At Tysons, Big Just Got Bigger

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 29, 2005

They didn't have it all at Tysons Corner Center, it turns out.

The dominant shopping mall in the Washington area will open its 362,000-square-foot expansion Friday featuring 20 new retail stores, a 10-unit food court, five restaurants and a 16-screen AMC cinema.

Does Fairfax County really need another T.G.I. Friday's, Old Navy, and Barnes & Noble?

Yessiree, according to executives of the Macerich Co., which owns the shopping mall.

The expansion of the upscale shopping center starts at the site of the old JCPenney, which closed in 2003, and extends to a newly constructed section that connects to a 1,675-space parking facility. The new wing features a large skylight as well as wood and stone accents to give it a hip, urban feel.

There's even an Urban Outfitters -- but it lacks the retail store's trademark shattered-glass front window. Perhaps that's just a little too urban for an area some consider Fairfax County's downtown.

Owners of the mall said they recognized their "powerhouse" shopping center lacked entertainment options, as well as stores appealing to teens and furniture-seeking adults.

"Really, the idea is not only to attract additional customers but to have our current customers stay longer," said Eric A. Kulczycky, the mall's marketing manager.

Cable Gets More Competitive

Fairfax County seems to be at the epicenter of a brewing storm in the cable television industry.

Until recently, cable television franchises were monopolies because of the high cost of investment in the copper-wire infrastructure. Now, with fiber-optic lines, traditional phone providers and cable operators have started to engage in hand-to-hand combat for customers in the triple play of telephone, high-speed Internet and television.

It's also allowed smaller companies to vie for customers. RCN Corp., which has offices in Herndon and offers telephone, Internet and television through its fiber-optic network, announced last week that it had signed a deal to broadcast the WB network's high-definition signal.

Bigger news came on Monday evening, when the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors gave the green light to Verizon Communications Inc. to compete for cable customers. It's the telecom giant's biggest win to date and will likely encourage Verizon to convince other jurisdictions to open up their cable markets.

The county's elected officials said they hoped competition would improve customer service and lower prices.

Korean Center Grows

The Korea Business Development Center, an incubator to attract Korea-based business to Fairfax, has doubled its size to 12 companies.

Most of the companies in the incubator focus on information technology, but there are some outside the field.

Kumsung USA specializes in dry-cleaning press machines, and 3S Chemical Co. develops products that are wood substitutes.

Have news about business in Fairfax County? Send an e-mail tosilvermane@washpost.comor call 703-383-5103.


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