Auto dealers, who successfully relocated from Washington D.C. to the outskirts three decades ago, may be forced to move again — to make way for a new transit line and suburban redevelopment in a growing community.
An elevated Metro line is planned along Leesburg Pike within in five years, potentially affecting many of the 12 dealership complexes clustered within 80 acres of Tysons Corner, VA.
“We'd like to protect the flag here as long as we can … but it's reached the point where the real estate has become so expensive that we have to take a second look,” Jacques J. Moore Sr. of Moore Cadillac, which he opened 28 years ago, tells the Washington Post. “Metro changes all the dynamics.”
Community officials see the extended elevated rail system — which would go through Tysons en route to Dulles International Airport — as an opportunity for major redevelopment. They don't view the existing auto dealerships and strip malls as part of those plans.
A dealership row “doesn't fit the new notion of a transit- and pedestrian-friendly Tysons liberated from the car culture,” says Alex MacGillis of the Post.
The dealers occupy much of the land near two of the four stations planned for Tysons. MacGillis says it's a juxtaposition no one would have imagined when dealers started moving out there from the District of Columbia, helping create the Tysons area as a commercial hub on the suburban fringes.
Now, as the suburbs keep growing and in the impending shadow of the proposed elevated railway, the dealerships face being squeezed out of the very place they helped create.
“It's funny: Tysons was the middle of nowhere when these dealerships were established, and now it's ground zero,” Art Walsh, a land use lawyer representing the family that owns the land beneath Koons Chevrolet, tells the Post.