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Residential high-rise could shake up Highline office complex near Spring Hill Metro

The Highline at Greensboro District office complex in Tysons has been destined for more development for a decade now, but in terms of office space, it appears to have reached capacity.

Instead, American Real Estate Partners, which owns the property at 8401 Greensboro Drive, is seeking to build a 410-unit multifamily residential high-rise on a parcel at the corner of Broad Street and Spring Hill Road currently occupied by tree-lined footpaths and parking.

Dubbed “City House,” the proposed building would be constructed in lieu of a 22-story office tower with retail that Fairfax County approved for the 2.38-acre site in February 2013 as part of the massive Spring Hill Station project that became Tysons’ first major planned redevelopment.

A new final development plan submitted to the county on April 25 would allow for a 410,000-square-foot residential building with 350 to 410 multi-family rental units, 20% of which will be designated as workforce dwelling units in keeping with the Tysons Comprehensive Plan. Its height could be between 200 and 270 feet, or 19 to 29 stories.

With remote work becoming more accepted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, City House is envisioned as a complement to the existing Highline buildings, a pair of 10-story office towers that were built in 2000, according to county property records.

“The residential units are being designed to accommodate ‘working from home’ as that has become a growing trend in today’s economy,” Walsh Colucci senior land use planner Elizabeth Baker wrote in a statement of justification on American Real Estate’s behalf.

Parking for all three buildings will be provided in the complex’s existing garage, per the application, which says the shift from office to residential will result in fewer vehicle trips to and from the property.

As part of the application, the real estate firm proposes creating a pocket park and plaza along Broad Street and converting private amentity space that it’s currently renovating at Highline into publicly accessible park:

This converted park space will include walking paths, a bocce or lawn bowling court, hardscape areas with a variety of casual seating, tables and chairs, landscaping, and an artful focal point. In addition, a pocket park/plaza is now proposed along Broad Street east of Building E3. It will include landscape planters adjacent to the garage to create screening and a sense of an outdoor room, along with shade trees, hardscape, seating walls and movable tables and chairs.

The converted amenity space would expand a 19,300-square-foot urban park that was included in the 2013 approved development plan.

The Highline at Greensboro development plan. City House would be Building E3 (via Fairfax County)

When fully built, the plan allows for 1 million square feet of development on the Highline property across five buildings, including the two existing office towers and the newly proposed City House.

Both of the remaining buildings have been approved for two possible uses:

  • Building E4: a 14-story, 174-foot-tall hotel with 135,000 square feet of space or a 19-story, 225-foot-tall residential building with 200,000 square feet of space
  • Building E5: an addition to the Spring Hill Road façade of the existing Highline parking garage. It may be developed as either 16,000 square feet of retail/service uses or a 25,000-square-foot, 40-foot-tall residential building with 10-12 units.

The plan also calls for two new streets: the now-partially-built Broad Street along the western side of the property and a private Logan Street that will connect Broad to Greensboro Drive. The developer says it will construct “the ultimate section” of Broad Street between Spring Hill and East Street with this application.

The Highline property is just one of five components in the 32-acre Spring Hill Station master plan, which calls for 7.5 million square feet of development along Route 7 and Spring Hill Road near the Metro station. The master plan was conceived by The Georgelas Group and approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2011.

Another part of the Spring Hill plan — the Piazza at Tysons — has been under review by county staff since 2019. Capitol Petroleum Group proposed redeveloping its Schmitz Exxon gas station and the neighboring shopping center at 8520 and 8526 Leesburg Pike into housing, retail, and office buildings with a community library and a nearly 2-acre public plaza.

Photo via Google Maps

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