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RA Likely to Reaffirm Stance on Tall Oaks’ Future

by Karen Goff — May 26, 2015 at 9:30 am 1,122 15 Comments

Total Rehab has moved from Tall Oaks Village CenterBefore the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors votes in June on the final changes to Phase 2 of Reston’s Master Plan, Reston Association’s Board of Directors wants to ensure that language is in place to allow Tall Oaks Village Center to undergo significant changes.

RA has a motion on its agenda for this week’s regular Board of Directors meeting whether to “reaffirm or change the Association’s original position requesting that the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors delete Tall Oaks Village Center from the list of Village Centers and added to the list of Convenience Centers thereby allowing it to be redeveloped to residential and convenience center uses.”

RA formally voted in February to change Tall Oaks to convenience center designation.

The 40-year-old village center has not been a vibrant retail center for several years and is only about 13 percent occupied. In December, Tall Oaks was sold to the Jefferson Apartment Group (JAG), which plans to redevelop the location as 154 condos and townhomes and about 8,500 square feet of retail.

Meanwhile, the latest draft of the Reston Master Plan Phase 2, which the Fairfax County Planning Commission recommended for approval in mid-May, suggests  removing of the requirement for Reston’s village centers to undergo comprehensive plan amendments in order to redevelop.

The draft also adds language for Tall Oaks to recognize that the redevelopment plan may include a significantly reduced non-residential component.

Other convenience centers in Reston include the former Reston Visitors Center that RA is seeking to purchase, the Soapstone convenience center, Sunrise Valley convenience center and the Home Depot shopping center.

A convenience center designation for Tall Oaks would make it easier for developers to proceed without having to preserve existing retail space. JAG representatives said at April community meetings that there was virtually no interest from retail tenants to move to the space as is now.

Many residents maintain that Tall Oaks could return to life if it had the right management. Some have started an online petition to maintain a balance of retail and residential at Tall Oaks.

  • Ricky Spanish

    I think the RA should also consider purchasing the Tall Oaks Village Center from the Jefferson Apartment Group. They need to make sure the price is inflated, but JAG can throw in some feel good monies on the back-end.

    • JCSuperstar

      Your humorous comment may be challenged if and when RA reaches that point where they need to decide to purchase the Reston National Golf Course.

      The County assessed value at the moment is $4,550,810. What do you think the owner (and her/his backers) is going to ask for a selling price?

      This will test the will of that RA board in the future, as well as the members. The Tetra purchase taught some important lessons.

      • Ming the Merciless

        “You can win an election by lying to stupid people” — a lesson that has remained valid since ancient times.

  • Ming the Merciless

    Many residents maintain that Tall Oaks could return to life if it had the right management.

    Wonder how they think that’s going to work.

    1. The existing management will do what the petitioners want instead of benefiting enormously from redevelopment because… what exactly?
    2. The plaza would be put under new management that would do what the petitioners want instead of benefiting enormously from redevelopment because… what exactly?

    • FULL TIME BOJANGLER

      So the residents of Tall Oaks are experts in leasing & managing commercial real estate? I’m sure the evil developers are laughing at them.

      • Ming the Merciless

        Many nearby residents also maintain that the Redskins could win the Super Bowl… if it had the right management… that the Iraqi army could win a battle against poorly-armed ISIS rabble… if it had the right management… that Baltimore could become a hotbed of high-tech innovation… if it had the right management… that socialized medicine could be affordable and effective… if it had the right management…

        There is no end to the progressive dreams that can come true if we try harder, with more money, and the right people in charge, comrades!

        • FULL TIME BOJANGLER

          But Ming, new townhomes will make the old townhomes look like garbage.

  • Greg

    #doomed. That center has been in decline for decades. New “management” is not going to revive it.

    • Ricky Spanish

      The location is terrible.. We used to drive over there for lunch, because my boss liked a restaurant there (I didn’t argue, free lunch). But I never went over there after work hours, why bother too far and there were better places in RTC.

      • Wings!!

        A Hooters would do absolute wonders for Tall Oaks.
        #HootersForReston

        • restonresident

          Even the fine cuisine at Hooters would not save Tall Oaks. LOL
          Slash and Burn and rebuild with some high end condos

  • Just another RA serf

    I share the #doomed thought.

    More importantly, the RA Board process here was horrific. Issue raised and decided in a matter of minutes in a single RA Board meeting.

    No study by RA staff or committees (maybe the DRB would have had a constructive take on it).

    No community meetings on this or any other part of the Reston plan revision.

    Not even an opportunity for member input on the Tall Oaks proposal at the Board meeting.

    No outreach to the Tall Oaks neighborhood on how they might be better served, even by Eve Thompson, the area RA rep. Oh, yeah, she has business interests at Lake Anne that might suffer from a robust Tall Oaks center.

    Shudda known.

    • JCSuperstar

      I’m sorry you must be Terry, right?

      The County, RA and the DRB held a number of community meetings.

      Other than the DRB getting involved again, when that time arises in the future, what would you want RA to tell the County? Just curious.

      • Just another RA serf

        Terry Maynard? Nope.

        Although the county had several meetings of a more generic nature, I sure don’t recall any RA meetings discussing Tall Oaks before the RA vote to make it a “convenience center.” In fact, the Board didn’t even take a formal vote on the change, just a
        “consensus” that the village center should become a convenience center.
        Et voila!

        And that’s different than the POST-decision RA, DRB, and RPZ information meetings on the new owner’s proposal. Take this, sucka!

        Still think it’s #doomed. I can’t see a village center succeeding there myself.

        Just the same, it would be nice to included in the decision process once in awhile. You know, just because we live here and pay assessment fees and for some unknown reason continue to expect the RA Board to listen to and represent our wishes, not theirs or their attorneys’.

        • JCSuperstar

          Well… there was plenty of time for public comment (to the county and RA) since late last year. Don’t know where you were. Regardless, what would you tell RA to do? Do you want RA to cut down the majority of trees along Wiehle to make the center more visible?

          The consensus (county, community, RA) appears to be favoring making Tall Oaks more residential, with some retail.

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