Newsletter
A rendering of the proposed residential-retail expansion of The Boro (courtesy The Meridian Group)

(Updated on 9/2/2021) The former National Automobile Dealers Association headquarters building will be demolished this month to make way for a planned expansion of The Boro, the developer behind the Tysons mixed-use neighborhood announced today (Monday).

Extending The Boro to the north side of Westpark Drive, the vacated office complex will ultimately be replaced by approximately 40,000 square feet of retail space, more than an acre of public park and active recreational space, and more than 800 residential units, The Meridian Group says.

“This next phase will continue to deliver on the goals and objects of the Tysons Comprehensive Plan, including increased connectivity, walkability, balanced housing, vibrant streetscapes with active storefronts, and exceptional public amenities like the first installation of a Tysons-wide cultural and recreational trail,” The Meridian Group Senior Vice President Tom Boylan said in a statement.

The project will involve development on four parcels:

  • Block J: the 16-story Silverstone Senior Living building, which will have 197 units, 79 of them dedicated to assisted living and memory care, and ground-floor retail. Construction could start by the end of this year, and the Dallas-headquartered senior living provider expects to finish the project in late 2023.
  • Blocks I and K: workforce and market-rate residential buildings with approximately 34,000 square feet of retail. Co-developed by Meridian and the real estate firm Akridge, Block I will consist of 122 residences, and Block K will offer 421 residences. The two buildings could be complete in 2024.
  • Block L: townhomes or a health club to supplement a park at the corner of Clover and Broad Streets

In a news release, Meridian says its Boro expansion will introduce a new grid of streets with a signalized, pedestrian-only crossing at the Whole Foods entrance and “pedestrian connections” at Westpark Drive’s intersections with Greensboro Drive and a new road called Broad Street.

A map of the buildings in The Boro extension from the proposed development plan (via Fairfax County)

In a rezoning application submitted to Fairfax County in May, the developer says Broad Street will be a private road that will eventually stretch past The Boro’s northern property line to Spring Hill Road.

Meridian also proposes adding a new public street called Clover Street to connect Broad and Greensboro and extending Boro Place as a private road across Westpark, which is currently divided into six lanes by a median with Greensboro and Route 7 as the closest traffic lights.

A five-story-high glass corridor bridge will be constructed over Boro Place to link Blocks I and K.

In addition, an on-road bicycle lane will be added to Broad Street, but the application says one along Westpark Drive “is not possible due to existing right-of-way constraints.”

According to Meridian’s press release, its expansion of The Boro will further fulfill the county’s Tysons Comprehensive Plan by adding bicycle share locations, new dedicated bicycle lanes, two new bus stops, a dedicated Tysons Circulator travel lane, and three blocks of an “active recreation amenity” that it calls the Tysons Circuit.

“The Tysons Circuit will include interpretative signage, benches, landscaping, and specialty paving, which together will form a distinct and unique pathway along Westpark Drive down to Leesburg Pike,” the press release said.

The plan also calls for a linear ribbon park system dubbed Allsboro Park that will feature garden and seating areas, public art, and a pickleball court.

Opened in 2019, The Boro turned the government contractor SAIC’s former campus into a mixed-use space with luxury high-rise apartments, the office-oriented Boro Tower, restaurants, and the mid-Atlantic region’s largest Whole Foods.

Meridian purchased the NADA building for $33.7 million in 2018 in anticipation of the development’s expansion.

Earlier this summer, a massive mural was unveiled at The Boro, accompanied by a new pop-up bar from The Sandlot. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (1669 C Silver Hill Drive) also opened there this spring, and the Australian coffee shop Bluestone Lane could open this month.

Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik’s office declined to comment on specifics of the application, because it is pending with county hearings scheduled in October. Spokesperson Caroline Coscia said the applicant also intends to re-submit the application on Friday (Aug. 13).

The Fairfax County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the project at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 6, and the Board of Supervisors is slated to hold its hearing at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 19.

Map via Fairfax County

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A rendering of the planned Paxton mixed-use building at Scotts Run (courtesy LMC)

Another piece of the massive Scotts Run development taking shape near the McLean Metro station has fallen into place.

The real estate developer LMC announced on Thursday (July 29) that it has closed on land for a new mixed-use building called Paxton that will add 447 apartment units and 14,713 square feet of retail space to the 40-acre development in Tysons.

“Paxton will provide well-appointed apartment homes in Tysons close to a variety of dining, entertainment, and transit options,” Stuart Cain, vice president of development of LMC’s D.C. Metro office, said. “Paxton will offer a broad range of apartment types, with spacious floor plans and ample, modern indoor and outdoor amenities and workspaces in a growing urban community.”

Located at 1750 Chain Bridge Road, Paxton will be supported by a seven-story parking garage and a range of amenities, per LMC’s press release:

The modern community will offer studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartment homes. Apartment interiors will be appointed with wood plank-style flooring, quartz countertops, under-cabinet lighting, stainless steel appliances, walk-in closets, floor-to-ceiling windows, recessed lighting and additional storage space. Resort-inspired amenities at Paxton will include ample co-working space with a conference room and business center, swimming pool, cabanas and lounge seating, firepits and fireplace, outdoor grills, lounge, entertainment kitchen, club room with a gaming area and billiards table and fully equipped fitness center with weightlifting and cardio machines. Residents will also have access to a seven-story parking garage with electric vehicle charging stations, package lockers, additional storage space and a pet park with a dog grooming room.

The developer projects that Paxton will open for its first move-ins in early 2024.

Approved in 2011 in two sections, one on the south side of Route 123 and one on the north side, Scotts Run will replace office buildings and a surface parking lot with up to 6.5 million square feet of mixed-use development.

Cityline Partners — the master developer behind Scotts Run — says it “is excited to have LMC deliver the Paxton at Scotts Run.” LMC approached Cityline about buying a parcel in early 2020.

Skanska, JLB Partners, and the hotel management company LodgeWorks Partners are also involved in Scotts Run.

Completed parts of the development include the Haden and The Kingston apartment buildings as well as the Mitre 4 office building, and progress is being made on several other portions as well.

According to Cityline, Skanska’s planned 28-story apartment high-rise The Heming “is proceeding well and now above grade” after starting construction last year.

The 178-room Archer Hotel is nearing completion and remains on track to open later this year, and construction on ShipGarten, a beer-garden-in-shipping-containers pop-up from the team behind the Tysons Biergarten, is expected to be finished soon for an opening this summer, though previous projected openings have come and gone.

Meanwhile, Cityline says it has completed work on the new Scotts Run Fire Station 44, and Fairfax County plans to make the building operational soon.

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Morning Notes

Fountains outside The Verse condos in The Boro (photo by John G. Colby)

Capital One Adopts Hybrid Work Model — The founder and CEO of Capital One, which employs almost 10,000 people in the D.C. area, told workers yesterday (Tuesday) that its U.S. offices, including its headquarters in Tysons, will reopen on Sept. 7. The company will shift to a hybrid model where employees can work virtually on Mondays and Fridays with no requirements for how many days they need to be in the office. [WTOP]

Traffic Calming Measures Coming to Vienna and McLean — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted last Tuesday (June 22) to approve the installation of “$200 Additional Fine for Speeding” signs along Vaden Drive between I-66 and Lee Highway near the Vienna Metro station. The county will also spend $40,000 to install four speed humps on Churchill Road in McLean. [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

Founders Row Apartments Start Preleasing — The 322-unit Modera apartment building and 72-unit Verso senior living complex in Falls Church City’s Founders Row development are now preleasing in anticipation of opening later this year. The site will also host a six-story, mixed-use building with ground-floor retail and a movie theater, and a second phase is currently in the works. [Mill Creek Residential/PR Newswire]

Falls Church Among Healthiest U.S. Communities — The City of Falls Church came in third in U.S. News & World Report’s fourth annual Healthiest Communities rankings, the same spot that it has occupied for the last two years. Fairfax County made the top 15 at No. 14. [Patch]

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Residents of The Boro’s Rise and Bolden Apartments will soon be treated to the luxuries of a hotel to go with the units’ $5,500-per-month price tag.

Pop-up hotel operator WhyHotel announced this morning (Tuesday) that it has formed a partnership with The Meridian Group, the real estate company that owns and manages The Boro, to introduce a “hospitality-infused apartment living concept” to the Tysons development.

WhyHotel has run a temporary pop-up hotel out of Rise since December 2019, allowing guests to occupy unleased units in the 33-story building, but this partnership will give the company a permanent presence in The Boro.

“The Meridian Group and The Boro are excited to continue our partnership with WhyHotel in their new phase,” The Meridian Group Partner and CIO Gary Block said. “We believe this new residential offering will enhance our residential community at The Boro and will continue to provide the highest placemaking environment in Tysons.”

The Rise and Bolden high-rise buildings opened in September 2019, bringing more than 500 residential units to Meridian’s 3.5 million square-foot mixed-use complex on Greensboro Drive.

According to WhyHotel’s press release, its “Hospitality Living” concept will essentially bring hotel-style services — such as on-demand cleaning and linen and laundry services — to Rise and Bolden residents. Other new amenities will include furnished units for both residents and guests and a customized design through furniture rental option.

The new concept will officially launch at the Rise and Bolden Apartments in June.

WhyHotel says it is “pursuing additional opportunities to expand” after bringing a new pop-up hotel to Miami on May 1. The company will also open a pop-up hotel in D.C. — its fifth in the region — on June 1.

“This partnership is an important step in the future of the intersection of residential living and hospitality as it is the first property to house the WhyHotel Hospitality Living experience,” WhyHotel CEO Jason Fudin said. “We’re proud to work with The Meridian Group to bring this innovative asset class to life for residents.”

Photo courtesy WhyHotel

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(Updated at 3:45 p.m. on 5/19/2021) Even in the midst of a global pandemic, Tysons continues to grow. While there are many new buildings being built, Tysons Reporter reached out to developers on some of the bigger projects for updates on their construction timelines.

Monarch

A 1o1-unit luxury condominium high-rise, The Monarch is part of the 19-acre Arbor Row mixed-use development near Tysons Galleria. Construction stalled last year after developer Renaissance Centro parted ways with its construction contractor.

While there is no official timeline for completion, a spokesperson for the project told Tysons Reporter that a new contractor has been selected and should be announced soon. Once the contractor is announced and construction begins, the owners recently told frustrated residents that construction should be complete in 21 to 24 months.

“It is moving forward and we are still selling the condominiums,” Kami Kraft, vice president of the marketing firm The Mayhood Company, said.

The Mather

Also part of the Arbor Row development, The Mather is a Life Plan Community that will open in two phases, with the first coming in 2023. It will have apartments with access to assisted living, memory care suites, and medical services for residents 62 and older. Phase 1 is already 80% pre-sold, and phase 2 pre-construction sales will begin soon.

The existing structure on the site was demolished in May 2020, and work on various public improvements, including a relocation of site fences, temporary reconfiguration of traffic lanes, and sewer system upgrades, began the week of March 8.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Mather’s parent company Mather created an “interdisciplinary” team to support staff and residents across its facilities and develop infection control protocols.

“These conversations have led to enhancements that will be seen in the design and operations at The Mather in Tysons, such as HVAC systems which will include UV light purification and 100% of air exhausted to the exterior,” Mather Senior Vice President of Sales Gale Morgan said.

Capital One Center

The second phase of construction is currently underway at Capital One Center, a 24.25-acre complex with dining, shopping, outdoor activities, a movie theater, and more attractions coming.

While slightly inconvenienced by the COVID-19 pandemic, disrupting shipments of materials and equipment, the lack of traffic helped construction pick up the pace, according to Capital One Center Managing Director Jonathan Griffith.

The next big opening will be The Perch, an outdoor space atop Capital One Hall with food trucks, a Biergarten, live music, and more. The skypark is set to open this July, while Capital One Hall — a performance venue with a 1,600-seat theater, a 250-seat black box theater, and other event spaces — is scheduled to open in October.

The 300-room Watermark Hotel is slated to open in late 2021 as an “all-suite lodging facility” set to host “associates of Capital One as well as corporate and leisure guests visiting the region,” according to a job posting made by B.F. Saul Hospitality, which will be managing the property. Read More

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The Falls Church City Council will get a staff briefing and presentation during its work session tonight (Monday) on a proposed One City Center mixed-use development just across the street from the still-pending Broad and Washington project.

The discussion is slated for 9:30 p.m., according to the meeting agenda.

Atlantic Realty Companies is proposing an extensive mixed-use apartment building with space for a grocery store and other retail space, as well as commercial and office spaces. The plan includes creating a new traffic circle at the intersection of S. Maple Avenue and W. Annandale Road and designing a Dutch-style “living street” called a “woonerf.”

According to a Falls Church City staff report, Atlantic is proposing to build a development over 4.6 acres at the intersection of W. Broad and S. Washington Streets that features:

  • About 17,500 square feet of ground-floor retail
  • A 26,500-square foot grocery store at the corner of Maple Avenue and Broad Street
  • 13,365 square feet of retail and commercial space on the mezzanine level
  • 43,000 square feet of office space
  • 246 apartment units across six stories, 15 of which will be set aside for affordable housing
  • 9-10 levels of structured parking with 969 spaces

About 75% of the complex will be dedicated to apartment living, leaving 10% for office space and 15% for retail. Atlantic is seeking a special exception from the council to have apartment units in the complex and allow for a 40-foot height bonus, which would bring the building to a maximum of 115 feet.

Atlantic currently owns and manages all the affected properties: the George Mason Square office complex and two-story parking garage, a BB&T Bank, Matt’s Tailor & Bridal Boutique on W. Broad Street, a vacant parcel at the corner of W. Broad Street and S. Maple Ave., and a five-story office building with a surface parking lot.

Atlantic’s commercial program is based on the need for flexibility to help drive foot traffic to the property, Andrew Painter, the developer’s legal representation, said in a letter to the city.

“Traditional format retail has been challenged in recent years by the rise in e-commerce, and COVID-19 has greatly accelerated this trend,” he wrote. “Similarly, the recent increase in virtual meeting services and the escalated pace of technology adoption is having deleterious repercussions on office demand.”

The existing George Mason Square arcade will be removed and replaced with a pedestrian plaza lined with new fast-casual eateries, retailers, and a pedestrian-oriented “woonerf” between the existing and proposed new buildings that may be periodically closed for special events and fairs, according to Painter’s letter.

This “woonerf” will have “high-quality pavers, overhead accent lighting, landscaping, hardscape treatments, and parallel parking for adjacent retailers,” he said.

Painter wrote that these changes will “anchor the project’s eastern entry, activate George Mason Square’s ground floor area, and provide an updated, modern signature asset to the City’s rapidly evolving downtown.”

He noted that Atlantic is proposing a 30 by 40-foot exterior visual screen, which can be used for “screen on the green” events or coverage of live city events.

Painter added that it “will also keep the George Mason Square development competitive from an aesthetic perspective which, in turn, will energize the Applicant’s leasing program and drive tenant demand.”

The grocery store, he said, will be “a new entrant to the City’s grocery store market.”

As for transportation, the project will include a proposed mid-block crossing and a high-intensity activated crosswalk signal on W. Broad Street.

Painter said the proposed traffic circle will “provide a safer intersection for pedestrians and will, in conjunction with the new public park on the Triangle Parking Lot, transform the intersection into a more attractive urban gateway.”

Photos via Falls Church City 

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(Updated at 12:35 p.m.) The Meridian Group is following up its mixed-use development, The Boro, with plans for an expansion along Westpark Drive.

Fairfax County recently accepted a rezoning application from Meridian that involves about 9.37 acres of land in the west quadrant of Westpark Drive and Greensboro Drive, the developer’s legal representative Elizabeth D. Baker told Tysons Reporter.

The application concerns two buildings in a larger conceptual development plan that calls for four buildings — Buildings I, J, K and L — that will be developed with residential, continuing care, health club, and retail and service uses, she said in an email.

“This development will be an extension of The Boro, which is a successful transit-oriented mixed-use development across Westpark Drive,” said Baker, who is the Senior Land Use Planner for Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh.

Fairfax County accepted plans for Buildings I and K on Feb. 25. It has also accepted and is evaluating a plan for a proposed continuing care facility in Building J by Silverstone Tysons.

Meridian is proposing the following specifications for Building I, which would be adjacent to Westpark Drive:

  • Maximum of 200,000 square feet — up to 175,000 square feet for residential use and up to 25,000 for retail
  • Maximum of 130 dwelling units, likely condominiums
  • Approximately seven stories with a maximum height of 90 feet
  • Underground and above-ground parking structures

“In addition to interior residential amenities, Building I includes an elevated outdoor terrace that looks out onto a central park,” Baker said.

Building K would be located west of Building I with frontages on Greensboro Drive. It has the following proposed specifications:

  • Up to 430 residential units
  • Up to 20,000 square feet of neighborhood-serving retail use
  • Approximately seven stories with a maximum height of 90 feet
  • Underground and above-ground parking structures

“Two interior courtyards providing amenities for the buildings’ residents are located atop the parking garage podium,” Baker said.

In addition to a central park, Meridian envisions creating a linear park along Westpark Drive. It would be a combined pedestrian and bicycle circuit designed to accommodate leisure bikers and walkers, according to Baker.

“Known as the Community Circuit, this park will include marked pavement, wayfinding signage, bike and pedestrian amenities, and focal elements such as public art, benches, and specialty landscaping,” she said.

The Meridian Group acquired the National Automobile Dealers Association headquarters building at 8400 Westpark Drive and an adjacent site in 2018, the Washington Business Journal reported. The developer paid $33.7 million to the NADA, which relocated to 8484 Westpark Drive that October.

A separate development is in the works at nearby Westpark Plaza.

The lot at 8401 Westpark Drive will be converted into an interim public “reading park” with new vehicle storage after the Fairfax County Planning Commission granted developer Dittmar’s request to amend its plans on Dec. 9. The amenities will occupy the site until Dittmar kicks off its idling plans for two residential buildings, a new hotel, and retail.

Image via Google Maps

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The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has approved the construction of an apartment building with ground-floor retail in Merrifield.

The project replaces a 1980s-era, three-story office building at 2722 Merrilee Drive with a seven-story, 85-foot-tall residential building with retail and recreational amenities.

Proposed by Elm Street Development under the name Merrilee Ventures, the apartment building will have 239 residential units and 30 units for retail use.

On Tuesday (Jan. 26), supervisors approved the developer’s request to reduce the site’s existing parking by 18% because it is close to the Merrifield-Dunn Loring Metro Station.

The Merrilee building will have 294 parking spaces, including 264 set aside for residents. Merrilee Drive and a planned private street will also have on-street parking.

Elm Street Development is providing 20,000 square feet of passive and active open space, including a retail plaza, an outdoor fitness area, and an expanded streetscape along Merrilee Drive.

“One of the opportunities for Merrifield is to simply link the [Dunn Loring Metro station] to the extensive retail amenities in the established urban core,” McGuireWoods managing partner Greg Riegle, a representative for Elm Street, said on Tuesday.

He further described the project as “an opportunity to promote that connectivity and set a template for the walkable streets, pedestrian amenities, and reasonable street-level retail that will make it an increasingly interesting and amenitized walk.” 

During the meeting, Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik lauded the project because it will enhance the pedestrian experience and provide open spaces, including a much-needed dog park.

“I am pleased it resulted in a high-quality urban design that maximized indoor and outdoor amenities and publicly accessible spaces,” she said.

Elm Street Development is still working with Providence District to find .45 acres of space to develop into an urban park. The company is unable to meet a standard in Merrifield’s comprehensive plan that requires urban park space in new developments.

Staff calculated that .63 acres of on-site park space would be required, but Elm Street Development said only .17 acres fit on the site. So, the developer is looking to make up the remaining .45 acres elsewhere. If it can’t find that space, the developer will contribute $500,000 to Fairfax County Park Authority for future urban park spaces.

Those who worked on the project told the supervisors that the project revealed challenges in the urban park standards within the Merrifield Suburban Center Comprehensive Plan.

When approving the Merrilee project, Palchik asked Fairfax County staff to find new ways to achieve the plan’s vision for urban parks.

“The challenge of meeting the urban park standard within the application brought to light needs that, when addressed, will help realize the comprehensive plan’s vision for additional park resources here in Merrifield,” she said.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously approved the project on Dec. 9 after deferring the decision for a week over concerns about the urban park space requirements.

Although concerns over parking and stormwater management were raised during the planning commission’s public hearing in December, no public speakers came forward on Tuesday.

Photo courtesy Elm Street Development, image via Fairfax County

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Tysons development Circle Towers is rebranding to Trillium Apartments (9401 Lee Highway) as it finishes up a series of extensive renovations.

“The Applicant is in the midst of renovations to Trillium Apartments, including a rebranding from the complex’s former name, Circle Towers,” the property owner said in a report.

The property owner is currently seeking a permit from Fairfax County to reflect that change, though social media accounts for the complex have referred to it as “Trillium Apartments” since at least January.

The website indicates that the apartment complex is available for tours.

The website says units at the facility range from $1,399 for a one bedroom-one bathroom unit to $2,468 for a three bedroom-2.5-bathroom unit, and features amenities like a fitness center and study spaces.

Image via Trillium Apartments

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New PPP Loan Guidance — “New guidance from the Small Business Administration changes the compensation limits for certain Paycheck Protection Program borrowers who are considered owner-employees.” [Washington Business Journal]

Here’s Where VA COVID-19 Cases Are Up — “Richmond, a city of over 230,000 people, recorded more new cases than Prince William County, which has over 470,000 people. Localities leading in new cases on Thursday were Fairfax County with 81, Richmond City with 73, Prince William County with 66, and Virginia Beach with 55.” [Patch]

Painted Rocks Share Positive Messages — “Local Girl Scouts met in person in the middle of last month, for the first time since the pandemic began, to paint stones for ‘Rock Your August with Kindness,’ the Vienna Arts Society’s (VAS) third summer project. The public may admire or even take home the approximately 150 rocks painted by the Scouts, said VAS member Mary Ellen Larkins, who co-chaired the project with MaryBeth Davis.” [Inside NoVa]

Families Living in Tysons High-Rises — “Tysons shows that high-rise housing can be an appealing home for all ages. In Tysons, 21.4% of residents are under 20 years old, an increase of about 20% since Tysons’ redevelopment plan for more housing was implemented in 2010. The majority of Tysons’ housing stock consists of mid- to high-rise, elevator buildings.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Photo by Michelle Goldchain

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