Massive project in Tysons wins approval

Fairfax County supervisors on Oct. 15, 2019, approved plans by Tysons Development LLC to build a massive mixed-use project, The View, next to the Spring Hill Metro Station in Tysons. The development will feature a 600-foot-tall tower, the highest building in Tysons.

Tysons’ skyline is about to soar significantly higher.

Fairfax County supervisors on Oct. 15 approved The View, a massive, 3-million-square-foot development proposal by Tysons Development LLC that will feature six new buildings, including one that will be 600 feet tall.

“We believe . . . that The View achieves the county’s vision for creating a truly exciting western gateway into Tysons,” said Anthony Calabrese, the applicant’s attorney.

The project will be located on 8.35 acres bounded by Leesburg Pike to the west, Tyco Road to the north and Spring Hill Road to the south. The site, which will feature two new blocks, is immediately adjacent to the entrance pavilion of the Spring Hill Metro Station.

The development will feature approximately 1.43 million square feet of office space, 1.14 million square feet of residential area, 297,000 square feet of hotel space, 110,000 square feet of retail space and 41,000 square feet dedicated for other purposes. The project’s floor-area ratio, which compares the gross square footage of development with that of the land parcel, is 7.69.

The blocks will include:

• D-1, featuring a 400-foot-tall hotel/residential building.

• C-1 will have a maximum 455-foot-tall office building with supporting retail.

• C-3  will be the location of the site’s “iconic tower,” a maximum 600-foot-tall office building that will be located within a 200-foot-tall architectural feature. The tower will surpass Tysons’ current height champion, the 470-foot-tall Capital One headquarters building.

• C-2A and C-2B will have residential buildings with supporting retail.

• The Landing will feature retail on the first two levels, a public park on the third level, and office space on the top levels.

Buildings C-1 and C-3 will be occupied only up to 400 feet; their remaining heights will consist of architectural features. C-3’s architectural element will consist of an 86-foot-tall continuation of the building’s facade, topped with a 14,602-square-foot observation deck featuring a botanical garden, public art and an undulating, raised walking path.

The observation area will be open to the public for six hours per day, but will have neither public events nor restrooms.

The building “is designed to be a striking work of art,” Calabrese said. “The peaks of these buildings are designed to be varied and interesting to avoid flat, rectangular rooftops at every corner.”

Other features will include a sculpture garden, civic plaza, public parks, bicycle plaza, a seasonal “ice loop,” Fairfax Connector bus hub, integrated kiss-and-ride area and a 199-seat black-box theater, which will be used by 1st Stage for a significantly reduced rent.

“This stunning new venue, designed for a thriving company like ours, will serve as the heartbeat of a dynamic and exciting new development, said Alex Levy, 1st Stage’s artistic director.

The developer has committed more than $55 million worth in proffers for schools, a transportation network, traffic-demand management, workforce housing, parks and public facilities, Calabrese said. At final build-out, the project will provide an annual county tax benefit of about $15 million, he said.

Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce president Paul Kohlenberger signaled the organization’s support for the development, which would convert the site from “disjointed, mostly auto-related uses to a mix of uses centered on transit accessibility.”

But the support was not unanimous: McLean Citizens Association (MCA) president Dale Stein said the group opposed the application because two of its buildings would exceed the Tysons comprehensive plan’s 400-foot height limit.

Exceeding that limit, in one case by 200 feet, “is not minor,” Stein said, and “would be destructive to the public interest and could well undermine residents’ trust in the county’s administration of its land-use rules.”

Supervisor Linda Smyth (D-Providence) defended the height exceptions.

“If we keep that 400-foot level for all of the buildings that are the tallest in Tysons, we will have a collection of 400-foot shoeboxes defining our skyline in Tysons,” she said. “We’re beginning to see that already.”

The application also does not meet the plan’s requirements for provision of athletic fields, Stein notes.

While the development will generate the need for 2.88 athletic fields, supervisors approved – with Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville) voting nay – that the applicant’s proffers of $7.4 million for athletic fields and $2.6 million for public facilities be put toward a future Tysons Community Center on an adjacent parcel now occupied by Fire Station 29, which is scheduled to be relocated.

The community center will feature an indoor basketball court, class and meeting rooms, parking and three floors with a total of 60 affordable-dwelling units.

Smyth said she understood MCA’s objections, but said developers steadily have been proffering athletic fields in Tysons.

“The one thing we have missed out on is that commitment for a community center for the folks who cannot really have the use of those fields,” she said.

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