Tysons, VA – On June 1, nearly 100 Tysons landowners, policy makers, community leaders, employers and developers gathered for a two-and-a-half-hour interactive workshop in the first of what will be ongoing discussions about how to create more workforce and affordable housing in Tysons. The group was joined by Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay who provided closing remarks, Hunter Mill Supervisor Walter Alcorn and Dranesville Supervisor John Foust who stayed after opening remarks to participate in the workshop.
Chairman McKay said, “there has never been a board more committed to growing affordable housing than this current board is, and the numbers prove that. In addition, there has never been a more committed group of regional elected officials interested in this topic which we all know does take a regional, not just a jurisdictional, push and Fairfax County is proudly leading the way.”
McKay went on to offer a correlation between a recent graduation he attended and noting the amount of investment the County was making in their student body and wanting them to be able to afford to stay in the County to live and work. He said, “[it] is a smart investment and an economic investment for the County.”
The well-planned exercise focused on identifying existing and emerging types of affordable housing and how future developments might be financed. Participants included both the private and public sector and were tasked with working with tools currently at Tysons’ disposal as well as “thinking outside the box” in an effort to meet oft financing challenges.
The participants were seated at tables in groups each equipped with automated spreadsheets that provided real-time numbers along with a facilitator and an agitator both of whom served to guide planning and policy discussions while encouraging the group to work collaboratively. The groups were given a challenge with a pre-determined budget. Half-way through the exercise curve balls were thrown, further decreasing budgets while increasing challenges to meet the set affordable housing goals. Not all the teams were successful, and some projects were scrapped.
Tysons Partnership Board Chairman, Josh White, opened the workshop reminding attendees of the growth Tysons has and is experiencing, saying, “Tysons is a thriving employment center with over 107,000 workers, including over 10,000 in the retail and hospitality sectors. Tysons leads the DC metro region in workforce growth and is projected to reach 200,000 jobs by 2050. The demand for housing is clear.”
White continued by listing housing, particularly affordable housing, as a top priority for Tysons Partnership, noting a 34 percent increase in new housing in Tysons since 2010. He pointed to the recently announced deal between Amazon, Fairfax County Government, and the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing to develop 516 units of affordable housing units in Tysons as a significant milestone and potential model for others.
“It’s incumbent on us, leaders from the private and private stakeholder communities, to continue this collaborative effort and drive innovative solutions that provide affordable housing options for all who want to live in Tysons,” said White. “The future of Tysons depends on it.”
The Partnership’s Affordable Housing Workshop will continue to meet quarterly with the first meeting to be held virtually in early July.
About Tysons Partnership
Tysons Partnership is a dynamic collaborative of Tysons stakeholders working together to accelerate the transformation of Tysons into a vibrant urban destination. We are a convener, a voice and a catalyst for the people who live here, work here, and do business here. We represent the uniqueness of Tysons and we provide a context in which new ideas and community thrive. For more information, visit our website www.tysonspartnership.org, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.