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Fairfax Real Estate Developer Accused of Multimillion-Dollar Real Estate Fraud in Herndon

The CEO of Kiddar Capital, a Falls Church asset management firm, is accused of lying about the size and value of his company and defrauding investors about a $33 million office building in Herndon, according to charges filed in federal court. 

Todd Elliott Hitt, 53, was charged with securities fraud and surrendered to the FBI on Friday.

According to court documents, which were unsealed on Friday, Hitt raised nearly $11 million by falsely claiming to buy the building near a planned Herndon Metro stop. He spent around $9 million to purchase the 4.8-acre office building and relied on bank loans for the remaining balance on the purchase.

Prosecutors say Hitt was involved in an alleged $16 million scheme to defraud investors.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also found Kiddar claimed to be a global firm with $1.4 billion under management in London, Houston, and Florida, but in reality, the local company only had one office in Falls Church and managed far less than $1 billion.

They also noted that Hitt failed to disclose to investors his “extravagant spending,” which included leasing private jets and buying sports tickets and jewelry.

The complete release can be found online.

Photo via Kiddar Capital

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Report: Metro Garage in Herndon is ‘Sinking’

A report, first published by The Washington Post, finds that the Innovation Center Metro Station garage is “sinking.”

All work on the county-financed garage, which has eight stories, has been halted as an engineering firm attempts to determine why four cylindrical supporting structures sunk by as much as four inches.

The garage is one of five installed along the extension of the Silver Line, which runs from Dulles International Airport into Loudoun County.

The Post reports the problem was discovered when the garage was about 65 percent complete in July.

Manhattan Construction has a $33 million contract with the county to build the garage. Officials are confident that the garage will not collapse. The Innovation Center Station, which is near one of the sites up for consideration by Amazon for its second headquarters, is served by the 2,100-space garage.

An electronic monitoring system will be installed to monitor any movement of the foundation.

Photo via handout/Fairfax County Government

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Monday Morning Notes

Halloween volunteers needed — Volunteers are being sought for Reston Association’s Halloween House and Trick-or-Treat Trail at the Walker Nature Center on Oct. 26 and 27. To volunteer, contact [email protected]. [Reston Today]

Ramp and lane closures planned this week — You guessed it. Phase two of the Silver Line will usher in a flurry of lane and ramp closures along the Dulles Toll Road, Herndon Parkway, Edmund Halley Drive, Sunrise Valley Drive, Sunset Hills Roa and Moran road this week. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

Take a stroll through Reston National Golf Course — Walk with a naturalist from the Walker Nature Center and golf course neighbors from 3-5 p.m. and learn more about natural resources and the experiences that open space provides. [Reston Association]

Re-striping — If you frequent the Herndon-Monroe garage, expect new traffic patterns as pavement re-striping is happening throughout the garage. [Fairfax Connector]

Photo by Charlotte Geary

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Monday Morning Notes

Lane and ramp closures this week — Phase two of the Silver Line project ushers in several lane, shoulder and road closures this week along the Dulles Toll Road, the Dulles International Airport Access Highway, Herndon Parkway, Sunset Hills Road and Sunrise Valley Drive. The complete list of closures is available online. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

Not denser than Manhattan — Canaan Merchant responds to an opinion piece published on Reston Now that asserts Reston is going to be denser than Manhattan. [Greater Greater Washington]

Bechtel brings it — The engineering giant moved its global headquarters from San Francisco to Sunset Hills Road in Reston this year. The company has become one of Washington’s biggest privately held players. [The Washington Business Journal]

Suspicious package cleared by Metro transit police — A package found on Friday at Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station was cleared by police. [Metro Transit Police]

Corn night moon gathering tonight — View this month’s full moon, which, according to American Indian folklore, is named the Corn Moon. It indicates the time of the year to harvest crops. View the moon through the park’s telescope and enjoy a corn-inspired treat over the fire. Registration is $8. [Fairfax County Government]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Thursday Morning Notes

Stay away from Lake Audubon and Lake Thoreau — A toxic algae bloom spotted at the lakes two weeks ago remains, so Reston Association staff are encouraging residents to avoid contact with the water. Pets also shouldn’t swim or drink from the lakes. [Reston Association]

Silver Line investigation continues — Metro’s Office of the Inspector General announced Wednesday that it’ll take over an investigation into flawed concrete in phase two of the Silver Line extension project. The effort is currently overseen by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. [The Washington Post, WMATA]

A natural recovery at Sunrise Valley Elementary School — When a renovation project at the school required the removal of trees to maintain line of sight for pedestrians and drivers, Reston Association, the school system and two design firms partnered to restore a natural area at the school. The area is now a natural habitat for birds, butterflies and other animals. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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County Completes $14 Million Renovation Project of Reston-Herndon Bus Garage Facility

Ahead of the completion of phase two of the Silver Line project, a nearly $14 million renovation project of the Reston-Herndon bus garage facility on 268 Spring Street is complete.

County officials said the facility will help support Fairfax Connector bus operation in Reston and Herndon as the Silver Line project brings more demand to the area.

The project was funded through revenue from the commercial and industrial tax and general obligation bonds. A ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening of the new facility was held today (September 19).

Staff now have a working environment that is safer, more efficient, and more comfortable than before,” county officials wrote in a statement.

The renovation project includes the following:

  • An existing bay was closed to create a new drive-through bus wash
  • Addition construction for exterior tire storage
  • Upgrades to vehicle lifts and service equipment
  • Creation of automated parts storage system
  • Modernization of drivers lounge and administration areas
  • Addition of new fueling station
  • Replacement of bus parking lot surface with heavy-duty concrete
  • New parking lot for staff

Photo via Fairfax County Government

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Private Contractors Likely to Operate Silver Line’s Second Phase

Private contractors are likely to operate and maintain the six new stations that are part of the Silver Line extension project that runs from Wiehle-Reston East into Loudoun County

In an announcement on Tuesday, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority said it has issued a request for proposals in order to seek private contractors who can operate and maintain the new stations, trains, and facilities.

WMATA said the move was necessary in order to control operating and maintenance costs, including future pension costs, which it says have “grown to unsustainable levels.”

“We are leaving no stone unturned as we look for opportunities to maintain transit service for the region and protect jobs, all while living within our means in light of what our funding jurisdictions can afford,” said Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Wiedefeld. 

Bids are due on Jan. 15 and a contract will be awarded in the spring.

Officials said the move will not result in job losses for Metro’s current workforce. They also noted that transit agencies in Hong Kong, London, Melbourne, and Beijing have had success in contracting some or all rail services through public-private partnerships, resulting in “improved on-time performance, reliability, operating efficiencies and cost savings.’

The Silver Line extension project is tentatively scheduled to open in 2020.

Photo by Fatimah Waseem

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This Weekend: Construction Prompts Full Overnight Closure of Eastbound Dulles Access Highway

A segment of the eastbound Dulles Access Highway will be closed on Saturday (September 22) from around 10 p.m. through Sunday (September 23) at 6 p.m.

Crews are scheduled to complete utility work on an overhead pedestrian bridge along the highway, which will be closed from the start of Innovation Center Station at the mile marker 1.7 to mile marker 2.7.

Traffic from the eastbound landers will be diverted to the left lane of the eastbound Dulles Toll Road. Drivers will not pass through any toll booths on the toll road during the planned detours.

Traffic will return to normal patterns just east of the Centreville Road overpass.

Drivers are encouraged to exercise caution and pay attention to all signs and barricades. Large vehicles may enter and exit the highway at various times. All work is dependent on the weather.

Photos via Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project

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Another New Mixed-Used Project Proposed Near Wiehle-Reston East

Foulger-Pratt, a Potomac-based developer, is seeking to build a 1.5 million-square-foot project on Reston Association Drive, joining a long list of developers honing in on land near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.

The project, one of several major mixed-used developments near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station, will include up to 907 residential units, an assisted living facility, an office building and ground-level retail. The developer envisions contributing funds for the right-of-way road the Soapstone Drive overpass and construction of the southern portion of the new roadway.

The Washington Business Journal reported that the project is expected to cost $400 million. The existing office park, which contains seven office buildings built in the early 70s and 80s, will be transformed into a transit-oriented development with eight development blocks. The project is located on the north side of Sunrise Valley Drive, west of its intersection with Wiehle Avenue.

Plans for each development block are as follows:

  • Block 1: An assisted living facility on the southwestern corner of the site along Sunrise Valley Drive and the western side of the future Soapstone Drive overpass. The eight-floor building will include 210 units. A healing garden will be available for use by patients, visitors, and staff.
  • Blocks 2, 3 and 4: A combination of townhouses and two-over-two flats totaling roughly 138 units. A central green, gateway park, cycle park, and neighborhood park are also proposed.
  • Block 5: A residential condominium with 154 units with a “variety of price points to encourage first time home buyers,” according to the project’s statement of justification. The ground floor will contain 6,000 square feet of on-site retail. A five-story office is also pitched as an alternative to the residential building.
  • Block 6: A 14-story office building with 6,166 square feet of ground-level retail and five levels of parking. Outdoor plazas with seating and other amenities are also planned.
  • Block 7: A seven-story residential building with 360 units and a fenced dog park.
  • Block 8: Around 45 units, likely a combination of townhouses and two-over-two flats. A garden park is located in this block.

In documents submitted to the county, the developer indicated the project is intended to be a “community-focused site with an abundance of quality open spaces intended to invite and activate those living, working and visiting there.”

“By placing parks of a variety of scales throughout the site, all are invited to travel throughout the community exploring the different spaces. The entire site becomes the ‘backyard,’ a shared space meant for the community to gather, play and relax,” according to the development plan.

Photos via Handout/Fairfax County Government

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A First Look at Metro’s Next Generation of Rail Cars

Metro is offering a glimpse into its next generation of rail cars, which are similar to the stainless steel 7000-series launched three years ago.

On Tuesday (September 5), Metro announced it has begun the procurement process for the 8000-series, which will replace the 2000- and 3000-series cars, which went into service more than 10 years ago. Trains are needed to meet expanding service, especially as the expansion of the Silver Line to Dulles Airport and into Loudoun County comes closer to fruition.

Departing from previous ideas, which included open, raised platforms to reduce overcrowding, heated floors and onboard WiFi, the latest plans are similar to the 7,000-series currently in operating. New features include new digital advertising screens, support for remote PA announcements, digital system mats, 110-volt power outlets to charge electronic devices and more lighting, floor markings and signage for ADA areas.

“Today Metro is beginning the multi-year process of acquiring our next railcar fleet, which will take everything our customers love about 7000-series trains and build upon that success,” Wiedefeld said in a statement. “I would take this opportunity to again thank our local jurisdictions — Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia — for creating a dedicated capital funding source for Metro that has made this possible,” according to a statement by Metro.

Metro has issued a formal request for proposals, which will close in late January. A contract will be awarded sometime next year. The contract calls for purchasing up to 800 cars, including options to run more trains during rush hour, and retiring the 6000-series fleet. The new trains are expected to be in service in 2024.

Photos via Washington Metropolitan Area Authority

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Over Two Days, Metro Trains Travel on Wrong Tracks

Twice in the last two days, Metro trains ended up on the wrong line, with a Blue line train coming onto the Orange Line and a Silver Line train coming onto the Blue Line.

On Monday, a Silver Line train diverted to the Arlington Cemetery station on the Blue Line, a routing issue that Metro officials said was called by signal problems. The next day, a Blue line train bound for Franconia-Springfield was misdirected to the Court House station on the Orange and Silver lines.

Metro is attempting to take corrective action to prevent similar issues in the future.

Over the weekend, an eight-car Silver Line train bound for McLean completely separated into segments of five and three cars. The incident happened on Saturday at around 10:45 a.m. Roughly 70 passengers were on the train when the issue occurred. No injuries were reported.

More from social media:

File photo

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Athletic Field Planned as Part of Boston Properties’ Reston Gateway Project

Boston Properties’ Reston Gateway project, which sets between Reston Town Center and the future RTC Metro Station, will include plans for an athletic field.

Reston Gateway, the first major development on the north side of the station, will bring four office buildings, three residential buildings with 2,010 units, two hotels and 162,300 square feet of retail and restaurants, to the north side of Sunset Hills road between Town Center Parkway and Reston Parkway.

The development has triggered the need for a new athletic field, according to Fairfax County officials. The county’s Board of Supervisors approved the project in July. Several options are included in Boston Properties’ plans.

A full-size, synthetic turf field on an offsite property was pitched by Boston Properties’ officials as the preferred option. Information on the property under consideration has not been publicly disclosed. If the deal, which is currently under consideration, falls through, the developer may build a new field on top of the Purple Garage in RTC. Another alternative is pitching money that would go towards building a new field — a proposition that has some residents concerned due to limited developable land in the planned urban core of Reston.

If no alternatives are feasible, Boston Properties may dedicate 50,000 square feet at Reston Gateway for a performing arts center in lieu of the field.

As of late July, developers have committed $10.3 million to help fund athletic fields in the greater Reston area. All funds are unspent.

Photos via Fairfax County Government

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Sharing common ground — Fairfax County officials have launched a new newsletter to keep the interfaith community informed of events and opportunities in the area. [Fairfax County Government]

Missing man found — Hassan Sultan, a 48-year-old missing endangered adult, was found today. He was last seen in the 2000 block of Maleady Drive in Herndon. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Problems with Alexandria’s Potomac Yard station — As the Silver Line makes its way into Virginia, there are some lessons to be learned about the need for well-designed entrances and information displays. [Washingtonian]

A hitchhiker on a Lake Anne boat (Photo by Beth Allgaier).

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Metro Officials: “Only Use Metro If You Have No Other Option”

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority officials are encouraging riders of the Orange, Blue and Silver Lines to use Metro “only if you have no other option.” A partial Blue Line shutdown and major delays on two other Lines are planned this weekend.

Beginning tomorrow (Saturday) until August 26, Orange and Silver Line trains will run every 20 minutes and Blue Line trains will run between Franconia-Springfield and Arlington Cemetery. No Blue Line services will be available in DC or Maryland.

WMATA urges commuters to brace for major delays and crowding. Metro’s rush hour promise will not be in effect for trips on the Orange, Blue or Silver Lines.

Crews are scheduled to rebuild track infrastructure, install new rail, new fasteners and repair concrete pads that support rails. Each track will be worked on one week at a time so that single-track service can be maintained, according to WMATA.

In a statement posted to their website, WMATA posted the following information about travel alternatives:

  • Commuters between Virginia and the district should use the yellow line.
  • Use the Yellow Line and transfer to and from the Orange or Silver Lines at L’Enfant Plaza.
  • Use the Red, Yellow or Green Line stations if they’re within walking distance of your destination.
  • Consider riding select trains on the VRE Manassas Line or VRE Fredericksburg line to Crystal City, L’Enfant Plaza or Union Station
  • Take the MARC Penn Line (via New Carrollton) or the MARC Camden Line (via Greenbelt) downtown.
  • Consider bus alternatives. See breakdown online.
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Reston Association to Hold Information Session on Bus and Metro Services

Need some extra help getting around? Reston Association is hosting an information session on how to ride the bus and Metro.

The event, set for August 16 from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., will offer attendees a hands-on learning experience. Participants will ride the Mobile Accessible Travel Training bus and get tips on reading bus schedules, route maps, calculating and paying fares, and other skills.

The bus will then stop at a Silver Line Metro Station, where participants will learn how to determine fares, buy Metrorail fare cards, load SmarTrip cards and read the rail system map.

The event is free. Attendees will meet on the training bus, which will be parked on the southwestern corner of the parking lot of the Reston Association (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive).

File photo

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