Reston is a community 15 miles from Washington, DC, first planned in 1964. In 1990, Sasaki provided landscape architecture for the first phase of Reston Town Center in association with RTKL. The center set the standard for pedestrian-oriented town centers at the heart of many new communities that followed in the United States. Subsequently, Sasaki provided planning and landscape architecture for additional phases of development which continue to today. The challenge with the work has been to make a flexible plan for a new urban environment that creates value and evolves over time, accommodating higher densities and an increasingly mixed-use program. Sasaki's focus on place-making in the design of the urban landscape and in the master plans for subsequent phases creates a uniquely desirable place that now serves as the downtown for Northern Virginia. Reston's unequivocal success illustrates the value that can be created in a high-density, mixed-use, and distinctly urban environment. Retail, office, hotel, and restaurant space lease at a rate 20% higher than the same Class A uses in other nearby areas. Residential towers were marketed at a premium of 25% per square foot and were 90% occupied within 11 months of completion.
The central organizing element for the town center is Market Street. Eight blocks of cars, parallel parking, sidewalks, and street trees offers the scale, density, and a variety of uses consistent with that of a major American city. The public domain is further defined by a sequence of open spaces, each of distinctly different design, which are located at two-block intervals along Market Street. These spaces include Fountain Square, which is the urban center and focus of community events, as well as less formal green parks that serve the surrounding residential uses. Fountain Square is the focus for civic events, making Reston Town Center the symbolic heart of Reston and surrounding communities. The walkable design of the town center has succeeded in reducing automobile trips by nearly 30% as compared to other suburban sites.
The program for the Reston Town Center includes over 300,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, a cinema, convention hotel, over two million square feet of offices, and over 1,500 units of high density residential. There is one block remaining to be developed to complete the 85-acre core area of the town center. With a Washington-area metro transit stop under construction within walking distance of the core, Sasaki has developed plans to transform adjacent, older suburban sites into mixed-use transit-oriented developments.
Reston is now home to nearly 100,000 residents, 3,500 businesses, and 50,000 employees. Reston Town Center is firmly established as a premier address in the region for office as well as residential uses. As a walkable, energized core, it is a model for future communities.