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Highland District apartment building on track for summer 2022 finish, but no retail planned

(Updated at 9:35 am. on 12/10/2021) The Highland District apartments — now branded The Rylan — are on their way toward completion next year.

Construction crews are now adding floors and setting the wooden framework in place for a five-story complex with 390 units of multifamily housing at 1768 Old Meadow Road.

Despite supply-chain issues making it harder to obtain materials, the project remains on track to be finished in summer 2022, according to Josh Wooldridge of The NRP Group, the developer behind The Rylan.

However, don’t expect a restaurant or coffee shop to follow suit.

When Fairfax County approved the Highland District in 2016, plans for the mixed-use development along Old Meadow Road featured a commitment to between 10,000 and 37,000 square feet of retail and service space.

That now appears unlikely to come to fruition, according to Wooldridge.

The Rylan was previously envisioned with 5,000 square feet of retail under original developer MRP Realty, but the current developers chose to go entirely residential, he says.

NRP specializes in apartment development, and there was no mention of retail when the company announced in May 2020 that it had partnered with real estate firm PointOne Holdings to work on the building.

“Essentially, there’s no market for it,” Wooldridge told Tysons Reporter. “When you put just a little bit of retail in these buildings, it almost never succeeds.”

While having ground-floor retail to serve residents sounds appealing, it’s risky unless the property lands a major brand like Starbucks, Wooldridge says, pointing to the closure of Republik Coffee Bar in Highgate at The Mile as an example.

He also says Tysons East is becoming “over-retailed,” noting that the initial proposal for The Rylan is dwarfed by the nearby Scotts Run development, where The Heming apartment building alone is expected to boast 38,000 square feet of commercial space.

Retail is also out at The Bexley, the condominium complex across the street that developer NV Homes completed in 2020. Wooldridge says that, as far as NRP is aware, the owners of the three other parcels designated for the Highland District have no plans to redevelop them, instead leaving the existing office buildings in place.

Despite the change in plans, Wooldridge says NRP is “really excited about what’s happening in Tysons,” noting The Rylan’s proximity to the Capital One headquarters and Fairfax County’s recently added recreational trail along Scott’s Run.

“So, you’re going to be able to walk from our site along that path up to the [McLean] Metro,” he said.

He also noted that the apartment building will benefit from the future pedestrian bridge connecting Old Meadow Road to Tysons Corner Center over I-495. A crew is currently preparing the site for the Virginia Department of Transportation project.

“On the weekend, weather’s nice, real easy walk over to the movie theater and to the food court at the mall,” Wooldridge said.

Amenities will include a resident clubroom with gaming rooms, working areas and a doorman, infinity edge pool, yoga lawns, outdoor activity areas, outdoor grilling areas, and a warehouse-style fitness center with separate spin and cardio studios, PointOne Holdings previously said.

The development will also have pocket parks, according to Woolridge.

Pricing could be released in the spring.

David Taube contributed to this report.

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