News and notes from Reston (tm).

Monday, July 9, 2018

Flashback Monday: 10 Percent Down! (Appropriate Capitalization Extra)

Set the controls of the Earth-Toned Wayback Machine to the late 1960s, when this “news paper” ad encouraged people to take “any route to Tyson’s Corner” and then a very specific route to Reston to look at townhouses “with such large, spacious rooms that you won’t believe their size until you get inside.”

For $31,300, early would-be Restonians could live in Golf Course Island, surrounded by what was then called Reston’s North Golf Course, and enjoy a “dramatic sunken living room” (naturally). But why would anyone want to put a shocking 10 PERCENT DOWN ($3,130, which works out to 6,875,973 bitcoin in today’s dollars)? The answer is simple — plastics return on investment!

Well, that held true for close to five decades at least.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Once Again, Reston Goes Viral on Video, Once Again For All The Wrong Reasons

Man oh man, we love us some viral videos, and for the second year running, Reston doesn't disappoint. Unfortunately, for the second year running, it's not exactly a good viral video that's put our plastic fantastic planned community on the map yet again:

To be fair, the person in the video hasn't worked for the Reston Association for several years, the organization said in a statement posted on its home page. And until we build the Big Beautiful Earth-Toned Wall to keep undesirables from, say, shopping at Trader Joe's, we can't take responsibility for every bit of unpleasantness that happens in our community. But come on, folks! Doesn't anyone who lives in Reston have a video of a cat or dog who Thinks They're People?

Friday, June 29, 2018

What Do They Know That We Don't? Strap On Your Mauve Colored Tinfoil Hat

Earlier this month, construction began on the second, now shockingly rectilinear, office tower at Reston Station. It's unusual for buildings of this size to be constructed on spec (the mauvescraper that may someday be Reston's tallest has been approved for years but is awaiting a "trophy" tenant before breaking ground). Comstock may have been betting the first Reston Station parallelogram that has sat mostly vacant since it was completed was a shoe-in for Nestle's U.S. headquarters (which instead chose Urban Hellhole Reston Is Destined To Become Minus the Proximity to DC Arlington), but now they're going forward with a second massive building, estimated at $95 million, with no signed tenants?

Give us some good blockquote, paywalled BFFs at the Washington Business Journal:

[Comstock CEO and founder Christopher] Clemente admitted to being a little "crazy" to start the second building but was confident there will be strong demand once it is complete, due largely to the facility's location near Metro.

"There is no office building on the Silver Line that is closer to Metro than the one we are about to start," Clemente told me in an interview. "We're doing it based on demand we see in the market and the activity we see in the [Dulles] Toll Road corridor."

He noted that it will take some time to build the parking structure under the new building, giving the developer roughly a year before it must commit to vertical construction of the office building.

Okay, makes sense. But what to make of this TOTALLY UNRELATED STORY about the renovation of the Westin hotel across the Toll Road at Reston Heights?
Noble principal Ben Brunt said the acquisition was motivated by substantial growth and corporate relocations planned in Reston. (emphasis ours)
For some unknown reason, we're visualizing a fruit of some sort floating down a South American river, but maybe that's the long-expired sexist bread from the long-gone grocery store we ate last night talking.

So maybe not. Probably not. But... maybe?

Looking even further ahead, Comstock said it expects to begin construction next year on the third office building: a 250,000-square-foot tower called 1902 Reston Metro Plaza. The total price tag for that project is $125 million.

Now that we've entered tinfoil hat territory, let's check out another totally crazy conspiracy theory, which began with the "road to nowhere" across the never-to-be-redeveloped even though it was purchased by developers Hidden Creek Golf Course that the county refuses to delete from its maps. Now, our BFFs at Coalition for a Planned Reston point out, there's something else afoot:

The Road from Nowhere was slipped in to the Comprehensive Plan surreptitiously, and now we have learned that the County has been planning for years to take over a portion of the fourth hole of the course for a 1 to 4-acre storm water d retention “pond."
Nothing to see here, kids. Just an additional water feature to add a little challenge for those hordes of up-and-coming millennial golfers!

County officials planning for a golf course-free future while publicly professing the intent to keep it open space? Now that's crazy, the end.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Always Pick B! Reston: The Multiple Choice Test

Well, Reston Town Center was on the tevee this morning, as the Action McNews Team On Your Side Working For You did what those of us in the media "biz" call a "live shot" in our ersatz downtown. It was all v. v. exciting, especially when they had Congressman Gerry Connolly answer a quiz of Fun Facts about our plastic fantastic planned community.

Our usual plan of picking B on any multiple choice test, which got us into one of the Caribbean's most prestigious correspondence medical schools, didn't exactly pan out as we were playing along. But wouldn't it have been great if Reston had been discovered by Giovanni Restonazzo? Judging by modern Italian architecture, our brutalist masterpieces would have looked exactly the same.

All in all, it was great teevee fun and the best viral bit of marketing on the part of RTC since this great stunt, though we would have enjoyed watching the Action McNews Team On Your Side Working For You trying to figure out the simple-to-use ParkRTC app live on the air before the Action McNews Team On Your Side Working For You van got clamped with a highly telegenic bumblebee, the end.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

More Than A Half-Century Later, Ultimate Vision of Reston Accomplished: Apartments Over Wegmans

Live. Work. Play. Consume Reasonably Priced Pre-Packaged Meals. At long last, the Reston ideal may soon become a reality.

Ever since we heard the news that exurbanite nirvana Wegmans was eying a Reston location last year, we've been on pins and needles. Now we've seen our first CGI-rendered glimpses of our future grocery nirvana, and all we can say is suck it, Loudoun! We won't have to get into our fancypants crossovers and traverse an endless maze of windy cul-de-sacs full of particleboard homes and dubious parks connected by deserted "walking paths" to get to Wegmans, because we'll be living directly above it! Who knows, maybe for a nominal fee they'll offer the apartment complex residents this special amenity:

Let's take a closer look:

Sure, it's your typical off-the-shelf massing of a midrise mixed-use apartment complex, but we've already seen far, far worse on the same stretch of Sunrise Valley Drive. Give us some exciting blockquote, BFFs at the Washington Business Journal:

Brookfield Properties' 4 million-square-foot redevelopment of the 36-acre Reston Crescent site, a short walk to the future Reston Town Center Metro station, is expected to house the community’s first Wegmans.

Now we know what that building will look like.

Brookfield has submitted two applications to Fairfax County. One is a conceptual development plan for the entire site, and the other is a final development plan for the first new building there, featuring the urban-format Wegmans topped by 380 apartments. That building, to include a screened garage with more than 1,000 parking spaces, will front Reston Parkway, just south of the Dulles Toll Road. The architects are MV&A and Alexandria-based LandDesign.

As currently envisioned, Reston Crescent will total 4.16 million square feet of mixed-use, including the two six-story office buildings there now. Those two buildings, constructed in 2000 and 2007, will remain.

The property’s existing surface parking and open space will be developed over time with about 3.77 million square feet of new construction, to include up to 1,721 residential units, 1.5 million square feet of office, 380,000 square feet of retail and a 200-key hotel. The overall project will offer at least a half dozen park spaces — a dog park, fitness area, neighborhood park, Gateway Plaza and others.

More than 4.16 million square feet (okay, maybe 4.1599999999 million square feet if you don't count the dog park) of mixed-use goodness? What exactly will that look like?

That's... a little dense. But never fear, silly rabbits, because they have, as they say in the movies, a plan:

Brookfield has agreed to expand Reston Parkway along the Reston Crescent frontage to three lanes southbound, largely to mitigate the anticipated Wegmans traffic.
Judging by traffic today at the Sunrise Valley-Reston Parkway intersection, they might be better suited putting in a helipad.

Of course, none of this will come easy, or right away. Wegmansvana will be part of Phase 2 of the project. What does Phase 1 look like, you might ask?

Mmm, endless seas of surface parking. Woonerfy!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Flashback Monday: Restonian, The Magazine, Not Restonian, The Web Log

Set the controls of the Earth-Toned Wayback Machine to 1968, when the "Internet" was actually printed on, whazzitcalled, "paper" and "mailed" (kind of like Amazon Prime, only without two-day delivery of vital goods like fidget spinners) to people. That's when the still-new New Town of Reston would get its first fancy "magazine," which has a... somewhat familiar name. Check out this fancy ad from a 1968 "news paper," whatever that was, courtesy of Confidential Restonian Operative "John":

"RESTONIAN will address itself to the problems and pleasures of people in new and changing communities," the ad copy reads. But what did you get for $6 per year (adjusted for inflation, $3.25 million today) back in 1968? Glad you asked:

Yes, the holidays definitely represented a "problem and pleasure" for people in "new and changing communities," though by the tasteful line art, we're guessing our late 60s progenitors leaned more towards the "pleasure" bit.

"Hey baby, do you want to see the new shag carpet in my sunken living room?"

Also, it's good to know that it was time to remember Lake Anne just a few short years after it rose from the primordial muck. Or perhaps "Remember Lake Anne" was a war cry after the good ole' boys in Herndon razed the first earth-toned settlement along the lake's shores. We'd have to read the article to be clear on that, but every time we tapped the headline with our thumbs, the article wouldn't open! Stupid 1960s technology.

All in all, we'd give this early progenitor to this filthy "web log" a big thumbs up. We're not sure, though, if it, like today's glossy magazine devoted to Reston, had a bitchin' word search.

And despite the lack of technology available today, Restonian offered its readers a space jet-age technology that was nearly as modern as lake-powered AC:

"Your call will electronically be answered 24 hours a day."
Who knew all those scientists at Issac Newton Square managed to build an army of robot telephone operators? Maybe that's how pool passes were distributed back in the day, the end.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Metaphor Alert: Massive County Response After Lake Anne Parking Attempt Stymied By Pesky Depth Pole

For the second time in recent memory, an enterprising Reston driver made an at-speed decision to park in the wide-open (and still free!) parking area known as Lake Anne this weekend, only to be stymied by the depth pole at the lake's edge.

Naysayers and cynics might say that, despite the massive influx of traffic since the opening of the Silver Line, the county has done nothing to address a well-known dangerous stretch of road while their eyes pop cartoon-style out of their heads while making cash register sounds anytime the word "woonerf" is uttered. They may point to public proclamations such as "we can't stop development waiting for the roads to be built" as evidence of this claim.

But nothing could be further from the truth, silly rabbits! Feast your eyes on the immediate and substantive response to the latest in a regular series of crashes along this stretch of road, bypassing the usual design charrettes and environmental studies that make building, say, a pedestrian overpass take a decade:

Problem solved.