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Sold: Tall Oaks Village Center

by Karen Goff January 8, 2015 at 9:00 am 4,731 66 Comments

Empty Tall Oaks

Reston’s Tall Oaks Village Center has a new owner.

The 64,000-square-foot shopping center near Lake Anne was sold by Boston-based CRP-2 Holdings Tall Oaks LLC to Tall Oaks Development Company on Dec. 17, Fairfax County records show.

The sales price was $14.3 million. The shopping center last sold for $10.8 in 2006. The prior sale was for $8.4 million in 2002, tax records show.

Tall Oaks Development Company is based in McLean, and records show it shares an address with the Jefferson Apartment Group, a local company that has developed more than 18,000 rental units with a value of more than $3 billion in 10 east coast states, including Virginia.

Locally, the Jefferson Apartment Group has developed, among others, the Residences at the Fairfax County Government Center, Tellus in Arlington, The Asher in Alexandria and the Jefferson at 14W, a seven-story, mixed-use luxury development in Northwest DC.

Jefferson representatives did not immediately return phone calls.

Tall Oaks is zoned industrial/commercial, so turning the 7.6-acre parcel into residential would involve rezoning.

However, flagging businesses at Tall Oaks over the last decade has made its future as a retail destination in doubt.

The anchor space, which housed a Giant Foods and later two international grocery stores, has been empty for four years. The stand-alone former Burger King space has been vacant for nearly a decade. Other recent departures include El Manantial restaurant, Curves, 7-Eleven and Total Rehab Chiropractic.

At recent meetings on Phase 2 of Reston’s Master Plan, which will plan for the future of Reston’s village centers and neighborhoods, many citizens and local leaders suggested that it may be time to repurpose the Tall Oaks space as something other than a major retail center.

It was suggested by many, including Reston Association, that Tall Oaks could survive as a convenience center with limited retail and the remaining space could be used for a variety of other purposes.

  • cindi mclean

    The center needs to be more visible from wheile. You could drive right be and miss it.

    • Dexter Scott

      Meh. Everyone knows its there. The real problem is that nobody has any reason to go there. That has been true for a long time. When there was a Giant there, I never used it, given the superior alternatives.

      • Richard

        But those of us who lived near it always used the old Giant. Giant also noted that they did not leave because they were losing money at the store.

        • Dexter Scott

          I lived near it, but preferred to drive further to WF, HT, or TJs.

        • Greg

          Why did Giant leave?

          • LT Restonian

            Giant left because they cannibalized themselves by opening a newer, bigger store in the same market.

          • Greg

            So, does that mean Giant was losing money at the Tall Oaks store?

            The other two failed grocery stores did not have nearby locations (or competition) but neither made it longer than two years, no?

          • Richard

            Perhaps Karen can enlighten us. I recall she reported on it in the past. I think I recall that Giant required a larger format but wasn’t leaving because they were not profitable. One of the others may have had issues with the lease terms.

          • Karen Goff

            Giant left before I began covering Reston, so I don’t know the specifics of that one.

          • Orlina Tucker

            Karen,
            my understanding, from the store manager at the time of closing, is this: Giant’s new owner decided there was too much competition in the market, making it difficult for all three stores could meet corporate profit goals. The TO Giant was profitable, but it’s numbers had been steadily declining over the years, and it just wasn’t profitable enough to justify keeping it open.

          • diane

            Giant was still making plenty of money but because they want to make SO MUCH PROFIT at each store…..they closed. At the time they closed the parking lot and store was full/busy everyday!!!

        • Cathie Gorman Freeman

          When we lived north of the toll road we went to the Tall Oaks Giant all the time. I mean 4-6 times a week. We used the Hallmark and pet store.

    • Scott H

      FoxMill is not visible from the road. I did not know it existed for the first few years I lived in Reston. It does just fine. Housing density is no greater than Tall oaks and Giant is the anchor store. Clearly there is something else going on at Tall Oaks.

      • Guest

        Really? No, I don’t think so. I agree with Scott on this one. I’ve lived in Reston for nearly 12 years and often drive that part of Wiehle. I think I’ve visited that shopping center, maybe once during all the time I’ve lived here and for the most part, never noticed the signs.

  • Greg

    It is time to repurpose and redevelop that parcel. There’s not, yet at least, enough housing density in that part of Reston to support retail.

    • Dexter Scott

      There will be after the new owner builds a “luxury apartment” tower there. =)

    • Richard

      There’s always somebody on these comment boards hired by the developers.

      • Greg

        Perhaps, but not me. Tall Oaks is near the metro station, and that’s why a residential developer bought the property. Change is inevitable, especially when the current use failed. More than once. Over decades.

        • Richard

          High density is planned within 1/2 mile of the metro, not well within our existing residential areas. It’s convenient for public transport like all of Reston, but Tall Oaks is not within a reasonable walking distance of the metro.

          • Greg

            It is precisely .61 miles from TO center to the silver line. That’s both walkable and reasonable. Less than 15 minutes to walk — surely far less than depending on “public transport like all of Reston.”

            Forget my analysis and the facts the developer’s motive is all that matters, which, of course, is why it bought the property.

    • GB

      Agreed. Density is coming to Reston, this is a great spot for it. Close to the metro, close to the toll-road. The people living near by should be happy, instead of a wasteland they could have a vibrant little block. The rest of Reston should be happy to have additional people paying dues and keeping shops open.

      • Richard

        I don’t know many current residents of Reston who share your opinion. Greg/GB. Not many people who I know in Reston want hordes of new residents. Those who do would like that density concentrated around the metro stations, not within our existing neighborhoods.

        • Greg

          Then what do you suggest be done with Tall Oaks?

          • Richard

            I’ve said several times in these comments already.

          • Greg

            Not in a clear, cogent, or logical way.

            In any case, more of the same is not an option.

  • Richard

    I think you’re all being conned. The previous owner pressured the tenants to leave through overpricing and disagreeable lease terms. It’s my belief that they did so to create the appearance of a deteriorating shopping center for the purpose of clearing the way for redevelopment and a tidy profit – exactly what they achieved. Don’t get suckered in by this. I, for one, don’t want a highly visible center at that location, nor do we need more apartments. What we need in the area (and what has been supported for four decades of much lower population densities) is local retail and unique public meeting spaces. If the new developer wishes to add some apartments and also meet those criteria without becoming an eye-sore, I’d probably be in favor. I’ll hold out hope, but I’m highly skeptical.

    • Greg

      Where has “…local retail and unique public meeting spaces” at this hidden density level been supported for four decades? Lake Anne, Tall Oaks, and both the old and new Hunters Woods (with lots of public space) have not been particularly successful despite lots of local retail and meeting spaces.

      Were it not for millions of tax dollars in hard cash and millions more in salaries other expenses, indirect costs (including lost tax revenue) and deep involvement of RA, local, and state governments, Lake Anne would be far worse off than it is now. And, despite all that, and at least a decade of time, not a space of earth has yet been turned.

      • Richard

        The residents of Reston doesn’t need more apartments at that location. We also don’t need a bigger retail space with high visibility from the road. Those things do not improve the quality of life for Restonians. The county might like the tax revenue and the developer will surely win, but why proceed? What this residential area needs is a quiet, well-designed, attractive commercial area and maybe some public space included. They could use a pharmacy at this site and other local retail or and office spaces. Some apartments are probably fine as well, although Wiehle Ave is already swamped at rush hours. The previous owner has done a great job suckering the community into thinking a redevelopment to residential is required at this space, but residents should not go along.

        • Greg

          Apartments? I said nothing about apartments, but you are suggesting what’s already there. That hasn’t worked so well since about what, 1982?

          Attractive? What does that mean? More monuments to Brutalism? More beige and verdigris boxes?

          Public space? Tall Oaks has acres of public space including parks, pools, Lake Anne, school yards, Lake Fairfax, the W&OD, the Lake Anne community center, Baron Cameron parks, the zoo — what more could possibly be needed?

          • Richard

            By public space, I mean built around plazas, not strip malls. Places where people can sit, meet, host a concert, etc.

            What makes you think that this village center hasn’t worked well? I’ve lived in Reston since 1977 and only now has Tall Oaks become so empty, and primarily because the owner drove out the tenants to make this big profit. It’s a manufactured failure. Who failed? The tenants didn’t go out of business, they were forced to move by the landlord. The landlord made a pile of money. The only people hurt are the neighbors who have to deal with an empty development.

            I didn’t say that the developer needed to re-build in the exact same style, but this is a neighborhood center, not a mini-town center. What is rebuilt should fit in. I also don’t preclude adding some housing as part of the redevelopment, but not at the expense of the required amenities for the neighborhood and accessibility.

          • Greg

            It isn’t 1977; times have changed. You might want to, too.

      • LA-Insider

        Greg- I have know idea who you are but you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. Troll.

        • Greg

          I know exactly what I am talking about, thank you. The facts speak for themselves as do the land records.

          I do not, however, know much about LA. But since you are an insider, perhaps you can enlighten us on what you do know. Assuming, of course, that Reston and LA have common ground

          Better yet, tell me why I am wrong.

  • Scott H

    It won’t happen now given the sale to a residential developer, but this would be a perfect spot to put the proposed indoor rec facility so the outdoor fields ar Baron Cameron could be left alone.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    You’re going to need some might Tall Oaks in order to hide the concrete monstrosity that the new owner/developer is going to want to put in the old shopping center.

  • BigR

    We used to go there all the time! I also worked at the Dry Cleaners many many years ago..

  • diane

    I sure hope they don’t put apartments in. I have lived across from the shopping center for over 40 years. and worked in the same area. I remember when it was a thriving shoping center. The owner has a prime opportunity to make this a wonderful shopping center again. Our community needs a grocery store,, a 7-11 or CVS and some restaurants and bank. With the Silver Line…..don’t mess up this opportunity!!!

    • GB

      Yes! On the ground floor, with 3-4 stories of apts or condos on top.

    • Carolk

      Diane, we already have a Giant close by on Reston Pkwy, and Whole Foods and CVS at Plaza America a mile away, as well as HT close by. I don’t think we need another grocery store or pharmacy in the area.

      • Richard

        So, you’re saying that Plaza America, South Lakes, North Point, and Fox Mill Woods should have pharmacies, but not Tall Oaks? None of those are too close to each other? Keep in mind that there is a retirement home right there, as well as a number of apartment complexes. A pharmacy is certainly a priority for this site.

        • Greg

          But you states elsewhere: “It’s convenient for public transport like all of Reston…” So, alight onto your preferred transport service and get your chemists’ goods.

          Better yet, order on-line, pay less, and support the USPS which needs more business. Less traffic, too, since that USPS vehicle passes by every residence six, if not seven, days a week.

  • LT Restononian

    It seems evident that many of you have missed the reason why Tall Oaks failed as a retail center. Yes it did thrive at one point… that was until North Point opened with a Giant grocery store almost twice the size of the one which was located at TO. It’s fairly obvious that the market cannot support two grocery centers. Regardless of how TO is re-positioned with better access or visibility, the demographics do not economically support a retail center in this location. Period. There is no ulterior motive or hidden agenda by the former owner – the time just does not suit the place…

    • Richard

      See my comment above. This was a manufactured failure for the purpose of selling the center to a developer and making a tidy profit. Most businesses did not fail, they were forced out.

      • Orlina Tucker

        What evidence do you have the businesses were “forced out”? How were they forced out? And how is it wrong for a company to make a “tidy profit”? It’s potential apartment buildings, not a jail or a city dump. I don’t
        see increased density as a cause of great community harm. I grant, however, that it does absolutely negatively
        impact your quality of life, if you don’t like living in a more urban setting.

        When you sell your house, are you going to sell it for the less than market value? Are you going to donate to charity the difference between what you own on your mortgage and the property’s appreciation? If so, I applaud you. The company isn’t evil because it profited from the sale of a legally-owned asset.

      • Greg

        Once again, no proof, facts, evidence or anything supportive #smh.

        Multiple owners, over decades, and all they did was force businesses out? Not true.

  • clambj

    They should put in a quiet dog park.

  • Orlina Tucker

    My husband and I lived off Scandia Circle (down North Shore from shopping center) for 16 years, and we typically drove past the Tall Oaks Giant to either NP Giant or WF, because those stores carried the organic foods we eat.

    As we watched shops close and vendors move out, and continued to watch as it remained empty, we had very little doubt that Tall Oaks would eventually be redeveloped into condos/apartments.

    Bottom line: Tall Oaks is a privately-owned property, and the homeowners/residents of Tall Oaks have absolutely no recourse but to suck it up or move from the area. We moved, and are pretty happy we did, especially after seeing this article!

    • Richard

      Is Tall Oaks zoned appropriately for residential? I doubt it. As such, the residents of Reston certainly do have recourse.

      • Orlina Tucker

        Not yet, the new owners have to go through the rezoning process. But given it’s a residential developer that’s purchased the property, I suspect that’s the plan.

        And I’m curious what you think residents can do to prevent the new owners from building apartments on their property.

      • Greg

        You doubt? Why don’t you know certain? Fear and doubt never win arguments.

  • TB

    They should put a Ross, TJ Maxx or Marshall’s and a Chilpolte. That shopping center would thrive then! There are no retail stores like that in Reston.

    • diane

      I like this idea too!!!

  • diane

    Many of the long time residents in the Tall Oaks Area bought because there was this convenient shopping center and thriving….at Tall Oaks. All it takes is for someone to care about the neighborhood instead of building a highrise and changing the whole neighborhood. I am handicapped and bought in this neighborhood because of the TO shopping Center. Even since Giant shut down…..there have been some of the original shopowners such as the dry cleaners, dog vet, dog groomer, nail place. Many of these places have been here for 40 years. I think it is a shame that RHOA cannot survey homeowners in the area instead of doing whatever they want so the town and county make a lot of takes/income. I

    • Greg

      RA has, many times, surveyed members about what they want. You surely will recall the time when pools and tennis courts were failing and RA asked the community whether those high costs should be included into the RA assessment. The answer was NO, but RA did so anyway.

      In fact, the RA did the same thing about its own headquarters. The answer was build, not rent, but, of course, the RA did just the opposite and it’s now costing dearly.

      So, be very careful what you ask for, especially when RA is involved.

      What else, Bocce court? Indoor rec center? Road “diets”? Bylaw restatements? Reigning in the DRB? Pool covers? More tennis courts? Indoor tennis? Pathway lighting? The list goes on and on.

      • ML

        I hope TO’s owners are allowed to build what they want. It will not impact the green space in Reston. Higher density is inevitable given the Metro and demand for modern living. People are being forced out to Loudoun County to buy a home. Folks close to DC and other commercial sites like Tysons Corner and Reston Town Center have no right to lock people out when new residences are being contemplated on private land that has been left fallow for years and years. TO is a dump that does nothing for Reston the way it is. People here may want x,y, and z, but unless they are going to fund their ideas, then developers should be given the ability to build to meet the needs of the free market.

        I also hope the golf course is converted to residential/mixed use. Golf courses are failing left and right-a game of the past. I am all for green spaces-the more the better! It would be great if the government bought the land for park use, but I suspect that government types won’t try to increases taxes and residents would object to increased taxes to pay for the land.

        New residential/retail space would meet the needs of new residents. Developing these spaces would make the area more desirable for many, increase property values for all and have no effect on current green space for residents.

  • John Farrell

    The 60+ Restonians who attended the recent County master plan meeting at Aldrin Elementary overwhelmingly chose garden apartments with ground floor retail and a public gathering space as the appropriate use of the Tall Oaks center.

    • Orlina Tucker

      I’m curious how many of those 60+ were actual TO homeowners/residents, John, do you happen to know if any were?

      • John Farrell

        Yes, many were, though I do not know the exact number. The County planning staff may have a more exact idea. I can’t remember if an attendees address was part of the sign-in form at the meeting.

  • Jane

    When I moved to Reston in ’99, one of the factors was indeed that I could walk to a group of stores and eateries. Having HT, WH and TJ’s nearby are great.. but not quite as great as being able to walk to get fresh fruit, milk etc. I frequent the restaurants that are still there, the cleaners and Paradise nails. Even the vet for my cat’s shots. At the Reston Study meeting, we did have to include our location and there were roughly 10 people I knew from Bentana and one from Oak Springs.. these are people I know; there may have been more. My hope is for stores and restaurants on the main level, and if we must have yet more people invading.. and because of the Metro, this is real.. then they can live above. I did hear from some reliable sources that it’s zoned for five stories. Those of us who live there.. we’ve felt the losses the most and would like an updated center.

    • Orlina Tucker

      Glad to see you’re still fighting the good fight, Jane 🙂

  • LC

    Any word on when the existing businesses will be leaving? I really love the Pho place and go once a week….I will miss it!

    • Karen Goff

      Way, way, way too early to know that. Keep on visiting the Pho place.

  • guest

    So if a high rise complex goes up, what happens to the property values of those at the end of the street?

    • Orlina Tucker

      New housing would ultimately be better for housing prices in the Villa De Espana, the Bentanas and OakSpring clusters, than the currently 75% empty shopping mall. Also, if residential does go in, it will most likely be apartments or condos, so they aren’t really comparable properties to the townhouses.

  • Shelli

    Another Massive Housing Complex Would Be A Mess For Our Small Community And Land Space.
    I Hope They Look At Shopping Space Or If Homes,A Small Timehome Complex Like The Mills
    Of Herndon. Change Has To Come But Hope We See Good Results. This Is A Long Time Coming!

  • Dawn Mutebi

    Well since opinions are like ***holes, everyone’s got one… I’m entitled to say, Tall Oaks Shopping Center would be successful if it were a grouped fast food center like at Chantilly Shopping Center (Rt 28 & Willard). Personally, I would like to see a Sonic, Arby’s, Checkers, Roy Rogers, & Captain D’s. With all the residential, businesses, & transportation hubs close by it would work well. Dang, now I’m hungry…

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