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Transforming Tysons: First Plans Get Final Approval, Walmart Breaks Ground

The New Tysons Corner Begins to Take Shape

Fairfax County's plans to transform Tysons Corner from an old suburb to a new city took two steps forward this week.

On Tuesday, the Fairfax Board of Supervisors approved the area's first mixed-use and mixed-income development using the county's new zoning categories. The community, planned by the Georgelas Group, will begin to transform the area around Route 7 and Spring Hill Road into a community of high-rise apartments and condominiums, known as "Tysons West."

On the other side of Route 7, ground was broken for the first Walmart in Tysons Corner, an "urban" Walmart that will be built on the former site of Moore Cadillac and Hummer.

The new city of Tysons Corner built over the next 40 years will become the economic engine of the county. The community of barely 20,000 now will double in size as high-rise office buildings, apartments and condominiums, stores, shops restaurants, sidewalks rise around the four new metro stations of the Silver line. The subway acts as the spine of the new city.

It will be a 21st-century city built around mass transit, a departure from the 20th-century office hub built around the car.

Local developer Aaron Georgelas' project is the test case for whether the new zoning categories that call for creating high-density communities for folks of different incomes would actually work. The Georgelas company controls 32 acres near Route 7 and Spring Hill, but Tuesday's approval was for the redevelopment of the first six acres.

“I’m very proud of these plans," Dranesville Supervisor John Foust said. "As the supervisor who represents many of the communities that surround Tysons Corner, the fact that there were not 50 people at this hearing today suggests we’ve done the right thing.”

Georgelas thanked the county planning commission and the board of supervisors for “having the political courage” to push through the rezoning of Tysons Corner last year.

The supervisors unanimously approved the first two parts of his three part plan, which will bring a total of five residential/retail buildings, one of them at 300 feet and the others falling shortly below it, around the Tysons West station. They will be  taller than both the Sheraton Hotel and the Rotunda. Here's a closer look at what the supervisors approved:

  1. Georgelas Plans By The Numbers:

JBG, a well-known local development company, purchased the old Moore Cadillac site on Route 7 at Westwood Center Drive and the Sheraton Premiere Hotel behind it to develop Walmart.

The site already has a parking garage. The new 80,000-square-foot Wal-Mart, will be built into that existing garage. Overhead will be a gym. The WalMart will carry primarily groceries,

It's within walking distance of a new Metro subway station. Completion is scheduled for 2013, about the same time as the new Metrorail Silver Line subway is due to open. The line is now under construction down the middle of Route 7.

Rob Jackson September 28, 2011 at 12:20 PM
The single residential building was given final approval, except for the site plan and various other approvals needed under the county code, but the other buildings were given conceptual approval. A Final Development Plan must still be submitted for the second phase. Things can change. The approved residential building is a good project and excellent start to the transformation of Tysons. The proposal meets the goals of the new Comp Plan for Tysons. Putting housing at a station is what everyone wants to see.
Wien September 28, 2011 at 03:23 PM
As a former resident of Tysons, this is going to be interesting. People don't want to live in Tysons, and adding more residences won't accomplish it (supply does not drive demand)...look at the number of empty residences in the towers above Harris Teeter...look at it at night, no one lives in them, and they're had to start begging for rentals. Now they're starting another tower, the old Circuit City spot is starting towers, and Tysons West is starting towers. Metro will help, but Tysons does not have the creative or forward-thinking plans that converted Clarendon/Ballston/Arlington into the popular 20- to 30-something place to live, work, and play. There's a lot of traffic coming from the West that will not be eased by Metro, so any plans to reduce car traffic is overly optimistic, if anything recent studies have shown car traffic will increase in Tysons by 2015 and 2020. I fail to see Tysons developing into a residential and walkable hub of life; 20- and 30-somethings are moving into areas with more night life and social acitvities closer to the city, and many are returning to the city of DC itself. Residential high rises and the mall food court aren't going to draw young professionals, and the lack of outdoor space won't draw families. WalMart will be popular, for some reason it always is. But people will be driving to it, not walking from their Tysons condo. Force demand by increasing supply...build it and they will come, eh? Traffic disaster to continue.
Anna Marie Mulvihill September 28, 2011 at 05:27 PM
If they can only compel Wal Mart to actually be and remain a grocery, they might have something. Planners eat but never seem to consider that other people want to.
Wien September 28, 2011 at 09:15 PM
Tysons has a Harris Teeter, and a very nice one at that, but it hasn't helped the development around (or even the tower right above) it.
Martha September 29, 2011 at 08:20 PM
Exciting to have a WalMart near us - how about a Wegman's!!!

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