Capital One has officially gotten permission to build a temporary baseball diamond and two permanent parks near its headquarters in Tysons.
The Fairfax County Planning Commission approved two separate plans for recreational amenities on Oct. 26, setting the stage for work on the baseball field to potentially finish in time for the upcoming spring season.
Options for sports and recreation at Capital One Center are currently limited, aside from the Perch Putt mini golf course that opened this spring. The campus previously had an interim baseball field that was later replaced by Capital One Hall and other buildings.
“Having these amenities provides more things to do, reasons to visit, reasons to stay longer, and that dynamic is fantastic from a recruiting and retention standpoint for Capital One,” said McGuireWoods Managing Partner Greg Riegle, who represented the banking company at the public hearing. “It supports the growing retail program, and it’s equally beneficial to the surrounding community around the [McLean Metro] station.”
The first application calls for an urban park on the existing Capital One Center campus near the Metro tracks. Built on an underground parking garage, the park will have a water feature, landscaping, a boardwalk, a playground and an area for food trucks.
A temporary retail building and athletic facilities, including volleyball and pickleball courts, are also planned. They will eventually be replaced by a 33-story residential building and a 20-story office building.
The second approved application details plans for Capital One East, previously known as Scotts Run North until Capital One bought it from developer Cityline Partners in 2019.
Currently occupied by a parking lot used for Capital One Hall, the 6.9-acre property at 1820 Dolley Madison Blvd will host a 33,410-square-foot, publicly accessible park and up to 1.5 million square feet of development when fully built out.
Capital One East Park will include a water feature, landscaping, a play area, a fitness zone, a plaza and seating area, and food truck parking, according to a county staff report.
Before those future buildings come into place, Capital One will provide a baseball field primarily intended to serve travel and college-level summer leagues. While the private facility may be available to other patrons, the schedule is already mostly filled, according to Riegle.
“Demand for the ballfield has been substantial. In fact, we are effectively fully committed with leagues and tournaments and so forth,” he told the planning commission, saying the facility will free up the county’s other fields for schools and community groups.
Capital One will work with the adjacent Gates of McLean condominiums to potentially let its residents use the field when it isn’t booked, Riegle confirmed.
The official hours of operation will be from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., but the county agreed to allow an extension to midnight for evening games that run late.
The ballfield will have netting, support poles and light poles to prevent balls from flying onto the nearby Metrorail tracks. The containment structure will be allowed to reach 80 feet in height under a special exception granted by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday (Nov. 1).
“This is a necessary feature in order to allow for an interim ballfield use that will serve both travel and summer baseball leagues in the area and add to what we see as a growing part of Tysons, bringing both local and outside communities for arts and entertainment,” Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said.
Capital One’s plans fell short of unanimous support from the planning commission. Braddock District Commissioner Mary Cortina abstained from voting, expressing concern with the facilities being built on land that designated as a resource protection area (RPA).
“It doesn’t feel right to turn down a park, because both of these spaces are beautiful, and they’ll be wonderful amenities,” Cortina said. “But I really do have concern when we start to use the RPAs and floodplains for active recreation and for putting in amenities that really should’ve been out of those areas.”
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