How young people live, work and play in Tysons dominated two panels at a Bisnow event earlier today.
The Bisnow event was held at Boro Tower, bringing together real estate professionals to talk about the future of Tysons. When thinking about what will make Tysons appealing now and several years from now, developers and real estate investors said they want to make decisions that will encourage young professionals to come to the area and stay.
The first panel kicked off a discussion of office space, with panelists lamenting that people who come to work in Tysons leave in the late afternoon and don’t stick around.
“Millennials do not want to be in a nondescript office building that is hard to get to,” Mukang Cho, the CEO of Morning Calm Management, said.
As far as nightlife goes, Gary Block, the chief investment officer of The Meridian Group — the developers of The Boro, said that innovative concepts with bars and restaurants can bring people together when the sun goes down.
“You wouldn’t think the second story of a grocery store would be a destination for a bar,” Block said, referring to the popular High Point bar in The Boro’s Whole Foods.
Block said that people who live, work or arrive at The Boro can expect activities in public spaces throughout the week.
The combination of walkability, entertainment options, shopping, apartments, office spaces and fitness opportunities make The Boro a neighborhood, Block said. Or, as a sign on a window in the Boro Tower said, “Tysons’ First Neighborhood.”
Deirdre Johnson, the vice president of Federal Realty, agreed, calling The Boro the “new Tysons downtown.”
While Tysons’ identity has long rested on its malls — especially Tysons Corner Center, Johnson said that residents are moving away from being “mall-centric.”
Outside The Boro, Block said that Eddie V’s Prime Seafood (7900 Tysons One Place) is “packed” on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
Juliann Clemente, the president of Clemente Development, said that the new members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors recognize that Tysons will appeal to millennials.
Clemente urged the audience to reach out to the new board and share their dreams, desires and concerns about how to improve Tysons.
Christopher Auth, the divisional vice president of PS Business Parks, said that walkability and green space help attract people. Thinking big, Auth said that he would like to see a university in Tysons — an idea that several other panelists agreed with.
While walkability might sound like simply an infrastructure issue, Johnson said that planners “have to give someone a reason to walk across the street.”
The panelists mentioned how a new grid of streets in Tysons facilitate walkability and connect communities.
“When little neighborhoods pop up, it creates a sense of place,” Cho said.