The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ July 25 approval of the rezoning of a property in Tysons to make way for a proposed mixed-use community could have a significant impact on the future of development in the county.
The proposed development, which is known as International Place at Tysons, will feature a single mid-rise, eight-story building with up to 385 apartments and 129,000 square feet for commercial uses, according to a Fairfax County news release on the board’s unanimous vote.
The 5.4-acre property at 8201 Leesburg Pike near the intersection with Gallows Road had been occupied since 1966 by a car dealership that is now defunct.
While Fairfax County residents are no strangers to mixed-use communities, International Place at Tysons will be the first such property that is not directly linked to a Metro station, though it will still be within a half-mile from both the Tysons and Greensboro stations.
“Most of the mixed-use development we’ve been seeing has been closer to the Metro stations,” Fairfax County planner Bob Katai said. “This will be the first mixed-use development at a somewhat lower density. It will be interesting to see how this develops.”
Developer Garrett Companies started working on International Place about four years ago, and the project was first brought to Fairfax County’s attention in April 2015.
According to Walsh/Colucci attorney Elizabeth Baker, who represents International Place at Tysons LLC, the applicant saw the Route 7 property as a promising development opportunity due to the prominence of the location and the fact that it was underperforming at the time.
“With the coming of Metro to Tysons, mixed-use is the preferred development scenario,” Baker said. “This offers a residential component that is stick-built, which means it’s not high-rise, and therefore something that’s very attractive to the market.”
The site previously served as home to a Ford dealership in Tysons and is currently occupied by a former building for Kip Killmon’s Used Cars, five trailers, and a surface parking lot, according to Inside NOVA.
International Place will follow what Fairfax County calls a “podium design,” meaning that retail, restaurants, offices, and parking will be located in a concrete and steel podium that composes the building’s bottom four floors. Wood-framed apartments will occupy the remaining four floors on top of the podium.
Current development plans feature two public parks, including a nearly 30,000-square foot common area with a large lawn, two bocce courts, game tables, and outdoor seating.
“Fairfax County, in developing their comprehensive plan for Tysons, encourages everyone to provide public outdoor spaces,” Baker said. “This is really a response to the county’s plans for parks in addition to development.”
Residents will also have access to two rooftop courtyards, a pool, lawns, fire pits, and outdoor kitchens.
In addition, the plans for International Place include the construction of a new street named Zach Garrett Drive that will connect Leesburg Pike with Boone Boulevard.
Garrett Companies has also committed to extending the right-hand turn lanes on eastbound Route 7 and making improvements to the three pedestrian islands at the intersection between Gallows Road and International Drive, according to Fairfax County.
The plans for International Place might take a while to become reality, since the process for developers to get engineering approval typically takes about nine months, Baker says.
However, when Garrett Companies’ mixed-use community does open, other developers will be paying attention.
“It could set the precedent for this type of slightly lower density development,” Katai said. “I think the other property owners will be seeing how this does. If it does really well, it may encourage them to follow suit.”
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