Reston Association's Design Review Board unanimously approved in concept the plans for more mixed-use development at Reston Heights.
Plans to add retail, residential, office and parking to the parcel near the Reston International Center have been in the works for years. The first part of the plan - which included the Westin Reston Heights, the Mercer Condominium and office buildings - was completed in the last several years.
The next phase will include 145,000 square feet of above-grade retail, 100,00 square feet of below-grade retail, 428,225 square feet of office and 498 residential units.
The new phase will potentially have a new grocery and neighborhood retail space and will be a pedestrian friendly, urban-type streetscape with mid-rise residential above, say JBG Companies, the project developers.
The revised application will go before the Fairfax County Planning Commission April 4. It then needs to go to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for final approval.
Some of the highlights of the design proposal from Cunningham Quill Architects and Olin, a landscape architecture firm, were presented to the DRB Tuesday:
* A design that "engages with the landscape," particularly in its site across from open space at Reston National Golf Course.
* Connection with the Wiehle Reston-East Metro Station (opening in late 2013) and the future Reston Parkway Metro Station through a bike/foot path. Reston Heights is about one mile from the Wiehle Station.
* Larger buildings closer to the tallest building - the Reston International Center - with step-down appearance farther away from that building.
* Several six-story buildings and a retail plaza.
* Public art type screening elements on parking garage facades.
* Thought and attention put into all facades, so the "back" of the development, visible on Reston Parkway, still has visual appeal.
* Buildings that are harmonious to the surrounding landscape with areas for social interaction. Ideas for that include open space with smaller, intimate seating areas and outdoor seating on a safe promenade.
"The landscape is the unifying element," Olin representatives said. "We want this to be a social element. The landscape and the buildings need to work together seamlessly.
"This is not an isolated island. This is a model for development that is coming in relation to the Metro. It could be a showcase for future development."
* Four features - primary space retail plaza with restaurants, outdoor seating and a water feature; a walkable development and balance of cars to people; the ability ability to the control plaza in way that shows a lot of flexibility in being able to block off and activate social element of space; and private residential plazas with a variety of areas and experiences.
* Lots of trees planted in an urban pattern, with soil embedded in interesting screening or other features.
* Entrances off of Sunrise Valley Drive, as well as Reston Parkway.
Also, the existing Popeye's restuarant will stay, according to the current plan.
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