News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Talloakspocalypse Now: 'Concerned Citizens' Offer Counterproposals to Developer's Counterproposal

Tall Oaks
Hey, remember that time that the new owners of the Tall Oaks Village Center Stucco Wasteland proposed redeveloping the center into something that's more like a new residential cluster with a smattering of retail that was panned by Bob Simon and others as a "missed opportunity?"

Yeah, that was awesome. To its credit, the new owner/developer, Jefferson Apartment Group, came back with a revised proposal that doubled retail from 3,500 to 7,000 square feet and added some green space. Now the same group that started an online petition calling for more green space and retail, the Concerned Citizens of Tall Oaks, is conducting a survey to gauge interest in two new counterproposals to the developer's counterproposal. They write:

We are gathering data to present to Cathy Hudgins, the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee as well as the Design Review Board regarding our desires for Tall Oaks.
The consistent theme from the community meetings has been: ample retail/services needs to be provided, green space, inclusion of the Assisted Living Facility, and parking.
We have put together two options that address these concerns. We would like the retail to stand out with a different hardscape distinguishing the Village Center from the residential areas.
The two proposals are relatively modest, as are the visuals supporting them:

Option 1 would add more retail space, bringing the total from 7,500 to 10,000 square feet (identified as for "cleaners/nails/groomer, pizza, grocery/deli, and "sit-down restaurant") It also removes one major source of revenue residential building in favor of added green space so folks at the senior citizen storage facility assisted living facility "feel like part of the community."

Option 2 would add the same amount of retail, but clumps it together to "get the village center feel." As opposed to the current, desolate post-apocalyptic stucco wasteland feel, we guess. It also adds a parking lot, which strikes us as sort of important to the flatlanders non-Tall Oaks residents who might want to get their nails done, pets groomed, and then dine at the sit-down restaurant.

If going from 7,000 to 10,000 square feet sounds like a lot, bear in mind that the current tenants of the almost-deserted shopping center still take up at least 13,000 square feet -- or as much as 17,500 square feet, by one account. You can read an eight-page document outlining these and other issues here.

These suggestions aren't totally crazy, though we're skeptical that the developer would sacrifice an entire building just for added green space. Added retail and parking to support that retail? Maybe. Even the Concerned Citizens acknowledge:
We don't know if Jefferson Apartment Group (owners of the 7 acre property) is open to changes, but WE NEED TO HAVE OUR DESIRES KNOWN and DATA can speak louder than words.
So far, the developer has been at least somewhat responsive to the overarching concerns about retail space. It'll be interesting to see if -- and how -- they respond to these latest suggestions.


  1. Well-Intentioned. Adorable, almost. Maybe the developer will listen, but I wouldn't bet the earth-toned farm on it.

  2. Looks irrevocably everything else in Ratstown...


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