News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hubris, Thy Name is Tysons

tysons cityscape.jpgSo how are things going in "Fairfax County's downtown," the amalgamation of shopping malls, car dealerships and boxy office buildings that will be transformed into a vibrant urban streetscape in which tourists and locals alike will stroll, froyo in hand, as they are serenaded by strolling musicians and panhandlers job creators trying to sell wilting single roses under the moonlight blocked by the giant concrete monorail pilings of the above-ground Metro, which has already won rave reviews for its aesthetic appeal? Let's ask Gerald L. Gordon, president of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, shall we?

“Fairfax County is now the downtown. D.C. just became our suburb.”
Good to see they're maintaining a sense of perspective.
The argument goes like this: Fairfax County has far more Fortune 500 companies (nine vs. four), enjoys a much lower unemployment rate (4 percent vs. 8.7 percent), is bookended by two airports and, with Metro arriving, is slated to add dozens of buildings taller than anything in the District. And, the Virginia community is a battleground in the presidential election.

When the Tysons projects that have been submitted for approval are complete, Tysons alone will have 50 million square feet of office space, 35 million square feet of residences and 5.5 million square feet of hotels. By those measures, it will become a major U.S. city.

Some District leaders consider Tysons a threat. The Downtown D.C. Business Improvement District, a group funded by commercial property owners, ranked the arrival of Metro to Tysons as one of its top concerns in its 2011 annual report. Office space in Tysons is available at a huge discount — about $25 a square foot less — compared with the average downtown.
Of course, there's a reason why office space in Tysons is cheaper. Downtown, you can have a fancy "power lunch" in which you can describe the comparative merits of your system to strap bombs to dolphins with lobbyists and lawmakers somewhere fancy, like the Palm or maybe one of the dozens of Potbelly Sandwich Works popping up along M Street without anyone having to get into a car. Tysons recently took a hit in that regard, and its upcoming signature destination leaves a little to be desired in terms of elite cachet. (Although Tysons does have retail options you'd more likely expect to see in a seedy downtown, not next to a cloverleaf intersection.)

Needless to say, D.C. officials aren't losing a lot of sleep over this.
Pedro Ribeiro, spokesman for D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, scoffed at talk of a rivalry. “We don’t consider Fairfax County to be our competition,” he said. “New York City is our competitor. San Francisco is our competitor. They’re not even in the same league.”

Ribeiro was not even aware that four Silver Line stations were coming to Tysons; he thought there would only be one. (The District has 40.)
AWWWWW HELL NO! Guess he'll be eating his words when he gets off at the Springhill/Greensboro East/Tysons West stop, or whatever it's going to be called, to cash in his Groupon at the Sunglass Hut.
“I think somebody really needs to go look up in a dictionary what the definitions of suburban and urban are,” Ribeiro said. “And then maybe we can have a discussion.”
And as we all know, Reston's own fake downtown Gritty Urban Core has got that definition all wrapped up. All Tysons has in terms of grit and bad-assness is a bunch of suicidal deer. Case closed!


  1. Hmmmm....

    Maybe we could get the White House and US Capitol moved to Reston in the station area, say, one at town center, the other at Wiehle.

    Then we'd see who's baaaaaad!

  2. The only thing "baaaaaad" about Tyson's is going to be the traffic. Thank goodness that it will only cost $17 to skirt most of it on the DTR.

  3. Tysons is much maligned. There are many good things about Tysons. For example, Tysons has a Ranger Surplus store; DC does not. Ranger Surplus is the last remaining Army-Navy store chain in the area, with recession proof prices everyday. If you're a high income hillbilly redneck that due to the sudden collapse of the U.S. government has an urgent need for a can of pepper spray, a nightstick, a big ass knive and a pea coat, then the Ranger Surplus store in Tysons could be the difference between you being gobbled up by the chaos of a violent sea mob of angry liberals fleeing D.C. toward the rich suburbs armed with Starbucks Gold cards and Section 8 housing vouchers, or standing your ground on common areas ownered by your cluster's HOA. Tysons is sorta like the modern day version of Petersburg, Virginia from the Civil War. During the Battle of the Crater, Union troops secretly dug a tunnel and exploded a mine underneath Confederate troops that resulted in a massive crater into which Union troops marched, only to be shot to pieces by the surviving Confederates. Flash forward to the modern era and we saw witnessed a gang of Union (Commumnist) Army federal transportation thugs at one point suggest building a similar tunnel under Tysons as part of the Silver Line. The plan/plot was to plant a mine under the Tysons Galleria, explode it and redevelope the resultant crater as a 338,000 unit workforce housing complex named in honor of Cathy Hudgins. Fortunately, a founding patriot member of the Tysons Teabagger Coalition Against Presidents With A Kenyan Heritage overheard the planning of the detonation of the mine through a Vietnam-era Army radio he purchased at Ranger Surplus. Just imagine, without Ranger Surplus there might not be a Michael Kors store at Tysons.

  4. A Rose By Any Other NameNovember 1, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    How does Tysons ever become truly pedestrian-oriented? Hint: It can't! That is the Big Lie that county planners, the politicos, the developers and their financiers have succeeded in spreading far and wide. A massive scheme to defraud the taxpayer for the benefit of a handful of property owners and builders? Yeppers, that's the ticket!


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