The Changing Face of the Dulles Corridor

The Changing Face of the Dulles Corridor

Any doubts that the Silver Line has begotten many changes?

Just take a ride on those trains now running through Tysons, Reston, Herndon, Dulles Airport and eastern Loudoun County. Gone are the dreadful service roads that used to line Route 7 and the mid-century low rise office parks, with acre after acre of paved parking lots.

Now these areas, including Tysons Corner, have lost the “corner”, and are referred to as the “City of Tysons”.

Reston has two commercial nodes—both at Silver Line stations. Big plans are unfolding near the Herndon Metrorail Station. Innovation Center Metrorail Station anchors the toll road Route 28 corridor and the Loudoun/Fairfax border. Washington Dulles International Airport is expanding, and Ashburn Metrorail Station area is home to the world’s largest concentration of data centers.

The changes have come based on decades of planning by local governments maximizing the potential of the Silver Line to become sought-after commercial centers and multipurpose areas where people can work, live, play and be connected by trains to Arlington, DC and Largo, Maryland.

The result is extraordinary for the users, the viewers and the regional economy. Recent data from Bisnow shows the Phase 1 Silver Line boosted office rates in Tysons, but data on impacts of Phase 2 are hard to find given the fallout from the pandemic and the delayed return-to-work. But there is plenty of enthusiasm for a positive future for the Silver Line corridor.

“You can see the economic development all around us,” said Jack Potter, Airports Authority CEO.

“Its a catalyst for new jobs and a foundation for future growth”, says veteran land use attorney Tony Calabrese, whose clientele have spanned the corridor. He is bullish about returning ridership post pandemic. 

“The Silver Line runs through the county’s most vibrant regions and is a testament to federal, state and local leaderships. The capital markets, public and private equity, the office, residential, industrial, hospitality, mixed use and data center industries have demonstrated support for an ongoing Silver Line commitment,” he added.

“The coming expansion of United Airlines facilities at Dulles International and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s decades-long determination to build the Silver Line will continue the push for communities that not only share sound economies, some of the nation’s top employers and educational facilities but also save commuting time for family fun and relaxation.”

Just check out the hotels, parks, Capital One Hall, and baseball, Pickleball at the Boro, historic spaces, restaurants, Tyson  Galleria, Loudoun’s wineries, Leesburg’s outlets and antiques, Reston Town Center, Wolf Trap, Arrowbrook Trail and park in Herndon, pocket parks and the list goes on.

“Bringing the Silver Line to Tysons has been a game changer for the broader community, acting as a catalyst for smart and vibrant growth,” said Capital One Center managing director Jonathan Griffith.

It is easy walking distance to the McLean Metrorail Station and the expanded Mitre Corporation is nearby. Block after block of high rise condos and apartments continue replacing older units along the edge of Pimmitt Hills, and the new beltway crossover that eases traffic.

Some property owners are converting commercial sites to residential. That’s what is happening to the former Sheraton Hotel which not so long ago was Tysons’ tallest building. Several car dealers on Route 7 will be demolished for workforce housing. At the same time, a long-awaited complex is rising adjacent to the Spring Hill Metrorail Station. Lerner Enterprises is building in the heart of Tysons, next to the Galleria. 

Meanwhile, there is talk of a possible deal involving the dealership near Wendy’s on Route 7 at Route 123 that could span major changes for that area near the Greensboro Metrorail Station. In addition, recent reports from Bisnow Washington reported that the Silver Line Phase1 has boosted office rents in Tysons.

Head west to Wiehle Reston East Station (which was the end of Phase 1) where you will see Comstock’s Reston Station development including Google offices, condominiums, CVS and a new luxury JW Marriott and Hotel Residence is coming soon at Reston Station. The Wiehle Reston East station area continues to attract tenants, but passengers have dropped because they can now board at the Ashburn Metrorail Station where Comstock also owns the Ashburn Station private development. The Old Ebbitt Grill, a modern version of DC’s old treasure, is also coming there.

“The D.C. metro area is one of the top [metropolitan statistical areas] in the country, so you don’t really have to tell other developers. They’ve got it”, says Tim Steffen, CEO of Comstock Holdings. “There is a great deal of education. There is a great deal of income and thought that flows through the market.”

Moving into Phase 2 of the Silver Line:

Earlier this month, regional real estate executives gathered at Comstock’s Reston headquarters to focus on what’s happening in the Reston/Herndon markets. The event was sponsored by Bisnow who promoted the event as a focus on the fast growing Herndon-Reston real estate market.

Lerner Enterprises’ is building a mixed use development almost at the door of the Herndon Metrorail Station. The town of Herndon has detailed plans for that station. Near the Innovation Center Metrorail Station, development continues on the south side of the toll road and on the north of Center for Innovative Technology, but all eyes are on the future of Rivana, a 103-acre transit oriented development straddling the Loudoun-Fairfax line with about 1.8 million square feet of office, 2,000 multi-family housing units, retail, and banquet space proposed by Novais Partners and others.

“Looking for high-quality office space in a post-Covid environment, just one stop from Dulles International Airport, Rivana sets a new bar for mixed use developments and creates a new level of what is Loudoun Possible,” says Buddy Rizer, the Executive Director of Loudoun Economic Development. A decision by Loudoun supervisors was pending at the time.

The International Airport at Dulles is home to the Dulles Airport Metrorail Station and has made changes to better serve its users. And a major expansion will soon begin.

The land near Loudoun Gateway Metrorail Station is restricted by airport height and noise regulations.

Ashburn Metrorail Station, at the end of the line, has already thriving office, retail and entertainment spaces in Comstock’s Ashburn Station developments and is also near Brambleton and Moorefield communities. 

Pictured at top: 
Photo credit: Mary Jeanne Cincotta

Share this Post!

Related post