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Plan for mixed-use development at AT&T’s Oakton campus seeks county review

The Oakton office campus that has hosted AT&T for decades is poised for a transformation.

An affiliate of developer EYA, CB Oakton Associates LLC submitted a plan to Fairfax County in late November that would replace the aging, 440,000-square-foot office building with up to 1.4 million square feet of mixed-use development, including townhomes, multi-family residential buildings and retail.

Closely resembling a concept shared with the community in the fall, the application calls for up to 1,000 residential units: 625 multi-family units and 375 traditional and stacked townhomes. The amount of housing was reduced from the developer’s initial vision after area residents raised concerns about traffic and incompatibility with the neighborhood’s park-like character.

While not indicated in the plan, EYA has previously stated that the multi-family housing will be rental apartments. The developer will include affordable dwelling units “in accordance with County requirements…in each of the housing types proposed,” according to the application.

The approximately 33-acre site will also be redeveloped with 120,000 square feet of retail space and retain 80,000 square feet of office space.

“The Applicant proposes to rezone the Property…to permit a mixed-use community that maximizes the Property’s size and central location and will serve as a central core to the broader Oakton community,” Cooley LLP lawyer Mark C. Looney wrote in a statement of justification. “…This mix will provide the Applicant with the optionality required to redevelop as appropriate to meet future market demands.”

Built in 1981, the office building at 3033 Chain Bridge Road has been occupied by AT&T ever since, but the presence of workers at the campus has “dwindled,” particularly after the pandemic led to more flexible work-from-home policies, according to the application.

The building’s “deteriorated” condition also convinced the property owner that change is needed. AT&T’s lease is set to expire at the end of 2025, the Washington Business Journal reported.

In addition to adding housing and retail, which will range from 60 feet tall for the townhomes along Flagpole Lane to 120 feet tall at the corner of Chain Bridge Road and Jermantown Road, the proposed redevelopment will reconfigure the site with a new grid of streets and 16.1 acres of open spaces, including:

  • The Preserve — A “gateway feature” where the preserved tree canopy is integrated with gathering spaces, a multi-use trail and dining and retail on the north portion and a plaza and dog play area to the south
  • Borge Street Park Expansion — An 0.7-acre supplement to the existing Borge Park with “themed play equipment inspired by the site’s history as part of a railway corridor and passive seating areas”
  • Retail Promenade — Terminating at a retail kiosk with outdoor seating, the promenade could feature gathering areas, landscaping, areas for public art, a shade structure, fountains and a lawn for small events
  • Linear Park — Boardwalks or decks with seating, birdhouses, interpretive signage and art could enliven the southwestern portion of the property, where bioretention areas will be located
  • Perimeter Park — Adjacent to Flagpole Lane, this 0.31-acre park will feature “fitness nodes” to encourage exercise

The plan also include a nearly 1-mile-long shared-use path around the property. The emphasis on open and green spaces was a priority for many residents, including the neighborhood advocacy group Options for Oakton.

Looney notes that EYA met convened over 25 community meetings before filing its application, which hasn’t been formally accepted for review by county planners yet.

“The Application is the product of incorporating the feedback received in those meetings with the Applicant’s vision to revitalize the Property with a mixture of uses in a vibrant community,” Looney wrote.

The county is already conducting a planning study that would amend its comprehensive plan to allow mixed-use development on the AT&T campus. An estimated timeline suggests the draft amendment could be released this coming spring, setting the stage for public hearings in summer and fall 2024.

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