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County board approves changes to Tysons Corner Center’s development plan

The new second phase of development for Tysons Corner Center from across Route 123 (courtesy DLA Piper)

Tysons Corner Center can move forward with new plans for its next phase of development.

After a public hearing on Tuesday (Sept. 26), the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved revisions requested by property owner Macerich that will build on the mall’s plaza, shift planned office space closer to Metro and pave the way for more street-level activity.

“A lot of work has gone into this, but we are seeing wonderful improvements and commitments, mainly the park and open spaces that would come with this, the ability to expand a very successful plaza [and] connecting that to the ground level,” Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said. “…Having more retail and restaurant uses, I think, [is] very much something we and the community are looking forward to.”

Macerich submitted its new development plan for Tysons Corner Center in December 2021 after acquiring the former Lord & Taylor store in 2020. When the master plan was originally adopted in 2007, the clothing retailer had declined to participate, according to DLA Piper land use planner Brian Clifford, the developer’s legal representative at the hearing.

“We had a little bit of a hole in our donut there right next to the Metro,” Clifford told the board. “With the applicant’s acquisition in 2020, we had a chance to fill that hole in the donut and really provide some exciting connective tissue between phase 1, approved phase 2 and the Metro connection.”

The Lord & Taylor building has now been designated “phase 2A” and will be replaced by either a 26-story office building or a 34-story, 292-unit office and residential building. Both options include about 36,000 square feet of retail and a pedestrian connection from the mall’s ground level to the elevated plaza.

Phase 2B consists of a 20-story office building and a 27-story, 320-unit residential building that would be constructed on top of an existing four-level parking garage at the 78-acre property’s northwestern corner. This phase also calls for its own elevated plaza and a street-level, 1.8-acre linear park, featuring a dog park, children’s play areas and a path from International Drive to the Tysons Metro station.

In a change from the plan that Macerich initially filed, One Tysons Place will be relocated to the south side of the block, allowing access to the linear park from the new buildings without the interruption of a street crossing.

Palchik thanked the developer and county staff for working together to address the pedestrian safety concerns raised by the original design.

“I think you really hit it on the nail, and phase 2B cannot come soon enough, at least in my book,” she said.

In a separate project, the county is also working with Macerich and the Virginia Department of Transportation to add a street-level crosswalk on Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) at the Tysons Blvd intersection.

No phase 3 changes were proposed, but the fourth phase of development has been reduced to two residential buildings and a retail building after its office space got moved to phase 2. Another retail building is planned on Leesburg Pike for the fifth and final phase.

The revisions won’t alter the size or density of the proposed development, which will exceed 6 million square feet when completed.

Clifford and Sharon Williams, a planner for the county, agreed that the application “was a fun one to work on.”

“That’s due in large part to their technical expertise, but [also it was a] very solution-oriented, open, honest, transparent process and conversation we got to have with staff, and the application’s much better for it,” Clifford said.