An office building from the 1970s could be demolished to make way for a modern skyscraper along the Capital Beltway in Tysons.
The 11-story, 135-foot tall Park Place I (7926 Jones Branch Drive) is slated for an overhaul. Property owner B.F. Saul Real Estate Investment Trust is looking to replace it with a building with ground-floor retail, a terraced plaza, outdoor seating areas, and “trophy-class office space,” according to application materials.
The developer is seeking a special exception from Fairfax County to waive certain requirements, including an increase in the site’s permitted building height, to make way for the project.
“Compared to the existing building, the proposed Park Place I building will be rotated 90 degrees, thereby opening up views, light, and air through the site and creating symmetry with the adjacent Hilton Worldwide headquarters building,” Mark Viani, a land use and zoning lawyer for the project, said in a July 2 statement of justification to the county.
Viani, who works with the Arlington-based law firm Bean, Kinney, & Korman, noted that the current building remains in operation but “is outdated and is 100% vacant of all tenants.”
B.F. Saul previously submitted plans for an 18-story building in 2018, when it sought to obtain a parking requirement exception. Under its current plan, the redeveloped property would provide 1,842 spaces — more than the 1,506 spaces required.
As part of improvements, the owner would provide 4,040 square feet of urban park space at the property along Jones Branch Drive, which also would be widened to accommodate a new bike lane.
The proposed construction project is in a C-4 High Intensity Office District county zoning area, which restricts a building height to 120 feet and requires a front setback of 54 feet.
Under the names Tysons Park Inc. and Tysons Park Place II LLC, B.F. Saul is requesting permission for the new building to be 175 feet high and other waivers, including a 41-foot front setback.
The proposal calls for amending a special exception that was approved in 2000 and permitted the Park Place II to reach up to 150 feet in height but maintained Park Place I’s current height, according to the application.
As part of the justification in the request, Viani noted the county’s Tysons Comprehensive Plan calls for buildings up to 175 feet tall in that area based on its proximity to Metro stations. He says that by building “up” rather than “out,” the applicants will better improve pedestrian-oriented spaces and on-site open space.
“Its location along a prominent road makes it a desirable site for additional height to help create a stronger building identity and sense of place in Tysons,” Viani wrote.
Plans can now move forward for a pedestrian and bicycle connection in Tysons East.
Tysons Park Place II, LLC is looking to create the connection from the existing structured parking garage to a sidewalk along the Jones Branch Connector.
The new connection would improve walkability to a future redevelopment.
“This connection would provide pedestrians and bicyclists with a more direct site access to/from the Tysons East area and the McLean Metrorail Station when compared to the existing connections from Jones Branch Drive,” according to county staff.
On Tuesday, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to support a break of the limited access line, which the proposed pedestrian connection would cross.
Prior to the board’s vote, the limited access line was restricting the creation of the new connection, county staff said.
County officials celebrated the completion of the Jones Branch Connector today, calling it a vital new link to improve connectivity in Tysons.
The Virginia Department of Transporation (VDOT) and Fairfax County officials held a ribbon-cutting this morning (March 5) at the corner of Scotts Crossing Road and Capitol One Drive in Tysons.
The new half-mile roadway, called Scotts Crossing Road, runs between Jones Branch Drive and Route 123 over the Beltway and includes two lanes of traffic, a bicycle lane and an illuminated sidewalk for pedestrians in each direction, according to a VDOT press release.
“A wide, raised median is also reserved to accommodate future transit,” the press release said.
Though the $60 million price tag for such a short stretch of the road may seem high, Bill Cutler, the district construction engineer for VDOT, said that “it speaks to the complexity of the project.”
In the future, if Fairfax County decides that the overpass no longer makes sense for vehicle and pedestrian traffic, it is designed in such a way that construction crews will be able to strip the concrete and repurpose the project, for example, to become a trolley way, Cutler said.
For now though, “the project is expected to relieve traffic along Route 123, at the Route 123/I-495 interchange and other locations,” the press release said, adding that more than 32,000 vehicles are expected to use Scotts Crossing Road per day by 2040.
Speakers and guests at this morning’s ceremony included Dalia Palchik and Jeff McKay from the Board of Supervisors.
“This is part of our economic success plan,” Palchik, who represents the Providence District, said. “We know that if we don’t have connectivity [and] mobility, it will make things harder and harder for people to get around enjoy coming and going to work.”
Following up on Palchik’s statement, Cutler said that this new connection will allow people using different modes of transportation to more easily move between the communities and neighborhoods in Tysons.
The project, which was approved by the county in 2010, is the first one to be completed from the Tysons Comprehensive Plan Amendment, according to the press release.
“Final detail work” is expected this month, but shouldn’t impact traffic, according to the press release.
“The completion of the Jones Branch Connector marks a milestone in our collaborative efforts to improve our transportation network to support the growth of Tysons,” McKay said. “This project helps us move more people more efficiently and continues to build upon a grid of streets that encourages the use of multi-modal transportation alternatives.”
We’re in #Tysons with our partners @fairfaxcounty @tysonspartners @vaexpresslanes to celebrate the Jones Branch Connector, a crucial new link for those traveling around Tysons 🚇🏃🚲🚗! Learn more: https://t.co/JEiy2ZYF79 pic.twitter.com/9AhlAQDEIH
— VDOT Northern VA 😷 (@VaDOTNOVA) March 5, 2020
Construction work on the Jones Branch Connector is set to finish this spring.
The bridge over I-495 connects the North Central and Tysons East neighborhoods and is undergoing a $60 million project that will add two travel lanes and on-street bike lanes in each direction.
The two travel lanes in each direction have opened already, Mike Murphy, a Virginia Department of Transportation spokesperson, told Tysons Reporter.
Now, the bike lanes and sidewalks are left.
“Weather permitting, the bicycle lanes and sidewalks will open to traffic within the next couple months,” Murphy told Tysons Reporter.
The project is still on track for spring 2020 completion, Murphy said.
The Virginia Department of Transportation announced that the road will be closed between Jones Branch Drive and the I-495 Express Lanes starting tonight (Nov. 18) until Friday, Nov. 22, from 9:30 p.m. to 4 a.m. the following day.
The closures are related to paving as part of the Jones Branch Connector project, according to VDOT. Several detours will be in place for drivers.
The Jones Branch Connector project expects to have two lanes in each direction open by the end of the year and final completion in early 2020, according to VDOT.
Map via VDOT
As work continues on the Jones Branch Connector, Scotts Crossing Road, a road between Jones Branch Drive and the off-ramps for I-495 Express Lanes, will close overnight on Thursday (July 25).
The Virginia Department of Transportation said that Scotts Crossing Road will be closed from 10 p.m. on Thursday to 4 a.m. on Friday (July 26). Drivers heading north or south will have several detour options.
More from VDOT:
The ramps from the northbound and southbound I-495 Express Lanes to Scotts Crossing Road will remain open and traffic will still be able to access Route 123 via eastbound Scotts Crossing Road.
Route 123 traffic will still be able to access the northbound I-495 Express Lanes via westbound Scotts Crossing Road.
Currently, the Jones Branch Connector is undergoing construction for a $60 million project that will add two travel lanes and on-street bike lanes in each direction — the two lanes are set to open by the end of the year. Sidewalks are slated to open later this summer.
VDOT expects the project to be completed in spring 2020.
Map via Google Maps
The map of where to find Capital Bikeshare docks around Tysons is starting to get a little more filled out.
There were 11 stations in our first roundup in October. Since then, the numbers have grown.
Currently, cyclists can find 14 stations in Tysons. One of the new additions is near Tysons Galleria (Park Run and Onyx Drive), while two other stations sit at either end of the soon-to-open Jones Branch Connector, connecting the area around Tysons Galleria, like The Mile and Valo Park with Tysons East.
The connector and new bike-share stations are part of an effort to capitalize on the new Capital One headquarters and upcoming commercial and residential development.
Image via Capital Bikeshare
The ramps from the eastbound Dulles Toll Road and the eastbound Dulles Airport Access Road to southbound I-495 are scheduled to be closed from 10 p.m.-4 a.m. from today (Monday) to Friday (June 21), according to VDOT.
VDOT said drivers can take the following detours:
- eastbound Dulles Toll Road to southbound I-495: Eastbound Dulles Toll Road and southbound Route 123 (Exit 19A) back to the southbound I-495
- eastbound Dulles Airport Access Road to southbound I-495: Northbound I-495 and westbound Route 193 (Exit 44) back to the southbound I-495
- eastbound Dulles Toll Road traffic will still be able to access the southbound 495 Express Lanes
Additionally, Scotts Crossing Road closures between Jones Branch Drive and the I-495 Express Lanes will be closed during those times as well.
The closure will let workers continue work on the bridge, which is part of the $60 million project to relieve traffic along Route 123 at the I-495 interchange.
Pedestrians can expect the Jones Branch Connector sidewalk to open mid- to late summer.
The entire project is slated to finish this fall.
Map via VDOT
Pedestrians will soon be able to get over I-495 once the Jones Branch Connector’s sidewalk open, connecting North Central to Tysons East.
Currently, the Jones Branch Connector is undergoing construction for a $60 million project that will add two travel lanes and on-street bike lanes in each direction.
“Right now the Jones Branch Connector sidewalk is slated to open mid- to late summer 2019,” Michael Murphy, a spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Transportation, told Tysons Reporter.
Back in December, the Jones Branch Connector partially opened with one lane of traffic in each direction, but “Sidewalk Closed” signs have kept pedestrians away.
“By providing an alternate route across the Beltway and linking the Tysons East and Central areas, the Connector is expected to relieve traffic along Route 123, at the I-495 interchange, and at other congested intersections,” according to VDOT. “The road is expected to carry more than 32,000 vehicles per day by 2040.”
The project is slated to finish in the fall.
A video put together by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) laid out the goals of the Jones Branch Connector and a look at what’s ahead for the project.
MT @VaDOTNOVA: Check out the latest on the Jones Branch Connector project in Tysons! When complete, each direction will have 2 travel lanes, bike lane, multi-use path & wide median for future transit. @fairfaxcounty @VAExpressLanes @tysonspartners pic.twitter.com/PVLrSbFafe
— Fairfax County Government (@fairfaxcounty) March 18, 2019
The project first had a partial opening in December — with one lane of traffic opening in each direction — giving drivers a preview of the bridge that will connect east and west Tysons. According to the video, new bike lanes and sidewalks are planned to open sometime in the spring and a second lane opening in each direction.
“VDOT and Fairfax County have really partnered together to improve transportation in Tysons,” William Cuttler, a VDOT engineer, said in the video. “This $60 million project is going to go a long way to provide multimodal connections and helping to transform this city.”
Cuttler said the connection will aim to not only benefit drivers looking to cross over the Beltway, but also offer residents of western Tysons quicker access to the McLean Metro station at the east end of the bridge.
“Currently the Beltway operates as almost a barrier between the east side of Tysons and the west side,” Tom Biesiadny, director of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, said in the video, “so building additional connection across the Beltway is really important.”
Mike McGurk, from Transurban corporate relations, said the Jones Branch Connector would also help the accessibility of the I-495 Express Lanes.
The project is expected to be completed this fall.
Photo via VDOT