Yesterday's announcement that global infrastructure behemoth Bechtel is moving 625 jobs from Maryland to Reston Town Center is great news, given recent losses of other corporate headquarters in our gritty urban core. But while they've certainly got their hands full with the Silver Line, we're thinking maybe Bechtel should use our earth-toned community as a testing ground for some of their other infrastructure work. Why bother with those silly earthen dams when we can have something like this at the foot of Lake Audobon? Or maybe a special Reston-themed Chunnel that would allow us to drive directly to Columbia without having to see the blighted, non-planned communities in between? Or perhaps they could see what might happen if the tolls exceed 53 Leu on the Transylvania Motorway?
Here's why this is good news, even if we don't get a shiny new building like this:
California-based Bechtel Corp. announced Monday along with Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) that it would move 625 jobs from Frederick to Reston Town Center, where they will fill nearly 200,000 square feet at 12011 and 12021 Sunset Hills Road. Bechtel’s rent checks, highly sought after by other Virginia landlords (particularly in Tysons Corner) will be addressed to Boston Properties, which developed the buildings in 1999.It's also significant because, as with Accenture's departure from RTC to a former car lot, overall trends appear to be shifting away from massive office space and towards more "hoteling" of employees and the use of
With the federal government dramatically cutting back leasing and new construction, finding large tenants to fill office buildings is becoming increasingly difficult. The pool of major tenants shrunk further when Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) announced last month that Bechtel’s power division would keep 1,250 jobs in Frederick.
Despite its success, some real estate types think Reston Town Center may be losing some its luster, with Tysons Corner dominating discussions in Fairfax County and properties along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor attracting record-setting prices.
The core lesson from the Accenture headquarters departure experience appears to be that we need to re-think the mix of uses (and maybe the high densities) currently planned or being considered for the Dulles Corridor. If Accenture is a harbinger of things to come, we will need to see greater growth in residential space and less growth office space than currently envisioned at both Tysons and Reston and maybe points farther west. Moreover, we will have to re-think the needs of the many new residents in these areas, including the nature of the local retail shopping experience (relatively fewer business-oriented restaurants, more pharmacies and supermarkets, for example), their access to cultural and recreational facilities, and (especially in Reston) the availability of public open space—largely parks and natural areas—to sustain and enhance the quality of life experience in this premier planned community.It remains to be seen if the Bechtel move is bucking this larger trend, or if the growth of the
According to another report, the Bechtel employees moving to Reston have average salaries of $125,000. Maybe we should drop this "web logging" thing and spend a bit more time learning AutoCAD.