News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, December 4, 2009

Reston Town Center Has New Logo, Same Old Mid-Scale Retail Options

RTCLogo.jpgHooray, Reston's Fake Downtown has a fancy new logo to help ring in its 20th anniversary of rising spontaneously from the primordial ooze and evolving into a primitive version of a working downtown, minus the polyglot hot dog vendors and squeegie guys.

Jonathan Cronin, a Reston resident who grew up in Herndon, won the contest. He said he has been a fan of the town center since it was built. Logo judges were impressed with his story on how he arrived at his design, which incorporates Reston Town Center's 20th anniversary tagline, "Defining. Inspiring. 20 Years." Cronin was awarded with a $500 Reston Town Center gift card.
$500 will buy a lot of pizza from Uno's, that's for sure. In case all you aspiring corporate logo designers out there were wondering about Cronin's "vision," here you go:
The font I chose for "Reston Town Center" and "Years" is a classic art deco styled font that reminds me of the architectural designs of the shopping center and the metropolises it is designed to emulate. The fonts for "defining" and "inspiring" were chosen to portray how the Reston Town Center, and Reston itself, has defined successful commercial, business, and civil planning, while maintaining a changing, human element, eliciting inspiration from its visitors.

The "20" is drawn in a similar art deco style, but as a continuous line. As someone who has been visiting the Reston town center since it was a small cluster of buildings in the middle of a field, I and others like me tend to think of the Reston Town Center not only as what it is, but what it was before, and what it's turning into. The Reston Town Center has undergone a slow and constant evolution, and the single continuing stroke is designed to represent that journey. It’s long, it never stops, and it goes on into the future.

The remaining elements of the logo are designed to identify the center, and celebrate. Despite how much growth the Reston Town Center has had, The Mercury Fountain remains the most unique and memorable symbol of the area. The inclusion of the fountain, redrawn and similar to the existing Reston Town Center logo, also provides for consistency and continuity between the two logos. The fireworks display is a simple element of celebration, representing the occasion and the liveliness that the Reston Town Center has allowed its visitors whether they visited during its 20th year or its first.
Good for Cronin, but sadly this means one of our commenter's awesome submissions didn't make the cut.


  1. What a load of crap.

    Here is a prescription for downtown: 100 acre parcel. 600 lots sold by lottery @ $25k each + dedicated central plaza. No zoning restrictions. Bam.


  2. The Convict in the GulagDecember 5, 2009 at 7:50 AM

    Pretty cool idea, Anonymous. I think a trailer park would be a wonderful addition to Reston and so add to the affordable housing stock. I've got just enough equity in my house now that I could buy a parcel, put up a double-wide and have a little scratch left for decorating and retirement.

  3. Despite all the local grousing, many communities would love to have a town center with an array of amenities and activities as Reston has...

  4. Amenities: Usually involes a credit card.

    Condo Pete: This was the model for small town America through the 19th century. I think we have differing notions of what "equity" means.


  5. But did you miss that the designer of the logo grew up in Herndon but chooses to live in RESTON! Whooo Whooo! In view of Herndon's lofty status (see this earlier Restonian article, we should be grateful that Mr. Cronin felt Reston worth his effort!

  6. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO)December 5, 2009 at 7:56 PM

    "Amenities" as in 90% of the tenants being national or regional chains catering to those whose median household income is $100,000? Reston was designed to be a community that catered to people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, races, ethnicities, etc. at all stages of life, so why are so many of the town center businesses targeted towards 35-year-old latte-sipping yuppies who outgrew Arlington and wear ties at 7 PM on Friday nights? Cosi? Panera? Jackson's? Williams Sonoma? Sephora? Morton's? All I need now is a fake accent, keys to a BMW, and sunglasses that I could wear at night and I'd fit in seamlessly!

    What an epic failure the town center is overall. It's a nice "concept" (live, work, play) but with rent prices so high that only expensive chains can afford to lease space and only those with fat wallets can afford condos there it's a bit disheartening that those in Reston who aren't in six-figure households can't really afford to enjoy their own downtown business district. For what it's worth I like to wander over from time to time just to smile to watch the children skate, but where are the down-to-earth diners, independent bookstores, card shops, mom-and-pop hardware stores, etc. that make so many other downtowns unique? It just seems like so much in the town center was an afterthought for those of us who aren't blessed enough to have been born into money or aren't yet at that "life stage" that involves having enough newfangled greenbacks left over after paying your bills to dine out at McCormick & Schmick's? What does Reston really have to offer for lower-middle-class 18-24-year-olds?

    Knuckle duster suggested in the past I scope out Lake Anne. I have. It is pleasant. It has (a few) nice businesses, but overall it is far too meager to realistically be considered any sort of respectable downtown for a community of our size. So now we're left with an art deco-oriented plaza that is way past its prime or a mish-mash of high-rises with ground-level retail catering to the upper-middle-class and affluent. I'm just hopeful the new rail line REALLY breathes some new life into this community.

  7. BiCo - there used to be a great independent toy store there, along with some other less chain-type merchants, but you're right, they were priced out. Part of it was timing -- those stores died from lack of traffic as well -- but the condos to the northwest hadn't been built yet. By the time they brought new people to the area, the independents were DOA.

    In the Spectrum Center there used to be a Zany Brainy (where Men's Wearhouse is now). Next to it (Pet Smart) there's been a succession of gourmet upscale food shops (Sutton Place, Balducci's) but they never quite made the cut.

    I don't know what the solution is. As long as the Town Center developers get all the Reston privileges without any of the Reston responsibilities, they have no incentive to be part of the community.

    Like you, I've tried very hard over the years to like Lake Anne but it has always just been . . . insufficient. Especially since I live on the South side -- if I'm going to have to drive to get there, or take a REALLY long bike ride, it would be nice to have some incentive to do so. Only when the Farmer's Market is up do I enjoy going there, and then the parking is so horrific I quickly change my mind.

    If Reston was a town, with a unified vision for development, instead of a collection of different entities with different agendas, there might be a cohesive plan. But alas, RA has no power or authority over most of the businesses around them...not that it stops them from trying to assert it.

  8. Restonian - go to this site and click create. In the url spot put in your webaddress and you'll see some really cool word art. It will convey to you and (all of us) that the HEART of what's going on here is RESTON! Love it!

  9. Reston - Live, Work, Play, Complain on Restonian

  10. You have to ask yourself, "Will Reston be any different in 20yrs?"

    If you like aging contemporary homes and a fake downtown with an increase in crime, nothing will be different. Oh Oh I almost forgot, the Two Metro stops will bring "Fake Downtown Part II!" The congestion is going to be out of control. It will make Tysons look like a cake walk.

    In my opinion, Reston really cannot change. It will never be the Arlington type of community which every is talking about and I believe the the possible addition of the Fake Downtown Part II it will just be worse.

    Reston,get your Metro Stops and build some parking garages w/ Starbucks but do not try to build another Town Center, it will be the worst move ever.

  11. Hickory Cluster knuckle dusterDecember 6, 2009 at 11:52 AM


    Glad you at least gave Lake Anne a shot. IT is not art deco though, it is more properly described as Mid Century Modern.

    You should give Jasmine a try for a decent meal. And Monmartre while not having the best menu on the planet is decent enough, and if you go on one of the nights when they have the Vietnamese menu you are in for a treat.

    If you are looking for a book, you should definitely try the used book store before hitting Barnes and Nobles.

    Lastly, any kids stuff you might be in the market for, it is well worth checking out the kids consignment shop. They have some great stuff for very cheap.

    There is a mystery place coming in next to JAsmine which according to this reliable filthy web-log has applied for a liquor license so there is another option coming.

    I wonder if anyone told the sushi joint opening up that they are crazy. It is going to open and close within six months however. Whoever is taking their money is just about stealing from them. A take out place in Lake Anne?! nobody but nobody will drive to lake anne to walk across the plaza and then go to get a carry-out sushi. sad....

    On a brighter note- Lake Anne has put up its christmas lights and looks great.
    While I did not make it to the Santa by barge event yesterday, a reliable source told me it was very nice despite (maybe because of) the snowfall. There was a chorus and even a couple of animals from the Reston Zoo. (Or for the old-skoolerz- Pet-a-pet farm)

  12. So many complaints about the RTC.. but not a hint of some nirvana town center that would please. How about Herndon?

    Too funny.. or sad.. pick one...

  13. I believe people who like earth tones and critical mass low/mid income apartment/condo communities will like Reston. The community has nice amenities however it will never be Arlington (metro stops) or a Oakton/Vienna. It is a great place for 1st time home buyers! Yet it is very diverse and I think that keeps many families from purchasing....

    The RTC is the best part of Reston and that is why you hear the RA or whatever the governing body is called talk about building multiple Town Centers at Lake Anne and at one of the Metro Stops.

    Reston should really think about what they do around the Metro stops and how it will affect the community 50 years from now...

  14. Hickory Cluster knuckle dusterDecember 7, 2009 at 10:36 AM

    "The RTC is the best part of Reston.."

    I could not disagree with you more.

  15. RTC is definitely in need of more independent businesses, but I don't have a lot of hope. I think the RA/RTC need to implement something similar to the philosophy that's allowed people of varying incomes to live in Reston - reserve at least a small percentage of retail space for independent businesses and give them a break on rent so they don't have to compete with the huge chains with deep(er) pockets. A kind of socialist capitalism? ;-)

    It's very odd to see the various different centers in Reston and how much they differ. I'm not sure whether that indicates bad planning, a natural selection process despite planning, or an actual intention to make things different. For all it's lack of shiney or trendy businesses, Lake Anne has a lot of charm, especially compared to the cookie-cutter solelessness of the endless chains at RTC. I wouldn't mind having one of those chain stores at Lake Anne to bring in some of those higher-income folks (although this would probably mean even more issues with parking) in exhange for some more independent places at RTC...

  16. hickory Cluster knuckle dusterDecember 7, 2009 at 11:22 AM

    The problem with that is the Lake Anne association will never allow a chain store to operate at the plaza. A flagship store in the large space formerly occupied by the microwave tapas spot would be a game-changer for the plaza.

    Alas, I don't think it would happen until (and if ever) the redevelopment of the parking area, where they want to put in new apartment buildings and more retail space.

  17. Peasant From Less South After South RestonDecember 7, 2009 at 11:25 AM

    I share dvdmom's sentiments about supporting local/independent businesses where possible. It's not always possible, of course -- find something other than a national chain supermarket, drug store, or hardware store in Reston. But I can and do choose to patronize local restaurants in Reston, Herndon, and Vienna as opposed to places like (shudder) the Macaroni Grill.

    I also use a local trash removal company, Reston Trash, which offers superb service far better than a certain national company I once used and whose name shares the same initials as the Automobile Association of America. Reston Trash is a small (three or four-man) family-owned operation that has been around since 1974 and whose presence prevents any of the big trash haulers from having a monopoly. These guys from Reston Trash are great, and I hope they continue to receive enough support from people here so that, in Milton Friedman's famous words, we can still be "free to choose."

  18. Residents should not have to wait for garden plots to open up. RHOA can surely afford an increase of roughly 150 plots which also add to the beauty and enjoyment of Reston.
    In small town America, almost every home has a garden plot.

  19. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO)December 7, 2009 at 12:07 PM

    I'm pleased to see my usual bluntness wasn't met with vinegar this time. As I said the town center "concept" is a solid one---build a focal point for the community where people would be proud to live, work, and play. However, the town center has taken itself towards a far too upper-middle-class-oriented path and has sold its soul to national chains. I have shopped at Potomac River Running and at that stationery store roughly across from the movie theater (I forget the name), but by and large nearly everything else (perhaps save for the Bike Lane) is a chain of some sort. Even the running store is a chain, but as a LOCAL chain I feel less guilty about giving it my business.

    Yes, I do like Lake Anne. I'm sorry to say I never was crazy about the 1960s-1970s-era architectural styles and never will be, but that's not to say I still can't see positives in such structures. I just grew up around a lot of late-1800s and early-1900s architecture, so I guess I'm "spoiled!" :-P The man who owns the book store at Lake Anne seemed like a very nice guy; he patronized the library's last book sale, and I met him very briefly. I'd feel better about giving him business than B&N, even though the latter is a closer walk to my home.

    The problem I have with Reston is that we are destined to become "Arlington: Lite" once the new train stations come, but while Arlington is more affluent and "yuppified" than Reston they still have numerous great independent businesses. Reston doesn't have many, and even then I only see that situation worsening in the coming years of being relegated to chains only as more smaller merchants and eateries are priced out as commercial rental prices rise.

    As I said the community isn't only home to BMW-driving executives who work in Tyson's, nor was it ever designed to be. What about the "rest" of us? The only "yuppie" place I really enjoy in Reston is Clyde's, and that's only because they gave me free dessert when they found out I had just moved to town (make a good impression like that on a newbie, and you've won them over for life!) :-)

  20. Clyde's at RTC sucks!

  21. Reston will never even be Arlington Lite. Even as the Town Center expands and a mini Town Ceneter is erected at the Planned Metro stop you will still have all the earth tone structures and South Reston to deal with.

    Reston is just Reston...It is filled with Critical Mass Condo/Town Homes/Aptanments and a small amount of homes on the North Side...

    Nothing is going change...

  22. Anonymous 8:28 said, "The community has nice amenities however it will never be Arlington (metro stops) or a Oakton/Vienna. It is a great place for 1st time home buyers! Yet it is very diverse and I think that keeps many families from purchasing...."

    I find that sad. It's the diversity (bad with the good) that makes Reston so special. Look at a Little League team photo in Reston and you'll see 1-2 anglo kids and an assortment of asian, hispanic, african american and even african kids on the team. At SLHS the high achievers span every color. The beautiful thing is that the kids don't think it's anything special because if they've lived here long enough, that's 'just the way it is.'

    To think that someone would eschew home ownership in Reston BECAUSE of the diversity probably shows they're not the kind of person who would be happy here in the long run anyway.

  23. South Lakes Mom - I think this person was alluding to the crime which comes with much of the diversity....

  24. SLmom- I think part of the issue may also be the potential problems this can cause with the schools. I think diversity is great, but something like half of the students in my local elementary school are in ESL. I worry about what this will mean for the instructional level... how does a teacher teach a class when large numbers of the kids don't speak English? What happens to the kids that already do, and are perhaps working at an advanced level? Do they twiddle their thumbs while the teacher tries to play catch-up with the other students? The standard answer is to break the class into groups based on working levels, but I can't believe this is really enough, since most of the day the class is together. I worry about this frequently.

  25. RTC is what happens when people get too scared to walk down the street in a real city, and are only used to pedestrian neighborhoods where Goofy steps out and shakes your hand.

    At least the lame we-want-to-be-a-city-but-we're-too-scared developments in Atlanta have hot chicks. I tried Jackson's one more time, and stood there with 55 other guys and 3 unattractive women. I kind of got why you don't pick up the soap in prison.


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