News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Talloakspocalypse Soon: With Planning Staff Approval, Prepare Yourself For a 'Retail Terrace,' Same Old Retail Buildings

Peeping tomWith plans to convert the Tall Oaks Stucco Wasteland Village Center into a mostly residential neighborhood with a smidgen of retail now moving forward, with county staff recommending approval ahead of a planning commission meeting next week, we got a new look at the 350-page planning report (PDF of computer-crashing dimensions; consider yourselves warned). And along with our favorite dead-eyed CGI Peeping Tom granny, staring blankly at the wall, we learned a thing or two.

First of all, the slightly larger than initially proposed (but still less than local residents wanted) 8,000 square feet of retail space is concentrated in two existing buildings, the former 7/11/Curves and that deserted office building thingy we always assumed was used by some shadowy outfit that straps bombs to dolphins. (Sadly, the former Burger King's days appear to be numbered.) But they're going to look "great," as another real estate expert once said. Behold!

New 7 11

AWWWW YEAH NEW FABRIC AWNINGS! We can't wait until "Tenant Sign" moves in and sells... signs we guess.

But for Stucco Wasteland purists, never fear: They're keeping some things old school:

New 7 11 2

That'll give CGI Granny something to stare at.

Then there's the existing office building.

New office building

That new two-story entrance tower thingy doesn't look bad, actually. "Tenant Sign" is going to give "Tenant Sign" across the way a run for its money, though.

The townhouses and condos have a decent, if somewhat monochromatic, look about them:



We know what you're saying to yourselves. "I enjoy fiber cement cladding as much as the next person," you're saying, "but what is the design intent?" Glad you asked:

Design Intent

True to their word, "various shades of brown" are definitely "harmonious with its context" in Reston.

But that's not all! The various bits of open space, a point of some contention, may not have gotten much bigger on this go-around, but they do have fancier names. There will be a "Central Plaza," a "Retail Terrace," a "Linear Green" (isn't that what Metro shut down this week for repairs?), an "Entrance Plaza," a "Village Promenade," and a "Community Recreational Area," where you can participate in such popular fitness activities as Grab the Metal Pole and Wonder What to Do Next:


Or stare at confounding metal spheres:


The kids will thrill to play on the one foundation that wasn't quite level:

Play Area

And the rest of us will find hours of entertainment perusing the different materials, particularly the "Taupe Fancy."


Or maybe that's just us.

All in all, it's not a Wegman's, but it's been nudged more in the right direction than the developers presumably wanted on the first iterations. These days, that might be all we can hope for, the end.

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