Spectrum Might Not Take Shape For Many Years

Lerner says it has no immediate plans to begin redevelopment of large parcel near Reston Town Center.

While plans for a massive redevelopment at Reston Spectrum were approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors earlier this month, it could take years - even decades - before the Spectrum morphs into the mixed-use development that planners envision.

Lerner Enterprises, the owner of the shopping center that runs from New Dominion to Baron Cameron along Reston Parkway, is offering no timetable for redevelopment. The company says it is excited about the future, but has no immediate plans to begin building.

“Lerner is pleased that the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors recently approved the redevelopment plans for The Spectrum at Reston Town Center," the statement reads. "The longterm vision is to redevelop the current shopping center into a vibrant mixed-use. transit-oriented town center."

"While we are excited about the future, we have no immediate plans to begin and invite the community to continue to enjoy our great mix retailers and restaurants available at The Spectrum.” 

A commerical real estate source with ties to Reston development says longterm leases of the current Spectrum tenants will have to run their course before any real changes will occur.

The source, who asked his name not be used because he is not authorized to speak for Lerner, said most stores are somewhere in a 10-year lease.

likely signed a 10-year lease. The source says even that lease will have to expire before that portion of the Spectrum is redeveloped.

"Then new plans call for 12 to 15 buildings," he said. "I think you will see things go up piece-by-piece if the vacancies line up. You might see that [beginning] within about five years."

The free-standing buildings such as The Macaroni Grill or On The Border might be the first areas to be redeveloped because they are single tenants, he said.

The future 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.

The Spectrum is located just over a half-mile from the planned Reston Parkway Silver Line Metrorail Station, making it a proper place for transit-oriented development, said Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins. That station won't be built for at least five more years, though.

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

Eventually, the look of the shopping center will change dramatically from a strip-mall center to a grand plaza. Buildings will be oriented away from Reston Parkway and New Dominion Drive and instead toward a widened Fountain Drive, giving the area a Reston Town Center-like feel for several more blocks outside of today's Town Center boundaries.

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


More on the Spectrum:

Supervisors Apprive Spectrum Redevelopment



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Phil Lilienthal February 03, 2013 at 07:04 AM
Is there a limit on how long a developer can wait before starting on an approved development plan?
John Farrell February 03, 2013 at 11:49 AM
Terry Maynard February 03, 2013 at 02:50 PM
John's two-letter response is correct: In this "Dillon Rule" state--a rule that puts property rights above just about all others (after all, this is Virginia where property is everything, community is nothing)--once a development right has been conferred through a re-zoning, there is virtually nothing anyone can do to take it or even parts of it away. The Whelan re-development project (Town Center Office Building) is an excellent example of a grossly over-authorized re-zoning (both in density and limited mix of uses) granted decades ago that is totally inconsistent with the ongoing planning for Reston Town Center as a transit-oriented development (TOD) area.
Jim Hubbard February 03, 2013 at 09:37 PM
What if we gave a party and no one came? Fairfax County's political leadership is counting on new construction along the Silver Line and Route 28 to expand the tax base and allow continuation of low taxes. This has been the County's goal for at least the past ten years. A recent discussion of the County budget included the comment that financial pressures would be less in 2016/17 when new revenues started to flow from the Silver Line-based development. But what if little or no development takes place? Vacancy rates in commercial space are high now. It's not clear how much demand exists for condos. The Federal government and defense contractors seem to be facing reduced spending. What if more landowners/builders follow the Lerners' example?
Michael February 04, 2013 at 02:25 AM
There's a ton of "affordable housing" in Falls Church, Annandale, and Mt. Vernon corridor areas of the county... any actual facts/numbers to back up your assertion that we have more than anywhere else?


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