By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor
Residents of Northern Virginia are celebrating. Last week, they witnessed the opening of two important developments expected to transform the area: the first phase of Macerich’s expansion at Tysons Corner Center and the long-awaited Silver Line.
On July 24, Macerich, a real estate investment trust based in Santa Monica, opened the first phase of its mixed-use urban expansion at Tysons Corner Center. This portion of the project includes the 22-story Tysons Tower office building, a 1.5-acre plaza and a new entrance that connects the mall to the new development.
According to Macerich, the office tower is already more than 75 percent leased and features Intelsat, a communications satellite services provider, as the marquee anchor tenant. Meanwhile, the Plaza is set 32 feet above street level and will provide direct access to the Silver Line, which opened on July 26.
With 10,000 employees, Tysons Corner Center is the largest shopping mall in Virginia and in the Baltimore-Washington area. Macerich and its partner, Alaska Permanent Fund Corp., have been the owners of the property since 2005. The two companies are now transforming this massive retail center into an innovative, connected community.
The project’s development team includes Hines, Gensler, RTKL, CBRE, Sasaki Associates Inc. and Rios Clementi Hale Studios. When fully finished, it will deliver 1.4 million square feet of office, residential, hotel and retail space. A 300-room Hyatt Regency Hotel and a 430-unit residential tower are scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2015.
“As we launch the exciting mixed-use urban community at Tysons Corner, it is clear this development is one of the premier projects of its kind in the country,” Art Coppola, Macerich’s chairman & CEO, said in a statement. “This project leverages one of the nation’s top-performing retail properties into a sustainable urban community now linked by mass transit with the entire Washington, D.C., metro area. Already we see a strong positive impact for our retailers, as well as long-term benefits of this smart densification for the entire region.”
As if planned, the highly anticipated Metro Silver Line opened just in time to help bring commuters and visitors to the new developments at Tysons Corner Center. The $2.9 billion project has added five new stations (McLean, Tysons Corner, Greensboro, Spring Hill and Wiehle-Reston East), linking Tysons to the D.C. region’s subway system. It will bring numerous benefits, including the reduction of regional air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and, together with developments such as the expansion of Tysons Corner Center, it will also fuel economic growth in Northern Virginia.
Stewart Schwartz, executive director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth, said in a statement that the opening of the Silver Line “is important for many reasons, but none more important than how it will transform land use in Northern Virginia.” Schwartz explained that the ”transformation will be most prominent in Tysons, where a traffic-choked suburban office park with two large malls is planned to become a walkable, urban center with 100,000 residents and 200,000 jobs, but it will also be seen in Reston, Herndon and Loudoun.”
Photo credit: Macerich