Tysons News: Part II
So how will the Tysons projects fit together? Gensler architect (and one of our keynotes) Jordan Goldstein says the “urbanization of suburbia” means not all the projects will look the same and many will have their own definition of live-work-play. Jordan says the transformation of Tysons started with two projects the firm designed: Tysons Tower and Tysons Overlook. The Tysons Tower lobby, at a soaring 55 feet, serves as a collector of people coming off Metro and others coming out of their cars. Tysons Overlook, LMI’s new HQ, was designed to incorporate the surrounding pond and park.
Intelsat will always be known as one of the first anchor tenants to kick off Tysons’ transformation. CRE broker Al Motta and Moran & Co partner Randal Howard chat with Intelsat GC (and one of our keynotes) Michelle Bryan, who orchestrated the satellite company’s move from DC to Tysons Tower last summer. She says Intelsat wasn’t crazy about being attached to a mall at first. But Macerich sold the vision of the plaza that connects Tysons Tower and the mall, where Intelsat has hosted bands and other outdoor events.
With all the talk of the Silver Line, MRP Realty founding principal Fred Rothmeijer, who spoke on the “New Tysons” panel, says not every building needs to be near a Metro. Take Reston Town Center and Mosaic (in Merrifield) – they aren’t on a Metro line but are attracting shoppers with the right type of retail, foodies with unique restaurants, and office workers. Fred says MRP has a huge opportunity with Tysons East. It may not land a major anchor tenant, but it can still become an “inspiring area with destination dining.”
Retail and food are not the only things that will draw people to Tysons. Macerich SVP Tim Steffan says the firm’s VITA project, a 430-unit apartment building that opened next to Tysons Tower, started pre-leasing 120 to 150 days before its opening. And the first units to go were the more expensive upper floors and penthouse units. Interest is just now starting to pick up for the lower floors and smaller units. The target market is well-established singles, couples, empty nesters and, of course, Millennials.
LCOR EVP Bill Hard says it’s a mistake to only think of Millennials living in Tysons. LCOR started the first phase of its Commons project, transforming 331 1960s-era garden apartments into 2,600 units. Even though Millennials want smaller units, the Commons will have two-bedroom apartments in the mid-2k SF range – the same size as the original two-bedrooms the Commons had 45 years ago. Studios will be 1,800 SF and one-bedrooms will be 2,200 SF. A sky bridge, connecting the two towers at the 10th and 11th floors, will have a bar and fireplace.
Michael who replaced Russell on the “New Tysons” panel (hey, that’s what happens when you show up with a check) says Foulger-Pratt was interested in NV Commercial’s site because it’s 50 feet from a Metro entrance. (A draw for the FitBit wearers.) Plus Macerich’s early success in Tysons showed that there’s a market for $50-plus rents in NoVa.
American Real Estate Partners co-founder Brian Katz, chatting with moderator and Walsh Colucci senior land use planner Elizabeth Baker, added that it’s misguided to think of Tysons as one homogenous market. Tysons is becoming a grouping of neighborhoods with the developments around each Metro stop having a different look. But if retail amenities and other draws aren’t there, then office isn’t going to work, Brian added. One feature missing from Tysons: Live theater and other entertainment.
Thanks again to United Bank, and regional president for commercial real estate lending Scott Ritter (pictured), for bringing another amazing area to life through our Bisnow/United Bank Neighborhood Series of publications and events.