Monday, November 12, 2018

Reston Will Become More Urbanized along Sunrise Valley Drive

By Kevin Burke

In the previous edition of Ripples, we metaphorically strolled down Sunrise Valley Drive from Reston Parkway to Wiehle Avenue to check out the four residential and mixed-use developments that are underway. Since these are mostly residential buildings in an area originally envisioned as office and light industrial, there will be real impacts on government services (like schools, police, and transportation), property values, and the traffic patterns we all must navigate.

These four developments are miniscule, however, compared to the two major development projects at either end of this section of Sunrise Valley Drive. And to attempt to accommodate the growing traffic pressures, there is in the offing a major road project as well. To understand the changes that could most immediately affect Lakeport Cluster residents, we should return to our stroll along Sunrise Valley by beginning where we started last time:  at the corner of Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive. But this time we’ll begin on the western side of Reston Parkway.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has focused population density increases on developments along the Dulles Access Roads, around the Reston Town Center and in the village centers, like South Lakes Village Center. To take advantage of this increased density, developers have proposed several large urban-like developments on the north side of the Dulles Access Roads, including the following:

  • Reston Gateway’s nine new buildings (three residential, two hotels, and four mixed-use office buildings) between the upcoming Reston Town Center Metro station and the W & OD Trail
  • Renaissance Centro’s 20-story condominium building, with about 120 units at 1801 Old Reston Avenue across the street from Reston Town Center, to replace the current 3-story office building.
  • A 2,100-unit residential and retail community to replace the office park at Isaac Newton Square just north of the Reston fire station on Wiehle Avenue.
  • Reston Station Promenade, which will replace two-story medical buildings, a Bank of America branch office, and some office condos at the corner of Sunset Hills Drive and Wiehle Avenue; this project will include four new high-rise buildings  (a 23-story hotel, a 14-story office building, and two residential towers).
  • 1906 Reston Metro Plaza building, under construction next to the Wiehle Avenue/Reston East Metro station, which will be a 15-story office building.

Although the urban-style development on the south side of the Dulles Corridor is not at the same scale or pace as that which is occurring north of the Access Roads, it will be picking up soon.

1. Reston Crescent and Reston Crossing
Starting our review once again at Sunrise Valley Drive and Reston Parkway, a large re-development, called Reston Crescent, is about to begin. Of course, it is designed to take advantage of the upcoming Reston Town Center Metro Station by adding both commercial and residential high-rises and mixed use buildings on land behind the two current six-story office buildings next to Sunrise Valley Drive. The plan is add six new buildings, including a 20-story tower that will incorporate a 200-room hotel, two 32-story office buildings close to the Metro station, and three mid-rise residential buildings. To accommodate these buildings, the developers will create an urban street grid that will have roads wide enough for car, bike, and pedestrian traffic. A third south-bound lane will be added to Reston Parkway to ease congestion caused by the development, which will have a Wegman’s grocery store. When finished, the Reston Crescent will add 1,721 residential units and 380,000 square feet of retail space. The developer will dedicate 8.5 acres of open space for parks, including the two current storm-water management ponds.

A different developer owns another14-acre site with two office buildings between the Reston Crescent and the Dulles Access Roads. The plan is to create a 1.9-million square foot mixed-used community called Reston Crossing. The current design for this site would have six new towers, three of which would be residential, built around a central park.

2. Extension of Soapstone Drive
Traveling east on Sunrise Valley Drive, we come to an important road project that should begin in a few years: a half-mile extension of Soapstone Drive from Sunrise Valley Drive to Sunset Hills Drive. This project will include a new bridge across the Dulles Access Roads and a new intersection at Sunset Hills Drive, where it terminates. The road will have three lanes (with one lane in each direction and a middle lane dedicated to left-turn-only traffic), a bicycle lane in each direction, and a pedestrian sidewalk on the west side and a “shared-use path” on the east side. Construction is slated for 2023, and the total cost is nearly $170 million.

3. Metro Commerce Center
Going past Soapstone Drive, Sunrise Valley Drive takes us to the Reston Commerce Center office park. This property, at the south entrance of the Wiehle Avenue Metro station, includes three six-story office buildings and a parking garage. But being adjacent to the Metro station entrance suggests the site will be extensively redeveloped. The owner plans to keep the current buildings but will demolish the surface parking area to provide room for three new high-rise buildings: a 24-story apartment building, a 22-story office building, and a 14-story hotel. The plan includes five pocket parks and a civic plaza. Redevelop-ment will add a seven-story apartment building at the corner of Wiehle Avenue and Sunrise Valley Drive.

These plans are subject to change, but it is clear that Reston’s urbanized corridor will include the southern half.

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