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
Let your imagination run wild – Today is the last day an art proposal in response to the prompt, “If you could do anything, what would it be?” Greater Reston Arts Center will select five artists to participate in the Mary B. Howard invitational later this year. [GRACE]
Delays on Metro This Weekend — The Silver, Orange and Blue Lines are scheduled to run every 24 minutes, thanks to weekend track work. [WTOP]
A new home for OVHcloud – The global cloud provider opened its headquarters in Reston. The company’s CEO Russ Reeder said he’s glad to be back in the region. [OVHcloud]
Discussion on Russia’s foreign policy today — Watch a segment of the “Great Decisions” documentary and delve into a roundtable discussion at Reston Regional Library from 2-4:15 p.m. [Fairfax County Government]
Empty office space woes – Near Silver Line stations, millions of square feet of office space is available. Some developers and brokers are struggling to court good tenants. [Bisnow]
Body Found in Early February Outside Reston Town Center High Rise – On Feb. 2, a woman’s body was found in a driveway outside condominiums in Reston. Police investigated the incident as a possible suicide.
Flickr pool photo by vantagehill
Rubenstein Partners announced last week it purchased the five-story building at 11493 Sunset Hills Road for $18.6 million. Unisys Corp. recently vacated the building after more than 10 years.
Built around 1988, the property is close to the Reston Station neighborhood, which is just a short walk from the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. It also is near the Dulles Toll Road, Reston Town Center and Plaza America.
“11493 Sunset Hills Road is exactly the kind of value-add opportunity Rubenstein Partners seeks out,” Mike Daugard, a Rubenstein Partners vice president, said in a statement. “The outstanding location speaks for itself.”
Rubenstein Partners soon will begin work on updating the building with new high-end amenities to create a more modern feel, Dugard said.
“The vision for the property is to convert it from a traditional office building to a high-tech magnet by refashioning the interiors to offer higher ceilings and a more open ‘industrial loft’ feel,” he said.
In addition to all-new HVAC systems and a modern building management system, the building will get a fitness center, conference center and food service areas, according to plans from Rubenstein Partners.
All renovations and additions are expected to be complete by the end of 2017. At that time, Rubenstein Partners will hand over operations to real estate firm Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, which will lease the space.
Photo courtesy of Rubenstein Partners
The mortgage giant, which recently made a deal to leave its upper Northwest D.C. location to build an new building at 1150 15th St., longtime site of The Washington Post headquarters.
Meanwhile, The Washington Business Journal reports that Fannie Mae is also planning to lease about 180,000 square feet at an undisclosed location in Reston to support a new commercialization platform it is developing in collaboration with Freddie Mac.
Fannie already owns and leases space at 11600 American Dream Way in Reston, as well as in Herndon, but company spokesman Andrew Wilson told WBJ it has maxed out its space in Reston and needs to expand to roll out the new platform for the mortgage industry.
Fannie Mae occupies nearly 1.5 million square feet of owned and leased space in the region, including a lease set to expire next year at Monument IV at Worldgate in Herndon.
Fannie plans to combine its operations there into the new space, which Fannie has identified says it cannot disclose yet.
Photo: Current Fannie Mae Reston space near Plaza America/file photo