News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, February 22, 2018

At Reston Station, It's Now Hip to Be Square

So as it waits patiently for an anchor tenant for its awesome Helmut Jahn-designed parallelogram at Reston Station, Comstock has announced it's moving forward with plans to build the second office tower at the Metro station/perpetual waiting zone for Founding Farmers. Good on them, if somewhat brave given the current climate! Give us some PR-approved blockquote about the $95 million, 180,000 square foot project, BFFs at Reston Patch:

Washington Business Journal reports that construction on the building will begin in April and the plan is to complete the project by January 2020. It will be known as 1906 Reston Metro Plaza, and will be the second of three office towers that will be perched directly above the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station parking garage.

"The second of three iconic office towers to rise above the Reston Metro Plaza, this 150,000 square foot, LEED Silver, Trophy-Class building shapes the gateway between Reston's only Metro Station and the urban heart of the Dulles Corridor," states the Reston Station website.

Only Metro station? Either they forgot to mention "for now," or they have less confidence in the timing of phase 2 of the Silver Line than we do.
"With world-class amenities, unmatched services, unrivaled accessibility, sustainability, and convenience, 1906 Reston Metro Plaza provides a unique opportunity to secure a highly visible corporate presence in the heart of the most important corporate address in the burgeoning urban landscape of the Dulles Corridor."
All good words. But that's not what the building originally was planned to look like. When the massive Sleestak-infested parking garage was just a gleam in Comstock's eye, the original plans envisioned a field of glowing parallelograms atop it. Check it, as the kids haven't said in decades:

Not everyone loves the existing building (or its rad neon), but we applaud Comstock for hiring a real architect and building something that doesn't look like every other off-the-shelf office tower lining the Toll Road. It's a little said to see them think a little more inside the box by building... well, a box.

But all hope isn't lost! Look closely at that square at the end of the habitrail that lets all the wage slaves cross over the Toll Road on their way out of the Metro station:

Could our rad '80s art finally be making an appearance? If so, all is forgiven, the end.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

HHS, South Lakes Students Hold Walkouts To Protest Florida Shootings

Several hundred students from both area high schools staged walkouts today, part of a national protest in the wake of last week's shootings at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Fortunately for "web loggers" like us, the kids were on the Twitters, as they do.

From South Lakes High School:

From Herndon High School, whose principal sent out an email following last week's shooting about a threat of its own:

Of course, the usual suspects commentators at Reston Now are treating the walkouts as the democratic exercises of free speech that they are:

Stay classy, Reston. Stay classy.

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!

Update: Biney is coming home -- and looking ahead to 2022.

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.