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J.R.’s Stockyards Inn, Tysons’ original steakhouse, has been demolished

Where one of the first restaurants in Tysons stood for more than four decades, there is now only a square of dirt surrounded by asphalt.

Built in 1971, the red, two-story building that housed J.R.’s Stockyards Inn — the self-proclaimed Tysons original steakhouse — was demolished last week to make way for an expected redevelopment, though as of Saturday (June 25), its sign on Watson Street is still standing.

Chain-link fencing has been erected around the 1.1-acre site. Fairfax County issued a permit for the demolition of the entire structure on Friday (June 24).

Part of J.R.’s Custom Catering, the restaurant opened at 8130 Watson Street in 1978 and became a popular gathering site for politicians, local business leaders, and the general community before transitioning into a full-time banquet and catering facility in 2011.

That pivot signaled the beginning of the end for J.R.’s Stockyards Inn, whose owners submitted a proposal to replace the restaurant with a mixed-use, residential towers in 2018.

According to the application, J.R.’s spent the previous decade trying to entice adjacent property owners to join it on a larger redevelopment of the land between the Route 123 and Route 7 interchange and Tysons Corner Center. When the other properties declined to sell, the company came up with a plan just focused on its parcel.

“Rather than relegate this prominent block to its current patchwork of suburban commercial buildings, JRs is proposing a signature, urban building to spark redevelopment of this area and has designed that building to facilitate and accommodate a broader transformation,” the application said.

After some delays and changes to the proposal, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed to rezone the site for a 26-story building with up to 244 residential units and 3,080 square feet of retail or service space.

The property was sold to AM Tysons LLC, an affiliate of Tysons Corner Center owner Macerich, on Dec. 28, and J.R.’s Stockyards Inn officially ceased operations in January. The restaurant has been auctioning off memorabilia, even putting out a call earlier this month for a sale of the building’s 50-year-old timber.

Macerich declined to comment on its plans for the Stockyards property and whether it intends to move forward with the approved development proposal.