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Cause of Marco Polo Restaurant Fire Still Under Investigation

by Vernon Miles October 19, 2018 at 2:15 pm 0

One week after a fire gutted the abandoned Marco Polo restaurant on Maple Avenue, there’s still no answer for what caused the blaze.

At a Town Council meeting on Oct. 15, Vienna Chief of Police James Morris said the fire was reported around 2 p.m. on Sunday, and by 3:16 p.m. the flames under control. The building was vacant and there were no injuries in the fire, but the building itself is a complete loss.

Morris said throughout the week there have been complaints of kids hanging around gawking at the site. Even when the building was intact though, Morris said there was some unsavory activity at the site.

“The property itself has had broken windows and significant vandalism of buses in the back lot. There has been a lot of activity around that building.”

Battalion Chief Willie Bailey said it’s not uncommon for fire investigations to take over a week, with variables being size of the structure and the level of damage.

Before the fire, the building had been planned for demolition to make way for a new development approved on May 7 this year.

The site has been home to a number of buildings since 1900, but the recently-burned one had been located there since 1954. Local developer Doug D’Alexander applied to have the lot redeveloped in 2015, but a protest petition meant the Town Council would have to vote 6-1 in favor of development. In the end, the development fell one vote short.

D’Alexander returned in 2017 with a more scaled down version of the development called Vienna Market. The new development would consist of 8,200 square feet of retail space with 44 townhouse condominiums. The development was unanimously approved at the meeting.

Tysons Reporter was unable to reach D’Alexander, so the timeline for the development and the impact of the fire on redevelopment plans are currently, like the cause of the fire, still unknown.

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