Tysons, VA

Fairfax County planners support proposals to construct a mixed-use building — rather than two residential towers — over a parking podium in the Scotts Run development.

The developer, Cityline Partners, is looking to have the newly proposed 25-story building contain roughly 450,000 square feet of residential ground floor area and 15,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor. The building would have 447 residential units, according to the staff report.

Cityline also wants to modify the parking podium by adding retail along with the above-grade parking, according to the staff report. Proffers limit the parking to 80 feet, and the developer plans to stay within the allotted height range, the report said.

“With the use of glass and masonry, the podium is designed to suggest occupied space rather than a parking garage,” the report noted.

The proposals would tweak some aspects of the Scotts Run development, which will span approximately 40 acres near the McLean Metro station. The overall development will add retail, office and residential spaces along with a new grid of streets.

While the county’s planners support the proposal, the staff report noted ways the developer could improve the project’s aesthetics, like “additional attention to architectural features, such as canopies.”

More from the staff report:

Staff continues to recommend that the applicant refine the vertical banding on the building façade to create a continuous line between levels and further compliment the backlit podium treatment in order to accentuate the impression that those levels are occupied space and de-emphasize that they are structured parking.

The staff reported noted that the change from two towers to one building would not significantly impact Tysons’ skyline.

” Staff believes that the proposed changes do not present any substantial land use issues and the proposal remains in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan,” the report said.

The Planning Commission will consider the proposed changes on Wednesday, July 8.

Image via Fairfax County

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The expansion plans for the Capital One Campus in Tysons may turn out differently than originally expected after the developer approached the Fairfax County Planning Commission last night with new ideas.

Major proposed changes to the plan include the elimination of the planned hotel and the addition of new office space and real estate, which Gregory Riegle, the lawyer representing Capital One, said was requested because of changes to the market.

“Candidly, the hotel industry in Tysons and the Northern Virginia area had a number of challenges in terms of oversupply even before the pandemic. The intervening circumstances have only exacerbated those realities,” Riegle said.

“The overall master plan of the campus remains the same,” Stephen Gardner, a senior planner with Fairfax County, said, adding that the amount of office space will jump to 67%.

Two buildings would slightly decrease in height if this adjustment is approved, while another building would increase its height to 305 feet, which is equivalent to roughly 28 stories, Gardner said. Open space on the campus would remain the same.

The building with the increased height would include 328,974 square feet of extra floor area.

After a brief discussion, the Planning Commission unanimously voted to favorably recommend the changes to the Board of Supervisors. The county board is set to consider the proposal on July 14.

It is unclear which businesses might take over the additional retail spaces provided by the proposed changes.

“Progress is continuing irrespective of situations with the pandemic and associated issues,” Riegle said, adding that the Wegmans is expected to be completed later in 2020, while the performing arts center will likely be done in 2021.

Image courtesy Fairfax County Planning Commission

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A 1.2 million-square-foot development in Falls Church has a new name as it progresses through various approval stages by City Council.

Hoffman & Associates and EYA announced that they have named the upcoming gateway development to the northwestern end of the city “West Falls.”

“The name West Falls pays homage to the site’s location within The City of Falls Church known for its vibrant community and thoughtful urban design,” a press release said.

The development will include offices, a hotel, apartments, condominiums, retail space and senior housing spanning roughly 9.5 acres. It will also include approximately 1 acre of open space for the public.

West Falls is included in a 35-acre transformation to turn the area near the West Falls Church Metro station into a gateway for the city. As part of the larger plans, George Mason High School will be relocated.

In 2019, the City Council approved an agreement for a 99-year ground lease with the developers and a Special Exception Entitlement for the first phase of the project’s entitlement.

Earlier today, Hoffman and EYA submitted their Special Exception Site Plan (SESP) to the city — the latest step in the entitlements process, according to the press release.

Construction is expected to start on West Falls in late 2021, and the first phase of the development is anticipated to open in late 2023, according to the press release.

Image via City of Falls Church

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On Tuesday, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors green-lighted a rezoning that will open parts of the Valo Park office complex up to the public.

Tamares, Valo Park’s owner, wants to add retailers and restaurants, renovate an existing rooftop terrace and open the complex’s current amenities, including a conference center, auditorium and fitness center, to the public. Tamares is considering attracting a rooftop craft brewery atop a parking garage.

“It is anticipated that these proposed changes will help to sustain the current Class A office use and energize this part of Tysons after business hours,” Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said.

A separate comprehensive sign plan for the project was approved by the Planning Commission in May. Some McLean residents raised concerns about light pollution from the signs.

Currently, the office park (7950 Jones Branch Drive) is home to the headquarters of newspaper giant Gannett and cloud computing company Appian.

The Valo Park changes will now join upcoming changes to urbanize Tysons’ North Central neighborhood, which currently has the Park Crest and Highgate residential buildings.

Last summer, the Board of Supervisors approved the massive, mixed-use development called The Mile, which will transform 38 acres into 10 buildings with residential, retail, office, hotel and storage space, along with six parks spanning more than 10 acres.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust said that people can now walk to Valo Park thanks to the new Jones Branch Connector, which includes sidewalks and bike lanes.

“But for the sign issue… this is a really good application that is exactly moving Tysons in the direction that we all want to see it go — developing this kind of mixed-use, reuse,” Foust said. “This is a really important piece in the Tysons puzzle.”

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The Meridian Group is hoping to turn the former headquarters of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) into an extension of The Boro.

The plans would redo the old NADA site and an adjacent property — both currently vacant — into a mixed-use development with residential uses, a continuing care facility and ground-floor retail space, Elizabeth Baker, a senior land use planner for Walsh Colucci, told Tysons Reporter.

“The vision is to extend The Boro development across Westpark Drive and to continue the transformation of Tysons from a suburban office park to an urban center,” she said.

This new project proposes four buildings — two residential ones, one for the continuing care facility and the last one, which would either be a health club or townhomes, Baker said.

“The proposal is 1.1 million square feet overall,” Baker said, adding that it is less dense than other nearby developments because it’s further away from the Greensboro Metro station.

The project also includes a centralized park that would be open to the public — “I think that is one of the high focal points of the development,” she said.

The Meridian Group acquired the NADA headquarters building and an adjacent site, paying $33.7 million to the NADA for 8400 Westpark Drive in late 2018, the Washington Business Journal reported. The NADA relocated to 8484 Westpark Drive in October 2018, according to WBJ.

Fairfax County accepted the rezoning plans for the project earlier this week. Hearing dates for the county’s Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors have not been announced yet.

“I think this particular application really helps to expand the connected grid of streets, create walkable blocks, provide new residential opportunities as well as a continuing care facility to help meet the needs of the senior population,” she said. “It’s all designed around energizing the streets and parks.”

Image via Google Maps

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Work has now started on a new senior living facility known as The Mather behind Tysons Galleria.

Demolition by the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company of a structure at 7929 Westpark Drive is underway, according to a press release. Utility relocation and public street improvements are expected to be done this summer.

The $450 million senior living community will offer one- and two-bedroom room apartments as the first Life Plan Community in Tysons, according to Mather LifeWays, an organization that creates senior living programs and places.

The Mather plans to offer new retail along Westpark Drive, “significant” green space with parking and loading below grade and an urban park with paths and seating, the press release said.

More from the press release:

The Mather’s apartment homes are designed with modern open floor plans, with prices starting at $660,000, and sizes ranging from 850 square feet to more than 3,000 square feet. Prices are dependent upon apartment size, location, service package, and health plan selected.

Apartment homes will feature expansive views, luxury finishes, and innovative smart home technology including lighting, solar shades, and thermostat, as well as a home automation hub that can be integrated with smartphones, tablets, and home computer systems.

The Mather will be the first Life Plan Community in Tysons. Life Plan Communities are lifestyle communities in which people can pursue new passions and priorities, with a plan in place that supports aging well. Life Plan Communities provide an important benefit: a continuum of living options, which enables people to plan ahead to access additional services, including health care, if ever needed…

Priority reservations are currently being accepted for Phase 2 of The Mather, with nearly 150 reservations in hand. Priority Members will have best choice in selecting an apartment home and view, can secure preconstruction prices, and be able to customize and upgrade apartment home finishes. Interested individuals can become Priority Members by providing a fully refundable $1,000 deposit.

The building is a part of Cityline Partners LLC’s Arbor Row, which includes the completed Nouvelle residential building and The Monarch. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the senior living complex last June.

“The Mather has received strong interest and is 65% sold of Phase 1,” the press release said, adding that the first phase is anticipated to open in 2023.

Photo courtesy The Mather

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Work has started on the Highland District Apartments — a 390-unit apartment building coming soon to Tysons.

Billed as a “luxury class-A multifamily development project,” the five-story building will encompass a parking deck, according to PointOne Holdings.

PointOne Holdings announced the development yesterday (Tuesday) with the NRP Group.

“We are excited to be breaking ground on our latest development, Highland District Apartments in Tysons Corner, Virginia,” Ben Colonomos, PointOne Holdings’ managing partner, said in the announcement.

The building at 1768 Old Meadow Road is expected to be done by the summer of 2022, Bisnow reported.

The project’s description stresses the location’s proximity to jobs east of I-495 in Tysons and access to the McLean Metro station.

“Highland District will enjoy excellent walkability to over 20,000 jobs at the Capital One Headquarters, Northrop-Grumman and MITRE,” the website says.

Here are the amenities residents can expect, according to the website:

  • clubroom with gaming areas
  • areas for work
  • a doorman
  • infinity edge pool
  • yoga lawns
  • outdoor grilling area
  • package concierge service
  • fitness center with spin and cardio studios

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the Highland District development, which includes six buildings, eight parks and an athletic field, in 2016. The development will sit next to Tysons’ second fire station, which is currently under construction.

Image via PointOne Holdings

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This afternoon, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved rezoning for two developments near the Spring Hill Metro station in Tysons.

Georgelas LLC’s two mixed-use projects — West Spring Hill Station and North Spring Hill Station — would redevelop car dealerships along the north side of Tyco Road.

The projects include eight buildings, four parks, a new connection to the Dulles Toll Road and a sports deck that will include entertainment atop a building.

Elizabeth Baker, a senior land use planner who is representing the developer, told the county board that the companion developments move forward the vision to turn Tysons into a city.

“It’s really becoming a unified, urban environment,” Baker said about the area around the Metro station.

The Planning Commission held a public hearing on the developments back in September, but delayed the vote until this year to give staff and the developer time to work out issues with West Spring Hill Station.

Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said that the two projects “substantially improved” since when they were first proposed, praising the Dulles Toll Road Connection and “prominent parks.”

Images via Fairfax County 

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The Fairfax County Planning Commission voted last night to support two projects that would continue urbanizing Tysons.

Now proposed changes to open the Valo Park office complex up to the public and two developments near the Spring Hill Metro station in Tyson West will head to the Board of Supervisors with favorable recommendations.

Both proposed projects aim to enliven Tysons, Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner, the commissioner for the Providence District, noted.

The Planning Commission kicked off its meeting by making a decision on Georgelas LLC’s two proposed mixed-use developments that would redevelop car dealerships along the north side of Tyco Road into West Spring Hill Station and North Spring Hill Station.

The Planning Commission held a public hearing on the developments back in September. Niedzielski-Eichner requested delays on the decision to allow time for the developer and staff to address concerns with West Spring Hill Station.

Staffer Tracy Strunk outlined the “high points” of the changes the developer made in the resubmission in January:

  • reduced residential, meaning the parks and open space is no longer deficient
  • “brought mix of uses into closer alignment”
  • did new traffic study
  • provided new information on connection to Dulles Toll Road
  • gave more ideas for how surrounding properties could be developed

While the original staff report recommended denial of the project, Strunk said that the staff now support approving both developments even as the proposal is “still a little light on office.”

In response to the comment about the amount of office, Elizabeth Baker, a senior land use planner for Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh who is representing the developer, said that approved projects in Tysons West include millions of square feet of office space.

“So we have just been very cognizant of the amount of office in the area,” Baker said. “We want to be realistic about what can be built on this site.”

Strunk also noted that the proposed ramp will function more as a local street with a speed limit of 25 miles per hour.

“I fully support these applications,” Niedzielski-Eichner said, adding that they, along with The View and Adaire, will further transit-oriented development in Tysons West and make it an “exciting and vibrant place.”

During its second public hearing last night, the Planning Commission took up the proposal that would allow Valo Park in the North Central neighborhood to attract diners, shoppers and people looking to exercise.

The newspaper giant Gannett and cloud computing company Appian are headquartered at the roughly 785,000 square-foot office park (7950 Jones Branch Drive), which was bought by London-based Tamares a few years ago.

Tamares is looking to add shops, at least two restaurants and either a 5,000-square-foot craft beverage production establishment or restaurant on the roof on an existing parking garage. The owner also wants to open the office complex’s current conference center, auditorium and fitness center to the public.

The proposal did not receive any public comment during the hearing. Planning and zoning staff supported the proposed changes, and the Planning Commission voted to also back the plan.

Niedzielski-Eichner called it “a straightforward attempt to bring more people onto the property.”

Now, the Valo Park proposal is slated to head to the Board of Supervisors for a public hearing on June 9. The West and North Spring Hill Station developments will get a public hearing before the county board next Tuesday (May 12).

Images 1 and 2 via Fairfax County

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Fairfax County staffers support new plans to revamp the Valo Park office complex in Tysons, opening it up to the public and adding retail and restaurants.

The newspaper giant Gannett and cloud computing company Appian are currently headquartered at the roughly 785,000 square-foot office park, which has a fitness center, conference facilities and a 300-seat auditorium.

London-based Tamares acquired 7950 Jones Branch Drive for $270 million four years ago. Now, Tamares wants to add shops, restaurants, a bocce court and a 5,000-square-foot craft beverage production establishment or restaurant on the roof on an existing parking garage.

“The conference center, auditorium and fitness center are existing uses within the building; however, these uses are currently accessory to the office building in that only the onsite office users may use them,” according to the staff report published today. “The applicant is converting the spaces into publicly accessible uses.”

Tamares says that the proposed changes would help it better fit in with nearby urbanization. The office park is located in the North Central neighborhood of Tysons, which is home to the Park Crest and Highgate residential buildings and the upcoming mixed-use development called The Mile.

Here’s what the county staffers said in their report:

The proposed conversion of existing office and accessory uses to secondary uses will activate the site and facilitate a vibrant, mixed-use development that the Comprehensive Plan envisions for the Tysons Urban Center. The development offers high-quality amenities that will turn the existing office park into a community asset.

Minimal site disturbance is required to implement the development, as most of the proposed modifications are located within the existing building. The applicant has proffered: contributions to the Tysons Road Fund; bicycle parking; and green building technology and strategies as part of the construction of the proposed commercial use on top of the existing parking garage.

In staff’s opinion, the development plan is in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan and meets the general and design standards for a Planned District.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission is set to hold a public hearing on the project this spring.

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