Tysons II, perhaps the most valuable piece of undeveloped real estate in Fairfax County, will be put on the auction block next week.
Competing for the prized parcel of 117 acres at Tysons Corner will be two ambitious and aggressive developers who hate to come in second place -- Boston-based Mortimer B. Zuckerman, who has built millions of square feet of offices in Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and Theodore N. Lerner, who has helped develop millions of square feet of feet of shopping centers in metropolitan Washington.
Both developers have turned their projects into moneymakers, with Zuckerman having the added distinction of being credited with putting quality architecture and planning into his work. No one has accused Lerner of being an esthete.
The auction was decreed by Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Richard J. Jamborsky to break an impasse in the two developers' competition for the purchase of the land. The auction is to take place in Jamborsky's courtroom next Tuesday.
The bidding will begin with Lerner's latest offer -- $25.6 million -- which is $600,000 more than the price Zuckerman offered when he tried to buy the parcel last year from the majority members of a partnership in which Lerner holds a minority interest. Lerner objected to that sale because he wanted to buy the land himself.
Although Lerner's current offer is higher than Zuckerman's, Lerner does not in his offer include a limitation accepted by Zuckerman -- that Tysons II could not be developed with a major shopping center.
The majority partners in Tysons II -- Baltimore developer Homer Gudelsky and Washington attorney H. Max Ammerman -- insisted on the shopping-center ban to protect their hugely profitable Tysons Corner Shopping Center across Rte. 123, in which Lerner also holds a minority interest.