Comstock Moving Forward With New Hotel, Condos And Office Buildings At Reston Station
After bringing major office tenants to three buildings at its Reston Station development, Comstock Partners is using the proceeds from a refinancing deal to kick off the next phases of its mixed-use community.
The most immediate result will be a new high-rise across Reston Station Boulevard from the office complex, which is planned to include a 250-room J.W. Marriott hotel and approximately 90 condos. The developer also has two additional office buildings planned next to the Marriott totaling 525K SF. That phase, branded as Reston Row, began construction last year and will begin delivering in 2024.
"We can really start to build a city, to build nodes and blocks and districts,” Comstock Executive Vice President of Asset Management, Leasing and Development Tim Steffan told Bisnow Friday.
Steffan spoke to Bisnow in Comstock's headquarters on the 10th floor of 1900 Reston Metro Plaza, the first office building that delivered at Reston Station. It was designed by Helmut Jahn, the renowned architect who died in May. Steffan said the company now has roughly $2B actively in development across its portfolio.
"That's not just like, 'Well we like that land and we think we'll develop,'" Steffan said. "No, we really have that [$2B] going on."
Comstock still controls over 60 acres available for development on both sides of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, with plans for 2.5M SF to 3M SF of office space and up to 17,500 multifamily units by the time development in the area is complete.
The deal came after Comstock landed several major tenants for the three office buildings it has delivered at Reston Station. It signed Google in 2019 to anchor the first building. It landed Neustar to anchor the second 180K SF building, and it brought in ICF International to lease the entire 250K SF third building.
"The brokerage community thought we were taking a big risk with this, but we thought there was more demand for product than what Reston Town Center alone could provide," Comstock CEO Chris Clemente said.
The refinancing deal has allowed Comstock to roll cash from its completed buildings into the next stages of development in a "domino effect" that the company expects to keep moving on both sides of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, Steffan said.
The condo portion of the next phase will join several other projects in the area, including Comstock's 448-unit BLVD and The Townhomes at Reston Station by EYA, which will bring additional multifamily density.
Clemente said the developer is the only one in the D.C. region to own the property available for redevelopment on both sides of a Metro station.
He said when he first began developing a vision for the area following a request for proposals from Fairfax County, Clemente envisioned a much more modest plan for office space to replace parking lots near the eventual Metro station. Then he met with Bob Simon, Reston's founder and master planner.
"In his polite kind of way he said, 'You can do much better,'" Clemente said.
Comstock's vision for the area now includes additional office and residential on both sides of the station and the Dulles Toll Road. After the second phase, Comstock is planning another 450K SF office building directly across the Dulles Toll Road from 1900 Reston Metro Plaza that will mirror the Helmut Jahn-designed building. Comstock expects its companion will deliver in late 2025 or early 2026.
Comstock also purchased JBG Smith's Commerce Metro Center Portfolio in 2019, which included three office buildings and parking lots available for redevelopment that totaled 408K SF of Class-A offices and 1.1M SF of additional entitlements.
Clemente expects at least two new buildings will go up in the parking lots, and the existing offices may get redeveloped as the area continues to evolve.
Beyond the high-rises, Clemente and Steffan say they also remain focused on enhancing the pedestrian experience. Before the pandemic, Reston Station had more than 100 buses routed through its garage daily, bringing with them approximately 15,000 people that crossed the plaza each day.
The leaders said office workers are already returning to the development. What's more, they are seeing design for the spaces that are currently under development shift to accommodate evolving health standards, including higher cubicle walls and more walled-off offices.
Steffan said he is already expecting a business improvement district will form in the area as additional density is completed to help streamline the pedestrian experience for the space. Current plans for the site anticipate 100K to 120K SF of retail space by the time construction is complete.
The steady stream of government workers and contractors that still rely on the Metro to get to work have helped buoy Reston Station during the pandemic, and Steffan said he expects more business will come as new buildings come online and the world returns to working in person.
"I don't see this work from home four or five days a week, it can't possibly last. At some point, you're going to have a CEO or a decision-maker who can't make a decision or makes the wrong decision because he or she wasn't able to talk to the disciplines they needed to talk to and they're going to get fed up," Steffan said. "I mean it's human nature. So I just think it is going to run its course."