Reston 2020 Outlines Alternative for Tall Oaks Village Center

Total Rehab has moved from Tall Oaks Village CenterAdvocacy group Reston 2020 is offering a suggestion on how the planned redevelopment at Tall Oaks Village Center could better preserve green space and add more retail to serve the neighborhood.

Tall Oaks Village Center is planned for redevelopment by new owner Jefferson Apartment Group (JAG). JAG is planning to make the center mostly residential, with 156 residential units (garden-style condos, townhouses and two-over-two townhouses) and up to 7,000 square foot of retail on the site of the nearly empty 70,000-square-foot village center at Wiehle Avenue and North Shore Drive.

JAG tweaked its design last spring after citizens said they were disappointed in the early plan for only about 3,000 square foot of retail.

Reston 2020 is among the citizens groups that thinks it should be tweaked more.

“The essence of the alternative proposal is the re-constituting the residential property there (more condos, fewer townhomes) to still permit the full allotment of allowable dwelling units while also creating about 49,000 square feet of retail and a much larger green space/plaza,” Reston 2020 Co-Chair Terry Maynard wrote in a letter to Reston Association, which will be discussing Tall Oaks at its monthly meeting on Thursday.

Reston 2020 points out that a similar approach of residential-over-retail redevelopment is being taken in Arlington.

“In short, Reston 20/20 believes that a true village center is viable at the Tall Oaks location and offers at least the beginning of alternative concept to achieve that end,” wrote Maynard.

Reston 2020 says “the so-called village center is crammed with housing and asphalt. It does not in any sense of the County’s Comprehensive Plan, meet the criteria for a Reston ‘village center.’ ”

Reston 2020 says that a new vision could be achieved by

  • Scrapping the so-called “2 over 2” townhomes (42 dwelling units)
  • Not building the row of townhouses closest to the village center entrance (8 units)
  • Not building the proposed small amount of retail space (less than 10,000 GSF), less than currently is operating at the shopping center.

Reston 2020 would like to a see more condos and a much larger central green space, with additional underground parking for the condo buildings.

See the full report on Reston 2020’s website.

At meetings last spring, many Tall Oaks-area residents were upset that the plans are for more residences without giving retail another try. JAG said at that time there was virtually no interest by retailers in moving to the site, which has poor road visibility and has been suffering for more than a decade, after additional retail options have opened on Reston Parkway and at Plaza America.

Said Reston 2020: “We are well aware that JAG has insisted that retail at this location is infeasible because of the proximity of retail shopping centers within several miles. While it has repeated this statement on numerous occasions, it has yet to provide a market study that demonstrates that conclusion. It simply asserts it.”

Another citizens group, Concerned Citizens of Tall Oaks, also has an alternative plan.

JAG’s plan is scheduled to go before the Fairfax County Planning Commission May 6.

Photo: Empty storefront at Tall Oaks/file photo

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