Developers are convinced they can make it work.
On a recent day, while workers in hard hats and neon safety vests scrambled to and fro, installing walkways, running excavators and making other adjustments to the station, Waghornwalked the property. In his hands he carried full color renderings of the company’s vision for the parcel.
People are creatures of habit, Waghorn said, and once they get used to buying coffee or dropping off their dry cleaning at a certain place, that behavior becomes part of their routine. If the pop-up concept works it will give permanent tenants that much more of a head start, he said.
NVRetail’s pop-up plan must still be approved by Fairfax officials, who have never considered development of this sort. Bulova is among those eager to clear the way.
There is potential for pop-up development at other stations as well. In the spring, a group of graduate students at George Mason University earned school credit coming up with a plan to enliven Silver Line stations in the short term.
Their report proposed bike-share kiosks and car rental services such as ZipCar. Since the rail system operates on an elevated track, students brainstormed ways to improve the site lines so that passengers would have something more scenic than a roof to look at. At one station, the group proposed constructing a rooftop garden above Lord & Taylor or a nearby office building. If developers wanted be more adventurous, the students recommended installations such as “Pie-in-the-Sky,” a wood burning pizza cafe, or a children’s museum.
“We got really excited as we researched the possibilities,” said Ranee Elter, one of the graduate students who developed the report. “We can help make it something more enjoyable so that [people] don’t dread having to make this commute.”
Ultimately it will be up to property owners to decide what they will do with their land. Waghorn said NVRetail’s plans for Tysons will likely feature more cappuccino and croissants than the District’s beer and peanuts.
Other boosters painted an even more optimistic portrait of the future Tysons Corner.
“The Silver Line is going to be beautiful ride into Tysons,’’ Bulova said. “Because it’s above ground people are going to have a view to die for. It will be a beautiful trip and when they stop at the stations — Greensboro for one, they’re going to feel like they’re in Paris.”