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Friday Morning Notes

Don’t let above-freezing temperatures deceive you — Local police advise commuters to exercise caution as they head out today. Road conditions remain icy and local police have already responded to a number of crashes today. [Fairfax County Police Department]

When Wiehle-Reston East commuters were left in the dark — A few weeks ago, Metro commuters were left in the dark when several Silver Line trains weren’t running from Largo Town Center to Benning Road. Metro’s main spokesman won’t say why. [The Washington Post]

Last days to drop-off donations — Cornerstones’ Thanksgiving Food Drive is nearing to an end. The last day to drop off requested donations at a number of local donations is this Monday. [Reston Community Center]

In case you missed it — A car crash sent four people to the hospital yesterday morning. The driver of one car was trapped and was removed from the car. [Reston Now]

Photo by Twitter user @MrErrett

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Reston Expansion Planned for Capital Bikeshare Over the Next Two Years

A little over two years after Capital Bikeshare launched in Fairfax County, the program is planning to expand across Reston. But details on where the new stations, which were proposed last year, are pending.

According to Nicole Wynands, Bicycle Program Manager for the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, the bike-share expansion is planned for late 2019 or early 2020.

“We are still working on the exact locations,” said Wynands, “but additional stations are planned to be added in both North and South Reston.”

A list of sites in Reston had been proposed last year, but Wynands said further study found some of the sites did not meet federal criteria for grant funding.

“The previously proposed stations [were] a concept proposal which [is] always subject to final engineering,” said Wynands. “We have since conducted surveys and developed preliminary design concepts. As the expansion is funded through a federal grant, each location has to meet a long list of criteria stipulated by federal requirements, state requirements and operator requirements. The surveys revealed that some of the originally proposed stations did not meet all siting criteria, so alternative sites are being considered.”

Additionally, Wynands said sites are being reconsidered based on proximity to new bike trails built through Reston over the last year.

“We will be able to announce the new station locations after we have received all needed permits,” said Wynands. “We are still planning on adding up to 11 new stations in Reston”

At its busiest, typically during June, Wynands said there were 1,861 trips starting or ending in Reston. Capital Bikeshare also recently implemented a pilot project to add new battery-operated bikes to Reston. The program will continue through the end of the month.

Wynands said the most popular stations in Reston are the ones at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, followed by the Reston Town Center Transit Station and the Sunset Hill Road/Isaac Newton Square Station.

“The system is designed primarily to cover the first and last mile between the origin/destination and transit,” said Wynands. “This is evident in the popularity of the bike share station at Wiehle Metro, which serves both as an origin and a destination for commuters in the morning and afternoon, as people working near Reston Town Center are arriving by Metro and continuing their trip to Reston Town Center via the W&OD, while at the same time Reston Town Center residents commute via the W&OD to the Metro station to continue their trip to Tysons, Arlington or DC.”

The station with the lowest use is at North Shore and Cameron Crescent, a station which primarily serves as an overflow to the busy Lake Anne station down the hill at North Shore and Village Road.

According to Wynands, the system is continuing to grow in ridership, with a seven percent year-over-over growth recorded thus far.

“It takes a few years for a new system to establish itself, and we expect additional growth through the expansions as we will serve additional riders and destinations.”

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Fairfax County Planning Commission Approves Midline Project

The Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously approved the Midline, a mixed-use project near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station Thursday night.

The approval sets the project, which would bring 1.8 million square feet of development across 17..5 acres east of Wiehle Avenue and south of Sunset Hills Road, in motion for a Board of Supervisors’ vote on Dec. 4.

John Carter, the Planning Commissioner for the Hunter Mill District, lauded the development team, JBG Smith, EYA and Chevy Chase Land Co., for bringing a diverse mix of low-rise housing to the area, a feature that he said is lacking in other projects recently approved in Reston.

Four blocks with several buildings are proposed on land that is currently used for low-rise office buildings and surface parking. The plan includes 127 independent units, a 33-bed assisted living facility, a 225-unit multi-family building and a mix of townhouses. A 14-story office building and retail is also planned on the site nearer to the Metro Station.

Carter said the mix of affordable and workforce housing units, which is integrated throughout the site, is not intended to serve as a precedent for other projects. Due to the variety of housing options proposed, the developer has integrated several affordable units in the townhouse area and the multi-family building, creating a dispersed mix of affordable housing throughout the project, Carter said. Parking will be offered at a cost reduced by 70 percent of the price for market-rate units. The affordability tiers are also 70, 80, and 100 percent of the area median income — a distribution lower than the typical county requirement of 80, 100 and 120 percent of the AMI. Independent living and affordable units will have shared access for several amenities.

Following concern about limited public amenities, the development team also added additional dog parks, playing areas for children, and agreed to work with area developers to install street lights, updated curbs, and signage along Reston Station Boulevard. That road will extend into the Midline project and pedestrian and bicyclist access to the Washington and Old Dominion Trail will also be provided.

The commission deferred a decision on Woodfield Acquisition’s plan to replace office buildings on Roland Clarke Place with residential units to Nov. 15 in order to allow the developer to devise a better way to create a grid of streets in the area.

Photo via handout/Fairfax County Government

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CVS Pharmacy to Open in Reston Station

CVS Pharmacy is the latest tenant to sign a lease with Comstock’s massive Reston Station project near the Wiehle-Reston Metro station. 

The healthcare giant will lease 8,451 square feet of plaza-level retail space in Reston Station’s third tower, which is currently under construction. The $95 million tower features 180,000 square feet of office space and completion is slated for January 2020.

The storefront is at the entrance of Metro’s north pedestrian bridge to the station. Christopher Clemente, CEO of Comstock Holding Companies, Inc., said the tenant, which signed a twenty-year lease with three five-year options, will bring “virtually every item one needs for daily living” to residents, tenants, and commuters in the area.

“Bringing CVS to the Reston Station neighborhood is another great step forward for the Reston Station neighborhood,” Clemente wrote in a statement.

The company joins other retailers like Starbucks, Founding Farmers and Sweet Leaf Café on Reston Station’s Metro Plaza.

The new urban neighborhood includes the BLVD, a 447-unit high-rise, a 350,000 square-foot office tower, and Bozzuto’s residential building, Aperture. Additional development is planned and approved in Reston Station.  

Photo via Comstock

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55+ Bike Ride to the District Set for Oct. 10

Reston Association is offering bike riders to ride along with the 55+ bike riders for a “multi-modal” ride to Capitol Hill and surrounding areas.

The ride is set for Oct. 10 (Wednesday) from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Bikers will meet at the Wiehle-Reston Metro Station and take the Metro into the city.

Attendees should bring a  bike in good repair, a Metro pass, money for lunch and a lock. Helmets are mandatory and must be worn during the ride.

The ride is roughly 15 miles. Anyone with questions should email [email protected] or call 703-435-6577.

Registration is $8 for RA members and $10 for all others.

File photo

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Scam and fraud awareness event today — At an event at Reston Association headquarters, today from 4-7 p.m., a local detective and community partners will discuss warning signs of fraud and provide information about common scams that frequently target the older adult community. [AARP Virginia]

Not betting the farm — “Key players in the joint bid for Amazon’s second headquarters say their community’s time has come, even if the Seattle-based company picks another location.” [Washington Business Journal]

A free (but not necessarily full) ride — Loudoun County Transit is offering free bus service from the park-and-ride in Purcellville to the Wiehle-Reston Metro Station beginning Oct. 1. [The Loudoun Tribune]

Photo by Charlotte Geary

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Trio of Office Buildings on Sunrise Valley Drive Under New Ownership

Bridge Investment Group, a private real estate and property management firm, has purchased The Campus at Sunrise, a 255,000-square-foot office campus with three low rise buildings.

The company plans to renovate buildings on the 12-acre property, including updated lobby areas, a renovated tenant amenity center, office suites, and space for communal outdoor areas, special events and entertainment.

The office campus was 85 percent leased at the time of the sale. The company did not disclose the purchase price of the property. The buildings, located at 11130, 11190 and 11180 Sunrise Valley Drive, were previously owned by Grosvenor Americas, which purchased the property in 2011 for $63 million.

The asking price of the property was $61 million. BPG Properties, a private equity real estate company, owned the campus before Grosvenor.

Promotional material cites the buildings’ close proximity to Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station and Reston Station.

Photo via Cushman & Wakefield

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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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Three Developers Plan ‘Midline’ Development Near Wiehle-Reston East

Three big-name developers are partnering to build the “Midline,” a mixed-use project with 1.8 million square feet of development near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.

If approved, the project by JBG, EYA and Chevy Chase Land Co. would bring 1.2 million square feet of residential development, a senior living center, 260,000 square feet of office and up to 250,000 square feet of retail to 17.5 acres east of Wiehle Avenue, south of Sunset Hills Road, and west of Michael Faraday Drive.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission will vote on the project on September 27. A vote by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is likely in October, but an official date has not been scheduled yet.

The plan requires redevelopment of four low-rise office buildings and surface parking. Northern Virginia Community College will relocate to 1821 Michael Faraday Drive, two blocks east of the development. Plans for the relocation of Marymount University are not known.

Four blocks with several buildings are proposed. Block A would include one building with 127 independent units and a 33-bed assisted living facility. The second building would include a 225-unit multi-family building and around 103,870 square feet of other uses. Block B would include a 225-unit multi-family building and around 260,000 square feet of office space. The 14-story office building is the tallest in the development. 

The plan for blocks C and D is more flexible, with a mix of multi-family units and townhouses proposed. Overall, the residential portion of the development would serve up to 1,500 residents.

The applicant is also seeking a 21 percent reduction in the number of required parking spaces. State law allows reductions if proposed development has high density and is nearby a current or planned Metrorail station.

In an Aug. 30 report, staff from the county’s Department of Planning and Zoning said the location of townhouses along Reston Station Boulevard is “a central site design concern.” Reston’s comprehensive plan envisions the street as a main street with ground floor retail. The report also notes that lawns for townhouse owners are so small they may be hard to maintain.

In addition to contributions to the county’s road fund, the applicant will provide $40,000 for four new traffic signal preemption devices near the development and around $1.5 million for the county’s school fund. Estimates indicate the development would generate between 123 and 148 new students.

The Midline project adds itself into a mix of approved and in-progress applications near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.

Photos via handout/Fairfax County Government

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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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Development Plan Seeks to Build 2,100 Residential Units in Isaac Newtown Square

A redevelopment plan before the county could transform Isaac Newton Square, the aging office park at Sunset Hills Road and Wiehle Avenue, into a residential neighborhood with around 2,100 residential units.

Peter Lawrence Cos. and MRP Realty submitted plans in late August to redevelop two-thirds of the office park with 2.8 million feet of development, nearly 90 percent of which would be residential. The development would be spread across roughly 32 acres that Peter Lawrence Cos. controls.

“We spent a lot of time developing the project vision, and we’re proud of it,” said Andrew Painter, the development team’s legal representative. The plan is in line with the county’s comprehensive plan, which has long envisioned the office park’s future as entirely residential. The project is north of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.

Painter told Reston Now that the development team intentionally designed the project to serve as a transition between the higher density areas close to the Metro Station and established residential communities towards the north and east of the property. The site is bounded by Hidden Creek Country Club, a gas station and a fire station, which will be rebuilt.

Building heights will generally taper down as one moves from south to north, and our planned “Nature’s Edge” area rings the proposed neighborhood, which provides a landscaped buffer and path along our northern and western edges adjacent to Hidden Creek,” Painter said.

Residential units will be a mix of apartments, condominiums, flats and townhouses, which 14 percent of the total number of units being set aside as affordable units.

The proposed neighborhood will contain up to 10 development blocks with a mix of residential, retail and office uses. The heights of buildings and the intensity of the development will taper off near the existing woodlands near the southern edge of the property.

The developer plans to preserve the property’s row of mature Willow Oak trees, by creating a new “Willow Oak Park.” The 1.45-acre park will serve as the “heart of the neighborhood’s public realm,” according to the proposal.

A full-size athletic field open for active recreation activities will also be included in the plan. Roughly 25 parking spaces will be reserved for field visitors during designated times. A neighborhood green, just under half an acre, will sit next to the athletic field.

A 0.75-acre east-west pedestrian walkway, called the “community mews,” will serve as a mid-block crossing connecting Wiehle Avenue and parcels to the west. Unlike the athletic field and community green, this “mews” will be reserved for residents only. The plan also calls for “The Commons,” the neighborhood’s commercial center.

The developer will create a connection to the Washington & Old Dominion Trail. Infrastructure on the property will also support cycling.

Although an overwhelming majority of the development is residential, 260,000 square feet of office uses will be present nearest to the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station. Roughly 68,884 square feet of retail uses are also proposed.

The plan hasn’t been accepted for review by the county yet, according to Brian Worthy, a spokesperson for the county.

Photos via Google Maps and Andrew Painter

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Thursday Morning Notes

Foulger-Pratt plans new development — The Potomac-based developer has submitted plans for a 1.5 million-square-foot development near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station. Plans include up to 907 units, an assisted living facility and an office building with ground-level retail. [Washington Business Journal]

Outdoor movie postponed — Plaza America’s outdoor movie night has been postponed to Friday, September 14. The featured movie is Despicable Me 3 and the movie will begin at 8:45 p.m. at the SunTrust Bank. [Plaza America]

If you’d rather avoid DMV offices — A wireless office for the DMV will be on-site at Reston Town Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today. Services offered include driver’s license and ID applications and renewals, driving records, vehicle titles, license plates, decals and more. [Reston Town Center]

Creative response tonight — Kimberly Battista leads this month’s creative response at the Greater Reston Arts Center. Creative responses allow a creative professional to respond to work on view in the gallery. [Greater Reston Arts Center]

Yoga workshop this evening — Local yoga and wellness coach Rupa Shah discusses the ins and outs of yoga at this free event at Reston Regional Library from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Attendees will also get to practice a few techniques. [Reston Regional Library]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Friday Morning Notes

Discovering hidden gems — There’s a lot to discover at Reston Association’s trails, each of which is color-coded. [Reston Association]

Oasis Island Sounds concert tonight — In this week’s “Summerbration” concert, enjoy Reggae on the open-air plaza atop Wiehle-Reston East Metro. Parking is free from 6:30-9:30 p.m. for these concerts. [Reston Community Center]

Parked — July is National Parks and Recreation month, but Restonians actually live in a park 12 months of the year. [The Connection]

Nearby: New fire chief — John Butler, former chief of the Department of Fire and Rescue Services in Howard County will take on his new role. he hopes to address complaints that management isn’t doing enough to address sexual harassment and discrimination in county firehouses. [WTOP]

Flickr pool photo via vantagehill

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Delays Expected at Entrance of Wiehle-Reston East Garage

Commuters using the Wiehle-Reston East garage should expect delays this week.

Construction equipment is being delivered to the site from today through Friday (June 22), causing delays of up to 10 minutes.

Delays are only expected to impact the entrance and exit of the Wiehle-Reston East Park & Ride garage.

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Track Work to Cause Delays on the Silver, Orange and Blue Lines This Weekend

Build some extra time into your plans if you’re planning to take the Orange, Silver or Blue line this weekend.

Trains on all three lines will travel 24 miles apart. Silver Line trains will run only between Wiehle-Reston East and Ballston, Blue Line trains will single track between Foggy Bottom and Arlington Cemetery and Orange line trains will single track between Foggy Bottom and Arlington Cemetery.

The service changes are necessary in order to allow crews to install cables and communications equipment on the Blue and Orange lines, according to the Washington Metropolitan Area Authority.

Customers should use Orange and Blue lines to complete their trip. At Ballston, customers should transfer between Silver and Orange line trains on the same platform.

Photo by Mike Heffner

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