The plan to revive the Lake Anne Village Center, the original heart of Reston, is starting to get some public meat on its bones. In July, Fairfax County selected Republic Land Development to launch a revitalization both of the village center and the Crescent apartment complex that overlooks Lake Anne. Now, Republic has unveiled a set of plans and renderings that look both inviting and realistic, and that were devised with input from retailers, residents and planners of Fairfax’s largest town, with a population of close to 60,000.
Republic also has plans for maintaining affordable housing in the Crescent, a 181-unit complex bought by Fairfax County in 2006 for the express purpose of, well, maintaining affordable housing. When Fairfax put the Crescent on the market last year, residents were alarmed. But David L. Peter, Republic’s president and CEO, said the company will be working with the non-profit Community Preservation and Development Corporation to design replacement housing and assist the current residents who want to stay in the complex, which will also have lower-cost work force housing as part of its 935 planned townhouse and apartment units atop North Shore Drive.
Now, let’s get to the photos. At top is what the finished product should look like, with construction probably not to begin until 2015. One of the chief design ideas is to create a clear visual path from Baron Cameron Avenue all the way through the plaza out to the lake, Peter said. The high-rise office building at the entry point is planned to have a market or grocery on the bottom floor and initially would only be built to three stories, but could become a high-rise as the market permits.
Above is how Republic wants the Lake Anne plaza to look, with a wide area between the two sides, and with 75 more residential units above the new retail in a similar design to the existing plaza. The plan also calls for an amphitheater to the left, as viewed from the angle above, for both movies and live performance.
Above is an overhead view. The buildings in red are new. The buildings that extend north from the Lake Anne Village Center would be built in the current surface parking lot, and a new underground parking lot would be built, to be entered from roughly the same entrance point that exists now on North Shore Drive. A new entrance across the street would go up into the new Crescent complex. Existing buildings that would disappear: the gas station at the corner of North Shore and Village Drive; the convenience mart and the Association of School Business Officials office building in the current village center parking lot and all of the current Crescent apartments.
Peter said the plan is to build 935 units, of which about 160 to 180 will be townhouses, as seen above. About 185 will be affordable housing units and work-force housing. There will be more auto traffic, Peter acknowledged, but that is partly the goal in revitalizing the shopping center, built in 1964 as the first realization of founder Robert E. Simon’s vision of shopping centers surrounded by dense residential development. Simon lives in the Heron House high-rise on Lake Anne and he provided his input into the planning, Peter said.
And this would be the vista from the Crescent, looking down on Lake Anne. An “active seniors” community is planned for part of the new development. The apartment buildings would be condominiums and that land sold to the owners, while the community preservation corporation would lease the affordable housing land, Peter said. The project will “create significantly more affordable housing than exists today on the site,” Peter said. “It will also breathe new life into the gem that Lake Anne represents both for Reston, and in the history of planning.”
The whole project must pass various design, plans and zoning review processes, but Republic is hoping to start moving dirt in the fall of 2015, with completion in eight to 10 years. Fairfax County is hoping that other parcels around Lake Anne also attract redevelopment projects, but for now Republic is taking the lead.