A casino may still be on the table for Fairfax County, though it faces some long odds to becoming a reality.
According to a new report by Patch, the real estate company Comstock is interested in building a casino in the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station area, where it owns nearly 80 acres of land for the still-growing Reston Station development.
The company’s plans were shared by “several local officials,” Patch said. A public relations representative for Comstock didn’t return a request for comment from FFXnow by press time.
Before it breaks out the slot machines, however, Comstock will need to convince both the Virginia General Assembly and voters to allow a casino operator in Fairfax County, a daunting prospect given the skepticism that the proposal faced when it first emerged in January.
An informal, unscientific poll by FFXnow found that 60% of respondents wouldn’t support having a casino in the county, though about a quarter of respondents did back the idea.
State Sen. Dave Marsden (D-37) and Del. Wren Williams (R-9) introduced identical bills on Jan. 20 that would’ve added any county with over 1 million residents — a criteria only met by Fairfax County — to Virginia’s list of localities eligible to host casino gaming facilities.
The legislation specifically stated:
The site of the casino gaming establishment shall be limited to a location that is (i) within one quarter of a mile an existing station on the Metro Silver Line, (ii) part of a coordinated mixed-use project development, (iii) outside the Dulles airport flight path, and (iv) outside the Interstate 495 Beltway
Both bills were quickly stricken from the legislative agenda at their patrons’ request, but Marsden told Patch that he plans to reintroduce his bill if he’s reelected this November. Facing off against Republican nominee Mark Vafiades, Marsden is seeking to replace the retiring Dick Saslaw in the new 35th District, which encompasses Annandale, Springfield, Mantua, Kings Park West and George Mason University.
If his bill becomes law, it would send the matter to voters with a ballot referendum in a future election, according to Marsden.
“We’ve started down the road of a severe downturn in the commercial real estate business,” Marsden said to Patch. “People who needed 50,000 square feet of office space now need 5. It’s going to devalue the market and there’s going to be less taxes because there’ll be a lot more in the way of vacancies.”
While Marsden told Patch that he thinks “the county is interested in taking a look at” the possibility of a casino, Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn, who represents Reston, “opposes putting a casino on the Silver Line,” his office confirmed to FFXnow.
According to Patch, State Sen. Jennifer Boysko (D-33) — who is campaigning against Republican Matt Lang to represent Reston, Herndon, Great Falls and McLean in the 38th Senate District — said she’s “aware that Comstock would like a casino at the Reston station” but remains “strongly opposed” to the proposal.
Virginia currently only allows casino gambling in five cities. So far, establishments have opened in Bristol, Portsmouth and, most recently, Danville. Norfolk has a casino on the way, and Richmond voters will weigh in on a proposed project this fall.
The state’s existing casinos have exceeded revenue expectations, collectively bringing in $308 million in net revenue, as of the end of the fiscal year in June, according to the Virginia Mercury.
Qualtrics, a technology and data research company, has officially opened its doors in Reston.
The company, which provides artifical intelligence-driven software to assist businesses with customer and employee “experience management,” is adding an office to “serve as a hub for AI innovation and public sector growth,” according to a press release.
The office will take up more than 52,000 square feet across two full floors in Reston Station.
“Our expansion in Reston marks a significant milestone in Qualtrics’ growth and commitment to innovation, particularly artificial intelligence and machine learning,” Qualtrics CEO Zig Serafin said.
The office design is based on the Capital Beltway with walking paths around each floor that mimic the highway, according to the company. The office also includes the Blues Cafe, a 40-seat work area that was inspired by D.C.’s historic jazz scene.
The Reston office marks an expansion for the company, which acquired Reston-based Clarabridge in 2021. Started in 2005, Clarabridge provides similar AI-powered text and speech analytics software.
“The opening of Qualtrics’ world-class East Coast office reinforces that Virginia’s tech sector is booming,” Gov. Glenn Youngkin said in the press release. “This new hub in Reston Station will allow Qualtrics to continue to capitalize on the Commonwealth’s pipeline of top talent.”
The company’s cloud-native software is used by more than 600 state, provincial and local government organizations. Its headquarters are in Seattle, Washington, and Provo, Utah, but it has offices around the world.
Both businesses will take up ground-level space at 1800 Reston Row Plaza, the first of two office towers under construction.
The Reston location is the second for Noku, which originates in Leesburg. Founded in 2004, Tous les Jours has locations across the country, including in Annandale, Chantilly and Sterling.
“We are thrilled to welcome Noku and Tous les Jour to the Reston Row neighborhood,” said Timothy Steffan, chief operating officer for developer Comstock. “They join the growing list of best-in-class dining options at Reston Station, which already includes Founding Farmers, Ebbitt House, and so many more. These iconic restaurants, along with a wide range of on-site amenities and local conveniences, have made Reston Station one of the most sought-after destinations in Northern Virginia for office tenants, residents, and consumers alike.”
A new concept for Ebbitt House — a suburban remodel of the District’s Old Ebbitt Grill — and changes in Reston Row — a mixed-use neighborhood near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station — are officially moving forward.
Comstock, the developer behind the project, sought to reallocate 280,000 square feet of unbuilt but previously approved office space from its Reston Station neighborhood to Reston Row, increasing the height and number of residential units in a building in Reston Row. Comstock also removed above-grade parking and a private, elevated sport court.
Jeff Owens, chief financial officer for Clyde’s Restaurant Group, said the use of the Old Ebbitt Grill brand was a big move for the company. Clyde’s of Reston closed in Reston Town Center roughly one year ago.
“We’re really anxious kind of get back to Fairfax County again and we wanted to do in a big way,” Owens said.
Jill Parks, an attorney with Hunton Andrews Kirth, said Comstock also reworked the location of some parks and overall landscaping.
The issue of park space drew concern at a Fairfax County Planning Commission meeting in June. Although the commission ultimately recommended approval of the application, members said they worried it doesn’t meet urban parks standards.
Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn said the county is in the midst of discussions on how best to calculate the amount of park space required in applications.
“We’re literally moving 280,000 square feet of approved [space], 175 units from here to there,” Parks said, describing the simplicity of the proposed changes.
She said Reston Station and Reston Row represent “two of the most significant mixed-use developments in Reston, resulting in the creation of a dynamic, one-of-a-kind transit-oriented neighborhood.”
At the meeting, Reston Association board president John Farrell restated the board’s concerns about Comstock using amenities managed and owned by RA, like Lake Thoreau, for marketing its residential projects. Farrell also urged the developer to join RA — a move that Parks said Comstock was uninterested in.
Parks noted that Comstock provided $650,000 to Reston Association as part of its development proposals.
Securiport, a border security firm, is planning to relocate its headquarters from DC to Reston Station.
The company signed a 24,800-square-foot lease at 1900 Reston Metro Plaza — a portion of the Reston Station mixed-use neighborhood that is currently under construction, according to a commercial real estate news website.
In the interim, the company will move to 11480 Commerce Metro Center this month as construction continues.
As a condition of its tenancy, the company wants to ensure that one of its sixteen signs is located along the Dulles Toll Road next to its planned office place.
Comstock Companies is seeking the county’s permission for approval of the change to its sign plan, citing the “dismal state of the office market in the region” in an Aug. 23 memo.
“Particularly in light of the current office vacancy rate in Fairfax County (at an all-time high of 16.7%), which is universally projected to remain; or worse, continue to rise, for the foreseeable future, the decision to accommodate this critical DC Tenant’s reasonable request for signage on the building which it intends to occupy, was an obvious one for Comstock and is a must for the County,” according to the application.
Securiport was founded in 2001 in order to “address the security challenges of the 21st century,” according to its website. The company — which has called DC home for more than two decades — provides intelligent immigration and civil aviation security solutions and services
The county issued submission deficiencies for the application.
A decision on Comstock’s proposed changes to the Reston Row neighborhood has been delayed.
At a meeting on Tuesday (July 25), the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to defer a decision on the application.
Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn said the deferral was the result of an “affidavit issue.” The board is now expected to vote on changes to the neighborhood on Sept. 12.
At a Fairfax County Planning Commission meeting in June, the project was criticized for shifting public park space into a private dining space for Ebbitt House, an upcoming restaurant that will mark a comeback for Clyde’s of Reston to the area.
Comstock also wants to reallocate 280,000 square feet of unbuilt but previously approved office space from Reston Station — the neighborhood near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station — to Reston Row.
Notably, the company wants to increase a residential building from a height of 180 to 350 feet and from 250 to 350 residential units.
Staff recommended approval of the application, even though the project doesn’t fully satisfy the county’s urban parks standards for the area. The total density between the two projects — Reston Row and Reston Station — remains unchanged.
Changes to Comstock’s Reston Row neighborhood are moving forward despite concerns about the proposed shift of a public park space into private outdoor dining space for Ebbitt House, an upcoming restaurant.
The Fairfax County Planning Commission recommended on June 28 that the Board of Supervisors approve changes to the project near the Wiehle-Reston Easton Metro station.
Comstock is seeking the county’s permission to reallocate 280,000 square feet of unbuilt but previously approved office space from Reston Station to Reston Row. Specifically, the developer wants to increase the building height of a residential building from 180 feet to 350 feet and from 250 to 350 units.
Other changed elements include increased retail square footage, an elevated sport court, and a shift from two separate garages to a single underground parking garage.
Staff recommended approval of the application even though the project doesn’t fully satisfy the county’s urban parks standards for the area. The total density between the two projects — Reston Row and Reston Station — remains unchanged.
Mary Ann Tsai of the county’s Department of Planning and Development said the decison to approve the application was a “very hard” one.
Even though the application doesn’t meet the urban parks standards, the current plan is an improvement over the previous approval, especially when it comes to additional greenscapes for a corner park at the intersection of Sunset Hills Road and Wiehle Avenue, Tsai said.
“We look at the whole context of the recommendations,” she said, calling staff’s support a “soft” decision.
Jill Parks, an attorney with Hunton Andrews Kurth representing the applicant, said the outdoor dining space is a major placemaking feature of the development instead of a “strip of green.”
“It is more welcoming, it is an amenity and it is a feature to this neighborhood,” Parker said, adding that the applicant “scrubbed every single foot of this project” to improve the urban parks.
Providence District Commissioner Phil Niedzielski-Eichner said Comstock’s significant investment in the project warrants a closer look at the issue.
“The Ebbitt is a significant addition to the development,” Eichner said. “It has a region-wide standing. If the terms of being able to secure them meant there be an outdoors type of arrangement, I can see the logic of that.”
Hunter Mill District Supervisor John Carter concurred that he “actually like[s] the dining space here. This is something for the future.”
Clyde’s Restaurant Group COO Kevin Keller said the outdoor dining space will be a significant amenity for the company’s guests.
“It brings that energy outside and really connects the community,” Keller said.
Overall, the development plan won the approval of the commission. Carter noted that the plan was a hallmark of placemaking that Reston’s transit station areas need.
“Our stations are underperforming. It’s not because of the density. It’s because people can’t get there,” Carter said.
Randall Farran, the Fairfax County Planning Authority’s park planning branch manager, emphasized that failing to meet the urban park standards was seen as a “deficiency,” particularly because supplemental features — like areas fronting buildings — were used to try to meet the 1.2-acre urban park space standard for the development.
“We didn’t feel like it was an equivalent replacement,” Farran said.
Braddock District Commissioner Mary Ann Cortina wasn’t satisfied with the developer’s approach to urban park spaces — even though she understood the need for the private outdoor dining area.
“It does make it difficult to continue to provide what the comprehensive plan expects,” Cortina said, adding that future applicants may argue that the appeal of private amenity space precludes meeting urban spark standards.
The application will go to the Board of Supervisors for a public hearing on July 25.
A new neighborhood park is officially online at Reston Station just in time for the summer — although recent air quality advisories may deter some park-goers.
Developer EYA will host a grand opening ceremony tomorrow (Saturday) for the latest neighborhood playground and park at Reston Station.
The grand opening ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. with remarks at 10 a.m. Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn and Robbin Martz, a resident of the townhomes, are expected to speak at the park, which is bounded by Reston Station Blvd, Faraday Park Drive and Midline Avenue.
Music and activities for children of all ages are also planned.
The Townhomes at Reston Station development turned an office park into a mixed-use neighborhood near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station. Other amenities in the area include plaza for seating, a bocce ball court, and a dog park.
McLean Quinn, president and CEO of EYA, told FFXnow that the project represents everything that the company seeks in redevelopment opportunities.
“By combining access to transit, a new grid of streets and plenty of green space like the newly opened park, we were able to design a neighborhood that brings homeowners closer to all the livable and walkable elements that fulfill our brand promise of life within walking distance,” Quinn said.
There are 113 units in the townhome community, along with a 229-unit apartment building with ground-floor retail that was sold to Elm Street Development. The townhomes — which are roughly 1,690-square-feet each — start from $850,000.
Reston Town Square Park (11900 Market Street) and Reston Station (1901 Reston Metro Plaza) will soon come to life with summer entertainment organized by the Reston Community Center.
RCC has organized six series this year, varying from jazz ensembles to family picnics. Some events will feature pop-up treats in other neighborhoods.
“Reston knows it’s summer when the sounds of great music can be heard in our beautiful plazas,” RCC Board Chair Beverly Cosham said. “RCC brings people together to dance, socialize, visit an outdoor restaurant, or share a picnic basket. It’s a Reston tradition we keep expanding and look forward to every year.”
The first concert — a jazz show from singer Darden Purcell — will usher in Memorial Day weekend at Reston Town Square Park tomorrow (Friday).
A complete breakdown of the events is available below:
Take a Break
Thursdays, June 1 – August 31
Beginning with Don’t Back Down, a Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers tribute band, the Take a Break concerts fill the plaza atop the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. Other performers include Texas Chainsaw Horns, Loudoun Jazz Ensemble, Scott Kurt and Memphis 59. For the full schedule click here: Take a Break Concerts at Reston Community Center. Concerts are presented by RCC in cooperation with MSE Productions, Inc., and are hosted by Reston Station.
Darden Purcell and Friends
Fridays, May 26 – October 13
Reston Town Square Park
Jazz vocalist and series curator Darden Purcell brings her group to open the summer series of “Darden & Friends” in Reston Town Square Park. This concert will feature exciting new arrangements of Great American Songbook repertoire and jazz standards.
June 2 – September 1
Kick off the weekend with Fab Fridays featuring the U.S. Army Blues Big Band, festive rhythms from Dogo from Togo, merengue with Latin pop band Ocho de Bastos and many more. See the full concert schedule here: RCC Fab Friday Concerts. Three hours of free parking are available in the ParkX garage with validation. Concerts are presented by RCC in cooperation with MSE Productions, Inc., and are hosted by Reston Station.
Family Fun Entertainment
Saturdays, June 17 – August 5
Reston Town Square Park
Bring the kids for magic, comedy, puppets, music and lots of laughs. Family Fun begins on June 17 with Guava Jelly. Other shows include Rocknoceros, Lohr Family Antics, The Uncle Devin Show and Turley the Magician. Family Fun Entertainment is presented by RCC and Reston Town Center Association in cooperation with MSE Productions, Inc. Reston Town Center garages offer free parking on Saturdays.
Sunday Art in the Park with the Shenandoah Conservatory
Sundays, June 11 – August 27
Reston Town Square Park
Wind down your weekend with classical, jazz and cabaret-style music provided by faculty and students from Shenandoah University’s acclaimed music conservatory. The series starts June 11 with Ellington Caravan paying tribute to Duke Ellington. This series will run through August 27. Visit Sunday Art in the Park for the complete schedule. Reston Town Center garage parking is free on Sundays. Sunday Art in the Park is presented by RCC and Reston Town Center Association in cooperation with Shenandoah University.
Family Picnic Days
Saturday August 5 – Temporary Road Pavilion
Saturday, August 12 – Pony Barn Picnic Pavilion
Saturday, August 19 – North Hills Picnic Pavilion
Bring a picnic, your family and friends to Family Picnic Day. Play family-friendly lawn games, enjoy local performers and have some fun! Family Picnic Days are presented by Reston Community Center and Reston Association.
Changes to Reston Station and Reston Row — mixed-use developments near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station — are barreling towards approval.
At a meeting yesterday (Tuesday), the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a motion to set a July 25 public hearing date for the joint proposals, which would shift approved but unbuilt residential density from one block of Reston Station to Reston Row.
Reston Row is an extension of Reston Station, a nearly 10-acre development at the Metro station. Reston Row includes two office buildings that will be anchored by Puttshack, an indoor mini-golf destination, and VIDA Fitness.
Comstock wants to shift roughly 165 units or 264,000 square feet of space that was not used in Reston Station to the Ebbitt House apartment building. Nearly 10,000 square feet of space would be dedicated for a roof deck on top of another building for Founding Farmers and a future building in a different block on the property.
“Critically, the Applicant is not requesting one single square foot of additional density over and above what was approved and is entitled to be developed when Reston Station and Reston Row are aggregated,” the application said.
The developer argues that shifting the residential density would allow it to deliver workforce dwelling units sooner “than it otherwise would have” and in a better location for the county’s residents, according to the application.
The Puttshack building is set to delivered December of next year, while Building D is expected to deliver in November 2026, according to a board matter introduced yesterday by Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn.
In the matter, Alcorn states that the changes shift density to a “more logical, Metro-proximate, and resident-friendly location at Reston Row.”
From a logistical standpoint, the two separate applications for the project can be voted on concurrently. The July hearing before the Board of Supervisors will be preceded by a June 28 public hearing by the Fairfax County Planning Commission.