News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, February 15, 2018

What, Me Worry? Development Company That Bought Hidden Creek Golf Course Also Bought Adjacent Apartment Complex In Wacky Sitcom Mixup That We're Sure Will Have No Future Implications For Either Property, Maybe

Like the new road that mysteriously materialized smack dab in the middle of the Hidden Creek Golf Course, Reston's other white meat golf course in county plans last year, we're pretty sure this latest news is just another in a long series of wacky, sitcom-like misunderstandings:

Wheelock Street Capital acquired Charter Oak Apartments in partnership with local investment firm Canandaigua & Pratt Holdings this month.

The news comes as Wheelock Communities, an affiliate of the company, acquired Hidden Creek Country Club in October. The club is adjacent to the apartments, which are located at 11637 Charter Oak Court.

Silly rabbits, there's nothing to see here! The aging apartment complex ripe for redevelopment Charter Oaks complex was acquired by Wheelock Street Capital, while the aging golf course ripe for redevelopment Hidden Creek Golf Course was acquired by Wheelock Communities. Totally different things, really, just like a golf course (which takes up a lot of prime real estate) and an apartment complex (which takes up a lot of prime real estate) are totally different things. Apples and oranges, to be honest. Financially lucrative apples and oranges, apparently supported by an occult grid of future streets in county plans, but apples and oranges just the same. But not to worry, folks, because the real estate firm has no immediate plans to redevelop the apartment community. Just listen!
The real estate firm has no immediate plans to redevelop the apartment community, which has 262 units and a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments.
See? Sounds good! What, what's that?
“As for future plans, they have retained Gates Hudson to manage the property in its current form,” wrote Jeff Laliberte, Wheelock’s managing director, in a statement to Reston Now.

“We plan to invest additional capital into the property in the coming years and look forward to continuing to provide the Reston community with attractive housing options,” he added.

"Additional capital:"

Yeah, that looks about right. On the bright side, that will make it much easier to retrieve your ball after slicing it into the rough.

Pour one out for Charter Oaks, another one for long-lost Restonian "web log" commenter BiCo (Broke in Charter Oaks), and, of course, a third for these awesome Yelp reviews. Come for the tall grass, stay for the "spider infestation," the end.

Monday, February 12, 2018

South Lakes Speedskating Star Gets Her Olympic Moment

We're interrupting our regularly scheduled diatribes about paid parking and poorly executed developmentsplaining to share this fancy network news video of South Lakes High School's Maame Biney, the first African American woman to make the U.S. Olympic woman's short track team.

Biney has been living with a host family in Utah of late, but she grew up in Reston. This other video, which can't be embedded into "web logs" for some reason, ups the homegrown ante with some sweeeet B-roll footage of Reston Town Center and Skatequest.

Biney races on Tuesday and again on Saturday. We'll be cheering for her!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

LOL: Dude Who Singlehandedly Made Tysons The Suburban Hellscape With No Future It Is Today Has A Sad About Tysons Being A Suburban Hellscape With No Future


Northern Virginia real estate legend Til Hazel, who has memories of the Tysons area dating back to World War II and has been instrumental in its development ever since, sees some major challenges facing Tysons' economy and transportation network.

"I wish I could say things about Tysons that were upbeat and optimistic, but I have some serious concerns about the future of Tysons, despite the opportunities that are here and the wonderful things that have happened," said Hazel, speaking Thursday morning at Bisnow's Tysons Takeoff event.

We're assuming the "wonderful things" that have happened include the vaguely dystopian elevated platforms full of cornhole games and half-eaten pancakes, but we digress. Do go on!
"Without adequate transportation, Tysons will stall," Hazel said. "The problem right now is we have a bankrupt Metro system, and the politicians are still kicking the can down the road, which is what they've been doing for 40 years."


In addition to improving its regional transportation, Fuller also discussed the need to make it easier to move around within Tysons. “In order for it to succeed, it has to become a place, and it has to become livable," Fuller said. "It has to be a place that you and I want to spend time in. Right now, it’s still two retail centers and a disconnected office market. It has to come together. There are 1,700 acres, more or less, in the Tysons area and they need to be brought together so that those of you that live here can actually get out of your unit and do something here without getting into a vehicle."

What, has he not seen the sweeeeeeeeeet traffic circle?

So's all we need to fix Tysons is a couple of those, whazzitcalled, "sidewalks," plus a functional Metro system and a bridge (or six) across the Potomac. Right? Hahaha,no, because our region's transition to a race-to-the-bottom, Ford Focus economic hellscape is proceeding apace. Mr. Ford Focus himself, GMU's Stephen Fuller, has stepped up the Cassandra-like predictions of doom of late, including these doozies:

Don’t be fooled, Fuller says, by the trappings of prosperity—the construction cranes cluttering skylines all around the Beltway, the soaring housing prices, the proliferation of pop-up bars and tasting menus. Beneath the surface lie markers of impending decay. Since 2010, when budget cuts ended a 30-year run of explosive federal procurement-spending growth, the area has lost high-paying jobs tied to the government and replaced them with positions in less lucrative fields—exotic-cocktail mixologists, child-care workers—impaling the wealth-creating engine that transformed Washington from a sleepy federal city to a dynamic world capital. Fuller says this structural change in the economy is the most dramatic since the end of World War II. And while in years past the Washington area consistently outpaced national benchmarks, he now sees an economy defined by middle-of-the-road growth and, especially in the era of Donald Trump, troubling risks to the downside. If local leaders can’t find a way to wean the region off its dependence on Uncle Sam, he warns, Washington could begin looking less like the vibrant, cosmopolitan hub it is and more like the provincial administrative outpost its original architects envisioned.

“Boston is almost three times our growth rate. Atlanta, Houston, Seattle around four times. And Dallas more than five times,” Fuller tells the audience. “The reason we have been struggling is obvious: We are a company town, and our company stopped spending more money here.”

Obviously, this has implications for our own plastic fantastic planned community as well as Tysons. Consider this nightmare scenario:
As the dysfunction in Congress drags on, the government eliminates some 30,000 federal employees and contractors. The unemployment rate doubles. Spin studios in Bethesda go under, artisanal grocery stores in Dupont Circle close. New construction grinds to a halt; developers walk away from half-finished projects. Flowers at building entrances shrivel and die.

Judging by this ad that recently replaced the WHO'S YOUR BABY'S DADDY ads that usually pop up on this filthy "web log," we're not sure everyone's getting the net, as the kids used to say about two decades ago:

At least one Til clone is woke semi-aware of the implications of this trend:

Like the rest of the region, Tysons also has to address its housing affordability, Clemente Development CEO Dan Clemente said. Clemente, who has proposed a 2.8M SF Tysons mixed-use development with the region's tallest tower, said Tysons does not have enough workforce housing in the range of 65% to 85% of area median income. "We have issues, because I don't believe we're doing enough about workforce housing," Clemente said. "If those people can't live here — the people who are working in Tysons today, the secretaries, the bartenders, the waiters — if they can't live here in Tysons, you don't have a city."
To be fair, that's a more honest assessment than Reston's current developers appear to be willing to make. But we're sure that if the worst comes to pass, those mixologists, or whatever, will still be happy to drive their Ford Foci all the way from Sterling (which will then be run by Master Blaster) to pay for parking at our elite town center in order to pick up an $11 salad, the end.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

This May Be A Job For The Fashion Police

You may hate this Pringles-loving armed robber that brought the police helicopter and K-9 crews to the otherwise placid shores of Lake Anne last Wednesday night, but you gotta love his shoes and 80s-style Swatch sensibility.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

We're #1, Even Without a Wegmans! (At Least in Virginia)

The hits just keep coming for our favorite plastic fantastic planned community! After being scientifically proven to be precisely one better than Ashburn, our particleboard Nirvana to the west, this year the listicle-generating monkeys chained to their typewriters at CNNTimeMoneyFakeNews headquarters have declared Reston the best place to live in Virginia, presumably edging out such bucolic locales as Miner's Lung, Oysterman's Phlegm, and Big Box Nexus Off I-95 in the redder greener parts of the state. We did it, you guys! Even without a Wegmans! Or a filthy, x-rated "park"!

We, too, are shocked. Here's what they said:

Reston was once just an idea. In the early 1960s, architect and economist Robert E. Simon mapped out a vision for a community that upheld open space, recreational facilities, and aesthetic beauty. Today, the thriving Washington, D.C., suburb includes expanses of parks, lakes, golf courses, and bridle paths. Reston Town Center, the community hub, provides an array of dining, entertainment, and shopping venues; the town is also the site of a Google office and five of the largest venture capital firms in Virginia, as well as a Metro rail station for Washington commuters.
Well, that last bit has proven to be a bit of a minus. But okay!

Of course, this is the photo they used to depict exactly what makes Reston the best place to live in the state:

Yes, that's the Lake Fairfax Water Mine -- which, as anyone knows when they clear the pool for "accident cleanup" on a hot day, can typify the Reston experience, ca. 2018, the end.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Reston Real Estate: Despite the Silver Line, Property Values Flatline

It seems like only yesterday that we were breathlessly awaiting the arrival of the Silver Line as our E-ticket ride to riches. All's we'd have to do is watch our property values sextuple and ward off the shadowy developer types with their Snidely Whiplash mustaches knocking on our doors with wheelbarrows full of cash to entice us to turn our aging 1970s neighborhoods into hip, vowel-free mauvescrapers!

Well, that didn't exactly happen. And a fresh set of median property values over the past 15 years shows that, on average, we're roughly where we were a decade ago. Check out our mad Excel skillz this chart below:

A few things stand out: First, we've divided up this graph to show B.S. (Before the Silver Line) and A.S. (after it). It looks like after a slight uptick following the Silver Line opening back in ought-fourteen, property values have stubbornly failed to skyrocket. Is it because of the glut of new high-rise housing coming online? Is it because people inexplicably prefer the newer, particleboardier housing stock (and NSFW amenities) in Loudoun and are willing to put up with a longer commute to get it? Are people realizing that the region's strapping-bomb-to-dolphin days of wine and (appropriately colored) roses may be numbered? All's we know is that we should have invested in Bitcoin instead of Mauvecoin.

You could argue that that big rebound in prices following the Silver Line's approval in 2009 reflected the giddy, childlike enthusiasm for a mass transit system that had yet to devolve into a dysfunctional, smoke-filled hellride that might take you downtown or just drop you in Ballston to rub shoulders with the (shudder) Orange Line hoi polloi following a garbled announcement over the loudspeakers. It's very likely those price increases were baked in well before the first Silver Line train left the station; just think back to all the real estate listings ("ONLY 45 MINUTE WALK TO FUTURE METRO STATION/SHAG CARPETING IN CONVERSATION PIT CONVEYS")

But the upshot is unless you bought in 2002, like Old Economy Steve, you haven't gotten those big ole' gainz, Metro or no.

And that big crash in median property values in 2007? Some may point to that year's global financial crisis and the havoc it wreaked across every sector, but something else happened that year. A certain filthy "web log" was launched, bringing to the world the real truth about our plastic fantastic planned community, its homicidal nudist forefathers, and, above all, our love of arbitrary DRB regulations.

Our bad.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Yet Another Elite Year Gone By: Our Annual Look at What's Hot and What's Not for 2018

You know, this photo is a half-decade old, but it still seems to capture the perpetual, um, zeitgeist that was living in our plastic fantastic planned community in 2017. So once again, we're offering our annual, totally original What's Hot/What's Not list for 2018. Brace yourself for paid parking jokes and the inevitable sense of giant mauvescrapers crowding us in, yet take consolation in an arbitrary numerical ranking that places us incrementally higher than the particleboard hellscape just to our west. Happy New Year!

Sweet 80s landmarksWegmans, maybe, eventually
Our Russian overlordsOur zoning overlords
Hating on 'Hate' signsCivil discourse
DevelopmentsplainingEerie empty mauvescrapers
Being 1 better than AshburnX-rated parks
Il Fornaio at RTC
Bebe at RTC
Ann Taylor at RTC
Appalachian Spring at RTC
Teavana at RTC
M&S Grill at RTC
The other M&S at RTC
Neyla at RTC
Um, er, an elite selfie experience?
Exciting viral videosSponsored content (at v. v. reasonable rates!)
Worrying about seemingly inevitable redevelopment of Reston National Golf CourseWorrying about seemingly inevitable redevelopment of Hidden Creek Golf Course
"We can't stop development waiting for roads to be built."Waiting in endless traffic for roads to be built
Overcrowding public hearings ironicallyOrganized opposition to arbitrary proposals, maybe
Elite butterfliesCommonplace immobilizers