Silver line reshaping commercial office market in Fairfax County
Speaking of the hullabaloo over streetcar service in DC ("Better transit can't wait," Washington Post), about four years ago I wrote a piece ("Short term vs. long term thinking: transit, the Washington Examiner, Fairfax/Loudoun Counties vs. DC") about the Silver Line Metrorail extension.
The point I made is that the Silver Line isn't so much about providing access to Dulles Airport but more a tool for reshaping the relevance of those areas of Fairfax and Loudoun Counties in terms of the 21st century landscape for residential and commercial selection in the face of increased demand for more urban locations, and a reduced reliance on the automobile for getting around.
... I ran into a colleague the other week at a presentation (she lives west of Vienna, long story, but she is a committed urbanist), and she commented that Fairfax County's office market appears to be crap, except for the area served by the Silver Line.
Reston Town Center by Payton Chung, on Flickr
We both agreed that the Reston area is likely to be the big winner -- over Tysons Corner, despite Tysons Corner having signature retail assets -- because while on a superblock scale, Reston, especially the town center area, already has a reasonable enough urban design.
By contrast, Tysons Corner requires massive reshaping of the spatial environment to be able to redevelop its environment toward placemaking and the kinds of quality of life supporting features that characterize Reston Town Center. Although there is a master plan in place to bring that kind of change to Tysons, and they are doing stuff to increase their verve ("Tysons Corner drops 'Corner' from name" and "Fairfax County, landowners debate Tysons tax district," WBJ).
This is being played out in leasing decisions. RTC area properties seem to be big winners right now, e.g., "Fannie Mae makes big deposit in Reston, inks full-building lease near planned Silver Line station," Washington Business Journal. From the article:
The lease is another sign of activity in the area in advance of the Silver Line's planned Reston Town Center station. Federal contractor Noblis Inc. signed a lease earlier this year with The JBG Cos. at its Summit I & II, which will also benefit from the Reston Town Center Metro station, as part of a planed relocation from Falls Church. With Reston Town Center at virtually full occupancy, many developers including JBG are positioning their buildings to benefit from their proximity to the mixed-use development.Although even in Reston, the single family housing market seems to be lagging the improvement in the office market, although the market for multiunit housing is more robust.