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Fannie Mae campus redevelopment in Reston approved despite access concerns

The plan to redevelop the former Fannie Mae campus on American Dream Way in Reston (courtesy Reston Citizens Association)

(Updated at 9:10 a.m. on 8/10/2022) The redevelopment of the former Fannie Mae campus in Reston is set to begin after the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors gave the project its blessing on Tuesday (Aug. 2). 

The board voted 9-1 to approve the redevelopment with a roughly 220,000-square-foot reduction in the amount of previously approved office space and the addition of a total of 74 townhouses and eight two-by-two units. (Correction: This article initially said the project was approved unanimously. Sully District Supervisor Kathy Smith voted against approval.)

The approval comes despite county staff recommending that the project be denied because a portion of American Dream Way will be gated off to the pubic — a move intended to secure the former Fannie Mae building at the request of prospective tenants.

Developer Wheelock Capital and representative McGuireWoods touted the project for protecting and preserving sensitive environmental areas on the project, maintaining public access to the ponds, and a number of other issues that were addressed due to community concerns. 

“We’ve respected and frankly enhanced the environmental area on this property,” said Scott Adams, the applicant’s representative. Adams said that the reduction in office space removes associated environmental impacts from development and the developer plans to maximize open space and not disturb the floodplain and wetlands area.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously approved the project in late June after grappling with the gate issue.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn said that the application came a long way from the initial proposal and that the development team was particularly response to the public’s concerns. Alcorn said that the issue of the gates was not a “basis for denial,” adding that a portion of the roadway is already gated off. 

But others remain perturbed by the gates. 

The North Shore Cluster Association Homeowners’ Association opposed the project, which they said encroaches on neighboring area. 

The HOA’s president Michelle Silver questioned “why the planning commission went against the recommendation of its own staff.”

Board Chairman Jeff McKay said the issue of the gates alone, however concerning, was not enough to shut off the project. 

“We’re now at a point that we’re down to one issue,” McKay said, adding that the project has “come a long way” and is “not perfect by any means.”

The development team hopes to sign a lease with a tenant that requires the security gates along a portion of the road way.