News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tall Buildings 'N Stuff: More on Tennessee's proposed clone of Reston Town Center

maytown.jpgYesterday we poked fun, perhaps a bit unfairly, at a planned town center development in Tennessee that's provoked ire among residents there. Upon learning that the inspiration for the May Town Center was none other than Reston's own, almost-Yankee fake downtown, they came to the right place to learn more!

A Reston, VA hyper-local blog has been chronicling and opining on the Reston Town Center (inspiration for Nashville's proposed May Town Center concept) since 2007. Here is the author's short description of that city on a hill:

Reston Town Center (tm). Home to both Reston's Fake Downtown (which, like Disney's Main Street USA, seems built to 7/8th scale) and a godawful succession of strip malls and condos. But hey -- there's a Macaroni Grill(tm)!

If that is not enough for Bells Bend/Scottsboro residents to look forward to, then click to jump to a series of short documentaries on mid-scale retail amenities, pretentious boutique lifestyle options, and stylish color schemes that await the prospective Bells Bend traffic artery once May Town Center gets built. Did I mention the $90 million 3,200-space parking garage? Can you envision such a monolith to automobiles hovering over the Cumberland River at May Town Center where whooping cranes once frolicked when there was only one road in and out?
Hey, we wrote that part in italics! Taken out of context, it almost sounds smart.

What we'd tell these folks is that it's not so much the faux-urban core that's the real problem with RTC; it's the big box retail dreck that was allowed to be built next to it, a horrendous land use mistake which may someday be corrected. Of course, the real difference is that when our Fake Downtown was finally realized in the early 90s, Reston had already established itself as a sizable community in need of an urban core -- or at least a movie theatre and chain restaurant or two and whatnot. It doesn't sound like that's the case in the metropolis of Bells Bend.

Maybe there's a sensible plan to develop a high-density residential core around this new new town outside of Nashville, supported by mass transit and other needed amenities. Somehow, though, we doubt it.


  1. The Convict in Gulag 4May 7, 2009 at 3:00 PM

    I'm sorry, but the whole RTC thing was a huge mistake. I liked it much better when it was untamed forest.

    Just think. If we had left it as untamed forest, we would have much more affordable housing for our current housing challenged bretheren. Targetville is far too small to meet the demand for housing in that price range.

  2. Believe it or not, I actually like having some big-box retail in Reston. As a frequent purchaser of books, DVDs, video games, and home office supplies, it's nice to have Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, and Office Depot handy.
    Unless you'd rather try to buy those items at Radio Shack in North Point?

    I would have preferred to see RTC expand to the west, where overpriced blocky townhouse/condos were built instead.


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