The former Sheraton Tysons Hotel is officially getting turned into permanent housing.
With no objections and minimal discussion, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a plan last Tuesday (Jan. 23) to convert the vacant hotel at 8661 Leesburg Pike in Tysons West into 544 residential units.
The units are expected to be small studios, but because the developer is repurposing an existing building instead of constructing a new one, they will provide a “naturally occurring” affordable housing option for Tysons, according to Walsh Colucci land use attorney Robert Brant, who represented JBG Tysons Hotel at the public hearing.
“All of the infrastructure and existing conditions will be preserved, resulting in a product type that is naturally more affordable than market-rate products,” Brant said.
In addition to the hotel conversion, Tysons West developer JBG Smith sought to reduce a mixed-use building planned nearby on Leesburg Pike from 400 to 265 housing units. Dubbed “Building C” in the overall Tysons West development plan, the mostly residential building will also include 5,000 square feet of retail space.
Shrinking that building’s footprint allows the developer to preserve an existing, underground parking garage on the site and created more room for open space, according to the rezoning application.
About 3.05 acres of park space will be provided, including a 1.1-acre publicly accessible urban park, an off-site acquisition for an athletic field and improvements to Old Courthouse Spring Branch Stream Valley Park. There will also be 40,000 square feet of private amenities in the courtyards of the former hotel and the new Building C.
Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn said it will be “good” to have a different type of market-rate affordable housing in the area, but the review process for the application wasn’t without challenges.
Specifically, the decision to reuse the hotel, rather than demolishing it and building something new, necessitated some negotiations over the dedication of land to allow a future Boone Blvd ramp from the Dulles Access Road, according to a staff report. The developer agreed to put aside $250,000 in escrow to cover the cost of relocating the hotel building’s loading facilities.
“It did take a little while to get everything worked out so that we know we can have a Boone Blvd connection here when we need it,” Alcorn said. “That is a big deal for this part of Tysons.”
Alcorn was also underwhelmed by the developer’s commitments for electric vehicle charging infrastructure. At least 2% of parking spaces will be provided with EV charging connections, and another 3% of spaces will be outfitted with electric service for possible future installations.
Since this project is a conversion, the supervisor admitted it would be unrealistic to expect a more extensive commitment, but he suggested the county should demand more in the future
“I think, as a board, we’re going to have to push more, particularly with new construction, to have higher levels of EV-ready commitments to meet our EV goals that we have in CECAP and otherwise,” Alcorn said.
Accepted by the board in September 2021, the Community-Wide Energy and Climate Action Plan included a recommendation that all new buildings come with EV chargers or be “EV-ready.” The plan calls for at least 15% of light-duty vehicles registered in the county to be hybrid or electric vehicles by 2030.
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