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

Others took the same route out of town. In 1958, General Mills opened its suburban headquarters, a statement of glazed modernism, eight miles from Minneapolis. IBM moved from Manhattan and opened its closed headquarters in 1964 in Armonk, NY, on land that was once an apple orchard. Allstate opened its headquarters in 1967 on 122 acres in Northbrook, Illinois, outside of Chicago.

Capital One’s plan for a new headquarters matched the 20th century model in 1999 when it purchased 26 acres at Tysons Corner, a four-square-mile shopping center near the intersection of the Capital Beltway and Dulles Toll Road , two of the busiest highways. in the suburbs of Washington. At the time, Tysons Corner was the epitome of what author Joel Garreau called an edge town – a concentration, outside of a big city, of daytime shopping, entertainment and business that emptied at night.

Capital One originally planned four matching 14-story office buildings. Each would have interconnecting parking decks with space for 1,600 cars. A barbed wire security fence surrounded the perimeter and guard posts were posted at the entrances.

“What was the thought behind that?” said Mr. Griffith, the bank’s chief executive. “’We didn’t want people here on our secure campus. You know, stay away.

In 2003, the company completed the first of four office towers, but quickly abandoned its design plan because the sprawling, guarded corporate campus it envisioned no longer reflected the neighborhood. At that time, the Federal Transit Administration, which oversees transit systems, and the state of Virginia had approved the expansion of the Washington Metro, with four stops at Tysons Corner, including one at the gates of Capital One .

Soon after, Fairfax County launched a plan to transform Tysons Corner into a community with more residences, safer pedestrian connections, public spaces and parks. In 2010, the county unveiled a comprehensive plan to encourage housing for 100,000 residents by 2050, about 75,000 more than today. The county helped lead a marketing campaign for the planned community change with a name change to simply Tysons.

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