Fairfax County Board Chair Sharon Bulova said she is so pleased with the evolution of Tysons Corner that, with the arrival the Silver Line fast approaching, she would like to buy a condo near one of the new stations.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which is building the 23-mile extension, says the project is on pace to be “substantially completed” in November.
The four stations in Tysons Corner — connected by six miles of elevated tracks — are up and are being adorned with paint, lights and signs. Trains, elevators and escalators are being tested.
Bulova (D) said Wednesday that she doesn’t expect passengers to be able to ride until early next year. “I believe that our start date will be sometime between late February and mid-March and that’s entirely consistent with what was originally targeted,” she said.
When the system is ready for operations, it will be handed over to Metro. Bulova acknowledged that was not as soon as some had hoped but said safety needed to be a top priority and that she was pleased to see the project largely on budget.
“I think what everyone was expecting was that the project would be completed by November of this year and we would all be hoping that by the end of the year passengers would be riding it,” she said. “But we also need to be sure that we are testing for safety and I certainly want to be sure that we don’t have passengers riding it until we are sure it is going to be safe.”
Bulova and other board members approved the Tysons plan in 2010 and are now considering a series of amendments to it in order to incorporate transportation funding, a more urban street grid and some of the development projects that have been approved.
Developers have begun lining up high-rise apartment towers to build near the four Tysons stations and homebuilder Greystar is already building a 25-story, 400-unit apartment tower at the Spring Hill station (formerly known as Tysons West).
She is such a big believer in Tysons that she said she would like to buy a condo there. Since most of the projects on the books call for rental apartments, however, it might be at least a few years. She and her husband currently live in the Cloisters of Fairfax. “I seriously am hoping that someone will be building some condos. I’m waiting for that,” she said.
The success of the walkable, urban neighborhoods in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, along Metro’s Orange Line, has clearly had an effect on the planning for Tysons. Bulova recalled a Baby Boomer couple from her Braddock district who had decided to retire and relocate.
When she said she asked them where they were headed, the answer surprised her.
“I thought that they would say Florida, or maybe South Carolina, and they said Ballston. And I said ‘Ballston? Arlington?’ And they said, ‘Yeah we want to move somewhere where the action is and there will be clubs and restaurants and movie theaters.’ And it was sort of an ah-ha moment for me.”
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