Tysons Corner, VA

The Fairfax County Planning Commission greenlighted yesterday (June 12) a proposed senior living facility in Tysons despite concerns from staff about the height, size and open space.

Fairfax County staff recommended denial of the proposed two-tower senior living complex called The Mather.

The proposed building would go 60 feet above the 225-foot maximum. “The excessive height combined with a narrow building footprint oriented diagonally results in a building mass that inconsistent with adjoining structures and overwhelms the street,” according to the staff report.

Staff also took issue with the developer wanting to move the open space from an area on top of the parking garage to a sloping area behind the parking garage.

According to the staff report:

The three major issues noted above are all interrelated and stem from the manner in which the continuing care facility is proposed to be integrated into the existing Arbor Row development. Staff does not object to the concept of a continuing care facility as a use, and in fact, recognizes the services provided by such a facility are both necessary and desirable within Tysons. However, the continuing care facility has been designed in a way that reflects the unique needs of the applicant’s specific business model, and does not reflect the urban design recommendations of both the Comprehensive Plan and the Tysons Urban Design Guidelines.

While Providence District Planning Commissioner Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner called the proposal “one of the most complicated applications the commission will recall,” he ultimately brought forth a motion to approve the project.

Before the vote, Niedzielski-Eichner asked staff to address each of the three major concerns and allowed the applicant’s representative, John McGranahan Jr., to respond.

McGranahan argued that the recommended denial by staff was not considering the proposal’s height and size in the context of the surrounding neighborhood.

A staffer said that the mass of the building was considered to be out of context to the nearby buildings and that the applicant’s desire for more height for operational and financial considerations wasn’t enough justification to go above the maximum height.

Staff and McGranahan also disagreed on the relocation and redesign of the open space.

By the end of the back and forth, Niedzielski-Eichner said he was persuaded by the applicant’s reasoning.

Now that the proposal has a favorable recommendation from the Planning Commission, it heads to Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors.

The project is a part of Cityline Partners LLC’s Arbor Row project near Tysons Galleria, which includes the completed Nouvelle residential building and The Monarch. The development aims to transform the back end of Tysons Galleria along Westpark Drive into a suite of mixed-use buildings.

Image via Fairfax County Planning Commission 

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The large affordable housing project near the Spring Hill Metro station is on hold, according to the developer.

The Clemente Development Company is currently busy with The View, a 3 million-square-foot redevelopment project planning on being a new residential, retail and arts hub for Tysons. The project includes The Iconic, a 600-foot tall tower that has the potential to shape the Tysons skyline.

The Evolution, a residential development planned just south of The View, popped up again yesterday (Monday) in Fairfax County permitting, but Antonio Calabrese, a lawyer representing Clemente, said there have been no new plans submitted for the project since it was initially proposed in 2017.

The eventual plan is to include 1,400 multi-family units in a high-rise building that would replace the existing commercial building. All units would be workforce dwelling units.

Calabrese said The Evolution is a separate project from The View and is not part of a proffer related to that project.

Meanwhile, Calabrese said Clemente is moving forward with plans to resubmit The View to Fairfax County staff on Friday (June 14) with hopes to have final approval in the fall.

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Vienna’s Board of Architectural Review (BAR) decried plans for the Vienna Market project as rigid, plain and unbecoming for Maple Avenue.

At a work session on May 24, the BAR met with the developers of the project set to replace the Marco Polo building and other surrounding properties. The proposed project would add 44 condominiums and 8,200 square feet of retail space — along with a 32-space underground parking garage — to 245  W. Maple Avenue.

While the project’s architects discussed adding “rustification” and more brick to the building, BAR members expressed frustration with how bland the project appeared.

“My main concern here is the overall feel has gone [away] from all four sides offering something of interest and unique in the town,” Laine Hyde, the vice chair of the BAR, said. “I look at all four sides and I see flat. I’m not seeing the detail and mix of materials. I’m not seeing the variety of individual buildings; just sameness on all sides.”

Paul Layer, the chair of the BAR, said that earlier towers and variance to the rooftop gave the building some prestige on the Maple Avenue side.

“I think Maple Avenue deserves more than this building next door,” Layer said.

But the designers of the building noted that the project is trapped between ambitions from the BAR and a community that regularly rallies against projects that don’t fit with existing buildings on the street.

“We are trying to keep the building grand,” Bill Foliaco, a representative from Lessard Design, said. “It’s going to be large. But we wanted the storefront to feel like more than standard suburban town center. We want this to feel like it’s been here a while, not brand new. My concern is not financial, but in the current world we live in, I’m afraid it won’t come out the way we imagine it.”

The BAR concluded that another work session will need to be held at an unspecified date for it and the developer to continue working together to find something that will not only satisfy both parties but is likely to be approved by a Vienna Town Council with a new, decidedly anti-outsized development bent.

Image via Vienna Board of Architectural Review

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Almost three years after The Boro broke ground, the Rise and Bolden buildings in Meridian Group’s 1.7 million-square-foot development are now leasing.

The two luxury apartment buildings are set to open later this summer, according to a press release from Meridian Group.

The 32-stories-tall Rise has more than 400 apartments, while Bolden, which will sit atop the Whole Foods Market, offers 133 “boutique residences,” according to the press release.

Both Rise and Bolden include a fitness center, yoga studio, an entertainment kitchen and club and a pool with a lounging area. They share an elevated outdoor sky park with a theater and bar area, fire pits and lounges, according to the press release.

The apartments appear to start at $2,400 for ones with one bedroom and one bathroom.

Meridian teamed up with McLean-based management company KETTLER ahead of the pre-leasing announcement.

Images courtesy Meridian Group 

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An upcoming meeting will provide the latest information on the Founders Row development currently underway in Falls Church.

Mill Creek Residential’s mixed-use development plans to have more than 300 luxury apartments and more than 90,000 square feet of retail, including a 4,693-square-foot Studio Movie Grill and a 9,476-square-foot City Works Eatery and Pour House.

According to Mill Creek Residential:

Modera Founders Row will consist of 322 studio, one- and two-bedroom homes contained within five stories with an average square footage of 940 and den/office layouts available. A separate age-restricted community will feature an additional 72 luxury homes reserved for adults 55 years and older. Shared community amenities will include a resident clubhouse with connected business center, library, game room, kitchen and bar, two 24-hour club-quality fitness studios, pet spa, hotel-inspired pool, outdoor social area featuring grills and fire pits, self-serve package lockers, coffee bar and controlled-access garage parking.

Additionally, some of the apartments include quartz countertops, wine refrigerators and private balconies and patios.

Located at the corner of W. Broad and N. West streets, Founders Row broke ground in February, Patch reported. The 4-acre site was once home to a Sunoco gas station, 7-Eleven and several small businesses.

The meeting is set for 5 p.m. next Wednesday (June 12) at the MCR construction trailer on the construction site, located near the old 7-Eleven.

Rendering and maps via JBG Smith

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The Vienna Town Council delayed voting on the controversial 380 Maple Avenue redevelopment to allow the developers and residents more time to try to reach a consensus through a mediation process.

Some Vienna residents have argued that the four-floor, mixed-use building creates traffic, safety and scale issues that warrant the Vienna Town Council rejecting the proposal. Others have argued that the building could revitalize the downtown area.

After more than half of a dozen meetings and multiple changes by developer Dennis Rice, a mediation process started last month between the citizens and developers to see if they could achieve consensus on the project.

In an update to the Vienna Town Council on Monday (June 3), Ray Brill, a Vienna resident who offered to mediate the discussions, said that six neighbors and two developers met for two hours on May 28.

“We talked primarily about lowering the density and the height, and we offered a modification that might have a terrace effect so there wouldn’t be four floors from [the neighbors’] point of view,” Brill said.

Brill said that the two upcoming meetings on June 6 and June 13 should determine the fate of the project.

“It seems they made a good faith effort to discuss it,” Brill told the Town Council. “I think these two meetings should either decide that we can come to a compromise or we cannot.”

The Town Council decided to delay voting on the project to Monday, June 17, to allow time for the two scheduled mediation meetings.

“I’m practical and I don’t want to drag it out,” Brill said. “By the 13th, we will know one way or the other.”

Image via Town of Vienna

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Vienna is looking for a police station befitting a town with calls like a man missing his lawnmower keys.

The town is currently in the process of reviewing designs for a new police station at 215 S. Center Street. At a May 20 work session, the Town Council reviewed designs and costs for the project.

Much of the discussion about the station involved trying to give the station a “warm” and approachable feeling — particularly with part of the project focusing on making a community space at the station.

Some of this meant a review of the types of materials used in construction, with developers favoring brick to more intimidating concrete for some of the fences and the plaza.

“It doesn’t have to be a fortress to feel safe,” a designer for the project said.

Other parts of the design process focused on the scaling of the building, which has been a contentious topic in Vienna with locals fearing new commercial projects overshadowing the town’s neighborhood feeling. Designers at the meeting said they were favoring a design that didn’t feel as “large or looming” as other options.

Lynne Coan, communications and marketing manager for the Town of Vienna, said in an email that final renderings are likely incoming over the next few months.

A cost estimate included in the work session also priced the proposed police station at roughly $14.2 million.

Image via Dewberry

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The new Scotts Run Fire and Rescue Station 44 in Tysons East is scheduled to move into construction soon.

“Construction of the Scotts Run Fire Station (Tysons East) will begin this summer,” Laurie Stone, the planning section manager for Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, said. “Per the proffer terms, Cityline — the developer — should deliver the completed fire station to the county by Dec. 31, 2020.”

The station is designed to relieve the overburdened Fire Station 29, which currently covers the entire Tysons area. The station recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, where much of the discussion centered on the challenges of being the only station covering the increasingly dense Tysons.

The new station is being designed and constructed by Cityline Partners LLC, which is developing the Scotts Run Station South project. Construction of the fire station was part of a proffer for the mixed-use development.

Plans show the fire station as a two-level, three-bay station on Old Meadow Lane.

Image via Samaha Associates

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The sprawling Boro development that hopes to become the new beating heart of Tysons could be getting a little larger.

The Meridian Group — developers of The Boro — are planning to submit designs this summer for a recently acquired property across Westpark Drive at 8333 Greensboro Drive, according to the Washington Business Journal.

The Business Journal reported that the new development would likely be a mix of residential types including townhouses, apartments, for-sale condos, and a high-rise senior living component.

Senior living has been particularly hard to come by in Tysons, especially with The Mather facing some difficulty in the approval process.

Image via Google Maps

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(Updated 10 a.m.) There’s no shortage of luxury housing coming into Tysons, but what about affordable housing?

According to Brian Worthy, a spokesman for Fairfax County, the limited number of affordable units in Tysons are near max occupancy. But with new mid- and high-rise developments required to devote a portion of the new units to affordable housing, Worthy said there are more units on the way:

As of May 15, 2019, there are approximately 536 rental Affordable and Workforce Dwelling Units (ADUs and WDUs) that have been constructed in Tysons. The average occupancy rate is 94 percent.

Currently, there are approximately 3,919 rental ADUs and WDUs that have been committed by developers through Board of Supervisors approved rezoning actions. We don’t currently track the total number of these units that have been proposed as part of unapproved developments in Tysons, but to date, the major, approved rezonings have all committed to provide affordable or workforce dwelling units.

Worthy noted that ADUs serve households with incomes of 50-70 percent of Area Median Income (AMI). Fairfax County documents show that range as $38,600-$54,050 for single-family households, increasing proportionally to the size of the household.

Tysons’ WDUs serve incomes ranging from 60-120 percent of AMI, reflecting the higher cost of living in Tysons as compared to the rest of Fairfax. The WDU program is designed to help working households find housing close to employment centers and transportation options.

Creating housing affordable to locals at all ranges of the income spectrum has been a countywide problem. According to the FY 2020 Fairfax County budget, a total of 3,016 affordable units — privately-owned homes that are not bound by rent restrictions — have been preserved in Fairfax County between 2004 and 2018, but the county fell 82 units short of its affordable housing goals for last year.

The county projects a growth of 62,184 households over the next 15 years, of which 18,622 are expected to earn 80 percent of AMI and below.

Chart via Fairfax County Government

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