By now, nearly everyone should know the name is Tysons, one word; and the new Tysons is rising to be America's next great city, a nexus of mobility conducive to cycle-friendly living and walkability. Accessed via the Dulles Toll Road, Jones Branch Connector, Beltway 495, Silver Line Metro and Rt 123, "[Tysons is] evolving from the inside out, with the construction of exciting new places to live, work and play. By 2050, Tysons will add 50M SF of new construction and will be home to more than 100,000 residents and 200,000 jobs. Three-quarters of this future growth will be concentrated within a half-mile of each of Tysons' four Metro stations. A new grid of streets, sidewalks and bike paths will connect Tysons' new neighborhoods creating a walkable urban center," according to tysonspartnership.org.
On Wednesday, March 4, Tysons Partnership, designated as the Implementation Entity for the Tysons 40-Year Comprehensive Plan and composed of more than 100 member organizations with stakeholder interests in Tysons, celebrated the 10th-anniversary of the adoption of the Comprehensive Plan for Tysons by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. The plan is to transform Tysons into that great American city.
STAKEHOLDERS, dignitaries, guests and others met in the heart of Tysons, at Capital One Headquarters, Washington Metropolitan area's tallest private building.
Barry Mark, Vice President of Design and Constuction, Capital One, and Tysons Partnership Board Member, greeted those gathered and said, "Spurred on the completion of the Metro Silver Line, Tysons has transformed into a vibrant, urban center that Capital One is proud to call home. Tysons has become a hub for top talent, especially in tech, and continually provides us with a skilled workforce that we need to succeed." Mark added what was happening at Tysons was not happening anywhere else in the region, country, and likely the world. "We're seeing tremendous commercial, residential and retail development and the implementation of numerous forms of transportation which connects Tysons to the Greater Washington region," Mark said.
Introducing Chairman Jeffrey McKay, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Jeff Tarae, Chair, Tysons Partnership Board of Directors and Managing Director, Newmark Knight Frank, said that Chairman McKay and his colleagues on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors played an integral part in everything that Tysons Partnership was doing to shape the future of Tysons.
McKay opened, saying that Fairfax County residents expect certain things from the Board of Supervisors. "Good financial management, Triple-A bond rating, predictability, high-quality public services [and] schools, low crime, human services, compassion, and a welcoming environment for people all over the world to come to Fairfax County and succeed. Those are the hallmarks of Fairfax County; that will not change," he said.
McKay said the Board had a sense of urgency to address other challenges in the County, such as affordable housing. "That is a goal I know our County Board is going to hit the accelerator on as we move forward. Climate change is another issue this Board will tackle. We will tackle it in a way that complements economic development," he said.
According to McKay, when it came to Tysons, the Board's job was to partner with the community, "to make sure we achieve the long-range goal for Tysons." McKay added that while it was essential to recognize that everyone in the County would benefit from the success of Tysons, a place he called "the economic engine of the County," it was necessary to create other economic engines in other parts of the County too.
"We have a moral obligation to lift up all parts of the County. We can have smaller economic engines throughout Fairfax that complement Tysons and aren't in competition with it," McKay said. "But as we move forward, we know Tysons is the economic engine, and this Board is cognizant of that...We will make the necessary investments."
McKay said the Board was at a critical junction currently with Tysons. He said, "I know there's angst out there in the community about infrastructure, keeping pace with development." McKay added that the Board had a job to do, as partners and political leaders, to remind the County "this is a long haul."
"Tysons Plan was not developed to be implemented in a year or two. It was predicated on the need that we are in this for the long haul. And that means, at some point in time, pieces of it get accelerated faster than others. But we have to maintain the vision for achieving the ultimate goal... creating a place called Tysons...where people want to live, where we continue to have job growth, but we also have the public infrastructure in place to support that growth," he said.
MCKAY cautioned that Tysons Partnership, the County and the community had to operate as a team. "And frankly, there's a lot of eyes on us. You know, not only is Fairfax County the economic driver of the Commonwealth of Virginia, we know that statistically, 22 percent of all revenue going into Virginia comes from Fairfax County. We know that Tysons Corner is the economic driver of the County, so there are a lot of eyes on us making sure that this experiment that we've entered into works. We know it will...When you make a commitment, to do what we've done in Tysons, which is huge, you can't stop midway, or you're left with the worst-case scenario, which is scattered high density in parts of Tysons with no connectivity, no sense of place, no character, no personality," said McKay.
"We have come too far not to continue to make sure we complete this journey, and I need your help," McKay said. "We need everyone in Tysons Partnership's help. I can assure you, from my standpoint, we are going to continue to press our County staff in trying to be more responsive to the market, to send a strong message that Tysons is an innovative, outstanding place to live, work and to attract young people to come into Tysons Corner. We know that's a challenge... I need all of your voices to help us send a message out there, that this is a place where young people want to be able to come to work and where we want them to be in Fairfax County."
According to McKay, the County invests $14,000 per student per year. Then the student goes off to college and ends up moving elsewhere because they don't think Fairfax County is "cool enough or they can't afford housing."
McKay said, “Think of the investment that we've made in the public sector and those kids, only to lose it to other parts of the country. We have to attract those people here through affordable housing opportunities, employment opportunities, but most importantly, to make sure that Tysons is seen as a cool, innovative, state of the art, a forward-thinking place where people want to come and live. And we're halfway there."