35-Acre Mixed-Use Community Receives First LEED-ND Silver Designation in Va.

By Erika Schnitzer, Associate EditorReston, Va.—JBG Companies, a real estate investor, owner and developer in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, has achieved LEED-ND (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development) Silver certification for its Reston Heights, a 35-acre, mixed-use, transit-oriented development and the first in Virginia to achieve this designation.“The focus of the project is that it is a transit-oriented development, which we regard to be a model of Smart Growth,” notes John Schlichting, executive development officer, JBG Cos. Two new metro stations are being built in close proximity to the community, and the first station has recently received news that it will be fully funded by state and local taxes.“The proximity to the metro is critical, its pedestrian-orientation is critical, and we will be looking at the most advanced energy-efficient mechanical systems,” Schlichting tells MHN.In addition, with this certification, every new building at Reston Heights—which is being planned by New York-based architecture firm Cooper, Robertson and Partners—is expected to be certified LEED Silver. With its green operations, and cleaning, organic landscaping and maintenance programs, the community employs comprehensive waste management and recycling programs and reduces water usage by 30 percent. The community will include green roofs on the majority of its buildings, and parklands will be located atop parking garages, Schlichting says.At build out, which is slated for 2015, the entire community, which was previously a combination of parking lots, a hotel and low-density office space, is expected to include 19 buildings that will be comprised of 700 residential units in at least five multifamily buildings—12.5 percent of which will be reserved for workforce housing—350,000 sq. ft. of retail space, 2 million sq. ft. of office space and two hotels.The first new phase of the community, Reston Square, is comprised of the sold-out 200-unit Mercer Condominium, a 140,000-sq.-ft. Class A office building and a 175-key Westin hotel.  The first buildings, which include a hotel and an 18-story office tower, were built in the early-1970s.The Mercer, which offers one- and two-bedroom homes at an average of 1,000 sq. ft., features a clubroom, media room, fitness center, outdoor pool and a business center with library, as well as package-receiving and dry cleaning and valet services.As to how the economy is affecting the project’s construction schedule and budget, Schlichting admits, “We’ve slowed down, but we are being conservative. We are being bullish and optimistic about the future,” especially with the news about the metro’s funding.Financing for the estimated $1.8 billion project is being made available through construction loans, permanent financing from pension funds and equity from JBG equity funds.