Tysons Corner, VA

This fall, patrons of the Tysons Galleria can expand their style choices with the grand opening of a new store.

Ba&sh, an international clothing brand, will soon join other fashion realtors in the shopping mall. The new store is poised to open mid-September, a Tysons Galleria customer service representative, told Tysons Reporter. Once open, it will be located on level one by Saks Fifth Avenue.

This will be the first Ba&sh store to open in the Virginia area — other locations throughout the United States are based in larger cities like New York and Los Angeles.

The company features items that aim to be “timeless and distinctive,” according to the website.

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Crescendo Studios now has plans to expand after opening a few months ago in Merrifield.

The education-oriented music studio is looking to use a currently empty space adjacent to the studio’s existing location (8101 Lee Hwy), according to Fairfax County documents.

With the extra square footage, Crescendo would offer both an expanded music education center with group and private lessons and on-site recording studios, according to the application.

The studio’s application in June to the county noted that they would be able to increase their clientele and take on around 90 students.

“The majority of the students are expected to be between the age of 7 and 17, though some adults may also enroll,” according to the application.

The music school’s proposed hours of operation would be noon- 9 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. on Saturday. The recording studio would be available 9 a.m.- 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on the weekend.

Crescendo told the county that the expansion would not affect parking in the area.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission is slated to hold a public hearing on the proposal in November.

Photo via Facebook and image 2 via Fairfax County 

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Returning in August, Metropolitan Washington Summer Restaurant Week invites the community to once again branch out and try nearby restaurants.

From Aug. 12-18, food lovers can enjoy fixed-price meals at regional restaurants that would otherwise cost significantly more. Prices are $22 for brunch and lunch or $35 for dinner.

The list below shows participating locations in Tysons and the Mosaic District:

Alta Strada (2911 District Avenue)

Originally started in Massachusetts in 2007, Alta Strada specializes in Italian pasta dishes. Since then, they’ve expanded to four restaurants, including their Mosaic location.

Capri Ristorante Italiano (6825K Redmond Drive)

This Italian restaurant in McLean serves homestyle food with a menu featuring a variety of salads, soups, pasta and fresh seafood.

Wildfire (1714U International Drive)

Inside Tysons Galleria, Wildfire Steak House will offer a three-course lunch and dinner menu deal for the restaurant week, which includes a salad, main entree and dessert. Diners can check out their website for menu details and hours.

American Prime (1420 Spring Hill Road)

American Prime serves specialty steaks to customers in the Tysons area — the artisan charcuterie, dry-aged steaks and smoked prime rib are bestsellers, according to the restaurant.

Photo via American Prime/Facebook

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The Falls Church City Council aims to revamp its approach to affordable housing as its population continues to grow — and the stock of affordable units quickly dwindles.

The City Council is considering refreshing its Comprehensive Plan’s housing guidelines with a focus on tackling what some councilmembers recently referred to as an “affordable housing crisis.”

Emphasis on Affordable Housing

At a joint work session on Monday (July 15), the council and the city’s Planning Commission reviewed a proposal that would revise the housing guidelines to adjust for demographic changes and the future impact of Amazon HQ2 on the region.

City documents at the meeting confirmed that the increasing demand for apartments cannot keep up with the influx of the population, which is growing at a rate of 2.6% each year.

Councilmember Letty Hardi fronted the discussion at the meeting when she brought up the expiration of affordable housing and the dilemmas facing recent graduates who can no longer afford to live in the area.

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For the nearly 56,000 students in Fairfax County Public Schools living at the poverty line, obtaining school supplies can be difficult. 

In an attempt to change this, FCPS is partnering with roughly 20 nonprofits and businesses to ensure that students will have the supplies they need this fall for its “Collect for Kids” campaign.

“Every school in FCPS is touched by need — some schools have as little as 1% of their students in need, while others have over 80% of students in need,” Kathy Ryan, an FCPS spokeswoman, said.

Community members can drop off new backpacks to various locations in the Tysons area, which FCPS will then hand out to kids for the start of the school year in August.

Backpack drop off locations include any Apple Federal Credit Union, the FCPS Gatehouse Administration Center (8115 Gatehouse Road), and a few other places. Some in the greater Tysons area include:

  • Apple Federal Credit Union in Falls Church (1118 W. Broad Street)
  • Freedom Bank in Vienna (502 W. Maple Avenue)
  • Alya Salon (139 Park Street SE)

FCPS also has a goal to raise $25,000 dollars — monetary donations are accepted online.

 “Increasing the awareness of the number of students in FCPS that need this yearly support is also a goal,” Ryan said.

Photo courtesy FCPS

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(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) Trustar Bank is opening a commercial loan office this week by Tysons Galleria ahead of a future branch in the area.

Last week, the bank opened a branch in Great Falls. The company website said, “As a community bank, Trustar Bank’s strategy is to be a personalized alternative to larger, super-regional financial institutions that increasingly dominate the bank’s primary market.”

While the upcoming Tysons location (1650 Tysons Blvd) will just handle commercial loans, Chief Executive Officer Shaza Anderson said that the company also plans to bring branches in Reston in October 2019 and Tysons in 2021.

The new loan office opens after the company raised the required capital and received regulatory approval from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, she said.

Anderson said that the company partially decided on the location because it seemed to be the most accessible for employees and customers.

Community support has been “overwhelming” during this process, she added.

Image via Google Maps

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There is a new job opening for an economic development manager in the Town of Vienna.

This opening is part of a larger plan to revitalize local businesses. Responsibilities of the manager will include supporting unique and independent businesses, along with working under the town council to execute a new economic strategy.

Vienna Town Council members began discussing the implementation of the new position two years ago, in order to expand economic development and diversity business, Public Information Officer Lynne Coan told Tysons Reporter. She hopes that the new position will expand the opportunity for growth and bring in residents from neighboring communities to shop and dine.

The Town Business Liaison Committee and Vienna Business Association also support the implementation of this position, she said. Coan said the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors takes the two groups’ opinions on such matters into consideration, especially the Vienna Business Association, which is run by a private group.

Though specific tasks will be required of the new manager under the economic development plan, the manager will have room to “build on their strengths,” Coan said.

According to the job listing:

Bachelor’s degree, with major work in economics, business administration, marketing or closely related field; five years’ experience in corporate or municipal administration, economic development or marketing; some experience in commercial real estate, site selection process; substantial experience in interacting with and marketing to senior-level executives.

The pay ranges from $79,475-$127,956, per year, depending on experience. Funding for the new position will come from the general town budget.

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A public hearing tonight (Monday) will determine the fate of a contentious, mixed-use development previously approved by the Vienna Town Council.

The proposed redevelopment would add a mixed-use, four-floor building with ground-floor retail and more than three dozen multi-family residential condominium units to 380 Maple Avenue.

After a long series of delays, the Town Council approved the development in June. A few weeks later, the new Town Council decided to hold a public hearing on possibly rescinding the project’s rezoning application, pointing to the town’s failure to notify the county about the project, along with other issues.

Now, the project faces a joint public hearing by the Town Council and the town’s Planning Commission tonight that will allow community members to give their opinions on possibly adjusting or rescinding the proposal. The event starts at 8 p.m. in the Vienna Town Hall (127 S. Center Street).

The Vienna Business Association will speak out at the meeting against the proposition to revoke the license.

According to a press release from the Vienna Business Association:

The question on July 15th is not whether we support the 380 Maple Avenue development, it’s whether we want to create in our Town the climate and reputation that will ensue from a rescinding vote.

  • The rescind motion also raises many questions:
  • Can businesses and developers be assured that the town is negotiating in good faith, or will negotiations suffer from a concern of “will they rescind this too?”
  • Do businesses and commercial property owners need to take proactive steps to keep their rights from being infringed by adjacent residents?
  • What legal liability does the Town create for itself by rescinding? Is the liability limited to the developer’s costs to date, or to the loss of future potential revenue from the development?

Image via Town of Vienna

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Following a similar announcement in Arlington, the City of Falls Church declared a state of emergency after Monday’s flooding.

This means that through the City Emergency Operations Plan, affected residents could qualify for aid and assistance as directed by state law and city code.

Specified assistance includes fee waivers for bulk-waste pickup on Wednesday, July 17, and rebuilding permits for damaged property, according to the City of Falls Church press release.

The emergency declaration will remain in effect until otherwise noted. More information can be found online.

The full press release is below.

Acting City Manager Cindy Mester declared a local emergency for the City of Falls Church, effective 8:30 a.m. on July 8, 2019, in response to the flash flood emergency. This declaration activates the City Emergency Operations Plan and authorizes the provision of aid and assistance as prescribed by State law and City Code and the ordinances, resolutions and approved plans of the City of Falls Church, in order to mitigate the effects of the weather event. The emergency state remains in effect until rescinded.

To help in the aftermath of the flooding, the City is waiving fees for solid waste bulk collection for the Wednesday, July 17 pick-up and for permits.

Residents must call 703-248-5160 (TTY 711), Option 1 to request special collection by noon on Tuesday, July 16. Bulk items left curbside will not be picked up unless a resident calls to schedule a special collection. This offer is only for current residential curbside customers. Contractor-related work is not eligible for curbside special collection pickup. Brush collection fees are not waived. Visit www.fallschurchva.gov/Special for complete details. Items that are eligible for special bulk collection with waived fees include:

  • Furniture
  • Household Appliances
  • Rugs
  • Other items too large or heavy to fit into a trash container.

Permits for flood-related rebuilding are still required, but the fee is waived. This includes electrical repair, gas appliance replacement, and more. More information can be found through the City’s Building Safety Division and Permits Counter: 703-248-5080 (TTY 711); www.fallschurchva.gov/Permit.Residents and businesses can take the following steps to help in the aftermath of the flooding:

  • Call your insurance company, if you have not already done so, to report damage.
  • If any gas appliances were exposed to floodwaters, do not attempt to either relight or disconnect them by yourself. Contact Washington Gas: 1-844-WASH-GAS (1-844-927-4427), Option 1
  • The Virginia State Bureau of Insurance has staff specifically trained to handle disaster insurance questions and problems. Their website also has free consumer guides on what to do after an insured commercial or home property loss. Virginia State Bureau of Insurance:  1-877-310-6560.

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Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park may soon get a makeover with new lighting, landscaping and better access.

In a unanimous vote on last Monday (July 1), Vienna Town Council members decided to proceed with a grant application for Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park updates.  

The 45-mile-long park is popular with runners and cyclists. Rooted in history, the park follows the old path of the railroad which closed in 1962.  

Director of Parks and Recreation for the town Leslie Herman presented a proposal to the council before the vote.

Herman brought forth safety concerns over four main crosswalks and lack of suitable light in the evenings. She also introduced an idea to remove invasive foliage in the area and replace them with native plants. 

Though Herman was not sure if improvements would increase the use of the trail, she said updates would improve safety for community members who regularly use the path. 

A few of the councilmembers expressed concerns over potential problems with light pollution disrupting neighborhoods along the trails. In response, Herman and the councilmembers bounced around ideas of dimmable LED lighting and motion censored lights. 

“Ambiance is extremely important, especially when we are talking about a trail that people seek out because it has a natural feel to it,” said Councilmember Pasha Majdi. 

The first section of the trail to be updated would start at the community center and move toward Ayr Hill. 

The Recreational Trails Program Grant is modeled after an 80/20 matching reimbursement program. The Parks Department plans to match the required 20% through the Capital Improvement Plan.

Though the maximum amount of money given to a singular grant is $500,000, Herman suggested the town could reapply in order to complete other sections if needed. The next step in the application process is to get a final estimate of costs.   

Photo via Wikipedia, map via NOVA Parks 

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