Post Content
The anticipated groundbreaking is officially on pause (via Comstock)

The redevelopment of downtown Herndon by Reston-based developer Comstock has been officially been put on pause.

But Fairfax County’s commitment to provide $6.2 million remains unchanged, according to the county.

The plan would redevelop nearly 5 acres of land into a mixed-use project with 273 apartments and roughly 17,000 square feet of retail. An arts center and a 726-space parking garage are also part of the project.

“The market pause has delayed when those payments are expected to be made between the County and the Town due to the construction delays pushing out the previously mentioned payment triggers. The overall obligation remains in place for the County to provide those payments to the Town when those phases are met,” said Scott Sizer, catalytic development division manager of the Fairfax County Department of Economic initiatives.

The county offered two pledges for the public-private partnership. The first agreement of $1.2 million — approved in 2018 — kicks in when Comstock and the Town of Herndon have contributed at least $1.2 million in value for the construction work.

Sizer says that’s expected to happen after building construction begins.

The second agreement states that the county’s contribution of $5 million will happen after the first residential structure gets its first occupant. The payment — which will likely take place at the end of site construction and the beginning of operations of the apartments — will include annual payments over five years, Sizer said.

A spokesperson for Comstock told FFXnow that no timeline is currently available for when the project might begin.

The project, which was expected to break ground nearly two years ago, could be on pause for up to two years, the town stated in July.

The cost of the $101 million project increased by $25 million due to issues related to materials, labor, and workforce restrictions caused by the pandemic, according to town officials.

In addition to support from the county, Comstock will receive $2.5 million in fee reductions and $1.9 million in real estate tax breaks through an ordinance that was established after the town approved the project.

The project has been marred by delays since its inception. Groundbreaking was originally planned for December 2019.

0 Comments

The first major renovations to Reston Town Center’s in 30 years are well underway, with the pavilion set to reopen later this year.

A spokesperson for Boston Properties says the opening of the pavilion is anticipated “sometime in November with the return the ice rink for the winter season.”

“The Fountain Plaza and Pavilion rehabilitation and renovation work at Reston Town Center has made significant progress since commencing in March 2022,” Sapna Yathiraj, Boston Properties’ marketing director, wrote in a statement to FFXnow.

The Fountain Plaza is also slated to open later this year, although an exact timeline was not immediately available.

The upgrades are led by Alan Ward, a principal at Sasaki Associates. As previously reported the enhancements include:

The Pavilion

Two fire pits in front of the Pavilion adjacent to Market Street will add to the holiday and cooler months’ experience

Large fans will help cool the space during warmer months for both formal and informal gatherings

An expansion through the service street adjacent to the Hyatt will create more flexibility and space for programming, events, and daily activations
A wooden deck that will serve as a seating area and a stage for smaller events and performances

Additional seating areas in the artificial turf area during warm months

Other

The fountain: Renovation of the lower base area, with new tiling, expanded seating, and tiered landscaping, and replacement of the entire outdated mechanical system. The original design of the upper base and Mercury statue will remain unchanged.

New trees and plantings to replace aged greenery and damaged root systems

Expansion of outdoor seating, including stadium-style structures and traditional tables and chairs

0 Comments

Steve Steiner, a 73-year-old cyclist who lives in Reston’s Hunters Woods neighborhood, nearly lost his life when he was cycling from Leesburg nearly four years ago.

Steiner was hit by an SUV that was turning right through a red signal onto Fairfax County Parkway at the exit for the Dulles Toll Road. Despite trying to veer to the right, he was struck by the car, suffering a concussion, several broken ribs and other serious internal injuries, he said.

“An incident like this buries deep into your psyche and your brain,” Steiner said.

The crash resulted in $100,000 in medical expenses and months of recovery — an ordeal that he hopes no one else has to face.

Steiner spoke yesterday morning (Tuesday) at the launch of a countywide campaign called “Take a Moment” that aims to eliminate traffic-related deaths and injuries. Fairfax County officials hope that the communications campaign will encourage residents, drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to take a moment to pause before making decisions on roadways and paths.

The county also plans to commit $100 million over the next six years for pedestrian safety efforts in the county — a figure that includes $25 million in carryover funds.

“It’s so important that we mention this is a team effort and not just an effort of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors,” said Jeff McKay, the board chair.

The press conference took place at a busy intersection in Reston where a pedestrian and cyclist bridge is currently under construction at Wiehle Avenue.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn noted that tackling traffic issues is particularly important given the expected opening of phase two of Metro’s Silver Line this fall.

He said the pedestrian bridge currently under construction remedies issues with a particularly “challenging” area of Wiehle Avenue. Work is expected to wrap up by the beginning of 2024.

To date, 13 pedestrian have been killed in crashes and accidents on county roadways — despite crashes overall being reduced by more than 400, according to Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis. The number of pedestrian fatalities is three more than this time last year.

“It deserves our constant attention,” he said.

0 Comments
Fairfax County police car lights (file photo)

An Alexandria man was convicted earlier this month in connection with a series of armed gas station and convenience store robberies in Herndon.

Rashawn Perkins, 28, allegedly wore a ski mask and used a firearm during four robberies over five weeks, according to court documents.

“The evidence established that Perkins robbed a 7-Eleven on December 30, 2021 and a Sunoco on January 19, 2022. The evidence further proved that on February 5, 2022, Perkins returned to both locations and robbed them at gunpoint again,” the Department of Justice’s U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a Sept. 23 release.

According to court documents, Perkins — who previously had been convicted of three felony offenses — threw a firearm out of his bedroom window when the Fairfax County Police Department executed a search warrant for his home.

“Evidence at the trial established that this was the same firearm Perkins used to commit several of the robberies,” the release said.

Perkins faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 28 years in prison and a maximum of life imprisonment when sentenced on Jan. 12, 2023.

0 Comments
A map of responses from the communities surrounding the Reston National Golf Course. Black means opposed to re-opening comprehensive plan, blue is support of an open, public process, and orange means reconsider designation as a golf course (via Walter Alcorn)

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn reaffirmed his commitment yesterday (Monday) to oppose the development of Reston National Golf Course.

Alcorn said he will not support Weller Development Co. and War Horse Cities’ effort to change the county’s comprehensive plan to redevelop the golf course.

His public statement comes after a community survey found that 98% of respondents opposed amending the county’s comprehensive plan to change the designation of the golf course. Similar results were yielded from a survey of 14 communities surrounding Reston National.

“The numbers speak for themselves. Therefore, as with Hidden Creek, I do not support changing the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan’s current designation of this property as a golf course and consider this matter closed,” Alcorn wrote in a statement.

Alcorn voiced similar opposition when the owner of Hidden Creek Golf Course sought to redevelop the course with a 100-acre park and 1,000 residential units. In 2020, Alcorn said that he would only support the proposal if there was strong community support.

Reston’s ongoing overhaul of its comprehensive plan leaves the issue of preserving Reston’s two golf courses untouched.

In the absence of changes to the plan, Reston National’s owners financed the creation of the Reston National Neighborhood Study Group to determine lacking amenities in the area.

The group called for the reclamation of roughly 100 acres of the golf course for “usable” open space, a neighborhood with shops, restaurants and gathering spaces, and a half-mile park through the neighborhood.

Here’s Alcorn’s full letter:

Since I took office almost three years ago, the topic that my office has received the most emails about is the potential redevelopment of Reston’s two golf courses, Hidden Creek and Reston National Golf Course. On this question I have consistently stated that any proposal to change the comprehensive plan for these properties from their current respective “golf course” designations would need support from surrounding communities.

The owners of Reston National have spent considerable resources during the past year reaching out to the community to consider the condition of and potentially the redevelopment of, some or all of their privately-owned property.

Below is the information that has been compiled by my staff from emails and other communications I have received from residents of surrounding communities and beyond. The pie chart and map provide a visual of the input received from residents in the surrounding communities of Reston National. I have also not received any requests from neighboring cluster association leadership to change the comp plan guidance for Reston National – in fact, I have heard the opposite from those neighborhood leaders.

The numbers speak for themselves. Therefore, as with Hidden Creek, I do not support changing the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan’s current designation of this property as a golf course and consider this matter closed.

0 Comments

Halley Rise — a major mixed use development at the door of the Reston Town Center Metro station — will debut its inaugural Halley Rise Fall Festival on Oct. 22.

The event, which includes live music, food and activities, also kicks off the introduction of the Farm at Halley Rise, an urban farm by Up Top Acres that grows food and donates products to organizations that work to reduce food insecurity.

Just under half an acre in size, the farm includes more than 30 vegetable, herb and fruit crops, along with beehives, a native flower garden, a rain garden and a meadow. The farm is intended to provide Cornerstones Food pantry and other local food security organizations with produce.

“At Up Top Acres, our goal is to create productive farms and gardens that foster a sense of community,” Up Top Acres co-founder Kathleen O’Keefe said. “We’re excited to welcome the Farm at Halley Rise into our portfolio and partner with Brookfield to reduce food insecurity and work toward a more equitable food ecosystem.”

Brookfield Properties broke ground on the project in 2019 and has since focused on building The Edmund, a 353-unit apartment building that includes a pool, terrace, and fitness center. The apartment building, which will house Wegmans on the ground floor, is slated to open in spring 2023.

Robert Swennes, Brookfield’s head of the mid-Atlantic and southeast region, said that the festival is part of an ongoing effort to make the development a vibrant community and destination in Reston.

“We are excited to welcome friends and families from across Northern Virginia for a day full of autumnal festivities, live music, delicious food and more, plus the grand opening of our new urban farm — all together should make for a wonderful celebration at Halley Rise,” Swennes wrote in a statement.

The festival will include scavenger hunts, a pumpkin painting station, a bouquet making stand, farm tours, lawn games and performances by local bluegrass band High & Wides. Pepe by Jose Andres, a food truck, will also serve up Spanish flat sandwiches.

At full build-out, Halley Rise will bring 1,600 residential units, 1.9-million-square-feet of office space, 240,000 square feet of retail, five acres of open space and associated infrastructure to the area.

A spokesperson for Brookfield Properties told FFXnow that the company plans to find other ways to engage the local community.

“Following this year’s event, we will continue to explore ways to offer family-friendly programming for the community,” the spokesperson said.

0 Comments
Reston Regional Library (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A developer that filed a competing proposal for a new Reston library and affordable housing is calling into question Fairfax County’s handling of an unsolicited proposal it received for a new library near the same site.

Developer Norton Scott says the county mishandled the solicitation process after developer Foulger-Pratt filed a proposal to redevelop 4.5 acres of land at the intersection Bowman Towne Court and Town Center Parkway in October 2021.

Norton Scott is petitioning the county to incorporate more public opportunities to review other sites for the library that the company says would better serve Reston residents and are more in line with Reston’s comprehensive plan.

“They are sliding this through in a way that circumvents the public process that is so inherent to planning in Reston,” Chelsea Rao, vice president of Norton Scott, told FFXnow.

The Foulger-Pratt proposal — which was publicized with significant redactions — would redevelop the 4.5-acre property into an apartment building for working families and a new library, while demolishing 30 affordable rental townhomes on the site. What’s publicly known is that roughly 350 affordable housing units across two buildings with a garage and the library are planned.

The Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) issued a call for competing proposals earlier this year — all governed under the provisions of the Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002, which lays different groundwork for public-private partnerships.

To date, the Norton Scott proposal is the only competing application received.

Located near Reston Regional Library’s current site and a neighboring lot owned by the developer’s subsidiaries across from the police station’s parking lot, the Norton Scott plan would have consolidated three county-owned parcels with a one-core parcel to the south.

It would’ve created a 1.8-acre plaza, 39,000-square-foot library, a new homeless shelter, a performing arts center, a human services building, and 582 housing units — including 354 affordable units. The plan would also preserve existing affordable housing on the Bowman Town Center Court property.

But FCHRA spokesperson Benjamin Boxer told FFXnow that Norton Scott’s application was deemed non-responsive because it involves a completely different site.

“Norton Scott’s competing proposal was non-responsive to the solicitation because the site for their proposal was located on entirely different property owned by the Board of Supervisors, as well as a separate parcel owned by Norton Scott, not the FCRHA-owned property identified in the request for competing proposals issued by the FCRHA,” Boxer said. “Norton Scott may submit its own unsolicited proposal for the other location, and they were so advised over a month ago.” Read More

0 Comments
Upgrades are planned for a prominent gas station in Springfield (via Google Maps)

A Springfield gas station that has been owned by the same family since 1955 is getting a big makeover.

After sorting through several hiccups, the Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously approved the project to upgrade the Ravensworth Shell station (8011 Braddock Road) at a Sept. 21 meeting.

Applicant Capital Services, Inc. plans to convert four service bays into a two-story convenience store — an expansion predicted to result in roughly 900 additional trips in the area. An outdoor seating area, landscaping and stormwater management enhancements are also planned.

The increase in traffic, the gas station’s close proximity to a high-traffic area, and a planned pedestrian improvement project in the Braddock District prompted several amendments to the proposal.

“In what seemed to be a very straightforward application to exchange one accessory for another was complicated by the site’s location,” Braddock District Planning Commissioner Mary Cortina said.

The county and the applicant worked through a number of issues — including managing traffic from the gas station onto Braddock Road.

Cortina noted that traffic is already challenging in the Ravensworth Shopping Center where the station is located.

Braddock Road — which has expanded significantly since the gas station first opened — is also very close to the gas station.

The applicant’s representative, David Gill of Wire Gill, said the family is looking forward to expanding the “next phase of evolution for this family business.” The project was previously deferred after a July 27 public hearing.

Cortina said Capital Services agreed to restrict one entrance to be one-way-only and provide a pedestrian crossing in the area, a new landscape island, a dedicated loading space, a roof that could support solar equipment, and a parking space for electric vehicles.

Still, she noted that there is “very little room left” between Braddock Road and the gas station. County planners anticipate that the future Braddock Road multimodal project will continue despite space challenges.

That project will include a number of upgrades, like a pedestrian overpass west of Burke Lake Road and shared-use paths on both sides of Braddock Road. Design approval is anticipated in the spring.

Photo via Google Maps

0 Comments
The latest map includes phase two of the Silver Line (via Metro)

Metro has officially debuted changes to its 2019 map of the rail system.

This past Friday (Sept. 23), Metrorail began rolling out the new maps — which feature the Silver Line extension and stations with new name — to its stations, trains and transit centers.

As first reported by DCist, the new map includes stations on phase two of the Silver Line: Reston Town Center, Herndon, Innovation Center, Washington Dulles International Airport, Loudoun Gateway and Ashburn.

The map also lists Potomac Yard station in Alexandria as a future station.

But it will take some time before the whole system’s maps are upgraded. The overall system has more than 5,000 maps in stations and trains alone.

“Metro is getting a head start now for what will take more than a month to replace every map in the system in preparation for opening,” the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority said.

The map also includes new station names — which were approved by Metro’s Board of Directors — changing Largo Town Center to Downtown Largo, Prince George’s Plaza to Hyattsville Crossing, White Flint to North Bethesda, and Tysons Corner to Tysons. West Falls Church-VT is also the new name of the station that used to bear the University of Virginia’s name.

Here’s more from Metro on the changes:

The map’s original design was created more than 40 years ago by graphic designer Lance Wyman and was revised by Wyman for the opening of the first phase of the Silver Line and the extensions’ completion. Over the decades, millions of people have navigated Metrorail using the simple but classic map showing all six rail lines – Red, Blue, Orange, Silver, Green and Yellow – crossing the region with crisp, clean lines.

Printing has been underway for weeks, as Metro prepares for the opening of the Silver Line extension. Maps of various sizes, fare tables, and customer brochures are all being updated.

Metro has not yet decided when the Silver Line extension will officially open. But its Board of Directors took a key step last Thursday (Sept. 22) when they delegated to Metro General Manager and CEO Randy Clarke the authority to accept the project once certain conditions are met.

Right now, a fall opening is anticipated.

0 Comments
The festival takes place in Reston Town Square park tomorrow (courtesy Canine Companions)

A DogFest is coming to Reston Town Square Park tomorrow (Saturday).

The event, slated to take place from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. at 11900 Market Street, will benefit Canine Companions, a nonprofit organization that encourages clients and their dogs to live with greater independence. Activities include service dog demonstrations, music, games, speeches and activities for kids.

The event is free, but online registration is encouraged.

“Help us raise money to provide exceptional dogs for the over 400 people currently waiting for their new canine partners,” Canine Companions spokesperson John Bentzinger wrote in a release.

The organization was established in 1975 and is active in six regions across the country.

Dogs that take part in the event must adhere to several conditions, including being social, being up to date with vaccinations, and remaining on a leash no longer than six feet at all times.

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list