Tysons Corner, VA

The Town of Vienna is seeking funding from Fairfax County to help fund a plan to address vacancies plaguing Maple Avenue.

The town approached the county earlier this year to split the costs of an economic development strategy and market study totalling $100,000, Scott Sizer from the Department of Economic Initiatives said. The town set aside its $50,000 half when it approved its fiscal year 2020 budget.

“Primarily they are concerned with some of the vacancy rates that they are seeing, particularly in the retail properties along Maple Avenue,” Sizer told the Board of Supervisors during a Budget Committee meeting yesterday (Tuesday).

The town has a 15% vacancy rate with 138 vacant spaces — 68 of which are on Maple Avenue, Sizer said.

The new strategy and study — which could take up to 9-12 months to complete — are meant to revitalize Maple Avenue and find more efficient use of resources to address the vacancies, along with discovering how to aid business recruitment and place-making strategies, Sizer said.

“Frankly retail vacancies are a problem all over the county,” Providence District Supervisor Lynda Smith said at the meeting. “We tend to have come up with a formula of mixed-use that has something above but always ground floor retail and not always is it sustainable.”

Smith said that the vacancies are not just an issue for Vienna, urging her fellow board members to look “at this on a bigger scale… we need to get a better grip on what’s working.”

The town has already started some efforts to revitalize local businesses. The Town of Vienna created a new economic development manager position earlier this year and is currently recruiting the position, Sizer said.

County staff reviewed the proposal in June and recommend that the county provide the funding.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust agreed with the staff’s recommendation, calling the funding “a smart investment for the county.”

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Fairfax County police are searching for the man suspected of flashing a woman in Tysons yesterday afternoon.

“A man exposed himself to a woman while sitting in his car in a parking lot,” police said. The incident occurred around noon Tuesday (Sept. 17) in the 8300 block of Leesburg Pike.

“He was described as a black man in his 30s. He was driving a gray Infiniti sedan,” police said.

Image via Google Maps

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Fairfax County officials want to take a closer look at the costs linked to adding body worn cameras to the county’s police department.

After studies observing the impact of police officers wearing body cameras while on duty, several members on the Board of Supervisors came out in support of the new proposal draft. As body worn cameras get closer to receiving the board’s approval, two supervisors want more information to determine the fiscal impact of the project.

Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity kicked off the discussion of the body worn cameras at the Public Safety Committee meeting Tuesday (Sept. 17) by asking what the fiscal impact would be.

The program would cost about $6.2 million by fiscal year 2022, Deputy County Executive for Public Safety Dave Rohrer told the board.

“That includes the Commonwealth Department of Information Technology, the police officers, the cameras, the storage and equipment,” Rohrer said. “It’s an all-in number.”

Braddock District Supervisor John Cook said that if Board of Supervisors approves the action items on the body worn cameras at the meeting next Tuesday (Sept. 24), he will request a report on how it could affect the budget for the Public Defenders’ Office.

Cook noted that the presentation about the pilot program included information about costs for the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney.

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Welcome to Luxury For Less, a weekly column highlighting the best deals in luxury real estate. Written by Brandy Schantz of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury For Less offers tips and tricks navigating the competitive real estate market and securing the home of your dreams. To learn more, visit ttrsir.com.

It’s a new week and everyone is talking about ‘Career Day’ at Amazon’s new Crystal City location.

I’ve spoken to everyone from government workers to IT professionals to new college graduates who are excited to show up at Amazon’s new headquarters on Tuesday, September 17 to check out what departments will be hiring and what skill sets will be needed. According to an article in the Washington Post on Sunday, the company will not be hiring on the spot but is seeking to fill 400 vacancies by the end of the year.

Amazon HQ2 has dominated the conversation in our area since the first whispers about its possible location in the D.C. area. It’s also affected the real estate market trends. Arlington and Alexandria were named the two most competitive markets in the country by Redfin. If you have purchased a home in one of these areas this year or have been in the market, you know how difficult finding a home can be. Tysons is still close to Amazon HQ2 and this week’s feature is a great home close to the new headquarters.

This executive-style townhome has views of the Potomac and a location rich in history. The land was originally part of the Merrywood Estate where Jackie Kennedy spent many years of her childhood. This beautiful home features an elevator, wetbar and an indoor spa room. This home has all of the convenience of Arlington with a great price and spectacular views.

1312 Skipwith Road McLean (Reduced $50,000)

Check out the rest of this week’s Luxury for Less listings:

The properties listed are a small selection of properties available in the Tyson’s Corner area. For a full list of properties listed on MLS and private exclusives, please contact Brandy Schantz.

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A new Burlington location plans to open this Friday (Sept. 20) along Leesburg Pike in Tysons.

Burlington offers customers lower-cost home goods and apparel options for men, women and children. The store will take up 42,900 square feet of empty space at Pike 7 Plaza (8355 Leesburg Pike).

With stores in 45 states and territories, including Puerto Rico, the chain has over 631 locations and counting, according to the Burlington website. The Tysons location is opening along with two dozen other locations throughout the country this month.

Hours for the new location have not been announced yet.

“This new location brings jobs to the community and provides a great shopping experience for the entire family,” Tom Kingsbury, the chief executive officer and chairman of Burlington Stores, said in a press release.

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Tysons’ 1st Stage Theatre is back with a show exploring generational divides to launch its new season.

Trying” explores the relationship between Judge Francis Biddle, the chief judge of the American Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, and his young Canadian assistant — the last in a long line of unsuccessful secretaries.

The play’s regional premiere is this Thursday (Sept. 19). The show runs until Oct. 20.

Performances for “Trying” are:

  • Thursdays — 7:30 p.m.
  • Fridays — 8 p.m.
  • Saturdays — 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Sundays — 2 p.m.

General admission tickets are $42 or $39 for seniors. Students and military tickets are $15.

The drama is the first show for 1st Stage’s 12th season, which has five more shows, including “Airness” and “The Royale.”

Photo via 1st Stage/Facebook

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Vienna officials are taking another stab at outstanding details in the design plans for the Vienna Market project.

The project is set to replace the Marco Polo building and other surrounding properties with 44 townhouse condominiums, a 2,700-square-foot landscaped plaza and retail space at 245 W. Maple Avenue. Currently, the project is in the second phase, awaiting site plan revisions and building permit approval.

Vienna’s Board of Architectural Review (BAR) decried plans for the project as too boring during its meeting in May.

When the board made a motion at its August meeting to approve the development, it excluded some items for further review before approval.

Now, the project is coming back to BAR tomorrow night (Thursday). The board is set to review the project’s lighting plan, sidewalk landscape plan in front of the retail space and types of brick of some of the units and retail, according to town documents.

The meeting is set to start at 8 p.m. Thursday (Sept. 19).

Images via Town of Vienna

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The Vienna Town Council is looking to implement a pilot program for dockless scooters and bicycles as a deadline nears for scooter regulation.

Legislation passed during the General Assembly session in January allows localities to regulate scooters and motorized skateboards, however, the localities have until Jan. 1, 2020 to take action to implement any regulations. After that date, the scooter companies can zoom around as they see fit.

Scooters, an increasingly popular alternative transportation option, are already around the area. Fairfax County and the City of Falls Church are also currently drafting up their own pilot programs for scooters.

At a work session last Monday (Sept. 9), the Vienna Town Council raised safety concerns while discussing a proposed pilot program by Public Works staff.

Councilmember Steve Potter said that he is worried that scooters going at 20 miles per hour could end up hurting pedestrians and urged the council to consider the fiscal impacts of the program, like impounding costs, late filing fees and recovery costs.

“I think we should have a schedule for public input surveys and public education efforts,” Potter said, adding that he wants representatives from the police department to also be involved in the decision making. “This is no small thing.”

Mayor Laurie DiRocco asked the Town Attorney to find out if the council can mandate helmet wearing for dockless scooter and bicycle riders.

Currently, the town is considering implementing a one-year-long pilot program instead of an ordinance before the January deadline. According to town documents, the program is based off the programs by Fairfax, Alexandria, Falls Church and Arlington County.

The proposed program would cap the maximum number of devices to 250 per company, allowing the company to increase the number up to 25 more e-scooters or e-bikes with “if they demonstrate at least three trips per device per day in the previous month.”

Each company would have to pay a one-time permit fee of $5,000 and a right-of-way use fee of $0.05 per trip.

While town staff suggested negotiating with Kimley-Horn, a consulting firm that focuses on transportation, planning and engineering, Councilmember Doug Noble balked at the idea of working with the firm because of its ties to private consulting. “They are not the only show in town,” Noble said.

Noble also urged the Town Council to look into investigations of scooters’ battery fires and inadvertent sudden stops.

Councilmember Pasha Majdi suggested that the Town Council implement “an extremely limited pilot program as a placeholder until a multi-modal plan with Kimely-Horn is created.”

Majdi adamantly said that he does not want to see motorized scooters on sidewalks — a sentiment he said scooter companies like Lyme and Bird share.

Getting data on how often the scooters go from Vienna to Tysons could give the Town Council insight into scooter demand in the area, Councilmember Nisha Patel said.

“I believe that will tell us a lot about how often these scooters will be used,” Patel said. “We are so close to Tysons and Tysons is the next major city in the area.”

In addition to the data, Patel said that parking hubs for scooters could help cut down on littered scooters around town. “It’s like dispositing your shopping cart in those metal racks,” Patel said.

Councilmember Howard Springsteen suggested forwarding the proposal to the Transportation Safety Commission — an idea that was supported by several councilmembers and the mayor.

The proposed pilot program is set to go before the Town Council on Dec. 9.

“We should get this done,” Springsteen said. “The clock is ticking.”

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This year’s 16th annual “Sunset Cinema” series features three family-friendly flicks in the City of Falls Church.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Department will host weekly movies at Cherry Hill Park (223 Little Falls Street) beginning at 7:45 p.m.on Fridays.

This week’s pick is Disney’s “Lilo and Stitch” on this Friday (Sept. 20), followed by “Hocus Pocus” on Sept. 27 and finally “Back to the Future” on Oct. 4.

All movies are free and open to the public.

Drinks and popcorn will be available for purchase, and attendees are welcome to bring picnic blankets or lawn chairs for comfort.

In case of bad weather, the showing will be moved indoors to the nearby community center.

Image via the City of Falls Church

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A company in the City of Falls Church is rethinking cell phone service to eradicate dead zones across the globe.

Lynk is a new startup in the process of launching satellites that will allow cell phone users to send and receive SMS texts anywhere in the world within 55 degrees north or south of the equator.

Though they aren’t operational just yet, they want to show partners that their technology is beyond that of science fiction, said CEO and Co-founder Charles Miller.

By working with cell phone companies, Lynk will be able to provide secondary service from satellites when it isn’t available from normal towers, Miller said.

The idea for the startup came from Co-founder and Cheif Operating Officer Margo Deckard during her time in Africa easing the impact of Ebola through data and satellite information, Miller said.

Deckard noticed people had a hard time communicating with one another using technology because wi-fi and cell tower service were not available and wondered if satellites could be a solution.

When the team first proposed the project there were lots of naysayers, Miller said. But given his background as a senior adviser for NASA, he was confident in the capabilities of satellites and his team.

“Basically people thought it was impossible and assumed it couldn’t be done because it defied conventional wisdom,” Miller said.

Lynk said getting funding was one of the largest roadblocks he faced, adding that the company needed investors to fund prototypes and test-runs. After three rounds of funding, the company finally received in June the $12 million they needed to begin test runs.

Lynk will launch all of their satellites through the International Space Station in Florida.

Now, the company has 33 partners, including multi-billion dollar European call phone carrier companies Vodafone and Telefonica, who are monitoring Lynk’s growth.

The company recently decided to rebrand from Ubiquitilink Inc. for clarity and ease of name recognition. Miller said that it was hard to spell and it didn’t translate well into other languages.

Lots of investors have been suggesting they move their headquarters to Silicon Valley, but Miller said he considers Northern Virginia to be his home as well as a hotbed for innovation.

Looking forward to the future, Miller said the company will focus first on establishing reliable text messages before they establish bandwidth for phone calls or data streaming services. He said 3,000-5,000 text messages can be sent with the same bandwidth that it takes to support one five-minute phone call.

“We would rather service 3,000 to 5,000 people than lock up that one channel,” he said.

Once they manage to raise capital through private companies, they will expand to assist the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Coast Guard, Miller said.

To meet their upcoming goals, Miller said they are looking to recruit one more investor by the end of the year.

The company is currently looking to hire eight different positions, including a vice president of business development and a telecommunications software engineer.

Image via Lynk.world

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