News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Summer of Mauve: Reston Development Projects Already Under Consideration Would Add 1 Million Sq. Ft. of Office/Retail, Plus 3,600 Residential Units

If you prefer 100-plus-page zoning proposals to the latest bestseller as your beach read of choice, this is definitely going to be your summer. A whole host of projects that have been on the drawing board for years will be considered for green-lighting by county officials in the coming months. If all are approved, they will add a jaw-dropping 1-million-plus square feet of office and residential space, plus nearly 3,600 residential units, to our beloved beige community. So let's recap!

After demolishing a retail strip behind the Reston International Center, JBG is going forward with plans for the next phase of the Reston Heights Project. Already approved by the county, the plan includes 145,000 square feet of above-grade retail, 10,000 square feet of "below-grade retail" (for the Mole People), at least 230,000 square feet of office space and nearly 500 residential units. While the project was approved several years ago, the revised plan calls for "a new grocery and neighborhood retail into pedestrian friendly, urban-type streetscape with mid-rise residential above." It goes before the county's planning commission on Sept. 15.

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The Reston Spectrum proposal -- also approved by county officials in 2008 -- is also moving forward, with a public hearing before the county planning commission on July 21. The proposal is divided into three sections, which include more than 1,400 residential units, 255 hotel rooms, 172,000 square feet of office space, and more than 245,000 square feet of retail spread across a number of buildings ranging from 120 to 180 feet tall. It also would spell the likely demise of the Macaroni Grill, for which there are no words.

Boston Properties' proposal to build a "luxury rental" building on the last undeveloped parcel of Reston's fake downtown gritty urban core will go before the planning commission on June 16. The building, which would be built between St. Francis, Bluemont and Explorer Street and Town Square, will include 359 units and 29,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor, plus six stories of parking.

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Now that the 804-unit Fairway Apartments redevelopment proposal has cleared the Reston P&Z committee, the next step is a public hearing with the county planning commission on July 7.

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And last but certainly not least, the RPB&M, LLC plan to create one 520-unit residential building, a 170,000 square foot office building and 8,000 square feet of retail near the Wiehle Avenue Metro station on Sunset Hills Road is still awaiting the results of a traffic study before it advances through the public hearing process.

Using our fancy Fairfax County Public School math skills, we figure that this all adds up to nearly 575,000 square feet of office space, 3,600 residential units, and 437,000 square feet of retail (which ought to be enough to squeeze a Cheesecake Factory in somewhere). And that's just the existing proposals that are currently on the books. Change is coming, and faster than many people expected.


  1. There must be additional undeveloped lands in Reston that can be converted to mid office high rise and condo's. Any suggestions?

    Perhaps the baseball field north of Home Depot, and the soccer field south of North Point Shopping center.

    The concretization of Reston must continue.

  2. Undeveloped lands, schmoe?

    No, no. The county wants to redevelop the older townhouse clusters with high-rise apartment buildings. How do I know? I go to meetings. I listen. I read. Anybody could do it.

  3. That's the best you can do, Schmoe? There's a grand lump of dirt just to the east of those places called Brown's Chapel.

    BTW, if you really want to get the locals worked up into a royal lather, just mention putting in a Rec Center/Juicery/Roller Rink/Velodrome in that location.

  4. Good for the county! The "older townhouse clusters" would be known elsewhere as slums.

    Undesirable places that are ripe for redevelopment.

    We've seen this before, including in the place now known as "Reston" where many once-rural, peaceful, happy, keep-to-themselves property owners were systematically "renewed" into those now "older townhouse clusters." It's occurred over 1.5 generations, so many of us may not be aware of what once was no place other than Crippin's Corner and quaint places like that.

    And, of course, one need venture no farther away than Arlington to see a redevelopment job well done where wise elders buried the ugly subway and developed atop that buried subway line.

    Unfortunately, our elected short-sighted leaders have terribly mismanaged that opportunity in Fairfax County and are will be stuck with a hideous elevated eyesore for the ages.

    Hopefully, the fact that the elevated structure will be exposed to the elements will hasten its deterioration (and dysfunctional mess known as WMATA certainly will hasten its demise) and in due course it will be replaced with what ought to have been done the first time.

  5. Metro through Reston will be at ground level in the median of the Toll Road, like the Orange Line along I-66. No elevated track E of Tysons until you get to the airport, then no elevated track W of the airport again.


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