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Plan for Tysons Corner Center’s next phase advances with focus on street access

For its next phase, Tysons Corner Center is keeping its eyes on the ground.

Property owner and developer Macerich secured the Fairfax County Planning Commission’s support last Thursday (Sept. 14) for a proposal that concentrates future development at the D.C. area’s largest mall closer to the Tysons Metro station than previously planned.

By repurposing the building that Lord & Taylor vacated in 2020, Macerich hopes its second phase of development will better integrate the first phase — which was completed in 2015 and centered around an elevated plaza — with the street below, according to DLA Piper land use planner Brian Clifford, who represented the developer at last week’s public hearing.

“Part of the connective tissue we envision here is enhancing this pedestrian ground plane experience,” Clifford said. “Phase 1 and 2 as approved are mostly elevated, and now we have a chance really to fix that.”

Visitors coming to the mall from the Metro station or Route 123 are currently greeted by a blank white wall where Lord & Taylor once stood, Clifford noted, though the building has temporarily hosted a mass COVID-19 vaccination site and a Spirit Halloween store since the retailer closed.

Macerich has proposed revitalizing that portion of the 78-acre property by replacing the retail building with either a 26-story office building or a 34-story, 292-unit office and residential building. Both options would include about 36,000 square feet of retail at the plaza level.

The retail space will likely focus on food and beverage offerings, similar to Barrel & Bushel, Eddie V’s and other tenants that can be found on the Plaza at Tysons Corner Center, Clifford said.

On top of the adjacent four-level parking garage, phase 2B will add a 20-story, 306,600-square-foot office building and 27-story, 320-unit residential building with retail space. This phase also includes a private amenity terrace and a 1.8-acre park connecting International Drive to the Tysons Metro station.

A linear park in Phase 2B of Tysons Corner Center’s development will connect the Metro station to International Drive (via Fairfax County)

Extending a quarter-mile along Tysons One place, the park will feature a dog park, a 10-foot-wide multi-use trail, a Metro plaza area and active recreation zones, including a children’s play area, according to the application.

In an initial version of the proposed development plan, the linear park was designed around Tysons One Place, but based on feedback from county staff, the developer will expand the park space by razing and relocating that section of the roadway.

“The linear park, that’s something we’re all really, really excited about…It really will serve as a great connection for folks coming from International Drive to the Metro, to the bus bays, to the site,” Clifford said, predicting that the park “will be a crown jewel of the area.”

With Metro currently only accessible from the mall via elevated walkways, Macerich “made a concerted effort” with its revised plan “to bring folks back down” to street level, Vice President of Development Hillary Zahm said.

In addition to the linear park, the plan adds a corner plaza with ramps to the Lord and Taylor site — known as phase 2A — and a loop trail around the mall’s perimeter that will include connections to the Metro station, the bridge to Westpark Drive, and the I-495 pedestrian and bicycle bridge.

According to a staff report, Macerich has also agreed to install a crosswalk with pedestrian signals and ADA-accessible curb ramps across Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) at Tysons Blvd, a provision that the county had sought after a woman was killed there in 2021.

“We will have at-grade pedestrian crossings into the Metro south pavilion and the bus bays, so there are crosswalks proposed in phases 2A and 2B,” Zahm said. “So, there will be a clear pedestrian path into the site, into the towers and the shopping center, both at-grade and elevated.”

Providence District Commissioner Phil Niedzielski-Eichner, who represents the area, commended Macerich for working with county staff “to generate a development plan that is as exciting as it is consistent with our hopes and aspirations for the future of Tysons.”

The application, which outlines five total phases of development for Tysons Corner Center, will go to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for a public hearing and final vote on Sept. 26.

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