Urban Land Institute Washington Case Study and Tour

April 22, 2022

Urban Land Institute (ULI) Washington Members visited Capital One Hall for ULI Washington’s first in-person Case Study since 2020, Reimagining Urban and Economic Development, featuring a Capital One Center panel discussion and tour. 

The event opened with remarks from Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay, who shared his enthusiasm and optimism with Capital One Center’s development adjacent to the McLean Metro Station – and community investment with 15% of Capital One Hall’s programming dedicated to local nonprofit arts organizations in partnership with ArtsFairfax.

Panelists included Barbara Byron, Fairfax County Planning and Development; Scott Cryer, HGA; Barry Mark, Capital One; Greg Riegle, McGuireWoods; Derek Warr, Gensler; and was moderated by Bob Elliott, Lantian Development and ULI Case Study Co-Chair.

Barry Mark opened the panel with a historic perspective of Capital One Center, noting that the Maplewood Mansion, a Second Empire estate, sat on this site in 1874. The Tysons market started to develop in the 1990’s, which is when Capital One purchased the land. Fast-forward to the early 2000’s, Capital One built baseball and soccer fields as interim use adjacent to Capital One’s suburban office park. With the Silver Line’s arrival in 2014 and bonus density allocations, Capital One’s original site plans were transformed to allow for the tallest occupied building in the DMV, Capital One’s new HQ Tower, standing at 470 feet. Over 3 million square feet has been delivered at Capital One Center, with another 3 million square feet in the pipeline.

Barbara Byron shared the broader land use strategy for re-planning Tysons, and the County’s incentives to concentrate 75% of new development within ½ mile of each of the four Tysons Metro Stations. The vision for this 40-year Comprehensive Plan is to grow Tysons Corner – a suburban office park with 100,000 employees and 17,000 residents – to Tysons – a vibrant, livable edge city with 200,000 employees and 100,000 residents. Since the Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 2010, there have been 43 major rezoning cases approved for Tysons, 212 new buildings entitled, 8.7M sq. ft. delivered, and 26.4 acres of new public parkland.

Greg Riegle, a Land Use Partner with McGuire Woods, explained how this development activity has transformed Tysons, which is now a top 15 employer in the nation and achieved a 39% population growth to approximately 30,000 residents. This has translated to $248.6 M in tax revenue and $141.8 M in net fiscal impact to Fairfax County. The three pillars which enabled this to happen: trust, flexibility and transformative density. Examples of creative land use ideas unforeseen at the time of approval include Capital One Center’s development of “Perch Putt” and baseball fields for interim use.

The Watermark Hotel is an-suite 300 key boutique hotel, owned by Capital One and managed by B.F. Saul Hospitality. Derek Warr, Studio Director and Design Manager with Gensler, gave an overview of the uniqueness of The Watermark Hotel, noting the large floor plans given this hotel is allocated to become a residential tower, as well as the evolution of the structural grid. 

The 11th floor lobby, connected to The Perch, offers sweeping views of Tysons and has a lively environment with restaurant and bar, Wren. The oversized 9th floor dining level can accommodate 180 guests. The amount of space dedicated to the breakfast dining area came directly from Capital One’s needs: when fully utilized with Capital One associates during the workweek, an oversized dining area is required to accommodate the number of guests with the same schedule and commute.

Scott Cryer, Principal with HGA, shared about the unique elements of the performing arts and corporate events center, Capital One Hall. Specifically, the “box within a box” design necessary due to the emphasis placed on sound quality in a performing arts environment matched with the location adjacent to a large grocer’s loading dock and steps from a Metro Station. Scott also underscored the special attention placed on the white marble on the exterior and interior, a Marmo Bianca Carrara Cattani, known as "Cava Tacca."

Another important architectural component of the Hall is the truss inside the Grand Foyer and Stair, which is ~150 feet long, weighs 80 tons and was limited to 10 feet in depth.

Scott detailed venues inside Capital One Hall: the Main Theater, which can accommodate 1,600; and The Vault, a flexible black box which can accomodate 225 with an attached reception lounge; as well as the Atrium, which can accommodate over 1,000 standing and 400 seated. The flexibility of use has allowed Capital One Hall to host a variety of performances, from Broadway to comedy shows, concerts, the circus, weddings. corporate galas, and more.  The attention to detail to ensure the highest quality of acoustics inside the Main Theater was even noted by Josh Groban during his opening weekend performance when he spontaneously decided to perform an acapella.

Another unique factor for Capital One Hall is the agreement with Fairfax County to designate 15% of the venue's usage for local nonprofit arts organizations with Capital One’s proffer.

Shifting to The Perch, the 2.5 acre skypark, which serves as the roof of Capital One Hall and is connected to The Watermark Hotel. The Perch is anchored by Starr Hill Biergarten and includes an amphitheater stage, sky bark dog park, games plaza, sculpture garden, Great Lawn, and (arriving in May 2022) food trucks and an 18-hole miniature golf course: Perch Putt. Half of The Perch is a designated Fairfax County public park.

Barry closed the panel outlining current and future retail leases at Capital One Center. Recent announcements include Sisters Thai, Long Shot Hospitality, Stellina Pizzeria, and a new restaurant from Chef Pepe Moncayo – which will join the existing retail of Wegmans, Starr Hill Biergarten and Nothing in Between nail salon and spa. This fall Capital One’s next mixed-use tower with approximately 900,000 sq. ft. will open doors with ground floor and second floor retail. In total, retail will encompass 250,000 sq. ft at Capital One Center. Future green space includes another baseball field and pickleball courts.

After Q&A Victor Hoskins, President and CEO of Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, delivered closing remarks. Victor underscored how this project accelerates the future of Tysons as this area develops a sense of place and attracts more companies, residents and visitors. The Tysons that we know today – an economic hub and retail destination – has transformed from a rural farm town.  A tour of Capital One Hall, The Perch and TheWatermark Hotel followed.

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About Capital One Center

Capital One Center, the public-facing portion of Capital One’s global headquarters in Tysons, Virginia, redefines mixed-use development by providing an arts-focused enriching indoor/outdoor experience. When fully built-out, this 6 million sq. foot entertainment destination will be home to a vibrant array of public art, performances, and retail, including a world-class performing arts center, Capital One Hall, a 2.5 acre skypark, The Perch, and 300-key boutique hotel, The Watermark. Capital One Center is thoughtfully designed to create a walkable campus where small steps lead to big experiences.