Tysons Corner, VA

Update 1 p.m. — The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Watch for the region until midnight with Flash Flood Watch remaining in effect.

Hope you brought a rain jacket, Tysons, because the region is expected to get soaked this afternoon (Friday) through tomorrow morning.

A Flash Flood Watch has been issued for the region, including Fairfax County, with 1.5-2 inches of rain expected but even more possible. More from the National Weather Service:

…FLASH FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM NOON EDT TODAY THROUGH LATE TONIGHT… SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS WITH HEAVY RAIN ARE EXPECTED TO OVERSPREAD THE REGION BY THIS AFTERNOON AND CONTINUE THROUGH THIS EVENING BEFORE DEPARTING LATE TONIGHT. REPETITIVE STORMS AND MULTIPLE ROUNDS OF HEAVY RAIN MAY RESULT IN RAINFALL AMOUNTS WHICH COULD EXCEED 3 INCHES LOCALLY. FLASH FLOODING IS POSSIBLE, PARTICULARLY IN URBAN AREAS AND IN AREAS OF STEEP TERRAIN. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A FLASH FLOOD WATCH MEANS THAT CONDITIONS MAY DEVELOP THAT LEAD TO FLASH FLOODING. FLASH FLOODING IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION. YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLASH FLOOD WARNINGS BE ISSUED. &&

The flooding potential is of particular concern to parts of the Tysons, McLean and Vienna area that are flood prone.

The potential for severe weather has also prompted some airlines to waive change fees for travel Friday. Forecasters say damaging storms are possible later today.

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Updated at 9:55 a.m. on April 23 — Gary Bowman, a senior real estate representative for 7-Eleven, told Tysons Reporter that the store plans to open this fall.

Tysons Corner Center has said on its website that 7-Eleven is “coming soon” for at least a month, but now there’s a sign outside the store — an indication that shoppers might be sipping Slurpees soon.

“We’re working on something BIG,” the sign says with a picture of a crane lifting a 7-Eleven sign. “Check back soon!”

The Japanese-owned convenience store chain will fill the former Starbucks spot next to GNC Live Well, a health product store, on the first level across from the Gap and H&M.

A spokesman for Tysons Corner Center said that he does not know when the store will open. Tysons Reporter has not heard back from media inquiries to 7-Eleven about the expected opening date and the size of the store.

If the store isn’t open by early July, customers can see if the four 7-Eleven stores in McLean and the six in Vienna will give out Slurpees, the chain’s slushie-type beverage, on July 11 — “Free Slurpee Day” on “7-11.”

The 7-Eleven website lists 724 locations in Virginia. Currently, the closest one to Tysons Corner Center is directly south of the mall at 1931 Old Gallows Road.

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After the franchise owner for the Huntington Learning Centers in Tysons and Springfield was arrested yesterday for sexual abuse of children, the company announced the locations will close.

Jeffrey Cummins, a local music teacher, was arrested at Dulles International Airport yesterday and faces eight felony counts of indecent liberties by a custodian against children.

The Tysons facility operates in the Centennial Plaza shopping center at 8290 Old Courthouse Road. According to the company’s website, the facility has been open for 23 years.

The Huntington Learning Center was quick to note that the abuse did not occur inside the centers, but will close the facilities regardless. According to a statement from CEO Eileen Huntington:

“Today we were made aware of allegations of abuse that occurred inside the home of one of our franchise owners in the Washington, DC area. We are shocked and appalled by this alleged behavior and are actively cooperating with police and investigators to the fullest extent possible. Our mission has always been to provide a safe and supportive environment for students, and although the alleged abuse did not occur inside one of our centers, we have nevertheless made the decision to close these two centers until further notice.”

Police say the nearly year-long investigation started when a juvenile disclosed that he had been inappropriately touched by Cummins over several years. A second victim came forward in January and said he too had been abused, police said in a press release.

When the locations will close and how many students will be affected by the closure remains unknown.

Photo via Fairfax County Police Department

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(Updated) Two months before the Fairfax County Democratic Primary, the race for the Providence District seat at the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is shaping up to be an expensive race.

Since July, the Virginia Department of Elections reports that the candidates have raised:

  • Dalia Palchik: $92,041
  • Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner: $59,700
  • Erika Yalowitz: $35,718
  • Edythe Kelleher: $33,609
  • Linh Hoang: $15,941

While the campaign finance reports would show Palchik with a substantial fundraising lead, according to the report a $39,450 contribution was made on Jan. 15 from the “Friends of Dalia Palchik” campaign committee.

“As with some other races, I transferred funds I was raising under my prior account to my new account for Supervisor,” Palchik wrote in an email. “This was done after consultation with the Board of Elections as to the best way file my records. Therefore, all funds for my campaign are now under the new account, but the transfer reflects all of my funds raised to date, including those raised prior to Jan 15.”

If the funds shuffled from one campaign committee to another are excluded, Palchik’s fundraising total would be $52,591 — putting her in second place behind Niedzielski-Eichner.

The reports also show campaign contributions from several prominent local Democrats. On Dec. 21, Niedzielski-Eichner received an early Christmas gift from the ‘Friends of Linda Smyth’ — the campaign fund for outgoing Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth — in the form of a $23,325 contribution.

Palchik has also raked in funding from other Democrats, though, like a $500 contribution from outgoing County Board Chair Sharon Bulova’s election campaign on March 11. Palchik also received funding from Alexandria City Councilman Canek Aguirre.

Kelleher received $500 in support from Mason District Supervisor Penelope Gross. Nearly two-thirds of Kelleher’s fundraising total — $20,000 of the $33,609 total — is from Kelleher.

No incumbent members of the Board of Supervisors show up in Yalowitz’s fundraising tally, but there is a $650 contribution from the local PAC Brass Ovaries and a $200 contribution from former lieutenant governor candidate Gene Rossi, who has recently raised the topic of running for office again in the wake of the scandals in Richmond. Yalowitz has also spent a total of $5,502 on her own campaign.

Hoang trails the other candidates in fundraising. Hoang entered the race late, and “Friends of Linh Hoang” doesn’t report any contributions prior to March 26.

The primary will be held on June 11.

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WWBG: Drink Pink

Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). This week’s Guide is written by Arash Tafakor of Dominion Wine and Beer.

Rosé wine sales in the U.S are increasing year after year. Why this change? Simply put, quality and affordability.

After decades of Americans categorizing any pink colored wine with the sweet White Zinfandel variety, the U.S wine consumer has discovered the light, dry, crisp and perfectly fruity rosé wine. Winemakers, instead of using excess red wine grapes to make Rosé, they are now growing those quality grapes specifically for rosé wines.

As winemakers start off with the intention of making rosé from the beginning, the quality of these wines has improved dramatically.

What makes rosés pink? A true rosé is not a blend of white and red wine. Instead, like red wine, rosé wine is made from red wine grapes. But instead of leaving the wine in contact with the pressed grape skin to ferment with the juice for an extensive period, rosé producers keep the skins in contact with the juice for only a brief period of time.

Then the pinkish juice is drained from the skins, resulting in a color ranging from a pale pink to a deep salmon or coral. Winemakers make rosé from the red grape varieties traditionally grown in their particular region, grapes best suited to the local soil and climate.

Rosés from the entire world typically display a range of colors, textures and flavors. Yet all rosés have some common characteristics: they tend to be bright with great acidity, fresh, crisp and dry. The most popular rosé producing region in the world is Provence, France. There, rosé is a part of everyday life, widely embraced as the best lunchtime, seaside and all occasion wine.

This spirit of Provence lifestyle has started to catch on. Wine makers from around the world are making more rosés than ever before as part of their wineries. Amazing dry style rosés are also being made from California to Virginia, and all at a great affordable price. With the spring and summer here, this is a great time to come in and try a fresh 2018 vintage dry rosé for any occasion.

Rosé food pairings: Rosé’s versatility really comes out when it comes to food pairings. You can almost drink a dry rosé with any meal.  For international cuisines, rosé pairs well with spicy Asian dishes, Mexican, Italian pizza, sushi and even Indian curries.

American fare, rosé’s go well with burgers, salads and even soups and stews. With meat you can pair a rosé with any BBQ as well as ham, steak, turkey and veal. Fish and seafood; grilled fish goes extremely well with rosé as well as steamed fish and lobster.

Here are a two new 2018 vintage Rosé wines we recommend at Dominion Wine and Beer

Commanderie de la Bargemone Coteaux d’Aix en Rosé Provence, France 2018

The 2018 vintage Rosés from Southeast France were grown in ideal weather conditions according to the Vins De Provence association. This Rosé from a benchmark producer of the delicious, dry rosé for which Provence is famous, the Commanderie was founded by the Knights Templar in the 13th century, and is home to a proud viticultural tradition with more than 160 acres of sustainably grown vineyards. 91 points from Wine Enthusiast.

Wölffer Estate Summer in a Bottle Rosé Long Island, NY 2018

Easily our best-selling Rosé the past few years, Summer in a Bottle not only comes with a catchy name but also a beautiful package making it great for a wine for a picnic or an elegant dinner party.

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Diners will have to wait a bit longer for Mediterranean restaurant Zenola to open in Vienna.

Zenola pushed its expected opening from the winter to this summer. The restaurant is currently hiring and posted jobs last week for wait staff, bushboys, bartenders, managers and kitchen staff.

Located in the former Maplewood Grill space (132 Branch Road SE) near the Fresh Market, the restaurant plans to serve Mediterranean cuisine along with beer, wine and cocktails, according to a liquor license application.

While the menu hasn’t been posted online yet, diners can expect this small fruit: olives. “Food is our passion and the olive is our inspiration,” Zenola says on its website, adding:

Olives are a foundational ingredient in each of the five great cuisines of the Mediterranean. Italian, Greek, Lebanese, Moroccan and Spanish cuisines each uniquely pay homage to the olive in their savory offerings. Which is best? We couldn’t decide so we give you the opportunity to determine for yourself by offering exquisite dishes from each.

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Wee Chic, a Maryland-based kids’ clothing boutique, recently opened its doors in the former spot of Dawn Price Baby in the Mosaic District.

The store opened at 2905 District Ave, Suite 120 on Saturday, April 6, Ellie Heath, the store’s manager and former Dawn Price Baby employee, told Tysons Reporter.

Wee Chic, which started in Baltimore, wanted to expand into the D.C. market and saw the recent closure of Dawn Price Baby store in the Mosaic District as an opportunity to fill a need for kids’ clothing in the area, Heath said.

After 15 years in business, Dawn Price Baby closed three of its four stores, including the ones in Reston and Georgetown, leaving just the Capitol Hill location open.

“Our store leases have come up for renewal and we have decided to start a new chapter,” Dawn Price, the owner of Dawn Price Baby, posted on the website. “Dawn Price Baby has been one of the most rewarding, challenging and exciting times of my life.”

In addition to filling Dawn Price Baby’s former spot, Heath said Wee Chic offers appropriate tween clothing for kids from fifth to eighth — ages that parents can find particularly hard to shop for, Heath said.

Wee Chic carries clothing for girls’ sizes from newborn up to size 16 and for boys from newborn up to size 8, along with toys and books, Heath said.

Heath said the popular items right now are anything with avocados, tacos and sushi, like the sushi-printed bib set for $20, a taco-shaped silicone teether for $16.50 and a taco onesie for $42. Only two avocado bibs are left in the store, Heath said.

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If you peeked under silver duct tape on the front window of Agora at 7911 Westpark Drive, you would find a sign saying “Opening 2018.” Things have not gone as planned.

The new restaurant would be the second location for the Mediterranean eatery based out of Dupont Circle in the District. The restaurant is under construction in the Nouvelle apartment tower northeast of Tysons II, part of a suite of Arbor Row developments.

The restaurant was announced last October with plans to open in December. But by February, owner Ismail Uslu said he had been struggling with a slow permitting process that has taken a full year for approval.

At the time, Uslu said the new opening was scheduled for March. But midway through April, the interior of the restaurant is still under construction.

According to Uslu, the restaurant is having design difficulties related to elevation. The restaurant is not only split-level but located on a slope running down Westpark Drive. Uslu said the new aim is to open sometime in mid-to-late May.

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Editor’s note: Over the next several weeks, Tysons Reporter is profiling the eight districts of Tysons. This is the sixth article in that series.

North Central, sandwiched between downtown Tysons and the Dulles Access Road, is in some ways the quintessential Tysons district, with neither the flash of a Metrorail station nor the moderating influence of surrounding suburbs.

It will remain a lower-density office option compared to the higher-density downtown districts, and will add some more urban residential neighborhoods along with a new park and a “circulator” transit option connecting it to the Metro.

North Central represents Tysons’ conventional approach to development in ways that other districts, with their Metrorail stations or surrounding suburban areas, don’t quite. Because it backs onto the Dulles Access Road, it is the only non-downtown district that is not required to provide a smooth transition to a suburban area. However, because it lacks a Metro station, it is not yet undergoing the kind of radically-transformative transit oriented development witnessed along the Silver Line. In some ways, the absence of those two factors make this perhaps the district where Tysons is most itself.

Plans for the area show a strip of office-only zoning along the fringe adjacent to the Dulles Access Road and the Beltway, with mid-density urban residential neighborhoods in the center and southwest of the district.

Circulator Will Connect to Metro

One challenge to urban connectivity in North Central is posed by the monumental Rotonda gated condominium community. The immense size of the two interlocking buildings, their position on a large hill, and the total lack of any sidewalk amenities adjacent to them, add up for an area that’s quite unpleasant to walk past. These buildings — though undeniably a striking contribution to Tysons’ urban milieu — are an obstacle standing between North Central and the urban amenities (Metro, performing arts, retail) in the nearby Tysons East district.

North Central faces another obstacle in its connection to the malls and Metro station of Tysons Central 123 — a steep uphill slope.

Fortunately, North Central is served by a technology capable of overcoming both of these obstacles: the humble bus. For only fifty cents, those residing in or visiting North Central can hop on a Tysons Circulator bus that will carry them to either the Spring Hill or the Tysons Corner Metrorail station. A bus from each line arrives every 12 minutes or so throughout the day, from early morning until midnight, helping North Central share in the value created by mass transit.

Although there aren’t specific plans in the works, Fairfax County expects to one day upgrade the line to higher-quality service or even to a streetcar or light rail system.

Development is Gradual and Ongoing

This district has seen its share of development in recent years. These include a luxurious four-building residential project at Park Crest, eleven floors of new class-A office space at Tysons Overlook, and the residential Highgate. In the near future, that last building could be joined by a 13-building mixed-use development called The Mile — if it is approved by the Fairfax Board of Supervisors at hearings in June and July of this year.

Development here is less frenetic than in the downtown districts, but it is ongoing at a healthy pace.

The Tysons Comprehensive Plan notes that, as circulator service is improved, greater residential density may become possible.

A New Park

A crowning ambition of this district could be the new urban park, 8-10 acres in size, to be created along Westbranch Drive and a future new street. This park, which would be one of Tysons’ largest, would include two athletic fields and provide “a focus for civic gatherings for residents and employees.”

However, one possible problem is that the provisional location of the park, as listed in the Comprehensive Plan, clashes with the proposal for development of The Mile. The Mile’s plan does include a large central green space, but it is not quite as large as Fairfax envisions, and does not include athletic fields.

The Comprehensive Plan also states that a new elementary school will be needed to accompany population growth in this area.

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Relocating is a part of office culture. But when the company moves just a few blocks away, some experts say it could be the sign of a healthy office market.

One of the most notable moves in Tysons was auditing giant KPMG LLP’s announcement last October that it would be moving from 1676 International Drive to the Boro, a project nearing the final phase of development.

On the surface, a move like that would have a minimal economic impact. Some local experts who spoke to Tysons Reporter said that moves like this allow companies to obtain relatively prime office space at low costs.

KPMG LLP not only got a newer, larger office out of the move, but also a $1 million grant from the Commonwealth’s Development Opportunity Fund and other tax credits.

The move also pushed Brandywine Realty Trust — the owners of 1676 International Drive — into a $20 million renovation that currently includes plans for a new flexible office space

Professor Frank Shafroth, director of the Center for State and Local Leadership at George Mason University, said the move could also be a positive sign that the region has a strong standing in the competitive Northern Virginia race to fill office vacancies.

“If they are moving in the same community, it means the community has the right amenities,” said Shafroth, “so I would guess there are certain unique benefits to them — and no harm to the community, because, clearly, in considering a relocation, they would have considered Arlington or other spots.”

Photo courtesy Brandywine Realty Trust

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