A new “Commerce Center” is taking shape at the door of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.
Comstock, the Reston-based developer behind the massive, mixed-use Reston Station, plans to bring 1.3 million square feet of new office space, up to 469 residential units, a hotel, 30,000 square feet of retail, and a 12,000-square-foot childcare center on nearly 16 acres of land south of the Dulles Toll Road, west of Wiehle Avenue and north of Sunrise Valley Drive.
At a Reston Planning & Zoning Committee meeting on Monday (May 16), members encouraged the company to engage significantly with the community on the massive project.
“We encouraged the applicant to meet with all nearby community associations and individual homeowners who are not part of an association,” committee chairman Rob Walker wrote in a statement to FFXnow. “It was recommended those community meetings should take the form of a more charette-type format centered around key issues the community believes are important.”
Comstock plans to demolish Commerce Center IV offices on the property, even though it is fully leased and generates “significant revenue.” In application materials submitted to the Reston Planning & Zoning Committee, Comstock said the demolition will “provide a critically needed opportunity to enhance pedestrian circulation and create a substantial urban park.”
Comstock conceded that the demolition of the office building is “quite a substantial commitment” but is necessary to create space for an underground parking garage and a public space with ground-floor retail.
A trio of office buildings would remain on the site, housing roughly 456,000 square feet of office space. Overall, the space is intended to transition the Metro station area from more high-intensity, mixed-use development to the existing offices that flank the station.
Two residential buildings are proposed on the southern portion of the property, alongside three new office buildings closest to the toll road.
Committee member Katie McClain inquired about the extent of community engagement, particularly courting feedback from area residents. She said it was important to get feedback on the 16-story hotel proposed across residential buildings.
Brian Winterhalter, an attorney with DLA Piper, said Comstock is in the preliminary stages of community engagement and expects to launch several community meetings next month.
“We’re reaching out to each of the associations,” Winterhalter said, addressing concerns about lack of input in the plans.
“You really have a monopoly on the Metro there, but really the entire community need to be able to use that,” Michelle Kimmel said, lamenting what she sees as a lack of pedestrian walkability in the area and the absence of a Kiss and Ride.
The project has one of the highest development densities in Reston with a floor area ratio of 3.2, slightly higher than what is recommended by the county’s comprehensive plan.
Winterhalter said Comstock is seeking bonus density through the mid-block road on the property, the demolition of Commerce Center III and dedication of 16% of the total residential units as workforce housing.
Other committee members encouraged Comstock to ensure that the development activates Wiehle Avenue as much as possible.
“The streetscape along Wiehle looks a little thin to me,” committee member Mike Jennings cautioned.
Comstock is expected to continue engaging with the committee throughout the zoning process. The county has not yet officially accepted the application for review.
Developer Comstock Companies is working with the town to transform 4.7 acres of land into a mixed-use town center with 273 residential apartments, 17,000 square feet of retail space, an arts center and a 726-space parking garage.
Comstock has submitted a new schedule for the project, which was expected to break ground this spring after being pushed further out from last year.
At a Herndon Town Council meeting on Tuesday (May 10), town manager Bill Ashton II said attorneys for Comstock and the town are negotiating the schedule and financing package.
“They are on the cusp of going to lending but there are some things they need to iron out before they can get there,” Ashton II said at the meeting.
The town is actively working on this issues, which were not publicly discussed. Comstock has also required some changes to a building permit based on site plan revisions that will be submitted to the town.
Comstock told FFXnow in a statement that no updates were available to share.
Ashton provided the update at a meeting following questions from Vice Mayor Cesar del Aguila.
“There’s a lot of rumor mill and conspiracies out there,” del Aguila said.
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.
When asked about the project, a spokesperson for the town deferred to the discussion at the meeting.
(Updated at 4:48 p.m. to clarify construction is currently underway)
Like other construction projects in the area, Virginia’s first JW Marriott is facing some delays.
The 26-story hotel, which plans to open at Comstock’s Reston Station, has been delayed by a year, according to a spokesperson for the Reston-based development company.
“Construction was delayed on this for a year due to the pandemic,” the spokesperson said, adding that work is currently underway on the site.
The hotel, which will be located at the intersection of Reston Station Boulevard and Wiehle Avenue, had planned to open in 2024 and will cost roughly $250 million to complete.
JW Marriott launched in 1984 as Marriott International’s luxury brand. There are more than 100 JW Marriott hotels in 36 countries.
Once completed, the building would complement the design of the Helmut Jahn office tower across the street.
Overall, the development is expected to have around 400 hotel units. The JW Marriott will include 250 guest rooms, 90 residents, roughly 15,000 square feet of meeting space, two restaurants and other amenities.
Marriott’s Extended Stay hotel is also planned for the site. CRS Hotel LC, a company managed by Comstock, finalized a franchise agreement in February 2021.
The project is expected to delivery in late 2024.
A major general contractor has set its eyes on Reston.
Winmar Construction plans to open offices at 2100 Reston Parkway.
A company representative tells FFXnow that the office space is expected to be ready for occupancy by June 1.
The company already has offices in the District, Baltimore and Miami.
According to county permits, an application for a mounted sign has been processed.
Winmar is behind a number of projects across the country, including Founding Farmers’ 13,400-square-foot-restaurant at Comstock’s Reston Station development at the door of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station.