Fifty years ago, the first residents moved into Reston’s new homes. A then-50-year-old Robert E. Simon, who envisioned a “New Town” in the cow pastures near what is now Dulles International Airport, was taking a risk that people would want to live in the undeveloped western part of Fairfax County, with no highway, no grocery store and hardly any other people.
Simon likes to joke he only had to appease 3,000 residents when Reston was founded.
“And that was easy, because they were all cows,” he says.
In 2014, Reston — now home to close to 60,000 residents — is now a significant residential and business hub for the Washington, DC, metro area. Reston is the second-largest office market in Fairfax County with almost 19.7 million square feet of space, according to the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce.
And, with Metrorail’s Silver Line set to open in 2014, more residential and business development is on the way. Long-range major developments planned for Reston:
- The Spectrum (Mixed-use; 774,879 square feet of office, retail and hotel space)
- Reston Heights (Mixed-use; 145,000 square feet of above-grade retail, 100,000 square feet of below grade space, 428,225 square feet of office 498 units residential units in the area around the Sheraton Reston and Westin Reston Heights hotels)
- A pair of 10-story, 280,000-square-foot office buildings on Sunset Hills at Reston Parkway near the future Reston Parkway Metro station
- A 23-story, 418,000-square-foot office tower at 1760 Reston Parkway
- The surface parking lot at Reston Town Center to be redeveloped as a high-rise office building (276,788 square feet of space, a maximum height of 17 stories, with 7,800 square feet of retail/restaurant uses on the ground floor)
- Mixed use buildings at Reston Station at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro stop, including residential, office, hotel and retail
- Redevelopment of Fairway Apartments, Crescent Apartments, Lake Anne Fellowship House and the Lake Anne area.
But before those exponential expansions will happen, Reston will have a series of events commemorating the big anniversary/birthday in 2014.
Already planned are:
Sunday, March 16, 4 p.m., Reston Community Center Hunters Woods
Reston Community Orchestra’s “Innovation: A Tribute to Robert E. Simon on his 100th Birthday”
Featuring music by Creston, Magnard and Bartok with renowned marimba player and RCO musician Rebecca Kite.
Sunday, March 23, 4 p.m., South Lakes High School
Reston Chorale presents “Reston’s 50th – A Celebration of the Vision and the Visionary,” a world premiere of All Beautiful and Splendid Things – a choral and orchestra work by composer Donald McCullough commemorating Robert E. Simon’s 100th
birthday and the 50th anniversary of Reston.
Saturday, April 5, noon, Lake Anne Plaza
Founders Day celebrating Robert E. Simon’s 100th birthday and Reston’s 50th Anniversary. Program will feature tributes, music and cake.
Saturday, April 5, 8 p.m. Reston Community Center
Reston’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. Enjoy the special screening of “The Reston Story” movie and the winners of My Community Video Contest. The evening will conclude with champagne and dessert with a toast to Robert E. Simon and each other.
Photo of Robert E. Simon, Sen. Harry Bird and Jane Wilhelm strolling in early Reston courtesy of Reston Historic Trust