News and notes from Reston (tm).

Monday, April 18, 2011

Oh, Goody: Another Plan to Revitalize Lake Anne

lake anne email.jpg

So this fancy "picture e-mail" crossed our transom, promising exciting news about "commercial reinvestment" at Lake Anne, courtesy of Fairfax County and two fancy consulting groups. But it doesn't sound like the Cheesecake Factory is going to be crowding out the Farmers Market anytime soon, given that this is just a presentation that "includes an assessment of the current conditions affecting the non-residential uses in the LAVC and provide recommendations, informed by baseline data, public input and best practices to stabilize and sustain current establishments and to attract viable and complementary new non-residential establishments to the LAVC." Um, yay?

This is the first concrete thing to happen since Fairfax County Supervisors approved a redevelopment plan for Lake Anne back in ought-nine. That plan called for as many as 1,655 residential units, 80,000 square feet of retail and 235,000 square feet of office space, precisely 0.0 square feet of which has been built. Blame the ongoing slow-motion collapse of the global economy "market conditions," and of course, the Reston Association, which decided to move its own headquarters to a soon-to-go-bankrupt office park as opposed to Lake Anne as many had urged.

Our BFFs at Patch have already mocked the inscrutable wording of this announcement, but we're hoping that yet another group of consultants doesn't come up with yet another predictable yet vague series of recommendations, like creating a "restaurant row" (it already has one) or a "cluster for startups," as though the next Pets.com is going to have its servers cooled by refreshing lake water. For all the grousing about development and density, this is a spot that could actually use it, as the surrounding area never reached the density Bob Simon originally intended and has struggled to remain commercially viable ever since. Hopefully these recommendations will be a useful first step in making that happen, but who knows.

14 comments:

  1. Given that this is a post about Lake Anne and now that the Anon coward(s) are free to spew their vitriolic hatred ... I SUMMON THE TROLL!!!!

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  2. I'm not sure what "European Village" this place is supposed to resemble. I've been all over Europe and I have yet to see such an ugly place.

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  3. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonApril 18, 2011 at 1:48 PM

    Anon 1:34:

    Actually, Lake Anne has a certain Eastern European feel to it. There are many towns and small cities in the six ex-Yugoslav republics, for example, that have a Lake Anne vibe to them, especially plazas that were developed with small shops and nearby apartments. Not surprising, perhaps, given that they and Lake Anne were developed in the 1960s. In the ex-Yugoslavia, at least, these areas tended to be reasonably popular and didn't seem to have a problem attracting customers. Of course, much of Europe had/has a 'cafe culture' of leisurely breaks, which is hardly the case in the U.S.

    I'm not passing a value judgement on Lake Anne's aesthetics or commercial viability, just making a comparison.

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  4. In theory, it was supposed to be modeled after Portofino in Italy. I've never been there, but I think it's probably more like Portofino by way of Yugoslavia.

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  5. Apply as much lipstick to the pig as you like, it still doesn't have enough parking or visibility from the street or an anchor store or pretty much a viable commercial reason to exist.

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  6. It has an intrinsic worth of being a nice place. The re-development plan is aimed at addressing those issues Anon 12:10.

    Though I guess if they paved over the plaza and allowed you to park right in front of a Olive Garden or Macaroni Grill, you could pull right up and get some breadsticks.

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  7. They should just make Dave & Busters the anchor store and call it a day

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  8. And on that note....how many different grocery stores are they going to try out in the Tall Oaks Village Center before they accept that there are too many grocery stores in Reston (I count 6) for one stashed away in Tall Oaks to work? Give it up already and pick something else. Better yet...sell the property to developers and put up condos!

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  9. Don't be so quick to write off Tall Oaks. If they're expecting to stuff and shoe-horn in another 60,000 folks in Reston (effectively doubling our population), they're going to need all of the grocery store space that they can find. After all, they can't all eat breadsticks and cheesecake.

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  10. Re: Tall Oaks - Trader Joe's could make it work - and judging by the parking lot and lines, two might be sustainable in Reston.

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  11. Thanks Anon 3:15, who are you and who do you work for? . .. The last thing the area needs are more ugly Condos. Would love to see a Trader Joes but all we really need is a coffee shop to walk to and a place to pick up milk and a newspaper

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  12. I don't work for a developer...I've lived in Tall Oaks for 13 years and would rather NOT see another low-rent grocery store where Giant use to be. Also, nice to have no source of alcohol w/i easy walk along the path....crime and garbage build up when folks can walk up to shopping center and get their drink on during the summer months.

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  13. Tear DOWN the Brutalist mess and start over.

    Lake Anne is NO Portofino, and never was, and all the Amway and Mary Kay makeup ever made would begin to cover the festing mess there.

    Been there, done the hudgins' charrettes -- save your time and my money -- none of them have made any difference.

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