Supervisors Approve Spectrum Redevelopment

Vision for area from New Dominion to Baron Cameron is high-density, mixed-use Reston urban core.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved the plans for redevelopment of Reston's Spectrum Center, ensuring that the Reston of the future will have Reston Town Center-like development from the Dulles Toll Road (and future Metrorail station) to Baron Cameron Avenue.

"This plan coming in gives the community a picture of what the Town Center core will be and subsequent development that will take place," Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said at the BOS public hearing.  

The plan for the Spectrum includes 774,879 square feet of non-residential use; 1,422 multifamily residential units (with 12 percent set aside for affordable housing) in seven new residential buildings; 38 percent open space; underground and structure parking; LEED certifications; two new east-west streets and expanded bike trails and pedestrian access.

The development will be divided this way:

Land Bay A (where Best Buy and the soon-to-be closed Barnes & Noble are located) is planned for 546 dwelling units, 255 hotel rooms, 172,000 square feet of office, and 62,500 square feet of retail uses.

Land Bay B (where PetSmart and On the Border are located) is planned for 643 dwelling units, 270 hotel rooms, and 48,650 square feet of retail uses.

Land Bay C (where Harris Teeter is located) is planned for 237 residential units and 134,896 square feet of retail and bank uses. Only Harris Teeter will remain - and expand into the current Office Depot space - in the redevelopment.

Additionally, Land Bay B will wrap around the planned 23-story office tower at Bowman Towne Drive and Reston Parkway. That building, which will contain retail and 18 stories of offices, was approved by the supervisors in September.

There were no citizen speakers in the public comment period, but land use attorney Mark Looney, representing Spectrum owner Lerner Enterprises, offered some history of the parcel.

The land was rezoned as part of the Reston Town Center commercial district in the 1980s. When it opened as a strip-mall retail in the mid-1990s, it actually was underdeveloped, said Looney.

"It was underdevelopment in respect to the property zoning," said Looney. "Reston Town Center was intended to be a grand downtown. This was developed in transition [due to the economy of the early 1990s]. In the interim, it be came a big box-development."

The redevelopment of the Spectrum has been in the works for years, but the timing was not right to move forward until now, said Looney. Additionally, the first Metro Silver Line station is slated to open at Wiehle Avenue in December 2013 and the Reston Parkway Station is scheduled to open in about six years.

The Spectrum is located just over a half-mile from the planned Reston Parkway Station, making it a proper place for transit-oriented development, Hudgins said.

The application was reactivated last year, and was recommended for approval by the county planning commission in November.

Looney said the redevelopment is "the vision for what the property was always intended to be," adding that many buildings will be oriented toward Fountain Drive -  which will become a central boulevard lined with shops and outdoor cafes - rather than oriented towards parking lots.

To see the entire staff report on the Spectrum, click here.


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Ray Wedell January 15, 2013 at 02:50 PM
Virginia Harlow January 15, 2013 at 03:14 PM
Avoid RTC??? Many people are already avoiding downtown. Personally, I shop almost anywhere but. The annoyance of highrise parking now is enough to keep me away. What till it costs money, too! The metro is very likely going to take local folks into the DC or Tysons areas, and when will it bring the same amount of people back? From what I've read by democratsagainstunagenda21.com it seems that the development dollars are likely to come from state or local "redevelopment" funds with agreements that the develops don't have to pay taxes for 10 years, or something like that. So, the developers get rich on the local folk. It's all local, folks. I don't object to a bit of sane development but only when the developers can actually profit and pay taxes. This plan is HUGE. Not little by little as needed at all. The toll on the toll road has gone up again. In what way, and how much more will taxpayers be hit for all this? I'm sure it will cost us all, while some profit. While we spandex ourselves, helmet up, and pump, pump up and down and eat tofu. Yucht. The future doesn't look so good to me. Glad I'm old already.
Terry Maynard January 15, 2013 at 03:15 PM
Let me suggest that those of you interested in Restonians' future mobility take a look at the comprehensive report put together by RCA's Reston 2020 Transportation Work Group nearly three years ago for the Reston TF. In short, it highlights the need for all kinds of transportation improvements--roads and parking, bus transit, bicycling, & pedestrian--to keep Reston a livable place. And, sorry folks, there is no one "silver bullet" solution; it will take all of them. The 53-page report is available here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/32716465/Reston-Transportation-Meeting-the-Needs-of-a-21st-Century-Planned-Community-Transportation-Work-Group-RCA-Reston-2020-Committee-June-1-2010
BBurns January 15, 2013 at 03:29 PM
If alone, I also avoid RTC and generally head to Dulles Town Center. Easy parking. With a semi-bad knee, and dislike of parking garages, it's no contest. Our superivisor won't fight for Reston as a planned community. It's treated like Any Suburbs, VA. And that's a crime. We moved from Bethesda to Reston partly because of the beyond insane traffic. Right now Reston is magnificent compared to Bethesda - even at the worst intersections. But with Fairfax County powers that be at the helm, Reston will catch up.
Lisa Roberts January 15, 2013 at 09:00 PM
During the week on my day off I use to go to the Reston Town Center to shop. Now I avoid the RTC during the week. The parking stinks now. I got tired of driving around looking for parking. The only parking left is in one of the garages on the very top level and that is almost full. I just go to Dulles Town Center or Tysons. Always plenty of parking. However with the developers eating up all the space in Tysons the parking will probably go to.


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