When the first phase of the Silver Line Metro is up and running, the four new stations in Tysons Corner will become mini urban centers, a panel of developers explained to an auditorium of more than 100 at the Gannett headquarters in McLean on Wednesday morning.
The panel discussion was part of a networking event hosted by the Tysons Corner Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Slide after slide of glossy architectural renderings flashed on a big screen as the developers showcased pictures of new office buildings, new hotels, new condominums and new retail spaces that will start popping up around each of the new metro stations as soon as 2014. In total, tens of millions of square feets in new developed space are on the horizon.
But new buildings aren't the whole story. Tysons Corner Center will get a new entrance complete with an outdoor community center, suitable for farmers markets in summertime. Two new athletic fields will be installed along Westpark Drive. A new mixed used development near the Tysons Corner Central Metro station along Route 7 will potentially house 10-story outdoor video art wall.
Aaron Georgelas, a partner in the Georgelas Group, the firm developing a parcel adjacent to the Tysons West metro station, said the plans envision a community where metro riders can walk from station to store (or hotel, or apartment, or grocery) without needing an umbrella on a rainy day.
"We want people to feel like when they’ve arrived here they’ve arrived at the center of it all," Georgelas said.
Gerald Gordon, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, said Tysons Corner already represents the new epicenter of the Metro region.
In 1980, downtown Washington represented the geographic center of the region's economic drivers. In 2012, Tysons Corner is the new center, Gordon said.
"Fairfax county is now the downtown….and the heart of that is Tysons," Gordon said. "Tysons’s time has come."