News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Talloakspocalypse Now: Online Petition Calls for More Retail, Open Space

Tall Oaks
Turns out it's not just Bob Simon who is calling the proposal to redevelop the Tall Oaks Stucco Wasteland Village Center a "missed opportunity." Now an online petition is circulating asking county and RA officials to demand that Tall Oaks remain a village center.

Give us the requisite blockquote, anonymous Concerned Residents of Tall Oaks:

WE ALL WANT DEVELOPMENT at Tall Oaks, but it needs to be SMART and BALANCED. The current plan for the re-development of Tall Oaks is to basically create a new cluster... Tall Oaks community needs and deserves a Village Center with retail that we can walk to and green space where the community can gather.  A balance of residential and retail in a plaza-like setting would be a good compromise.
You mean 5,000 square feet of open space isn't enough? That's 300 square feet more than a single regulation basketball court (of which there will be none). Plenty of room to shoot hoops rub shoulders!

In similar fashion, the planned 8,500 square feet of retail sounds pretty good -- at least until you realize that the handful of remaining businesses in the virtually empty stucco strip mall occupy more than twice that amount--nearly 20,000 square feet, according to the group, which cited occupancy figures from the center's new owner, Jefferson Apartment Group.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 50 people had signed the petition, which is directed at Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and RA CEO Cate Fulkerton.

With even Simon agreeing that Reston doesn't need all its current village centers, we're pretty sure we've seen our last grocery store in Tall Oaks. Pretty much anything would be an improvement over empty stucco and a deserted parking lot. But perhaps the developer, the RA, and county officials can work together to come up with a plan that's a little less cluster-like, a little more open to the larger community, and a little more Reston-y. Crazier things have happened!


  1. I'm not a city planner, or a consumer specialist (I'm barely human), but if - just if - the compass were turned to reflect that the mighty towering-towers-of-tower at the Town Center are certainly more "city" than "village", does the map of Reston change a little? Warning: this is a comment that doesn't really go anywhere, or feature a punchline.

    There are the NoPo people, South Siders with hubs at Hunter's Woods and South Lakes (and Fox Mill if you want to catch Hernia Disease), Mighty Tower folks and Lake Anne "Plaza People". Add the d-bags that go to Tyson's Kerner or humpitup to 22066 to get ridiculed at the Brogue.

    Lake Anne loves to play the Bigger Idiot game and for years I gleefully joined in (my femme-confederate will be there soon, watching the Farmer's Market gypsies shift dope back and forth before they open on Saturday) but I'm shocked that there isn't a way to build - slowly, but deliberately - a scene at Tall Oaks. I don't have an answer for the anchor position (but I would like to know the relative cost, say compared to the finally-dead Serbian Crown in regal '66) but I have never seen Lake Anne or Tall Oaks make a concerted effort to build a damned scene:

    Bring in attractive women, approachable women, not strippers or cork-poppers, and make sure they bring their dogs, on a leash. Feed them (women, dogs, whatever) for next to nothing, roll out the patio tables and find some idiot with a guitar (don't feed him) to play exactly what they want to hear. Make sure they laugh. Do you really, really have to rake in $10 for your goddamned spinach & artichoke dip? Attractive people having a good time, with nice dogs and fine company. Keep the meatheads away from them (TownCenter) and turn the entire concept into a Be Part of Something dynamic. A brewery, maybe, for that anchor?

    Lake Anne has refused to do it, of course, but the Federal Job Base can sustain their lunacy.

    Tall Oaks baffles me. There is a fair portion of the Reston population that never goes near the Mighty Towering Towers.

    Tall Oaks baffles me.

  2. Nothing wrong at all with a residential development. The county "planners"--using that term loosely--may insist on a village center but will only get vacant storefronts in return.Where is the market for additional retail? And what stores would go there? ( HInt: Only those which would stand to make money and not close within a year). I would favor support any reasonable residential proposal for the site.


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