TYSONS CORNER, Va. - Seventy years ago, the intersection of Route 7 and Route 123 in Northern Virginia wasn't much more than dirt. Tyson's Corner Store, which was located there, gave the area its name.
That intersection has seen its share of growth since then, but the area's name has stuck around - until possibly now.
With Tysons Corner undergoing renovations and renewal, developers and Fairfax County leaders are contemplating dropping the word "Corner" from the name. But will it make a difference?
"They know Tysons Corner. Will it be a big deal if it's now called Tysons?" says Gerald Gordon, president of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.
"Your guess is as good as anybody's."
Tysons Corner does not even have its own ZIP code, sharing one with Vienna on one side and McLean on the other. But the area is transforming from a place "where the stores are" - a slogan of the huge Tysons Corner Center - into what Fairfax County leaders hope will be a walkable urban center with four Metro stations, wide sidewalks and thousands of new residents.
People shopping at a local strip mall, in the shadow of one of the new Silver Line Metro stations under construction, didn't seem particularly fussy over its name.
"I just pretty much call it Tysons anyway, so it wouldn't bother me," says Julie Calabreise.
Her friend, Zachory Lem, agreed.
"We're used to Tysons because our office is known as the Tysons office, not the Tysons Corner office, and a lot of people get confused now already," he says.
There is also debate over a new slogan to go with the shortened name.
Should it be "Tysons, 'the' new downtown" or "Tysons, 'a' new downtown"?
"That's kind of hip," Tonya Nepper, who also was having lunch at the strip mall, says of the two options.
Gordon says the debate could have been very different. He says Mr. Tyson eventually sold his store to a Mr. Smith, who never changed the name.
Otherwise, officials could be debating whether to call the area "Smith."
(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)
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