In a year that is already chock full of milestones with the opening of the long-planned Metro Silver Line station, the community of Reston is finding plenty more reason to celebrate. This year the town celebrates not only the 50th anniversary of its founding, but the 100th birthday of the man who played a vital role in realizing Reston as a planned community: Robert E. Simon.
What makes such an anniversary so important to a town such as Reston is the fact that in the 1950s and 60s when planned communities were first being introduced into the country, nobody believed the concept would produce such magnificent results.
“There was a real pioneering spirit among the first people to move there because it was so different from anything else at that time,” said Chuck Veatch, president of the Charles A. Veatch Co., a commercial real estate company, to The Washington Post. “Reston was surrounded by rural Northern Virginia and the housing types were conservative. Building townhomes in the country was pretty unusual.”
In 1961, Simon bought the land that would eventually be Reston from a local distillery and set about designing a community that people of all backgrounds could call home. Reston began auspiciously as a small community built around the Lake Anne plaza. The first homes in the town were townhouses, which were a rare sight at the time, and a high-rise building. Soon, under Simon’s direction, the community would develop into one of the most desirable places to live throughout the country.
“I thought it would be a collection of all the wonderful things that I experienced, and that’s what it turned out to be,” explained Simon to WJLA News.
Today, it is evident that the planned community is an idea that really took off, especially for Reston. The town is home to about 60,000 residents and employs approximately 50,000 people within its limits. The motto of the town is “live, work and play,” and with a wide array of single-family homes and a growing number of condos and access to public transportation, Reston seems to have something for everyone.
Within the next few years, the population is expected to climb to 75,000. Although the initial development is nearly complete, the bustling community is now embarking on a number of redevelopment projects with a particular aim to accommodate home owners who want to live near the newly opened transportation stations.
While redevelopment is often a scary word for those already established in such a wonderful community, it’s something that even founder Simon believes is necessary for growth and prosperity.
“Twenty years ago, density was a dirty word, but now people understand that if you want open space you get it by creating density in other places,” said Simon to The Washington Post. “Over the next 25 to 50 years I would love to see the village centers and shopping plazas redesigned with high-rise buildings. I’m very impressed with the development around the Silver Line Metro station and think Reston could use more of that.”
If you are interested in learning more about available condos in Reston, or anywhere in the Washington, DC metro area, please feel free to give me a call today.