If Tysons Central 123 is Tysons’ Fifth Avenue, Tysons Central 7 is its Wall Street.
Anchored on the original “Tyson’s Corner” and the Greensboro Metrorail station, Tysons Central 7 is one of Tysons’ four downtown districts. It is the most similar to a conventional “Central Business District” elsewhere in the United States.
Northeast of Leesburg Pike, the district “will continue to have one of the highest concentrations of office space in Tysons.” Southwest of Leesburg Pike, planners intend a “Civic Commons” to be the heart of the Tysons community — but change might be slower here than in other downtown districts.
An Urban Downtown
Tysons Central 7, named for the highway number of Leesburg Pike, is home to towers like 8100 and 8200 Greensboro Drive — modernist offices surrounded by lots of surface parking. It is also home to The Boro, a development opening later this year that consists of mixed-use high-rises surrounded by urban plazas and a new street grid. If the former represents Tysons’ past, and the latter represents Tysons’ present, both will leave their marks on Tysons’ future.
Predictions are that Tysons will grow to 200,000 jobs and 100,000 residents by 2050. Whether you think those predictions are conservative or generous, it is inevitable that the imbalance between jobs and residents will continue to be a major factor shaping Tysons’ development. Many of the new residences will be located in the districts like Old Courthouse that lie a little farther from the Metro, leaving the office pressure on the downtown.
Even as it diversifies with some retail, residences, and hotels to “become a vibrant 24-hour area,” Tysons Central 7 will continue to be defined by offices of all kinds, old and new.
Tysons Central 7 lies on what is naturally the most elevated land in Fairfax County, making it perfect for ambitious builders hoping to leave their mark on Tysons’ emerging skyline.
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.”
The Weekly Planner is a roundup of the most interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.
We’ve scoured the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!
Monday (April 22)
- Game of Thrones Trivia Night — 8-10:30 p.m. at Blackfinn Ameripub (2750 Gallows Road) — The Blackfinn Ameripub is hosting a trivia night themed around the popular HBO show Game of Thrones. There is no entry fee, but top teams can win special Game of Thrones-related prizes. Food and drinks themed around the show will also be available.
Wednesday (April 24)
- 2019 Green Expo — 7-9 p.m. at the Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry Street SE.) — The event hosted by the town’s Community Enhancement Commission helps locals learn about sustainability, home energy efficiency, recycling and more. Activities at the Expo include a raffle to win a rain barrel and lessons on how to make a yard a habitat for local wildlife. Green Expo is free and open to the public.
Thursday (April 25)
- Rosé All Day Event — 5-7 p.m. at Tysons Corner Center — As part of series of events coming to BrandBox, Winky Lux’s Roseé themed event will feature all-day pampering with hair touch-ups and creative consultation. Entrance is $20, which also comes with a $20 WinkyLux gift card, a makeover and rosé tasting. RSVPs can be made by emailing [email protected]
- Claude Moore Farm Public Meeting — 6-8 p.m. at Madison Community Center (3829 N Stafford Street, Arlington) — The National Park Service is launching its planning effort for McLean’s Claude Moore Farm, which closed last fall, with an open house. Concepts for the park are planned to be shared at the meeting with the public given a chance to offer feedback.
Saturday (April 27)
- 8th Annual Taste of Vienna — 11 a.m.-8 p.m. at the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department (400 Center Street) — The annual fundraiser for the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department is coming back, rain or shine. The event showcases food and beer from around Vienna. For adults, beer tickets are $15. All-day moon bounce admission for children is $2.50.
- Caboose Brewing Company’s Springfest 2019 — 12-7 p.m. at Caboose Commons (2918 Eskridge Road) — Caboose Commons is hosting its first craft brewery festival, with eight other breweries planned to attend the event in Merrifield. Live music, smoked barbecue, and authentic German beer are planned for the celebration. Tickets are $25.
- Pints for Parkinson’s — 1-5 p.m. at Tysons Biergarten (8346 Leesburg Pike) — At a special fundraiser, all donations and a percentage of sales at Tysons Biergarten will be given to local non-profit Parkinson Social Network — a group dedicated to bringing the Parkinson’s community together to inform and encourage those living with Parkinson’s.
Sunday (April 28)
- 2019 Walk on the Hill — 2-5 p.m. at the Windover Avenue — The annual tradition dating back to 1971 takes visitors on a self-guided tour through a historic Vienna neighborhood. Approximately 50 yards and gardens are planned to participate in the tours, and live entertainment is also planned for the celebration.
Photo via Facebook
MOD Pizza — a pizza restaurant chain — is coming to the Pike 7 Plaza shopping center in Tysons.
The new MOD Pizza location isn’t the first in the area — there’s another at 168 Maple Avenue W. in Vienna that opened in 2016 — but the chain has been undergoing a widespread growth in the D.C. region.
It is unknown when the location plans to open, but the company is currently looking for a general manager for the Tysons location with a base salary of $68,100.
Construction is also ongoing at an enclosed JP Morgan Chase kiosk between MOD Pizza and Honeygrow.
Formerly known as Burlington Coat Factory, the national off-price department store chain will set up shop in Sports Authority’s former spot at 8355 Leesburg Pike.
The store will help occupy one of the noticeable gaps in the shopping center. The space for Pier 1 Imports, which shuttered its doors at 8311 Leesburg Pike in January, currently has a “For Lease” sign.
A sign outside of the Greensboro Metro station says that the store is “coming soon” and asks people interested in jobs to text “RETAIL” to 97211.
Building permits indicate that work, including demolition and framing, is getting done on the site.
After the franchise owner for the Huntington Learning Centers in Tysons and Springfield was arrested yesterday for sexual abuse of children, the company announced the locations will close.
Jeffrey Cummins, a local music teacher, was arrested at Dulles International Airport yesterday and faces eight felony counts of indecent liberties by a custodian against children.
The Tysons facility operates in the Centennial Plaza shopping center at 8290 Old Courthouse Road. According to the company’s website, the facility has been open for 23 years.
The Huntington Learning Center was quick to note that the abuse did not occur inside the centers, but will close the facilities regardless. According to a statement from CEO Eileen Huntington:
“Today we were made aware of allegations of abuse that occurred inside the home of one of our franchise owners in the Washington, DC area. We are shocked and appalled by this alleged behavior and are actively cooperating with police and investigators to the fullest extent possible. Our mission has always been to provide a safe and supportive environment for students, and although the alleged abuse did not occur inside one of our centers, we have nevertheless made the decision to close these two centers until further notice.”
Police say the nearly year-long investigation started when a juvenile disclosed that he had been inappropriately touched by Cummins over several years. A second victim came forward in January and said he too had been abused, police said in a press release.
When the locations will close and how many students will be affected by the closure remains unknown.
Photo via Fairfax County Police Department
If you peeked under silver duct tape on the front window of Agora at 7911 Westpark Drive, you would find a sign saying “Opening 2018.” Things have not gone as planned.
The new restaurant would be the second location for the Mediterranean eatery based out of Dupont Circle in the District. The restaurant is under construction in the Nouvelle apartment tower northeast of Tysons II, part of a suite of Arbor Row developments.
The restaurant was announced last October with plans to open in December. But by February, owner Ismail Uslu said he had been struggling with a slow permitting process that has taken a full year for approval.
At the time, Uslu said the new opening was scheduled for March. But midway through April, the interior of the restaurant is still under construction.
According to Uslu, the restaurant is having design difficulties related to elevation. The restaurant is not only split-level but located on a slope running down Westpark Drive. Uslu said the new aim is to open sometime in mid-to-late May.
North Central, sandwiched between downtown Tysons and the Dulles Access Road, is in some ways the quintessential Tysons district, with neither the flash of a Metrorail station nor the moderating influence of surrounding suburbs.
It will remain a lower-density office option compared to the higher-density downtown districts, and will add some more urban residential neighborhoods along with a new park and a “circulator” transit option connecting it to the Metro.
North Central represents Tysons’ conventional approach to development in ways that other districts, with their Metrorail stations or surrounding suburban areas, don’t quite. Because it backs onto the Dulles Access Road, it is the only non-downtown district that is not required to provide a smooth transition to a suburban area. However, because it lacks a Metro station, it is not yet undergoing the kind of radically-transformative transit oriented development witnessed along the Silver Line. In some ways, the absence of those two factors make this perhaps the district where Tysons is most itself.
Plans for the area show a strip of office-only zoning along the fringe adjacent to the Dulles Access Road and the Beltway, with mid-density urban residential neighborhoods in the center and southwest of the district.
Circulator Will Connect to Metro
One challenge to urban connectivity in North Central is posed by the monumental Rotonda gated condominium community. The immense size of the two interlocking buildings, their position on a large hill, and the total lack of any sidewalk amenities adjacent to them, add up for an area that’s quite unpleasant to walk past. These buildings — though undeniably a striking contribution to Tysons’ urban milieu — are an obstacle standing between North Central and the urban amenities (Metro, performing arts, retail) in the nearby Tysons East district.
North Central faces another obstacle in its connection to the malls and Metro station of Tysons Central 123 — a steep uphill slope.
Fortunately, North Central is served by a technology capable of overcoming both of these obstacles: the humble bus. For only fifty cents, those residing in or visiting North Central can hop on a Tysons Circulator bus that will carry them to either the Spring Hill or the Tysons Corner Metrorail station. A bus from each line arrives every 12 minutes or so throughout the day, from early morning until midnight, helping North Central share in the value created by mass transit.
Although there aren’t specific plans in the works, Fairfax County expects to one day upgrade the line to higher-quality service or even to a streetcar or light rail system.
Development is Gradual and Ongoing
This district has seen its share of development in recent years. These include a luxurious four-building residential project at Park Crest, eleven floors of new class-A office space at Tysons Overlook, and the residential Highgate. In the near future, that last building could be joined by a 13-building mixed-use development called The Mile — if it is approved by the Fairfax Board of Supervisors at hearings in June and July of this year.
Development here is less frenetic than in the downtown districts, but it is ongoing at a healthy pace.
The Tysons Comprehensive Plan notes that, as circulator service is improved, greater residential density may become possible.
A New Park
A crowning ambition of this district could be the new urban park, 8-10 acres in size, to be created along Westbranch Drive and a future new street. This park, which would be one of Tysons’ largest, would include two athletic fields and provide “a focus for civic gatherings for residents and employees.”
However, one possible problem is that the provisional location of the park, as listed in the Comprehensive Plan, clashes with the proposal for development of The Mile. The Mile’s plan does include a large central green space, but it is not quite as large as Fairfax envisions, and does not include athletic fields.
The Comprehensive Plan also states that a new elementary school will be needed to accompany population growth in this area.
Cummins is a music teacher who gives lessons in his Annandale home and, in addition to the Huntington Learning Centers, is the founder and artistic director of Virginia Music Adventures — a music group for school-age children — according to a police report.
Police say Cummins, 56, was arrested on arrival at Dulles airport from international travel and is facing eight felony counts of indecent liberties by a custodian against children. Per a FCPD press release:
Detectives began their investigation in May 2018 when a juvenile disclosed that he had been inappropriately touched by Cummins over a period of several years. In January of this year, another victim came forward and disclosed he had also been abused for several years by Cummins. The investigation showed that the sexual abuse occurred both during music lessons and at other times when the juveniles were at his home.
Police say anyone who is concerned their child may have had inappropriate contact with Cummins should contact the Major Crimes Bureau at 703-246-7800.
Photo via Fairfax County Police Department
After a weather-related delay in February, the new half-mile Vesper Trail connecting Vienna and the Spring Hill Metro station is now open.
The new trail runs through the Old Courthouse Spring Branch Stream Valley Park, sometimes called “Tysons Last Forest.”
The trail is part of a series of necessary transportation improvements identified in the Tysons Metrorail Station Access Management Study. The trail is federally funded.
At the grand opening this morning (Tuesday), Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova and Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins spoke at the grand opening and emphasized the new trail’s crucial role in connecting Vienna residents to Tysons transit and retail.
— Sharon Bulova (@SharonBulova) April 16, 2019
Photo via Twitter