If you have yet to see the construction activity occurring along the AMC entrance of the mall, the next time you head to the theater you are in for a big shock. What was once a parking lot for Circuit City is now the site of three prominent buildings under construction, with one already rising 100 feet over Chain Bridge Road, on its way to 300 feet.
Unlike previous construction projects around Tysons this new tower, under construction by Macerich, has taken into consideration alternative transportation options for its occupants. Only a few hundred feet away, the Tysons Metro Station has been progressing and is now on pace for opening December 31st, 2013. Next door, the 495 Express Lanes literally knock on the project’s front door, providing a secondary form of vehicular access.
One concern for many residents, as has been evident from the Fairfax County Department of Transportation public meetings in Tysons, has been the coordination of all of these systems to provide the best access to destinations in the city. The FCDOT has been working diligently towards creating a bus network that interplays more efficiently with the new Silver Line metro. They have also coordinated several pedestrian improvements to be in place on day one of the metro. Most importantly the FCDOT has been in close communication with developers and large projects such as Tysons Tower to ensure a seamless integration of private projects and public infrastructure projects.
An example is evident in how will people exiting the Tysons Metro Station will access the mall. Even with the sky walk pedestrian bridge being provided across Route 123, the escalators to the mall appear to require crossing of the very busy Shop Tysons Boulevard.
After this past month’s Silver Line bus meetings, and a discussion with FCDOT direct Tom Biesiadny, I was told that the two plans, Tysons Tower and the Silver Line, are in fact working towards a single coordinated platform and plaza. This might explain why Macerich has broken ground early on the third parcel of the tower project, which would be necessary in order to begin the crucial platform crossing of Shop Tysons Boulevard.
The plan is for metro users to be able to cross 123 on the bridge and seamlessly exit onto an elevated outdoor mixed-use development and avoid crossing any vehicular roads, which would have been a disaster around Christmas time.
Macerich has been moving forward at full force on construction of Tysons Tower, with delivery in 2014. It is unclear if the platform portion connecting to the bridge will be complete by Silver Line opening day, December 31st, 2013. However, based on Macerich’s current construction schedule and pace of work it shouldn’t be too difficult of a task.
The project will dramatically alter the skyline from almost every direction in Tysons, involving three high-rise towers with one rising above 300 feet. In fact, it is alr eady filling out a skyline gap from the approach on 495 South and Route 123. However, the biggest contribution to the future Tysons is the cooperation between private and public projects that has been painstakingly coordinated in order to achieve a more user friendly end product.