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by Fatimah Waseem December 21, 2017 at 11:30 am 3 Comments

The county has formally accepted redevelopment plans for Lake Anne Fellowship House, an affordable housing senior community on North Shore Drive.

Fellowship Square Foundation and the Community Preservation and Development Corporation envision the proposal will enhance senior housing residential opportunities, diversity housing types and revitalize Lake Anne Village Center.

“All existing affordable housing units will be replaced in a new, more efficient modern building with better amenities to serve its senior population. This proposal remains true to Robert E. Simon’s vision to provide communities comprised of a diverse residential population in a sustainable environment,” according to a proposal filed with the county last month.

The new plans call for replacing all 240 apartment units in the existing 1970s-era facility. Amenities include a social hall, crafts room, fitness room, wellness center, a game room, two plazas and community gardens.

The remainder of the property will include up to 74 townhouses, diversifying the types of housing and serving as a transition to the established townhouse community to the west, the proposal said.  Townhouses will have garages and surface parking for visitors.

New residents will access the buildings through North Shore Drive. Surface parking and an underground parking garage will offer 92 parking spaces.

Residents would remain in their current living space until the new facility is complete, and after they are transferred the old buildings would be destroyed. The portion of the property left unused would be sold for residential development, and the proceeds from the sale would help support the cost of the project.

The collaboration between Fellowship Square and CPDC comes after several years of on-again, off-again plans for redevelopment of the property. Most recently, in 2013, the foundation had an agreement with Cafritz Interests and Novus Development for new housing on the site. That effort fell through by September 2014, which the foundation said was “due to our inability to advance our land use proposal in a manner that will produce the best possible outcome for our residents.”

For more information, visit www.fellowshipsquare.org or www.cpdc.org.

Renderings via Handout/Grimm and Parker

by Dave Emke July 18, 2017 at 5:00 pm 16 Comments

Restonians know how historic Lake Anne Plaza is.

Now, that historic significance has been made official by the National Park Service, as the Lake Anne Village Center Historic District has been named to the National Register of Historic Places.

Lake Anne Village Center, the first village of the planned community of Reston, was constructed between 1963 and 1967. According to a press release from the Reston Historic Trust and Museum:

[Lake Anne Village Center] is considered to be nationally significant in the areas of both social history and architecture.

As the first village of the planned community of Reston, Virginia, it is part of the nation’s first zoned planned unit community. Additionally, it is socially significant because it articulates its founder’s seven goals, as well as Mr. [Bob] Simon’s insistence on an integrated community in the Commonwealth of Virginia prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Lake Anne Village Center’s influences derive from the English Garden City movement, as well as European plazas and the townhouses of urban areas of the northeastern United States. The complex, designed by the New York architectural firm of Conklin Rossant, features Brutalist-influenced architecture tempered by its human scale and medieval elements. For its era, the complex presented a shockingly modern design in a Northern Virginia dominated by single-family Colonial Revival homes.

Lake Anne Village Center showcased the new town movement, with social, architectural and land-use development innovations — elements internationally recognized today for influencing subsequent planned developments in the U.S. and around the world.

Lake Anne Village Center was named a Fairfax County Historic District in 1983. In March, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources included the Lake Anne Village Center Historic District in the Virginia Landmarks Register.

The American Institute of Certified Planners celebrated Lake Anne Village Center’s status as the nation’s first Planned Unit Community zone in 2002, when it designated Simon a “Planning Pioneer.”

[Simon] introduced urban living to the American suburban countryside at Lake Anne Village Center, created the nation’s first Planned Unit Community zone, and founded a community of international renown dedicated to social openness, citizen participation, and the dignity of the individual.

Elizabeth Didiano, executive director of the Reston Historic Trust and Museum, said the new federal designation will “bring awareness to the property’s significance and encourage property owners to preserve their property through historically sensitive improvements.”

“Property owners within the historic district may also qualify for Federal or Virginia Rehabilitation Tax Credits (RTC) through the Virginia Department of Historic Resources for substantial improvements to the exterior of their buildings,” Didiano said.

She said the federal listing will not provide any further restrictions on property owners to use private funds for development.

Images courtesy Reston Historic Trust and Museum

by Dave Emke January 30, 2017 at 2:45 pm 50 Comments

Lake Anne Dock Project/Reston Association

(This article was edited on Jan. 31 at 1:45 p.m. to better contextualize a statement made by CEO Cate Fulkerson.)

No public hearing on the proposed Lake Anne dock project was agreed upon by Reston Association Board of Directors at its meeting last week, following spirited discussion about the plan.

Bridget Hill of the Fairfax County Office of Community Revitalization addressed the board with a number of ideas for the future of the Lake Anne Village Center, which were the results of a 2015 community charrette. Ideas ranged from enhanced lighting and concrete pavers to the addition of kiosks or even a floating restaurant.

Garrett Skinner, RA’s new director for capital improvements, made his suggestion to the board — to proceed with a direct replacement of the dock and set a public hearing for community input on the future phase of the project.

Multiple board members took umbrage with the second part of that recommendation. Director Lucinda Shannon said she could not understand why discussion of another potential capital improvement plan would be scheduled while others have already been placed on hold.

“Let’s take care of what we already have, and not keep adding more,” Shannon said.

Shannon was referring to the Pony Barn and Central Services projects, which are both on hold until the review of the Lake House project is complete.

CEO Cate Fulkerson said the board was approached by representatives of the Lake Anne Merchants Association and Lake Anne of Reston Condominium Association regarding the project.

“We wanted to make sure the board had an opportunity to learn about the charrette and have a public input session before you decided what you wanted to do,” she said. “We’re going to move ahead with the other piece, because it’s really important to maintain what we have, but this was a community request.”

Direct replacement of the existing dock, which RA Parks and Recreation Director Larry Butler said has had no major refurbishment in about 20 years, is scheduled to cost about $400,000. Those funds have already been allocated. Additional changes would require review by RA’s Design Review Board and Fairfax County’s Architectural Review Board, which considers changes to Historic Overlay Districts such as Lake Anne Plaza.

When Eve Thompson, the board’s secretary, joined the conversation, Shannon cut her off by saying she has a “serious conflict of interests” regarding the project. Thompson and her husband are Lake Anne residents and own the Lake Anne Coffee House. Board President Ellen Graves asked Shannon to “be respectful” of her fellow directors.

“The fact that I own a coffee house and an apartment, I don’t believe is a conflict,” Thompson said. “I’m a community member who has an opinion about the dock.”

Thompson asked the board why they would not consider the opportunity of improving a facility when it arises, as they would with a baseball park.

“[Do we replace an amenity] exactly as it is, or do you look at it and say, ‘Let’s improve it?'” she said.

Fulkerson said the issue was being brought to the board’s attention only so they could learn about the ideas on the table and determine what they want to do going forward.

“I want to be respectful of the fact that you’ve had a member request,” Fulkerson said. “We just need to know what to do next. That’s why we’re here.”

Director Ray Wedell said it was “crazy” that the board was spending so much time talking about the project at its January meeting. He said with as many as four new directors arriving in this year’s election, it would make more sense to allow the new board to make such a decision.

“This is an important project, and I’m not going to rush in and say, ‘This is going to look cool,’ and ‘Wow, wouldn’t Lake Anne look neat?'” he said. “I don’t know why we’re spending time putting an agenda together that goes till midnight on stuff we don’t have to deal with right now.”

No motion was made on advancing the project.

Timeline chart via Reston Association

by Karen Goff July 20, 2015 at 11:00 am 12 Comments

Pet MACHas your pet joined the raw food movement?

PetMAC at Lake Anne Plaza is inviting you to try — and possibly win a year’s supply of raw pet food.

The pet store is participating in the National Raw Pet Food Challenge.The challenge asks contestants who have never fed their pet raw food before to feed them raw food for 30 days as their main source of nutrition.

That means no grains, no kibble, nothing with any chemical preservatives or that is highly processed. At the end of the 30 day period, contestants will submit a video detailing how Raw Food affected the health of their pet during the challenge, says PetMAC owner Cindy Williams.

The winner will be chosen at random from all the videos to receive a FREE year’s supply of Answers Pet Food, up to a $2,000 value.

All contestants will receive a 25 percent discount off Answers Pet Food, Raw Goat’s Milk and Fish Stock at PetMAC Lake Anne for the duration of the contest, said Williams.

The goal of this contest is to educate pet owners about the health benefits of a natural pet diet and to increase the lifespan and health of our pets, she said.

“Processed foods have created an obesity crisis for our pets,” said Williams. “By getting our pets back to basics and feeding them what they are naturally designed to eat, we hope to reverse the damage caused by highly-processed, inferior-quality foods that permeate the pet food industry.”

Williams said that benefits to a raw diet include improved digestion, healthier skin and coat with less shedding, reduced allergy symptoms, and better weight control, among others.

Want to enter? Sign no later than Aug. 7 at the store at 11412 Washington Plaza West or contact [email protected]

by Karen Goff August 6, 2014 at 4:30 pm 12 Comments

Classic Reston banner

Classic Reston is a biweekly feature sponsored by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce that highlights businesses, places and people with deep roots in Reston.

As Fairfax County planners begin to re-evaluate — and possibly re-imagine Reston’s village centers — they may look to what did and did not work with the original plans for the new town.

Reston founder Robert E. Simon envisioned Reston with seven European-style village centers where residents could gather, kids could play and shops could do business. In the mid-1960s, as America’s suburban car culture was building and strip malls and indoor malls were flourishing, Simon’s idea of a central plaza was unique.

And so in the mid-1960s, Lake Anne Village Center was born, followed by Hunters Woods Village Center in 1972. Later village centers in Reston followed a more traditional strip-mall footprint, but they may be rearranged in the future depending on the outcome of this latest comprehensive plan amendment.

Original Hunters Woods Village Center/Credit: Northern Virginia Digital ArchivesSimon, who at age 100 lives in Heron House overlooking Lake Anne Plaza, still believes that village centers should be the hallmark of Reston. He says that the Reston Master Plan Phase II is a crucial time for Reston’s future and he would like to see

“The village centers are my chief passion, of course,” says Simon. “The reason for the incredible reception (of Reston) when it was built was because of the plazas. I would like to see all the village centers look like Lake Anne, with plazas surrounded by density. Density IS coming to Lake Anne now.”

Simon is referring to Lake Anne Development Partners’ revitalization plan, chosen by the county in 2013, that will bring 60,000 square feet of new retail space, up to 82,500 square feet of office space, and 1,037 residential units near the plaza. The plaza itself will not be altered as it has a historic preservation designation. However, it is expected that the interior of the plaza will see a boost (and some cosmetic work) as more retail and residential is built around it.

The redevelopment is expected to get underway in mid-2015. It will take about 10 years to phase in all developments, Republic officials said.

Republic’s plan was selected by the county after years of studies, discussions and charrettes on ways to revitalize Lake Anne. Lake Anne was once home to a supermarket, a library, a child care center, a coffee house and other retail necessities. But though the lakefront setting was attractive, as the years went on, it proved difficult to get many Restonians out of their cars and running errands by foot.

It was a similar story at Hunters Woods, minus the lake views. The original Hunters Woods Village Center was designed “oriented towards people not automobiles,” according to an early marketing brochure. Some of the more stable tenants over the first 10 years: Drug Fair, Safeway and Baskin-Robbins. Others that came and went: Bangkok West, Big Daddy’s restaurant, La Gazelle, Ryder’s, Pizza Inn, the Seafood Emporium and the Alpenhaus Cafe. Fritzbe’s was a popular restaurant there for 14 years, from 1980 to 1994.

But it did not become the village gathering spot once envisioned. By 1979,  Martha Pennino, Reston’s rep on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, said the way the center was built was “simply not conducive to good business. People go to the liquor store and the Safeway, and then leave,” the Washington Post reported.

By 1997, the center had been sold several times and a new plan was submitted to the county. The plan called for tearing down the entire 114,000-square-foot center and building a new one in its place.

The “new” Hunters Woods, now 16 years old, now faces the parking lot. Just like Simon was trying to avoid.

Photo of original Hunters Woods Village Center/Credit: Northern Virginia Digital Archives

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