News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, August 14, 2009

Reston Citizens Association Backs Simon Plan to Move RA Headquarters to Lake Anne With Old-Timey 'Letter'

floor plan.jpgOn the heels of an uneventful election, the Reston Citizens Association has taken on an only slightly less controversial subject: the location of the awesome future Reston Association headquarters and its attendant filing cabinets and child labor cubbies.

Like us, they back Bob Simon's idea of moving some or all of the new headquarters facility to the Lake Anne Village Center, where it could help draw traffic and support future purveyors of microwaved tapas. Unfortunately, they expressed this goal in a, whazzitcalled, "letter" to the editor of one of the local "news-papers," which means there's a good chance no one actually saw it. So here's what RCA President Marion Stillson said:

Bob Simon has presented to the Reston Citizens Association (RCA) a plan to have the Reston Association’s (RA’s) headquarters, or part thereof, at Lake Anne, the "gem of Reston." RCA supports moving RA’s headquarters to Lake Anne. RA’s headquarters at Isaac Newton Square always lacked the sense of community found at the Reston Village Centers. Locating our homeowners’ association in one of the Village Centers would be an improvement, and locating it in Lake Anne Village Center would be best of all.

RCA realizes that there are multiple interests involved with the selection of RA’s next headquarters. We nevertheless urge all the parties involved to give special weight, along with all their other concerns, to locating RA headquarters in the place where Reston began.
Well put. Guess we'll find out what happens during the RA meeting next month Monday, when the Board of Directors will go into executive session to discuss the "properties under consideration." Okay, then!

25 comments:

  1. South Reston ResidentAugust 14, 2009 at 10:19 AM

    Putting RA at Lake Anne makes no sense from an Administration point of view. In order to do so, they would have to force out some tenants of the available office space, unless somebody is thinking about putting offices in the ground level retail space.

    It makes more sense by and far to move them into some of the available empty office space in Reston preferably near to the existing maintenance yard off of Sunset Hills Rd. Failing that, there's plenty of available space in the office buildings on Sunrise Valley Dr just east of Wiehle.

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  2. RA should either go to RA or turn the maintenance yard into something other than the eyesore that is currently is at one of the main gateways into Reston.

    I just love it -- were I to put chain link fencing around my Reston property I would be busted by the DRB -- but the RA itself can fence all of its properties with the ugliest of ugly and get away with it.

    Yet another example of the failed :leadership" demonstrated by the big-mouthed idiot who is the RA president (robin smyers) and its wildly overpaid moron who is its (self-proclaimed) "CEO."

    Shame on the RA.

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  3. South Reston Resident -- I agree. I don't think matters would be best served by moving RA Headquarters into existing space, though I know that was part of Bob Simon's original suggestion.

    I do think, given the longer-term discussions re: further development at Lake Anne, one possibility is for RA to ride it out in their current HQ and/or lease new space in one of the empty offices you mentioned, with the eventual goal of moving RA HQ into shiny new community and size appropriate facilities at Lake Anne.

    Anyone else know more about the status of Lake Anne expansion plans?

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  4. I highly recommend RA stop its intentions of moving its headquarters to some nondescript class A space at the corner of Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley...

    Instead, they should stay where they are, and take advantage of Bob Simon’s offer to work with the existing building management and negotiate an extended stay at Isaac Newton Square – AND actively participate in getting the Lake Anne Revitalization initiative underway AND commit to occupying one of the new office buildings in the Plan, and becoming the cornerstone of the newly revitalized lake Anne Village – the original Town Center.

    They could even move some aspect of their front office operations, as an annex – occupying the existing vacant space on the Plaza – now.

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  5. The Lake Anne Revitalization Plan has been approved by the county -- so, there are incentives for developers to make it happen.

    I truly believe RA could help get the momentum going by evangelizing the need to make this happen sooner than later -- creating a win-win for everyone... unfortunately, I see little interest in RA leadership on such an importanta nd timely matter... the fact that they want to move their HQ to some new building in the area, shows their lack of creativity and interest...

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  6. To those who advocate R/A moving to Lake Anne, please tell us where in Lake Anne will one find 15,000 to 25,00 square feet of office space.

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  7. The parking lot.

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  8. If Reston is going to build a new building, build it next to the library. Knocking two birds with one stone. Reston would have a new headquarters at the empty parking lot next to the library and the library would be bigger if you connect the new headquarters building to the library like an expansion. If anybody goes to the library in the afternoon you could tell it’s crowed, that’s why people are now going to Barnes and Noble.

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  9. Having recently moved to Reston from out-of-state I can safely say that Lake Anne Plaza is in dire need of an extensive overhaul, despite its supposed "cute" or "historic" aura that I personally have yet to see. Many times I'll saunter around Lake Anne and notice mostly elderly people milling about whereas just a mile away at Reston Town Center there are more 20-somethings and 30-somethings on a Friday night than you can shake a fist at. That village center appears to be on life support and without some help soon it might just fall into extreme neglect. There is AMAZING potential there to eradicate some of that unsightly surface parking, replacing it with a parking garage, more green space, and perhaps that long-controversial indoor recreational facility proposed for Brown's Chapel Park. More weekly/monthly events ought to be held to draw people to Lake Anne, including perhaps free concerts on Friday nights during the summer coinciding with fire lanterns illuminating the water and small gondolas ferrying couples around on the lake (similar to what they have in Downtown Providence, RI). The potential just OOZES out of Lake Anne, but as of right now it is just oozing something much less desirable.

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  10. Lake Anne has free concerts. I believe they're held every week on Thursdays. There's signage at the entrances that indicate what events are being held there.

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  11. The farmers markets are held in the parking area on Saturdays. There seems to be very heavy interest as road parking is clogged up and down N Shore Dr. The real problem with Lake Anne Plaza is it shares many of the characteristics of a strip shopping center. It was designed to be very accessible to cars with it sitting very close to major thoroughfares (606 and N Shore). It's just another of the many faux village centers which people can drive to to do their business.

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  12. Contrast the success of renovated Hunters Woods with the failure of Tall Oaks and Lake Anne. (Defining success as storefronts that are full and businesses that are ongoing.)

    A retail design that puts its back to adjacent roads and makes it hard for travelers to be reminded of the stores in the center and the availability of parking has been demonstrated in Reston, repeatedly to fail.

    Until Lake Anne is redeveloped to open to North Shore Drive, it will be a blighted, run-down facility.

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  13. None of the other supermarkets in Reston are all that visible from the main thoroughfares. That's just an excuse. Ever tried to find the shopping center signs for Hunters Woods, South Lakes, North Point, etc. if you weren't driving right next to the entrance. There are plenty of major roads (606, Wiehle, Reston Parkway, etc.) next to these other shopping centers yet they draw in shoppers. Next, you'll be redeveloping Lake Anne Plaza to front Baron Cameron because everyone keeps passing it by...

    There's saturation of prime supermarkets in North Reston with recent arrivals of Whole Food, Trader Joe's, and Harris Teeters. In South Reston, not so much. Of the three shopping centers in South Reston, Hunter Mill now appears to be doing worse.

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  14. Anon 8:23

    Travelers don't need a sign for Hunters Woods, South Lakes or North Point, they can see them from the abutting street, unlike Lake Anne and Tall Oaks.

    South Lakes has many more vacanies than Hunters Woods. And the 3rd South Reston shopping center is where?

    North Shore Drive prevents Lake Anne from fronting on Baron Cameron but it's a good idea, as the Home Depot demonstrates.

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  15. To the person who asked: "... To those who advocate R/A moving to Lake Anne, please tell us where in Lake Anne will one find 15,000 to 25,00 square feet of office space...."

    The point is this: RA should stay where they are, and take advantage of Bob Simon’s offer to work with the existing building management and negotiate an extended stay at Isaac Newton Square – AND, actively participate in getting the Lake Anne Revitalization initiative underway AND commit to occupying one of the new office buildings in the Plan, and becoming the cornerstone of the newly revitalized lake Anne Village – the original Town Center.

    They could even move some aspect of their front office operations, as an annex – occupying the existing vacant space on the Plaza – now.

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  16. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  17. Where would RA find 25,000 sq ft at Lake Anne...

    How about RA pushing forward on the redevelopment, and being the first tenant in one of these...

    http://home.comcast.net/~rcrc_board/images/lavc_sketches.htm

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  18. The county's Architectural Review Board which has oversight over the Lake Anne historic district (which includes the parking lot) did not like the high-density plan presented in these sketches.

    http://home.comcast.net/~rcrc_board/images/lavc_sketches.htm

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  19. Yes, these are skethes, and not the final rendering -- BUT -- the higher density numbers were approved (for commercial and residential) ... review areas A,B,C,D, ad E.. under comprehensive...

    http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpz/projects/adoptedtext.pdf

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  20. I don't see the Millenium Bank building in these sketches. The ARB insisted on keeping the bank building.

    Glad to see the wooded RA open space on the east side of the parking lot appears to be intact in the newer sketch. However, I still think the plan is very unattractive. Perhaps a more creative architect? It is not required that the new part look like Ballston. This is Reston.

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  21. agreed -- these are just artist renerings -- giving more of an idea of the possibilities with the sapces...

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  22. And whatever happened to the plan to do an international competition to pick someone really good to do the architecture and design?

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  23. Actually, it would work as Land Unit B includes redeveloping the existing Professional Building and adding more...

    "...Land Unit B
    This land unit is located on the south side of North Shore Drive, immediately to the west of Washington Plaza. The land unit contains one office building (the Lake Anne Professional Building), two vacant parcels, and a large surface parking lot that provides parking for Heron House and the Quayside building.
    Page 12 of 16
    Amendment No. 2007-13
    Adopted March 30, 2009

    Baseline Recommendation
    According to the Reston Master Plan, Land Unit B is a part of the Lake Anne Village Center and is planned for mixed-use with a neighborhood-serving retail component up to a 0.25 FAR and office and residential components in addition to retail uses.

    Redevelopment Option
    As an option, this land unit is planned for residential and office development, with a minimal amount of support retail and service uses.

    The total amount of development allowed under the Redevelopment Option should be no more than 274,000 square feet. The residential component should consist of up to 144,000 square feet (up to 120 multi-family dwelling units), and the non-residential component (office, support retail, and/or other complementary non-residential uses) should consist of up to 130,000 square feet, subject to the following conditions:

    • Retail and complementary non-residential uses should be on the ground floor and limited to a maximum of 5,000 square feet;

    • The full amount of office use specified above can only be achieved if the proposal includes the redevelopment of the existing Lake Anne Professional Building; and

    • Usable open space in the form of plazas, urban greens, courtyards or parks should be provided to make attractive gathering places for residents. The provision of roof top plazas with well-defined public access is encouraged..."

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  24. So RA should build 130,000 sq. ft. office building in Land Bay B so that it can use 1/6th of the space and rent out the rest when the vacancy rate in Reston is north of 15%?

    Wonder what that will do to assessments?

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  25. RA should not build a 130,000 SQ FT office Building -- rather, they become the first cornerstone tenant taking some 25% of the 130,000 SQ FT of proposed professional spaces to be built...

    RA claims they need 30,000 SQ FT... most agree it should be around 20,000 SQ FT...

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