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Tysons West as it will look in the future; red buildings are currently approved, blue buildings are under review

Future Tysons West Comparison Shows Scale of Redevelopment

When we hear about a particular redevelopment, and how tall or how many square feet of space it might end up being, it can often become devoid of context. For most people whether a building is 12 stories or 25 stories is not automatically differentiated — other than by counting rows of windows.

Much of the development in Tysons for the past twenty years has been of the 12-story variety, a height that is pretty common in our region for most dense office locations. Much of Tysons still has areas of very low rise buildings. There are strip malls, dealerships, parking garages, and older offices that will all eventually face the natural redevelopment cycle that every burgeoning urban area undertakes. In Tysons West, the transformation has thus far been slower than nearby Tysons Corner metro station and Tysons East, but a few early projects have risen.

Tysons West today
Tysons West as it looks today; buildings under construction in yellow

At first these early projects appear completely out of context. Massive towers surrounded by low intensity development, underused parking lots, and near abandoned offices. But when you start viewing these towers in the context of what the neighborhood is becoming it will make more sense.

This future context becomes more apparent when we take a look at Tysons as it will look in the future — at least to the extent that we can today. The current Tysons West image depicts projects currently under construction in yellow. Adaire for instance overshadows everything around it at over 300 feet tall. The future Tysons West image shows in red those buildings which are already approved for development by Fairfax County, and in blue those buildings currently under review by Fairfax County. This does not include the likely development which will occur in the neighboring properties along Route 7, as these have not yet submitted rezoning plans.

Tysons West as it will look in the future; red buildings are currently approved, blue buildings are under review
Tysons West as it will look in the future; red buildings are currently approved, blue buildings are under review

When viewed with these future buildings, towers like Adaire become less isolated and more incorporated into the urban fabric. What is happening in Tysons today is early pioneering projects getting in — word play warning — at the ground floor. Once these groupings of early buildings hit a critical mass, these towers will be less isolated and more connected and contextually appropriate.

  • what

    Is there really nothing planned for the SW side of Rt. 7 other than the cluster on Westwood, while the NE side looks like SimCity? I was caught by surprise when I went to Sports Authority this week and found it shuttered. How much longer will it be before everything else in Pike 7 is driven out of business by the skyscraper rents across the Pike?

    • TheTysonsCorner

      That particular location has struggled to retain any retail for a long time, pre-dating the newest wave of growth in Tysons, mostly because it is difficult to get to and obscured from where most people are more than any rising rents. If I recall retail rates in strip malls was actually going the opposite way, rent going downward.

      There are a few properties in Tysons (owned by large land holders) who are currently sitting on the sidelines and seeing how the market absorbs and deals with the new construction before proposing their own projects. This is by a combination of both existing leases and to be able to improve their financing for when they do want to redevelop. It isn’t possible to capture this “future” condition until they put out their plans which is why it seems undeveloped in this particular case. Good question.

  • Are these renders available somewhere as Google Earth layers? It would be nice to be able to look at this from different angles. For me, the work over in Tysons East is more interesting as it is walking distance from my home in McLean.

    • Navid Roshan-Afshar

      Short answer, its my own collection of data and models I have made over time of Tysons, I attempted to provide the gray scales to Google Earth but they would not accept them as they no longer accept mass gray scale models outside of an official authority (government).

      But on your question about Tysons East, we will have further renderings upcoming, stay tuned.

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