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Reston Then and Now: Tall Oaks Village Center

Reston is built on planned village centers. Sometimes they work. Tall Oaks didn’t.

This week on Reston Then and Now we return to the Lake Anne area where Fairfax County’s Historic Imagery Viewer shows us the rise and fall of Tall Oaks Village Center and the plans that indicate how the area hopes to recover.

Like much of Reston, the site was open fields in aerial photography up to 1976. The development opened in 1974 as the smallest of Reston’s five village centers. According to the Washington Business Journal, the location enjoyed a brief golden age with 240,000 square feet of retail by 1990.

But gradually, Tall Oaks faces more modern competition. Between the 1990s and the early 2000s, Reston Town Center, North Point, Spectrum and a range of other retail options expanded throughout North Reston.

The first big blow was losing Giant in 2007, and two replacement stores failed within a year of opening in 2009 and 2011, leaving the location without an anchor tenant since 2011. Curves, Domino’s and 7 Eleven all vacated their locations as well.

But work is underway on a new project to for Tall Oaks. The redevelopment will convert the area into a largely residential neighborhood with 156 homes with more limited retail. The Reston Association recently voted in favor of vacating an easement it held in the Tall Oaks village to facilitate the redevelopment.

For more Reston Then and Now stories, check out our most recent coverage of:

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Reminder: Sign Up for Reston Now Email Subscriptions

Since 2013, Reston Now has been reporting news about the Reston and Herndon areas. Recently, we started providing additional coverage of Great Falls.

Keep up with our coverage by signing up for our email subscriptions.

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Honorees Unveiled for 2019 Best of Reston Awards

The finalists were recently announced for the 2019 Best of Reston Awards.

A reception hosted by Cornerstones, the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce and SOS International LLC (SOSi) on Tuesday (Feb. 19) unveiled the honorees.

An awards gala will take place on April 4 to celebrate the honorees:

SOSi presented Cornerstones with a $50,000 check at the event. The community nonprofit also received a $100,000 check from Bob and Lisa Van Hoecke.

Started nearly three decades ago, the annual Best of Reston Awards recognize individuals, businesses and community groups that have helped Reston and Herndon through philanthropy and volunteering.

The gala on April 4 is set to be held at the Hyatt Regency Reston (1800 Presidents Street).

Photo via Chip McCrea Photography

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Photos: Locals Capture Dogs, Rulers Spotted in Snow

People in Reston and Herndon have been capturing the progress of today’s snowstorm through pictures. 

Locals put their photography skills to use for the snow-covered landscape, with some catching pets and cross-country skiing on camera.

Many residents in Herndon and Reston brought rulers outside to help forecasters and fellow social media users follow along with the increasing snowfall. (Herndon saw around 4.5 inches of total snow accumulation, according to the National Weather Service.)

Photos via Marjorie Copson, Katie Butler, @simplylovinglife2019/Instagram, @cjhannas/Twitter and @greatfallsva/Instagram

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Snowstorm Sparks Closures, Altered Schedules Around County

Winter weather today means not just kids are enjoying a snow day. Several offices and services are closed or have altered schedules today as a mix of snow, rain and sleet hits Fairfax County.

Transportation 

The Fairfax Connector is running on a Saturday schedule today.

Metro trains will run every 12 minutes, while buses are on a “severe snow service plan” with only limited service on major roadways.

Fairfax County

Fairfax County government offices are closed, along with golf courses and county parks.

The Fairfax County Circuit Court, General District Court and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court are closed as well.

The county’s Planning Commission won’t meet tonight.

Reston

The Reston Animal HospitalReston Community Center and Reston Association offices including the Walker Nature Center and Central Services Facility are closed.

The open house for Lake House for today has been canceled.

The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce canceled its events for today.

Herndon

HealthWorks in Herndon will be closed.

If you live in Herndon, don’t expect your recycling to get picked up today. Mayor Lisa Markel posted on Facebook that recycling will be collected on Thursday instead.

Items from the Town of Herndon’s previously planned meetings for the Architectural and Heritage Preservation review boards are now moved to the March 20 public hearing.

The Town of Herndon’s offices and the Herndon Community Center are closed.

Photo via @billwhe67/Twitter

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Pet Care Service ‘Woofie’s’ Set to Open Franchise in Reston

(Updated at 9:35 p.m. on Feb. 21) Woofie’s, a pet care service that offers a mobile pet salon, pet sitting and dog walking, plans to open one of its two upcoming franchise locations in Reston.

The Facebook page for the Reston location says it is “coming soon” to 1897 Preston White Drive. The spot is right off of the Dulles Toll Road and close to Lake Thoreau.

“We are shooting for an opening date in early April,” Renee Ventrice, the vice president of Marketing for Woofie’s Pet Ventures, told Reston Now.

The second franchise location is set for Leesburg.

Established by pet owners in 2004, Woofie’s currently serves locals in Ashburn, Pomotac Station and Lansdowne with more than 70 pet sitters and walkers and seven mobile pet vans, according to its website.

Photos via Woofies/Facebook, Google Maps

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Thai Restaurant Now Open in North Point Village Center

Finn Thai Restaurant and Bar officially opened in the North Point Village Center on Presidents’ Day (Feb. 18).

Finn Thai fills the former Payless spot at 1466 North Point Village Center. The spot has been empty since the discounted footwear retailer left in 2017.

The menu includes curry dishes, noodles, fried rice and vegetarian selections, along with a kid’s menu and wine selection. According to the restaurant’s Facebook page, selected steaks are half-priced on Mondays just for the Reston location.

Finn Thai has two other restaurants — one in Purcellville and the second one in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

Photo via Finn Thai Reston/Facebook

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Reston Then and Now: The Old Farmhouse at Hunter Mill Crossroads

Normally, Reston Then and Now covers places that only exist as forests and fields in the earliest aerial photography in Fairfax County’s Historic Imagery Viewer. But this week, the intersection of Hunter Mill and Hunter Station roads has a history that predates that aerial photography.

During the Civil War, the intersection was a major crossroads for Union and Confederate troops moving through the area. According to a historical marker at the site, Confederate Brig. Gen. Wade Hampton’s cavalry brigade passed through the site in 1862 en route to Antietam in Maryland. Several Union and Confederate generals are recorded to have passed the site throughout the war.

The intersection was a critical junction of the railroad, a north-south road, water resources from Difficult Run and farmlands to provide food for troops. Several skirmishes took place in the nearby area, including the killing of Rev. John Read from Falls Church. Read was an abolitionist and supplied information on Confederate activities to the Union. He was kidnapped in a raid and executed in the forest just southeast of the crossroads by Confederate guerillas lead by Col. John S. Mosby.

The area around Hunter Mill road was its own town at one time, called Hunter’s Village, which sprung up around the route of the Washington and Old Dominion rail line. The locality contained a post office, a general store, a train station and a military hospital. The station itself was a bare-bones facility — a flag stop where passengers could step out to flag down a train.

The farmhouse at the site may have been built in 1935, and by 1937 it shows up in the first aerial photography of Fairfax.

Until recently, a little house at the intersection of Hunter Mill and Hunter Station roads stood mostly isolated — all that was left of the old Hunter’s Village — with some other properties dotting the surrounding area. Passenger service on the line ended in 1951. Freight service ended in 1968 and the railroad was abandoned.

By then, new subdivisions and a new power station started to encroach onto the site. The farmhouse was squeezed between growth spreading out from Reston to the west and Tysons to the East.

The farmhouse on the site was demolished late last year to make way for a new residential development. The site remains a popular stop on the bike and pedestrian Washington and Old Dominion Trail.

For more Reston Then and Now stories, check out our recent coverage of:

Photo via Google Maps

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Reston, Herndon and Fairfax County Presidents’ Day Closures

Presidents’ Day is coming up on Monday (Feb. 18). Whether or not you plan to spend the day remembering past U.S. presidents, check this list if you’re planning to visit government facilities around Fairfax County.

Fairfax County 

Fairfax County’s libraries and courts will be closed.

The county’s public schools will be closed.

The Fairfax Connector will be running on a holiday weekday schedule and some routes won’t operate.

Colvin Run Mill Historic Site will be closed, while Frying Pan Farm Park will remain open.

County trash and recycling collection will not have any changes to the collection schedule next week.

Reston

The Reston Association offices, including the Central Services Facility and Nature House, will be closed.

Reston Community Center will be open.

Herndon

Town of Herndon government offices will be closed.

Refuse will not be collected and will resume service on Tuesday (Feb. 19).

The Herndon Community Center will be open from 6 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Classes will be held as scheduled.

The Herndon Centennial Golf Course will be open from 8 a.m. to until dark.

DMV and more

All Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) customer service centers will be closed.

Metrorail will be running on a weekend schedule, while Metrobus service will operate on a Saturday supplemental schedule, with some late-night trips canceled on select routes.

Speaking of closed offices, Reston Now will be on a break as well on Monday.

File photo

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DC-based Fitness Gym Arriving Early March in RTC West

D.C.-based fitness chain Solidcore plans to open its doors in about three weeks at RTC West.

Solidcore plans to open its Reston studio at 12100 Sunset Hills Blvd on March 9, according to an email yesterday (Feb. 14) to potential customers.

The opening is part of a larger expansion of Solidcore, with more than a dozen new locations slated to open in the next year, along with ones in Arlington and D.C.

Started in D.C. in 2013, Solidcore offers pilates classes, along with a boot camp for full-body workouts. The fitness chain has more than 40 locations across the country, including nearby ones in Tysons Corner and the Mosaic District.

The schedule for the grand opening is set to get posted on Feb. 25.

Photo via Solidcore

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Baskin-Robbins No Longer Scooping Ice Cream on Elden Street

Baskin-Robbins is no longer dishing out ice cream at its store on Elden Street in Herndon.

A spokesman for Dunkin’ Brands, which owns the ice cream chain and franchises Dunkin’ Donuts, confirmed that the shop at 1258 Elden Street in Herndon has closed. He did not answer questions about when the store shuttered its doors or why.

“We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause to our loyal guests,” according to a statement from BaskinRobbins. “We recommend guests visit our location at 13344 Franklin Farm Road in Herndon.”

Baskin-Robbins also has a location in Reston at 1446 Reston Pkwy.

Image via Google Maps

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Reston Youth Triathlon Set to Return for Ninth Annual Fundraiser

The yearly triathlon just for kids is back.

The ninth annual Reston Youth Triathlon will take place Sunday, May 12, at the South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive).

The triathlon includes athletes swimming in the heated Ridge Heights pool, biking near South Lakes High School and then running on Reston Association paths before finishing at the school’s stadium.

The triathlon is open to kids ages 6 to 15 with different distances for the triathlon’s three parts based on age groups. Registration opened on Jan. 16.

The fundraising “Be Amyazing!” triathlon began three years after “Amy’s Amigos” was founded in 2008 to honor Amy Boyle, who was battling brain cancer.

In past years, the triathlon has raised $125,000 for the Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation, which helps social entrepreneurs and small organizations.

The event is coordinated in conjunction with the CORE Foundation.

Photo via Core Foundation

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Reston Students Win National Award at Junior Theater Festival

Students from a private performing arts school in Reston recently took home prizes at the 2019 Junior Theater Festival.

The festival, which ran from Jan. 18-20 in Atlanta, celebrated student-driven musical theater programs. In addition to watching students’ performances, the more than 6,600 students and educators were able to partake in interactive workshops led by Broadway and West End professionals.

The Lopez Studios Inc. Performing Arts Preparatory School (11425 S. Isaac Newton Square) won a Freddie G Award for Excellence in Ensemble Work.

Three students from Lopez Studios — Jillian Felder, Victoria Felder and Marisa Lopez — received call-backs for future Broadway Junior shoots that will be taped this summer in New York City. The shoots will be “how-to” choreography videos for soon-to-be-released Broadway Junior musicals.

Marisa Lopez and Marcus Pennisi were some of the students named to the Junior Theater Festival All-Stars. They performed in the All-Stars song during the festival’s closing ceremony.

Students from the school also performed “Seusical Jr.” — the musical version for kids based on the books by Dr. Seuss.

This isn’t the first time Lopez Studios has won awards at Junior Theater Festivals. Students from the school have won awards or made it to the final call-back every year of the festival going back to 2014.

Photo by James Barker Photography

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Rowing Fitness Studio Team Talks Plans, Parking for New RTC Spot

A new rowing-focused studio in D.C. is eyeing Reston Town Center for its next location.

DC Row’s General Manager Brittany Brunch told Reston Now that the low-impact, full-body workout DC Row offers will be an appealing option for people working high-stress jobs, in addition to people already focused on exercise. “Northern Virginia generally has a pretty high fitness index,” Brunch said.

Like Reston residents, Reston Town Center has been established for a while, Jordan Newsome, one of the studio’s executives, told Reston Now. “We want to bring something new to them so that they come back out a little bit more [to Reston Town  Center].”

While Newsome and Brunch wouldn’t reveal the Reston location, they did say that locals can expect a pop-up near Reston Town Center before the grand opening.

The Reston location will offer similar classes to the ones currently at the D.C. location (790 Maine Avenue SW). Reston’s DC Row will cater to specialized groups, such as opportunities for corporate businesses to enjoy happy hours and gift bags after the classes and more time slots during the day for moms and pregnant women.

Like the D.C. spot, Brunch and Newsome said they want to get local kids involved. “Rowing is a collegiate sport,” Newsome said. “There are a lot of scholarships that go untouched every year.”

The controversial paid parking at Reston Town Center doesn’t have Newsome too worried.

“We are no stranger to paid parking,” Newsome said as he looked out of the window toward Main Avenue SW “The experience that we offer makes people want to come back, and they kind of seek out a way to get back. For as far as parking in Reston goes, I think it shouldn’t have too much of an effect on our business.”

Brunch added that DC Row is looking into subsidizing parking for customers at the Reston Town Center location.

No matter where DC Row goes, one principle stands out: “We really want to be apart of the community,” Newsome said.

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Herndon Planning Commission Reviews Koko FitClub’s Comeback

The team behind the Koko FitClub that recently closed in the Fox Mill Shopping Center has plans in the works to return to Herndon.

Right before Koko FitClub closed at 2537 John Milton Drive at the end of January, Owner Kavitha Maddi told Reston Now that the gym is slated to open at the new location in the spring.

Now, Maddi and Yogender Rakasi want to bring Koko FitClub back to Herndon at 281 Sunset Park Drive, the former spot of Saigon Pho, a Vietnamese restaurant.

Herndon’s Planning Commission took up the proposal at its meeting last night (Feb. 11). The fitness club is seeking approval of a special exception to meet zoning requirements for the area.

The staff report notes that parking has been a concern for businesses at Sunset Park Drive, adding that a cap on the number of clients that can use the gym between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays to ensure “it does not create a burden on parking that is any greater than the by-right use of a restaurant.”

The “digital gym” offers a three-step Koko Smartraining System, individualized coaching, personalized nutrition, 30-minute strength conditioning and 15-minute HIIT cardio training.

More than 60 locations span 20 states and Canada. The recent closures in Herndon and Reston have left Koko FitClub without any locations in Virginia.

Image via Google Maps

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