During the pandemic, a food vendor told fellow merchant Pedro Banegas, 59, who uses an electric wheelchair, that he had a surprise for him.

Later, the good Samaritan drove to his house and handed him the keys to a 2007 van, which Banegas has been using for nearly a year, the merchant says. He’s currently been selling snacks and drinks to construction workers on job sites near McNair along Sunrise Valley Drive.

He’s not the only one doing so out of a van, and food trucks also make stops to catch workers’ breaks. They have plenty of customers. A Donohoe Construction Co. spokesperson said they average 160 to 190 workers on the site each day near the Innovation Center Station.

Banegas regularly parks his maroon-colored vehicle on the curb at multiple job sites after making the commute from the Falls Church area where he lives. He doesn’t always like sharing about his personal life, but his children are in their 30s. He wakes up at 4 a.m. and takes the weekends off, going to church on Sundays.

He buys snack pack boxes to get a variety of chips like Doritos and Cheetos, and customers make their own coffee with a mix he provides along with an orange and white beverage dispenser filled with hot water.

Two of his merchant stops include building sites where tower cranes have been: one for a 274-unit affordable housing development called Ovation at Arrowbrook by Centreville Road and another for the Brightview Senior Living facility that Donohoe is building.

A third site he visits includes the 155 townhomes and condominiums that Stanley Martin is building by office buildings. He sticks to those sites, but other nearby construction includes a six-story multifamily development, Passport NoVA, as well as retail and luxury residence along Dulles Station Boulevard for a development called Makers Rise.

Banegas says he operated heavy equipment before he lost his right leg. Now, selling chips and coffee helps him get by. Other food vendors give him food for his own meals, too, as they work by construction sites.

Whether it’s a familiar or unfamiliar face, he greets people with a smile and chatter, both in English and Spanish, which translates well with numerous construction workers doing the same.

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A new assisted living development called “The Canopy” is coming to Reston by 2023.

Silverstone Senior Living, a Dallas-based company, plans to build a three-story assisted living development at 10819 Leesburg Pike. The project, which will include 135 apartments and four levels of care for seniors, is expected to break ground later this year.

A spokesperson for the company said Reston was chosen because of its “deep roots.”

“As Silverstone expands its portfolio in the D.C. region, we wanted to provide the next generation of assisted living and memory care in a community with deep roots such as Reston.  Reston was ranked as the Best Place to Live in Virginia by Money magazine for its expanses of parks, lakes, golf courses, and bridle paths,” the company spokesperson said

The Canopy was chosen to reflect the area’s tree canopy and the parks and woodlands that the company says make Reston a “highly desirable place to live.” The design attempts to emphasize outdoor living and includes pickleball courts, an indoor and outdoor fitness facility, and access to 22 acres of walking paths and gardens.

Levels of care include active assisted living, traditional assisted living, living for people with mild cognitive impairment, and memory care.

Silverstone is working on a larger facility at The Boro in Tysons. That development includes a new 15-story building with 198 units. The company is also behind The Providence in Fairfax’s MetroWest neighborhood.

Construction would wrap up by the third quarter of 2023.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic did not change the construction timeline, the design of the new facility is intended to help limit the spread of the pandemic. Touchless door openers, bleach-cleanable fabrics in dining rooms, and special filtration systems will be installed to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The building includes six units that are considered affordable by standards set by the Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services.

The company declined to release information about monthly rents, noting that the figure would be set based on market rates when the property opens.

Photo via Silverstone Living

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Developers broke ground yesterday (Wednesday) on a much-discussed new senior living community in Great Falls.

Slated to open in the summer of 2022, The Residence of Colvin Run at 1131 Walker Road will be a 53,000 square-foot facility set on 2.8 acres. It’s about a half-mile from the Colvin Run Mill historic site.

The senior living facility will offer 62 single and double occupancy units for adults 65 and older. That includes 44 assisted living apartments and 18 memory care residences.

Amenities will include an art studio, a theater designed for the hearing-impaired, several dining venues, an open-hearth brick oven, and a trail connecting to neighborhood businesses.

In terms of staffing, about 60 employees are expected to be on payroll, operator IntegraCare tells Reston Now.

Renderings depict an architecture that seems similar to a small cottage or a Craftsman-style look with lots of brick and wood.

Senior living facilities of this nature are becoming more in demand as the area’s population ages. In opening remarks, it was noted that nearly 34% of the Great Falls population is over 55 years old.

“In our experiences, we’ve found that seniors want to continue to live in the communities that they raised their families in,” IntegraCare CEO Larry Rouvelas said at the groundbreaking ceremony. “The need to build senior housing communities in the specific neighborhoods that people grew up in is an important part of their quality of life.”

IntegraCare also operates a senior living facility in Hunters Woods on Colt Neck Road.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust has been a consistent supporter of the project, stating that the development fulfills three of his goals for the district and Fairfax County at large.

“First of all, we’re very interested in economic development. This is a business. Secondly, we have a large population that’s aging, and this is a fantastic facility for them to age,” Foust said. “And third, from a land-use standpoint, it’s a beautiful building that’s going to fit into the character of Great Falls and make it even better.”

He also emphasized the concept of “placemaking,” as in providing amenities and creating a community that attracts companies and a workforce.

“It used to be that you built a factory and people came to that factory to work. Today, we build a community that people want to live in. The [workforce] comes to you and the employers come to them,” Foust said.

Foust also believes a greater supply of senior living options will be needed throughout Fairfax County in the future, since the county as a whole is getting older.

According to the county’s latest demographic information, about 14% of county residents — or 164,000 people — are 65 years old or older.

By 2025, that number is expected to tick up by 30,000 people and encompass 16% of the county’s total population. In 2035, as much as 17.5% of county residents — a total of 226,000 people — could be 65 or older.

“The aging of the population has created a need. Fortunately, we have developments like this one to try to meet that demand,” Foust said. “But demand right now far exceeds any supply that we’ve been able to create. So, it’s great to see this type of development occurring across the county for the foreseeable future.”

Construction on The Residence of Colvin Run is expected to take 15 months, with an additional two months for permitting. That puts the opening somewhere between July and September of 2022.

Work on the facility’s footings and foundations will commence in about a month, and then, in about three months, residents and passersby will see a steel frame being erected. The exterior skin will go on after that.

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Construction is progressing on the $86 million Lake Anne Fellowship House redevelopment at 11444 North Shore Drive with a completion date projected for the summer of 2022.

The property, which is to be called “Lake Anne House,” is framed up to the fifth floor of what will be an eight-story building. Mechanical, electric, and plumbing is also underway. The roof is scheduled to be put on by this June.

Christy Zeitz, the CEO of Fellowship Square Foundation, a non-profit that provides affordable housing to seniors, says that completion is still expected by next summer. That’s despite the fact that construction moved in a  “deliberate” manner during COVID-19.

The construction of the new, modernized Lake Anne House is progressing as scheduled and we are on track for a summer 2022 completion. Our construction partners have been deliberate in their safety protocols to ensure the safety of their teams and workers while also ensuring that the project moves forward so that our residents will be able to move into the new building next year.

Our residents are very excited — as the new Lake Anne House will be more space efficient, energy efficient, and will provide enhanced amenities such as an onsite wellness clinic, fitness center and more while, importantly, still assuring that rent is never more than 30% of a resident’s income.

A time-lapse video from February shows construction over the last month.

Currently, residents live in facilities that are adjacent to the new development and were built in the early 1970s, which was prior to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Accessibility has continued to be a challenge for residents at those facilities.

Once the project is completed, residents will move into the new building. A timeline notes that should begin by spring/summer 2022, though it depends on building completion.

Once move-in is completed, the old facilities will be demolished and the land sold will be sold for future townhomes.

The project was first approached more than seven years ago, in 2013, and approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2018. Groundbreaking was in October 2020.

The new building is part of an $86 million redevelopment project aimed at serving low-income senior residents.

Lake Anne House is expected to have 240 affordable apartments for seniors whose income is at or below 60% of AMI (area median income) for at least the past 30 years.

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Updated at 7 p.m. with comment from Harmony

Several local assisted living and senior centers are advertising vaccinations if seniors make reservations for residencies, a marketing tactic that is raising concern among county and elected officials.

Reston Now has found at least three businesses have advertised either through social media or on their website that if an individual pays to become a resident of the assisted living or senior center by a certain date, they’d receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

This comes as regional localities continue to have immense challenges with distributing COVID-19 vaccines to all who are eligible. In Fairfax County, everyone 65 or older is currently eligible to sign up for the vaccine. The vaccine is also free to all.

But supply remains severely limited, leading to canceled appointments and seniors waiting in long lines in Arlington.

Notably, up until late last week, Tall Oaks Assisted Living in Reston ran a Facebook aid promoting a “vaccination staycation,” as reported by the Washington Post.

The local assisted living facility was advertising a $5,000 all-inclusive month-long stay in a studio apartment where residents would also receive two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. It was accompanied by a 30-second video and a photo of a senior receiving a shot in the arm.

That post was taken down on Friday, according to the Post.

However, Tall Oaks Assisted Living isn’t the only local business that has advertised this type of message.

On Jan.13, Harmony in Chantilly promoted on their Facebook page “priority vaccine access” to those who become residents prior to Feb. 9.

Screenshot via Facebook

Sunrise Senior Living at Reston Town Center also posted on their website’s landing page that “vaccine clinics are now available” and new “eligible” residents can learn more by calling the facility. Towards the bottom of the page, however, it explains that “no respite or short-term stays” are eligible to get the vaccine.

Screenshot via website

Fairfax County officials are worried about what these messages are promoting.

“The main concern is the promotion could be interpreted as needing to pay money to get the vaccine, which is not the case,” Jeremy Lasich, Fairfax County Health Department spokesperson, writes to Reston Now in an email.

Lasich notes that long-term care facilities, like those mentioned, are receiving their vaccine allotment directly from the federal government and not the county. He says Fairfax County has allocated roughly half of the weekly doses to people 65 and over, per Virginia guidelines.

While Lasich does understand the frustration since it could be weeks or even months to get a vaccine appointment, he emphasizes that those 75 and over were able to sign up a week earlier than those over 65. Meaning, those residents’ appointments should come sooner.

The advertisements do “raise some concerns as both a promotional strategy and from a safety perspective,” Lasich writes.

Ken Plum is the Virginia House Delegate for the 36th District. Both Tall Oaks and Sunrise at Reston Town Center lie in his district. He also shares considerable concern about these promotions.

“It sends the message that you can get in front of the line for the vaccine by paying for an expensive [residency] package,” Plum tells Reston Now.

There’s already a high level of anxiety and frustration with how the vaccine is being distributed, he says, and this type of advertisements are playing off of those fears, particularly aimed at seniors and their loved ones.

“It’s misleading and inappropriate,” says Plum.

Reston Now has reached out to the three assisted living and senior centers noted asking about the decision-making process behind the promotions and advertisements.

Tall Oaks Assisted Living responded to a request for comment from Reston Now.

Executive Director George Winters admitted that promoting in such a way could be seen as “insensitive.”

“At Tall Oaks, we believe in the many positive benefits of short-term respite care for both seniors and their families. Moreover, we are delighted to be able to do our part to help seniors within our communities get vaccinated and to protect their health as well as that of their families via our vaccination clinic,” Winters writes to Reston Now. “At the same time, we recognize that demand for the vaccine is considerable and that marketing our respite-care program as we did may have been seen as insensitive to the individuals awaiting their vaccines. We are grateful to our residents, our staff, and our neighbors for their understanding.”

It remains unclear how effective the promotions and advertising were in bringing in new residents.

Winters told the Washington Post that only one person responded to the ad prior to it being taken down on Feb. 5. That person had previously taken her mother out of the Reston facility last year due to fears about the pandemic.

Reston Now has followed up with Winters if it remains the case that only one person has responded to the ad, but has not received a response.

Harmony in Chantilly, in an email response to Reston Now, said that their residents were first vaccinated in late Jan. and were among the first to receive vaccinations in Virginia.

This statement is disputed since more than 10,000 Fairfax County residents received the vaccine weeks earlier. The assisted living center says they have follow-up vaccine clinics set-up for residents later this month and in March.

They declined to comment specifically on county officials’ concern over the appropriateness or potential misleading nature of the Facebook post

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To celebrate Armed Forces Day, residents at Hunters Woods at Trails Edge in Reston will be treated to a parade of antique cars this Saturday (May 16). 

The Northern Virginia Regional Group 96 Early Ford Club of America will drive roughly a dozen antique cars by the senior living facility around 10:45 a.m., according to a press release. The Cub Scouts Pack 159 of Fox Mill Elementary School will also participate by standing 10 feet apart and holding flags to represent each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. 

“Our LifeStages Director Paul Adam put together this creative event to honor the Armed Forces while safely treating our residents to a parade of wonderful antique cars,” Cissy Nickel, the executive director of the facility, said in the press release, adding that this event is special because many of the residents are veterans. 

Residents and staff will remain inside their rooms and observe from their windows in order to maintain social distancing measures, the press release said.

Antique cars featured in the parade will range in age. Many of them were built between 1932 to 1953, according to the press release. 

Photo via Hosea Georgeson/Unsplash

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Shepherd’s Center of Oakton-Vienna, a nonprofit that supports aging in place, recently expanded its programs to help seniors in Herndon and Reston.

The group assists the seniors by providing free rides, social outreach and other resources. The group decided to expand around October, a spokesperson told Reston Now.

Susan Garvey, the executive director of the center, lives in the area and noticed a lack of free resources for the elderly community, the spokesperson said.

“The uptick in ride requests have been promising,” the spokesperson said, adding that people who answer the phones are kept busy. “It was a wise step to take.”

The group announced its expansion to Reston and Herndon in its quarterly newsletter, which was published this fall.

Shepherd’s Center receives its funding from donations, fundraisers and corporate sponsors. Anyone who wishes to donate to the center can do so online.

Seniors or others interested in free rides, programs for veterans and various resources can call the center at 703-281-0538.

Photo via Sheperd’s Center/Facebook

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Monday Morning Notes

Local Nurse Earns Award for Excellence — Abby Desesso, a clinical coordinator and senior charge nurse at Reston Hospital Center, won the HCA Excellence in Nursing Award for Compassionate Care. It is the highest honor given to one nurse each year across HCA Healthcare facilities. [Reston Hospital Center]

DMV2Go at Reston Town Center — The DMV’s wireless office on wheels will be onsite at the pavilion in Reston Town Center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today. Services offered include driving records, driver’s license and ID card applications, vehicle titles, plates and decals. [Reston Town Center]

Sunrise to Host Creative Conversations — “USA Today editorial page editor Bill Sternberg will visit Sunrise Senior Living in Reston to help launch an evening speaker’s series program that will be open to the public. The program, called “Creative Conversations,” will be the first of many such evening events that bring together noted journalists, authors and “literary luminaries” to Sunrise Senior Living for conversation and sharing of ideas.” [The Connection]

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(Updated at 14:25) Almost two years after its ceremonial groundbreaking, the Hunters Woods Retirement Community at 2222 Colts Neck Road in Reston is planning on opening in two months.

According to an employee at Hunters Woods, the first residents will be moving in end of May.

The $72 million project will add 210 housing units. Of those, 91 will be for independent living, 80 will be for assisted living and the remaining units will be a mix of memory care and continuing care.

The new complex will also bring 200 new jobs to Reston, mostly in hospitality and resident wellness fields.

In addition to housing, the Hunters Woods Retirement Community will include multiple dining venues, resident gardens, several fitness centers, an art gallery and a movie theater.

Photo via Facebook

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The Fairfax County Planning Commission supported a plan to add an assisted living facility in Great Falls at its meeting last night (March 14).

The 62-unit assisted living facility would be run by IntegraCare at 1131 Walker Road — right above Leesburg Pike and close to Colvin Run Mill. Verity Commercial is partnering with IntegraCare for the development.

The 33,429-square-foot-facility aims to fill a growing need in the community — about 35 percent of the Great Falls population is age 55 or older, according to Verity Commercial.

The new facility would also serve the local community in another way. “One of the problems in Great Falls is we have a limited amount of meeting space,” Dranesville District Planning Commissioner John Ulfelder said.

He requested that small groups have access to the facility’s meeting space when it is not being used for the facility’s programming.

The building’s design is meant to have an intimate feel, with short corridors and scattered communal areas.

The facility also plans to include a theater with a system for the hearing impaired, a demo kitchen and auto door opening where residents wear a bracelet that only lets them open their own doors.

Outside, a 10-foot trail along the front of the facility would connect to Colvin Run Road so that the residents may enjoy nearby eateries.

“It’s an outstanding proposal, an outstanding facility,” Ulfelder said.

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senior living community at Hunters Woods will kick off next week the first of three job fairs for 200 jobs ahead of its opening this year.

Currently under construction near the Hunters Woods Village Center, Hunters Woods at Trails Edge (2222 Colts Neck Road) is on track for its spring opening, Reston Now previously reported.

The IntegraCare facility will have 210 senior-living units — including 91 independent living units, 80 for assisted living, 24 for memory care and 15 for special needs. A temporary office and showroom opened last year at the Hunters Woods Shopping Center (2254B Colts Neck Road) to provide more information.

The jobs range from working with the hospitality to maintenance teams, according to a press release.

Positions are open in the following fields:

  • Resident Wellness: LPN supervisor, medication associate, resident wellness associate
  • Dining Experience: chef, associate, server, porter
  • Hospitality: lead associate, associate, executive associate, laundry associate
  • LifeStages (Activities): life styles associate, transportation associate
  • Maintenance: painting and maintenance associate, safety and maintenance associate

The job fairs will take place:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 26: 1-6:30 p.m. at the showroom
  • Thursday, March 7: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at the NOVA Medical Education Campus in Springfield
  • Saturday, March 16: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the showroom

The retirement community will include multiple dining venues, resident gardens, several fitness centers, a juried art gallery and a movie theater, according to the press release.

Rendering by Moseley Architects

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Senior living can be extremely costly, but a winter wonderland reception earlier this month raised $5,000 to continue providing affordable housing and support services to low-income seniors.

Hunters Woods at Trails Edge Senior Living Community, which is scheduled to open in spring 2019, hosted its first fundraiser before the facility opens.

The fundraiser supported the Fellowship Square Foundation, a faith-based nonprofit that operates a senior living facility at Lake Anne. The fundraiser included a silent auction and sales of snowflake ornaments, with prices ranging from $20 for small ornaments and $100 for the largest.

“We are a people-centric community, and we know that there is a certain population that we would be unable to serve directly but we still want to help in whatever way we can,” Annamarie Mariani-Huehn, the executive director of Hunters Woods at Trails Edge, said in a press release. “Very early in our development of Hunters Woods at Trails Edge, we connected with Fellowship Square and have been working on various ways to collaborate to serve this underserved population.”

The Fellowship Square Foundation’s property is planned to undergo a $70 million redevelopment project to build a new facility that will offer 240 affordable housing units for seniors. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the plans in October.

The new building will replace the current aging buildings built in the 1970s with an eight-story apartment building with apartments offered at several tiers of affordability. The plan also adds 36 market-rate townhouses to help finance the housing project.

“The holidays are a time where we reflect on how fortunate we are and it often inspires people to think of those less fortunate,” said Mariani-Huehn, “so it’s become a natural time for giving. “

Photo via Facebook

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Hunters Woods at Trails Edge, a senior living community under construction near the Hunters Woods Village Center, is on track for its spring opening next year.

When complete, the IntegraCare facility will have 210 senior-living units — including 90 independent living units, 81 for assisted living, 24 for memory care and 15 for special needs.

“We believe that it will [open] in May, but have not set a specific date as projects of this nature are always subject to the timeline of county agency approvals,” Cissy Nickel, the community integration director for IntegraCare Corp., told Reston Now.

The exterior shell is finished, and the first floor is almost complete, Nickel said. Drywall, trim, flooring and appliance installation still need work.

Located on a 4.3-acre lot at 2222 Colts Neck Road, the retirement community took the former site of the United Christian Parish. The $72 million project aims to address the shortage of senior housing in the Reston area. 

Reston Now previously reported that construction started in May 2017.

A temporary office and showroom opened in July in the Hunters Woods Shopping Center (2254B Colts Neck Road) to provide more information. 

An open house is set for Dec. 27 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the showroom. 

Rendering by Moseley Architects

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A new exhibition featuring the work of artists age 55 and above is coming to Reston next week.

The exhibit, “Young at Art,” opens on Oct. 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the showroom of Hunters Woods at Trails Edge (2254B Hunters Woods Plaza).

Attendees can meet the artists behind the event and enjoy local wines paired with desserts. RSVP by emailing [email protected].com or by calling 703-708-4047.

Hunters Woods at Trails Edge is an independent living and assisted living facility expected to open by the spring of 2019. The $72 million project is the first Virginia location for IntegraCare.

Photo via Marion Myers

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Tweaks to the redevelopment proposal of the Lake Anne Fellowship House will head to Reston Association’s Design Review Board for consideration on September 18.

The plan calls for redeveloping Lake Anne Fellowship House, an affordable housing community for seniors on North Shore Drive, into a new, eight-story, multi-family building for seniors. The 240-unit building will include a crafts room, community gardens, and a garage. A terrace will overlook North Shore Drive.

The remainder of the property will include up to 72 market-rate, for-sale townhouses to help finance the senior housing construction project.

In July, the DRB suggested a series of changes, including redesigning the southeast corner of the multi-family building away from North Shore Drive, redesigning the building’s parking garage, rethinking the placement of a row of townhouses away from North Shore Drive, more landscaping, and more contemporary architecture that uses flat roofs, rooftop terraces and metal canopies.

Fellowship Square Foundation and the Community Preservation and Development Corporation redesigned the multifamily building by shifting the parking garage from the base of the building to allow for more landscaping and further distance from North Shore Drive.

The garage wall will be screened by louvers or metal panels. To address concerns about the placement of two rows of townhouses, the applicant plans to increase the space between some rows by three feet. Architectural designs will also include more modern and contemporary elements.

The meeting is set for 7 p.m. at 12001 Sunrise Valley Drive in the conference center. The project will go before the county’s Planning Commission on October 4 and the county’s Board of Supervisors on October 16.

Photos via Reston Association/Handout

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