Winning big – Reston Community Players won 13 awards over the weekend at the Washington Area Theatre Community Honors celebration. [Broadway World]
And losing big — This Reston-based government IT contractor is laying off around 100 employees due to a recent health care contract loss. [Washington Business Journal]
Bus connections to Wiehle-Reston East — Loudoun County Transit is requesting $1.7 million to expand bus service to the Metro station. But there are a lot of projects vying for funding. [NOVA Transit]
Attention, book lovers — Reston Regional Library is holding a book sale for children, teens and educators this Friday through Sunday. [Friends of the Reston Regional Library]
Unemployment rates flatline — Virginia’s unemployment rate rests at 3.6 percent, the same as December’s figure. [WTOP]
Flickr pool photo by vantagehill
A new waiting area is available at the Wiehle-Reston East station.
Uber and Lyft drivers, as well as shuttle buses and vans, can use the lot, which was opened today, to drop off and pick up passengers, according to a release from Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins.
Vehicles can enter the waiting area from Reston Station Boulevard off of Wiehle Avenue. Parking is allowed for 15 minutes only. Pedestrians can use the crosswalk at Reston Station Boulevard and Wiehle Avenue to access the waiting area.
Any unattended vehicles will be towed. Vehicles stopping and standing along Reston Station Boulevard will be ticketed.
For more information, contact Connect and Ride at 703-502-9797.
Parking spaces for Metro users at the Wiehle-Reston East garage were not available earlier this morning as construction crews work in the area.
At around 9:30 a.m. today, users attempting to park at the garage indicated no non-reserved parking spots were available, forcing some to park in reserved spots in the 2,300-space garage.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority responded to complaints by telling users to notify an attendant at the parking gate about the lack of parking.
Users would be let out “with no charge,” WMATA wrote in a tweet.
See the social media roundup below:
— Pankaj Kataria (@pankajkataria7) March 6, 2018
Not a single spot empty of the 2300 spaces @ wiehle stn parking garage. Usually there are tons at the lowest level. Chaos. Frustration and finally people started parking illegally at reserved spots. Illegal till 10
— Pankaj Kataria (@pankajkataria7) March 6, 2018
Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Reserved spaces open after 10:00 a.m., if you cannot find an open spot, please go to the parking gate to notify the attendant there is no parking and be let out with no charge.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) March 6, 2018
Even after 10’am that lot is never full. Please be better.
— irishmexi (@irishmexi) March 6, 2018
Hours for Parking Fees Extended at Wiehle-Reston East Beginning Today – Beginning Feb. 5, charges for parking on weekdays will begin at 7:30 a.m. instead of 9:30 a.m. On Fridays, fees will continue through 2 a.m. instead of 1 a.m. Other stations will also have fees on Saturdays, but county officials barred an attempt to charge for parking at the Reston station last month. [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]
Reston’s Latest Additions Harken Back to Its Modern-Day Design – In a “design perspective” piece, Deborah Dietsch writes that Reston’s last development blocks are being completed with a “welcome return to modern design.” [Washington Business Journal]
Rollicking Roundup Playtime Tomorrow at Frying Pan Farm Park – Children under the age of five can enjoy two hours of free play at the park’s visitor center auditorium from 10 a.m. through noon. Attendees should bring toys to show and share. [Fairfax County Government]
Photo by Fatimah Waseem
Reston Association is considering a request to add two new developments to its membership.
Proposed additions include Valley & Park, a 54-unit townhouse project on 11720 Sunrise Valley Drive and The Lofts at Reston Station, which will include 32-unit, four-level condominiums and 12 stacked townhouse condominiums at 1825 Michael Faraday Drive.
Both developments will have its own on-site maintenance through a cluster or condominium association.
The developers have committed to pitch in a per unit capital contribution to offset the impact of new members to existing RA infrastructure, according to Larry Butler, RA’s senior director of land use planning. Staff did not disclose the contribution amount in a meeting late last week as negotiations continue.
Valley & Park by Toll Brothers is in the early phases of preparation for construction after a six-story building built in 1985 was razed in June. Located just east of JBG’s Reston Heights development, the 69,000-square-foot building was bought by Rooney Properties in 2013.
The Lofts at Reston Station by Pulte are designed to create “a new urban neighborhood” on 1.5 acres – just a third of a mile from Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station. Redevelopment projects are planned around the site. The project, which is currently under construction, replaces a one-story industrial building and surface parking.
RA’s Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the proposed additions on Feb. 22.
With its membership in RA, the developments will be subject to various terms, 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
- A lump sum payment or other initiation fee
Photos via Fairfax County Government
Fairfax County officials are pushing back against a move by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to charge for weekend parking at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.
Beginning Feb. 5, WMATA plans to charge a $2 fee parking for Metro users who park in the Metro garage or lot on Saturdays. Parking is currently free at the 2,300-space garage, which is owned by Fairfax County.
“Over the past several years, WMATA’s image has been significantly tarnished. Charging for parking on Saturdays, especially when there are so many reasons not to charge, will not improve WMATA’s image,” county staff wrote in a statement.
The county’s Board of Supervisors, which must approve approve parking changes before they are instituted, will consider the matter at a Jan. 23 meeting. The county currently contracts with WMATA to remotely monitor parking garage gates and fare collections while WMATA maintains equipment and processes SmarTrip and credit card payments.
County staff charging fees could decrease weekend ridership — especially when demand for parking is already low on weekends.
“WMATA may actually lose more many from lost rail fares than it gains from the new parking fee,” according to a statement.
Staff listed other reasons to oppose the parking fee:
- Requires additional costs to maintain equipment and oversee personnel.
- Discourages new riders, who often try Metro on weekend, from using the service.
- Is inconsistent with the region’s goal of providing alternatives to single-occupant vehicles.
- Discourages Metrorail trips, ultimately increasing weekend congestion and air pollution.
- Makes an already challenging commute for weekend riders — who often deal with delays due to maintenance work on weekends — even harder.
In a statement, WMATA said charging for weekend parking will “allow Metro to maximize utilization of parking facilities without increasing the daily parking rate for Metro customers on weekdays.”
WMATA is also planning to extend the hours of parking fee collections on weekdays — a move the county officials support. Charges for parking will begin at 7:30 a.m. instead of 9:30 a.m. On Fridays, fees will continue through 2 a.m. instead of 1 a.m.
Additional fees collected through the change will generate additional revenue that will help pay off debt service payments on bolds sold to fund additional Metrorail parking. The garage was built by Comstock Partners’ through a public-private partnership with the county.
Comstock’s Reston Station development, a major mixed-use project, sits above the garage.
Founding Farmers plans to open its Reston Station location in early 2018.
The opening of the restaurant, originally set for summer 2017, was delayed due after plans to the 10,000-square-foot location (1901 Reston Metro Plaza Drive) were revamped.
No firm opening date has been made public, although the company has begun hiring for all positions and expects to open in the first quarter of this year. In August, a company representative told Reston Now the restaurant will open next month.
A spokesperson for Comstock Partners, the owner of Reston Station, said the company went back to the drawing board to improve the design and layout of the restaurant after opening a new location — Farmers & Distillers — in the District.
“After opening their downtown D.C. restaurant a year ago, they decided to make some major changes to better improve operations,” said Maggie Parker, vice president of communications and community outreach for Comstock Partners. “They can’t wait to open.”
The Reston restaurant rests on the ground floor of a planned 200-room hotel at Reston Station and on top of the 3,500-space Reston Station Transit Facility. A large mezzanine is planned at the site, which sits next to the 45o-unit BLVD at Reston Station.
The farmer-owned restaurant include a full-service menu and bar with breakfast, lunch and dinner and a Farmers Market buffet brunch on weekends. A “First Bake” menu will offer takeaway breakfast and coffee on weekday mornings, according to the restaurant’s website.
Founding Farmers is owned by more than 47,000 family farmers of the North Dakota Farmers Union and is supplied by hundreds of family farms, according to its website.
No update was available on when Sweet Leaf, a locally owned cafe chain scheduled to open next to Founding Farmers will open. Signage on the store front indicates an opening in the winter of last year.
(This post was updated on Friday, Jan. 12 at 10:29 a.m. to include background about Founding Farmers).
Photo by Fatimah Waseem
The seventh annual Washington West Film Festival returns to Reston and other locations this Wednesday through Saturday with the theme “A Story Can Change the World.”
The festival showcases new films from around the world and brings filmmakers and actors for conversation to Reston. All net box office proceeds help address issues like hunger, illness and limited organization, according to the festival’s website.
On Wednesday at 5 p.m., there will be a free screening of Deep — Mare Nostrum at Refraction (11911 Freedom Drive). The movie is a narrative about a woman who trains to dive in the hopes of avenging her brother’s honor, who died in a diving championship.
The premiere for Corridor Four, a movie that paints a portrait about a 9/11 first-responder, will take place Thursday at 7 p.m. at Bow Tie Cinemas (11940 Market St.). A reception and question and answer session with the filmmakers will follow the screening.
Friday’s schedule is packed with a happy hour with festival guests at Bow Tie Cinemas at 4:30 p.m. Highlights include:
- Short Film Screenings — Darkness and Light (Bow Tie Cinemas, 5 p.m.) A collection of five short films will begin screening the theater. The films center around the concept of light finding a way to shine through darkness.
- Short Film Screenings — Leading Ladies (Bow Tie Cinemas, 6 p.m.): A second collection of six short films about leading ladies will begin, followed by a question and answer session with filmmakers.
- Clive Davis — The Soundtrack of Our Lives (Bow Tie Cinemas, 7 p.m.): This profile examines the life of Clive Davis, a legendary music man, and explores the cultural revolution of music from the 60s to the rise of hip hop.
- Family Shorts Showcase (Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station, 7:30 p.m.): A free, family-friend screening of fun short films.
- What Haunts Us (Bow Tie Cinemas, 8 p.m.): This story follows six men from the same year in high school who committed suicide.
Screenings on Saturday run from noon through 9:30 p.m. Highlights include:
- American Veteran (Bow Tie Cinemas, noon): This documentary explores challenges faced by veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who survived because of advanced medical technology that did not exist in previous wars
- Free Concert: (Reston Town Center Pavilion, 5 p.m.): The event features composer and guitarist W.G. Snuffy Walden and vocalist Sara Niemietz.
- Modern Family (Bow Tie Cinemas, 7 p.m.): Guests can watch a free, advanced screening of a new episode of the show as it begins its ninth season.
- King of Peking (Bow Tie Cinemas, 9 p.m.): This international narrative explores the story of a former projectionists who encourages his young sown to start a pirate movie company.
To view the full schedule, including other events in Arlington, and to purchase tickets, visit the festival’s website.
Photo: Washington West Film Festival
Quake Drill Set for This Morning — The Great Southeast ShakeOut earthquake drill, scheduled for 10:19 a.m. today, is an effort to help families and organizations be prepared to survive and recover quickly from big earthquakes. [Fairfax County Emergency Information]
Looking Back at the Reston Home Tour — Six private residences in Reston were opened up to visitors last weekend as part of the Reston Home Tour, which benefitted the Reston Historic Trust and Museum. [Connection Newspapers]
Crash at Reston Kiss and Ride — A Twitter user posted a photo this morning of a vehicle that struck a pillar at the Wiehle-Reston East parking garage. [Twitter/@CompSciGuy31415]
Herndon Town Council Celebrates Veterans — Town residents are encouraged to honor Veterans Day with appropriate events and activities, and take time to pause in silent tribute to veterans. [Connection Newspapers]
Junior Farmer Event at Frying Pan Park — On Thursdays in October, kids are invited to help farmers with their work while exploring subjects such as caring for farm animals, tinkering with farm machinery and the importance of crops and gardens. The topic for tonight’s event at the park (2709 W. Ox Road, Herndon) is harvest time. [Fairfax County]
An approved plan for massive development of the Commerce Executive Park near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station may be at a fork in the road, the Washington Business Journal reports.
According to the WBJ, JBG Smith is marketing the 12-acre property Commerce Executive Park to prospective buyers. JBG Smith took ownership of the property — south of the Dulles Toll Road and at the northwest corner of the Sunrise Valley Drive/Wiehle Avenue intersection — from Vornado Realty Trust earlier this year as part of the recent merger of JBG Cos. and Vornado’s D.C. business unit, Charles E. Smith.
The three existing six-story office buildings would remain in the redevelopment plan, but the rest would be transformed into a live-work-dine-shop destination for those who want to be close to Metro and Reston’s busy business corridor. The new buildup would include towering buildings that would be among the tallest in Reston:
- a 22-story, 275-foot-tall office building
- a 24-story, 255-foot-tall residential building with up to 300 dwelling units
- a 14-story, 165-foot-tall hotel with 175 rooms
- a 7-story, 100-foot-tall residential building with up to 200 dwelling units
The plans also include a total of 1.5 acres of open space, with small parks, bicycle tracks and a promenade along the businesses, and would feature public art including a water feature.
According to the WBJ report, the fact that CBRE is marketing the properties for JBG Smith doesn’t necessarily mean a sale is imminent or will even happen at all.
New residents are beginning to move into Aperture (11410 Reston Station Blvd.), which is described as “not just an apartment building, but an artistic expression.”
Mike Henehan, senior vice president of Bozzuto Development Company, said the leasing process began last month and about 14 units in the 421-unit building are being moved into already. The finishing touches are being put on the building, with hopes for hundreds more residents moving in during the coming months.
“We didn’t want to do another high-rise — we wanted to do something that was a little cool,” said Reston developer Chuck Veatch, who has owned the property since 1978. It was previously the home of a mini-storage facility and retail strip center. “One of the things that we talked about was tying it in with a lot of art and a lot of photography.”
Veatch, who came to Reston in 1964 and was involved in its original development, is also chairman of the board and contributing editor for Nature’s Best Photography magazine. With that in mind, the building features the overarching theme of nature photography, with numerous stunning photos out of the Nature’s Best archives displayed throughout.
“We gave [the design team] all of the winners that have been in our exhibits down at the Smithsonian, and they went through and decided what they wanted to use in the building,” Veatch said. “The corridors all have Nature’s Best photography in them, and what they did was pick a theme for each floor.”
Sculptor Zachary Oxman also has works displayed inside and outside the building, including the 11-foot-tall “Convergence” that was unveiled last month. Architecture firm KTGY designed the building, and its interior design was envisioned by award-winning designer Rebecca Jones.
The building offers studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom dwelling units. There are three courtyards, with amenities including a saltwater pool, outdoor cooking stations, a pet-play area and more. Also included are a full gym, an extensive lounge area, a library and other features.
Orangetheory Fitness will soon open as Aperture’s first retail tenant. Veatch said a second retailer, which will be a restaurant, is in the works.
The goal is to cultivate a sense of camaraderie among residents, Veatch said.
“We want Aperture to be a place, a community,” he said. “There will be a lot of programming and all kinds of cool stuff here for people to do.”
Aperture residents will also be part of a larger community, as members of Reston Association.
24-Minute Wait Times for Metro This Weekend — Silver Line trains will run only between Wiehle-Reston East and Ballston, every 24 minutes, to coordinate with the work on the Orange and Blue lines. [DCist]
Theater Costumes Available — NextStop Theatre Company will hold its annual costume sale Saturday from 7-11 a.m. at ArtSpace Herndon (750 Center St.). According to the theater, items available include “wedding dresses, to furs, to Cinderella’s ball-gowns, to stunning men’s suits” along with sweaters, vintage jeans and other items. [NextStop Theatre Company/Facebook]
Ted’s Bulletin Owner Will Sell — The future of the chain, which includes a restaurant in Reston Town Center (11948 Market St.), is unclear as Matchbox Food Group prepares to sell it to &pizza co-founder Steve Salis. [Washington Business Journal]
Transformers Fans Descending Upon Reston — TFcon, a “Transformers” fan convention, is being held for the 16th time. It has been held almost exclusively in Toronto area; however, this year, it is being held at the Hyatt Regency Reston (1800 Presidents St.) today through Sunday. [TFcon]
Reston Association Budget Meeting Tonight — Sridhar Ganesan, treasurer and RA Board at-large director, will facilitate a budget-development community meeting tonight from 7-9 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). According to information provided by Reston Association, members “are invited to share their thoughts and comments on issues related to next year’s budget.” [Reston Now]
Meeting on Fairfax County Parkway Trail Crossing Tonight — The County Department of Transportation has slated a community meeting to discuss options for improving safety at a trail crossing of a Dulles Toll Road ramp. The meeting is tonight from 6:30-8 p.m. in the cafeteria of Dogwood Elementary School (12300 Glade Drive). [Reston Now]
Changes Coming to South Lakes Bus Route — To address crowding associated with South Lakes High School ridership, Fairfax Connector will shorten headways on some afternoon trips on Route 551 beginning Sept. 30. [Fairfax Connector]
2017 Virginia Tax Amnesty Program Begins — Until Nov. 14, delinquent individual and business taxpayers can pay back taxes with no penalties and half the interest. [Gov. Terry McAuliffe]
No More ‘Wiley’-Reston East? — In a tweet responding to a rider’s question, Metrorail says it is “exploring ways” to fix automated voice announcements that mispronounce the name of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. [Metrorail Info/Twitter]
File photo courtesy Karen Raffel
Silver Line Struggling to Maintain Riders — Phase 1 of Metro’s Silver Line expansion fueled an unprecedented building boom in areas adjacent to its five stations, the Washington Post reports. However, the line has struggled to attract riders in the three years since it opened. Only the Wiehle-Metro East station is even close to projected ridership numbers. [Washington Post]
Remembering Bob Simon — In a piece for an English-language Indian newspaper, Manish Nandy remembers the stories Bob Simon told him during daily walks around Lake Anne. [The Statesman]
‘White Liberals Give Themselves Too Much Credit’ — In an opinion piece for an “intersectional feminist” magazine, a Restonian looks back on the death of Nabra Hassanen, saying that hate lives here and everywhere. [Wear Your Voice]
Work Today at Park & Ride — The access road to the Herndon-Monroe Park & Ride will have daytime lane closures for paving from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. today. Drivers should watch for flaggers, who will help direct traffic around the lane closures. [Fairfax County]
Teavana Stores Shutting Down — Starbucks announced last week will close all 379 of its Teavana stores, which it says have been underperforming. This will include the store in Reston Town Center (1826 Library St.). [CNN Money]
Get Ready for Terraset — All rising Terraset kindergarteners are invited to the Terraset playground from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays in August to meet classmates and play on the new Terraset playground. The August kindergarten play dates are sponsored by Terraset Elementary School and Terraset Elementary Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). Representatives from the PTO will be on hand Aug. 2 and Aug. 9 to answer parent questions. No RSVP is required. [Terraset Parent Teacher Organization]
Hassanen Murder Suspect Court Date Set — A preliminary hearing has been set for Friday, Oct. 13, for the prosecution of Darwin Martinez Torres. Torres is accused of attacking, abducting and killing Nabra Hassanen in the early morning hours of June 18. [Connection Newspapers]
Libertarian Leaders Speaking in Reston — The Young Americans for Liberty conference, taking place today through Saturday at the Sheraton Reston Hotel, will feature more than 40 speakers sharing Libertarian values. Among them will be Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Judge Andrew Napolitano. [Young Americans for Liberty]
Changes Made to WMATA Board — The Trump Administration is replacing a pair of safety specialists, who were appointed by President Obama’s transportation secretary, with a pair of finance and budget bureaucrats who worked in the Bush Administration. [WAMU]
Work Being Done on Reston Station Staircase — The stairs from Reston Station Boulevard to the Wiehle-Reston East plaza are closed for repairs, which include new tiles on the landings and improvements to the drainage system. [Fairfax Connector]
Nearly $60M in County’s Carryover Budget — The county executive recommends the funds be used in part to fund reserves and infrastructure needs, along with other projects including the demolition of the Massey Building. [Fairfax County]
Supreme Court Ruling Leads to Changes in Sign Zoning — After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that “content-based” regulations on signs do not meet the strict scrutiny test required by the First Amendment to protect free speech, the County must re-examine its zoning rules regarding messages on signs. [Fairfax County]