News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, June 1, 2012

Crescent City? CItyCenterDC Developer Submits Proposal for Massive Lake Anne Redevelopment

CityCenter.jpgHines, a global developer of high-end properties, including CityCenterDC, a fancy mixed-use development currently under way downtown (pictured at right), has submitted a proposal to redevelop the county-owned Crescent Apartments at Lake Anne. More specifically, it would build a 1,330 unit community, including 275 affordable apartments developed by AHC, a nonprofit developer of affordable housing.

It's the largest redevelopment proposal in Reston to date -- bigger than the contentious 805-unit Fairway Apartments project recently approved by the county. More specifically, it would increase the number of housing units at the 181-unit Crescent Apartments site more than sevenfold.

Hines and AHC submitted the proposal as part of the county's solicitation for proposals to redevelop the property, in an attempt to jumpstart the long-delayed revitalization of Lake Anne. Bear in mind this was reported by a real estate "web log," so it's not clear if there are other proposals under consideration -- and there may well be, given that 16.5 acre parcels in established communities don't come up for redevelopment every day. The county is supposed to select the developer for the property by July 2.

It's an interesting conundrum. Unlike Fairway, this redevelopment is in a spot the county is actively trying to have redeveloped, and redeveloped at a density that would make Lake Anne Plaza less of a ghost town in the winter revitalize Lake Anne Village Center. The county would also get more affordable housing in the bargain -- 275 units, compared to the 181 in the current county-owned complex. At the same time, there are the same questions as at Fairway about the impact of a large community on traffic, given its lack of proximity to Metro.

On the bright side, at least we now know there's actually developer interest in Lake Anne -- and high-end developer interest, at that -- and that county officials won't have to glumly announce that their bid for proposals came up empty-handed. That's something that might have been hard to predict back in 2009, when the redevelopment plan was approved by county officials smack dab in the middle of a recession. So we've got that going for us.


  1. I wonder if they could tear down Crescent Apartments ASAP. An ex-gf of mine used to live there and I'd love to see it gone so I wasn't reminded of her anymore (which sucks more because I live across the street from that apartment complex).

  2. I'll miss all the green space, but I guess grass isn't a viable way to make money... or is it?

  3. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonJune 1, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    Well, let's hope that the developers DON'T tempt fate and call it Crescent City, as in the similarly named town in northern California. Our neighbors at the U.S. Geological Survey can tell you all about the 9.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Alaska in 1964 and sent a tsunami barreling into Crescent City thousands of miles away, wiping it out.

    In the aftermath of last August 23rd's 5.8 quake here that shook the cougars off their bar stools at Jackson's, we now know that we might be living in a seismic hot spot. With that quake's epicenter only 100 miles from Reston, the scenario looms of another seismic cataclysm unleashing the long-feared Lake Anne tsunami and reducing our own Crescent City to a pile of earth-toned rubble -- not to mention flinging Dear Leader's statue into Herndon, where the godless heathens will melt it down for its scrap metal value.

    Oh, the humanity.

  4. Despite (or maybe as a result of) growing up poor, I don't like the idea of more "affordable housing"; sadly most such housing in Fairfax County seems to rapidly become a magnet for crime.

    Today, the police helicopter seems to spend a disproportionate amount of time hovering over the Crescent Apartments, so the idea of tearing the place down makes me quite happy. The idea of replacing it with something where even more hoodlums can live makes me less happy.

    If Fairfax County has decided on "affordable housing" being beneficial (which seems like a reasonable concept), it needs to be fully supported with an appropriate permanent neighborhood police presence (so my friendly local MS-13 representative doesn't move into the housing), decent social services, etc.

    Also, regarding the comment on green space: the current units are only 3 or 4 stories tall. The green space could certainly be preserved with vertical structures, which might also give a nice view of the lake from some higher units. Personally, I'd greatly prefer the denser development THERE (where traffic can flow via Baron Cameron) instead of at the end of Fairway Drive (which should be a small residential street).

  5. I don't see 1,330 units at that site ( the developer really doesn't either, this number is being thrown out as a first proposal). But something about a third smaller will work. Tear down the existing and ugly "modernist" buildings that are there. Build something cool, that is, if the amateur bureaucrats of Mauve Reston will let you....

  6. And where do the inhabitants go in the meantime, especially those in "affordable" housing units? Oh, I get it -- INS starts the stampede towards Herndon?

  7. 1330 units replacing the 180 existing. That's an addition of 1150. That's a lot of cars and probably a new grocery store as well.

    Well, we'll see if they developer is planning on improving the road through Middle Earth and whether or not a new grocery store pops up some place.

    No Growth Is Smart Growth.

  8. Peasant made me LOL IRL:
    "...shook the cougars off their bar stools at Jackson's..."

    As for adding something to the Lake Anne construction debate, I don't have much. I say that we take the first good offer from a developer and hurry to the bank to cash the check. I sincerely hope that the kids' consignment clothing shop and the vintage book shop can survive the transition and not be priced out. Perhaps the "affordable housing" strategy (Acura owners should be allowed to live with Lexus owners) will be complemented with an "affordable store lease rate for non-chain stores that enhance our community" and an "exorbitant store lease rate for chain stores that blow."

  9. I, for one, love Lake Anne as it is, warts and all. I want to move from South Reston to the Lake Anne area in the next few years. My family and I spend a lot of time at Lake Anne but I literally do not know the last time I was at RTC. I think it was for work.

    I'd hate to see Lake Anne lose its unique character.

  10. All the oh-so-green and ever-sustainable Class Warfare No Growthers who live in Reston will continue to oppose any significant redevelopment of the Lake Anne area.
    Who wants to live next door to "affordable housing"? That just means that slummers will be moving in. "Diversity" is way overated, especially if it impacts my property values and peace of mind.I have had many experiences with diverse neighbors, few of them good. You want diversity? Then go move to the Southgate neighborhood.


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