The Fairfax County Planning Commission has recommended approval plans to build a secnd million-square-foot shopping center at Tysons Corner that would make Tysons the largest shopping complex in the Washington area and among the largest in the world.
A rezoning request for the new mall, provisionally called Tysons II, comes up for a crucial vote Monday by the County Boaord of Supervisors, which decides on zoning applications. So far there is no substantial opposition to the project, planned by the Lerner Corp., which also runs the present Tysons mall as well as several other centers in the Washington area.
Although no stores have been selected, zoning attorney John T. Hazel Jr., who represents the owners of the 107-acre site, said "tenants are lined up clamoring for space. There will be a minimum of four department stores, and maybe five." The existing shopping mall at Tysons Corner has three major department stores.
Taken together, the two malls would have 2 million square feet of retail space. The biggest center in the world, accoding to the Guiness Book of World Records, is the Lakewood Center near Los Angeles, with 2.5 million square feet.
Although regional shopping centers usually are built miles apart to reach new markets and avoidoverlapping present ones, Tyson appears to be an exception.
According to an analysis by county planners, "over the next few years, the potential for regional retail facilities at Tysons Corner is expected to expand well beyond the capacity of the existing mall, and possibly even beyond the capacity of the tract of land proposed . . .in this zoning application."
Demographic statistics offer supporting evidence. According to county staff, Tysons Corner has a market potential of 53,200 nearby households whose average annual income is $31,000 - 20 per cent higher than the countrywide average. County figures also say Tysons has a potential market of 60,000 more distant households whose income is 10 per cent higher that the country average.
Tysons Corner, at the Capital Beltway and Rtes. 123 and 7, just west of McLean, is in middle of the most congested transportation corridor in Fairfax County. Each day 46,400 cars, according to county figures, pass through the corridor on Rts. 123, which separates the existing shopping center from the proposed site for the new mall.
Tysons II would be expected to attract another 30,000 cars. County planners point out that existing zoning which would permit construction of high rise apartments and an industrial park on the land, would attract 27,350 cars daily, with a greater concentration at morning and evening rush hours.
The owners of the Tysons II site, who include Lerner Corp. head Theodore N. Lerner, have pledged $1 million toward road improvements, but construction of all of them would depend on additional funds from the Virginia Department of Highways and Transportation.
Plans to ease congestion in the corridor call for construction of new traffic lanes paralleling the Dulles Airport Access Road from Rte. 7 to Rte. 123 to enable commuters to bypass Tysons Corner and freeway-style exit and entrance ramps between Rte. 123 and the road to the site of Tysons II.
Another project, improvement of the interchange between Rtes. 7 and 123, has been funded by the state highway department, but work has not yet been scheduled. Widening of nearby Gallows Road, which could be a main artery to Tysons from the Vienna-Merrifield area, also has been been funded, but work has not yet been started.
There are no plans to bring Metro-rail to Tysons, an idea once supported by former Supervisor Rufus Phillips, whose district covered Tysons. Some transportation planners say Metro could ease congestion because Tysons attracts shoppers from too broad an area as far away as suburban Maryland and Londoun, Prince William and Fauquier countries.
Many Metro bus routes connect at Tysons, but the vast majority of shoppers rely on automobiles.
While no major outright opposition to Tysons II has developed, the McLean Citizens Association has decided to withold its approval until certain conditions are agreed to by the Lerner group.
Association president Lilla Richards says the landowners' plan makes no provision for pedestrian access from Tysons I and the nearby Westgate research park. She said the association also wants the owners' transportation plan to conform more closely to one prepared by a Tysons Corners task force, and environmental protections to be built into development.
Mrs. Richards said the association will withhold its approval from rezoning for Tysons II until all those conditions are met.
While the planning commission's 7-to-2 approval, proposed by member Edward Lightfoot, who represents the area, did not include any of those conditions, any or all of them could be added by the supervisors when they take up the application Monday.
According to zoning attorney Hazel, Tysons I is expected to gross $175 million to $200 million during 1977. Besides a real estate tax windfall, the county gets 1 per cent of the 4-cent state sales tax imposed on all purchases. According to county figures, Fairfax gets almost $5.50 in revenues for each $1 it spends on services at Tysons.