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County board approves rezoning for major expansion of The Boro

The building layout for The Meridian Group’s planned extension of The Boro (via Fairfax County)

(Updated at 1 p.m. on 11/11/2021) The Boro can officially venture west of Westpark Drive.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted yesterday (Tuesday) to approve a pair of rezoning applications that will expand the Tysons mixed-use community with 1.1 million square feet of housing, retail, and other amenities.

The new development will be concentrated on a 9.37-acre site previously occupied by the former National Automobile Dealers Association headquarters. Demolition work on the existing building began at the end of August.

While three of the four buildings proposed by developer The Meridian Group still need to get approved individually, the overall project will benefit the community by adding housing, including affordable and workforce units, as well as recreational facilities and pedestrian improvements, according to Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik.

“While there is quite a bit of work ahead as we look at the [final development plans] for the remaining buildings, I do find that it’s an important asset to walkability, to the amenities, to a possibly new type of housing stock in this area,” Palchik said.

Major elements of The Boro expansion include:

  • Block J: Silverstone Senior Living’s 210-bed, 198-unit continuing-care facility, expected to finish construction in 2023
  • Blocks I and K: residential buildings with 122 and 421 units, respectively, and approximately 34,000 square feet of retail, joined by a glass bridge over Boro Place
  • Block L: a 145,000 square-foot health club or 42 townhouses with a central green space
  • A new grid of streets, including an extension of Boro Place and construction of the new Clover and Broad streets
  • A rapid-flashing pedestrian beacon on Westpark Drive at Boro Place
  • Tysons Community Circuit: the first three blocks of a 10-foot-wide recreational trail that will eventually loop through Tysons
  • 1.49 or 1.59 acres of publicly accessible parks and recreational facilities

Prior to the board’s vote, Walsh Colucci land-use planner Elizabeth Baker, who represents Meridian, reported that the developer has made progress toward resolving a conflict with the neighboring Greensboro Square Condominiums regarding the size of retaining walls along their property line.

Ongoing negotiations over that issue were one factor in the board’s decision to defer voting on the development after holding a public hearing on Oct. 19.

Baker told the board yesterday that Meridian has come to a verbal agreement with the condo association for an off-site grading easement that will enable the developer to reduce the height of the retaining wall.

Palchik questioned Baker about The Boro’s attention to accessibility, citing a recent opinion piece in The Washington Post by a resident who took issue with the lack of streetlights, passenger loading areas, and parking spaces reserved for people with disabilities.

Accessibility concerns also came up when the Fairfax County Planning Commission approved the planned senior living facility — now named The Trillium — on Oct. 13.

Baker says Meridian believes it is in compliance with accessibility guidelines and took “great pains” to consider those issues when working with Silverstone on its plans for the 16-story building, noting that the developer had an accessibility consultant.

“We will also do the same for [future development plans] to ensure that we are meeting the standards for both handicapped parking and accessibility,” Baker said. “We understand it’s an issue, and we take it seriously. We will be working on it diligently.”

Overall, the development will have approximately 40,000 square feet of retail and over 800 residential units, depending on whether Block L ends up being townhomes or a health club.

The proposed townhomes would be triplexes that meet Fairfax County’s affordable and workforce housing policies for Tysons, Baker says. If the developer opts for a health club, it has committed to giving the county $3 per square foot of non-residential space to fund housing elsewhere in Tysons.

A final plan for Blocks I and K remains under review by county planning staff. If approved, those buildings could be delivered in 2024.

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