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Fairfax County Planning Staff Back Proposed Valo Park Redesign

Fairfax County staffers support new plans to revamp the Valo Park office complex in Tysons, opening it up to the public and adding retail and restaurants.

The newspaper giant Gannett and cloud computing company Appian are currently headquartered at the roughly 785,000 square-foot office park, which has a fitness center, conference facilities and a 300-seat auditorium.

London-based Tamares acquired 7950 Jones Branch Drive for $270 million four years ago. Now, Tamares wants to add shops, restaurants, a bocce court and a 5,000-square-foot craft beverage production establishment or restaurant on the roof on an existing parking garage.

“The conference center, auditorium and fitness center are existing uses within the building; however, these uses are currently accessory to the office building in that only the onsite office users may use them,” according to the staff report published today. “The applicant is converting the spaces into publicly accessible uses.”

Tamares says that the proposed changes would help it better fit in with nearby urbanization. The office park is located in the North Central neighborhood of Tysons, which is home to the Park Crest and Highgate residential buildings and the upcoming mixed-use development called The Mile.

Here’s what the county staffers said in their report:

The proposed conversion of existing office and accessory uses to secondary uses will activate the site and facilitate a vibrant, mixed-use development that the Comprehensive Plan envisions for the Tysons Urban Center. The development offers high-quality amenities that will turn the existing office park into a community asset.

Minimal site disturbance is required to implement the development, as most of the proposed modifications are located within the existing building. The applicant has proffered: contributions to the Tysons Road Fund; bicycle parking; and green building technology and strategies as part of the construction of the proposed commercial use on top of the existing parking garage.

In staff’s opinion, the development plan is in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan and meets the general and design standards for a Planned District.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission is set to hold a public hearing on the project this spring.

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