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All-affordable housing with Tysons community center near Spring Hill Metro approved

Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing’s proposed two 20-story affordable housing buildings in Dominion Square West, seen from the southwest (via KGD Architecture/Fairfax County)

The all-affordable residential high-rises planned at Dominion Square West are officially moving forward.

During its meeting on Feb. 15, the Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously approved the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing’s (APAH) project, which will replace parking lots currently used by auto dealerships with two 21-story buildings.

In addition to providing 516 units for people earning 60% of the area median income or less, the development will contain private and publicly accessible open spaces and a 33,500-square-foot, two-story community center, all of it supported by a five-story underground parking garage.

“I think this is great,” Dranesville District Commissioner John Ulfelder said. “It fits what we agreed to earlier, it’s going to be a terrific opportunity, and that it’s going to be all affordable is amazing.”

Early in 2022, the commission approved a 175-unit building at 1592 Spring Hill Road that was intended as the first phase of development for the 2-acre parcel.

However, a $55 million investment from Amazon enabled APAH to tackle both phases of the project at the same time. The developer filed a new plan with the county last summer.

“We really think that getting these units online quicker, getting the community center online quicker and the significant increase in the number of units really is a great thing for the county, a great thing for the Tysons area,” said Scott Adams, a McGuireWoods land-use attorney representing APAH.

The community center will be operated by Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services and feature a full-size gym, meeting spaces, multi-purpose rooms, kitchen, administrative offices, and flexible classroom spaces, according to a county staff memo.

It will also have a 1,900-square-foot skypark — the second level of a courtyard with play equipment, outdoor seating, grilling stations and other private amenities for residents. The skypark will be open to the public when not being used by the community center.

Public forums held last year confirmed there’s “a distinct need” for a community center to serve both residents of the new development and Tysons in general, Adams said.

“There was a desire and a need for these types of facilities where they can have community meetings, where they can have CPR classes, where they have those recreational opportunities that really just don’t exist right now,” he said.

Braddock District Commissioner Mary Cortina said she prefers this location for a community center over The View, a mixed-use development planned at the Spring Hill Metro station that had proposed a similar facility.

With the community center going in Dominion Square, The View’s developer will likely provide support for a new athletic field instead, county staff recently told FFXnow.

As discussed at a Tysons Committee meeting last month, several commissioners suggested the county needs to be more “strategic” or thoughtful about what public facilities are needed in Tysons and where they should be located.

“While we’re concerned about community centers and having too many of them or having them in the right spot, schools I think is another thing for us to consider where they are,” Hunter Mill District Commissioner John Carter said. “We have one maybe committed. We’re probably going to need more in Tysons over time.”

According to a Dec. 27 letter, Fairfax County Public Schools projects Dominion Square West will result in 43 to 70 new students for the Marshall High School pyramid.

While that isn’t expected to push the schools over capacity, FCPS warns increased residential density “will necessarily increase [student membership], which may negatively impact the instructional program to the detriment of the students involved.”

Adams said the Tysons area should have more capacity by the time the development opens. Planning is underway to convert the Dunn Loring Center into an elementary school, though the boundaries won’t be determined until construction begins next year.

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