Tysons Corner, VA

As Tysons works its way towards being a fully fledged city, The Iconic tower is being designed to be one of the area’s first real landmark buildings.

At over 600 feet tall, the planned Iconic tower in Tysons West is the most visible of the Clemente Development Company’s plans for Tysons West, an area surrounding the Spring Hill Metro station. The tower had originally been planned for mixed residential-commercial, but in August was transformed into an almost-entirely office development.

The tower is just one part of the developer’s sprawling 3 million-square-foot redevelopment plans.

The first building planned for development is a hotel and a condominium building on the north end of the site, to be followed by an office building just south near the Metro kiss-and-ride. Juliann Clemente, President of Clemente Development, said while the development could do nothing to affect the Metro exit, the Fairfax County-owned kiss-and-ride and property just east of the station exit is being transformed into an open plaza.

A street is planned to bisect the property, with a residential, retail and arts district located just to the west of the offices. Unlike the nearby Boro project, Clemente noted that the project is entirely tightly clustered around the Metro station and on a flat elevation. While The Boro project is designed to be a day-to-day retail experience to compete with the Tysons Corner Center mall, Clemente said the View project is designed to be a one-stop-shop for everything someone would need in a retail, residential or office experience.

The project also includes plans for a 199-seat black box theater at the project, replacing a 500-seat theater that had been in earlier plans. Kevin MacWhorter, a lawyer working on the project, said the theater was the result of a negotiation with Fairfax County.

“Capital One has a 200-seat performing arts center,” MacWhorter said. “We wanted something more intimate and flexible. This is the heartbeat of the project.”

As part of the proffers for the development — incentives offered by a developer to allow for exceptions to zoning ordinances — the Clemente Development Company is currently looking funding construction of a new community center behind the nearby fire station at 1560 Spring Hill Road, with four to five levels of the building set aside for affordable housing. The developer is also planning to make renovations to the nearby Raglan Park.

The project is still in the early stages of land use approval. MacWhorter said the item is docketed to go to the Fairfax County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors in October. If the project receives approval, Clemente said construction could break ground on the first building as early as next spring.

“We’ve been watching Tysons grow since 1983,” Clemente said at the developer’s headquarters at 8500 Leesburg Pike. “When Metro came through, we knew the time was right to do this development.”

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There’s already been a substantial amount of digging and preliminary work at the Monarch, a 20-story condominium tower northeast of Tysons Galleria, but last week the project officially broke ground.

The tower at 7887 Jones Branch Drive is now under construction with an opening scheduled for late 2020.

The site is planned to have 94 residences with a dozen floor plans, from 880 to 3,4000 square feet, meaning the building will have a range of two to six units per floor. Designs show that all residents will have floor-to-ceiling windows and outdoor balconies.

Prices range from $600,000 to just over $3 million.

The project is part of the Arbor Row development, a 19-acre stretch of mixed-use buildings along Westpark Drive. The first building of the project, the residential Nouvelle, was completed in 2015 and the next phase, senior living facility The Mather, is going to the Fairfax County Planning Commission next week.

“Arbor Row is the new Tysons’ most livable neighborhood,” Albert H. Small Jr., founder of developer Renaissance, said in a press release. “There already are pedestrian pathways that lead to enticing restaurants and shops, and more green space than you will find anywhere else in Tysons. With both Wegmans and Whole Foods opening soon in the immediate area, Arbor Row will offer extensive options to support a healthy lifestyle.”

While the project is planned to be walkable in the long-run, locals should be aware that construction activity has temporarily closed the sidewalk along Westpark Drive.

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With the Nouvelle residential building open and The Monarch under construction, Cityline Partners LLC is hoping for Fairfax County’s permission to move forward with the next step of the Arbor Row project near Tysons Galleria.

The overarching plan is to transform the back end of Tysons Galleria along Westpark Drive into a suite of mixed-use buildings. Block E is the Nouvelle, and Block D is the under-construction Monarch hotel.

On April 24, Block C of the project will go to the Planning Commission to try and amend the change the two approved office buildings planned at the site into a two-tower senior living complex called The Mather.

The towers are proposed to be 18 and 27 stories tall with a podium connecting the towers on the lower levels. The site would contain 300 independent living units, 78 assisted living units, and 18,000 square feet of retail and restaurants on the lower floors.

“The quasi-public use of the Mather community will complement the mix of residential, office and retail uses within and surrounding Arbor Row,” the project developers said in the application. “In addition, this Mather community will bring an attractive senior living use to Tysons, addressing a need that currently is not being met.”

Following the Planning Commission hearing, the project is scheduled to go to the Board of Supervisors on May 7. If approved, tentative opening for The Mather is planned for 2022.

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A hotel planned near Leesburg Pike has been nixed by the developers in favor of a new athletic field.

The field is proposed for 8229 Boone Blvd, a street parallel to Leesburg Pike and halfway between Chain Bridge Road and Gallows Road. P.S. Business Parks owns the property.

The athletic field is part of fulfilling requirements associated with the developer’s The Mile project northeast of Tysons Galleria.

The application notes that the field will include synthetic turf, field lighting, bleachers and other equipment. Parking for the field will be located in the Tycon II and Tycon III office buildings next door.

According to the application:

The proposed athletic field will serve the growing needs of the Tysons community. It is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, which calls for developers to provide athletic fields in Tysons… The proposed soccer field will satisfy the field expectation associated with the rezoning and development of The Mile, a residential mixed use development in the North Central District.

It’s a move that will likely be popular with local citizens groups, which have called for more athletic fields to be added throughout Tysons.

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(Updated April 8) As Sunrise Senior Living haggles through the approval process in Vienna, the assisted living franchise also filed permits earlier this week for a new facility in downtown McLean.

On March 11, Sunrise Development filed a special exception application to allow a senior living facility at 1515 Chain Bridge Road, replacing the existing McLean Medical Building.

In the application, the business noted that the need for assisted living facilities is high in Vienna.

Despite immense need, the McLean CBC does not currently contain any assisted living facilities. Per Fairfax County’s compiled demographics for the McLean Census Designated Plant , 92% of households in McLean have one or more people over the age of 60, which is more than double the 43% of households for the rest of the County.

Sunrise isn’t wrong on that count. McLean is disproportionately elderly and has struggled to create housing that allows local residents to age in place. Sunrise Senior Living isn’t cheap, so it probably doesn’t hurt that McLean is also one of the wealthiest places in the United States.

The proposal for a Sunrise facility in McLean also comes at that area is in the middle of a planning process to reshape the center of town.

The application notes that the new facility would be located within Subarea Two of the McLean Commercial Business Center, an area outside of the main downtown and planned to have very little change. The Sunrise facility would be replacing an existing medical office building, which it argues is in keeping with the intent of the plan.

While the Vienna location is locked in a struggle with the Vienna Town Council over whether or not the building fits within local height parameters, the McLean facility is half the size allowed by-right on the property and 10 feet shorter than the existing building.

The project is tentatively scheduled for a Planning Commission hearing on Sept. 11 and a Board of Supervisors hearing on Sept. 24.

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Developers of a distinctive curved-glass tower called One Tysons East have promised to make peace with the local bird population and improve nearby roads.

With an endorsement from both the McLean Citizens Association and the Planning Commission at last night’s (Wednesday) meeting, approval of rezoning for the project at a Board of Supervisors meeting next Tuesday (April 9) seems likely.

But while the project seems to have had a relatively smooth development track so far, Providence District Planning Commissioner Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner noted that it raises issues in the air and on the ground that will need to be addressed as more of Tysons East is developed.

There are 27 pages of proffers — accommodations on the part of the developers offered to Fairfax County to get a development approved — associated with the project. Among them are a series of transportation improvements for Old Meadow Road, including new street lanes and a potential bike lane.

But Niedzielski-Eichner noted that new developments planned throughout Tysons East are going to put a considerable strain on the four-lane street.

“There are existing traffic issues on Old Meadow Road today, and will be as future already entitled developments are constructed that are significant and beyond the scope of this single zoning application,” said Niedzielski-Eichner. “Solutions will require all stakeholders on Old Meadow Road to resolve. I recommend staff identify concrete steps to help mitigate traffic and queuing on Old Meadow Road.”

Niedzielski-Eichner also said problems with how the glass building might impact birds came up during the development process. The proffers included an obligation on the developer to make changes to the building design to deter bird-strikes.

According to the proffers:

In an effort to reduce bird injury and death due to in- flight collisions with buildings, the Applicant will include one or more bird friendly design elements, as determined by the Applicant, in the design plans of the building. The bird friendly design elements may include, but not be limited to, the use of color, texture, opacity, fritting, frosting, patterns, louvers, screens, interior window treatments, or ultraviolet materials that are visible to birds, the angling of outside lights, curbing of excessive or unnecessary night-time illumination in commercial buildings, reduction of bird attracting vegetation, the use of decoys, and breaking of glass swaths.

It’s estimated that between 365 million and 988 million birds are killed in the United States each year from crashing into windows, with an average 24 expected to die annually at a single skyscraper.

“There was a request for clarification of how we intended to meet bird-friendly design guidelines in the proffer commitment,” said Scott Adams, representing the developers. “We’re happy to commit to work with staff to ensure the goals of bird-friendly design are met with the design of this building.”

Image via Akridge

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(Updated April 8) Despite a host of other compromises, the Sunrise Senior Living Facility and Vienna Town Council are still at odds over the project exceeding the town’s height requirements.

Both parties agreed at a work session on Monday (April 1) that there’s been compromise from Sunrise. There were modifications made to spaces on the ground floor and mezzanine and the number of proposed units was taken down from 85 to 83.

But a mezzanine that cuts just under the town’s 50-percent coverage limit for what can be considered a floor is still a sticking point for Town Council members who say the project is out of line with the town’s five-story height limit.

Jerry Liang, senior vice president of development for Sunrise, argued that Vienna should reframe its limits rather than force the building to come in under a certain height.

“There’s different ways to think about density, [like] units and square footage,” Liang said. “By setting your limits on floor and height, you’ve created the maximum box. We believe the building we designed is visually pleasing.”

Planning Commissioner Mary McCullough said there were concerns from nearby residents that the back half of the building still had a “five-story look.”

The next public hearing for the project is tentatively scheduled for April 24, when the Planning Commission will discuss the development.

“Part of our goal is to satisfy a lot of particular needs for a lot of stakeholders,” Liang said. “We’re trying to find the right balance between providing critically needed service with the cost-benefit balance to really solve that Rubik’s cube.”

Image via Town of Vienna

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Reston Hospital Center (RHC) has a new plan to built a freestanding emergency room on Leesburg Pike in Tysons.

RHC plans would put the emergency room inside a renovated three-story building at 8240 Leesburg Pike, next to the ramp to Chain Bridge Road, as first reported by the Washington Business Journal.

The new building would be emergency facility only — no medical offices or other hospital-related spaces.

“The provision of necessary emergency health facilities and services to meet the increased numbers of employees, residents and visitors is an essential component of a vibrant Tysons,” RHC stated in its application.

While the building would require a special exception from Fairfax County, it would not require the rezoning that the RHC building proposed at 2000 Old Gallows Road in Tysons would have.

“As Tysons continues to develop with additional office buildings and homes, it is essential that convenient and accessible health care services are available to meet the increasing need,” the hospital wrote in the 2000 Old Gallows Road application.

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The redevelopment of 380 Maple Avenue is set for a Vienna Planning Commission review tomorrow, but whether the project will get the extra story it’s requesting remains to be determined.

The project faced pushback from members of the Vienna Town Council earlier this year when it and another Maple Avenue development seemed to be pushing the limits on what was acceptable under the town’s height limits.

The Maple Avenue Commercial zoning rules dictate that the height of buildings on Maple Avenue is limited to four stories. According to the staff report, the applicants — Red Investment LLC and MJW Maple LLC — are requesting a modification with an additional story of above-ground parking.

The application also includes a modification request for a nine-foot awning, which encroaches three feet into the front yard setback.

“Staff finds that the application meets the requirements of… the Town Code, with the exception of the requested modifications of requirements,” staff said in the report.

During work sessions with the Planning Commission and Town Council, options with the extra story and without the extra story were both presented. According to the applicants, the new parking deck would significantly increase the number of available parking spaces for retail tenants.

Photo via Town of Vienna Department of Planning and Zoning

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The Whole Foods in The Boro is officially scheduled for a launch sometime in late summer or early fall, and several restaurants and smaller retailers are waiting in the wings to piggyback off that launch.

The Whole Foods is part of Boro Place, which has commonly been dubbed the retail spine of The Boro.

Furniture retailer Ethan Allen is set to form another entrance to the Boro Place, filling a two-story location at the corner of Boro Place and Westpark Drive.

Caroline Flax, a senior analyst for the Meridian Group, told Tysons Reporter that the restaurants and retail of Boro Place are planned to launch alongside the Whole Foods.

The idea of the development phases being brought online together rather retail than trickling in one-by-one as they were completed is part of a broader strategy to make The Boro feel like a commercial sector to rival the Tysons Corner Center mall.

Flax said a few contracts are still being finalized for the development, but here’s what we know is opening along Boro Place:

  • North Italia — A full-service Italian restaurant planned to occupy 6,200 square feet
  • Flower Child — A fast-casual restaurant with a focus on healthy food
  • Fish Taco — A D.C.-based taco chain
  • Tasty Kabob — The brick-and-mortar location for a popular local food truck
  • Tropical Smoothie Cafe — A national smoothie chain
  • Colour Bar Studio — A second floor of The Loft building on Boro Place
  • Akira Ramen & Izakaya — A soba noodle restaurant offering a variety of ramens
  • Poki DC — A Hawaiian-inspired cuisine with counter-serve style poke bowls.
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