The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a plan to build 60 condos on the grounds of the Bowman House during their April 3 meeting. The roughly 5-acre property is located at the intersection of Old Reston Avenue and the Washington and Old Dominion Trail. The house itself will remain, as will the existing 50,000 square foot office building and conference center.
In 2005, the supervisors approved a change to the county’s Comprehensive Plan which would allow residential use on the property.
The developer, Gregor, LLC, could already construct an additional 147,806 square feet of office space. Instead, the developer proposes to build the same total square footage, but as two residential buildings.
During the Planning Commission Meeting on March 29 Jane Gwinn, a representative of the developer, explained that the area surrounding the Bowman house is predominately condos. Therefore adding more condos is better in keeping with the character of the neighborhood. “It also allows better preservation of the Bowman House,” Gwinn said.
The house, which was built in 1895, will be converted into a six-room hotel, and may be used for classes and seminars. Until recently, the property was sometimes known as the Prison Fellowship property.
The new buildings will have a maximum height of 50 feet. Planning Commissioner Frank de la Fe (Hunter Mill) said that he was pleased that the application would actually help to preserve two historic properties. In addition to saving the Bowman house, the new buildings will be less obtrusive when viewed from Wiehle Mansion, protecting its “viewshed,” de la Fe said.
The condos are among the first of as many as 1,400 that developers want to build in the central Reston area in the next few months.