Economic Vision for Lake Anne Coming to Life

Economic Vision for Lake Anne Coming to Life

Survey results presented at the workshop.

Seventy percent of those who responded to the digital and paper surveys distributed in late February and early March by Streetsense, the consulting firm hired by Fairfax County to lead the Lake Anne Economic Visioning Study, did not live, work, or own a business in Lake Anne. However, over 75 percent of the respondents reported visiting Lake Anne at least once a month, 30 percent a few times a month, and nearly 15 percent more than once a week. Streetsense presented these survey findings and others at its Workshop Session at the Fairfax County Reston Community Center Lake Anne, 1609 A Washington Plaza N, Reston, on April 10. 

According to Supervisor Walter Alcorn (D-Hunter Mill), the goal of the county-funded study (at $125,000) is to “develop a market-viable, aspirational economic vision across landowners in the Lake Anne Revitalization Area.”

 “Participation has been excellent; I want to thank the community members that have participated to date,” Alcorn said. “ My hope is that this leads to a consensus economic vision that builds on the historic and unique characteristics. Implementation of an economic vision will depend primarily on decisions made by the respective property owners in the revitalization area.” 

Alcorn welcomed the roughly 50 attendees and the Streetsense team to the workshop. Alcorn was available to answer questions but did not present. According to the materials presented at the workshop, Streetsense received 933 responses in five languages for its digital and paper surveys designed to "gain an understanding of the perspectives of residents, business owners, and visitors of Lake Anne and what they see as challenges and opportunities for Lake Anne." Kathryn Bram of Streetsense is the company's manager for the project. 

According to Fairfax County Planning & Development, the total 2020 population within the Lake Anne Commercial Revitalization District Boundary is 441; the 2025 population estimate is 435.

Streetsense began its effort to create an economic vision for the Lake Anne Commercial Revitalization Area in mid-February with four virtual focus group sessions for Lake Anne residents, businesses, and institutional stakeholders. In late February and early March, the firm released its Stakeholder Online Sentiment Survey.

The final report is planned to be presented in early June. "(It) will identify a strategic position for the area within the competitive landscape and guide future developments," according to Fairfax County Planning & Development Community Revitalization.

Other key findings presented by Streetsense at the workshop were when asked about the community's anchor options, most respondents preferred cultural and arts facilities, activated public spaces, and a grocery store over medical institutions and office technology. 

They tended to agree or express neutrality about the need for structured parking in the area, and they agreed that a broader range of parties should be responsible for Lake Anne's public spaces than is currently the case.

Respondents were divided on the idea of new residential development in the area, with 41 percent agreeing or strongly agreeing and 36 percent disagreeing or strongly disagreeing. Respondents were also split on whether ecological sustainability was more important than historic preservation: 46 percent to 40 percent, with 14 percent neutral or undecided.

Less than 4 percent of those who responded to the survey owned a business in Lake Anne, less than 10 percent worked in Lake Anne, including remotely, and just over 20 percent lived in Lake Anne. 

"Lake Anne is a historic and vibrant center for Reston and Fairfax County, but it is in desperate need of a real refresh," said Fairfax County Board Chairman Jeff McKay (D-At Large) on Friday, April 21. "I look forward to working with Supervisor Alcorn and the community that lives, works, plays, and owns businesses in Lake Anne to shape a vision for the future that will keep Lake Anne a unique and attractive location for generations to come."

Following the survey results, attendees were divided into groups and spent time at each table discussing six topics: business, retail mix, and anchors; parking, brand, and story; asset and infrastructure management; residential density; and accessibility.

Streetsense's next effort, the "Experience Vision Presentation," will take place in mid-May, with the project wrapping up in early June with Streetsense's "Final Vision Presentation."

For more information and updates, visit visioning-study.