(This article was edited at 4:30 p.m. to clarify information about the size of the potential store.)
Citing a pair of unnamed sources, the Washington Business Journal reports that grocery chain Wegmans has signed a letter of intent to put an urban-format store near the future Reston Town Center Metro station.
According to WBJ, the store would be built in the future Reston Crescent development, a 36-acre plot of land in the northwest corner of the intersection of Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive. That’s across from Reston Association headquarters.
In May, the WBJ reported the Western New York-based chain was looking at a 23-acre property assemblage on Association Drive, near the intersection of Sunrise Valley Drive and Soapstone Drive. Among factors that may have burdened a deal for that site is the proposed Soapstone Connector, which would cut through the property.
The new report states the upscale grocer has committed to Reston Crescent developer Brookfield Properties. The store would be small for a Wegmans, similar in size to the store approved for Tysons at 80,000 square feet. (On its website, Wegmans says its stores range in size from “75,000 to 140,000 square feet.”)
Currently going through the County approval process, the 36-acre property is scheduled to be redeveloped to add up to 2,260 dwelling units, 1.18 million square feet of office space, up to 125,000 square feet of retail, and potentially a 160-room hotel. Six parks are also included in Brookfield’s plan. The WBJ report indicates a deal with Wegmans may mean the site plan will require a redesign to accommodate the grocery store.
There are more than 90 Wegmans stores in six states, ranging from Massachusetts to Virginia. The company has plans to open a store in DC soon, as well as for expansion into North Carolina.
Wegmans’ website shows two confirmed future locations in Fairfax County:
- A Chantilly location, at Route 28 and Westfields Boulevard, is scheduled for a 2018 opening
- The Tysons location, at the future Capital One Center near I-495 at Route 123, is listed as a “future site”
The nearest current locations are in Sterling (Dulles 28 Center) and Fairfax.
That was the message of Larry Butler, Reston Association’s senior director of parks, as he addressed directors during their meeting Thursday. Butler shared information about some of the largest potential redevelopments that remain on the horizon. Butler’s information came from a map that was provided to him recently by the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning.
“When I received it, I was fascinated,” Butler said. “Some of these, most people have not seen.”
Butler specifically shined the spotlight on five projects outlined on the DPZ map.
- Reston Gateway Commons, to be bordered by Town Center Parkway, Sunset Hills Road and the W&OD Trail. The 23-acre plot, proposed for development by Boston Properties, is between the future Reston Town Center Metro station and RTC itself. In the pre-application process, Boston Properties is proposing 3.94 million square feet of residential and retail, along with a 1/3-acre park. It could have as many as 1,688 dwelling units.
- Campus Commons, located on the south side of the Dulles Toll Road near the southeast intersection of Wiehle Avenue and Sunrise Valley Drive. The rezoning application, which is in process, would add four new residential buildings and four parks. This could add up to 1,100 dwelling units on the 11.6-acre property.
- A major property assemblage on Association Drive, near the intersection of Sunrise Valley Drive and Soapstone Drive. This 23-acre plot, which is in the pre-application phase, is rumored to be sought after by grocery chain Wegmans. The design shared by Butler with the board shows a grocery store on the south side of the property, bordering Sunrise Valley Drive, among its numerous retail and residential buildings. Butler said nothing has formally been submitted to the County on the project, but “there are clearly discussions going on that there’s a general concept plan that has been drawn up for this.”
- The redevelopment of Isaac Newton Square. Butler said the proposal remains in the pre-application phase and there is no preliminary information available yet.
- Reston Crescent, located in the northwest corner of the intersection of Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive. Currently going through the County approval process, the 36-acre property — which Butler called a “monster development” — would be redeveloped to add up to 2,260 dwelling units, 1.18 million square feet of office space, up to 125,000 square feet of retail, and potentially a 160-room hotel. Six parks are also included in the plan from developer Brookfield Properties.
A total of 44 redevelopment proposals appear on the map provided by DPZ.
“The main point to highlight is there is a lot of activity going on,” Butler said. “This gives you an idea of the volume of activity that is happening here in Reston.”
As director of parks, Butler noted that the revised Comprehensive Plan calls for three fully lighted athletic fields near the TSAs — something absent from the redevelopment proposals.
“In none of these have we seen a ballfield,” Butler said. “I think we need to drum up a little interest in this … to define locations on some of these major assemblages where these things can occur.”
John McBride, RA’s land-use attorney, said it is impressive to see so many developers willing to invest in the community; however, he added, Restonians need to make sure they remain informed on each application and remain engaged with Fairfax County throughout the approval process.
“It’s a lot of work to get up on these applications, [but] public input is so important,” McBride said. “You are listened to by senior County staff and all of the Fairfax Board of Supervisors members and planning commissioners only when you do your homework [and] you’re reasonable.”
None of the properties highlighted by Butler in the proposal lie within the purview of Reston Association, meaning any meeting with the Design Review Board by a developer would be as a courtesy only.
Map courtesy Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning via Reston Association
(This article was edited at 4:45 p.m. with comment from Wegmans.)
Upscale grocery store Wegmans is looking to expand into Reston, the Washington Business Journal reports.
According to the report, sources tell the WBJ that the Western New York-based chain is looking at a 23-acre property on Association Drive, near the intersection of Sunrise Valley Drive and Soapstone Drive. The several owners who own pieces of the property have banded together to offer the assemblage for sale, the WBJ previously reported.
That location is only about a half-mile west of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, in an area that is seeing a huge amount of residential and retail development.
There are more than 90 Wegmans stores in six states, ranging from Massachusetts to Virginia. The nearest current locations are in Sterling (Dulles 28 Center) and Fairfax.
Among factors that may burden any deal for the property is the planned Soapstone Connector, which would cut through the property. The grocery chain is also considering property close to the future Herndon Metro station at Fairfax County Parkway, according to the report.
Wegmans requires a large footprint — approximately 15 acres — for one of its stores.
In response to an inquiry from Reston Now regarding the report, Wegmans media relations coordinator Valerie Fox said the following:
“On our website is a list of sites where we have announced plans to build a store. There are always many rumors about other new sites, but we don’t comment on rumors or speculation. We open just three or four stores each year and our new store growth is concentrated in the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions.”
The site shows two future locations in Fairfax County:
- A Chantilly location, at Route 28 and Westfields Boulevard, is scheduled for a 2018 opening
- A Tysons location, near I-495 at Route 123, is listed as a “future site”
The Reston community continues to chime in on what to do with the largely empty Tall Oaks Village Center. One answer pops up often: “I’d love to see a Wegmans there.”
Ah, Wegmans. It’s a happy place. With 11 kinds of salmon, a coffee bar, cheese so rare it’s kept in a locked case and a chef custom-making your lunchtime stir-fry. Restonians are clearly fans — but must travel to Sterling or Fair Lakes to get an $18 artisan fruit tart.
Could it be that the mostly available space at Wiehle Avenue and North Shore Drive would make gourmet grocery dreams come true?
“We are not considering this location,” Jo Natale, Wegmans Director of Media Relations for the Rochester, N.Y., based chain wrote in an email.
Wegmans didn’t become Wegmans by squeezing the stores into any old space. The company has requirements of 150,000 square feet for the store alone, along with 800 surface parking spots, says a local land use attorney.
That means Wegmans needs about 15 acres to be Wegmans. The Tall Oaks site is about seven acres — and the anchor store, which used to house a Giant Food, is only about 38,000 square feet.
And that’s before the discussion would even begin on the traffic pattern and access from Wiehle Avenue.
So to review — Wegmans is not interested and the site is not appropriate.
You’re still going to have to head to Loudoun County or Fair Lakes for the hand-silced Nova lox or a wine selection curated by someone who knows a Syrah from a Cabernet.
Photo: Wegmans/Credit: Wegmans