The plans for a 23-story mixed-use tower at 1760 Reston Parkway are being met with resistance and criticism from local groups committed to planning principles and smart growth for Reston.
RTC Partnership's mixed-use project - projected to have 413,700 square feet of office and about 5,200 square feet retail use (Floor Area Ratio of 4.08) - is scheduled to go before the Fairfax County Planning Commission on March 14.
The building has already been approved by the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee. If constructed, the building will be taller than any current building at Reston Town Center. The present building, at the corner of Bowman Towne Drive by the Spectrum shopping center, is five stories high.
Members of the Reston Citizens Association's Reston2020 advocacy group say that the Town Center Office Building proposal "violates many of the Planning Principles adopted by the Reston Master Planning Task Force on 15 March 2011."
"It is the wrong building in the wrong place," Reston2020 says on its website. "This proposal places a 23-story office building in the midst of the proposed Lerner Spectrum development. The Spectrum plan, which calls for a mixed use community, embodies many of the Task Force’s principles.
Reston 2020 says a building of this density should not be located far from the future Reston Parkway Metro station, which will be more than a half mile away.
"The proposed building would be one of the highest in Town Center, containing over 1,500 office workers in a 4.05 FAR development. Yet it is over one-half mile from the future Town Center station. The Planning Principles say that the 'highest densities will be within approximately one-quarter mile' from the future stations. The principles also indicate development will be stepped down from the immediate station area."
"The pending application, which would locate an approximately 2,000-worker job center beyond a half mile from the Town Center Metro Station - defies Transit Oriented Development," ARCH members said in remarks to the Reston Planning & Zoning Committee.
ARCH urges developers and the planning committee to consider current office vacancy rates in Reston.
"We are very concerned that citing a major employment center more than a half-mile from the transit center will siphon office demand away from the immediate transit center," ARCH members said.
ARCH also points out that anything that impairs the ability to redevelop areas closest to the Metro stations will increse traffic and could depress Metro ridership, which in turn would pass off increased costs to taxpayers.
Both Reston2020 and ARCH recommend that the proposal be amended to be in keeping with Reston's planning principles.
However, Richard Wealen, managing partner of RTC Partnership, says the features of the tower - a contemporary design by Reston's Polleo Group - will make it a desirable location, despite nearby office vacancy rates.
Plans for the building include five floors of retail and parking and 18 stories of offices above that.
There are plans for an outdoor 38,000-square-foot terrace and green roof on the sixth floor. Developers hope to also build outdoor seating from a restaurant on that floor.
The proposal has been given conceptual approval from Reston Association's Design Review Board.