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Friday, May 20, 2022

After the city flight, corporate campuses add a taste of the city

Others followed the same path from the city. In 1958, General Mills opened its suburban headquarters, the epitome of glazed modernism, eight miles from Minneapolis. IBM moved out of Manhattan and opened its closed headquarters in 1964 in Armonk, New York, on land that was once an apple orchard. Allstate headquarters opened in 1967 on 122 acres of land in Northbrook, Illinois, near Chicago.

Capital One’s plan for a new headquarters followed a 20th-century model in 1999, when it bought 26 acres at Tysons Corner, a four-square-mile commercial center near the intersection of the Capital Beltway and the Dulles Tollway, two of the world’s busiest highways. in the suburbs of Washington. At the time, Tysons Corner was the epitome of what writer Joel Garro called an uptown—an out-of-town concentration of daytime shopping, entertainment, and business that emptied out at night.

Initially, Capital One planned four identical 14-story office buildings. Each of them will have connected parking areas for 1600 cars. There was a barbed wire fence around the perimeter, and guards stood at the entrances.

“What were the thoughts behind it?” said Mr. Griffith, the bank’s managing director. “We didn’t want people on our secure campus. You know, stay away.”

In 2003, the company completed the first of four office towers, but immediately scrapped its design plan because the sprawling secure corporate campus it had planned no longer reflected the surroundings. By then, the Federal Transportation Administration, which oversees public transit systems, and the state of Virginia had approved an expansion of the Washington Metro with four station stops at Tysons Corner, including one on the doorstep of Capital One.

Shortly thereafter, Fairfax County initiated a plan to transform Tysons Corner into a community with more residences, safer walkways, public spaces, and parks. In 2010, the county unveiled a comprehensive plan to stimulate housing for 100,000 residents by 2050, about 75,000 more than today. The county helped lead a marketing campaign to develop the planned community by changing the name to simply The Tysons.

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