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{Funnelist Market Watch} Success Drivers in the DC Suburbs

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From The Mosaic at Merrifield to One Loudoun in the Route 7 Corridor, mixed-use community center developments are springing up all across Northern Virginia, but what started this trend? The performance of The Reston Town Center could be one answer.  In this issue, we further examine how the Dulles Toll Road office park became a regional and national success.

Phase One of Reston Town Center opened in 1990 and subsequently won 23 regional and national awards for quality in design, construction and operation. The development included two 11-story Class A office towers that incorporated shops, restaurants and a movie theater, plus the 519-room Hyatt Regency Hotel. In 1997, Phase Two was built in the same award-winning style as Phase One. Build-out of the urban core of Reston Town Center approached completion in the mid-2000’s with additional developers, high-profile tenants in office towers and more retail complementing upscale residential townhouses, condos and apartments.

Reston Town Center combines elements of the ideal downtown to create a pedestrian friendly, mixed-use community. This high-density development contains office, retail and residential space and operates as a major regional commerce hub for Northern Virginia. Reston Town Center’s Pavilion hosts special events, concerts and festivals throughout the year as well as ice-skating in winter, making this the focal point of the community and Northern Virginia’s downtown.

Today, Reston Town Center (RTC) continues to be a stronghold among suburban markets nationwide.  With a majority of the office product built after 2000 and countless amenities, RTC has the lowest vacancy rate of any minimarket in Northern Virginia at 2.9% (Northern Virginia at 17.7% overall).  As of the first quarter of 2014, only 3,600 square feet (sf) of prime space remained vacant in an office community center of 2.5 million square feet (msf).   RTC’s impressive demand is a byproduct of the live/work/play environment that it has created.  RTC was designed as a community gathering place and it now offers over 50 retail shops, 30 restaurants, a multi-screen cinema, and 1,584 existing apartment units.  The amenity-rich community has attracted top tenants such as Google, Leidos, Verisign, Rolls Royce and ComScore.  Elsewhere along the Dulles Toll Road Corridor, rents have remained mostly flat in the $28 range; however, RTC’s surging demand has enabled the center to push rents.  In 2013 and 2014, RTC achieved average rents of $44.81 per square foot.  RTC shows no signs of slowing down either.  The addition of Washington, D.C.’s mass transit system – the Silver Line – by 2018 and the potential for future high quality, highly amenitized development will continue to attract the region’s best and brightest workforce to the Reston Town Center.


By: Nathan Edwards

Director of Research, Cassidy Turley - Washington, D.C.

Contributor: CJ Hardy, Northern Virginia Research Analyst, Cassidy Turley

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