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FairfaxSupervisors OK rezoning for 460-unit complex in Tysons

Supervisors OK rezoning for 460-unit complex in Tysons

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Fairfax County supervisors on Oct. 11 unanimously approved a rezoning to permit construction of “Somos at Tysons LLC” a 460-unit project that will consist almost entirely of affordable dwellings.

SCG Development Partners LLC will build the project on 4 acres at 1750 Old Meadow Road, just southeast of the Interstate 495 and Route 123 interchange. The site now is home to a vacant office building constructed in 1984 and a detached three-story, above-grade parking garage.

The 467,240-square-foot project will include two eight-story (up to 100 feet tall) multi-family residential buildings. Building A will be constructed atop the existing parking garage, which will be reinforced. The developer will tear down the existing office structure and construct Building B on that location.

The new buildings will be separated at ground level, but joined at the upper levels. Supervisors approved a 28-percent parking reduction at the site to allow 414 spaces, or 0.9 per dwelling unit.

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The developer will provide 1.21 acres of new urban park space. There will be a children’s play area, a park along the frontage on Old Meadow Road, a pedestrian court and 6-foot-wide pedestrian trail.

The development will “move the needle to get even more affordable units in Tysons,” said applicant’s attorney John McGranahan.

The developer followed the example of the Ovation at Arrowbrook affordable-housing project in Herndon, which multiplied the amount of units and allowed them to be delivered more quickly and serve people earning below the area median incomes (AMI), he said.

The site is within easy walking distance of Capital One’s campus, the McLean Metro station, athletic fields and a soon-to-be opened pedestrian bridge over the Capital Beltway, McGranahan said.

The Somos at Tysons project and nearby Capital One and Scotts Run North developments were required by existing proffers to provide a total of 224 affordable-housing units, as determined by the county’s new workforce-dwelling-unit policy, county staff said.

While the land-use application called for 300 affordable dwellings at Somos at Tysons, 453 such units will be delivered under the business proposition between SCG and the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA), said Tom Fleetwood, director of the county’s Department of Housing and Community Development.

Forty-nine of those units will be available to people earning up to 70 percent of AMI, 327 dwellings up to 60 percent of AMI, 27 units up to 50 percent, 26 up to 40 percent and 24 up to 30 percent.

SCG will assign the property’s title to FCRHA at closing, and the agency then will lease the site back to the developer for 99 years. The leases will stipulate that all units remain affordable during that entire period.

The public-private partnership will provide “far deeper affordability,” said Supervisor Dalia Palchik (D-Providence), who called Somos at Tysons a “keystone project.”

“This is exactly the kind of innovative thinking we hope to foster,” she said, adding, “This part of Tysons really is, I would call it, going gangbusters. It really is developing very quickly, bringing some very high-end units as well as quite a few amenities.”

The project will leverage nearly $13 million in local funds and about $100 million from other sources to deliver the housing, Palchik said.

“The applicant has [a] track record in Fairfax for constructing sustainable, attractive, vibrant and affordable communities,” she said. “The designs are creative, successfully accommodating the replacement of the existing seven-story office building.”

Supervisors voted 9-1 to approve a follow-on motion involving an agreement between Capital One Bank (USA), Capital One Tysons Block C Owner LLC, 1750 Old Meadow LLC, 1820 Dolley Madison LLC, SCG Development Partners LLC and FCRHA.

Capital One’s existing proffers require it to provide a total of 178 workforce dwelling units for people making up to 60 percent of AMI on its nearby properties. Under this agreement, Capital One’s workforce-dwelling-unit obligations will be transferred to the Somos at Tysons site.

The agreement will involve a public contribution, including local and federal funds, of about $33 million, with a local payment of just shy of $30,000 per unit, Fleetwood said.

Supervisor Patrick Herrity (R-Springfield) voted against the agreement, saying the 453 affordable units will cost about $451,000 each and be subsidized by county taxpayers who cannot afford those dwellings themselves.

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