Several Reston and Herndon’s local officials came together virtually yesterday (Monday) to discuss the possibilities of what the retail industry will look like after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce hosts “Metro Monday” on the last Monday of each month. This month Herndon’s Mayor Lisa Merkel, Fairfax County’s Director of Economic Initiatives Rebecca Moudry and other local business owners were present to talk about the future of retail in Reston and Herndon.
The possibilities of the future of retail include promoting more online ordering for food, creating new digital ways for businesses to interact with its customers, and merging more restaurant and retail places together.
Merkel believes “restaurants are becoming anchors for retail centers which promotes social engagements and draws in the office crowd during lunch hours.”
Although many local businesses received grants to help with its loss of income, Moudry said the coronavirus pandemic has particularly affected the retail system.
“RISE grants have been awarded. We mailed postcards to every single business for local and federal grant programs,” Moudry said. “Economic Recovery Framework was recently launched to confront the economic shifts. That is the current task at hand.”
Job access and workforce development are essential factors in the framework. Moudry said the framework will work with the local transit system to improve both.
“The Reston bus plan will significantly improve bus transit and people’s access to jobs, as well as more opportunities for retail and people to come in and out,” Moudry said.
Tony Stafford, owner of Ford’s Fish Shack, said many businesses have had to take steps they thought they would never do.
“A lot of businesses had to reinvent themselves. We’ve seen a loss of lunch business because people aren’t going to work,” Stafford said. “This time last year, our takeout business was 7 p ercent of our overall sales, this year its 43 percent. of our overall sales. People are now comfortable ordering their meals off computer screens.”
Omar Aru, the owner of Escape Room Herndon, said setbacks posed by the pandemic have been significant, despite grants from the federal government and local assistance.
“There used to be a 15-minute wait period between each visit, but now it’s a 30-minute to an hour wait period between each visit to allow more time for proper cleaning and for rooms to air out,” Aur. said. “This means that we’re getting fewer games in and less people because we’re taking longer to clean.”
Photo courtesy of Omar Aru
The owners behind the major Halley Rise want the county to approve a reshuffling of the square footage on what they say is a crowded block in the project.
Right now, work is underway on the portion of the 4 million-square-foot mixed-use development that will bring Reston its first Wegmans in June 2020. Halley Rise will be adjacent to the Reston Town Center Metro Station, occupying the northwest corner of the intersection of Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive.
One Reston Co. LLC and Two Reston Co. LLC want to redistribute some of the square footage from three denser blocks to two different blocks, “which still have [the] capacity for additional development,” according to the application.
The proposed changes would shift the hotel from block G to block E. Block E also would have a significant chunk of its retail space shifted elsewhere, along with moving all of its residential units to a different block. Meanwhile, block H would shave off about 150,000 square feet of office space.
The largest change would make block D the densest in the development with 100,000 square feet of office space, in addition to 391 residential units and four times more retail square footage.
The proposed changes were spurred by the realization that retrofitting the existing parking structure on block E with more than 400,000 square feet of development “would be more challenging than [the applicant] initially anticipated,” the application says.
“As a result, the applicant’s plan began with redistributing some of the square footage that had been concentrated on block E in order to relieve pressure from its planned over-development.”
The application, which stresses that the proposed changes do not adjust the project’s mix of uses or density, calls the proposal “modest improvements” that will allow for a new pedestrian promenade.
In early March, Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins’ requested the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors speed up the review process for proposed plans that would adjust the grid of streets and accelerate construction of the streets to coincide with the opening of the grocer.
The Fairfax County Planning Commission is set to take up the proposal with a public hearing on May 22.
Photos via Fairfax County and Halley Rise/website
Reston Town Center’s new nail salon has pushed its opening from April to mid-May.
The Glossary Nail Spa plans to open by the second or third week of May, Hollee Ho, an employee at the nail spa, told Reston Now.
The new business is one of several retailers and food establishments slated to open in Reston Town Center later this year.
Image via Google Maps
The Pines Shopping Center in Herndon has welcomed two tenants to help fill its empty storefronts.
Established in 1959, Pines Center was the first of the shopping centers to pop up along Elden Street.
News outlets reported the shopping center obtained a new leasing manager — Vienna-based Renaud Consulting — in July 2015. Recently, the commercial real estate company announced that Herndon Laundry and Domino’s signed leases.
Domino’s has 1,600 square foot at the shopping center, while Herndon Laundry occupies a 2,270-square-foot space.
Domino’s lists a location offering both carry-out and delivery at 698 Elden Street on its website.
While Renaud Consulting did not provide the address for Herndon Laundry, its announcement features an image of the closed Coin Laundry at 692 Elden Street.
In its brochure, Renaud Consulting notes that seven out of 19 spaces at the shopping center are vacant, totaling 15,460 square feet of empty retail space.
A little over a year ago, VY at Reston Heights unveiled a handful of retailers coming to the apartment community. Now, some of those retailers are getting ready for their openings.
At a recent site visit, this Reston Now reporter spotted construction crews working on ground-level retail spots below the 385-unit apartment community (11830 Sunrise Valley Drive).
When Reston Now reached out to JBG Smith earlier this week to find out when the five retailers are set to open, a spokeswoman for the developer said that she wasn’t able to provide updates.
Building permits for 11830 Sunrise Valley Drive, though, provided some insight.
Two carry-out restaurants — My Home Thai and Reston Kabob — have permits for plumbing work. Another restaurant, Chicken Rico, has a building permit for a new tenant layout.
Meanwhile, Men’s Spa and Barber has a permit for an interior alteration for a tenant layout.
Once open, the restaurants and shops will be a quick drive from the Wiehle-Reston East and future Reston Town Center Metro stations.
Last photo via VY website
A new neighborhood shopping center near Elden Street is almost done with construction.
Located at 900 Alabama Drive, the Elden Corner Center backs up against the Herndon Middle School and is across the street from another shopping center, which includes a hair salon, deli and several other stores.
Sanjay Bajaj, the project’s applicant, told Reston Now that construction is slated to finish next week on the 10,000-square-foot retail center, which includes more than 50 parking spaces.
Plans from Capital Realty Advisors, LLC indicate that about tenants have leased about three-quarters of the shopping center, including:
- a boutique
- a bakery
- a hair salon
- Boost Mobile
- Peruvian Chicken
Two spaces are still available — an end spot with 1,453 square feet and one in the middle with 1,130 square feet, according to a listing on LoopNet, an online marketplace for commercial property. Tenants are responsible for their build-out, the site says.
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
Boston Properties, the owners of Reston Town Center, recently tapped Transwestern, a commercial real estate company, to provide leasing services for RTC.
“The new leasing engagement by Boston Properties comes at the same time as a major rebranding initiative at Reston Town Center,” Transwestern announced in a press release today (Jan. 31).
“This year will hold exciting changes for Reston Town Center,” Katie Yanushonis, the vice president of leasing at Boston Properties, said in the press release. “Our investment in the branding and placemaking of Reston Town Center will help maintain its place as the leading mixed-use development in the United States.”
Transwestern will be responsible for leasing RTC’s “urban core,” which consists of more than 2.5 million square feet of office space and 450,000 square feet of retail space in the mixed-use development.
“Significant” availabilities are expected in the next few years, partly from Leidos’ consolidation at 1750 Presidents Street, the press release says.
The upcoming Silver Line Metro station in Reston and the neighborhood’s changing shopping and dining scene are also expected to boost RTC’s attraction to employers, Transwestern said.
“Transwestern is honored to have the opportunity to lease the most important urban mixed-use project in all of the Washington region,” Senior Vice President Alex Hancock, who is leading the office leasing team with Executive Vice President Joe Ritchey, said in the press release. “Reston Town Center has always been a location with unparalleled ability to help organizations recruit, retain and maximize the productivity of their world-class workforces.”
Ritchey has worked on Reston Town Center for more than 29 years.
Image via Transwestern Commercial Services
Reston Town Center now has two large vacant spaces flanking the pavilion after two large, home goods retailers closed three days ahead of schedule.
Spokeswomen for Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma, which are both operated by Williams-Sonoma Inc., told Reston Now earlier this week that the stores were set to close on Sunday (Jan. 27). Yet surprised customers last night (Jan. 24) discovered that both stores planned to close for good by the end of the day.
Employees at both of the stores confirmed to Reston Now that Thursday was indeed the final day. Employees at the Williams-Sonoma said that the corporate office suddenly alerted them to the Thursday closing date after telling them that it would be Sunday.
A handful of customers were browsing the last few items left in Pottery Barn (11937 Market Street) when a store employee locked up the doors at 6 p.m.
The store had mostly barren shelves, a few barstools for sale and boxes of packaged merchandise. A sign in the storefront window that read, “Today is our last day!” advertised 70 percent off bedding, barstools, dining tables and dining chairs, along with 50 percent off everything else.
Down the street, the Williams-Sonoma (11897 Market Street) still had a selection of items ranging from kitchenware to candles. An hour before its closure at 7 p.m., about half of a dozen customers were still roaming the store, which offered 40 percent off everything. An additional 50 percent off was available for open cutlery, and furniture was 60 percent off.
The two closures are the first large retailers to leave Reston Town Center after several restaurants and small businesses left in 2018.
While replacements for the now-empty spaces haven’t been announced, Reston Town Center unveiled yesterday six newcomers slated to open later this year, including Peet’s, DC Row and True Food Kitchen.
The announcement did not indicate the expected opening dates or addresses.
Locals looking for another Williams-Sonoma store can find ones at Tysons Galleria, the Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax and in the Mosaic District. Pottery Barn has locations in Tysons Corner and the Fair Oaks Mall.
Reston Town Center unveiled today (Jan. 24) six newcomers slated to open later this year.
“It is our mission to continue to enhance the RTC experience and provide the community with brands that excite and entice all,” Retail Leasing Director Stephanie Friedman said in a press release.
The newcomers are the following:
The new dining and retail will provide “a diverse mix of shopping and restaurant options,” according to the press release, which does not include their expected opening dates or addresses.
Peet’s Coffee has already posted job openings for its future spot in Reston Town Center.
Located across the country, True Food Kitchen focuses on offering food based Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet, according to its website. In Virginia, the chain currently has spots in Arlington and Fairfax.
Reston Now previously reported that Fox Restaurant Concepts plans to open its North Italia concept in RTC at 11898 Freedom Drive — the space Neyla Mediterranean Bistro previously occupied before it closed in 2018.
While Boston Properties originally said North Italia would open in the winter, an employee told Reston Now that it will open later this spring.
Muse Paintbar also planned to open in the winter after it blew past its original fall date, Reston Now previously reported. Its website says that the Reston spot at 11943 Democracy Drive is “coming soon.”
The store combines painting instruction with a beer and wine bar and will host daily painting sessions.
Meanwhile, the Glossary Nail Spa wrote that it is “coming soon” to 1771 Library Street in a Facebook post on Dec. 20.
DC Row will offer high-intensity, low-impact group workout training. This will be its second location after launching at District Wharf in May 2018, according to the press release.
The press release says that various other tenants will be announced in the following months.
Restaurant Week starts today — Four restaurants in Reston will be serving up dishes for Winter Restaurant Week, which runs from today until Sunday (Jan. 20). [Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington]
Walmart is increasing tech jobs — In a battle with Amazon’s market share, the retailer announced it will add 2,000 tech hires this year. The expansion is likely to affect the Sunnyvale, Calif. and Reston offices. [Fortune]
Snow, snow, snow — Fairfax County Public Schools are closed today. ICYMI: Reston Now had weekend coverage of the snowiest D.C. area storm since 2016. [Reston Now]
Duck Donuts will open a store at BB& T Bank Center at Elden Street and Herndon Parkway (near the Bagel Cafe) this spring, according to the company’s Facebook page.
Duck Donuts began as a family-run operation in, of course, Duck, N.C. It later expanded to nearby Kill Devil Hills and Corolla.
Recently, it has been offering franchise opportunities, and Virginia outposts are planned for next year in Williamsburg, Charlottesville, Virginia Beach, as well as Herndon.
The Herndon store put up a new Facebook page on Tuesday and got several hundred likes within a few hours. Follow them to keep up with store opening details.