Global consulting firm ICF International Inc. has inked a full-building lease at Comstock’s Reston Station, according to a company release.
The firm will occupy 1902 Reston Metro Plaza, an eight-story, 250,000-square-foot office building at the mixed-use development atop the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station. The company plans to relocate its headquarters of three decades in Fairfax by the end of 2022.
The glass and steel building, which sits on top of parking and restaurant space, is expected to be complete by 2021.
“We are confident that Reston Station has everything we need to provide one of the best employee experiences in the Washington D.C. metro area,” said John Wasson, Chief Executive Officer of ICF. “Having our global headquarters in the heart of a rapidly expanding technology corridor directly supports our strategic growth plans and provides so many more conveniences to our employees.”
ICF is the latest tenant to join the development. Search engine giant Google has moved into Reston Station’s first office building and other companies like Neustar, Rolls-Royce North America, British Telecom and Spaces by Regus are also in the pipeline.
“We look forward to welcoming ICF and its entire team to the Reston Station neighborhood,” said Christopher Clemente, CEO of Comstock Companies. “Comstock is committed to creating a world-class development that provides world-class companies a remarkable neighborhood and an attractive platform for our tenants to recruit and retain talent needed to grow their business.”
ICF is a global consultancy and digital services provider that has more than 7,000 employees.
Photo via Comstock
Commuters on the Silver, Orange and Blue Lines should expect significant delays throughout today (Monday) after two trains collided between the Foggy Bottom and Farragut West stations.
Since 5:30 a.m. today, the three lines have been running trains every 15 minutes. Silver Line trains are only Running between Wiehe-Reston East and Ballston. The Orange and Blue Lines are single-tracking between Farragut West and McPherson Square.
The rear-end collision happened around 1 a.m. today. Two train operators were treated for non-life-threatening injuries after the out-of-service trains collided.
Commuters should consider using alternative routes. Metro’s rush hour promise will be suspended on the three lines this afternoon.
Metro says the trails did not derail and no damage to Metro’s infrastructure was reported.
After recent community criticism and pushback from some residents, the developer of a proposed mixed-use development near the Wiehe-Reston East Metro Station is going back to the drawing board to revisit some aspects of the plan.
TFC Cornerstone, which is seeking to redevelop 12 acres of land into two residential towers and a new office building (1900-1902 Campus Commons), submitted amendments to its plans to the Fairfax County Planning Commission on Thursday (Oct. 3). The plan preserves two office buildings currently on the site.
The updated plans — which follow revisions made in late September — reduce the square footage of an office building by 86,550 square feet. The building, which is located at the edge of the property and near a neighborhood with single-family homes, drew criticism from neighboring residents for its scale, especially in contrast with the adjacent neighborhood.
Scaling back the building would result in a net reduction of 487 weekday vehicle trips, according to the developer.
TFC Cornerstones will shift most of the removed density to the residential building, increasing the total number of units from 630 to 656 units. The developer also reduced the design of the office building along Sunrise Valley drive to seven stories, two fewer stories compared to the previously amended plan. The portion of the building furthest away from the road will have 10 stories.
The developer also committed to creating a minimum 50-foot setback between the buildings along Sunrise Valley Drive, making space for a new 14,410 square foot linear park.
If approved, the amended plan would also extend the time period for a study group to examine the best way to get pedestrians across Wiehle Avenue and its intersection with the Dulles Toll Road.
The developer’s proposal — an on-grade crosswalk — has raised concerns for its lack of safety in an already busy intersection, according to residents who testified at a late September meeting.
TFC Cornerstone will work with a study group for up to two years to consider the best way to approach the pedestrian crossing.
Other amendments included:
- Addition of bicycle striping across Wiehle Avenue at the intersection wit Sunrise Valley Drive and across Campus Commons Drive
- A new proffer to provide bicycle. Stairway ramps on straits through the Sunrise Valley Drive pocket park and the corner park
- Limited hours for activities in the amphitheater
- A commitment to include 15 percent tree canopy, despite utility conflicts or other engineering considerations
The project heads to the Fairfax County Planning Commission for a vote on Oct. 10 and is docketed for Fairfax County Board of Supervisor later this month.
Photos via TFC Cornerstone
A portion of the Silver Line will be closed between the Wiehle-Reston East and Spring Hill Station this weekend (Oct. 5-6).
The closure is one effect as crews work on connections between phase one and two of the Silver Line project.
Metrobus plans to provide free shuttles during regular Metrorail hours for commuters.
Trains will operate on regular weekend intervals between every 12 and 15 minutes between the Spring Hill and New Carrolton stations.
Customers traveling to and from Benning Road, Capitol Heights, Addison Road, Morgan Boulevard and largo Town Center must use Blue Line trains to commute.
Other service changes throughout the system are listed online.
Photo via Fairfax Connector
New York-based TF Cornerstone will return to receive the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee’s blessing for its plan to redevelop nearly 12 acres of land near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station with two residential buildings and a new office building.
The proposal, Campus Commons, has attracted criticism from nearby residents and led to the formation of a citizen-led advocacy group called Rescue Sunrise Valley.
Although the developer addressed several concerns, a representative of Rescue Sunrise Valley, said residents are not satisfied with the developer’s attempts to scale back the development and improve the safety of a planned crosswalk on Wiehle Avenue. The committee did not recommend the project for approval Monday night.
“They have not adequately engaged the community not have they adequately addressed the community’s concerns,” the representative told Reston Now. “We sincerely hope TF Cornerstone will defer further requests for approval and commit to working with the community properly.”
If approved, the proposal would redevelop two 1980s office buildings with two multi-family buildings with 629 units. A new 14-story office building with more than 26,000 square feet of retail is also planned on the site, which is located east of Wiehle Avenue, between Sunrise Valley Drive and the Dulles Toll Road.
Ken Houle, vice president of TF Cornerstone, said the company has made several changes in response to community feedback:
A specific proffer to construct a grade separated crossing of Wiehle Ave
A commitment to engage all stakeholders in a study to determine the preferred grade separated solution, coupled with a financial commitment of $1.5MM to implement that solution if it differed from our proposed solution
Significant modifications to the building heights, lowering both the residential tower on the Toll Road by 44′ and the office building at the corner of Wiehle and Sunrise Valley by 48′
Modified the building façade on Sunrise Valley Drive to respond to architectural preferences raised by the Upper Lakes residents
Increased the size of the community playground by 22% with a commitment to include accessible play equipment
Modified the design to incorporate a community amphitheater space in the 1 acre corner park
Committed to work with an independent arborist and Fairfax County to study trees for potential preservation, coupled with an existing commitment to provide 150% of the required tree canopy in the new development featuring native species trees.
Committed to work with the Upper Lakes residents to accelerate signal timings of existing traffic lights, install a new traffic light at Upper Lake, support Upper Lakes residents in the application of resident only street parking district, and to fund and implement a future traffic calming program for Upper Lakes
Given the fact that many residents remain concerned about the scale of the project, Houle said TF Cornerstone will continue a dialogue with stakeholders to “ensure this project delivers the future that Reston envisioned with the adoption of the Reston Comprehensive Plan.”
“The plan that is proposed is in conformance with the comprehensive plan and has been recommended for approval by the Fairfax County Planning staff.”
Houle added Campus Commons creates a “premium park” that breaks the “mold of development surrounding the metro station of high-rise towers on the prominent corners.”
In a Sept. 11 staff report, the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning staff recommended approval of the proposal. The Fairfax County Planning Commission is set to take up the plan on Sept. 25, followed by a vote by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Oct. 15.
Photo via handout/Fairfax County Government, photo via Rescue Sunrise Valley
Fairfax County officials’ concerns about safety dominated the county board’s latest discussions about phase two of the Silver Line project.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority reportedly wants to open the six-station second phase from Wiehle-Reston East to Loudoun Gateway and Ashburn next July.
Mark Canale from the Fairfax County Department of Transportation provided the Board of Supervisors with an update on the project today (Tuesday) at the Transportation Committee meeting.
Currently, dynamic testing and safe breaking testing are taking place for the project, he said.
Canale said that there are “four issues that are ongoing right now.” The issues include problems with concrete and leveling.
This isn’t the first time the project has run into problems. Earlier this year, defective concrete rail ties put the tracks out of alignment.
“This is a big project and an important project,” Chairman Sharon Bulova said. “I think it’s absolutely critical that when something is not getting done correctly, that we don’t brush over it and that we hold the contractors’ feet to the fire.”
Braddock District Supervisor John Cook said that the safety concerns should be taken seriously. “It will kill us,” he said.
Cook stressed that he wants transparency and honestly around the issues so that they can get fixed.
“It’s pretty bad when your concrete doesn’t work,” Cook said. “That’s a bad thing.”
In addition to the issues facing the project, Canale said that riders can expect several weekend closures at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station in the coming months as work on the Silver Line project continues.
The first closure — which has been approved already — would last from Oct. 5-7. The following month, riders can expect closures from Nov. 9-12 and Nov. 30-Dec. 2.
Photos courtesy Dusty Smith/Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project
More than 100 families neighboring Campus Commons, a mixed-use project on the southeastern corner of Wiehle Avenue and the Dulles Toll Road, are voicing their concerns about the proposed development.
Rescue Sunrise Valley, a group that includes representation from residents who live on Sunrise Valley Drive, as well as the clusters of Great Meadow, Winterport, Harbor Court, Whetherfield, Lakeport, and Boston Ridge, say that they are not opposed to development and instead are concerned about safety and the project’s impact on neighborhoods.
TF Cornerstones’ plan includes two residential buildings with a total of 630 units, an office building, and 26,000 square feet of new retail. Two mid-1980s office buildings will remain on the proprty.
Residents say that the proposal misses the mark on pedestrian safety, especially a proposed sidewalk that connects to the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station that they say will “logjam traffic and up and down Sunrise Valley and put pedestrians at risk by sending them across nine lanes of traffic and dumping them on a concrete island in the middle of the off-ramp.”
“Anyone who drives, walks, or rides their bikes on Sunrise Valley near the Wiehle intersection knows this is a recipe for disaster,” the group wrote in a statement to Reston Now.
Residents want the developer to delay the proposal under neighborhood concerns are addressed. They created the group in response to the proposal and to inform unaware residents about the plan. Residents say accurate information about the proposal has been hard to come by. Others said the developer has not engaged with all neighboring residents to hear their feedback on the plan.
“We recognize that the developer wants to fast-track their plans because in their industry time is money, but for us, much more is at stake: our families and our neighborhood,” the group stated.
A TF Cornerstones’ representative told Reston Now the company has launched an extensive community engagement process over the last two years, including two meetings with Hampton Meadow residents, one meeting with Boston Ridge residents, and Reston Association. The development team has been before the Reston Planning & Zoning Committee four times since 2017.
“We have also broadened our outreach to include additional homes along Upper Lake Drive. We are hosting a community meeting and have sent notification to the Harborside association, the Winterport association, and residents along Upper Lake Drive without an association,” said Ebony Young, vice president of corporate social responsibility. “We have made significant commitments for the project based on community input, and we look forward to the upcoming community meeting.”
The proposal heads to the Fairfax County Planning Commission on September 25. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is expected to take up on the plan on October 15.
Photos via handout/Fairfax Count Government
(Updated at 3:55 p.m.) Commuters who park at the Wiehle-Reston East garage may need to make alternative plans for parking beginning August 19.
The garage — which is often at capacity during peak commuter hours — is undergoing maintenance repairs. Up to forty spaces on parking levels G4, G5, and G6 will be taken away in order to make room for ongoing maintenance work.
In a release, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation said the garage is at capacity. Commuters should use other transportation options, including the Fairfax Connector, biking, walking and ride-sharing, the county stated.
The department offered the following transportation alternatives, including free parking at park and rides with bus service to the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station:
- Route 551 – South Lakes Drive
- Route 924 – Herndon-Dranesville Road
- Route 926 – Herndon-Dranesville Road
- Route 929 – Centreville Road
- Route 950 – Herndon-Reston
- Route 951 – Sunrise Valley- Sunset Hills
- Route 952 – Sunrise Valley- Sunset Hills
- Route 980 – Herndon-Reston
- Route 981 – Dulles Airport-Udvar-Hazy Center-Wiehle-Reston East
- Route 983 – Dulles Airport-Udvar-Hazy Center-Wiehle-Reston East
- Route 585 – Reston South-Franklin Farm
- Route 553 – Reston South
- Route 557 – Reston South
- Route 559 – Reston South
- Route 505 – Reston Town Center
- Route 950 – Herndon-Reston
- Route 981 – Dulles Airport-Udvar-Hazy Center-Wiehle-Reston East
- Route 983 – Dulles Airport-Udvar-Hazy Center-Wiehle-Reston East
- RIBS 1 – Lake Anne-Hunter Woods
- RIBS 2 – South Lakes-North Point
- RIBS 3 – Lake Anne-Hunter Woods
Other Routes to Wiehle:
- Route 552 – Reston North: North Shore – Lake Fairfax
- Route 553 – Reston South: Viking – Pinecrest
- Route 554 – Reston North: Wiehle Avenue – Center Harbor
- Route 556 – Bennington Woods – Wiehle-Reston East
An FCDOT spokesperson said that standard maintenance of the garage is scheduled. Access to parking spaces will be restored by early September.
A new apartment community near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station will begin leasing in the fall.
The three-acre development, which took up a part of Commerce Business Park, includes 260 units that face a surface parking lot bounded by Sunrise Valley, Commerce Park and Association drives.
The building is seven stories and includes an interior courtyard, a pool and publicly accessible pockets of open space.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the project in December 2016.
Map via Fairfax County Government
Prior to the Democratic primary last month, a controversy over Comstock’s campaigning restrictions prompted local elected officials to push back against the developer’s longstanding policy at Reston Station Plaza.
But there has been little movement on the issue in recent days.
In a June 7 letter, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Sharon Bulova threatened legal recourse against Comstock, which she said was unfairly restricting public access to the property and possibly infringing on First Amendment rights. The county’s Commonwealth Attorney and the local American Civil Liberties Union also stepped in.
Bulova’s chief of staff Clayton Medford told Reston Now that Bulova plans to meet with Chris Clemente, Comstock’s CEO, to discuss access issues.
“The county is committed to looking into public spaces issues countywide to ensure members of the public have equal access,” Medford said.
No meeting has been scheduled yet. Clemente did not return requests for comment from Reston Now.
The issue stemmed over access to Reston Station Plaza, which was built through a public-private partnership.
Two candidates running for the seat of Hunter Mill District Supervisor complained about Comstock’s policies.
The plaza is atop the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.
Photo by Fairfax Connector
Updated at 2:30 p.m. — The Herndon library event was canceled due to “facility issues.”
Learn About Feathered Friends at the Library — Kids ages 6-12 can learn about birds from wildlife ambassadors, who will bring a parrot, owl, crow, duck and rooster. The event runs from 10:30-11:15 a.m. at the Herndon Fortnightly Meeting Room 1. [Fairfax County]
Reston-Based Bechtel Wins NASA Contract — “Bechtel has been awarded a 44-month, $383M contract to design, construct, test and commission a second mobile launcher at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center… It will use the platform to assemble, process and launch the Space Launch System rocket with the Orion spacecraft on missions moon and Mars.” [GovConWire]
King Teddy Brings Modern Swing to Reston Tonight — People can enjoy free modern swing with dance instruction to music from the band King Teddy at the open-air plaza atop Wiehle-Reston East Metro station tonight from 7-9 p.m. [Reston Community Center]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
In anticipation of the Democratic primary tomorrow, Comstock Companies is now allowing campaigning and electioneering for two days at Reston Station Plaza after the county threatened legal recourse due to potential free speech violations.
Chris Clemente, Comstock’s CEO, told Reston Now that the company is inviting all candidates on the June 11 ballots to campaign at the plaza today and tomorrow “on their own schedules and without the need to coordinate schedules with Comstock.”
The temporary change comes after Comstock came under fire for its longstanding restrictions on soliciting, including campaigning and electioneering, at the plaza. The county says the forum qualifies as public space — even though Comstock leases the property from the county through a 99-year ground lease. Comstock disputes this claim.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Sharon Bulova lashed out against the company when she learned about the policy late last week. Bulova accused the company of favoritism and civil rights violation after she said it allowed Maggie Parker — Comstock’s vice president of communications — to post campaign signs but barred her opponents from approaching voters.
“Allowing one’s own employee to engage in such highly protected activity in a public area, while excluding other candidates from doing the same, is clearly wrong and cannot be tolerated,” Bulova said in the letter, which threatened legal action.
Parker said that she never campaigned at the plaza and purchased large advertisements from the company at the plaza and on Comstock’s building — a possibility that she said is open to all other candidates.
Ads cost between $2,000 and $3,500 per week.
Claire Gastanaga, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Virginia chapter, said the lease to the private company does not renege individual’s free speech rights.
Ray Morrogh, the county’s commonwealth’s attorney, directed the Fairfax County Police Department to decline any requests to prosecute individuals for campaigning at the train station and the plaza above it.
“It would not be appropriate to prosecute anyone exercising their First Amendment rights in public areas,” Morrogh wrote in a May letter to the police department.
Clemente did not indicate what led to the two-day allowance for campaigning.
“Although we had hoped to provide the residents of the Hunter Mill District an opportunity to meet all the candidates in a casual setting during these last days of the campaign, we were unable to secure commitments from all candidates to participate in a coordinated event,” he said.
The debate over whether or not the plaza qualifies as a public forum was catapulted into the county spotlight after candidates running for Hunter Mill District Supervisor attempted to campaign at the plaza.
Over the past several weeks, candidates, volunteers for their campaigns, and a representative for a local advocacy group said they were kicked off the property and told to apply for permits.
Photo via Fairfax Connector
Lane Closures Planned on Eastbound Sunset Hills Road — The road near the Wiehle-Reston East Station will be closed several days this week to allow Silver Line Phase II crews to complete stormwater management work. Closures are in effect today (Monday) and Thursday (June 13) from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and on Friday (June 14) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]
The Post’s Sietsema Reviews Bombay Velvet in Reston — Tom Sietsema writes that the upscale Indian restaurant in RTC West has “fine aspirations with an uneven start.” [The Washington Post]
Reston-based SAIC Has “Stout Revenue Growth” — “Amid the torch-passing between outgoing CEO Tony Moraco and CEO-elect Nazzic Keene on Thursday’s first quarter earnings call, Science Applications International Corp. (NYSE: SAIC) delivered stout revenue growth fostered by its acquisition of Engility Holdings Inc. The Reston-based technology contractor reported $1.6 billion in revenue for the quarter, a 37% increase from the prior year, fueled largely by growth attributed to the Engility buy, which closed in January.” [Washington Business Journal]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
(Updated at 5:45 a.m. on May 31 to state candidates did not receiving ad pricing information from Comstock).
Comstock Companies, the developer of Reston Station, will allow political campaigning and electioneering at Reston Station Plaza following a recent debate over the legality of the company’s longstanding policy to bar soliciting on its properties.
In a letter to Reston Now’s editor regarding the May 24 article, Chris Clemente, the company’s CEO, clarified Comstock’s position on the issue. His company’s vice president of communications, Maggie Parker, is running for Hunter Mill District Supervisor, and her campaign signs are plastered on the property.
“Given the local nature of the Hunter Mill District race, which is the first contested race since Reston Station existed, and the significant number of Hunter Mill District residents using the commuter facilities at Reston Station, it was decided that it would be appropriate to allow such activities for this political contest,” Clemente wrote.
A spokesperson for Fairfax County has stated that campaigning at the property is allowed by state election law, noting that Comstock leases Reston Station Plaza from Fairfax County under a 99-year ground lease.
“Comstock leases the Wiehle garage plaza from Fairfax County pursuant to a 99 year ground lease. State election law doesn’t prohibit campaign activities including voter registration on private property,” according to the county.
Clemente said the company has barred all types of soliciting “out of respect for the thousands of daily visitors’ time.” He also noted that the county has not raised any issues with Comstock’s policy.
A county spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request from Reston Now about why this was the case.
Parker pushed Clemente to give other candidates running for the seat the opportunity to erect signs at Reston Station, Clemente said. Requests to have signs were submitted by Walter Alcorn‘s campaign on May 25 and Laurie Dodd on May 28. Parker also requested permission to use Comstock’s property for an all-candidate meet and greet event, which Clemente said Comstock fully supports.
Clemente, a former Reston resident and parent of current Reston residents, is backing Parker for the seat. In a 19-point letter to Reston Now, Clemente expressed his support for Parker, who he called a “champion of affordable housing” and a “strong proponent of limiting significant development in the Hunter Mill District.”
In a statement, Clemente wrote the following:
This is why I support Maggie Parker in this important race, because she has the skills needed to create solutions to complex issues that can sometimes be divisive, build consensus, and put the interests of the Hunter Mill District residents first, rather than hurling misleading accusations for political purposes. It’s refreshing to see a political candidate take the high road!
Parker said that she organized the forum because she wants to have all five candidates campaign in a safe and open environment and meet some candidates’ interest in coming to the plaza.
“A free-flowing meet and greet is one way to accomplish both,” Parker said. “I am confident that my message and experience will win out.”
Her campaign manager pitched the meet and greet idea to other candidates running for the seat on May 28. A date has not been set.
Alcorn, whose volunteers were recently barred from distributing campaign materials at the plaza, says the gesture comes too late:
Comstock responded to our community pressure with a token gesture that is too little, too late as Comstock’s candidate has enjoyed weeks of unlimited and exclusive advertising. Democracy does not happen in 3 hour windows. Comstock is attempting to buy a seat on the Board of Supervisors for developers. Voters should also be alarmed that Comstock is using a public private partnership with the County to limit freedom of speech for all candidates but their own.
Both Dodd and Alcorn stated that they have not yet heard back from Comstock regarding requests for the pricing of advertising on the plaza.
The Hunter Mill District primary is set for June 11.
Conflicting stances on the permissibility of political campaigning at the plaza has piqued some concerns about the privatization of public spaces in Reston.
A spokesperson for Fairfax County told Reston Now that state election law “doesn’t prohibit campaign activities including voter registration on private property.”
Comstock leases Reston Station Plaza from Fairfax County under a 99-year ground lease. This public-private partnership does not prevent political campaign activities, the county says.
The company, however, has adopted a longstanding policy that political campaigning is not allowed at the plaza, according to Maggie Parker, Comstock’s vice president of communications.
“It would be like me setting up shop on Walter [Alcorn’s] front lawn,” Parker, who is also a candidate in the race for Hunter Mill District Supervisor, said.
Alcorn, who is also running for the seat vacated by longtime Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, said volunteers from his campaign were recently barred from campaigning outside of the Starbucks on the plaza.
He says a security officer told campaigners that political activity was not allowed at the site.
“It’s unfortunate that what should be publicly usable space is being operated as private space,” Alcorn said. “This is one of the challenging and frustrating things about where we are as a community. We’ve really privatized our public spaces.”
Parker, who has campaign signs plastered along a fence near the entrance to the garage at Wiehle-Reston East, said she is seeking Comstock’s approval for all candidates to campaign at the plaza before the primary election on June 11.
“Given the interest in the campaign, I would like an opportunity to challenge our management and have one day — maybe the Thursday before the primary — for all candidates to come out. I would love to work on that,” Parker said.
Jubal Thompson, general counsel for Comstock Companies, noted that Reston Station Plaza’s unique public-private partnership sets it apart from other Metro stations, which may allow political campaigning.
“Comstock has a 99-year leasehold interest for the exclusive use to the land and the improvements it makes to the property. So effectively Reston Station Plaza is private property with public access rights,” Thompson wrote in an email to Reston Now.
Alcorn also took issue with Parker’s campaign signs on Comstock’s property, which he says muddies the line between private and public interests.
Parker noted that her signs are on private property.
“My company is very enthusiastic and support of the campaign and the signs are all on private property,” she said. “I wouldn’t go stick my signs in someone’s yard without them agreeing.”
Comstock’s marketing team is open to selling sign space to any candidate, she added.
Photos by Fatimah Waseem