Northern Virginia Communities: Tysons Galleria Mall

I do a lot of networking meetings, and have spent untold hours at Starbucks, Panera, and other establishments. One of my favorite places to meet people is the Tysons Galleria mall. It’s right off the Beltway, and I can get there from my home for a meeting in less than 15 minutes.

Tysons Galleria is an upscale three-level super-regional mall owned by General Growth Properties located at 2001 International Drive, McLean, Virginia, in Tysons Corner.

The mall opened in 1988 across Virginia Route 123 from Tysons Corner Center as part of the $500 million ($900 million in 2008 dollars) office development The Corporate Office Centre at Tysons II, leading local residents to refer to Tysons Galleria as “Tysons II”. It was intended to be the upscale companion of Tysons Corner Center, but failed to attract high-end boutiques due to the poor economy of the time and a major expansion and renovation of the existing high-traffic Tysons Corner Center across the street, which included the East Coast’s first Nordstrom store. It was previously known as the Galleria at Tysons II, but from its opening to the mid-1990s, either a “T” or an “a” were missing from the main entrance sign. It had annual sales of $262 per square foot, below the market average for malls in the Washington metropolitan area in the early 1990s.

The Galleria was renovated to appear more like a “European streetscape” and expanded in 1997 by its new Chicago-based owners, who had its name changed to Tysons Galleria. Its interior was lightly remodeled to appear less like a “space walk”.

The mall eventually attracted the high-end tenants that it had hoped for when it first opened with high-end department stores Neiman Marcus and Saks 5th Avenue in 1988. National Geographic stated in its December 2002 issue that “Tysons Galleria is the Rodeo Drive of the East Coast.” The Washington Post describes it as a “bright and elegant Fifth Avenue-like mall”. Tysons Galleria was rated one the top 15 sales-producing shopping centers in terms of dollars per square foot by WWD in 2003.

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