Empty Container Store
A former Container Store on Leesburg Pike is set to become the test case for a new Fairfax County program—called Activate Fairfax—that aims to revitalize vacant commercial spaces. The county bought the old Container Store near the Spring Hill Metro last year because it eventually plans to do major roadwork at the site. But as that work is still years off, Fairfax is calling for entrepreneurs to submit ideas to turn the 19,000-square-foot space into a pop-up cultural destination of some kind.
Let There Be Traffic Lights
Tysons has been striving to shake its reputation as traffic-snarled and pedestrian-unfriendly. And for a long time, it seemed the intersection at Westbranch and Westpark drives hadn’t gotten the memo. The corner wasn’t so much unwelcoming to foot traffic as downright hostile. With 11,000 cars, six lanes, and zero stoplights, the intersection had over the years been the subject of two local TV news investigations on ABC7, several gruesome videos in which nearby workers captured dramatic crashes, and countless complaints to local government. But in February, the battle came to an end when the Virginia Department of Transportation finally installed a traffic light. Pedestrians got some relief, too: four crosswalk signals.
(Food) Court Drama
Mike Isabella’s food hall at Tysons Galleria abruptly closed following the celebrity chef’s sexual-misconduct scandals. But the arrival of a new operator didn’t mean the end of turmoil. Last summer, the Washington brokerage District Equities sued the company now running the food hall, Urbanspace Tysons, which had brought a number of popular DC and Virginia restaurateurs to the hall. The allegation: Urbanspace had effectively stolen District Equities’ local knowledge and relationships to find its vendors.
In October, both sides agreed to dismiss the lawsuit, and while there have been some closures in the food hall, there have also been recent additions. Butcher’s Cut, a steak frites joint, arrived in October, and the owners of Shaw’s Tiger Fork just opened a Cantonese barbecue counter there called Hei Hei Tiger.
The Scooters Descend
In November, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors set up new regulations for dockless scooters, thanks in large part to support from stakeholders in Ty-sons. Representatives of the Tysons Partnership—the organization overseeing all of the redevelopment in the area—and local businesses testified that the scooters would be a boon for restaurants and retail while also helping reduce traffic. To start, scooter companies can dispatch up to 300 of their vehicles in the county.
If you’re into hanging out at enormous luxury grocery stores, it’s difficult to think of a better destination than Ty-sons. The 70,000-square-foot flagship Whole Foods that opened by the Greensboro Metro last fall has a pub, dough-nut and coffee shops, a Jrink juice bar, and a Japanese restaurant, as well as outposts of Rappahannock Oyster Co. and Officina. This fall, it will get a worthy competitor in the 80,000-square-foot Wegmans opening at the Capital One Center. That store will include a cafe with indoor and outdoor seating, a burger-and-milkshake counter, and a rooftop park.
What’s on the Map
Big new developments, by metro stop
It’s been ten years since Fairfax County enacted its sweeping plan to transform Tysons into a 24-hour city by 2050. Meanwhile, four new Metro stations have opened there and developers have poured into the area, constructing new offices, hotels, apartments, restaurants, and shops to replace the dated office parks that surround the malls. “Tysons has always had the element of work, but not live or play,” says Gary Block, chief investment officer at the Meridian Group, the developer behind the Boro, the biggest new mixed-use project in Tysons to date.
The Silver Line’s arrival has attracted developments that dwarf more celebrated projects in Washington. For example, the Boro exceeds Amazon’s future National Landing campus in square-footage. In total, 36 developments have been green-lighted for Tysons. Here’s a look at some of the biggest, by Metro stop.
Development: The View
Size: 3.1 million square feet, in six buildings across nearly nine acres.
Status: A bit unclear. Though Fairfax County has unanimously approved the plans, the developers haven’t announced a timeline.
Reasons to go: Once it finishes, the development will include the Iconic office tower, which, at 600 feet high, will be the tallest building in Washington. Its glassed-in observation deck will be open to the public.
Development: The Boro
Size: 4.2 million square feet, in 12 buildings across 18 acres.
Status: Its offices, apartments, condos, shops, and restaurants are mostly open.
Reasons to go: The 70,000-square-foot flagship Whole Foods—with a food hall that includes outposts of Rappahannock Oyster Co. and Officina—has been open since October, and a 14-screen ShowPlace Icon movie theater debuted in February.
Development: Arbor Row
Size: 2.5 million square feet, in eight buildings across 19 acres.
Status: The Nouvelle, a 27-story apartment development, is done, while condos and a senior-living facility are arriving in 2022 and 2023.
Reasons to go: The Agora, a Middle Eastern restaurant, opened last year at the Nouvelle. A three-acre park with public art, a dog park, and walking paths to Tysons Galleria mall will begin opening in 2023.
Development: Capital One Center
Size: 5.2 million square feet, in 12 buildings across nearly 25 acres.
Status: The second tower of Capital One’s headquarters opened in 2018, but a lot more is on the way.
Reasons to go: An 80,000-square-foot Wegmans will arrive this fall. More than an acre of green space, called the Perch, will sit atop its parking garage, with lawn games and a beer garden. A black-box theater and performing-arts hall are opening next year.
Development: Scott’s Run
Size: 6.5 million square feet, in 17 buildings across 27 acres.
Status: New apartments and offices are already open, while food and retail are scheduled to start arriving later this year.
Reasons to go: Shipgarten Beer Hall and Food Court—housed in shipping containers—is slated to serve brews and barbecue this spring. The Archer Ho-tel, due in summer 2021, promises a restaurant by Charlie Palmer.