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by Dave Emke — March 22, 2017 at 11:30 am 48 Comments

Rendering for Golf Course Overlook/Credit: olf Course Overlook LLC

Proposed rezoning of Golf Course Plaza, a three-acre parcel on the west edge of Isaac Newton Square, is scheduled for a Fairfax County Planning Commission hearing June 21.

Location of planned high rise near W&OD and Hidden Creek/Credit: Golf Course Overlook LLCThe proposal, which first came to light in May 2016, would see the property (11480 Sunset Hills Road) become the home of a 392,600-square-foot multifamily residential structure with three levels of underground parking. Currently on the parcel is a three-story office building and a surface parking lot.

The residential building would feature 413 units. Developer Golf Course Overlook LLC seeks to rezone the property from I-5 (General Industrial) to Planned Residential Mixed-Use. According to the summary of Reston Association’s March land development tracker, it is “unclear whether any commercial uses would be retained” on the property.

The site is between the W&OD Trail and the fourth hole of the Hidden Creek Country Club golf course. It is about a third of a mile from the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. According to the land development tracker summary:

“The site is located in the Wiehle Station Transit-Oriented Development District and designated Residential Mixed Use, which seeks to retain a 75/25 mix of residential and non-residential uses respectively, at intensities of up to a 1.5 FAR [Floor Area Ratio]. Isaac Newton Square is planned to be home to 3,200 (of the 4,600) residential units for this district.”

A county staff report on the project is to be released June 6. Signs advertising the hearing are to go up May 31.

Images via Golf Course Overlook LLC

by Dave Emke — March 15, 2017 at 4:00 pm 28 Comments

1808 Michael Faraday Court

A developer has submitted an application to rezone another property off Sunset Hills Road near Wiehle-Reston East Metro station to residential use.

Faraday Partners LLC has made the request for 2.9 acres at 1808 Michael Faraday Court to become a multifamily dwelling area. The Washington Business Journal reports the proposed project is a seven-story apartment building with up to 261 units.

Quoting the statement of justification, the project is described as drawing upon “traditional motifs that are reminiscent in design, height and historic loft-style industrial buildings found in revitalized urban areas.”

Michael Faraday Court is a short road off Sunset Hills with no outlet. In addition to the property in question, it is home to the SkateQuest facility and an office building.

A 2-acre portion of the site is currently zoned I-5 (general industrial), while the other nine-tenths of an acre is zoned I-4 (limited industrial). The site is the former home of the Academy of Christian Education, which moved to Parkridge Boulevard last year.

This is just another in an ever-growing list of residential projects proposed for the corridor east of Wiehle Avenue. Others include:

Numerous additional projects are in the works on the west side of Wiehle Avenue as well. In 2014, Fairfax County reworked Reston’s land-use plan to encourage such development in the area of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, as well as the future Reston Town Center and Herndon stations.

“In the future, the three station areas could become home to a total of 30 million square feet in offices and 28,000 housing units,” the county said in its announcement of the plan’s revision. “The plan aims to make [the Wiehle-Reston East] station area an education-focused neighborhood with housing that is well-connected to transit by new walkable streets.”

by Dave Emke — March 7, 2017 at 2:45 pm 9 Comments

METRO Wiehle-Reston EastThe Metro board is set to vote Thursday to approve an FY2018 budget that includes 10-cent fare increases on rush-hour rides and 25-cent hikes at other times. Regular and express bus fares will also go up by 25 cents, while the rate for the bus to Dulles Airport will jump from $7 to $9.75.

The increases in fares are expected to raise $21 million for Metro as the transportation system works to shore up a projected $125 million shortfall in its budget.

Ridership on Metro plummeted from 2015 to 2016, with stations in Virginia seeing a decrease in users of more than 12 percent when comparing the fourth quarters of each year. Wiehle-Reston East’s decrease was 13.4 percent, the greatest drop among Virginia stations on the Silver Line, which had a 9 percent decrease overall.

Service frequency during rush hour outside of DC will also be decreased as part of the plan. For the Silver Line, trains will run every eight minutes instead of the current six-minute interval. The original proposal had called for off-peak frequency to be decreased as well, from 12 minutes to 15; however, that has been dropped from the final plan.

Virginia representatives on the Metro board discussed the proposed changes, as well as increased local contributions to the budget, during a January public forum in Reston.

The new rates are expected to go into effect around July 1.

by Dave Emke — March 1, 2017 at 9:00 am 2 Comments

Morning Notes

Strong Storms Possible Later Today — Temperatures in the 70s are again predicted for this afternoon. However, showers and thunderstorms are possible into the evening, with damaging winds and large hail also possible. [Capital Weather Gang]

More Craft Beer on the Way? — New zoning regulations approved Tuesday by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors may open the door for more small breweries in Reston. There are currently seven licensed craft breweries in the county. [Fairfax County]

Rider: Metro Worst System He’s Used — David Ballard, of Reston, compares his experience on the Metro to public transportation systems in Denver, Salt Lake City, Portland, Dallas and Mexico City. He says the DC system not only is “by far” worse than the others, it’s more expensive. [Washington Post]

Metro Ridership Down Dramatically — At the Wiehle-Reston East station, ridership was down 13.4 percent in the last quarter of 2016. Ridership on the Silver Line as a whole was down 9 percent. [WTOP]

by Eve Thompson — February 28, 2017 at 1:30 pm 5 Comments

Reston Real Estate column banner

There are some new apartments in town, and they’re called BLVD Residential at Reston Station. One guess where they’re located. I have to say, they look very nice based on those pictures in the development’s web gallery.

Here are some more details on them:

The developer is Comstock. This mixed-use development has 450 apartments and is located directly adjacent to the Wiehle-Reston East station. Units are luxury studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom plus den apartments. All feature top-of-the-line amenities like gorgeous wood cabinetry, stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops. Click here to see the floor plans.

In addition to the gorgeous apartments, the building includes:

  • Rooftop pool and terrace, demonstration kitchen, bar and game room
  • Rooftop fitness center, weight room and yoga studio
  • Pet-friendly and smoke-free environment
  • A Starbucks (which is very handy on that short walk to the Metro station)

RA ACCESS

While the building does not fall within Reston Association’s covenanted land, BLVD Residential is one of the first buildings in the TSA (Transit Station Area) to be brought into Reston Association through a supplemental declaration. What this means to residents is that they will have access to RA programs and services at alternative rates compared to other members. And design review for the property will be conducted with support from Reston Association staff using urban design guidelines developed for Reston Station.

by Dave Emke — January 24, 2017 at 9:00 am 8 Comments

Washington & Old Dominion Trail

Metro Station Saw Long Lines for Women’s March — Many attendees of the Women’s March on Washington this past weekend took the Silver Line to get to D.C., and that resulted in some massive crowds at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station. Photos shared on social media showed the huge turnout Saturday morning. [Patch]

Volunteer Group Prepping for Future Disasters — Every part of Fairfax County will soon have its own Community Resiliency Group, which would be activated to help recover from disasters such as floods, earthquakes or chemical spills. Nearly 200 people have registered to be part of the volunteer group in the Hunter Mill District, and many participated in a Volunteer Fairfax/Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management seminar earlier this month to learn more. [Reston Connection]

Motorcycle Crash in Sterling Leads to Reston Man’s Arrest — James E. Basham, 30, of Reston, was charged with driving under the influence and carrying a firearm while intoxicated. [Loudoun Times-Mirror]

Reston-Based Startup Gets National Recognition — ScienceLogic, headquartered on Parkridge Boulevard, has been named one of Business Insider’s “18 hottest under-the-radar startups to watch in 2017.” The business helps companies locate and monitor IT assets in their own data center or in the cloud. [Business Insider]

Reminder: Submitting Events — As a reminder to those who are planning events in Reston, the best way to submit events to us is via our event calendar. Sending a press release is usually not necessary. [Reston Now]

by Dave Emke — January 19, 2017 at 4:00 pm 4 Comments

Wiehle-Reston East station/Credit: Elvert Barnes vis Flickr

You may have heard the nation’s 45th President, Donald Trump, will be inaugurated Friday on the National Mall.

In celebration of the historic event, Reston Station Plaza is hosting a series of festivities including entertainment and games.

Beginning at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the plaza (1904 Reston Metro Plaza, at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station), patriotic displays will include live music and presidential trivia. The fun is scheduled to wrap up at 7:30 p.m.

On Friday, events are scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. and Inauguration Day coverage will be displayed on a big-screen television throughout the morning. A Donald Trump impersonator is also expected to be part of the show.

For updates, watch the event’s Facebook page.

Those who are planning to use the Metro to travel to D.C. for the inaugural events are being encouraged to plan ahead and use caution on what is expected to be an extremely crowded day. Metro is once again selling commemorative SmarTrip cards for the event, and Wiehle-Reston is one of a number of stations at which special card sleeves will be distributed.

by Jennifer van der Kleut — December 9, 2016 at 12:00 pm 11 Comments

Aerial view of Lincoln apartment complex location/Credit: Fairfax CountyThe Fairfax County Board of Supervisors this week approved plans for a new 260-unit apartment complex near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.

The seven-story apartment complex, dubbed “the Lincoln,” will be located next to the site of the future Metro Commerce Center, a multi-acre development by Vornado Realty planned to consist of four towers featuring offices, residences, retail and a hotel.

The Lincoln is slated to be built on three acres near the corner of Sunrise Valley Drive and Commerce Park Drive, where a surface-level parking garage for the Executive II office building is located now.

The firm developing the Lincoln, Wiehle Station Ventures LLC, told the board that the apartment complex will feature an interior Rendering of Lincoln Property Co. Project off Sunrise Valley Drive/Credit: Fairfax Countycourtyard and underground parking.

“The developer will also help to build the planned shared-use path along Sunrise Valley,” the board said in its announcement Thursday.

The site for the Lincoln complex is close to Reston National Golf Course and Soapstone Drive, where a future toll road crossing is planned.

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by Jennifer van der Kleut — November 28, 2016 at 10:00 am 4 Comments

Some of the Silver Line's first passengers on July 26, 2014Fewer trains, longer wait times and crowding are what’s in store for Silver and Orange Line Metro riders through next month.

Metro’s latest SafeTrack “surge” began today and is expected to last through at least Dec. 21. Reston residents who depend on Metro for their daily commute are likely to feel the pain.

Technical problems — like the decaying rail ties that led to the Silver Line derailment over the summer — have caused a number of issues along the Metrorail system in the past year.

Metro officials are advising commuters to find other ways to get to around the D.C. Metro area as the system’s huge push to boost the system’s safety continues.

“Due to a severe reduction in service, Metro riders who have the ability to do so should consider alternate travel options and avoid traveling during rush hour if possible,” Metro’s latest announcement stated.

Here are other important facts Metro officials want riders to know during this time period:

  • Silver Line Trains will be traveling approximately every 20 minutes between Reston’s Wiehle-Reston East and Maryland’s Largo Town Center East.
  • Orange Line trains will run every 20 minutes between Vienna and New Carrollton in Maryland.
  • Crowding is expected on all Orange and Silver Line trains.
  • Crowding is also expected on Blue Line trains between the Rosslyn and Stadium-Armory stations due to reduced capacity on the Orange and Silver Lines.
  • Weekend service may also be impacted due to track work on various lines. Weekend service announcements are posted online.

See Metro’s full announcement online, with more details and a list of alternative travel options for commuters.

File photo

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by Jennifer van der Kleut — November 15, 2016 at 11:05 am 7 Comments

lofts-reston-station-aerial-site-location-courtesy-fairfax county

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors earlier this month endorsed a developer’s application for 44 new residential homes known as the Lofts At Reston Station, near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station.

Supervisors are touting the Lofts as “a new urban neighborhood,” and the first development of its kind in the area northeast of the Metro stop, according to an announcement from the county.

Pulte Homes will bring the Lofts to 1.58 acres at 1825 Michael Faraday Dr., south of Sunset Hill Drive, which is just a third of a mile from the Metro station’s north entrance. The space is currently occupied by a one-story office building and a parking lot.

Lofts at Reston Station/Credit: Fairfax CountyThe 44 new homes will consist of 12 townhomes and 32 apartment units.

The development, according to the county, will “begin to establish the local street grid for this area of Reston,” which is a highly-sought-after area for developers as construction continues on the Silver Line.

Pulte will extend Michael Faraday Drive and Reston Station Boulevard along their property.

“Reston Station Boulevard is planned as the new ‘main street’ for the area surrounding Wiehle,” according to the county. “This road is intended to connect properties on the east to the station, and the plan envisions this road stretching west of the station to Plaza America.”

Supervisors also said Pulte will contribute $44,000 toward construction of a future traffic light at Reston Station Boulevard and Michael Faraday Drive.

by Tim Regan — November 10, 2016 at 11:50 am 0

Fire on St. Trinians CourtFirefighters have shut down part of Sunset Hills Road near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station due to a reported gas leak.

Sunset Hills Road between Metro Center Drive and Wiehle Avenue is currently closed to traffic, according to Fairfax County Fire and Rescue officials.

Though nobody has been injured or sickened by the leak, authorities are advising people nearby to stay indoors as a precaution.

“They are checking some buildings,” said Fairfax Fire and Rescue spokesman Bill Delaney. “But nobody complaining of any illnesses.”

Workers struck and ruptured a gas line about two miles away from that area yesterday.

We’ll update this story as we know more.

File photo

by Jennifer van der Kleut — October 31, 2016 at 11:30 am 1 Comment

Lincoln at Commerce Park/Credit: Fairfax CountyTwo major projects near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station are up for discussion at the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting tomorrow.

The proposed Lincoln apartment complex at Commerce Park Drive and the Lofts townhomes at Reston Station are on the agenda for about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Wiehle Station Ventures LLC is seeking to redevelop a surface level parking lot across the street from the Sunrise Valley convenience center and, beyond that, Reston National Golf Course, into a 260-unit Lincoln apartment building at Commerce Park, Association and Sunrise Valley drives. The property is also close to Soapstone Drive, where a future toll road crossing is planned.

Lofts at Reston Station/Credit: Fairfax County

The Board of Supervisors also is set to consider the design concept for the Lofts, in which Pulte Homes would redevelop a one-story industrial building at 1825 Michael Faraday Court into 44 residences.

The parcel is about one-third of a mile from the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. The development and the Metro stop eventually will connect through interior streets, including an extension of Reston Station Boulevard, plans show.

Though the Planning Commission has recommended approval to the Board of Supervisors, the concept has not been without issues.

Hunter Mill planning commissioner Frank de le Fe said he feels the project attempts to jam too many residences into too little land, as the plan calls for fitting 12, two-by-two townhouses into less than two acres.

Other issues brought up had to do with the configuration of open space, the amount of surface parking, the design of a pocket park and the lack of landscaping connecting to public space.

Images via Lincoln At Commerce Park, Lofts at Reston Station, Fairfax County.

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by Karen Goff — October 18, 2016 at 10:00 am 40 Comments

Four developers are teaming up to turn a 17.5-acre tangle of office buildings and parking lots at Wiehle Avenue and Sunset Hills Road into more than 1 million square feet of multifamily residential, as well as significant office and retail space.

Representatives from JBG/1831 Wiehle LLC, Bethesda’s EYA Development and The Chevy Chase Land Company gave a first look at the development application to the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee on Monday night.

The plan involves taking a half dozen parcels of land from 1831 Wiehle Avenue — the office building across Wiehle from the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station — several blocks east to Michael Faraday Drive. In addition to 1831 Wiehle, the plan will include redevelopment of 1861 Wiehle, 1860 Michael Faraday and 1840 Michael Faraday.

“We can see a large piece of property and a big opportunity at the Wiehle Metro,” said land use lawyer Brian Winterhalter, who is working with the applicants. “It is smack dab in between the W&OD Trail and the Silver Line. We see it as “the gateway to Reston.”

Bailey Edelson, JBG Vice President of Development, said the principals of the plan include high quality design; pedestrian and bike connectivity; urban parks and recreation; strategic office and mix of uses; and public art.

The development will be about 78 percent residential, with the remaining retail and commercial. (more…)

by Karen Goff — October 10, 2016 at 1:00 pm 11 Comments

Wiehle-Reston East parking garageMetro has put out a Request For Proposals (RFP) to have a private company take over operations and maintenance of all of its parking facilities, including garages and parking meters on its property.

In exchange for a giant upfront payment equal to 50 years of parking fees, the concessionaire would have to operate and maintain almost 60,000 parking spaces. It’d also get to collect all the parking fees.

Metro has lots or garages at 48 stations in DC, Maryland and Virginia. That’s more than 59,000 parking spaces and 3,445 meters, Metro says.

Despite Wiehle-Reston East being listed on the original RFP, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has since amended that entry.

The Wiehle-Reston East garage, which has about 3,000 spaces and is the only station on the Silver Line with a parking garage, is owned by Fairfax County, so it is unclear what will happen at that garage.

“Metro wants to get back to its core base, which is operating running a safe rail system,” said Maggie Parker, spokesman for Comstock, which built the Wiehle-Reston East garage in a public-private partnership with Fairfax County. “But Wiehle-Reston East is not theirs to include [in the RFP].”

The RFP was put out in August and the deadline for submissions is Oct. 28. Metro says it will pick a contractor by the end of the year.

By giving over the parking garages to a private company, WMATA could get as much as $1 billion upfront, according to analysis by Greater Greater Washington. It also gets Metro out of the business of running parking lots so it can concentrate on running a transit system.

Under the RFP guidelines, WMATA would allow operators to change the parking garage hours and rates (subject to WMATA Board approval).

Says GGW:

WMATA and the funding jurisdictions would lose almost $50 million in current parking revenues per year, which is approximately half of the annual estimated budget shortfall WMATA has had at the beginning of the typical budget season for the past 12 years.

So in addition to the usual $100 million in budget savings, fare increases, and juridictional subsidy increases to close the typical budget gap, WMATA would have to find an additional $50 million a year to make up for the loss in parking revenue.

GGW also points out the deal could limit Metro’s freedom to boost ridership or redevelop stations. It also says bids could include proposals to charge for parking during nights and weekends.

Other caveats:

Paid weekend parking could affect overall ridership, which would affect Metro’s bottom line.

Metro could lose the ability to control prices or usage of the parking lots without financial penalties.

by Karen Goff — October 7, 2016 at 4:15 pm 14 Comments

Commerce Park/Credit: Fairfax CountyThe first phase of an eventual 1.5-million square-foot mixed-use development on the south side of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro was recommended for approval by the Fairfax County Planning Commission on Thursday.

The first phase of Vornado’s plan for Commerce Executive Park at Wiehle Avenue, Sunrise Vally Drive and Commerce Park Drive, calls for a 200-unit residential building, as well as interior roads, pedestrian paths and a cycle track.

The planning commission held a public hearing last week but deferred decision until Oct. 6 to iron out some development conditions. While those issues — when a bike lane on Wiehle will be built, as well as expected contributions to the Reston Road Fund, among others — are not completely settled, Hunter Mill Commissioner Frank de le Fe says he is confident the parties will work together as the development plan comes together. (more…)

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