in Two Freedom Square (11955 Freedom Drive) at Reston Town Center to build a research and development hub, which is expected to create 1,500 jobs and feature a new retail space.
The Washington Business Journal reported in November that Microsoft had reached a deal with Reston Town Center owner Boston Properties to expand its Sunset Hills office by 45,000 square feet in addition to the development facility plans.
While Microsoft didn’t move into Two Freedom Square this summer as initially expected, the company says its plans for a Reston Town Center expansion have not changed.
“Our expansion in Reston fulfills long-term business needs that we don’t anticipate shifting due to the current COVID-19 environment,” Microsoft said.
Facebook likewise confirmed that it still plans to set up a Reston office, even after announcing on Aug. 12 that U.S. employees won’t be required to return to offices until January.
Boston Properties shared in an earnings call on Oct. 31, 2019 that the social media giant had signed a lease for about 75,000 square feet of space at Reston Town Center, which beat out a Tysons office tower that was reportedly also under consideration.
The address of the new office wasn’t disclosed, but a permit issued by Fairfax County on March 17, 2020 indicated that Facebook will occupy the 10th floor of 1818 Library Street, which counts Carr Workplaces and the scientific consulting firm Metron as tenants.
More recently, Fairfax County issued a non-residential use permit to Facebook for the Reston Town Center space on July 8.
“We’re eager to continue expanding to support Facebook’s growing teams, and be a part of Reston’s vibrant community and strong business economy,” Facebook spokesperson Jamila Reeves said in a statement. “We always have our eye on new opportunities to support employees in the region.”
Facebook did not return follow-up inquiries about a move-in timeline and the number of employees that will work at the Reston office by press time.
Comscore to Launch New Movie Measurement Solution — The Reston-based company is launching Comscore Movies Everywhere, a cross-screen measurement tool that allows companies to track box office movies performance across all platforms. [Comscore]
Investment Firm Invests in Reston Tech Startup — ‘New York City-based Tracker Capital Management LLC announced Monday that one of its affiliates has acquired a controlling interest in Reston-based tech startup Presage Security. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.’ [Virginia Business Monthly]
Reston Association Seeks to Fill Board Vacancies — The association is seeking to fill new vacancies on its Design Review Board. An application is available online. [Reston Today]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
South Korea’s Hyundai Group Sells Reston Office Campus — “An affiliate of Boyd Watterson Asset Management has paid $325 million for Patriots Park, a Reston office park leased to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, adding to a growing portfolio of properties it owns in the D.C. region.” [Washington Business Journal]
Range of Assessment Options Explored in Hearing — “The Reston Association Board of Directors will discuss different scenarios for setting the 2021 assessment rate between $708 and $728 at a public hearing on Nov. 4. The board requested that RA staff explore a range of assessment rates, and how the extra money would be spent, at its regular meeting on Oct. 22.” [RA]
Opinion: Politics Messed Up Silver Line Phase Two — “But perhaps the most remarkable thing about Phase 2 is not how badly the project has been bungled but how few people seem to be concerned about the mess that is being made. No elected officials are speaking out, and the stories detailing the excruciatingly long list of problems with the project are relegated to the back pages of newspapers.” [The Washington Post]
Photo via Marjorie Copson
Reston Business Campus, a nearly eight-acre property with four office buildings, officially has a new owner.
The property, which is located at 12320-12350 Pinecrest Road, was bought for $13 million by 10th Street, real estate and development company, for $13 million, according to a report.
The office campus is part of a larger portfolio of commercial space acquired by Maryland-based commercial real estate firm Finmarc Management, Inc. four years ago.
Tenants in the campus include Goldfish Swim School and Kiddie Academy of Reston.
Photo via Google Maps
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
Reston Metro Center II Acquired — Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co. has acquired the building, which is located at 12180 Sunrise Valley Drive for $18.6 million. It is currently fully leased to a subsidiary of General Dynamics Corporation, one of the largest defense contractors in the world. [GlobalNewswire]
Rainbow Flag Flies Again — A new pride flag was installed at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston on Wednesday, July 10. The flag, which is on a pole at the entrance of the church, was stolen three times in the last three months. [The Connection]
Creative Response on ‘Overlooked’ — Callie Hawkins, director of programming at President Lincoln’s Cottage, will respond to the exhibition, which is currently on view in the gallery tomorrow. The event begins at 7 p.m. at the Greater Reston Arts Center. [GRACE]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
In what’s become a familiar theme in Reston, the owner of a three-story office building on Old Reston Avenue wants to redevelop the 1980s structure into two three-story office buildings and a “campus-style’ setting.
The redevelopment project, which is located at 1856 Old Reston Avenue, is guided by the principles of “strength, dedication and permanence,” according to an application by the developer. The 5.2-acre site is also home to the historic A. Smith Bowman Manor House, which was built in 1899 and is listed on the Fairfax County Inventory of Historic Sites.
The proposal by AP Reston Campus LLC, a subsidiary of the American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association, is in its early stages. The county accepted the application for review earlier this month. AAFMAA bought the property in 2009 and has occupied it since 2010.
AAFMA said renovating the existing office buildings requires major capital investment, which is not feasible.
“Rather than continuing to invest in a 30 year old building, AAFMA anticipates a greater return on its investment by meeting market demand for modern, iconic, campus-oriented office buildings in close proximity to Reston Town Center,” according to the Feb. 19 application.
The company will preserve the manor house, a gazebo, pond and wall along Old Reston Avenue. A new landscaped garden is proposed behind the manor house.
A 45,000-square-foot office building is proposed on the north end of the property and a 94,000-square-foot office is proposing on the southern end. Both structures will be connected by an underground parking garage and shared conference facility. A 6,600-square-foot rooftop terrace will also run between the two buildings.
AAFMA said it is working with DBI Architects, Inc. to create a “innovative, sustainable, cutting -edge architectural statement along Old Reston Avenue,” according to the application. It hopes the new campus setting is an attractive backdrop to the Manor House.
The latest plan departs from the previously approved Boxwoods project, which would have brought 60 residential units to the site and converted the Manor House into a six-room hotel. The developer dropped those plans in 2009 to continue using existing office space on the site.
The Reston Planning and Zoning Committee will review the project tonight.
A legal representative for AAFMAA did not return a request for comment. A map of the proposed location is below.
Photo via Google Maps
Roughly half of a dozen retailers won’t be affected by JBG Smith Properties’ newest proposed changes to the Reston Heights development.
The developer filed a request with the Fairfax County seeking to scale back planned office and retail space at the mixed-use development near the future Reston Town Center Metro station, Washington Business Journal reported.
The story says that the request includes the removal of existing entitlements for 215,000 square feet of office space, along with 3,600 square feet of retail space the company does not plan to construct at the 385-unit VY apartment community (11830 Sunrise Valley Drive).
JBG Smith told the Washington Business Journal via a spokesman that the request to eliminate the office space is a “change in strategy away from office toward residential in that location.”
Meanwhile, that change keeps the planned retailers intact.
The retail space reduction won’t affect any of the previously announced retailers coming to Reston Heights, a spokesperson for JBG Smith told Reston Now.
The developer announced several retailers for VY around this time last year. Willpower Functional Fitness, Allure Nails, Signature Thai, Super Chicken and Reston Kabob are all “coming soon” to VY, according to the apartment’s website.
The more than 3,000 square feet of retail planned to be removed would be in the base of the building, the spokesperson said.
The Reston Association declined to comment for this story because neither the RA nor its Design Review Board has received any information from JBG Smith about their reconfiguration plans. “Any reconfiguration of the project by JBG Smith will have to come back to Reston Association’s DRB,” Mike Leone, RA’s spokesman, told Reston Now.
JBG Smith would need approval from the county’s Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors to remove the office, Washington Business Journal reported, noting that this isn’t the first time the developer has sought changes to the site’s plans.
Images via VY and JBG Smith
(Editor’s note: This story was updated Monday at 11:15 a.m. with comments from the company.)
International tech company Tobii Pro opened its new U.S. headquarters in Reston last week.
The company celebrated with a grand opening last Tuesday (Nov. 13) at the new offices (12007 Sunrise Valley Drive Suite 400), according to a press release. The new spot has 23 people who work for the North American team, servicing customers in the U.S. and Canada.
The company provides eye tracking research products and services to more than 3,000 companies and 2,000 research institutions.
Founded in 2001, Tobii Pro is one of three business units that operate under Tobii Group. The company is headquartered in Sweden, with offices in China, Japan, South Korea, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Reston’s proximity to Dulles International Airport and its transformation into a “dense technology hub” drew the company to the site, Stephanie Ostrow, marketing director for the North American team at Tobii Pro, told Reston Now.
“Tobii Pro was looking to relocate to an area that represented the innovative nature of our company in a professional area close to an international airport,” Ostrow said.
The company had been eyeing Reston for about one year, and after reviewing more than 200 commercial properties, decided on the location because of the build-to-suit agreement, office park amenities and conference facilities, Ostrow said.
Tobii Pro has 190 people out of the nearly 1,000 employees worldwide at Tobii Group, Ostrow said.
Tobii Pro’s products include screen-based eye trackers, glasses for eye tracking, virtual reality and “gaze analysis.” Last month the company introduced the Tobii Pro Nano, which plugs into the USB port of a Windows laptop or tablet to collect gaze data. That data then gets used for psychology, cognition, marketing and behavioral economics research.
Photos courtesy of AxiCom and Tobii AB
This story has been updated
The company plans to renovate buildings on the 12-acre property, including updated lobby areas, a renovated tenant amenity center, office suites, and space for communal outdoor areas, special events and entertainment.
The office campus was 85 percent leased at the time of the sale. The company did not disclose the purchase price of the property. The buildings, located at 11130, 11190 and 11180 Sunrise Valley Drive, were previously owned by Grosvenor Americas, which purchased the property in 2011 for $63 million.
The asking price of the property was $61 million. BPG Properties, a private equity real estate company, owned the campus before Grosvenor.
Promotional material cites the buildings’ close proximity to Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station and Reston Station.
Photo via Cushman & Wakefield
Comstock has begun construction on the next office building in Reston Station, located on the southwest corner of the plaza. The eight-story structure, which has not yet been named, is a Class A office building with 180,000 square feet of office space and 8,300 square feet of retail space on the plaza.
The building is designed by HKS Architects with steel and glass structures. The company’s portfolio includes the design of Urumqi International Airport in Xinjiang, China and the King Hussein Cancer Center in Amman, Jordan.
Office space will be restricted to six floors, which sit atop an eight-story, above-grave concrete parking deck. It will also include a private patio with a sky garden and gym.
Construction prompted Comstock to close four of eight kiosks on the plaza. According to Maggie Parker, vice president of communications and community outreach for Comstock, the kiosks were intentionally designed to be temporary. Some vendors will relocate into vacant kiosks.
“They’ve given many budding entrepreneurs an opportunity to test their business models and have added a lot of vitality to our emerging development,” Comstock wrote in a statement.
Photo via Comstock
Honeygrow opens today — The Philadelphia import will celebrate its grand opening today at 10:30 a.m. today. The fast-casual restaurant offers stir-fries and salads, ordered via screen ordering stations. The restaurant, which is located at 12100 Sunset Hills Road, also plans to donate $5 of every stir-fry or salad sold to the nonprofit Back on My Feet today. The first 100 guests will get some honegrow swag and free draft lattes from La Colombe Coffee Roasters. [Facebook]
Light it up — Residents can receive up to five free LEDs at Reston Regional Library on Monday (May 14). The first LED is free and the remaining bulbs are available in exchange for an incandescent or Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb. [Fairfax County Government]
Loudoun competes with Reston, Tysons — “Loudoun County does not have the same business hubs as neighboring Fairfax County, with Tysons and Reston Town Center attracting large office tenants, but landlords and brokers in the county say Loudoun can use that to its advantage.” [Bisnow]
Two pools to open Saturday — “Two of Reston Association’s 15 pools are scheduled to open this weekend. Ridge Heights and North Shore heated pools will open Saturday at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. respectively. Weekday hours will be 1-7 p.m. and 1-8 p.m..” [Reston Association]
Photo by Ruth Sievers
Spot a helicopter? — Don’t be alarmed. Helicopters are flying low in the area as crews conduct maintenance on power lines and wires in the coming days. [Fairfax County Police Department]
Obsolete offices — Fairfax County’s oldest office buildings have some of the lowest vacancy rates — even though they’re considered obsolete. That’s despite the fact that trophy towers are going up in Tysons and Reston. [Washington Business Journal]
Ashburn Shooting Arrest — A Centreville man has been arrested in connected with the shooting of a Reston man on Sunday at an Ashburn home. [Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office]
A new age — Metro’s Silver Line brings in a new age for Reston. Some fear development will ruin the community’s character. Others say it will fulfill its vision. [The Washington Post]
Photo submitted by Wade Gilley
Wind advisory in effect from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. — “Strong winds will increase Wednesday morning ahead of a strong cold front and continue into early Wednesday evening. A line of showers will be associated with the frontal passage which could bring localized wind gusts to 50 mph or greater.” [National Weather Service]
The coming train –The Silver Line is bringing more of the D.C. region’s office submarkets into the Metro-accessible category. Northern Virginia accounted for more than half of all new commercial real estate construction last year. [WTOP]
Turning a page — After StoneTurn Group’s third-party review, Reston Association’s Board of Directors passed two actions that aim to bolster internal controls. [The Connection]
Hooked up — Free WiFi is available underground in several Metro stations. But Wiehle-Reston East isn’t on the list yet. [WMATA]
An eggspectacular hunt — At Restoration Church and the newly-planted Reston campus of Floris United Methodist Church, people “find community” and “growth in faith.” [The Connection]
Flickr pool photo by vantagehill
The commercial real estate company is seeking buyers for the trio of buildings on 11130 Sunrise Valley Drive, 11190 Sunrise Valley Drive and 11180 Sunrise Valley Drive, which were built between 1987 and 1990 on nearly a dozen acres.
Jennifer Dietze, a senior property manager for Lincoln Property Company, said Cushman & Wakefield is currently preparing an offering memorandum. Dietze also declined to provide any other information on the sale, including why the company is seeking to shed the property.
BPG Properties, a private equity real estate company, sold Campus at Sunrise to Canada-based Grosvenor Americas, the current owner, for $63 million in 2011 — two million more than the current sale price. Soon after, the company renovated the buildings’ HVAC systems, which they said “greatly enhance the tenant experience.”
Promotional material cites the buildings’ close proximity to Wiehle-Metro East, indoor and outdoor terrace lounge areas, an on-site delicatessane and fitness center.
Eric Berkman, a representative for Cushman & Wakefield, declined to comment on the building portfolio due to a confidentiality agreement.
Photos via Cushman & Wakefield