Developers of the Tysons Corner Center shopping mall and the proposed Tysons II mall and office complex are locked in a dispute that could block the construction of a bridge over Dolley Madison Boulevard linking the two properties.
The bridge was to have been jointly financed by the two developers, but Tysons II officials are balking at the arrangement.
Citing the shopping center's plans for a $100 million expansion, they contend that the bridge would be obsolete by the time it opened unless other major traffic improvements are made.
"It's time for them Tysons Corner Center officials to quit talking and start doing," said E. Wayne Angle, a vice president for the Homart Development Co., codeveloper of the Tysons II project.
Angle said it "just would not make sense" to build the bridge, expected to cost about $4 million, unless Tysons Corner Center officials doubled the size of a road that loops around the existing mall. He said the new traffic generated by the center will make the bridge virtually impassable at certain points unless the mall road, which would feed into the bridge, is widened from two lanes to four.
"We depend on our traffic engineers -- not on one of our competitors," said Geoffrey M. Donoghue, vice president of development for the center's owner, Lehndorff Tysons Joint Venture. The company's engineers, he said, believe the additional two lanes are unnecessary.
The dispute over the proposed bridge marks the first time the two developers have disagreed publicly, supporting what many have predicted will be an intense rivalry.
The Tysons Corner Center, one of the Washington area's premier shopping malls, has had little competition in Northern Virginia since it opened in 1968. That competition will come within the next two years, when the Tysons II developers open their three-story, galleria-style shopping mall directly across Dolley Madison Boulevard (Rte. 123) from the Tysons Corner Center.
In part to counteract that, center officials recently announced a major expansion that will add about 60 stores to their 140-store mall. Their redevelopment proposal to Fairfax County planners included an agreement to help pay for the bridge.
Tysons II officials agreed to share in that cost, but Angle said that agreement came before the center unveiled its expansion plan.
Angle added that the bridge is intended to serve not only as a connector between the two properties but as a link between Rtes. 123 and 7 in the Tycon Towers area. Tycon Towers, an office complex, is under construction at Rte. 7 and the Capital Beltway.
But Lehndorff officials contend that was not the bridge's original purpose. They said it was intended to serve only the traffic between Tysons I and II.
"They're trying to change the whole concept," Donoghue said. He added that using the bridge as a major throughway will further complicate the traffic problems at Tysons Corner.
Fairfax County Transportation Director Shiva K. Pant said the county viewed the proposed bridge as "a very important" tool in the ongoing attempts to alleviate congestion at Tysons. He said county officials would try to persuade the developers to resolve their differences.