The firm of prominent Fairfax County developer John T. (Til) Hazel Jr. proposed a development near the Vienna Metrorail station yesterday that would include five high-rise apartment buildings and an 18-story office tower.
The new plan is dramatically different from the predominantly commercial office and hotel complex that originally was proposed by the firm, Hazel-Peterson Cos., and was rejected by county officials last month.
The new proposal appears to comply with current zoning requirements for the region and is expected to be approved by county officials. However, it is likely to draw criticism from residents and some county officials who oppose major residential developments in the area.
Hazel's plan and other projects already under way near the newly opened Vienna station represent a drastic departure from the single-family houses and town houses that now dominate the area.
The Hazel firm's proposal, dubbed Virginia Center, would comprise 1,250 apartments or condominium units and 3,205 parking spaces.
A Hazel-Peterson spokesman said the project, which requires only the approval of the Planning Commission, could be under construction by the fall of 1987.
Some county officials said that after Hazel's large, mixed-use proposal for the site was rejected last month, they had expected him to submit a predominantly residential plan even though county planners warned that it would not be the best use of the land.
"I guess the tragedy of it is we're not going to get the high quality and coordinated kind of development that we need for this Metro development," said Gary O.A. Molyneaux, the county's Metro project director. "It's going to be developed piecemeal as opposed to a very fine level of development."
Some of those officials said they would prefer that the county's master plan for development allow more commercial projects in the area rather than residential developments, which would require increased county services.
Planners also said that large apartment complexes near the station would discourage "reverse ridership," in which commuters would travel to Vienna in the morning to work in offices rather than traveling away from the station.
The project is likely to bring vigorous protests from residents of the nearby Town of Vienna, a quiet community of 15,000 people whose tallest building is six stories.
"I don't think Vienna's going to like it too much," said Rosemarie P. Annunziata, the Planning Commission member who represents the area near the station. "Vienna didn't seem to want a lot of high-rise residential development."
The development would cover 50 acres just north of the Vienna Metrorail station, which is in the median strip of I-66.
It would include four apartment buildings of 14 stories and one of 18 stories, all on the north end of the property, the section farthest from the station and the highway.
The 18-story office tower, as well as a small shopping area, would be on the south side of the property near the highway.
A six-story parking garage and two large parking lots would be built in the center of the project, and a number of other three-story parking garages would be connected to the apartment buildings throughout the project.
When his previous proposal for the site was under consideration, Hazel said he believed that antigrowth politics were influencing members of the Planning Commission and the County Board of Supervisors, which ultimately rejected the plan.
Hazel's previous proposal, also called Virginia Center, featured 2.7 million square feet of office space -- two-thirds as much as the Pentagon.
That proposal included two 20-story office towers and a hotel, and was vigorously opposed by politicians and civic leaders.