Silver Line Phase 2 remains on track to open in the first quarter of 2022, the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority says.

In an update on the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project issued on Monday (May 17), the agency says it is “confident” that construction will be finished “around Labor Day,” at which point the long-delayed $2.8 billion project will finally be handed off to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

If that happens as planned, WMATA will begin conducting “operational readiness testing.” That step includes more inspections, trainings, delivery of spare parts, certifications, and the correction of any issues.

That process should take two months if there are no outstanding issues, according to a Metro presentation on Silver Line Phase 2’s progress from March.

After that, there will be “pre-revenue activities,” including more trainings, testings, and the issuing of safety certifications. That step could take up to 90 days.

Putting all of that together, that leaves five months between when WMATA receives the project and when Silver Line Phase 2 and its six stations — Reston Town Center, Herndon, Innovation Center, Dulles Airport, Loudoun Gateway, and Ashburn — would officially open.

If WMATA does receive the project on Labor Day from MWAA, that puts a potential opening for revenue services and operation in early February 2022.

Of course, not all of this is guaranteed. MWAA says the timeline is “subject to change depending on the Airports Authority’s final completion date and the results of complex testing that are needed for Metro operations.”

What’s more, MWAA notes that the contractors building the tracks and the Phase 2 rail yard and maintenance facility have both missed deadlines.

“Each contractor missed its respective contract completion date but is striving to be ready for a September turnover,” the update says.

The contractors “knows what needs to be done,” says project head Charles Stark, who is retiring in July.

One of the major challenges of the project right now is connecting Phase 2 with Silver Line Phase 1, particularly west of the Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail station. Doing this will require shutting down service at the station for a period of time that could come as soon as early summer.

Reston Now reached out to WMATA to learn more about the timeline and duration of this shutdown, but has yet to hear back as of publication.

A number of elements of the project have been completed in recent months.

The complex stormwater control system, which delayed the project more than a full year, is now finished, along with the 300-plus glass panel windscreen at the Dulles Airport Metro station.

Dulles Airport station’s pedestrian tunnel now has moving existing sidewalks as well as an exhibit showing the history of the Dulles area.

Last month, Metro approved a $4.7 billion budget that officially delayed Silver Line Phase 2 to 2022 but prevented potential very consequential service cuts.

Photo courtesy Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

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Google is leasing up more space at Reston Station near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.

The technology giant plans to lease an additional floor of space in the Helmut Jahn-designed building at 1900 Reston Metro Plaza, a company spokesperson tells Reston Now. Google already leases the top four floor of the 16-story building.

The new office, which brings Google’s total footprint to 115,000 square feet at Reston Station ,is expected to open sometime this year.

The news comes as the company announced plans to expand in Virginia, including new data centers in Loudoun County.

Here’s more from Google on the statewide expansion:

“I believe a lasting economic recovery will come from local communities, and the people and small businesses that give them life. Google wants to be a part of that recovery. That’s why we plan to invest over $7 billion in offices and data centers across the U.S. and create at least 10,000 new full-time Google jobs in the U.S. this year,” said Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google and Alphabet.

Google has proudly called Virginia home for more than 10 years and has more than 420 employees in the state. Google is continuing to invest in Virginia with the addition of a new floor at the Reston Station office, bringing the total footprint in the building to approximately 115,000 square feet. We’ll be opening the new Reston Station office building this year. The company is also expanding its data centers in Loudoun County. Since establishing a presence in Loudoun County in 2019, Google has worked with the public school district to help improve digital equity. In 2020, Google supported the purchase of hot spots and devices to ensure more students had access to virtual learning during the pandemic, and supported programs to provide teachers with best practices for remote classroom instruction.

“I’m thankful to Google for choosing to do business in Loudoun! Their investment is mutually beneficial as it helps keep taxes low for our residents while ensuring a high quality of life for their employees,” said Loudoun County Supervisor, Tony Buffington. ” We look forward to a long lasting partnership.”

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Metrorail is now operating at the same frequency during peak and off-peak hours on weekdays after budget changes prompted by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic took effect yesterday (Monday).

Under the revised Fiscal Year 2021 budget, trains are running every 12 minutes on the Orange, Silver, Blue, Green, and Yellow lines, while Red line trains operate every six minutes. Service after 7 p.m. and on weekends has not been altered.

The reduction of rail service during weekday rush hours was recommended as part of a revised FY 2021 budget that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Board of Directors approved when it met on Nov. 19.

“The changes bring rail service in line with ridership demand while managing costs amid pandemic-related budget constraints,” WMATA said in a news release. “Rail ridership remains down nearly 90 percent from pre-pandemic levels.”

In contrast, WMATA says Metrobus ridership is only down 55% on weekdays and less on weekends compared to pre-pandemic levels, so service will expand to accommodate additional capacity starting on Mar. 14.

“Customers will see more buses, more often on the 125 lines of service currently operating, and more routes will be added to expand bus service on weekends,” WMATA said.

More details about the March Metrobus service changes will be provided at a later date, the transit agency says.

Photo by Chuck Samuelson/Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project

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The first apartment tower at Faraday Park, a new apartment neighborhood, is set for completion in March.

Developed by Rooney Partners and Bozzuto, the project will house roughly 400 residential units near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station. The apartments are located at 11201 Reston Station Boulevard.

Chris Oursler, the director of construction and development for Rooney Properties, says the project was built to fulfill the needs of the community.

“We’re thrilled to be a part of the growing community here in Reston,” Oursler wrote in a statement.

Rents for units, which include studios and three-bedroom apartments, range from 1,605 to 4,032, according to the company’s website.

Once completely built out, Faraday Park will include a maker’s workshop area, photo booth, fitness center, commercial kitchen, pet spa, cowering areas, and several lounges. A rooftop pool with cabanas and grill stations are also planned for the site, which was designed by DC-based architecture firm MV+A.

Faraday West, which is closest to the Metro station, contains 242 apartments with around 10,000 square feet of retail at the corner of Reston Station Boulevard and Michael Faraday Drive. Faraday East, which replaced surface parking, has 166 modern apartments. Both buildings are flanked by four-story townhouses.

The second tower on the site is set to be completed in May. Pre-leasing has begun.

Image via Bozzuto

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Virginia’s iconic “LOVE” letters have descended at Reston Station near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.

The letters, which were installed in late January, will remain at Reston Station as part of its permanent art collection, according to the Virginia Tourism Corp.

The 7,676-pound display was designed by artist Dylan Myers with glass fiber reinforced concrete and carbon fiber rebar. The colors of the letters were created with glass pieces.  The sign is located on Wiehle Avenue in front of Google’s offices.

Here’s more from the state’s tourism website on the display.

Each letter is supported 18″ from the top of the base with stainless steel all-thread rods in order to achieve the ” floating” effect. Bases were cast with a board form technique, creating depth and character. This is how concrete was cast before the days of plywood forms like you see now. In order to give the exact degregrated look, every single exposed rock was time intensively hand placed prior to casting. After the concrete had cured, the rocks were sheared off by hand with a hatchet. No machines were used for this process. This achieved the true look of a wall that underwent an enormous force.

It’s not the first time Virginia’s LOVE letters have made an appearance in the area. The letters are one of more than 250 installations in towns and cities across the state in order to model the state’s slogan, “Virginia is for Lovers.”

Comstock, the developer of Reston Station, says the inclusion of the installation affirms the company’s commitment to public art.

“Comstock believes the inclusion of art in development projects serves the common good in a manner that enhances architectural designs, landscaping and streetscapes,” says Christopher Clemente, CEO of Comstock.

Photo via Virginia Tourism Corp. 

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Lincoln at Reston Station, a 260-unit apartment community near the Wiehe-Reston East Metro Station, officially has a new name.

The community, which was recently acquired by Snell Properties, an Arlington-based company, has rebranded itself to Russell at Reston Station.

Peter Colarulli, Vice President of the company, said the name change was inspired by the design of the building, which he says has  “a bold, contemporary, energetic feel with red pops of color.

 “The name ‘Russell’ taps into the community’s vibe, and we felt the full name ‘Russell at Reston Station’ is clear to the sense of place and catchy with its alliteration.”

The residential community, which is located at 11500 Commerce Park Drive, includes a mix of studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom plans. Rents range from $2,110 to $2,380.

Snell purchased Russell at Reston Station in December. The building was constructed at the end of 2019 and includes a courtyard with a pool, a clubroom, a fitness center, a pet spa, bike room and a package concierge system.

Image via handout/Fairfax County Government

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An Arlington-based company has closed on the purchase of a 260-unit apartment community near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.

Snell Properties pursued the acquisition of Lincoln at Wiehle Station, a new development that is located at 11500 Commerce Park Drive. The LEED Silver building was completed at the end of the year.

“We are proud to close out the year by adding such an incredible property to our portfolio,” says Christopher Hanessian, President of Snell Properties. “Lincoln at Wiehle Station is steps away from the Metro and provides incredible access to one of the most dynamic and growing parts of Northern Virginia.”  

Peter Colarulli, the company’s Vice President, touted the prime locationof the new community.

“Reston’s incredible employment growth will continue to attract renters to the area, and additional development in and around Reston Station will only make this property even more desirable.”

The community includes a mix of studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom plans. Rents range from $2,110 to $2,380.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Lincoln Property Company will manage the property.

Photo via Snell Properties

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A new Self Storage Plus has officially opened a new facility in Reston.

The company, which provides management services for storage, opened its 44th location at 1808 Michael Faraday Court earlier this month.

In a statement, Mike Anthony, the company’s executive Vice President, said the new facility includes “modern storage solutions with features including video surveillance, gate security, auto-payments and online rentals.”

“We are now open and ready to serve your storage needs,” he said.

The four-building facility in Reston has 1,100 units and is roughly half a mile from the Wiehe-Reston East Metro Station.

The property is owned by company partner Rich Whealen and Arcland Property Company, a local real estate and development company.

“We are excited to open the doors of our state-of-the-art facilities in the communities of Reston and Kensington,” said Tom Cross, VP of Construction for Arcland.

Photo via Self Storage Plus

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Thursday Morning Notes

Service Outages Planned for Silver Line — This weekend and in early December, service outages are planned between Spring Hill and Wiehle-Reston East Metro Stations. Free buses will offer transportation between the stations during outages. [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

Herndon Cruiser Rear-ended — A Town of Herndon police cruiser was rear-ended by an alleged drunk driver. The police department is reminding residents to move over when emergency vehicles are on the side of the road. No injuries were reported. [Herndon Police Department]

Reston Company to Provide IT Services to USDA — “The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded Reston-based Fortune 500 defense contractor Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) a position on the department’s potential five-year, $620 million Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) multiple-award blanket purchase agreement (BPA), SAIC announced Wednesday.” [Virginia Business Monthly]

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Police are asking the public’s help in identifying a man they believe attempted to rape a woman on a train at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.

Metro Transit Police say the incident happened in between the McLean and East Fall Church Metro stations around 11:30 a.m. yesterday (Tuesday).

After boarding at Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station, the suspect allegedly assaulted the woman, attempted to remove her clothing and exposed himself.

The victim, who was with her young child, escaped the train at East Falls Church Station where Metro Transit Police responded. The suspect appears to have exited the system at Foggy Bottom Metro Station.

He was last seen wearing a dark shirt with the words “Piranha Joe” on the left sleeve and a logo of a circle and a fish on the back and left breast areas of his shirt.

Anyone with information about this incident or the person of interest shown is urged to contact Metro Transit Police detectives by calling (301) 955-5000. Tips may also be sent via text message to “MyMTPD” (696873).

Photo via Metro Transit Police

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Thursday Morning Notes

Wiehle-Reston East Station Closing for Three Weekends  Metro’s Silver Line will shut down for three weekends for work to prepare for a likely opening of the Silver Line’s second phase next year. Metro and the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority (MWAA) say the likely dates are November 7-8, November 21-22, and December 5-6.” [WJLA]

Treatment on Two Reston Lakes to Begin Today — “On Sep. 15 Lake Anne and Lake Thoreau were monitored for algae by Aquatic Environment Consultants (AEC). AEC confirmed this morning that they will be proceeding with the regularly scheduled algae treatments for both lakes.” [Reston Association]

Local Firm Boasts ‘Stellar Year’ — “Venture capital firm Proof.VC has been on a roll in 2020. The Reston company’s portfolio has seen 3D-printing startup Desktop Metal and Inc. online gaming platform Skill Inc. both announce their intentions to go public, as well as the earlier IPO of mattress company Casper Sleep Inc.” [Washington Business Journal]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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A Wiehle Ave. Pedestrian Crossing study group has identified three possible options to install safer pedestrian crossing spaces across Wiehle Ave. 

For months, a study group has been assessing Wiehle Ave. for future pedestrian crossing installments. Recently, the group discussed three different bridge options to go across the road. They discussed two bridge options at the intersection at Dulles Toll Road, and one bridge option further midblock at Dulles Toll Road. 

The urgency around creating a safe crossing zone comes after the recent rezoning at the Campus Commons development that could bring another 2,000 people to Reston, according to Larry Butler, the Chief Operating Officer at the Reston Association. 

Butler discussed the project in a recent Reston Today video.

Additionally, the Wiehle-Reston Metrorail Station is on the other side of the road, and a lack of a safe crossing zone could create hazards for new Reston residents.

“They need a way to get over to the Metro Station safely,” said Butler. 

The study group has hired a consultant to help assist the group in assessing the various options. 

The next public group meeting is Sept. 17 from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., and Butler encouraged community members to join. Butler also predicted that the Board of Supervisors would make a decision regarding the pedestrian crossing sometime in 2020. 

Photo via the Reston Association/Youtube

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The Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project teams have completed the train control system connections for Phase 2 of the Silver Line Tie-In

This connects the line to the rest of the region’s transit system and is a major step towards the completion of the rail line extension from the Wiehle-Reston East Station through Dulles Airport to Ashburn in eastern Loudoun County, according to a statement from the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project.

Rail project crews were able to complete the tie-in work at the Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail while working with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. The WMATA closed some Orange and Silver lines for maintenance work, according to the statement, allowing for crews to complete the Wiehle-Reston East work faster. 

“Finishing the critical tie-in this summer means 13 previously planned WMATA shutdowns that had been planned over the coming months will not be needed,” said Charles Stark, the Airports Authority senior vice president and head of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project. 

There will be three additional one-day shutdowns in November and December for systems and dynamic testing. 

The project is aiming to turn over Phase 2 of the Silver Line to the WMATA around the first of the year, said the statement. Once construction and testing are complete, the Airports Authority will give authority to the WMATA. 

The first phase of the Silver Line project from East Falls Church to Wiehle-Reston East with four stations in Tysons opened in 2014, according to the statement. Completion of Phase 2 from Wiehle Ave. to Ashburn will include stops at the Reston Town Center, Herndon, Innovation Center, Dulles Airport and Loudoun Gateway stations.  

Photo courtesy of Dusty Smith

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Bus service between the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station and Dulles International Airport has officially resumed.

The Silver Line Express Bus provides transportation between the Dulles Terminal and the metro station. The 15-minute trip costs $5 each way and is free for children under two years of age.

Service is offered every 15 minutes during peak times and every 20 minutes during off-peak times. Free WiFi is also offering on the buses.

The schedule for the service and information on how to purchase tickets is available online.

Other transportation services have resumed or are planning to resume services, including Fairfax Connector, which will resume service next Saturday.

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Comstock Companies, the developer behind Reston Station, says that Northern Virginia is becoming the “Silicon Valley of the East.”

Reston Station, a sprawling mixed-use development near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station, is positioned to help make that change happen, according to an investor presentation released earlier this week.

The development, which includes several districts that are planned or already in construction, is expected to achieve comparable rents to Reston Town Center. New buildings, parking, amenities, and the Metro station have attracted corporate relocations from RTC, according to Comstock.

Currently, RTC commands a higher rent premium over other micro-markets within Reston. Overall, vacancy rates for Class A office space in Reston and Tysons are slightly lower than the region-wide average of around 18 percent, according to the company.

Once completed, Reston Station will include four districts: Metro Plaza, Commerce, West, and Reston Row. Major companies have signed leases at the project, including Google, Neustar, and ICF International.

Photo via Comstock

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