A development company has asked Fairfax County to approve commercial development of the 2.7-acre site at Leesburg Pike and International Drive now occupied by Providence Baptist Church.
Although final plans for the project are not complete, the developer -- Linpro Co., a Philadelphia-based firm with offices in Reston and Germantown -- says it plans to erect "a signature building" that will be a gateway to the Tysons Corner shopping area.
Providence Baptist Church also has asked the county's board of zoning appeals to allow construction of a new church and supporting facilities on almost seven acres at the intersection of Lewinsville Road, Leesburg Pike and Brook Road. That site is in a residential neighborhood. Churches are permitted in residential areas in Fairfax, but must be approved by the zoning appeals board.
Development of the church site for office use is tied to Linpro helping the church relocate. Securing a special permit from the BZA to build the church is the key to the Linpro building timetable.
The county planning commission and board of supervisors will review Linpro's rezoning request. International Drive is a private, rather than a public, road at the intersection with Leesburg Pike.
"We have not finalized the density," said Linpro's operating partner, R. William Hard. "We are in the preliminary stages."
Height is not mentioned in the application for planned development commercial (PDC) zoning. One reason for that may be that Fairfax has deferred action on a controversial height study of existing and potential development in the Tysons Corner area for several months.
The church property is immediately adjacent to the existing Tysons Corner Shopping Center near Bloomingdale's, one of that center's major anchor tenants. "We are planning a high-image office building," Hard said. Local commercial real estate brokers said the site is a prime location for a focal point for existing development because of its proximity to Tysons Corner Shopping Center, the planned 107-acre Tysons II development and its frontage on Route 7.
The proposed height study says the present church site is in the "so-called Tysons triangle bounded by Route 123 on the north, International Drive on the west, Route 7 on the south and I-495 on the east."
The church site is zoned R-1, residential one house per acre. The Marriott Hotel at Tysons is the tallest building in the triangle, but Tycon Developers is building the first of three 17-story office buildings between the Marriott and I-495. The height study, which is yet to be adopted as a land-use plan for Tysons, does not recommend what should or could be built on the church site.
However, the study says sites at other major intersections in the area "should be emphasized to create visual focus."
"Linpro is in the preliminary stages of design. We plan to go to the county in June or July with final development plans," Hard said. The filing of the preliminary application fulfils the obligations of the contract between Linpro and the church, Hard said.
He also said that whatever is built is likely to incorporate structured and underground parking because of the size of the site.
According to the rezoning application filed by attorney Grayson Hanes on behalf of Linpro, the development will include "numerous urban design features which exceed those normally available with comparable office proposals.
These features encompass both architectural and landscape designs which are integrated with the site's physical attributes to create a prominent entryway for this sector of Tysons and also become a signature building."
According to the application, final plans will include special provisions for pedestrian and vehicular movement on site and off site.
The final design is being developed by the WZMH Group Inc., a Dallas/Toronto architectural firm.
The contract between the church and the developer permits the church to continue to hold services in its present building until new facilities are completed. The Providence Church congregation numbers more than 600. A private school operating on part of the church site will be open through the end of the 1985-86 school year, according to church officials.
Linpro and Providence officials reached an agreement on the sale of the property last November, ending years of speculation as to who would buy and develop the site.
Linpro has been active in the Washington area. It bought 25 acres in Fairfax City near I-66 and Route 123 in December. Linpro also owns Linpro Park II, an office park in Reston. Linpro is building more than 450,000 square feet of commercial space at Commonwealth Corporate Center at Fairfax City. In addition, Linpro is developing a 24-acre Enterprise Business Park on Route 50, south of Route 28 in western Fairfax. Linpro owns a 137,00-square-foot office development adjacent to Lake Forest Mall in Montgomery County. That site is leased to International Business Machines Corp.