Carlos Zelaya, 23, has bartended at Brio Tuscan Grill in the Tysons Corner Center mall for three years. Until recently, driving there from his apartment — he lived in Alexandria, then in Falls Church — meant dealing with the frustrating unpredictability of Northern Virginia traffic.
Then he found Vita (7902 Tysons One Place, Tysons; 571-421-6753) — a new luxury apartment building adjacent to the Tysons Corner Metro station that opened in May. Zelaya moved into a two-bedroom, two-bath unit the same month and now walks 10 minutes to his job.
“Not dealing with traffic has been a great pleasure for me. I’m not running late for work, and if I need to run any errands, everything is so close by,” Zelaya says.
It’s been a year since the Silver Line opened, but already its presence has been transformative. Many new apartments, grocery stores, shops and bike lanes are yet to come, but you can already feel a shift in the atmosphere in Tysons — from car-heavy business district to walkable neighborhood.
And the Silver Line — which gets about 32,000 riders a day at all five of the year-old stations combined — gives those who live nearby easier access to Tysons, McLean and the District.
“From our perspective, it’s really exciting because it’s like the whole ‘Field of Dreams’ thing: You build it, and they will come,” says Barbara Byron, Fairfax County’s director of the Office of Community Revitalization. “Well, you plan it, and you hope that they come, and, in fact, they have been coming.”
In addition to living next to two shopping malls and attending concerts at the new Tysons Town Center adjacent to his building (and the Metro), Zelaya can take a train one stop to the Greensboro station to shop at Wal-Mart, or ride with his buddies to Nationals Park for baseball games.
“I’m feeling like a spoiled little kid here now,” he says.
Zelaya and his wife, Daniela Arroyo, are pioneers in the new Tysons residential front. Unlike the developers of Vita, most builders waited for the Silver Line to open before breaking ground, says Patrick Sprouse, director of sales for rental-locator company Urban Igloo (877-445-6632).
He’s not seeing a mass exodus from the city out to the Silver Line ’burbs yet, but he believes that might change: “There’s some really neat things happening in Reston and Tysons that are going to shift the way people look at those regions.”
That includes more farmers markets, like one held in Tysons on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the grounds of the National Auto Dealers Association (8400 Westpark Drive, McLean), and one Wednesdays at Reston Station (1900 Reston Station Blvd., Reston), home to the Wiehle-Reston East Station and future luxury apartment building BLVD Reston Station.
And along with wine tastings, festivals, art exhibits and even a pop-up theater in town, the Friday night music scene in Tysons is hopping. Gavin DeGraw has performed at the Tysons Corner Center, and Andy Grammer will be there July 31.
Conversely, some long-time Northern Virginians are feeling a bit more “Washingtonian” since the Silver Line opened.
Lisa Gullickson, 31, says that she and her husband, Brad, 36, train into the District a few times a week.
“We live in a really cool place,” she says. “We’re near stuff. And now because of the Metro, we’re near more stuff.”
They have lived in the St. Johns Wood apartments (11555 Olde Tiverton Circle, Reston; 888-873-0442) since 2009, and to them, Washington is but a mere five-minute drive away — a drive to the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, that is.
“It doesn’t feel that far. Drive five minutes, park, and then you’re already on the train and almost there,” she says.
New and upcoming rentals on the Silver Line
The Commons of McLean (1653 Anderson Road; 703-337-020)
One-bedrooms from $1,366 a month
Tysons Corner Station
Vita (7902 Tysons One Place; 571-421-6753)
One-bedrooms from $1,985 a month
Avalon Park Crest (equidistant to Tysons Corner Station) (8250 Westpark Drive, Tysons; 866-288-0955)
One-bedrooms from $1,695 a month
Spring Hill Station
The Ascent (8421 Broad St., McLean; 855-466-5910) One-bedrooms from $2,220 a month
Tysons West (1441 Cornerside Blvd., Tysons) Anticipated move-ins 2018; rental rates to be determined
Wiehle-Reston East Station
BLVD Reston Station (1908 Reston Station Blvd., Reston; 703-230-1247) Opening February 2016; rental rates to be determined.
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This article has been updated to reflect that Gavin DeGraw recently played at Tysons Corner Center.