News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, October 19, 2012

Reston Spectrum Redevelopment: The Day The Pasta Dies?


At first glance, it looks like another sunny day at Reston's big box nirvana, the Spectrum Center. But that unassuming yellow placard in front of the Macaroni Grill signals big ch-ch-ch-changes a-comin': the long-delayed, recently reactivated plans to level most of the Spectrum and replace it with more than 1,400 residential units, 255 hotel rooms, 172,000 square feet of office space and 245,000 square feet of retail are back on track, with a Fairfax County Planning Commission public hearing scheduled for Nov. 1.

We knew this day would come, but seeing that placard of Sad in front of Reston's signature midscale chain eatery makes it real in a very painful, artery-clogging way. So, it is with a heavy heart that we move the minute hand on the Macaroni Grill Doomsday Clock a minute closer to midnight:

New Doomsday Clock.jpg

We don't know about you, but we feel an emotion-fueled carbohydrate binge coming on. Time to go eat our feelings, the end.

Update: Our favorite correspondent and Reston's Poet Laureate, the Peasant from Less Sought After South Reston, has done it again.


  1. Lo! The Tysonization of Reston is nigh!. Truly a wonder to behold...

  2. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonOctober 19, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    Time to immortalize the Macaroni Grill with a song. With apologies to the immortal Don McLean:

    Macaroni Grill Pie

    A long long time ago
    I can still remember how
    That pasta used to make me smile
    And I knew if I had rezoning
    That I could have those diners moaning
    And maybe they’d be sad for a while
    But Cathy Hudgins made me shiver
    With every charrette she’d deliver
    Bad news for poor Reston
    I couldn’t ask one more question
    I can’t remember if I cried
    When I read about how they tried
    But something touched me deep inside
    The day the Macaroni Grill died

    Bye, bye miss’d Macaroni Grill
    Drove my Aston to Jackson’s for some cougar action
    Them good ole girls were drinking cheap Ron Rico
    Singin’ where’s our beloved boy toy BiCO
    Where’s our beloved boy toy BiCO

    [Last stanza]
    I met a chef who ran the Grill
    And I asked her for some fresh roadkill
    Bur she just smiled and turned away
    I went back to our RTC
    Where I ate at Mon Ami Gabi
    But the cook there said no more linguini
    And in the streets the diners screamed
    The peasants cried, and realtors dreamed
    But not a word was spoken
    The Macaroni Grill was broken
    And the three men I admire most
    Bob Simon, Rod, and Mr. Milton
    Caught Metro to the downtown Hilton
    The day the Macaroni Grill died
    And they were singing



  4. Yes, losing Macaroni Grill will be a great personal loss for many.

    However, there are much BIGGER issues involved with the high rise structures that will be built at the site of the Spectrum.

    Namely, 1) aerodynamic concerns, and 2.) loss of diversity concerns.

    Concerning #1: Aerodynamic engineers and scientists have long known about the wind tunnels created by high rise structures. This effect is particularly dangerous as Reston Town Center every May during the Greater Reston Arts Center’s Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival. On average, between 13-15 artists each year are sucked up by the winds and hurled toward Great Falls. There is a reason why the smart and experienced participating artists weigh their tents down with 500 tons of water barrels and surplus military grade anti-missile bunker concrete. The latest scientific study estimates that the wind tunnel effect that will be created by the redevelopment of the Spectrum will generate near hurricane force winds..

    …which brings us to concern #2, the critical loss of an important element of diversity for Reston. As we all known just down the street and hill from the Spectrum is the Reston Hilton Homeless Day Lodge & Restaurant, better known to most at the Reston Public Library. It’s estimated that the wind tunnel effect will likely pick up and throw between 50-75 homeless lodgers at the Reston Public Library per day during their mid-morning cigarette breaks and hurl them toward Herndon. There should be no negative impact on Herndon, given the fact that most of the people that own their own homes are in fact homeless. However, the loss of Reston’s homeless population will thus artificially skew Reston’s demographic with the result being that the bottom 1% of Reston’s population will in the future not be its homesless population, but will be wealthy townhouse owners surrounding the Reston National Golf Course that actually hate golf and are completely agnostic on the concept of redeveloping anything above sea level.

  5. Agnostic? You are being very generous, MDD.

  6. Where will I find a breadstick to stuff my stupid fat face?

  7. The trashing of Reston thanks to Hudgins continues once again. When will her war path finally abate?

    1. A: When someone mounts a credible, anti-development candidacy against her. Of course, she seems to have a lock on her position for the next few years, so good luck with that.

  8. Mean Daddy D's post reminds me of one of those unfunny SNL skits that go on for far too long.

    1. So much anger, anon. So much anger...

    2. You mistake boredom for anger.

      A common error.

  9. "Mean Daddy D's post reminds me of one of those unfunny SNL skits that go on for far too long."

    The redevelopment skits that play out in Reston remind me of a corrupt land developer and its paid for district supervisor enabler that both spend too much time watching reruns of one of those unfunny SNL skits that go on for far too long.

    But, more to the point, Anonymous complaining about my failed comedy routine reminds me of Chevy Chase on an alcoholic bender complaining about having to apologize for his latest racist rant.

  10. I have no love for the Macaroni Grill, though I would miss the doomsday clock. I can only hope that a better restaurant-one that is less carb oriented, thank you-will eventually compete for our affection.


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