Real estate developer Pulte Homes, LLC recently received approval from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to rezone property in Tysons into a multi-building condominium complex with public park space. The supervisors voted unanimously to approve the project in a meeting on December 6, though city planners had previously expressed objections to the plan.
The new plaza, called The Flats at Tysons Corner, will occupy a 5.42-acre plot of land along Gallows Road, between Aline Avenue and Old Gallows Road, which currently holds an office building and a three-story parking garage. The plan will add two new residential buildings to the plot, accounting for 86 total condominium units, including 17 workforce dwelling units.
The plan includes two public park spaces (an “urban park” and a “pocket park”) which will total 17,000 square feet. The urban park, 14,500 square feet, will contain a stone garden, an outdoor living space with a fire feature, and stations for games like tetherball and ping-pong. The pocket park will have more seating and enhanced landscaping.
In addition to those outdoor spaces, a “pop-up plaza” will transform the surface parking lot into a temporary entertainment area on weekends with amenities like lawn games, temporary lounge chairs and other seating, a performance area, and food trucks.
The outdoor areas will also contain murals and other public art centered around an “earth, air, wind, and fire” theme.
The development faced some resistance from county staff throughout the application process, particularly over a detail in the plan which would place loading zones on the street, rather than in a garage.
“From a policy, operational, and design perspective, staff has significant concern with the proposed on-street loading,” Mary Ann Tsai with the Department of Development and Planning said in a Fairfax County Planning Commission meeting on November 2.
Tsai recommended that the Board of Supervisors deny the application. She cited concerns that the Tysons urban design guidelines recommend on-street loading only for quick operations, that the loading zone could impede pedestrian and vehicular travel, and that the loading spaces do not meet zoning ordinances.
However, in a Planning Commission meeting on November 30, city planners voted to recommend the supervisors approve the project. Providence District Commissioner Phil Niedzielski-Eichner said that the plan aligns with the vision of the Tysons Comprehensive Plan, and that he believes it may serve as a catalyst for further development in the area.
“This is an imperfect proposed infill development,” said Niedzielski-Eichner. “However, when I weigh the opportunities against the limitations of this unique and heretofore undeveloped site, I believe the balance is on the side of opportunity, and is worthy of our approval.”
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