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Capital One Proposes New High-rise Office Buildings, Hotel, Community Center At McLean Station

Proposal is part of transforming Tysons Corner into a city.

 

High-rise office and apartment buildings, a hotel, community center, stores and new roads could replace the athletic fields that now surround the Capital One headquarters on Dolley Madison Boulevard.

Members of a McLean Citizens Association committee listened for two hours Tuesday night as Capital One representative Antonio Calabrese explained how the 26-acre site could eventually be a city-like mixed-use development that would total more than 4 million square feet of new development at Dolley Madison Boulevard and Old Meadow Road.

"As patrons exit the rail station, they will find themselves here at this expansive, welcoming Metro station gateway park," said Calabrese, Land Use/Zoning Counsel to Capital One, when he presented the same plans to the Fairfax County Planning Commission last week. "This walkway leads to an attractive, generous, green pedestrian network through our residential block and up to our new, major public civic plaza, again landing at the front doorstep to our prominent hotel," he said.

The county planning commission has delayed approval, but the plan is expected to go before the Board of Supervisors in early September.

The Capital One proposal is the to emerge two years after Fairfax County Supervisors adopted a sweeping blueprint to transform Tysons Corner from a car-choked tangle of traffic and office buildings into a a lively urban community of up to 100,000 people built around the four new stations of Metro's Silver Line.

Fairfax County officials are encouraging developers to design neighborhoods containing a mixture of housing, businesses and offices that welcome families, bicycles and people who love to walk.

Tysons Corner is envisioned as a major economic generator for Fairfax County, Northern Virginia and the state of Virginia.

The Capital One site, bounded by Dolley Madison, the Capital Beltway (I-495) and Scott's Crossing, now contains the bank's 14-story headquarters, various athletic fields and parks.

The redevelopment proposal that Calabrese explained to the Planning and Zoning Committee of the McLean Citizens Association includes:

  • Up to 12 new office buildings ranging in height from 21-28 stories. Four high-rise apartment/condominium buildings, neighborhood restaurants, cafes and shops on the ground level of the office and residential buildings, and a new hotel.
  • The plans also include a new road that would cross the Beltway and connect Scott's Crossing Road with Jones Branch Drive. The so-called Jones Branch Connector has long been part of the redevelopment plans for Tysons Corner. That connector road would mean that McLean residents could drive to the  Hilton Hotel and the Gannett building without going through Tysons Corner.
  • Three large parks including a common green that would be built on top of a underground parking desk on site. One park will include an athletic field and a children’s play area.
  • A $12 million, 30,000-square-foot community center that would be on the first floor of one of the office buildings. The community center would include a basketball court and educational facilities, but it may not be built for 15 years, Calabrese said.
  • The first new office building should be complete by 2015. The Silver Line opens next year. The new community would emerge over the next 20 years.

"This has been a great presentation. This has been so enlightening,” Mark Zetts, chair of the Planning and Zoning Committee said. Zetts said he would recommend that the committee approve the plan. 

"We have before you a unique opportunity to accommodate Capital One’s growth, foster a major economic development project that benefits the County, Tysons, Capital One, the existing Rail Tax District, the potential Road Improvement Tax District, the C&I District, help make the absolutely essential Jones Branch Connector a reality, support ridership of the soon-to-be opened Silver Line and concurrently realize the lofty objectives of the 2010-adopted Comprehensive Plan," Calabrese told the Planning Commission. 

Judith Levy August 20, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Well said, Locally Involved!!
Locally Involved August 20, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Thank you, Judith! I suspect that the powers that be wish to expedite the Cap One project for the simple reason that once the Tyson's Redevelopment is done, there will be considerably more opposition to any more development. Guess they feel move now before anyone really comprehends the impact.
Navid Roshan August 21, 2012 at 01:02 PM
And again, Capital One falls with an urban district, outside of McLean, that has been planned and discussed over the past 20 years. Comprehensive plans previously showed high density development in Tysons, so if you chose to live here because of its "lack of highrises" you must have misread those plans. Also Capital One is well within the boundary of Tysons, its not like the Commons of McLean which is directly adjacent to that boundary. Secondly to blame congestion in McLean on Tysons development is devoid of reality. The reason why Old Dominion, 123, Lewinsville, and Chain bridge have become thoroughfares has EVERYTHING to do with 66 HOV avoiders who jump off before the beltway because they have to get to Arlington or DC. Who is going through McLean to get to Tysons? Are there a couple of people that might be doing so from Arlington? Sure, but these are not the majority of that traffic pattern seeing as 66 west bound is NOT HOV controlled. You guys are scapegoating the WRONG thing for your congestion and sprawl problems. By creating proper growth boundaries in line with good urban planning you set WHERE you will allow density and where you absolutely will not. The problem with those other areas you lived in was likely a lack of definition on where that boundary exists and holding true to that. Either way, you live in McLean, not Tysons, and there is a 1/4 mile buffer as well as stepped down density proposed.
Rob Jackson August 21, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Mr Roshan. I agree with your comment the Comp Plan for Tysons contemplates urban density at the four rail stations, including at the Cap One site. In order to prevent the building of urban density there, an amendment of the Comp Plan is required. However, people may still attempt to show the Cap One proposal is inconsistent with the Plan or otherwise violates county ordinance or policy. (Personally, I think the proposal is consistent with the Plan and most, but not all, county policies. But others are free to disagree.) But, IMO, your view an urban Tysons will not have negative impacts on McLean is wrong. First, all of Tysons north of Route 7 is located within the McLean Planning District. Next, there will be much more traffic that is Tysons-generated traversing McLean streets, according to existing and ongoing traffic studies. In fact, traffic volumes in McLean may well prohibit substantial redevelopment in downtown McLean. There are huge volumes, which will increase as Tysons grows, using 123, Old Dominion, Georgetown Pike, Great Falls-Lewinsville, Westmoreland) to get to and from Tysons. You may not like the FC DOT studies, but they are the ones being used to guide community advocacy and county and state decision-making. McLean residents need to insist the county adhere to the Comp Plan and aggressive Traffic Demand Management (TDM) methods. Laxity could degrade life in McLean further.
Navid Roshan August 21, 2012 at 02:38 PM
And I dont disagree with that. There shouldnt be any creep of the design that is in place. Most importantly horizontally there should be no creep, but I also think that if higher densities are wanted then it should have to wait until the next time the comp plan is up for revisiting. So we are in agreement there. But in this particular case, I think the argument is not looking at what is already allowed, what is healthy growth, and what will improve the economy for all of Fairfax. To say that this is blind siding, or was a surprise is simply not true. The urbanization of Tysons has been a work in progress for longer than most people have lived here (average residency time in Fairfax county is less than a decade). The capital one project is a good project. They have built their density appropriately, they have a very high mix of residents to office compared to other projects, and they are going to provide a lot of much needed beautification to the 123 corridor via plazas, parks, and landscaping. If they were violating something with the comp plan then it might have some grounds for objection, as is everyone has agreed that this is the way forward and at this point it would be unfair to land owners and residents who do want this kind of growth to halt it after 2 decades of compromise and discussion.

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