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One Year Left for Vienna’s Last Sports Card Shop

If you didn’t know it was there, it would be easy to miss A.J.’s Sports Stop. The tiny shop is a slightly removed from Maple Avenue, and overshadowed by the larger abandoned Marco Polo Restaurant next door.

But for any lover of sports cards or tabletop games, inside is a treasure trove — and one that could disappear within a year.

Rick Lucian, one of the owners, said that the store has been tucked away off Maple Avenue since 1980. Lucian joined the store ten years ago, having grown up with a love of sports cards.

The store is an assortment of odds and ends related to all sorts of sports or geeky memorabilia. There’s Warhammer figures on a front shelf and comics nearby, plus board games.

“Magic: The Gathering is the biggest item that we sell,” said Lucian. “Magic has grown a lot over the years.”

But the real focus of the store is trading sports cards, baseball in particular.

Lucian says the store makes a special effort to be friendly to new card collectors. To those who are just starting out, Lucian says to just pick your favorite team and start collecting, like grabbing a packet of Nationals cards.

The arrival of eBay and overproduction of sports cards has hurt the collecting industry since its heyday prior to the turn of the century. Lucian says the store has adapted to keep up with the times, but the plans for changes along Maple Avenue could mean the end of A.J.’s, at least in its current location.

Lucian said developers are working on a plan to redevelop the Marco Polo site, and it seems inevitable that their store will get caught up in that.

“Most likely we’ll only be here for another year,” said Lucian. “They’re looking to demolish and build something new here. So we’re looking around for a new storefront and we would like to stay in Vienna, but the rents are high.”

In the meantime, Lucian says the store will continue to be Vienna’s one-stop shop for cards and tabletop games.

In an era of constant electronic stimulus, Lucian said there’s still something special about a kid opening up a pack of baseball cards.

Photo (2) via Google Maps

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Citizens Take Fairfax County to Court Over Airbnb Regulations

One month into Fairfax County’s new regulations on short-term lodging, a group of local citizens are suing to have the regulations voided.

On July 31, the Board of Supervisors adopted the Short-Term Lodging (STL) Zoning Ordinance Amendment aimed at regulating home-sharing inside Fairfax, most commonly carried out through the websites Airbnb and VRBO.

Short-term lodging operators must apply for a $200 two-year zoning permit, and homeowners or community associations can still prohibit lodgings within their subdivision or development.

The new requirements went into effect on Oct. 1, along with a series of new regulations on short-term lodging:

  • Homes cannot be used for STL more than 60 nights per year.
  • The maximum number of lodgers per night is six adults.
  • The maximum number of rental contracts per might is one, so all lodgers must be associated with the same contract.
  • Any events or activities like parties, meetings, or luncheons where there may be direct or indirect compensation is prohibited.
  • All advertisements must include the STL permit number and identify the location of parking.
  • STLs cannot be set up in detached structures
  • A new Transient Occupancy Tax must be collected for each rental contract by the end of each month following the reporting month. A monthly return must also filed even if no taxes are due. If receipts exceed $10,000, a Business Professional and Occupational License is required.
  • STL operators must be permanent residents of the property and obtain written consent from property owner (when applicable).
  • Maintain a guest log including name, address and telephone number of all lodgers to be made available to any County employee upon request.
  • All STLs are required to be open for inspection during reasonable hours.

The 36 Fairfax residents collectively suing the County say the Board of Supervisors overreached and the move is the latest in a two-year trend of the county targeting STL.

In 2017, the General Assembly enacted a code allowing localities to establish a short term rental registry and require operators to register annually. Localities are also allowed to charge a fee for registration.

According to the Fairfax County website, the code prompted the Board of Supervisors to analyze short-term lodging in Fairfax and make zoning changes to allow STLs while maintaining the overall character of residential neighborhoods.

But the lawsuit says the requirements that nearly all of the other regulations, like the requirement that operators be permanent residents and the requirement of a guest log book, all exceed the authorities explicitly granted by the state.

As Virginia is a Dillon Rule state, one where the localities can only engage in activities explicitly sanctioned by the state government, the lawsuit alleges that Fairfax’s actions constitute an overreach.

Among the allegations are claims that the STL ordinance constitutes unlawful piecemeal downzoning, a violation of due process, and that the requirement that homes be open for inspection constitutes authorization of unlawful search and seizure.

According to the Fairfax Circuit Court clerk’s office, a hearing for the case is scheduled for Nov. 1 at 8:30 a.m.

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Morning Notes

Weather-Related Road Closures — Amid windy weather, several roads are closed around the area due to downed trees. [FCPD]

Bank to Hold McLean Grand Opening — MVB Bank is planning a grand opening for its new banking center at 1313 Dolley Madison Blvd., Suite 100, McLean. The location opened in early September. [Virginia Business]

Vienna Conducting Resident Survey — “The Vienna town government is in the process of taking the pulse of town residents through a new survey, which is being sent to 1,600 randomly selected households.” [InsideNova]

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Announcing The Whittle School & Studios/Northern Virginia Tysons Open House Nov. 18

Northern Virginia and DMV-Area Families: An innovative and global preschool-Grade 12 school is coming to DC next year – The Whittle School & Studios! Aimed at educating and nurturing curious, compassionate global citizens, The Whittle School is the brainchild of entrepreneur Chris Whittle, American media and education leader, former chairman of Esquire Magazine and founder of Whittle Communications and Avenues: The World School as well as Edison Learning.

The School’s philosophy and curriculum are based upon best practices from countries around the world, with an emphasis on personalized education, experiential learning, and immersive language and cultural knowledge acquisition. From the start, The Whittle School will open a second campus in Shenzhen, China, and over the next 10 years will open campuses in leading cities around the globe. As one school with many campuses, Whittle is a modern, innovative concept that will develop smart, engaged, well-rounded and globally-minded students sought after by top universities and colleges.

Amongst the different Whittle educational offerings, there will be a strong boarding component for Upper School with both full boarding and 5-day boarding options. This allows families to make the best choices for them and their students, balancing school and family life. The campus, a collaborative learning hub, will open in September 2019 at the former Intelsat building in Washington, DC, offering students access to the City as a valued educational tool. For 5-day boarding students, transportation will be offered to and from the School on a weekly basis.

To learn more about The Whittle School, please visit our website at https://www.whittleschool.org.
You may also contact Matthew Pohl, Director of Enrollment Strategy, [email protected], 646-851-5260.

*** No. VIRGINIA OPEN HOUSE: Sunday November 18, 4pm, Ritz Carlton, Tysons
Come meet members of our leadership team and learn about our vision for a modern, global preschool-Grade 12 school with campuses around the world, launching in Fall 2019 in Washington, D.C. and Shenzhen, China. ***
RSVP: nova.whittleschool.org

Map: Planned and Ongoing Transportation Projects in McLean

Tysons Reporter has put together a map and list of planned and ongoing transportation projects in McLean.

During their Sept. 25 meeting, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a status report on transportation projects throughout the County. Included in the report is an updated list of all ongoing and planned transportation projects.

McLean, part of the Dranesville District, begins on page 443. Most of the projects planned for McLean are new sidewalks, aligning with Fairfax County’s goals of making McLean more walkable.

Projects in the pre-construction phase are marked in blue. Projects currently undergoing construction or scheduled to begin in October are marked in red. Projects that have not begun their design process were not included.

In Pre-Construction:

  • Intersection of Balls Hill Road and Old Dominion Drive: A project is currently being designed to make intersection improvements, including a potential roundabout and pedestrian facilities. The design process is expected to end in December. Land aquisition activities are underway to secure the land at the intersection for development. Current funding for the project is $200,000.
  • Chesterbrook Road Sidewalks: Three small sidewalk extensions are planned along Chesterbrook Road in McLean. Project scoping and initial coordination for these projects are expected for summer 2019. Each walkway extension is priced at $1 million.
  • Sidewalk on Georgetown Pike: 700 feet of a ten-foot wide sidewalk is planned for the east side of Georgetown Pike south of Colonial Farm Road. An additional 350 feet of five-foot wide sidewalk is planned for the east side of Route 123 and Potomac School Road. The project is currently undergoing land acquisition with construction beginning in April 2020. Current estimate of project cost is $1.3 million.
  • Sidewalk on Idylwood Road: 200 feet of five-foot wide sidewalk is planned for Idylwood Road near Falls Church between Norwalk Street and Eastman Drive. Final design for the sidewalk is underway and expected to be completed by July 2019. Construction is scheduled to begin April 2020 and continue through October 2020. Current estimated cost of the project is $300,000.
  • Kirby Avenue Sidewalks: 520 feet of sidewalk connecting Chesterbrook Elementary School to Halsey Road along the south side of Kirby Road. The project is currently in land acquisition with construction scheduled to begin in March 2019 and finish in December 2019. Three additional sidewalk projects are planned along Kirby Avenue.  The total project cost is estimated at $925,000.
  • Lewinsville Road and Spring Hill Road Intersection: Improvements to the intersection in design and expected to be completed in December. The aim is to improve traffic flow and safety and add pedestrian crosswalks. All construction dates are still to be determined. The total project cost is estimated at $15.8 million.
  • Magarity Road Sidewalk and Crosswalk: A new eight-foot wide sidewalk is planned for the south side Magarity Road near Tysons between Lusby Place and Peabody Drive and one new crosswalk. The project is still in design until November 2020. Total project cost is estimated at $2.3 million.
  • Westmoreland Street and Rosemont Drive Bike Lanes: A 400-foot widening of Westmoreland Street to add bike lanes is currently in the design. Construction is expected to begin in November 2019 and finish in August 2020.

Under Construction:

  • Baron Road Walkway from Dead Run Park Trailhead to Douglass Drive: Construction of a new sidewalk is underway along Douglass Drive where it insects the Dead Run Park Trailhead, including a new curb and gutter. Construction is expected to be finished this month. The project budget is $700,000.
  • Birch Street Sidewalk: 700 feet of new sidewalk construction is planned for the west side of Birch Street from Grove Avenue to an existing sidewalk. Construction began in September and will continue until June 2019. The total funding the the project is currently $1 million, with an estimated total cost of $1.8 million.
  • Chesterbrook Road Sidewalk: Utility relocation is currently ongoing for a five-foot concrete sidewalk on the south side of Chesterbrook Road. Construction on the project is expected to finish in April 2019.
  • Sidewalks on Dolly Madison Boulevard: Construction started in September for two five-foot sidewalks along the south side of Dolly Madison Boulevard. The first length, from Chain Bridge Road to Kurtz Road, is estimated to be completed by May 2019 and cost $450,000. The second, from Old Dominion Drive to Beverly Avenue, is scheduled for completion in June 2019  and will cost $450,000.
  • Kirby Road Sidewalk: A six-foot sidewalk on the north side of Kirby Road is beginning construction this month and is scheduled to finish August 2019. The total estimated cost is $1.75 million.

Photo via Fairfax County. Map via Google Maps

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Halloween on the Green This Saturday In Vienna

Halloween on the Green, a free family-friendly halloween celebration, is coming to Vienna this Saturday (Oct 13).

From 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., activities sponsored by Vienna Parks and Recreation will fill the Vienna Town Green (144 Maple Ave E). Activities include:

  • Crafts and games
  • Storytelling with Patrick Henry librarians
  • Moon bounces
  • A petting zoo
  • A visit from the Vienna Singing Princesses
  • An applesauce-making demo, courtesy of Historic Vienna, Inc.
  • Pumpkin carving and painting.

The event is aimed at children ages two through ten. In the event of inclement weather, call 703-255-7842 for updates on the status of the celebration.

Photo via Facebook

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Carpet House Design Center Opening in Vienna

Carpet House Design Center, a interior decoration and design store based in Fredericksburg, is opening a location in Vienna (352 Maple Ave W).

According to general manager Bob Poole, the new location will have three distinct areas inside: one catering to builders, one that’s open to the public for retail sales, and a commercial area for architects and designers.

Poole said the store is anticipating opening by the end of the year or early in 2019.

The site formerly housed Kitchen and Bath Floors USA. The exterior of the building will remain intact, but Poole said the interior will be demolished and completely remodeled.

“We’ve got architects, engineers… the [demolition] is about to happen,” said Poole. “We just got occupancy permits. We’re waiting on the building permit right now.”

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Off-Market Source: Oct. 11

Every week the Eli Residential Group scours our network for off-market and pre-market homes to give home buyers and investors access to properties they can’t find anywhere else online. If you are interested in a property you see here or have specific needs you cannot find on the market, please reach out to us at [email protected] to talk to a real person, not an automated response system.

If you are a homeowner, investor, builder or agent who would like your off-market or pre-market property featured for a half million local readers on PoPville, ARLnow or Tysons Reporter, please email us at [email protected].

Potomac Yard Townhouse w/ 2-car Garage
700 Block of Annie Rose Avenue

Description: 3 bedroom, 3.5 bath townhouse with rooftop terrace. 2-car garage, 2,500 sq. ft., built in 2012, covered front porch. Walk to huge playground, courts, Old Town and Pentagon City. Updated and move-in ready.
Price: Upper $800’s
Courtesy of RLAH Real Estate

To view all of our off-market or pre-market properties, visit the off-market section of our website. We add new properties every week.

The Eli Residential Group is a real estate team with RLAH Real Estate, (703) 390-9460, operating in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland. Contact the team directly at [email protected].

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Tysons Selected as Location for Google Product Demos

The tech retail store b8ta in Tysons Corner Center will be one of seven locations nationwide to exhibit a new suite of Google hardware products, including the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are new phones by Google unveiled on Oct. 9 at an event in New York. Also unveiled was the Pixel Stand, a wireless charger, the Pixel Slate, a high-end tablet device, and Home Hub, an assistant that tracks day to day information like calendar events and appointments.

B8ta stores allow visitors to test out the products in a space designed to feel like a home setting. The products will be coming to b8ta stores in Texas, California, New Jersey and Arizona, as originally reported by Digital Trends. The Tysons Corner Center location is the only spot in Virginia to let users test out the new hardware before it goes on sale.

The new hardware will be available starting next Thursday (Oct. 18). The b8ta store is on the second floor of Tysons Corner Center, near the Bloomingdales.

Photo via b8ta

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Recent Tysons Arrival Republik Coffee Bar Looks to Expand

Republik Coffee Bar was founded out of frustration.

Elan Irving, the company’s director of operations, said when the founders of the coffee bar were looking for premium coffee options in the area, they were underwhelmed. Recently, the coffee shop that started one year ago in Arlington has branched out into Tysons.

The Republik Coffee Bar in Tysons is located on the ground floor of the mixed-use Highgate (7915 Jones Branch Drive) just east of Tysons Galleria. It opened in June.

“We were looking for a place to enjoy premium coffee served in an inviting environment staffed by friendly baristas with a pleasant ambiance,” said Irving. “Surprisingly, there are very few places that embody all of these qualities, so we decided to provide such space for like minded coffee lovers.”

Irving said the largest issue that faced the burgeoning company initially was finding a price balance.

“One of the challenges is to keep prices low without sacrificing on the quality of the product as well as keeping a staff of highly qualified baristas,” said Irving. “We were always in pursuit of better coffee, better brewing methods, and very competitive prices. We don’t believe in charging $5 for a six-ounce cappuccino.”

Republik Coffee Bar is in the midst of an aggressive expansion campaign. In six months, Republik plans to open two more locations inside D.C. and eventually another in Fairfax County.

“If you are afraid of taking calculated risks, you shouldn’t be in business of investing in new businesses,” said Irving. “This is also true in our business. We are very confident in our concept and very happy to see the response we received in Ballston. This has encouraged us to expand into other locations.”

For now, Republik Coffee Bar is local, but the company has much larger ambitions if the continued regional launches go well.

“Our short term goals are establish our brand into a very respectable local brand in the D.C. metro area,” Irving said. “If we are successful in achieving this, we will continue to expand regionally and then one day, nationally.”

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Morning Notes

Friday: Affordable Housing Discussion — “Join as we host Abdi Hamud from Fairfax County’s Affordable and Workforce Dwelling Units Program at this month’s meeting.  Abdi will facilitate a roundtable discussion about affordable housing in Fairfax County and more specifically in Tysons.” [Tysons Chamber of Commerce]

Heavy Rain, Wind Today — Expect heavy rain and strong wind as a cold front moves through the region, ushering in fall-like weather. Today’s rain may cause flash flooding. [Twitter, Twitter]

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