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by Dave Emke — May 17, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

In a work session Tuesday (video), Reston’s Design Review Board and Kensington Senior Development made progress on the latter’s plan to put a 91-unit assisted-living facility at 11501 Sunrise Valley Drive.

A re-worked sketch for the proposed facility presented to the DRB at the session pushes the building farther away from nearby townhouses on Approach Lane, part of the Wethersfield Cluster. Where previous proposals had the building within 50 feet of the nearest residence, the new configuration leaves about 80 feet.

The proposal also caps the building at three above-ground stories over one level of underground parking. The center portion of the building would have only two above-ground stories, with a rooftop garden accessible from both sides.

Previous designs for the proposal featured as many as five stories.

This seems to me to be progress,” said Richard Newlon, DRB vice chair, who was very critical of previous plans. “I think this is going in a direction that is going to be just better.”

The facility would be at the site of the current Good Beginnings School. The property has not yet been sold, with the deal contingent upon the plan’s approval.

Several residents of the Wethersfield Cluster spoke during the session, expressing their concerns about lowered property values, privacy and architectural compatibility.

The sentiment of the community is that the mass and height of this building is inappropriate at this location so close to a residential community,” said Stephen Cerny, president of the Cluster Association.

DRB members remained skeptical of how the facility would be viewed from Approach Lane and from the adjacent Sunrise Valley Convenience Center. They implored the developer to bring more detailed exhibits to future meetings to address those issues.

While DRB was happy with the effort to move the building farther away from the nearby townhouses, retaining more tree buffer in the process, they asked the developer to explore whether inching even closer to the Sunrise Valley Drive side of the property would be possible.

Screencap via Reston Association/YouTube

by Dave Emke — April 21, 2017 at 9:00 am 1 Comment

Giving Back to Emergency Responders — Firefighters from Station 25 presented a certificate to a Reston woman who adopted a fire hydrant in her neighborhood. The woman was involved in a serious motorcycle crash in 1994 and credits emergency crews including fire units with saving her life, and she has loved and supported them ever since. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Guinea Pigs on Twitter Thanks to Local Students — At Ideaventions Academy, a specialized STEM school in Reston, students have built a computer and are using censors to get classroom pets to tweet out randomized messages. You can follow along @PepperNCaramel. [WUSA]

County Map Shows Youth Crash Locations — A map released Thursday by Fairfax County plots the locations of all 1,840 vehicle crashes involving youth drivers (ages 15-20) in 2016. In Reston, locations including Sunrise Valley Drive, the intersection of Wiehle Avenue and Sunset Hills Road, and the intersection of Reston Parkway and Route 7 had the most incidents. [Fairfax County]

Another Capital BikeShare Station Opens — An 11-dock Capital BikeShare location has opened on Town Center Parkway near Sunset Hills Road, at the RTC West complex. [Capital BikeShare/Twitter]

Map courtesy Fairfax County

by Dave Emke — April 19, 2017 at 2:45 pm 5 Comments

Toll Brothers plans to purchase a Sunrise Valley Drive office property slated for luxury townhouse development, the Washington Business Journal reports.

The company will finalize a deal to purchase the land from Rooney Properties “later this year,” the WBJ says. As we previously reported, Rooney purchased the property in 2013 and Fairfax County approved a rezoning request in October. In February, a permit application to tear down the six-story office building currently on the 3.5 acres was filed.

The purchase price of the reported sale was not disclosed.

The WBJ reports Toll Brothers plans to follow through on the plan to tear down the office building, with an aim to complete site-plan approval by fall. Sales would begin next summer, according to the report, with prices in the $800,000 range.

The property is located across Roland Clarke Place from the former location of the API building, which was razed last year to make room for the future Sunrise Square cluster. Also owned by Rooney Properties, that will consist of 34 townhouses and 10 condos.

Both properties are part of a large number of developments planned for the stretch between the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station and the future Reston Town Center station, as progression of the Silver Line’s Phase 2 continues.

Rendering courtesy Rooney Properties

by Dave Emke — March 27, 2017 at 10:15 am 9 Comments

Kensington Senior Development LLC hopes to put an assisted-living facility on Sunrise Valley Drive, and the public is invited to give its input.

Fairfax County’s Health Care Advisory Board will hold a public meeting on the proposal Monday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the county Government Center (12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax). At the meeting, a special-exemption application from Kensington to put the facility at 11501 Sunrise Valley Drive will be reviewed.

The sale of the property to Kensington by its current owners, the Good Beginnings School, is contingent upon the approval of the plan by the county.

The application is scheduled for a Sept. 27 hearing before the county Planning Commission. The Health Care Advisory Board, meanwhile, is tasked with reviewing the application from a health care perspective rather than land use, using criteria such as community and medical need, access to care, cost, quality, and continuity of care.

HCAB will make recommendations regarding the proposal to the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission.

The current plan for Kensington’s proposed 91,000-square-foot Reston facility includes 91 units and 125 to 135 beds. The 2 1/2- to 3 1/2-story facility would feature underground parking. A representative from Cooley LLP presented the plan to Reston’s Design Review Board on Feb. 21.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the April 3 meeting of HCAB and provide comments. Anyone who wishes to speak should call 703-246-8664 by Friday. Written comments can also be considered, if they are received prior to the meeting. They can be sent by email to [email protected] or by mail to HCAB Staff Coordinator, Health Department, 10777 Main St., Suite 203, Fairfax, VA 22030.

Image via Cooley LLP/RA YouTube

by Dave Emke — March 16, 2017 at 4:00 pm 2 Comments

Good Beginnings SchoolThe site of a private school in Reston is facing a changing future.

Kensington Senior Development LLC is working with Fairfax County on an application to put an assisted-living facility at 11501 Sunrise Valley Drive, the current home of Good Beginnings School. Miaoling Lin, the school’s administrator, says the site is expected to operate as a school through at least the end of 2018.

The sale of the property to Kensington is contingent upon the plan’s approval by the county, Lin said. Meanwhile, a permit has been filed with Fairfax County for Oak Hill Montessori School to open at the site for a month in April.

“They are in between buildings, and we are shrinking, so we have room for them to use temporarily,” Lin said.

Lin said Good Beginnings will continue to operate at the site through June, after which a school called Mosaic will take over the facility.

Lin said some of the staff of Good Beginnings in Reston will be staying on site with Mosaic and some will be moving to the school’s Loudoun County campus in Stone Ridge. The school has a meeting scheduled for Thursday night to introduce Mosaic to parents interested in staying at the current site after June.

by Dave Emke — February 27, 2017 at 11:30 am 7 Comments

Sunrise Square plan/Reston Association

At its meeting last week, the RA Board of Directors unanimously approved the addition of a planned Sunrise Valley Drive community into Reston Association.

Sunrise Square developmentSunrise Square, at the site of the former American Press Institute headquarters (11690 Sunrise Valley Drive), is being developed by Sekas Homes. Its plans consist of 34 townhouses and 10 condos.

A public hearing on the addition of property request was held Jan. 26, at which time the board determined comments from the community warranted further discussion.

With its membership in RA, Sunrise Square will be subject to various terms and conditions, including:

  • The entire property will be subject to the Reston Deed
  • The establishment of a cluster association — Sunrise Square
  • Full payment, per unit of the RA annual assessment
  • The grant of a fee simple dedication for RA common area or easement for RA common area (use and maintenance)

“I think this is a no-brainer,” said Jeff Thomas, At-Large director, prior to the vote. “I think it’s a good investment in Reston, because it provides us a foothold in all the development that’s going to happen around there, and it’s going to help create more contiguous properties that we can tie amenities into.”

The property is located in the corridor that was originally part of the Reston Center for Industry and Government (RCIG).

“We’re injecting residential where it was never planned,” said John McBride, RA’s land-use attorney. “In order to keep Reston Reston, it needs to be subjected to the Reston covenants through a supplemental declaration, and the new residents should be RA members.”

Sunrise Square plan illustration via Reston Association

by Dave Emke — February 22, 2017 at 11:30 am 54 Comments

11720 Sunrise Valley Drive

The demolition of a six-story office building at 11720 Sunrise Valley Drive will likely soon begin.

11720 Sunrise Valley DriveA permit to tear down the structure was filed with Fairfax County last week. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved in October an application that would see the building brought down and replaced with 54 townhomes on the 3.5-acre property.

Located on the eastern end of the Reston Heights development, the 69,000-square-foot building was bought by Rooney Properties in 2013. Signage outside the building shows its most recent tenants having been QVine Corp.PVBS and GreenTec-USA.

The property is located across Roland Clarke Place from the former location of the API building, which was razed last year to make room for the future Sunrise Square cluster. Also owned by Rooney Properties, that will consist of 34 townhouses and 10 condos.

Rendering of RP 11720 Sunrise Valley/Fairfax CountyThe new development at 11720 Sunrise Valley Drive is planned to have a quarter-acre pocket park located north of a private street that will run through the center of the property. The park will include benches, a butterfly garden, public art and more.

Developers also plan to build six-foot sidewalks along Sunrise Valley Drive and Roland Clarke Place to help make pedestrian connections to Silver Line Metro stations. The plan also incorporates a separate, 10-foot wide path for bicycles along Sunrise Valley Drive.

The entrance to the community will be on Roland Clarke Place. The developers have a dedicated right of way for a future traffic signal at the corner of Sunrise Valley and Roland Clarke.

by Dave Emke — February 15, 2017 at 4:15 pm 7 Comments

The agenda for the Feb. 21 meeting of Reston Association’s Design Review Board includes discussion of the redevelopment of a Sunrise Valley Drive property into an assisted-living facility.

Applications by Kensington Senior Development LLC to establish the facility next to the Sunrise Valley Convenience Center were accepted for Fairfax County staff review in November. The site (11501 Sunrise Valley Drive) is currently the home of the Good Beginnings Preschool, a private preschool, day care and kindergarten.

Kensington Senior Development filed a Planned Residential Community (PRC) plan concurrent with a Special Exception for an assisted-living facility on the 1.8-acre property, which is about 675 feet east of the intersection with Soapstone Drive.

A Fairfax County Planning Commission public hearing on the project is scheduled for July 19.

Kensington Senior Development operates a facility in Falls Church, and also has locations in Maryland, New Jersey, New York and California.

Map via Fairfax County

by Karen Goff — October 21, 2016 at 11:30 am 23 Comments

Plans for 11720 Sunrise Valley Dr./Credit: Fairfax County

There will be 54 more townhomes heading for the increasingly developing Sunrise Valley area soon.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday gave final approval for Rooney Properties’ application to tear down a 1980s office building at 11720 Sunrise Valley Drive and replace the building with residential development.

Office building at 11720 Sunrise Valley Dr.The development will have quarter acre-pocket park located north of a private street that will run east to west through the center of the property. The park will include benches, a butterfly garden, public art, lighting and a bike rack.

To help make the connections to the two Silver Line stations, the developers will build six-foot sidewalks along Sunrise Valley Drive and Roland Clarke Place. The plan also incorporates a separate, 10-foot wide path for bicycles along Sunrise Valley. (more…)

by Karen Goff — September 21, 2016 at 11:30 am 10 Comments

Rendering of Lincoln Property Co. Project off Sunrise Valley Drive/Credit: Fairfax County

Here comes another redevelopment plan for Sunrise Valley Drive south of the Dulles Toll Road.

Lincoln Property Co. has a Fairfax County Planning Commission public hearing Wednesday for its proposal to turn three acres of parking lot into 260 multifamily residences.

Lincoln at Commerce Park/Credit: Fairfax CountyThe site is bounded by Sunrise Valley, Commerce Park and Association drives, and is very close to where CESC Commerce Park (Vornado) plans a 1.5 million square foot, mixed-use development. That plan, which will feature towers of 22 and 24 stories and 500 residences, has a planning commission hearing on Sept. 28.

Lincoln Property’s project is a seven-story building with trails connecting bikers and walkers to the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station.

The plans call for a pool and a natural play area, among other amenities. About one-third of an acre will be devoted to pocket parks. There will be a dedicated cycle track fronting Sunrise Valley Drive.

The staff report recommends approval, but addresses concerns about the width of sidewalks and the streetscape on Association Drive and Commerce Park Drive.

(more…)

by Karen Goff — September 16, 2016 at 2:40 pm 17 Comments

Another plan to revamp a portion of Sunrise Valley Drive will go before the Fairfax County Planning Commission Sept. 28. This one asks for a giant-sized (1.5 million square feet) mixed-use development south of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro.

Vornado Realty Trust is seeking to rezone 12 acres at Wiehle Avenue, Sunrise Valley Drive and the Dulles Toll Road.

Vornado seeks to keep office buildings at the current Commerce Executive Park but replace open space and surface parking with a seven-story, 200-unit residential building; a 24-story, 300-unit residential building; a 22-story, 385,000-square-foot office building; and a 175-room hotel. There would also be retail in the first three floors of several buildings.

The 22- and 24-story towers will be about the same height as One Reston Town Center, the approved plan for redeveloping a five-story office building into Reston’s tallest building at 1760 Reston Parkway.

The staff report says the project would be developed in four phases, with the 200-unit largely brick residential building going up first along Sunrise Valley Drive and Wiehle Avenue. Next would be the residential tower at Wiehle and the Toll Road, followed by the office building adjacent to the Metro, and the hotel.

The plans also call for pedestrian paths to the Metro, bike lanes, pocket parks and a plaza. The staff report recommends approval.

Earlier this week, the planning commission approved rezoning an office building for 54 townhouses and began demolition of the 42-year-old former American Press Institute building. Both of those projects are on Sunrise Valley south of the Dulles Toll Road.

The second phase of JBG’s Reston Heights is also under construction, with a 385-unit apartment community and as well as 89,000 square feet of retail.

Renderings of Commerce Executive Park courtesy of Fairfax County.

by Karen Goff — August 22, 2016 at 10:00 am 0

Work Aug. 22-Sept.2 on Sunrise Valley Drive/Credit: Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project

Work on utilities for Phase 2 of Metro’s Silver Line will affect traffic on Sunrise Valley Drive near the Polo Fields subdivision beginning today and lasting two weeks.

Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project crews will conduct utility location work along westbound Sunrise Valley Drive and the sidewalk on the north side of the road in that time frame.

Be aware:

The right lane of Sunrise Valley westbound between Thunder Chase Drive and Hitchcock Drive will be closed from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Friday.

Work activities along the sidewalk will take  place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The sidewalk will remain open for use, pedestrian traffic will be diverted around small work zones, and the Fairfax Connector bus stop just west of the Herndon-Monroe Park & Ride facility will remain open.

Graphic courtesy of Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project

by Karen Goff — July 8, 2016 at 10:00 am 11 Comments

Sunrise Valley Drive Westbound between Upper Lake Drive and Headlands Circle is closed Friday morning as police investigate a two-car accident.

The accident occurred about 9 a.m. Investigators said two cars may have been trying to pass a Fairfax Connector bus when they collided and one of the cars flipped.

The drivers of both cars were transported to a nearby hospital with non-life threatening injuries, police said. The bus driver was uninjured and the bus received minor damage.

Police said the road will be closed until at least 11 a.m. for accident investigation and vehicle removal.

by Karen Goff — May 6, 2016 at 10:00 am 10 Comments

Former API building/Credit: Showcase.com

Developer Sekas Homes is seeking a zoning change in order to build townhomes and condos across from Reston National Golf Course.

But the proposed development would be the end of the former headquarters of the American Press Institute, a 42-year-old Brutalist-style office building that has been empty for several years.

If approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, the plan means tearing down the 48,200-square-foot building designed by noted modernist architect Marcel Breuer.

Sekas’ plan was in front of the Fairfax County Planning Commission on Thursday. The commission will make a decision May 26 on whether to recommend the project for approval to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Seakas wants to rezone 4.6 acres from industrial use to residential in order to build 34 townhouses and 10 condos at Sunrise Valley Drive and Roland Clarke Place.

The residential development would be just east of Reston Heights, JBG’s mixed use development that features hotels, condos and offices.

Unlike many current Reston redevelopment proposals — which are high-rise multifamiliy buildings — this plan is a relatively small one as it is located more than one-half mile from Wiehle-Reston East and the future Reston Town Center Metro station.

According to a county staff report, the townhomes would be four stories tall with agarages on the lower level. Interior units would be about 1,170 square feet, while end units would be about 1,600 square feet.

(more…)

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