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Developer Spotlight: PS Business Parks And Kettler Discuss The Mile

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A rendering of the five-acre Signature Park planned at The Mile in Tysons

Developers in Tysons continue to re-envision aging office parks as vibrant mixed-use projects, and one such development is underway at the West-Park office park. 

PS Business Parks in 2010 acquired the 40-acre business park, bounded by Jones Branch Drive, Westpark Drive and Westbranch Drive, from DLJ for $140M.

The owner brought on Kettler as a partner to build multifamily on the site, and in 2017 the team delivered the 395-unit Highgate apartment building.

In July, the team received approval for 10 more buildings on the site, a mix of residential, office, hotel and retail space totaling 2.8M SF. The development, branded as The Mile, is set to move forward in phases over the next several years. 

PS Business Parks Divisional Vice President Christopher Auth, who will speak Thursday at Bisnow's Future of Tysons event, said when his team first acquired the business park, it didn't know what the eventual plans would look like, but it was drawn to its fundamentals. 

"It's blessed with a phenomenal location," Auth said. "I don't think at the time we knew how that was going to play out, but we knew having a big concetration of land in a fantastic location is never a bad thing."

The business park still has roughly 600K of office space that is about 94% leased, Auth said, so it will take many years before the full redevelopment is complete.

"It's a long-term project, especially while we have such good income coming from the office buildings as it stands now," Auth said. "As a company, we need to decide when's the right time to take money off the table to do this [development]. We don't know the answer to that at this point."

Despite the long-term time frame for redeveloping the office buildings, the property does have some nearly shovel-ready sites. In addition to the one apartment building that delivered, plans for a second building are now moving forward. 

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A rendering of the Brentford apartment building at the Mile development in Tysons.

Kettler Senior Vice President Catherine Moy tells Bisnow the team plans to break ground this year on the Brentford, a six-story building with 410 apartments. Design Collective is serving as the project's architect.

Moy's team at Kettler, which is based in Tysons, also partnered with The Meridian Group to develop the high-rise residential buildings at The Boro, a massive mixed-use development near Tysons' Greensboro Metro station that delivered last year. She said The Mile will feature more mid-rise buildings and have a more suburban feel than The Boro. 

"Jones Branch Drive leans more toward suburban, as opposed to The Boro trying to aspire to the urban," Moy said. 

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A rendering of The Mile, a planned 3M SF development in Tysons.

Moy said a key highlight of the development is the planned five-acre park, dubbed Signature Park, that will encompass a full block at the center of the development. 

"What distinguishes The Mile is its emphasis on green space," Moy said. 

The development plans call for five additional acres of green space spread throughout the site in addition to Signature Park.

"We're working with more green space than you may have on Route 7 or Route 123," Auth said. "It's somewhat of a differentiating factor. It creates a different feel, somewhere to stretch your legs and walk around."

Plans also call for four new streets that will help build out the street grid in Tysons, part of the vision planners have to make the area more walkable. 

"Everyone involved in trying to change Tysons and make it the next great American city talks about the walkability, and The Mile will help out in that area," Auth said. "As it continues to get built out, it will continue to make it feel more connected and more cohesive."

Auth said he doesn't have a timeline for when PS Business Parks plans to develop new office buildings on the site, but he said he thinks the addition of residential and retail space will help make it a more attractive office destination. 

"At some point, it will have its own neighborhood vibe, so having multifamily and retail components will give it more vibrancy, and that's always a good thing when you mix it in with office tenants," Auth said.

Hear more Thursday, Jan. 16, at Bisnow's Future of Tysons event.