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Rendering of new Vienna police station (via Town of Vienna)

The Vienna Town Council approved increasing a contract yesterday (Monday) for construction on the police department’s new station.

The council agreed to allow up to $67,680 more in response to a “pre-construction design phase that took longer than expected and several unknown condition incidents that arose during construction,” according to a board item.

In January 2019, the town council approved a nearly $304,000 contract with construction management firm Downey & Scott with a 5% contingency of just over $15,000.

The firm reported that it had $64,456.24 in additional expenses. It broke down the costs in terms of staff pay, which ranges from $98.73 per hour for a construction inspector to $135 an hour for project executive Bill Downey.

It wasn’t immediately clear why the town council awarded over $3,000 more than what the company documented. A message seeking clarification from the Town of Vienna wasn’t immediately returned. A town official later wrote that the additional amount is a 5% contingency, allowing the town to address “additional unforeseen circumstances that arise in the construction process without having to go back to Council for approval.”

Police Chief Jim Morris said the increases were due to a soil issue, a gas line, and challenges on Center Street that he described them as unforeseen issues.

“All of those took Downey & Scott expertise and time to rectify,” Morris said. “Whether it be meeting with utilities, meeting with town council, meeting with town manager, they were heavily involved in rectifying those situations for us, on the town’s behalf.”

Downey said many of the changes were related to unforeseen soil conditions as well as relocating unmarked utilities.

A letter from the company said that over $30,000 of the increased expenses came from staff costs for Downey and project manager Kevin Fallin after requested changes from Vienna officials and COVID-19 disruptions added eight months to the project’s pre-construction phase.

The firm also reported $34,000 in staffing costs, plus $627 in mileage reimbursement, that were related to the re-alignment of a storm sewer at Center Street, design management, and other costs for a gas line relocation and soil issues.

Morris said the additional expenses could be paid with unused money in a 2018 capital improvement plan.

Prior to the funding approval, the project had $708,000 left in the town’s $1.1 million contingency fund, Fallin told the town council.

“Vertical construction is well underway, so a lot of the unknown conditions that we might typically encouter, we have surpassed that in terms of construction,” Fallin said regarding his confidence that the budget will stay within the contingency. “We feel good about where we are currently.”

Morris noted that contractors are currently calculating cost estimates for a proposed solar canopy and electric vehicle charging infrastructure, which could both be implemented as part of the project or as subsequent tasks.

Construction on the new police station at 215 Center Street South began in early 2021.

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Fairfax County Police Department footage of Park Police shooting McLean resident Bijan Ghaisar (via FCPD)

A federal judge in Alexandria agreed with legal arguments for two U.S. Park Police officers after they pursued a 25-year-old motorist in 2017 and fatally shot him in his Jeep.

Judge Claude Hilton dismissed criminal charges against the officers on Friday (Oct. 22), writing in an opinion that McLean resident Bijan Ghaisar was driving erratically after another vehicle hit his Jeep on George Washington Memorial Parkway, leading the officers on a pursuit.

Hilton wrote in his decisions for officers Alejandro Amaya and Lucas Vinyard that they “were authorized by federal law to act as they did” and “the officers did no more than was necessary and proper.”

The officers sought immunity under the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, which gives federal laws and powers precedence over those of a state.

Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano and Attorney General Mark Herring said in a joint statement that the state plans to appeal the case in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond.

“[We] do not believe the law allows an individual to circumvent the accountability of the criminal justice system simply because of who their employer is,” the joint statement said. “We believe that a jury should have the opportunity to hear all of the evidence and determine whether these men committed a crime when they shot and killed Bijan Ghaisar.”

According to Hilton’s ruling, a dispatcher initially told police that Ghaisar’s vehicle hit another vehicle but then corrected that information, saying the Jeep was hit. The crash involving a Toyota Corolla occurred in Alexandria just north of Slater’s Lane on Nov. 17, 2017.

The court wrote that Ghaisar ignored officers’ commands to stop and pull over, failed to stop at a stop sign, and repeatedly drove away while Amaya’s hand was placed on Ghasiar’s door handle.

When Amaya approached the vehicle on foot around Tulane Drive and ordered him to open the door, Ghaisar took off while Amaya’s hand was on the door, the court wrote.

Police later pulled him over in a residential neighborhood off the parkway and yelled commands at Ghaisar on foot, but Ghaisar drove away again, according to the court.

When the officers pulled him over at the intersection of Fort Hunt Road and Alexandria Avenue, they exited the patrol car. Amaya shouted commands to Ghaisar when his Jeep lurched forward toward Amaya, prompting him to fire through the Jeep’s windshield.

“The Jeep initially stopped but then moved forward again, causing both officers to fire at Ghaisar,” the court wrote. “The Jeep then rolled over into a ditch.”

Ghaisar placed the officers in a life-or-death situation, the judge found.

“The officers’ decision to discharge their firearms was necessary and proper under the circumstances and there is no evidence that the officers acted with malice, criminal intent, or any improper motivation,” the judge wrote.

It wasn’t immediately clear how a postponed federal wrongful death lawsuit by Ghaisar’s father against the U.S. will proceed.

Ghaisar’s family, the McLean community, and elected officials have criticized the Park Police and FBI over their handling of the investigation into the shooting, including the prolonged withholding of the identities of the officers involved.

Federal prosecutors with the U.S. Department of Justice ultimately announced in November 2019 that they would not pursue charges against Amaya and Vinyard.

Descano put together a grand jury last year, and the officers were indicted in October 2020, both with a charge of manslaughter and another for reckless discharge of a firearm.

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The restaurant Basic Burger is coming to Tysons West (courtesy Jamie Mansy)

An Arlington-based gourmet burger eatery could make its way to Tysons later this fall.

Basic Burger, which boasts that if your burger isn’t made to your specifications, they’ll make it right or give you your money back, is preparing to open at Tysons West (1500 Cornerside Boulevard).

“We hope to have Tysons West open within 6 weeks (permits permitting) and continue our regional growth from there,” Jamie Mansy told Tysons Reporter on Friday (Oct. 22).

Signs that recently went up at the shopping center indicate that the restaurant will take over the space previously occupied by the fast-casual, healthy food chain B.Good.

“We are upgrading the kitchen to fit our needs as well as bringing in a muralist to do some art work for us outside,” Mansy said.

Founded in 2015, the company opened its first location in Courthouse before moving to Pentagon Row in 2018. Mansy says they were working on expansion plans when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, temporarily putting those on hold.

Basic Burger serves a range of burgers, shakes, and sides, in addition to chicken sandwiches, salads, and more.

According to Mansy, the restaurant uses locally sourced ingredients where possible, with certified Angus patties hand-pressed daily. Basic Burger also uses French brioche buns, makes its “Basic Sauce” in house and gets its spices from a spice maker in Woodstock.

This is the second restaurant started in 2015 to reveal plans to expand to Tysons West in as many weeks. Roaming Rooster is also slated to open there this fall.

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2017 Halloween Parade in Vienna (via Town of Vienna/Facebook)

(Updated at 1:20 p.m.) The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Tuesday (Oct. 26)

  • “Blankets to Bust Breast Cancer” — 6-7 p.m. at The Plaza at Tysons Corner Center (7901 Tysons One Place) — AR Workshop Alexandria and Barrel & Bushel present a Summerfest Crafty Hour fundraising event. No knitting experience is necessary. Participants will receive yarn and instruction. Cost is $10, and proceeds go to the Tigerlily Foundation, a national breast cancer foundation.

Wednesday (Oct. 27)

  • Halloween Parade — 7-8:30 p.m. on Maple Avenue in Vienna — Enjoy costumes and floats, marching bands, and performances. Families and children can join the parade, too.

Thursday (Oct. 28)

  • Fair Housing Public Forum — 6:30-8 p.m. online — Fairfax County is inviting people to attend a community forum to participate in the Regional Fair Housing Plan and provide input on local housing issues. The forum is free, but registration is required.

Friday (Oct. 29)

  • “Waitress” — 8 p.m. at Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road) — A Broadway musical comes to Tysons’ new performing arts venue. The story unfolds with a baking contest offering a wife escape from her small town. Tickets start at $44.50 plus fees. There are additional performances on Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday (Oct. 30)

  • Second Somewhat Annual Craft Fair — 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry St. SE) — Check out crafts, talents, and more, from hand-spun dyed yarns to alcohol ink art, involving artists connected with the nonprofit Wildlife Rescue League.
  • Halloween Carnival — 1-3 p.m. and 3:30-5:30 p.m. at Cherry Hill Park (312 Park Ave.) in Falls Church — The City of Falls Church offers games, inflatables, music, and snacks aimed at kids ages 2 to 11. Cost is $1 per person, cash only.
  • Halloween Best in Show — 1-3 p.m. at The Boro Park (8350 Broad Street) in Tysons — The Boro celebrates Halloween with its first-ever dog costume contest, which will also feature a live DJ, a photo booth, crafts, trick-or-treating, and lawn games. Competitors can register themselves and their pet online in advance, though walk-in registrations will be welcome.
  • Laura Benanti at Wolf Trap — 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. at The Barns (1635 Trap Road) — Join the Tony Award-winning Broadway performer for songs and stories from her career. Tickets start at $42 plus fees.
  • OFC’s House of Terror and Family Trunk or Treat — 5-10 p.m. at The Old Firehouse (1440 Chain Bridge Road) — Treat yourself to scares and non-scary alternatives with walk-through experiences and other activities. The House of Terror, which costs $5 for entry, will have no jumps, scares, or fears from 5-7 p.m., but that will switch starting at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday (Oct. 31)

  • Mosaic Halloween Spooktacular — Mosaic District in Merrifield — Enjoy Halloween activities such as face painting from noon to 6 p.m. in Strawberry Park, where “The Addams Family” will show at 6 p.m.
  • Pathways out of Poverty in Northern Virginia (Online) — 3:30-5 p.m. — Lewinsville Presbyterian Church and Lutheran Church of the Redeemer are holding a series about escaping poverty. The first event is focused on affordable housing.

Photo via Town of Vienna/Facebook

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A rendering shows what a transformed Tysons Galleria would look like with a new service center and electric vehicle business on the ground floor (via Fairfax County)

Luxury electric vehicle manufacturer Lucid Motors passed a crucial step yesterday (Wednesday) toward getting its first service and delivery center in the D.C. area.

The company is seeking to open a venue in the basement of the former Macy’s at Tysons Galleria, converting the store doors and indoor space to allow vehicles to drive inside for servicing.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission voted on Wednesday (Oct. 20) to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the special exception proposal, which would give Lucid Motors five service bays and two vehicle display areas. Delivery service would also occur there.

Outside, 10 electric vehicle charging stations would be available for customers and the public in a nearby parking area, bringing the mall up to 22 stations.

“Like Tesla and other companies, this will be a big step forward in helping to further improve the environment and offer customers and area residents an alternative choice to the internal combustion engine,” said Bernie Suchicital, a land use planner with the law firm Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh.

The firm is representing the applicant Tysons Galleria Anchor Acquisition LLC, which is connected to Brookfield Properties, the real estate company that took over the mall in 2018.

“The architecture will be contemporary in style, in keeping with the rest of the building, and will include a glass storefront at the corner of the building as it wraps toward International Drive,” an Oct. 7 staff report said.

A Board of Supervisors public hearing on the application has been scheduled for Nov. 9.

Lucid Motors plans to operate seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with no on-site vehicle sales, according to the county. The company’s least-expensive vehicle starts at around $70,000 when a tax credit is applied, according to TechCrunch.

County staff recommend that the location also be restricted from offering rentals.

Walsh Colucci senior land use planner Elizabeth Baker noted in an Aug. 13 letter that the location will allow customers to configure and experience a new Lucid vehicle virtually as well as in person.

The company would also have 40 parking spots at the mall to store new and serviced vehicles.

The planned service center is part of the Tysons Galleria’s ongoing redevelopment of its former Macy’s store. Next to the proposed location, Bowlero opened earlier this month on the ground floor.

Lucid Motors is also working to open a studio this year at nearby Tysons Corner Center, which has asked Fairfax County to allow vehicle sales for up to eight businesses in its parking garages.

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An Italian restaurant named after a Virginia-born cowboy and featuring a “Hell’s Kitchen” chef is slated to open on Nov. 8, Jack’s Ranch tells Tysons Reporter.

The restaurant, located at the Lumen apartments (1755 Tysons Central Street), will feature “smoked meats, salumi and cheeses procured from the finest artisans in the world and prepared by culinary masters,” along with hand-made pasta and certified Roman and Napolitano pizza, according to its website.

The executive chef is Declan Horgan, who has worked in Dublin and D.C. restaurants and appeared on the 19th season of “Hell’s Kitchen.” His past patrons have included former first lady Michelle Obama, who ordered fish and chips from a restaurant he ran before going to an Erykah Badu concert. His TikTok account has also turned heads.

Jack’s Ranch spokesperson Jennifer Grinnell shared the following:

We are happy to say that we are on track for opening to the public Monday, November 8. Our kitchen equipment is installed (including two giant smokers for smoked meats, our Stefano Ferrara pizza oven for certified Roman and Neapolitan pizzas and top-of-the-line pasta machine for house-made pasta), Executive Chef Declan Horgan is finalizing the menu and we are definitely hiring.

Job openings listed online include a bartender, dining room server, and dining room host.

The restaurant is named after John Omohundro, also known as Texas Jack, a 19th century figure who was born near Palmyra and ended up moving to Texas, where he found fame on the stage and had his life illustrated in dime novels. He also met and married an Italian dancer and actress, Josephine Morlacchi.

The addition comes from restaurateur Steve Roberts, an Air Force veteran who started Texas Jack’s Barbecue in Arlington. However, Texas Jack’s Barbecue partner Paul Capetanakis said the two restaurants are separate.

According to its website, the Tysons venue will also feature a Josephine’s Italian Market and Café with “gourmet smoked meats and cheeses, sandwiches, our fresh pasta and house-made sauces, salumi, coffee and wine selections.”

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The Vienna Oaks Office Center, where Leroy Bazzarone’s chiropractic office was located (staff photo by David Taube)

A local chiropractic doctor recently surrendered his license after allegedly engaging in sexual misconduct with six patients.

The move came just under a year after the Virginia Board of Medicine voted to suspend Leroy Bazzarone’s license after he reportedly engaged in sexual contact or conduct that a reasonable patient would consider lewd or offensive.

A consent order from the board alleges that Bazzarone, who ran a chiropractic practice in the Vienna area, would provide services to receptionists for free and that he touched some of the women inappropriately when working with them.

The board’s doctors unanimously determined his actions were problematic and agreed on Sept. 2, 2020 to suspend his license following the incidents, which took place from 2013 to 2020.

“The Board determined that Dr. Bazzarone’s ability to practice constituted a substantial danger to the public health and safety and voted to summarily suspend his license,” meeting minutes said.

With a notary present, Bazzarone signed the consent order prepared by the board on Aug. 27, stating that he neither admitted nor denied its facts.

As part of the settlement, he waived his right to a formal hearing and his right to contest the report’s facts and legal conclusions in any future court or administrative proceeding involving the board.

For half of the patients involved, he had no record of treatment, and for others, he didn’t document all of the treatment he provided, according to the report.

Department of Health Professions spokesperson Diane Power said the settlement involves a permanent surrender of the license.

In a letter through an attorney to a Department of Health Professions investor, Bazzarone said he was retiring as of June 30, 2021. The board recorded his license as surrendered as of Sept. 1.

The reported behavior involved Bazzarone offering free treatment to women he employed as receptionists and massaging their breasts and genital areas. Sometimes, he removed their clothes or took off his own.

The Fairfax County Police Department said it has several reports involving Bazzarone on file.

According to Fairfax County General District Court records, he was arrested on Sept. 4, 2020 and charged with misdemeanor sexual battery for a Sept. 14, 2019 incident. He was found guilty and sentenced on March 11, 2021 to six months of jail. The prison sentence was suspended. Read More

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(Updated at 11:40 a.m.) Police say they’re looking for help after a shooter tried to rob and then attacked a man this morning in West Falls Church.

The 73-year-old man was on his way to work about 5:20 a.m. when he was shot in the chest, taken by police to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, and had surgery completed that morning, police said.

The man stopped by an ATM to get cash when a young man attacked him. A passing cyclist noticed the victim in the parking lot around 6:14 a.m., and officers later responded to the 2900 block of Annandale Road.

Police closed Jefferson Avenue from Annandale Road to Madison Place and told people to avoid the area.

Police are releasing surveillance footage, and FCPD Chief Kevin Davis shared information on the attack during a news conference that streamed on Facebook.

Davis said the gunman was a young man with distinctive tennis shoes and backpack who attempted to rob a 73-year-old victim.

“It’s despicable to even say,” Davis said.

The chief added the community is praying that the victim will survive, noting despite the emergency surgery, he’s still in very critical condition.

“We will leave no stone unturned to identify and capture this coward who shot a vulnerable senior citizen at an ATM machine this morning,” Davis said.

It’s unclear how the suspect fled the scene.

Police are urging the public to call 1-866-411-TIPS.

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1660 International Drive in Tysons (via Google Maps)

While many return-to-office plans have been put on hold, companies seeking to bring workers back in person might face a challenge of an unexpectedly furry nature: employees reluctant to leave the pets they acquired during the pandemic.

A new business, Connected Canine, aims to help businesses alleviate that potential conflict. It operates out of the coworking space Industrious (1660 International Drive, Suite 600) in Tysons as well as out of Boulder, Colorado.

“We provide an HR toolkit with resources such as a health and behavior assessment used to understand a dog’s history before inviting them into the office and hands-on support to make the process of establishing a dog friendly office as simple as possible,” Jeff Skalka, founder and CEO of Connected Canine, said in an email.

Skalka said the company provides largely free resources and employs a team of veterinarians, an architect, and human resources professionals who have found ways to ease the process.

“Once a company establishes their dog friendly office, we charge a low, variable fee based on the number of participating employees and dogs to provide software and other services,” he wrote. “For example, our software allows employees to schedule time to bring in their dog, take pictures of their dog’s vaccination records to ensure offices remain healthy and safe for everyone, and gives employers the ability to track who is bringing in a dog and how often and ensure only approved dogs are allowed onsite.”

Skalka formed Connected Canine in December after talking with friends and fellow dog owners who shared concerns about leaving their pets back at home when they returned to the office.

Over 11 million households acquired a pet during the pandemic, The Guardian reported, citing a survey by the American Pet Products Association.

“One thing companies really like is that our solutions are customized to their exact needs which we uncover through employee surveys and conversations with senior leaders,” Skalka wrote.

The surge in pet ownership coincided with the pandemic-prompted shift to remote work for office-based employees across the U.S., many of whom say they would quit rather than go back to the office.

Though some companies have shifted back to in-person work, telecommuting may continue to prevail, with research and consulting firm Gartner projecting that over half of U.S. workers will be remote in 2022.

Photo via Google Maps

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Pianist Brian Ganz will perform at Capital One Hall on Oct. 23 (photo by Jay Mallin/Virginia Chamber Orchestra)

The Virginia Chamber Orchestra is on the move.

After decades at Northern Virginia Community College’s Ernest Center in Annandale, the professional nonprofit orchestra will shift its base for performances and dress rehearsals to Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road) in Tysons.

While the group has played outdoors during the pandemic, VCO will kick off its tenure at the new performing arts venue with a 50th anniversary gala and a concert on Saturday (Oct. 23) — its first indoor event since March 2020.

“This move illuminates a trend to large, impressive, acoustically excellent arts venues outside of the city center,” a news release says.

The concert, titled “An Evening in Italy,” will be held at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $40 plus fees.

The gala will be held at 6 p.m., featuring cocktails and dinner as part of fundraising for the organization’s operations. The event will recognize donors as well as the Tysons McLean Orchestra, which announced in June it was ceasing operations after half a century.

“They thought it would be nice to recognize us,” said Ann Page, former TMO president and executive director. “This orchestra, 50 years ago, started out with volunteers.”

Joan Braitsch, former VCO board of trustees president and the gala’s chair, said that as part of event, sponsors and donors will each be given a plaque consisting of a signed copy of the music as a memento.

The VCO shared the following details on the event:

Marking the first appearance of Music Director David Grandis since receiving an International Conducting Prize, the concert will feature guest artist pianist Brian Ganz, one of the leading pianists of his generation, performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K. 488. Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 (“Italian”) will be another program highlight. …

Ganz commented: ‘You sometimes hear talk that classical music is in decline. I’ve been thrilled to see how people are flocking to concerts as live performing returns, and the opening of this gem of a concert hall in northern Virginia is part of that testament to the vital importance of classical music in our lives. The exact opposite of decline!’ …

For the orchestra’s first concert following the shutdown, David Grandis selected a program ‘particularly soothing and uplifting. Rossini’s overture will bring joy, lightness and excitement, and Brian Ganz’s interpretation of the Mozart’s K.488 will be an absolute delight, not to be missed. The program will conclude with Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony, a joyful recollection of Mendelssohn’s travel in a sunny place and in better times.’

Braitsch says the move to Capital One Hall reflects a general push in the arts world to expand outside of city centers.

“More and more, there is this trend of trying to bring arts into the communities,” she said. “We wanted to move to Tysons because the population is anticipated to grow so much.”

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