Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Tysons to Convert Current Sprawl into Urban "City Center"


Having driven through the maze of roads and stores spread across the Tysons Corner landscape (roughly the area surrounding Routes 7 and 123 just west of the Capital Beltway in Fairfax County), any concept of corralling this retail and office-heavy sprawl and one day making it a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly urban center would be met with polite skepticism. However, this is exactly what Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors envisions, based on the Board’s passage this week of a proposal that would surround the Tysons Corner Center mall with a "ring" of eight 30-story towers (four residential, four office) containing over 1,400 residential units (124 to be affordable housing), 1.4 million sf of office space, and a 300-room hotel. The 3.5 million-sf project, proposed by the Macerich Co. (owners of the 300-store mall), would double the existing size of the mall area and hopefully create a small, vibrant city, with the ring of towers providing a "town center" of sorts with the mall at the center. Plans also call for all parking to be placed underground, allowing for the creating of plazas and an ice rink. With the planned extension of a Metrorail line stop at Tysons mall in 2012, the proposal could turn Tysons into a close-in commuter city, as well as provide residential space for those working in this area. This project is scheduled to break ground in 2008, and be completed around 2020 assuming everything proceeds according to plan.

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