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The Boro developer may build future high-rise as offices, not housing

A residential high-rise planned for The Boro in Tysons (via Fairfax County)

The developer behind The Boro in Tysons is rethinking its plans to build a residential high-rise on what’s currently a parking lot in front of the mixed-use neighborhood.

In an Oct. 17 proposal to Fairfax County, The Meridian Group seeks to turn an approved 310-foot-tall residential tower into a 304-foot-tall office building — an unexpected shift when high office vacancies and demand for more housing has most developers moving in the opposite direction, as the Washington Business Journal noted.

The application still maintains housing as an option for the tower at 8399 Westpark Drive, known in development plans as Building B1:

  • Option 1: A 304-foot-tall office building with up to 420,000 square feet of office and 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail
  • Option 2: A 357-foot-tall residential building with up to 425 multifamily dwelling units and 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail

“The proposed office option will provide the Applicant with additional flexibility to respond to market fluctuations in its ongoing efforts to attract tenants to the Boro and Tysons as a whole,” Walsh Colucci attorney Robert Brant wrote in a statement of justification for Meridian.

In either scenario, the building would be paired with another high-rise labeled Building B2, a 395-foot-tall residential building with up to 550 multifamily dwelling units and up to 12,000 square of ground-floor retail.

“By preserving residential options for both Buildings B1 and B2, the Applicant retains the ability to attract more residents to a rapidly growing and highly desirable area of Tysons in close proximity to major employers, retailers, Metro, urban parks, and other attractive amenities,” Brant wrote.

The Boro’s planned Block B consists of the completed The Loft (Building B3), a proposed residential high-rise (Building B2), and an office or residential high-rise (Building B1) (via Fairfax County)

If Meridian opts for offices in Building B1, it estimates that the development would generate 4,925 vehicle trips per day and host about 1,400 employees, based on the county’s standard ratio of one employee per 300 square feet of office.

The developer says it’s committed to making 55% of all trips undertaken by Metro, bus or walking.

With the application, Meridian is also requesting that the parking garage for the towers be connected to The Loft, the retail and office condominium building directly to their rear along Boro Place that was completed in 2019.

The parking garage will consist of eight above-grade levels and two underground levels. The developer says the podium could either be built all at once — where interim, private amenities would be provided for residents on the top level — or with the eastern portion under Building B2 coming in first.

In the latter case, the garage would serve Building B2’s residents and retail, while the remaining land on the western part of the block is used as a surface parking lot until the second phase is built with Building B1.

When fully built, The Boro will have five blocks with approximately 5 million square feet of development, 1.7 million of which was delivered with its completed first phase.

Meridian is also working to expand the neighborhood with another five buildings on the other side of Westpark Drive. Construction on The Trillium, a senior living facility, began in April.

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