News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Storagepocalypse Now: County Approval of Sunset Hills Development Continues Planned Growth Around Wiehle Metro


The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors recently approved a long-proposed mixed-use development adjacent to the Reston Station development on Sunset Hills Drive, currently home to a mini-storage facility. Instead, we'll see a midrise residential building (pictured above in lifelike hi-def Xerox-Vision™) with up to 421 units, as well as the existing office building and up to 10,000 square feet of "support retail use" (translation: Cheesecake Factory).

Gone for now is the earlier proposal by RBP&M LLC, Section 913 LP, and Bozzuto Development to replace the existing 30,000-square foot office building that butts up against the Toll Road with one with up to 175,000 square feet of space. Although the current plans are to maintain the existing building, the Fairfax Supervisors rezoning approval does allow the "opportunity for the future intensification of office use as recommended in the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan. Section 913 LP looks forward to redeveloping this property with additional office space, possibly as part of a consolidation with one or more adjacent properties, at some time in the future," the developers said in their voluminous application materials.

In their filing, the developers say their plan will provide "an opportunity to help establish a grid of streets that will improve access to the Metro station and benefit not only the Wiehle Avenue Transit Station area, but also the larger Reston community." The residential focus right next to the Metro station, they add, will help meet the goals of encouraging mass transit use.

Of course, we love us the details of these planning documents, so here we go:

Here's the building itself. It's not quite a Texas donut, but it will have a swimming pool and two courtyards to break up the structure inside, as can be seen in this lovely 3-D rendering below:

Hey, it looks like it's smiling at us! Awesome.

Here's a rendering of the streetscape proposed for the property. We're reminded of the Champs Elysses, only with better retail.

And finally, no land use application would be complete without a schematic of how the trees will be planted and supported by a series of guy wires to protect them from the next derecho.

All in all, it looks like something that should be put next to a Metro station (as opposed to into an existing neighborhood a mile away from mass transit). But the supreme irony is that just as we're finally getting a merchant to help us with our storage needs, we're losing a facility where we can put all those burpable plastic containers, the end.


  1. From the air, the building looks like an emoji. OMG!

  2. Let's see. If my math is correct, 421 housing units should translate into approximately 750 additional cars on Reston's roads.

    It's going to suck trying to travel through that neck of the woo, concrete jungle.

  3. Can't the developers build these to be less of an eyesore? A large apartment building actually makes a lot of sense.

    Fewer and fewer people have the skills/time/tools to keep up with house maintenance. Labor costs in this area are high. Property costs are high.

    Mainstream new construction is absolutely atrocious when it comes to quality, forget aesthetics. (Toll Brothers and similar tract housing)

    HOA regulations and squabbles are nasty. This is at least partially reduced in an apartment complex (large building). Laundry drying on the balcony notwithstanding, there are just fewer opportunities for violations.

    Bing this morning had a image from this area: Belgiergasse 14, 8020 Graz, Austria. Apartment buildings that could probably qualify as mauvescrapers, but they don't look hideous, like 8215 Lee Hwy, Fairfax, VA. (Google Maps has a better visual)

    Obviously, there are differences in materials, but stamped concrete isn't terribly more expensive especially given project scale. It isn't altogether impossible to build high-density housing that isn't sterile soul-sucking crap.

  4. ;) = the new building.

    Maybe future developers will submit their land use applications solely through the use of emoticons.

  5. The word for the day is "pareidolia", or what others call "mars monkey-face".
    Google it.