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Comstock plans to tweak its development plan for Reston Row (via Comstock)

Comstock is seeking to tweak a critical piece of the Reston Station neighborhood.

With one block at Reston Station complete, the developer is moving towards Reston Row. The team is reexamining its 17.6-acre assemblage to complete the neighborhood in a “more organized, intuitive, and rail-focused manner.”

That’s why the developer plans to reallocated unused density on the block two parcel for a “more logical, transit-proximate location at Reston Row” and the “accelerated production of more workforce dwelling units closer to rail.”

Block two is located on Metro Center Drive and contains a 75,000-square-foot, six-story office building that will remain during the construction project. The parking structure on the site will be redeveloped as an office or residential building.

Comstock hopes to shift unused density from a 180,00-square-foot planned hotel and a 350,000-square-foot residential building to the site.

Set to go before the Reston Planning & Zoning Committee tonight (Monday), the application would shift roughly 360,000 square feet of available but unused density from the planned hotel and residential building to the project, which is approved for nearly 1.4 acres of mixed-use development.

Comstock will not build a planned nearly 167,000-square-foot hotel at Reston Station, because it would “interfere” with Founding Farmers’ outdoor seating and the overall experience of the plaza.

The developer also says it no longer makes sense to build a 280-foot-tall residential building on block two next to a 140-foot-tall office building.

Instead, Comstock hopes to bring 165 units or 280,000 square feet for a 425-unit residential building directly opposite the BLVD at Reston Station on block two.

Remaining density would be allowed for a roof deck on top of the building for Founding Farmers and other improvements, along with an unspecified “future building” on block two. Ground-floor retail is still planned on the base of the building along Reston Station Blvd.

“With all 35 of the formerly disparate parcels within the Reston Station and Reston Row properties now consolidated and included in the Reston Station Neighborhood, Comstock has much more flexibility to reorganize all of the pieces to maximize its rail proximity and plan the highest and best use of the whole,” the Jan. 13 amended application says.

The application does not add additional density and only requires reallocation.

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A seven-story apartment building is planned at 11410 Isaac Newton Square (via Fairfax County)

The first piece of the massive redevelopment of Isaac Newton Square will be the construction of a seven-story, 345-unit apartment building.

Peter Lawrence Cos. and MRP Realty filed plans with Fairfax County to begin the redevelopment of the 32-acre office park and parking lots with a 360,000-square-foot building on the northern part of the property, setting into motion more than 2.8 million square feet of planned redevelopment on the site.

The current plan covers roughly seven acres of the property, one of 10 buildable blocks planned on the site.

The proposal favors ground-floor units with direct access to a walkway instead of the more typical model used to activate apartment buildings: ground-floor retail.

A little over 13% of the units will be set aside as workforce dwelling units (WDUs), according to the plan.

Since the proposed building is slightly larger than previously anticipated, the developer plans to shuffle over density from later phases to ensure the project doesn’t exceed maximum allowable densities. Specifically, the proposal shifts 20,000 square feet of residential area and 55 units from a future application.

A wrapped parking garage with 415 parking spaces is also planned.

The application was discussed by the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee last summer. Overall, 2,100 residential units, 300 hotels rooms, 260,000 square feet of office space, and roughly 69,000 square feet of retail are planned on the site near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.

The low-rise office buildings on the site were recently demolished.

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A duo of Reston office buildings built in 1973 and 1980 could soon be the home of four residential buildings.

Developer JLB Realty has filed a development plan to build a five-story residential building with 400 units and three four-story buildings with 39 apartments in total on across roughly 6.7 acres of land on 1900 and 1920 Association Drive. If approved, Toll Brothers could build the triplex buildings.

According to the Dec. 14 application, the plan would redevelop “under-utilized office buildings with much-needed housing opportunities near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.”

If the project moves forward, Fairfax County would have to rezone the property from industry uses to a residential-mixed use district. It could also help address a lingering connectivity issue in the area.

A grid of streets between Wiehle Avenue and the Soapstone Connector is planned, bridging a major transportation segment in the area and what local Restonians have dubbed the “road from nowhere.”

In September, the county approved a likely path for the connector, a $237 million link planned between Sunrise Valley Drive and Sunset Hills Road.

Although other parcels will be needed to implement these connections, the Applicant is committed to providing connections for the future grid of streets in coordination with Fairfax County and adjacent property owners,” the application states.

The applicant has also committed to setting aside a minimum of 13% of the total number of residential units and either workforce housing or affordable housing units.

The proposal is in the early planning phases and has not yet been accepted for review by the county.

As part of the nearly 485,000-square-foot development, roughly 1.7 acres of urban park area is proposed. Possible uses include a playground, athletic turf activity areas, lawn space, seating and exercise areas, according to the application.

The Proposed Development represents a significant opportunity to provide for the redevelopment of outdated, under-utilized office buildings with much-needed housing opportunities near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station,” the applicant states.

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A central park is proposed at the Commerce Metro Center development (via Fairfax County)

Nearly a dozen proposals to possibly open up Fairfax County’s comprehensive plan for land use changes to allow development in specific areas of Reston and Herndon are moving forward.

The requested changes largely circle around a common theme: aging office buildings are no longer competitive and more housing stock is needed, according to the applications.

Of the 15 nominations in the Hunter Mill District submitted through the county’s Site-specific Plan Amendment (SSPA) process, a handful did not make it to the next screening phase.

Specifically, plans to replace Reston’s two golf courses — Reston National and Hidden Creek Country Club — with residential development and open space did not get a favorable vote from the board.

In a Dec. 6 statement, Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn emphasized that he does not support any proposal to change the comprehensive plan’s golf course designations for those sites unless there is support from surrounding communities.

“Even after considerable community engagement and outreach by the owners of the golf courses, nearby residents — by a large majority — and their cluster association leaders contacted my office and clearly stated that they did not support changing the zoning comprehensive plan designation of the two golf courses.  My commitment to community-based comprehensive planning is unchanged,” Alcorn wrote in the statement.

Nine Reston nominations advance

In the Town Center North area (1760 Reston Parkway), RTC Partnership LLC wants to build a 419,000–square-foot residential building instead of the 23-story office building that was approved for the site in 2016.

The developer says the project provides “needed multifamily residential housing,” while boosting “Reston’s economic vitality by helping drive the demand for retail and locally-serving office uses.”

“The proposed nomination would also provide a catalyst redevelopment project in the Town Center North area which would, hopefully, encourage adjacent owners to move forward with similar projects,” according to the application.

Near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station, developers are reimagine the future of aging offices surrounded by surface parking.

On Preston White Drive, the developer says in its application that office buildings built in the 1980s “are struggling to survive’ in their current state.

Instead, the developer is seeking the county’s approval for a project with 60-85% residential uses, 5-10% of office space, 5-10% of retail and up to 5% hotel uses.

Highbrook Investors, the owner of property at 12120 Sunrise Valley Drive, wants to demolish the vacant office building on the property and replace it with a higher density residential building than originally planned.

Although the Property has good pedestrian access to the Reston Town Center Metro Station, it is a real challenge for the existing office building to compete with newer, three larger office buildings at the Metro station that provide more amenities, more usable office space configurations, and easier access to Metro for office employees (who tend to not be willing to walk as far as residents to transit).

In a deviation from the push for more housing, at Commerce Metro Center, the developer wants to up the development intensity and allow more space for offices. CP Management Center would demolish an office building in the development to create a new mid-block road and an urban plaza area with street-level areas. Read More

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Taco Bell in Reston could see a facelift as part of a demolition proposal. (Image via handout/Fairfax County Government)

(Updated, 10/28) The county has officially okayed a new and improved Taco Bell in Reston.

At this week’s Board of Supervisors meeting, officials unanimously gave the green light to demolish the existing Taco Bell on Roger Bacon Drive just off Wiehle Avenue and replace it with a modern version with an additional drive-thru lane. At just over 2,700 square feet, the restaurant will also be slightly larger than the previous iteration.

The go-ahead came on the heels of recommendations from both the staff and the county’s Planning Commission last month.

The Taco Bell that sits there now was first built in the 1980s, according to a presentation made by the applicant at the meeting earlier this week.

Franchise owner Summerwood Corporation bought the site last August with the intention of updating the fast-food restaurant. Aesthetically, it does not align with Taco Bell’s current branding and it’s not conducive to traffic best practices.

It’s in what the county terms a “fast food park” with Taco Bell, McDonald’s, and Pupatella (which used to be a Pizza Hut) all sharing various exits and entrance points. To locals, that block was known as “McTacoHut.”

Concerns were brought up over the summer by the Reston Planning Commission about increased traffic and back-ups that an additional drive-thru lane might bring to that block in Reston.

The report and presentation provided to both the Planning Commission in September and the one made to the Board of Supervisors earlier this week looked to alleviate some of those concerns.

A formal traffic study was conducted that showed that Taco Bell currently contributes about a quarter of the traffic along that section of Roger Beacon Drive during the peak lunchtime rush. It’s estimated that a new modern building and a second drive-thru lane will lead to an increase of about 5% in traffic.

Summerwood is also in discussions with the McDonald’s next door, which shares a one-way drive aisle with Taco Bell, about making it two-ways which could help with traffic flow. Plus, increased signage is being planned which might assist motorists.

An additional drive-thru lane will decrease back-ups by increasing queue capacity to 19 cars, per the applicant.

“This is due to customers increasingly using the drive-thru instead of parking and entering the facility,” said Matt Roberts of Hirschler, on behalf of the applicant. “This is not a new phenomenon that was basically accelerated during the pandemic.”

About 79% of peak-hour transactions are currently happening through the existing, single-lane drive-thru, he also noted.

The new Taco Bell will also have 23 parking spots, “sufficient” bicycle parking, electric vehicle charging stations, LED silver certification, a rainwater garden, and a 12-seat outdoor cafe.

31% of the site will be open space as well, about double what’s required by the county.

With the project now approved by the county, FFXnow has reached out to Summerwood Corporation about a timeline in terms of demolition and construction but has yet to hear back as of publication.

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Comstock has acquired the land for the proposed Reston Midline redevelopment (via Fairfax County)

Reston Station is expanding near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.

Comstock Holding Co., the Reston-based developer behind the project, acquired roughly eight acres — the largest swath of undeveloped land — in the Midline development, according to a company release.

A pair of three-story office buildings will be demolished to make for the redevelopment of the site primarily fronting Wiehle Avenue. But Comstock is exploring other changes, including improving the development’s connectivity to the Metro plaza.

Located on the east side of Wiehle Avenue from Sunset Hill Road to the Dulles Toll Road, Midline is a 1.8-million-square-foot, mixed-use development with 1.2 million square feet of residential space, 250,000 square feet of office and 250,000 square feet of planned retail.

Comstock’s leasing team is already working with several potential retail anchors and plans to begin development next year.

“Our plans for the acquired portion of Midline include a mix of uses, including office, residential, and retail, to compliment the recently built townhome and multifamily sections of the community,” Comstock COO Timothy Steffan said. “This natural integration of additional surrounding areas into the Reston Station neighborhood will further enhance access to Reston’s only Metro Station and improve the neighborhood experience for all who live, work, and play in Reston.”

So far, the initial phases of the redevelopment plan include townhouses, condominiums and apartments. Roughly 30% of the project will be reserved as public open space.

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Fire crews are using the vacated building at Lake Anne in Reston for training purposes (courtesy Fellowship Square)

The demolition of the vacated Lake Anne Fellowship House is still several months away. 

In the interim, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department crews are using the vacated building — which previously housed more than 300 older adult residents — as a training location for local fire departments. 

The department has been using the building for aerial rescues using ladder truck and mannequins. 

 “Training in a real structure like this provides us with an amazing and very rare opportunity,” said Scott Kraut, fire captain at Firehouse 25, which is located 1820 Wiehle Avenue.

Kraut says the vacated building provides a rare opportunity for the firefighters to practice and use their skills in a residential high-rise.

The initiative began after the fire department submitted a proposal to use the building, according to a spokesperson for Lake Anne Fellowship House.

The affordable housing nonprofit Enterprise Community Development plans to redevelop the fellowship house after demolition takes place sometime next year.

Over the summer, residents of the fellowship house moved into a brand-new residence across the street, leaving behind the 1970s building that was one of the first high rises and the first affordable senior housing property in Reston.

The new Lake Anne House — located at 11444 North Shore Drive — is a $86 million project spearheaded by ECD and Fellowship Square Foundation. 

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The first and smallest pieces of a massive new neighborhood near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station are formally in the works.

At a Reston Planning and Zoning Committee earlier this month, Peter Lawrence Company and development partner MRP Realty said they plan to introduce a final development plan for mostly townhouses and stacked units at Isaac Newton Square.

The 32-acre project was approved in October 2019 for 2.8 million square of development, 2,100 residential units, 300 hotel rooms, office space and roughly 69,000 square feet of retail.

Since then, the project has been in-the-works, with the latest elements comprising only a small portion of the massive project. Townhouses oriented towards each other are planned on blocks W2, N1, and N3.

The Isaac Newton Square development plan (via Fairfax County)

 At the July 18 meeting, land use attorney Andrew Painter noted that the overall project could take decades to complete. 

The site is bounded by the Washington & Old Dominion Trail on the south, Hidden Creek Country Club on the west, and Wiehle Avenue on the east. The development team plans to work around the natural contours created by mature willow oak trees that have been on the property for more than 60 years.

“That has been absolutely critical to us because that is the significant element of this future neighborhood,” Painter said.

The county approved up to 175 multi-family units for the easternmost corner of the site. An assisted living facility was the initial idea, but Painter said the development team has dropped that concept in favor of just 24 stacked townhouses.

“The status of assisted living and continuing living care after the pandemic is not in a good place at all,” he said.

That block is the smallest in the overall development plan. The proposal for blocks W2, N1, and N3 is in line with what the county originally approved in 2019.

The developers plans to submit a final development plan for the first pieces of the community over the next few months.

“When push comes to shove, we just can’t build everything that we got approved for,” Painter noted, reflecting on the overall development.

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The county could ask a developer to pay $1.65 million to find a safer crossing at Wiehle Avenue (via Fairfax County)

A developer-proposed solution for a new crossing at Wiehle Avenue at the eastbound Dulles Toll Road ramps in Reston is officially off the table.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously yesterday (Tuesday) to consider a different proposal for the controversial crossing, which was the subject of vigorous debate during the approval of TF Cornerstone’s Campus Commons project.

Community concerns about the safety of an at-grade crossing led to the formation of a study group that identified several options for the crossing. Not one member of the group — which met 15 times between December 2019 and August 2021 — supported the developer’s suggested overpass options or an at-grade crosswalk. Most favored an alternative crossing through an underpass — which comes with a hefty price tag.

With a deadline looming to make a decision on the proffer, the board has officially decided to ditch the developer’s proposed options and explore what Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn says will be the most appropriate pedestrian crossing option.

Alcorn says a final decision on the crossing will come after the county completes a corridor study of Wiehle Avenue between Sunrise Valley Drive and the Washington & Old Dominion Trail. The study was approved in September of last year and will begin six months after phase two of the Silver Line opens.

Yesterday’s board matter formalizes language that the board will not support the developer’s proposed overpass options. The developer will either construct the crossing ultimately selected or provide $1.65 million as laid out in the proffers.

So far, the county has hinted at pursuing a “high visibility” at-grade crossing.

In his board matter, Alcorn said the proposal should “address documented concerns raised by the community…to ensure that this improvement is designed to be aesthetically pleasing, highly efficient, safe and accessible for all users.”

The Campus Commons matter was initially deferred last month for clerical changes and the refinement of legalese.

The vote comes nearly three years after the board approved the Campus Commons project, which will transform an aging office park at 1900 and 1902 Campus Common Drive into a 1.3 million-square-foot development.

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Fairfax County could ask a developer to pay $1.65 million to find a safer crossing at Wiehle Avenue in Reston (via Fairfax County)

The developer of a major mixed-use project near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station could have to pay $1.65 million to help fund a safer alternative to a pedestrian crossing at the intersection of Wiehle Avenue at the eastbound Dulles Toll Road ramps.

At a board meeting yesterday (Tuesday), Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn introduced a board matter that would require developer TF Cornerstone, the developer of Campus Commons, to pay the proffered funds to build an alternative crossing for the area.

The board deferred a vote on the matter to the board’s next meeting later this month so staff could determine whether there might be legal concerns posed by the county dabbling in the implementation of proffers for developers.

“This is very unusual,” Alcorn said. “Frankly, this is the implementation of a proffer approved before I was supervisor. It’s probably not a process I would want to do again.”

The move came after Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross expressed concerns about the county’s involvement with proffers.

“I just want to make sure that we’re within our lane here with this request,” Gross said.

Alcorn says an at-grade crossing of Wiehle Avenue should only be explored if the improvement “can be achieved through enhanced multimodal design that demonstrates acceptable operational conditions and incorporates pedestrian safety measures” that are in line with his office, the Virginia Department of Transportation, and the Fairfax County Department of Transportation.

The move comes nearly three years after the board approved TF Cornerstones’ plans for Campus Commons — a project that would transform an aging office park at 1900 and 1902 Campus Common Drive into a 1.3 million-square-foot development.

Resounding community concerns about safety at the proposed at-grade crossing prompted the formation of a study group that evaluated three proposed options for the site.

But virtually all members voted against the three options proposed by TF Cornerstones. Instead, 71% supported a crossing with an underpass — which comes with a hefty price tag — and 59% supported an enhanced at-grade pedestrian crosswalk with more multimodal improvements. The conclusion came after 15 meetings between December 2019 and August 2021.

With none of the options in the approved Campus Commons plan finding support, Alcorn’s board matter suggests that the developer instead give the county money to build an alternative that would be refined after study on the Wiehle Avenue corridor and in coordination with future designs and crossings at Wiehle.

The developer plans to build three buildings with 655 apartments, more than 520,000 square feet of office space, and a little over 28,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. A 24-story tower and two small towers are proposed.

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