Tysons Corner, VA

A new tower is coming to Tysons’ skyline and snapping up the “tallest building in the region” title.

The tower is apart of Clemente Development Co. plans for The View development, which won approval from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors last night (Tuesday).

The mixed-use development by the Spring Hill Metro station will add six buildings, including the 600-foot-tall building that will reach higher than Capital One’s headquarters.

Known as the Iconic Tower, building plans to capitalize on its height with a publicly-accessible botanical garden and observation deck.

The development has been praised for its varied building heights and sleek design, but the Iconic Tower’s height of 600 feet — 200 feet above the maximum for Tysons buildings– has received some criticism from the McLean Citizens Association.

Dale Stein, the president of MCA, said that the height “breaks the trust of the community.”

However, the supervisors felt differently.

Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth said that the height creates an architectural statement that will help define downtown Tysons.

“If we keep that 400-foot level… we will have a collection of 400-foot shoeboxes defining our skyline in Tysons,” Smyth said, adding that people are “starting to see that already.”

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust said that while he understands the MCA’s position about the height, “I don’t necessarily agree with that concern.”

Supervisors also lauded the development’s planned entertainment uses, which include a black box theater, art walk and open-air theater, along with a nearby community center.

“We’re no longer suburbia,” Smyth said. “We are going into the future with this.”

Image via Fairfax County

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As 1st Stage Theatre outgrows its current Tysons home, the theater is hoping to move to a proposed mixed-use development by the Spring Hill Metro station.

The theater’s artistic director Alex Levy told the Fairfax County Planning Commission Wednesday night that the theater is negotiating with the county and the developers of the proposed Tysons West development known as The View.

“The stunning new venue that was designed in The View was built specifically for a thriving company like ours,” Levy said. “It will serve as the heartbeat of an exciting and thriving new development.”

Levy told Tysons Reporter last year that the theater has been growing in attendance by 15% year after year — creating capacity issues at the theater’s current space at 1524 Spring Hill Road.

While the theater wants to expand, Levy has said that 1st Stage wants to stay in Tysons.

Levy praised the county and developers for working on the art spaces with specific users in mind and aiming to offer reduced rent for a not-for-profit company, like 1st Stage.

“What makes 1st Stage’s success remarkable is it happens in a landscape in which most of the D.C. region has strong arts funding and subsidized venues,” Levy told the commissioners.

Paul Kohlenberger, the president of the Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce, told the commissioners that he supports the idea of subsidizing the lease for 1st Stage at The View.

“Visionary Project”

Vienna-based Clemente Development Co.’s development would add six buildings, including a 600-foot-tall office building that would snatch the “tallest building in the region” title from Capital One’s headquarters in Tysons East and the Washington Monument.

Plans for The View also include a 455-foot-tall office building, a 394-foot-tall building for hotel and residential uses and a 108-foot-tall building with retail and office space.

“We think the diversity of height in and around Tysons is absolutely critical,” a representative for the developer told the Planning Commission.

Known as the Iconic Tower, the tallest building would capitalize on its height with a publicly-accessible botanical garden and observation deck.

While the commissioners have lingering concerns about making the buildings bird-friendly and the logistics with an athletic field tied to the project, they were mostly supportive of The View — especially its focus on the arts.

“One thing that doesn’t work is a theater that is designed for everyone,” John Carter, the commissioner for the Hunter Mill District, said. “Those tend to fail because there’s no such design that works for everybody.”

That’s Entertainment

In addition to the planned black box theater, The View wants to have an art walk, seasonal ice loop, open-air theater on the green and a Tysons Community Center at a nearby site.

“The arts are essential to thriving and robust communities,” Linda Sullivan, the president of ARTSFAIRFAX, said, along with pointing out that Capital One’s planned performance hall and The View will be “important anchors and drivers” of the arts locally.

The Landing Public Sky Park would include an outdoor amphitheater. Meanwhile, the Theater on the Green — also known as the Common Green — would be located between The Landing and one of the buildings.

“The Theater on the Green will provide space for outdoor dining, an open lawn, wayfinding, special paving and banding to visually guide pedestrian flow, a stage for events and performances, outdoor seating, outdoor games, artful lighting, access to multi-modal paths and a continuation of the Art Walk Loop,” according to county documents.

The 20,000 square-foot theater would be available for 35 years.

More from the developers’ plans for the black-box theater:

The proposed development anticipates that the applicant will construct the 199-seat black-box theater, which will be leased to an arts, entertainment, or theatrical group at a very significantly discounted rate. The theater will include “back of house” space for rehearsal, set construction, and other support activities.

The applicant has been in discussions with local theaters and arts groups, as well as national experts in this field; these discussions have continued to inform the design and practical parameters of the proposed theater space.

“The arts can have a ripple effect,” Sullivan said, adding that national studies have shown that arts have a positive economic impact.

Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner, the commissioner for the Providence District, deferred the decision on the “visionary project” to next Thursday, Oct. 10.

The View heads to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Oct. 15.

Images via Fairfax County

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The View. The Lumen. The Monarch.

Where do the new Tysons developments get their names?

Some of the names are obvious, like Capital One Tower or The Boro under construction across from the Greensboro Metro station, but others have obscure names derived either from the purpose or design of the project.

Here are the stories and thought processes behind the name of some new developments around Tysons:

The View 

What it is: A sprawling 3 million-square-foot development from the Clemente Development Company near the Spring Hill Metro station. The centerpiece of the project is The Iconic, a 600 foot-tall office tower.

“The View’s name is based on the fact that this project will be the western gateway project in Tysons as it matures into America’s ‘Next Great City,’ with dramatic views in all directions,” Juliann Clemente, the president of Clemente Development Company, said in an email. “The name captures the project’s essence and its prominent role in the development of Tysons’ skyline.”

Clemente also noted that much of the company’s names are picked by the development team over lunch.

The Evolution

What it is: A planned affordable housing complex temporarily on hold as the Clemente Development Company focuses on The View to the north.

“The Evolution’s name was chosen as it will provide the workforce — in one location — a home with educational facilities, child care services and other essential amenities all proximate to where the workforce lives, works and plays enabling residents to evolve within walking distance to work in the new city that will be Tysons,” Clemente said. “No commuting required. They’re turning commuting time into productive time, and we’re offering the opportunity to grow and evolve.”

The Monarch 

What it is: A high-end condominium tower east of Tysons Galleria that broke ground earlier this year. Units in The Monarch range from $600,000 to just over $3 million.

“The Monarch name was chosen for two reasons,” Kamarin Kraft, the vice president of the Mayhood Company, which is marketing the project, said. “The first is that the project is a part of the new Tysons and we are very proud to be part of this positive transformation. The Monarch butterfly is powerful symbol of this exciting transformation. The second reason is that we have outdoor space on every home and most of them are three-sided extended balconies which makes the building appear as if it’s taking flight when viewed from above.”

Arbor Row

What it is: A row of development projects located along Westpark Drive, of which The Monarch is one.

“I have to assume the Arbor Row name comes from the line of properties which flank Westpark Drive and share the mature grove of trees to the rear which is a unique asset in our urban setting,” Kraft said.

The Lumen 

What it is: A luxury-apartment that started leasing earlier this year with move-ins planned later this summer.

“The name for Lumen was inspired by the building design,” Lindsey Bernhardt, the account manager for LinnellTaylor Marketing, said. “Consisting of floor to ceiling windows spanning the entire building, standing at 32 stories tall, the Lumen is the tallest building in Fairfax County to date. The name is a play on the meaning of lumen, relating to luminous, letting the bright and radiant light in.”

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(Update 11 a.m.) 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 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 with the kiss-and-ride being relocated.

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. Clemente said the theater was the result of a negotiation with Fairfax County.

“Capital One has a 2000-seat performing arts center,” Clemente 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 contribute $750,000 to construct an athletic field at Raglan Road Park.

The project is still in the early stages of land use approval. Kevin MacWhorter, a lawyer working on the project 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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