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A conceptual rendering for The Block at Scotts Run, which will occupy a currently vacant lot in Tysons (via Fairfax County/VIKA Virginia)

Will it be a hub for food trucks? How about an indoor spa, or a trampoline park with pop-up retail stalls? Why not all of the above?

Cityline Partners, the developer behind the Scotts Run neighborhood in Tysons, can let its imagination run wild — to a point — after the Fairfax County Planning Commission approved its proposal on Wednesday (April 27) to “activate” the 1600 block of Anderson Road.

Right now, the empty 3.5-acre lot is serving as a construction staging area while work continues on Heming, a 28-story apartment complex with retail set to open at Scotts Run next year.

Under the approved development plan, Cityline can add recreational, entertainment, and pop-up retail and restaurant activities to the site on an interim basis for the next 20 years.

“We think this is an exciting opportunity to bring life to this gateway at Tysons East,” said Holland & Knight land use attorney David Schneider, who represented the developer at the planning commission’s public hearing.

Located across the street from The Kingston and Haden apartment buildings and within a mile of the McLean Metro station, The Block at Scotts Run can host activations that fall under five categories:

  • Quasi-public park
  • Outdoor commercial recreation
  • Indoor commercial recreation
  • Retail
  • Restaurant

Those are broad categories, as defined by the county’s recently updated zoning code. Outdoor commercial recreation, for example, encompasses everything from mini golf to drive-in movie theaters and amusement park rides.

There will be a 90-foot height limit and a maximum of 30,000 square feet of gross floor area, but the plan is intended to be flexibile, allowing the site to change with the seasons and the community’s needs. Read More

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When it’s completed, Heming residents will be able to see all of Tysons from their home. On clear days, D.C. and even mountains to the west can be glimpsed from the top floors.

Those upper levels are now coming into place after construction workers reached the top of the 28-story luxury apartment high-rise on March 10, keeping developer Skanska on track to deliver its first units in mid-2023.

A centerpiece of the Scotts Run development emerging next to the McLean Metro station, Heming will feature 410 apartment units, including 82 affordable dwelling units and 12 larger, two-story apartments.

It will also boast 38,000 square feet of retail space and a three-floor outdoor plaza called “The Levels.” Two of the levels will be publicly accessible, while the third will have a swimming pool, outdoor gardens, and other amenities exclusive to residents.

“One of the things we focused on — and really, it kind of grew out of the master plan for Scotts Run — was a heavier focus on the retail component,” Mark Carroll, Skanska’s executive vice president of commercial development in D.C., told FFXnow during a tour of the construction site yesterday (Monday).

A rendering of “The Levels,” which encompasses a two-story public plaza and a residents-only terrace (courtesy of Skanska)

Expected to ultimately encompass 6.5 million square feet of development on 30 acres of land along Route 123, Scotts Run currently consists of the Mitre 4 office building, Archer Hotel Tysons, and The Kingston and Haden apartment buildings, which don’t include retail.

Before starting construction on Heming in August 2020, Skanska talked to retail brokers and consultants to gauge whether the COVID-19 pandemic had affected the viability of the planned commercial space, according to Carroll.

While some nearby developments have backed away from retail, Skanska decided to move forward without altering its plans. It envisions the 1800 Chain Bridge complex of restaurants, shops, and services as an alternative to Tysons’ malls for both Scotts Run residents and visitors from McLean and even Great Falls.

“It’s going to be a different concept than the mall,” Carroll said. “…We felt like there was still a large need that it could fill not only for this development, but also some of the other neighborhoods around the area.”

Carroll says Scotts Run’s accessibility to Tysons, nearby McLean, and the Metro station was a critical draw for Skanska, which announced its Heming project in 2019. The overall master plan was created by developer Cityline Partners and architectural firm SmithGroup.

In addition to the abundance of retail, Heming will be distinguished by an emphasis on outdoor spaces, inspired by its proximity to Scott’s Run Trail.

Along with “The Levels,” whose public areas will have outdoor seating, landscaping, and a water feature, the building will include an outdoor courtyard for residents on its 25th floor.

A private street that will be built on the Route 123 side could be blocked off for events, such as farmers’ markets. Dubbed Platform Avenue, the road will cut through what’s currently a gravel-covered construction site, connecting Colshire to Dartford Drive.

“One of the things we’ve tried to focus on is trying to create connections to the outdoors — outdoor spaces that are more walkable — while still getting the benefits of some of the density being around the Metro,” Carroll said.

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