News and notes from Reston (tm).

Monday, February 15, 2021

Lake Anne Airs Its Dirty Laundry As Totally Normal HOA Fun And Games Continue

Wow, we knew Lake Anne Plaza is officially historic, with its fancy marker and whatnot, but who knew residents were trying to recapture that old-timey flavor by recreating the colorful turn-of-the-century tenement practice of hanging their laundry outside? Wait, let's take a closer look...

Well, seems like things continue to be totally normal in our totally normal historic village center. Just because one building (allegedly) doesn't have heat for some tenants and another hasn't had hot water for three months doesn't mean that our totally normal HOA shenanigans, which now include what has (unfortunately) become totally normalized allegations of rigged elections, aren't totally normal! 

It's also crazy to suggest that more broadly beyond Lake Anne, the HOA governance structure may not exactly be up to the task of managing aging infrastructure beyond its useful life even when monthly condo fees creep into the four-digit range, and that efforts to make said politicized governance structure work can wind up mired in years of litigation that could ultimately go to the highest court in the state. That's just crazy talk!

This is only the latest in a long series of issues at Lake Anne -- for some background go here. Or, if you have the attention span of a filthy "web logger," watch the Action McNews segment embedded below, which includes some fun facts about how you can maintain personal hygiene over a prolonged period of time with no hot water (spoiler alert: it involves boiling water on the stove and pouring it on yourself with.... measuring cups?) 

There's also a Reston Strong-sponsored GoFundMe to help the affected residents get legal assistance if you're so inclined; as of today it's raised nearly $3,500 towards its $25,000 goal. In the meantime, you'll be relieved to know that affected tenants have been told that if they tire of pouring boiling water all over themselves, they can always take hot showers in the Reston Community Center across the plaza. Totally normal and fun, kind of like a campout! That is, if a campout involved thousands of dollars in condo association fees and property taxes, the end.

Friday, February 12, 2021

More Brands Than a Texas Stockyard: Fancypants Reston Station Hotel to Get Fancier As We Take A No-Woonerf Stroll Down Rebranded Reston Row

It seems like just yesterday we were excited about the prospect of tying on a few too many Farmers Smashes at Reston Station and walking across the street to sleep it off at a fancypants Renaissance Hotel. Well, we just weren't thinking big enough, because it has been announced that the Renaissance brand might as well be a sketchy Motel 6. We're Reston, baby, and we're getting the best of the best!  Give us some blockquote worthy of a $14 minibar soda, BFFs at the Washington Business Journal:

Comstock Holdings Co. has altered plans for the luxury hotel coming to Reston Station as it seeks to forge ahead with the next phase of the 60-plus-acre mixed-use development.

The developer will bring a JW Marriott hotel there, it said Thursday. CRS Hotel LC, a Comstock affiliate, has signed a franchise agreement with Bethesda's Marriott International (NASDAQ: MAR) to swap a 250-room JW Marriott in for the previously proposed Renaissance Reston Station, Comstock said. The $250 million project will also feature 90 luxury residences, 10 more than the previous iteration, and is slated to deliver in 2024, two years later than originally planned. The hotel will be managed by Crescent Hotels and Resorts Management Co. of Fairfax.

Reston Station has evolved in design and scale since it was initially conceived and that the development team, in the context of that evolution, felt the JW Marriott brand was a better fit for the quality of the project, its planned condominium units, and the market moving forward.

Translation: No woonerf = an additional half-star for your friendly neighborhood hotel. It's also the first JW Marriott in Virginia, so you know, suck it, Tysons, with your demonstrably weaker Marriott brand.

Also! This exciting new hotel brand means that Reston Station is changing its exciting mixed-used development brand, since the old brand for this block, Promenade, suggests the presence of woonerf that is no longer there:

Comstock also unveiled a new brand, Reston Row District at Reston Station, as the designation for one of several neighborhoods or areas within the larger mixed-use development. The developer previously revealed other district sections, including Commerce Metro Center, Metro Plaza, and Comstock, so named because it will include space for the developer's own headquarters. 
We can't wait for this exciting high-end brand-atop-a-brand experience. But you better start saving that pocket change! At the JW Marriott downtown, room rates start at just under $300 (though you can get a bargain during this time of COVID). But honestly, it looks like the view there leaves a little to be desired:

Why would you want to look out the window at that, when you could look at this?

Let's hope those rooms come with blackout curtains.

In a RESTONIAN WORLD EXCLUSIVE, we've managed to get some exciting promotional footage of our new hotel: 


We could totally see James Brolin at the next DRB meeting, the end.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Spirals or Trapezoids? HQ2 vs. Google Fu, or The Internet Giants and the Communities Who Love Them


The architecture world is abuzz, sorta, about the new building Amazon just dropped for its planned HQ2 site in Crystal Pepsi City, which, you know, kinda fits in with the neighborhood's allegedly hip mole people and some equally groundbreaking architecture that goes way back. 

Meanwhile, our plastic fantastic planned community has had to settle for Google, which has, shall we say, a slightly different perspective on architecture, if by "architecture" you mean parallelograms isosceles trapezoids standing starkly against a CGI sky:


But HQ2 has all those trees and greenery going up that SimCity-like spiral... thingy?  you might say, and we're all acute angles and antiseptic glass even though we're the biophilic community, not Crystal City. First, get your mind out of the gutter with that biophilia talk before someone washes your mouth out with soap! Second, you want trees with your dehumanized architecture? Never fear, we've got you covered:

Someone "70 foot tall watering can," the end.

Friday, January 29, 2021

We're #1! Reston Named Best Place to Work From Home in U.S., No Thanks To Our EXCLUSIVE Zoom Backgrounds

ZOMG, mute your videoconference and tell your kids to stop interrupting, because we have very very exciting news! Our plastic fantastic planned community was ranked the best place to work from home in the entire country by the listicle-generating sweatshop formerly known as Money Magazine, which said that Reston "was practically designed with the remote employee in mind." Who knew that sunken living rooms and wall-to-wall carpeting provided the perfect acoustics for Zoom calls? All we can say is suck it, "Lower Merion, Pennsylvania," like that's actually a real place! Give us some good blockquote, BFFs at Money:
The census-designated place has 55 miles of paved pedestrian pathways and trails that connect the various neighborhoods and a majority of residents live within a 10 minute-walk of one of Reston’s 73 parks. It’s home to two golf courses and four man-made lakes perfect for fishing, boating, or lakeside picnics.
They may have to update that golf course stat at some point, but alrighty!

Meanwhile, the description makes considerable hay of Reston's large number of restaurants (5 per 1,000 people, but that goes down to 0.00001/1,000 when you factor out the chain eateries), plus its non-pandemic proximity to DC (45 minutes, maybe in some sort of fugue state) and the airport (15 minutes, then double that inching over to the curb). Presumably that's helpful for those DC-like international business trips to destabilize hostile governments to open new markets for bomb-to-dolphin strapping technology export do business stuff.

No truth to the rumor that the rankings were derived from the numbers of questionable "web loggers" present in each community; otherwise, our longstanding rival, LowerMeronian, would have vaulted that community to the top spot. However, Money does point out that before the pandemic, fully 6.3 percent of our fellow Restonians were doing their bomb-strapping business from home.

And now it's looking more and more likely that remote work will increasingly become a permanent part of what's tediously being called the "new normal" for all of us. And Restonian is On Your Side (tm)! To help make all those video conferences scream "I live in the #1 place to work from home, and you don't," we're sharing some helpful Zoom backgrounds for you to use. Anyone can discuss why the TPS reports were stapled the wrong way with a classy image of Lake Anne or RTC behind them, but if you want to inspire your far-flung coworkers with what Reston's really all about, here you go. (Click on each image to enlarge and download for your background, if you're serious about jeopardizing your career; we're sure that Ray from IT will be happy to help you figure it out if you have questions about making it your background.)

You're welcome. And for more, click here.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Okay, Fine: You Can Have A Little Bernie Meme, As A Treat

After having had this meme of our favorite socialist (and also Bernie Sanders!) forwarded to us a half-dozen times, and seeing it repeatedly again as we doomscrolled our social media feeds, we've relented: here is a little Bernie meme, as a treat. It makes sense, as Lake Anne Plaza -- as it was originally envisioned in the hippy-dippy 60s -- was essentially Democratic Socialist Wakanda, a veritable Vermont of the mind in the then-deep South. 

No truth to the rumor that this filthy "web log" is going to become a cat blog, though, the end.

Friday, January 8, 2021

New Year, Same Old Lake Anne Business Closures (Updated)

As we enter a new year, two three Lake Anne businesses -- Teapot and Cake, Local VA, and longtime mainstay Cafe Montmartre -- have closed; the former permanently, the latter last two temporarily. Check out the post below on Instagram, where we go for all our business news:


In recent years, there's been surprising stability at Lake Anne Plaza, which has been nice to see. But if what the Local VA folks allege about heating/AC in their unit is true, it seems like there's something else that's been stable: landlord-tenant relationships so out of wack with market conditions that Fairfax County devoted a big chunk of a report to them nearly a decade ago, the end. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Keep Hope, Higher Electric Bills Alive As We Ring In The New Year

The endless "were those gunshots or fireworks I just heard?" posts on Nextdoor have been replaced by endless "when do they pick up the Christmas trees?" posts, so we know we're in the new year, and not a moment too soon! But don't take down the holiday lights just yet, say the folks at Reston Hospital Center. Give us some social media-friendly blockquote, BFFs at Facebook:

Holiday lights provide an emotional boost to everyone who sees them. In this challenging year, these lights have become for many a sign of normalcy and hope. That’s why this January, we are asking everyone to keep their holiday lights up to thank these healthcare heroes for all they are doing to help our community fight this pandemic. Whether these lights decorate the outside of your business, your community, or your home, Keep Your Lights Up For Healthcare Heroes. (Through January 31st.)

So don't call the DRB if your neighbor's ticky-tacky light display or giant inflatable reindeer is still up. You can find other reasons to be annoyed by them

Here's hoping that 2021 will be a better year. This other bit of recent news from Reston Hospital Center is a hint that it might be:

A happy (or happier) New Year, indeed.