The developer behind Reston Station and Herndon’s stalled downtown redevelopment has turned its sights to Tysons.
Comstock is seeking to replace the massive Koons Chevy and Chrysler dealerships at 2000 and 2050 Chain Bridge Road near the Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) interchange with a “vibrant, mixed-use, multi-block neighborhood,” according to a new application.
Submitted on Oct. 27 as part of Fairfax County’s Site-Specific Plan Amendment (SSPA) process, which considers possible land use changes to the comprehensive plan, the proposal says the new development would be 85% multifamily residences and about 15% retail. Open space and amenities would also be provided.
“The Nominator respectfully suggests that this infusion of residential mixed use is needed to redress the balance of uses in Tysons, specifically in the office-heavy area in and around the Greensboro Metro Station Transit Station-Mixed Use area,” DLA Piper Senior Land Use Planner Brian J. Clifford said in a statement on Comstock’s behalf.
A concept plan in the application depicts a single multi-level retail building on one block and another with four residential buildings. Heights range from 175 feet to 400 feet, increasing as the buildings get closer to Route 7.
Comstock says the adjacent interchange where Chain Bridge (Route 123) passes over Route 7 needs to be replaced with an at-grade intersection. The developer argues that would allow Boone Blvd to be extended into the Koons property across Route 123, stating that the road can’t be constructed as currently planned by the county.
“The proposed location of the Boone Boulevard/Route 123 crossing is too close to the steep slope of Route 123 as it heads south from this interchange and would create an inherently dangerous situation,” the application says. “There simply isn’t enough distance to add a major intersection at the location depicted in the Comprehensive Plan’s street grid maps.”
The 14-acre property consists of two parcels that have been developed with the Koons dealership since 1975. Fairfax County property records show that Home Depot purchased the Chevy dealership for $30 million on Jan. 8, 2021.
The site was previously owned by Sherwood Tysons LLC, a company belonging to descendants of Tysons namesake William Tyson, according to the Washington Business Journal. The Chrysler portion of the dealership is owned by an affiliate of the Caldow family, which is also related to Tyson.
With the owners’ consent, Comstock intends to consolidate the two parcels. The Tysons Comprehensive Plan designates them as residential mixed-use — where housing should make up 75% or more of the overall development — and transit station mixed-use, which calls for a mix of retail, office, residential and other commercial uses, leaning toward 65% office and 20% residential overall.
The application argues more residential development is needed around the Greensboro Metro station, which is currently 70% office space despite a reported 20% vacancy rate.
“With the office market in a state of flux thanks to the COVID-driven changes in work location and commuting patterns, maintaining an office-heavy focus in this area risks delaying significant investment in redeveloping the existing auto dealership,” Clifford wrote.
Clifford’s statement describes the plan amendment application as a “placeholder” while county officials reevaluate the current and future mix of land uses in Tysons. Comstock declined to comment on the proposal for now, saying it “would be happy to discuss this down the road at a later date.”
The Koons redevelopment is among 75 SSPA nominations that the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will weigh for possible acceptance on Tuesday (Dec. 6). Other sites up for consideration include Fallfax Center in Idylwood and Reston’s two golf courses.
“It is the Nominator’s intention to proceed to rezoning as quickly as possible and overlap that rezoning with as much of the Evaluation Phase of the SSPA process as is practicable,” Clifford said.
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